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Sister in law bitching - coping strategies

(40 Posts)
atrcts Fri 26-Apr-13 21:12:39

My sister in law (hubby's only sibling) has been consistently bitching about me behind my back. It all started when I refused to allow her to arrange our wedding and she freaked out because she couldn't invite her friends over our own. We were paying for all of the wedding ourselves and hubby said he would have given in for a peaceful life, but I felt it was wrong to be brow-beaten like that and that we should stand up for ourselves.
I was made out to be controlling because of this, and ever since then I've been accused of henpecking and nagging and generally being the sort of wife who controls her husband a hard time of it. When he gets wind of it, rather than defend me, he begins to believe what he is told and then mistakes any little request of help that I make of him, to be me domineering.

This had left me feeling unable to ask him to help me when I can't do things during my pregnancy, for example, due to bleeding I've been advised not to Hoover or mop, and so I use a robot Hoover and ask hubby to mop the floor once a week. You'd think I asked for his right arm hmm
I was told I am anaemic and need to take iron tablets for 3 months and was quite tired and short of breath, so asked hubby to drop off our toddler at nursery but he argues the toss even though he had no appointments on that day himself. And so on and so on.

I know I need to find ways to sort this out with my husband, especially in light of the fact I will be having a C Section very soon, but my biggest problem is how to best deal with the bitchy sister in law.

Do I confront her? I don't think it will change anything, apart from offending the people who told me that they can see she is totally wrong about me!

Do I refuse to see her anymore and risk causing a rift in the family?

Do I pretend I don't know and just keep her at arms length, having as little as possible to do with her, without making it too obvious?

Any inspiration would be gratefully received as I have dealt with bitches before but never "on the inside" so to speak, and am not sure how best to proceed!

AThingInYourLife Fri 26-Apr-13 21:17:42

You are focusing on the wrong thing here.

Your problem is your husband, not your SIL.

That he refuses to help you when you need it is down to him.

He is choosing to leave you struggling when you are pregnant and unwell.

Nobody's making him do it.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 26-Apr-13 21:21:18

I agree that your main problem is not your SIL but your DH. And everything else that AThing said.

defineme Fri 26-Apr-13 21:21:24

Agree-it's your dh that's your big problem. If he was a normal, loving dh you'd both laugh about his mad sister and get on with your marriage -helping each other and sharing the load in good and bad health.

I'd consider going to relate.

You may not like your SIL but she is not making him behave in this way.

You need to discuss between yourselves how you support each other and fast - before baby is here!

YoniOrNotYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 21:23:27

Agreed. 'D'h is the problem.

Squitten Fri 26-Apr-13 21:25:23

So your husband thinks its acceptable to refuse to help you when you are pregnant and unwell?!

Have to agree, your SIL is the LEAST of your problems!

lookingfoxy Fri 26-Apr-13 21:28:08

You need to read your dh the riot act!
Im 7 months pregnant and if dp didn't prioritize me above his other family right now he would'nt be here.
His family aren't that keen on me but he knows its because I don't bow down to them.
Your dh needs to respect you enough to tell his sister to mind her own business, its his family, his house and he needs to take care of you all.
I would personally be pulling the sister up as well, but I'm very hormonal right now.

mrspaddy Fri 26-Apr-13 21:38:14

I agree that you need to sort out with your hubbie..
I have a similar problem.. now I am lucky in that I don't see her often but she is hard to stomach. It is also tricky for me as she is indirectly bitchy.. i.e. her children have let slip, 'mummy said you look like xyz'. In normal circumstances I would not always believe the children.. but I have seen and heard enough from her to know whatever comes out of her mouth is a:bragging or b:bitching.

Anyway, my DH is totally understanding.. loyal to me.. never leaves my side when around her. We avoid.

What is the story with your DH? Is it the only sibling thing.. maybe. I suppose he is loyal to her but I think he needs a good talking you. You are a family now.. and a baby on the way.

I have never confronted SIL. DH hasn't. She is in the dark. It is hard this way but I don't like confrontation. I don't know what to advise only can you avoid seeing her very often? How does she know your housekeeping arrangements? No way should you be hovering. Ligaments soften in pregnancy. You need to be careful xxx

BlackeyedSusan Fri 26-Apr-13 21:50:58

your h is not a dh. he is the problem, not helping with his child is pathetic really and he is not much of man.

however, he may have been bought up to always let his sister get her own way and is used to doing what she wants, when she wants. h was a bit like that too. it did not go down well when I said no to unreasonable requests.

atrcts Fri 26-Apr-13 21:57:49

Wow thanks everyone, I wasn't expecting so many replies so soon! It seems a pretty unanimous vote that it's hubby I need to tackle here, I guess I thought that if I didn't ask anything of him then I can't be accused of controlling him! But actually it's true that a partnership is about two people helping each other out and not one (me) carrying the other (him). It wasn't always like that, only since the wedding guest list tiff.

I guess I can see how he's grown up seeig the world through his family's eyes - not very mature I know, but I've always hoped that given enough evidence to show they're wrong he would surely change his mind. I guess now that you all mention it, that's why I am troubled about the sister in law, because I see her as a powerful influence in his mind, and I see that it will influence how he views me.

As far as I'm aware she doesn't know about our housework arrangements, I have no idea what she uses as her examples of me controlling her brother and she is as sweet as pie to my face while she merrily stabs me in the back to other people.

Maybe couple counselling is the way to go but my heart sinks at that idea as I see that as reaching a really unhealthy place in a relationship, although the fact i'd need to go shows its already pretty out of balance so who am I trying to kid?!

BlackeyedSusan Fri 26-Apr-13 22:07:40

actually, I m betting it as a bit like that before the wedding list tiff.... but not obvious enough for you to notice... unless using hindsight.

there is a thread in relationships where I moaned about inlaws being the problem.... every one pointed out that it was actually h... sometimes you just don't notice. it shouldn't be h as spouses (spice?) should put each other first and you do not want to blame the person you love, so you misplace the blame.

the fact that he won't take the children to nursery, or mop the floor unasked is (now) quite shocking. you are used to it. it is harder to see. I still marvel at threads which say my husband does this that and the other and that is how it should be... I got pretty used to doing it ll for the dc/overseeing anything he did to make sure it as done safely. (like actually giving the children food, or drinks or dressing them in more than vest in winter/taking their coat off in a hot car.)

it is difficult to admit things are not as they should be...

atrcts Fri 26-Apr-13 22:12:04

I can relate to much of what you say, especially in relation to how other people speak of the support they get from their other halves. Part of me wistfully wishes that were me, and part of me wonders if people have rose tinted spectacles about the other halves and it might not really be that good!

I haven't noticed how it could have been an unhealthy setup before the wedding incident, but your mention of it is the first I've thought of it so you never know, something might pop into my head in a DUH! moment.

Out of interest did things improve for you?

Squitten Fri 26-Apr-13 22:15:15

If your husband is treating you this way then you are in an unhealthy place in your relationship. What are you going to do when you've had your C-section and can't physically do things? What will he do then? You need to get this straightened out immediately.

Does he give any reason as to why he doesn't think he needs to do anything to help you out?

AThingInYourLife Fri 26-Apr-13 22:22:17

"I guess I thought that if I didn't ask anything of him then I can't be accused of controlling him!"

Asking things of your spouse is not controlling them!

If you can't call on your life partner to share the burden if domestic chores and childcare, you might as well be alone.

atrcts Fri 26-Apr-13 22:32:32

He simply doesn't see why I can't 'man up' (my words, not his) and carry on doing all I have done, pregnant or not, anaemic or not. There's a certain element of denial being used - he doesn't think anything will really go wrong and that I am making a mountain out of a molehill.

In regard to the mopping, he disputes that it's necessary to do and thinks my standards of a weekly mop are too high. Actually truth is I'd prefer to do it more than once a week but I have dropped my standards and don't even try to go there! He tells me he doesn't intend to change our bedding either as he never used to do it that much before he met me and it "never killed anyone".

I think he honestly feels I am unreasonable to ask him to do things for our toddler because I get on with it when he's at work, and so he can't see why I can't carry on with it all singlehandedly when he's not at work.

It can be a bit of a game of "I'm more tired than you, so don't ask" type thing - also known as just being selfish I guess.

atrcts Fri 26-Apr-13 22:34:22

athinginyourlife you make a very fair point.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 26-Apr-13 22:41:24

no. that thread was posted 2 days before I ltb after dv!

on the plus side. he pays for the children. he visits them and looks after them, under supervision.

your h is a grown man. he should be contributing to the household...not being asked like a prepubescent child.. there should be give and take where you can ask him to do stuff and him you. at present you are busy all the time growing his child.

he should also be a parent and do stuff to look after his children. they are his after all... that includes looking after the one still inside, after aall baby is not going to do so well if born early because you are trooping up and down to nursery say.

i had bleeding all the way through with ds which was very scary given the previous pregnancy did not stick.

AThingInYourLife Fri 26-Apr-13 22:56:50

"I think he honestly feels I am unreasonable to ask him to do things for our toddler because I get on with it when he's at work, and so he can't see why I can't carry on with it all singlehandedly when he's not at work."

So he's demanding that you look after your toddler constantly without any breaks and you're the controlling one?

hmm

He's a manipulative shit.

Loulybelle Fri 26-Apr-13 23:21:48

So he doesnt believe in a 50/50 partnership then, i can be the first to put my foot up his arse, what a twat.

Loulybelle Fri 26-Apr-13 23:28:30

also does he realise theres things you cant do in no way when in recovery after a c section.

atrcts Sat 27-Apr-13 02:51:52

All of what you say I can see - I know I've been far too tolerant for far too long. I really have to get serious with him about this, although I've mentioned it a few times I have tried to keep pleasant at the same time. Maybe that gives a mixed message of tolerance that I can't afford to give.

I will have a look into the options of counselling because I have a feeling a third party will be needed as a voice of reason, not least to give me confidence I am not being unreasonable and asking for the crown jewels!

atrcts Sat 27-Apr-13 03:05:13

Loulybelle in answer to your question, he does know that a CS demands no lifting for a while after, and has organised time off work for this, but I can imagine I will be left too early alone in the house with toddler and newborn while he nips out as though it were a normal day off (so I've already covered that angle and asked my mum to help me out a bit too).

I have a sinking feeling that there will be an expectation of too much physical activity too soon, for example running up and down stairs as normal which isn't lifting but is also too much of a physical strain to continue normally for a little while after CS, that kind of thing. As I say it's a sinking suspicion and only based on pre-CS expectations so he might surprise me but then again I won't be wise to leave that one to chance.

Just a thought. How do you know she is constantly bitching behind your back? Verifiable, trustworthy third party or DH (or another of his family members)? There isn't any 'my sister says you boss me round and nag me' is there? I'm just really suspicious that he is turning a molehill (the wedding list) into a mountain (a smear campaign).

DH has a friend who was always saying that DH needed more 'time off' to have fun and I was stopping him. It got back to me and I had a conversation when they both happened to be in the room. "So, I hear you think DH should have more time off?" "Yes, he never has time to come and watch the footie and drink beer". "Yes, that's because he has a regular thing ever month, goes out with the neighbours once a week, regularly sees other friends and does as he pleases. As do I. Did he mention any of these things to you?". "No". End of issue.

Lavenderhoney Sat 27-Apr-13 05:03:02

It's quite immediate though, the current issue of you being heavily pregnant and having to do everything? Are you thinking of carrying on as is, and hoping counselling will fix it and make him see what is wrong?

Great your dm is coming to help you, but he should be helping as well.

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