... to be annoyed with dsil(17 Posts)
DH's sis is quite high maintenance - she has had mental health issues in the past and while she is currently in a 'good phase' and has been for some years now, she still demands his attention all the time. She wants him to pop round all the time and always invents issues in her house for him to look at and if he doesn't call her back was often as she wishes, she goes crazy. Because of her health history, he always worries that he has to do everything she says (I could list many incidents here but want to keep it as brief as possible!) but I think he is just enabling her. I can't tell him that though.
Now she keeps texting him to call her or ringing and demanding that he calls her back right away because she 'can't afford' the phone call. Then she chews his ear off for an hour several times a week. We REALLY can't afford the phone call either. I'm getting just SMP and his wages are low but she seems to think that she is poorer than us just because she and her husband are on benefits. I am not begrudging her family their money at all but she's told me their weekly disposable income and it's £100 more a week than we have right now but I don't feel I can point this out because she takes it as me attacking her for being on benefits (like she thinks I'm saying they don't deserve them when I just want her to understand that we are even poorer than her. She thinks because we work we're not though. We are!)
Now she's asked DH to 'lend' (which is always) give her money for a repair on her car. I've been on ML for four months now and would like to stay off for another five months but we are really struggling. AIBU to be annoyed by her behaviour or am I a horrid person for not considering her past?
I probably wouldn't be too annoyed with her, but if your dh caves in to her demands all the time then I think you have every right to be annoyed with him.
YANBU - speak to your DH - ask him where the money is going to come for this repair? Does he not see that it's an extra X number of weeks at home with your DC and if he gives this money to his sister (and it is give if you never get it back), the cost is you returning to work that bit earlier will be you being more unhappy and X amount in childcare costs.
I'd say to him you'll never forgive him if he gives away X number of weeks with your DC. Repeat over and over that he's giving away his child's time, it might feel like emotional blackmail, but he needs to unlearn that his sister's mental health is the priority, his priority now is his child.
Why can't you tell your DH you think he's an enabler?
As for the money lending, has he agreed? If so, unacceptable! (Of him, not SIL for asking).
It's your husband who's half the problem here; I know he wants to help his sister and that's lovely but he shouldn't be doing so to the detriment of his family.
I would be more annoyed with DH for constantly giving in to her.
He has tried not giving into her many times but she makes such a huge issue out of it - almost like she is threatening to be ill again if that sounds weird. Then once she gets her own way she is fine and on cloud nine again.
She has a weird way of making the world revolve around her and everything must always be just about her and never anyone else. She doesn't understand that he has been at work till 11pm - her world is falling apart because he has not called her earlier and she'll massively guilt trip him for it. Ie when I had a scare with the baby she made a big deal about how worried she was and called him every day for the next week and if he missed one call she went crazy. Which would be nice and thoughtful if she'd expressed worry for me or the baby but the whole issue just seemed to be SHE was worried and she needed a phone call. He own OTT worry was her only concern and it just seemed like yet another excuse to demand his attention (when I was unwell!).
I have tried discussing it with him and telling him but he won't listen. He just wants an easy life so gives into her to avoid her huge scenes (that's what I meant by can't tell him - i mean more that he won't hear it kind of thing...). I hate the huge scenes too because it is so draining and stressful when she's creating a drama out of nothing but I don't think always giving into her helps at all. especially now she is always demanding money and expensive phone calls to her mobile at her request.
I should certainly put my foot down over the whole money thing though. It is a good idea to make it clear how many less weeks me spending with the baby it would mean- make it seem real.
Just say no , to the phone calls and the money. She cannot make you give her money or answer the phone or make calls. Just think, do you want this going on for the next 20 years? Because if you don't put a stop to it, you AND your dh, then it Will continue.
He just wants an easy life so gives into her to avoid her huge scenes
Well then he needs to choose between having an "easy life", or you being subjected to his sister's bullying/manipulative behaviour and the financial repercussions that has on you as his family.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but how would he feel if it was your sister putting emotional/financial strain and demanding so much time from you?
While I have sympathy for anyone who has health issues, either MH or physical health, the making a huge issue then being fine when DH does what she wants doesn't sound like MH issues, it sounds like manipulation.
You say SIL is married, so unless her DH is the cause of her issues she shouldn't need to lean so much on her brother. Yes, I know that they've grown up in that pattern, but both are now adults with other people to consider.
And the only way your DH is going to get that easy life he wants is to put a stop to this behaviour because if he doesn't then he will never be able to afford to do the things he needs to build a lasting and healthy relationship with his family. He won't have time to relax with you and DCs at the weekends/school holidays and he won't have money to do any of the things he may want to do, especially as he'll still be paying her bills after he retires.
^"I think he is just enabling her. I can't tell him that though.^"
"He just wants an easy life so gives into her to avoid her huge scenes (that's what I meant by can't tell him - i mean more that he won't hear it kind of thing...). "
I sympathise. But I suspect you know what you have to do, really. You just have to steel yourself for it . You are right, he is enabling her. And his easy life giving in in the short term just means she will up the ante in the long term. Or to put it another way, his giving in to her just means there will be ever more to give in to in the future. He is doing himself no favours here.
BUT - if having an an easy life is his primary driver, then you have to change the environment so that him giving in does not give him an easy life in the short term (since the short term seems to be as far ahead as he is thinking). Him giving in to her must be made to give him a very very hard life in the short term - by you. You are going to have to spell it out to him that you will make his life a living hell if he gives in, and you will have to make him believe that you mean it (even if you don't). Absolutely put your foot down over the money - as you have said, you can't afford it, and they have more than you so they are being completely unreasonable. Suggestions for tackling her directly -
- Refuse the loan/gift of money. You can't afford it. And repeat - you can't afford it. Broken record technique.
- When she texts to demand a call (that you can't afford), he texts straight back that you can't afford the call. (I assume she has no landline?) She'll then have to call, and she can't afford that ... and if she chews his ear off on that call, he can tell her that he will hang up if she is going to talk to him like that - and do so. If he can't handle this, take his phone out of his hands and do it for him. With a very stern tone of voice to her and a very stern stare at him.
"He has tried not giving into her many times but she makes such a huge issue out of it - almost like she is threatening to be ill again if that sounds weird. Then once she gets her own way she is fine and on cloud nine again."
Then he hasn't not given in enough, since it hasn't worked. It's a bit like a course of antibiotics - if you stop taking them too soon, the more-resistant bacteria still left alive reestablish and come back. He needs to not give in, not give in, not give in until the penny drops. It will take quite a while.
When I started reading your thread, I assumed that his sister was single, but then it turns out she has a husband. What part does he play in this drama? The issues she invents for your DH to go and look at - why is her husband not looking at them? The natural person she should be turning to, whether for practical help or emotional support should surely be the person she is living with and is married to? Your husband needs to turn it back on her. When she asks him to do something, he tells her to get her husband to do it. If she splutters that her husband is useless, then he firmly tells her it's time her husband learned to do it/can do it/should do it.
Brilliant advice from WhereYouLeftIt
Thanks so much everyone for your advice. You're right I do need to be firmer and must make him be firm too. I guess deep down I knew I needed telling that from sensible people outside the situation.
DSIL does have a DH. He is registered as disabled but I'm really not sure why (it was alcoholism, then a bad leg, then a bad back, but I'm unsure as to the current problem - I have stopped asking over the years because whenever I ask what's wrong with him I again get accused of seeming to be judging them. They have three children too). He's never had any helping around the house, doing the gardening or painting the house but over the last six months he's refusing to do anything all of a sudden (I suspect this is something to do with the fact he's being reassessed for his benefit at the moment) so my DH is being called upon to do everything. I am beginning to wish we didn't live nearby!
She doesn't have a landline, but they do have Sky and the internet so I am not sure why there is no landline- maybe they could have if they bothered to buy a landline phone. Maybe that should be her Xmas gift ;) We could call her cheaply to a landline but I really stripped back our mobile packages to save money when I went on ML so we don't get many minutes to call a mobile at all. Why should I buy her a blinking phone though.
You are all so right though - if I don't put my foot down now it will pnly get worse. I've tried the patient tactic for years now and it seems to get worse Even when it gets better for a bit it always starts again and builds up rapidly. Things won;t change unless someone stops the cycle behaviour.
And v good point on I need to make sure he doesn't get an easy life off me if he does give in to her either ;) I feel bad because he is just being so nice really but ulimately it causes argument after argument far too often. Thank you again x
Excellent thorough advice WhereYouLeftIt thank you
Keep telling yourself that he's not being 'nice', he's being submissive! And to her, not you! You could even tell yourself that ultimately he is not being nice because his behaviour is keeping her in this cycle, and the nice thing to do would be to
kill her release her from it.
And as for her accusations of judging you - just calmly respond that you are not judging, but it would help you to support her best if you knew exactly what support he needed (you might have to practice a straight face in the mirror for a while before trying this one).
Thing is, if he wants to do anything for a quiet life, they only way to fight that is to make that giving in to her doesn't mean a quiet life, because you'll give him hell/create a scene. Sadly, it might be making him have a choice, upsetting his sister, or upsetting you and upsetting you has to have a similar reaction. (finding inner diva time)
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