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To ask if there is any way to handle this differently?

(248 Posts)
NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Fri 28-Dec-12 11:44:01

It's a very long story so please bare with me and I don't want to drip feed

My SIL is lovely but has had a very hard life and as a result refuses to go any where near my DH. She won't be in the same room as him and refused to allow him to attend her wedding or any family get together that her and my brother wish to attend (DH, quite unfortunately, looks similar in build and looks to her very abusive ex).

For the last three years this has meant that if my parents or my brother host a family get together DH either can't attend or does attend resulting in a lot of tension and a very upset SIL. If we are hosting one then either only my brother attends or he makes an excuse not to attend. I've no idea whether or not she is seeking help dealing with her past but I hope she is sad

Is it unreasonable to want to attend family gatherings with my DH without worrying about how it will affect SIL? Or to not have my mum or brother asking if I wouldn't mind just bringing DS with me? Or asking me which weekends my DH is working so that they can plan a meet up for when he is?

SIL doesn't have any close family and seems to be thrilled that she's been taken into the fold and is mothered constantly by my mum . Any family gatherings that SIL doesn't attend DH is allowed to attend. I'm starting to feel pushed out of my own family, if that makes sense, since I'm not happy leaving DH behind every time there is a family event sad

DH says he doesn't mind and would rather not attend if attending is going to cause SIL stress. Thinking about it since my brother got married I've attended fewer and fewer family events and have made a lot more effort to do things with my PILs.

* I'm not entirely sure this is the right place for my thread. If not I'll ask for it to be moved.

hermioneweasley Fri 28-Dec-12 12:07:16

Hmmm, assuming your DH has done nothing wrong, he should go and if she finds that difficult, then it's her decision about whether or not she attends. Why should your family be excluded and split up?

jessjessjess Fri 28-Dec-12 12:07:27

She needs to get some professional help because this is not healthy or fair on you or your DH. Have you ever spoken to your brother about this?

I would be tempted to just bring DH anyway but suspect that's not the best way to deal with things.

ArfAPandaTreacle Fri 28-Dec-12 12:07:30

Nothing who has told you the reasons for your SIL reactions? Your DH? Or her?

CluffyDude Fri 28-Dec-12 12:10:30

Do you think your sil may have an agenda?

I may be being a bit cynical here but my first thoughts are that she is trying to steal your place in your family.
You say sil is thrilled by being taken into the fold and is constantly 'mothered' by your DM.

I think sil is threatened by your presence and wants to be the only daughter.

I would have a chat with your DPs about how unfair this is on your DH and you.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 12:13:10

I think there may well be an element of that as well cluffy.
I strongly think it.

WorraLorraTurkey Fri 28-Dec-12 12:14:05

That's just ridiculous...this is her problem. Why is everyone dancing around her instead of chipping together and making sure she gets to see a psychiatrist? confused

Either that or there's something you're unaware of that actually happened between her and your DH.

SugaricePlumFairy Fri 28-Dec-12 12:16:02

This situation is dreadful, is it supposed to be this way forever?

Address it with your Parents and brother as it can't go like this.

SiL may have had a hard time but seriously hmm, how long since she last saw her Ex?

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Fri 28-Dec-12 12:17:03

I think everyone panders to her because her past is truly horrific sad and because we can always go to DHs family things whereas SIL can only go to our family things

She was fine until she met DH - I've no idea exactly why as she won't talk about it. All I know is that according to my DB my SIL thinks DH looks and acts a lot like her Ex shock DH is a gentle giant so not sure how exactly he acts like her ex?

Moomins - They are just in laws to each other

FestiveElement Fri 28-Dec-12 12:17:22

I don't get this at all, it sounds very wierd.

Since when did one in law get to dictate which other in laws are allowed to come to family stuff?

Why does she have such a problem with your DH? This woman's behaviour is not normal, I can't believe a whole family of sane people are pandering to such a ridiculous demand.

In your situation OP, I'd tell my parents that if they want a relationship with me and their grandchild then they need to stop excluding their grandchilds Father. How is this going to make him feel as he grows up?

What if he starts to look more like his dad, will crazy woman demand that the child doesn't come to family events too?

It's completely bonkers.

WorraLorraTurkey Fri 28-Dec-12 12:20:52

So you haven't pulled your SIL to one side and asked her what her problem is with your've just heard it secondhand from your brother?

You and your SIL need to get together pronto.

Sorry but none of you are doing her any favours here.

SugaricePlumFairy Fri 28-Dec-12 12:21:02

Have you only her word that dh looks like her Ex or do any of you know what he looks like?

Is there a startling resemblance that you can see?

bradywasmyfavouritewiseman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:24:03

I think she is manipulating your family. She doesn't have her own.

The fact that you can go to your in laws means jack shit. Your parents are still your parents in laws don't replace them.

Next event give your brother plenty of warming you are taking dh.

I think she could possibly be lying.

FolkElf Fri 28-Dec-12 12:24:34

This sounds very strange to me.

If she can't cope with seeing your husband at family events then she should be the one to stay away.

Unless of course there is more to it and it's your husband who has done something. But if not, the problem is hers and not yours.

jalopy Fri 28-Dec-12 12:26:20

I had to re-read and re-read to believe this.

From the little info you have disclosed, either your sil is manipulative and in need of help or something sinister has gone on in the past that involves your dh.

Surely you and your family must have thought this very odd? You've let it go on for three years?

One thing is for sure, she's firmly the kingpin of the family.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 12:27:05

If her past is truly horrific, then she is possibly quite a damaged woman.
With every ounce of sympathy in the world OP, damaged people can cause mayhem.

jessjessjess Fri 28-Dec-12 12:28:18

The fact you can go to DH's things is hardly the point - this is your family and it is her issue not yours. I am sorry but I just don't buy it. I take it you are sure DH is not her ex, or a relative of her ex?

I do wonder if she is doing it for attention and/or sympathy. Fine to want those things but this is not how to get them.

Can I ask why she doesn't have any close family? It's just I am reminded of a friend at college who was a care leaver and was also a compulsive liar (eg she told us her dad was a university lecturer, farmer, pilot and heart surgeon on separate occasions). It was very sad as she had obviously had a really tough time, so everyone politely ignored it rather than calling her on it.

I'm not saying being in care makes you lie, I hasten to add. Just throwing this out there.

If I met someone who looked like my abusive ex and it was triggering, I would feel sorry for them as he was an ugly git see it as my duty to get help.

2rebecca Fri 28-Dec-12 12:31:28

I would speak to my parents about this if they did this to me. It isn't your fault that your SIL has no family of her own. I would tell your parents that you feel pushed out of family gatherings and feel she is trying to take your place rather than see a psychologist to sort out her unreasonable issues with your husband who has done nothing wrong.
You can't stop your parents choosing her over you but you can make it clear to them that that is what they are doing and that if SIL doesn't sort this out it isn't going to go away and will cause family tension.
SIL may have been treated badly in the past but that is no excuse for her and your parents to treat your husband badly by excluding him just to stop her having to sort herself out. I would say this to my brother as well.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 12:32:07

I know - justifying it with the fact that you have in laws is a load of old shit. Your mum and dad are your mum and dad ffs!

ArfAPandaTreacle Fri 28-Dec-12 12:33:15

I understand now. Sorry I thought your DH and your SIL were brother and sister.

Most bizzare how she is reacting.

2rebecca Fri 28-Dec-12 12:33:21

I also don't think that trying to exclude your SIL's husband from your husband's family events is a "lovely" thing to do. Lovely people don't behave that selfishly.

Pantomimedam Fri 28-Dec-12 12:35:12

This is bizarre. You've heard this about dh's resemblance to her ex second-hand, i.e. not directly from your SIL? You need to find out what is really going on here - it may well be as barking as that (damaged people can behave very strangely indeed) or there may be something else going on. Possibly SIL being so relieved to be part of a family who actually want her that she's shoving you out (even if not consciously doing that).

I would talk to SIL to find out what on earth her objection to your dh is, and then assuming it's mere resemblance to her ex, have very stern words with your parents. They are YOUR mother and father, they can't exclude you from the family (that's what this is about, refusing to allow your dh in the house is excluding you) because your SIL has issues, however painful those issues are.

Iamsparklyknickers Fri 28-Dec-12 12:35:49

I'm not sure how you can deal with it nicely confused

Whatever her issues are with your dh, it's unreasonable to create such a divide in a family and I'm surprised that everyone has gone along with it for so long tbh.

Any chance, as she's so close to your mum, you could get her to sit down and tell her this can't go on. Everyone is supportive, but that doesn't mean her issues can spread throughout the family creating hurt needlessly, she needs to start looking at ways to start dealing with her past and developing coping strategies to live a normal life.

HollaAtMeSanta Fri 28-Dec-12 12:37:37

Is it at all possible that your DH actually is SIL's abusive ex?

If not, SIBU and I can't believe you tolerate this!

SarahWarahWoo Fri 28-Dec-12 12:37:55

Tough love time? Tell your parents to stop pussy footing about, pandering to her, your DH isn't the same person as her ex and she needs serious help if she can't see that, if anyone should be left out then surely it her? If your parents continue this odd behaviour they are missing out on seeing you.

ClutchingPearls Fri 28-Dec-12 12:38:58

Could you agree with her to gently increase contact with him over a long period of time? Would she agree to say,

DP e mailing her friendly correspondence about the news/soaps/TV, then start to include his opinions on it. To get her to see he has a personality rather than his looks and he isn't the same.

Then he could start mentioning places/holidays I.e. more personal things about himself/your family life.

Then maybe move on to facebook where she can choose to see pictures of him and more natural update, also start to see his friendly interactions with other people.

Then start to shop in the same shop as him so, she could have an occasional interaction/seeing him.

This would allow her to get to know his personality and see him as different to her ex. After all when we know someone well, we don't tend to notice much about them physically and she would have chance to learn enough about him to make conversation.

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