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AIBU about my brother and SIL?

(85 Posts)
Bottleofmilk Wed 28-Sep-11 10:43:49

ok, i will try keep it short and to the point, but not leave anything major out (drip feeding sucks)

so, DB got married a few years ago. his wife is difficult. everything ticked along for a while, and then went epic and huge fall out with DB, his wife and my family (parents, DH etc). it was all very traumatic and awful. so, state of play now is that my parents and DB are talking again, as are DB and I, but his wife is not talking to me at all, and says she hates me. I am actually ambivalent about that, on one hand, its not nice to know that someone feels that way about you, but on the other, i am just relived not to have to deal with her.

cutting to the chase! SILs grandmother has just died and DB sent me a message to say that it would mean alot to him if i would take the oppertunity to write a nice message to SIL about her loss etc etc, as she will probably appreciate it (his words).

so, my first instinct was to say no. on the grounds that i dont actually know the grandmother (or any of SILs family) and that SIL and i dont have the sort of relationship where this would be something we would do (before the fall out nevermind after it). and also because i think this is a manipulative (on his part, i dont think SIL even knows he has messaged me) attempt on his part to get me to communicate with SIL.

my second thought, was ok, if you take all the history out, what would be an appropriate respnse to finding out someone you know has a relative that died and they are upset about it. and i thought, well in those circumstances i would probably buy a card and send that.

but i am feeling really annoyed by the whole thing. which is probaly where i am being unreasonable. i just feel that its not appropriate for DB to tell me what my respnse should be to his news, and then couch it in terms of what would be the decent thing to do.

oh, god. i am being unreasonable arent i?

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 10:47:10

yes, YABU. Sorry! AT the end of the day (hate that phrase!) a relative of yours has had a relative pass. That needs to be acknowledged. Send the card.

slavetofilofax Wed 28-Sep-11 10:48:21

I would send a card, if not for your SIL's sake, then for your brothers.

Just sending a card would be a nice thing to do, and maybe it's a horrible thing for me to say, but it would give you the moral highground. Not that you should be using a family death for that, but if it did help to bring you back together in some way, then it would be a good thing.

emsyj Wed 28-Sep-11 10:48:29

DB is obviously hoping that you will somehow get back on speaking terms with his wife as it is probably hugely stressful for him that you don't speak or get on. He possibly knows his wife isn't going to make the first move, but hopes she would be responsive if you did, and is now encouraging you to do so.

We had a very similar family fall-out last year (are you, in fact, my SIL?? grin) and I know DB finds it very stressful. We are now speaking to his parents again, but have cut his brother and the brother's DP out of our lives. I would like things to be resolved, but am not prepared to make the first move.

Goodness, you are my SIL, aren't you? confused

Not unreasonable, no - it's a difficult situation, given the history, and what your SIL has said about you.

I think in your position, I would get a nice card and write a brief message in it - something along the lines of, "I am sorry to hear of your loss - we are thinking of you at this difficult time." If nothing else, it will mean a lot to your brother that you have made this effort for him.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 28-Sep-11 10:52:22

Yes, what SDTG said.

Bottleofmilk Wed 28-Sep-11 10:55:09

LOL emsyj, i doubt it :-)

the thing is, i dont want to be in contact with SIL, i mean, i dont wish her ill honestly i dont but life is so much easier without her in it. i am scared that she will then think the door is open for communications etc when i really dont feel that way at all sad

i really dont feel comfortable pretending. wow, im not communicting this well at all!

you are right, DB would LOVE for us to be in contact again because it would make HIS life easier. but it wouldnt bring anything good to mine. and i think that as she hates me, why would she want my words of sympathy anyway? i dont know, it all feels very minefieldy

and i hear whats being said about taking the moral high ground (my mother said similar) but the thing is, im not competeing for the moral hig ground with her, i just want to stay out of all of it completely.

but at the same time, i dont want to be needlessly horrible or make things worse, i dont want to make things worse.

SharrieTBGinzatome Wed 28-Sep-11 10:56:08

Message withdrawn

ViviPru Wed 28-Sep-11 10:56:16

Your circumstances sounds identical to mine (although we're all still estranged from my DB) so I can entirely envisage where you're at with this. I get the impression he's asking you to write a note as in pen a short letter - more personal than a bought condolence card. I think given these circumstances, HIBU to ask this of you and YANBU to find it inappropriate.

In your shoes, I would send a shop bought card and address it to both of them, adding a short personal line or two before signing it. Same as what SDTG suggests.

He's a little BUGGER for putting you in this position in what is already a delicate situation. Feel for you.

ENormaSnob Wed 28-Sep-11 10:58:10

I probably would send the card but be wary of appearing insincere.

Bottleofmilk Wed 28-Sep-11 11:01:12

thanks for being kind everyone, i really appreciate it

and vivipru has the right of it, i am upset with my brother for putting me in this position. and yes, he wants me to write to her personally. i am fairly sure a card is not going to cut it in his eyes.

i think i will get a card though, and send that. but im not going to write a message, will just choose one with something appropriate so i dont need to.

goodness, i had such a knot in my stomach over this, thanks for helping me make a decision :-)

itisnearlysummer Wed 28-Sep-11 11:03:03

I was just about to post saying I would do exactly what you have said you will do. Get a card, with an appropriate sentiment and send it simply with a to... from.. and no additional message.

Tillyscoutsmum Wed 28-Sep-11 11:04:00

Is it the norm to get a condolence card for someone who's grandparent has died ?? Its not something I'd do tbh (even if it was someone I liked). I certainly never had any when my grandad died a couple of years ago.


ViviPru Wed 28-Sep-11 11:04:23

Totally know where you're coming from. And stand quietly firm if there are repercussions regarding your supposed non-compliance with his wishes. You're doing the right thing.

Brothers eh? who'd have em. PM me if you ever just want to vent to a total stranger who gets it.

pissedrightoff Wed 28-Sep-11 11:07:55

No I wouldn't send a card, You would be expressing a sentiment you just don't feel.

ViviPru Wed 28-Sep-11 11:11:08

Yes I agree with your reasoning pissedrightoff, but they would never see it that way; as a mature and honest response. They would see it as a rude snub that could lead the OP into a whole new realms of recrimination and strife.

Vallhala Wed 28-Sep-11 11:11:40

I'm damned if I would do as DB has asked! I'd merely reply that whilst I was as sorry for her loss as I would be for anyone I didn't think that it was appropriate for me to send personal condolences and that he's a manipulative git for asking.

Not out of nastiness but because the woman is clearly one that you want nothing to do with and, it appears, who would cause yet more problems and unhappiness in another 6 months time if the relationship between you was smoothed over now.

I have a family member like this, to whom I just would never have any more to do with, come what may. I just don't want to get sucked in, the past is past, I've walked away and my life is far happier for it, it's over. Like your SIL they hate me, but no more than I hate them, there is no sense in us ever communicating, they'd only be up to their old tricks again within a few months.

I like a peaceful easy life and long term it will be far more so without this woman in my life even if it was all rosy again for a short while.

Bottleofmilk Wed 28-Sep-11 11:12:02

tillyscoutsmum, exactly! (lol, now my knives are going to come out!) i think i am feeling weird about this because if i am honest, if DB had messaged that SILs grandmother had died and left it at that, i would have written immeditaely back expressing my sympathy to him, and felt that would have been appropriate in the circumstances and not thought anything else about it.

but because he has said it would be nice, he would appreciate it, its the right thing to do etc etc, i feel manipulated and pushed about, and as if actually, amybe i am not a nice person after all!


seriously vivipru, i hear you. brothers. sheesh.

the irony of all this, is that actually i have always felt every sympathy with my SIL for beingm arried to my brother, and i have never actually held her any ill will at all. and even when it was all kicking off at its worst, i still felt that it was all DBs responsibilty not hers. but, what to do?

bluelaguna Wed 28-Sep-11 11:12:37

I'm going to go against the other responses!

Leaving aside the fact that SIL is difficult, SIL is very lucky that any of her grandparents made it this long. I am presuming we are talking 80+.

I don't think a condolence card is appropriate at all - dying in the "natural order" of things is the best that any of us could hope for isn't it? I never received any cards when my grandparents died, neither did DH. When I went to my granny's funeral, it was at her house and all of her family were there. I thought it was actually very nice - she had lived a long time, seen her grandchildren grow into adults etc - it was a fitting end. No condolence necessary - more a celebration of her life, not a sad occasion at all.

Plus, since you are estranged, using a bereavement to initiate contact is frankly bizarre IMO. I think your brother is clutching at straws.

I am prepared to be flamed grin

I think I'd send a note, from the whole family, saying sorry for your loss. Nice paper, handwritten.

If you do nothing, it will be another thing she'll hate about you. You will be the heartless cow who didn't care. It won't matter to her and for the purposes of telling people about you! that the two of you have no relationship.

Whereas if you send a simple note, what can she say? The evil bitch sent me a note saying sorry for my loss? She'd look like a fool.

How come you're the only one she's still not talking to after this fall out when she's made up with everyone else? Does she blame you?

Bottleofmilk Wed 28-Sep-11 11:16:32

valhalla and pissedrightoff, thats what i felt in the first place. my first instinct was to say no to him. but the reason i am chickening out is what vivipru said, if i try to explain to DB its all going ot go massive again and i just want to stay out of it. but it DOES rankle that i am compramising my own feeling on something in order to not have to deal with drama and fallout.

truthfully, if i was brave enough, i would do what i really think and feel and deal with the consequences. but i am still not quote recovered from the last round and i dont want to fight. i just want it all to go away <pathetic waily voice>

sorry! its ok really, i will sort this out, and it will be ok :-)

empirestateofmind Wed 28-Sep-11 11:17:30

I have never heard of people sending condolence cards for Grandparents. I have never received one and have never sent one either.

ViviPru Wed 28-Sep-11 11:19:07

OP pause and envisage your favoured outcome.

You want your DB to be pacified and the situation to remain stable and manageable. At the same time, you want to retain your integrity and not be manipulated into actions you feel are inappropriate and compromising.

I think the only way to achieve the above is with the shop-bought card approach, even though that is not entirely satisfactory.

The only other way to achieve it is by getting everyone involved to invest time and money in attending several years worth of counselling. But you, like me have probably decided that that is about as likely as pound coins raining out of the sky, and actually, not worth it.

2rebecca Wed 28-Sep-11 11:19:37

I don't understand your brother's behaviour here. He knows his wife hates you and you don't speak to his wife yeat he phones you up and asks you to send a card to his wife because her grandmother has died?
When my husband's grandmother died I didn't ring round the relatives and ask them to send cards. I also don't get why it would make your brothers life easier if you and his wife were communicating as you dislike each other.
Also you say she hates you but then say thatif you send her a card then she will think communication lines are open. surely if she hates you she won't want to talk to you any more than you want to talk to her.
Not sure if I'd send a card or not here, I would if it was her mother, but sending cards for a grandmothers death to someone you dislike seems a bit odd.
If I did send one it would be to the pair of them and just signed, no message.
I do wonder what your brother is playing at here, maybe he just misses you. Do you see him without his wife?

pissedrightoff Wed 28-Sep-11 11:20:53

It's a difficult one right enough and I'm sorry you have been put in this position.
(I still wouldn't though as I'm a stubborn git and don't often do things to keep the peace)

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