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To wish I didn't hate my SIL?

(85 Posts)
ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 00:00:27

I have NCed for this as I don't want to be outed. I also realise that I will probably get flamed for this but here goes...

I really can't stand my SIL, I would even go as far as to say I hate her. Not even for a good reason. It's making life difficult because I never want to go to family events. If I know I will be seeing her I get what I can only describe as a 'fight or flight' reaction. Even the mention of her name makes my stomach knot. I realise this is only serving to make my life miserable and is a pointless waste of energy. So how do I get over it or do I have a point?

She is my DP's brother's DP. I suppose she can be nice but I have stopped noticing her good points because she is so fucking competitive.

Everything she does or has is 'better' than what I have. If she can't be better, she has things so much worse.

According to her, she has the better brother, he is better looking, much nicer, kinder, thoughtful, helpful, etc. Her DC are more advanced, taller, more clever, better behaved, etc. Her house is bigger, nicer, better than ours. She is obsessed with money, and I have an update on how much her DCs have in their savings account every time I see her. It makes me feel inadequate as the balance is several times what I have amassed for my DCs.

She is also very critical of the way I do things. She has a way of sneering at my choices, particularly my parenting choices. But then she can be perfectly lovely in the next breath so then I think I am imagining things.

She just makes me feel so shit about myself. I can't blame her entirely as I suffer from low self esteem and her comments only reinforce my self doubt. I am ashamed to admit that I am jealous of her.

So how do I get over it and stop playing into her competitive games as I invariably can't win anyway? I don't feel the same competitiveness or jealousy with other people, even when they have things or lifestyles I aspire to but then they don't tend to ram it down my throat either. How do I look beyond this and forge a better relationship with my SIL?

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:20:32

YY, agreed smile.

Posting here has reminded me of a time when I used to hmm inwardly and smile and nod at her boasting all the while letting it go over my head.

I'm not sure why I have started to take what she says to heart more recently but I am determined to regain some control, not let her have anymore of my headspace and see her for what she really is wink.

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:23:34

My SIL' s way of trying to make me jealous when she can't compete is to use one of her relatives on her husbands side or a woman she knows whos loaded so she tries to tell me stuff about them to make me feel inadequate. She once talked to me about her friends new wooden floor for about ten mins, I couldn't have cared less but she must have thought I was jealous or something. But she also does the whole I've had it tougher thing too, especially regarding our babies births.

It's like your damned if you do and dammed if you don't.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:29:27

willowme we could be talking about the same person by the sounds if it. Very weird behaviour.

My SIL was once showing off about her new dining table for a good while. It wasn't until she left that I realised she had been trying to make me jealous as I had mentioned months previously that I would like a new dining table. The conversation was just weird, had no context and didn't make me even slightly jealous since I could get a dining table if I wanted to, just waiting til the DC stop drawing on everything wink.

I could also describe her father's house in great detail right down to how many acres the garden is, despite never having been, as she talks about his massive house all the time. <yawn>

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:32:32

I think you need to treat this with humour thread, thats what I have resorted to, my DH told sil that we were buying our DS an iPad and a quad for Christmas. She ended up buying one of those really expensive cars that the kids can actually sit in and drive after she had all the presents bought. Of course DH was only joking as our both our DC's are only 18mo. But I dread to think what I'm going to hear about this little car the next time I see her, mil has already tried to make me jealous about it.

You need to try and wind her up if you know it's due to insecurities, ie say your thinking of taking the kids to Disney world, then when you don't say DH couldnt get time off work or some random excuse. You know she'll have spent hours annoying herself about it so who cares if you went or not.

poocatcherchampion Mon 31-Dec-12 15:32:50

My SIL boasted that the cloth nappies he lent me "never stained that much" when her children used them. My mil (her mil not mum) countered that her children must do "perfect poos" unlike mine. I think of it every time she boasts.
This thread has cheered me up immensely.Must get ready to go and ready to meet her now, with a smile on my face!

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:39:45

YY willowme I have definitely had a sense if humour failure when dealing with her recently. In fact I'm quite embarrassed that I was sat there with a face like a slapped arse at the last family get together blush.

grin at 'perfect poos poocatcher. That's got to be one of the strangest boasts I've ever heard grin.

One of my favourite moments was when her DF was giving a 'speech' at her DC's naming day and was going on and in and on about how DC had broken the family record for being the biggest baby when another family member piped up with, 'no, such and such weighed more'. Her face was a bloody picture I tell you. I wish I'd taken a photo of that face smile.

JamieandtheMagiTorch Mon 31-Dec-12 15:44:27

She sounds awful, but it's interesting that it's getting to you more now than it used to, and it's well worth thinking about why that is and doing what you can do to not "catch the ball of crap" she is attempting to throw at you. That is, think about why the nonsense she comes out with has an effect on you.

Forgive my presumption, but you sound a lot like me. I work pretty hard to bury any competitive feelings, and find it a very annoying trait in others ( on my mind at the moment as someone close to me is pretty competitive and it's putting me right off ).

Yet there's a part of me that thinks i ought to be more competitive and that suppressing it has made me less successful than i might have been.

Of course the other element in your story is that maybe you are vulnerable to what she says getting to you because your self esteem is not great, either because of longstanding stuff or because you are particularly down at the moment - vey common when you are the parent of a toddler, Ime

Don't know if these ramblings help.....

AfterEightMintyy Mon 31-Dec-12 15:50:20

Oh gracious, we all know people like this don't we? Can you not find it within you to feel sorry for her? She has a tedious personality and you will not be the only person to have noticed, she probably rubs loads of people up the wrong way!

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:58:22

Loving the strange boasts, my sil 'boasts' that her dd is wearing bigger clothes than DS even though he's taller and heavier. Mil told her last wk to change her dd trousers as they were clearly too big and falling of her I was grin inside.

tangofan Mon 31-Dec-12 16:16:21

Thank you, OP! I love the support group idea grin
There's some great support and ideas on this thread, maybe we could persuade MN to set up a topic for inlaws support in general...
I too feel slightly better after getting some perspective. We all know we should rise above this sort of thing but it can be hard when it's so relentless. It's the utter lack of tact or sensitivity that winds me up, she knows fucking fine well how hard we work at being able to afford just normal things while she can live off her husband's wealth yet thinks nothing of dropping into conversation something about her next holiday/designer shoes/DC's ultra expensive presents...angry
That to me is just wrong. And actually a bit spiteful.

RedToothbrush Mon 31-Dec-12 16:36:02

We took my PIL to a local restaurant for lunch when they visited. Two weeks later they came back as they loved it so much and they've been raving about it ever since.

So BIL and SIL decided they had to compete, so for PIL birthday treat they decided to send them to a nice restaurant at the expense of us, them and DH's sister. DH said yes, ok but let us know how much it was before booking it. They didn't.

We got a nice message over christmas from BIL saying how much PIL enjoyed the meal at this Michelin star restaurant just down the road from where they live. The bill as over £300 and we are expected to our share... we are very pissed off that they spent this much without properly discussing it first.

This has competitiveness been going on for several years now.

Christmas and Birthday Presents from them fall into two categories; the 'deliberately insulting' and 'the what planet do you live?!' on types.

When we got married (we'd been engaged for several years) they made a point of announcing their engagement 5 weeks before our wedding and deliberately did everything possible to get one up on us or have a dig about how were getting married abroad without friends or family. SIL took to looking for wedding dresses saying "ooo these are lovely, they are only £1000". To which I promptly replied, "thats more than our wedding ceremony and venue is costing". That shut her up very quickly.

Our wedding wasn't an bloated overdone show of wealth, and I'm very happy it wasn't. It was stress free and the way we wanted it.

Now every time either of them start their competitive shite, and I have the satisfaction looking at her wedding pictures and the deliberate horror show makeovers she gave her bridesmaids to make her look better in comparison. They have to be seen to be believed; think Abba in drag. Plus we know they are still paying for the wedding.

Its down to petty jealous and insecurities. I can't stand either of them. I dread family occasions and actively avoid as many as i can as its just so painful. Dealing with DH's family is fine in small does and in small numbers without BIL and SIL.

GrendelsMum Mon 31-Dec-12 16:38:52

Gosh, she does sound dull, though some of these boasts are hilarious!

FWIW, I have an in-law who I deal with by making a big fuss of when I see her at family gatherings. I pretend to be ever so interested and ask her all about her life and her house and say how wonderful it sounds (a lot of my job involves being interested in people's long descriptions of themselves, so I am fairly experienced at this). And actually, if I hit her with a massive charm offensive right at the start of a gathering, it does seem to work. She sort of calms down a bit, IYSWIM, and I think it's because she's feeling more secure.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 31-Dec-12 17:01:08

You need to stop feeling bad about not liking her. If you could say to yourself, "well, she's being annoying, but then again, she IS annoying, heigh ho." I think it wouldn't get to you so much.

I would find it awfully weird if the wife of DH's DBro ever made a comment about the relative attractiveness of the brothers. Rest assured, it's odd (as are lots of the other things you've said).

TheCatInTheHairnet Mon 31-Dec-12 17:27:35

Lol at boasting Bingo.

My SIL used to be like this. It got so ridiculous that my MIL once said in front of us both, "I love my sons very much, but when it comes to being a husband, TheCat is the lucky one." My jaw hit the floor and she stormed off in a huff.

Funnily, we get on really well nowadays. I think both of us matured and I stopped caring. Oh yeah, and we live on different continents!! grin

doingtwelvethingsatonce Mon 31-Dec-12 19:43:33

My older sister is like this - very competitive, money is everything. When she goes on and on about how brilliant her life/money/family/whatever is... I just say in a very gushy voice "oh how very NICE for you!" grin She's never quite sure if I'm serious or not.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:10:35

Thanks again for the further replies, I'm just catching up with them all as I've been out. Lots more creative ways of dealing with insecure and competitive people. I'll be an expert before long wink.

willowme we have the clothing size competitiveness going in too. She had our DCs standing next to each other recently to compare size hmm. I am only surprised that she hasn't asked to see the growth charts in DC's red books yet.

tango she sounds incredibly insensitive. I cannot imagine rubbing someone's nose in my financial affairs, especially if they were funding things tough as well.

Redtoothbrush that is shocking behaviour! If you want to outdo someone, at least have the decency to pay for it yourself! We will no doubt have the whole wedding competition going on at sine point as we are both engaged. I have already been warned that her rich daddy will be paying for her wedding so it will be a grand affair. I can't wait hmm.

What really gets me is why do they do it??!! I mean I understand the feeling insecure but surely social norms would stop these people from spouting endless crap about themselves. at least have the decency to take it to Facebook where I can block you from my news feed.

This has reminded me of a story one of my friends once told me. She bought her PIL a beautiful canvass with a photo of her DD, PIL's first DGC, for Christmas. Her slightly nutty and childless SIL, not to be outdone, have them a canvass four times bigger with a picture of her cat confused. To make matters worse, it was a real moggy that looked a bit bedraggled. Her parents don't even like cats, they were dog lovers. Anyway, she has a big drama queen strop about them hanging this bloody canvass of her D(Cat) grin.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:12:48

Please excuse all the typos - too much wine. I hope it still makes sense confused.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:18:01

thecatinthehairnet - my other nice SIL and I were talking about this a while ago. I think a few years ago we were much more tolerant of her as we put a lot of her behaviour down to being young although she is similar in age to ourselves. I think we both hoped that things would improve as she matured and particularly when she became a mother herself but if anything she's actually worse. OTOH I could probably tolerate her better with a few thousand miles of sea seperate big us I'm lying, she would still find a way to get to me. Probably with mega boasty round robin angry.

BoatysTinselSails Mon 31-Dec-12 22:30:24

Well, our visit went surprisingly well, each time she tried to ask about DC and start to express an opinion I asked a question totally unrelated, she gave up after a while wink

MirandaGoshawk Mon 31-Dec-12 22:50:33

Oh goodness, this reminds me of my MIL. Competitive. I have found that the only way to deal with it is to smile, nod and ignore. Just repeat to yourself: smile, nod, ignore. Ask her about herself/plans/what she's been up to, and smile, nod, say "how lovely" etc.

I would also not discuss money. She's got some front asking you how much is in their savings accounts! Practise some replies, "Oh, not much, they've spent it all on their Mummy" or something. If she pushes it, say you can't remember & then change the subject. I would try not to get drawn in to her games. Do you have to see her so much?

TalkativeJim Tue 01-Jan-13 01:05:42

Next time she asks a question designed to kick off a competing session, say in an offhand way something like -

'Oh gawd I don't know, I'm not much of a boaster myself so I never think to hold this information in my head!'

'Gosh I can't remember. I always feel so silly competing about that kind of stuff, always feel as if it makes me look so insecure'

'Ooh I've NO idea (laugh) gosh these conversations crack me up, don't we remind you of that Harry Enfield character - 'considerably richer than yooow'! Haha!'

Jux Tue 01-Jan-13 02:06:01

When she tells you whatever inflated sum her dc's have in their accounts, say "Brilliant! He/she/they and their friends will be able to get really wasted on their 18th."

If you can't think of a suitable reply to a boast, look vague, nod and say "mmm? Oh; how interesting". My friend used to say it to her MIL who was a truly nasty woman, always stopped her in her tracks.

Narrowboat Thu 03-Jan-13 21:19:25

Threadworms - I have the answer. The key is the dining table. You mentioned you wanted a new dining table in passing so she went and bought one.

Choose something fashionable that you inwardly think is pointless/vulgar. Ie a cath kidson handbag/ purple uggs/ gold belt/ hunter wellies / orla kiely changing bag. (just my suggestions - would love purple uggs). Mention in passing to SIL how much you like them and wish you 'could get one/some'. Obv don't choose anything your dp is going to shout 'but you hate those'.

Sit back and see how long it takes her to buy the item. My guess is it won't take long. Then everytime you see her she'll be carrying a token of her need for your attention. It will wave at you and say 'loony, she's a loony'.

Oh go on go on, nothing to lose .........

Jux Fri 04-Jan-13 20:43:51

Oh that's brilliant narrowboat! Perhaps you could start a kitsch thread here to get awesome suggestions of awful vulgar stuff you could mention you really really want.

How about an antique lamppost painted gold to light your garden?

DeWe Fri 04-Jan-13 21:24:27

Good idea Narrowboat! We have a BIL that does that. Funnily enough when we or bh's db get a new car or move he has done the same within a couple of months.

When we got the last car, dh had to go round (bil didn't know what it was)and I suggested he borrowed his managing director's car (Big Mercedes) and implied it was our new one. (MD would have thought this very funny) and I reckon he'd have got a matching one very quickly.

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