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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?

Quadrophonic Sun 05-Oct-14 21:21:53

I 've got a work colleague exactly like this. Her kids are sportier, taller, more intelligent, slept better, ate better, academically better, you name it, her kids have done it.

Her holidays are more relaxing, more upmarket, her house is bigger, her car is newer, her neighbours nicer etc.

I now call her black cat. If you've got a black cat she got a fxxxing blacker one.

I try not to let it wind me up but some days I could strangle the bint.

Spindarella Sun 05-Oct-14 20:59:36

Oh bloodyhell didn't notice.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Sun 05-Oct-14 20:57:32

This thread is over 18 months old? Just saying.

Littlef00t Sun 05-Oct-14 20:49:08

I like the idea of mentioning you're planning on buying/doing something expensive in the hope she wastes money on it first.

Spindarella Sun 05-Oct-14 20:13:56

Do you know, I have a similar relationship with my SIL? What struck me was you saying you end up joining in and are as bad as each other and you're a little jealous.

I'm exactly the same and I don't know why. I actually really like my SIL, she's a good, kind, funny woman but for a while there was an undercurrent between us and like you it seemed heightened when we had children around the same time. No idea why.

I think sometimes, when my life wasn't going so great (money worries) hers seemed like a mirror to mine only with a better reflection - we both married brothers and had small children but I was trying to invent new things to do with tinned beans and she was off on hen weekends. She can be quite dramatic but somehow, when I'm happy with my own life, I find it endearing rather than annoying.

Not sure if anything I've said helps, but sometimes it's just a help to know you're not alone!

ImNoClownIWontBackDown Sun 05-Oct-14 20:13:34

I don't like my SIL either. I used to feel the same as the OP but I have dealt with it by being really REALLY nice to her. For some reason this works, I think because in your head you know you are being patronising when you complement her on her lovely house, but no one can call you on it grin. I also think it helps you to distance yourself from her behaviour if you don't let yourself be wound up by it. You can carry on secretly hating her but don't let on! wink

FryOneFatManic Sun 05-Oct-14 20:00:54

You could follow up Narrowboat's idea with pretending that you don't like said item after all.....Once she's gone and bought it and waved it around in front of you. grin

Seriously, though, I've always been told it's vulgar to discuss or boast about money in any way, and I once heard this being said to someone I knew who was similar to your SIL, in the middle of a large gathering. Wish I'd had the balls, it made this person go very pale and stalk off.

Marzipanface Sun 05-Oct-14 19:35:04

Do we have the same sister in law?? If it helps in anyway I discovered my SIL was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and behind the excessive perfectionism and competition, she was had a lot of unseen issues regarding self-esteem. Sad for her but also made me realise that the problem was her not me. Once discovered, I found I was able to deal with her with more compassion and understanding.
There often can be a lot going on behind the scenes.

Countyourchickens Sun 05-Oct-14 19:23:13

I have a friend a bit like this. I say friend asin many ways she can be great but jeez can she boast. Money, holidays, house improvements, all of it is fair game. I do not share any details of my life in what ever she is boasting about and just look uninterested.I sympathise. If you are forced to see these people regularly it is pretty awful.

StairsInTheNight Fri 04-Jan-13 21:55:51

I want a gold antique lamp post in the garden now...

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.

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?

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 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.

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!'

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?

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

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.

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 21:10:35

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.

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.

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

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).

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.

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.

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