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AIBU to dislike my niece?

(230 Posts)
abigailsdinner Fri 18-Sep-20 12:59:32

Please be kind because I know I sound absolutely awful but I'm looking for help to connect.

For some reason, when my DN was born (DH's sister's baby) I just felt so cold towards her. She is now 10 months. I made all the effort to ensure we saw SIL whilst pregnant, then as soon as baby was born (they live 2 hours drive away) and have seen her a few times. I feel so awkward. I thought that it was because I'm not maternal yet and it would come. But then my friends had a baby and I absolutely love him. I love playing with him, I love cuddling him, I love seeing him grow. So obviously there is some warmth in my cold heart.

I wonder if it's that I resent SIL and her DH, she hasn't necessarily done anything wrong but they are quite against my moral beliefs.
I am currently in therapy and one of my issues is 'rigid beliefs' which is what causes a lot of my OCD/Anxiety apparently. For example, they regularly make comments about nurses being unintelligent, not as good as doctors, they comment on ANYONE who is overweight for absolutely no reason, they make sweeping statements about certain religions / ethnicities (i.e. "I know that Nigerian nurses are lazier than British ones, just look at who has called in sick since coronavirus, it's an excuse, you don't see doctors doing that")

They have become uncaring towards anything in our lives or our animals who are our "children" (at present, maybe one day I'll have babies fingers crossed) - for example, they allowed them into a main road off lead when we were helping with the baby. They were lucky to not get hit by a car and didn't apologise. Our dog was attacked by another on the street and I was bitten when we went to get them groceries (to help out when they were exhausted as baby was just born), they didn't bat an eyelid when I came home covered in mud and bleeding. It was surreal.

I find SIL not particularly maternal so I cringe when they make baby noises etc, it feels so awkward. I then can't do it either because I feel awkward and cringe at myself. They tend to sit on their phones a lot and just let DN crawl around in another room until they hear a bang (last time we were there it was playing with bottles of wine that then smashed).

They're intelligent people, they love DN, they're good parents as far as I can tell (minus a few little incidents as above) and the first to have a child in DH's family. As a result there is a lot of attention on them constantly, for example, EVERY single message we send MIL gets a response with a picture of the baby. DH was always treated unfairly to his sister and it's caused a lot of issues along the way. For example, at Christmas everyone met up except him and he wasn't told or invited, they then denied it and said it was impromptu (his other brother lives in a different country).

Basically, I sound somewhat jealous(?), angry(?) but I really REALLY don't want it to affect my relationship with DN and I need to put it aside.

Has anyone felt like this before? DN has done nothing wrong and I want to be seen as someone she can rely on. DH is the same as me but doesn't particularly care about connecting.

I also don't want anyone to think I'm bashing SIL's parenting, I can't parent, I don't have children, I am just stating things that I think may contribute to my weird mindset.

OP’s posts: |
lughnasadh Fri 18-Sep-20 13:03:52

I'm fairly ambivalent towards my husband's neices and nephews.

They aren't really related to me, they are his family really.

It's different with my own neices and nephews I suppose because I started from a point of actually loving my brothers and sisters. I kind of loved their children by default, then they just grew on me. grin

TeddyDahlia Fri 18-Sep-20 13:18:33

It sounds like they’re people you don’t really get on with or like that much, who haven’t been very nice to you in the past, and who are really your DH’s family more than yours. It’s not really that surprising you’re not mad about the baby yet. But that may change - once she’s old enough to be more of her own person you may well warm up to her. And if not, as long as you don’t show it you’re still not a bad person!

Spied Fri 18-Sep-20 13:31:33

At the moment dn is an extension of her parents who you don't really have much in common with or like so I don't think it's unreasonable that you don't feel much towards her.
Unfortunately, as you are very different people and don't see much of each other I can't see this changing too much.
It's not like you are going to be spending much time with your dn realistically.
I've been with my partner 14yrs and can remember all of his nieces and nephews being born. We saw/see them regularly however I don't feel any great love towards them and I'd go so far as to say there's a couple of them I dislike. Thinking about this the two I really can't gel with are the DC of sil who I can hardly tolerate.

Zilla1 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:32:49

They sound awful, OP, and as your DN isn't yours, your disengagement with your DN sounds normal. Up to you how much engagement you choose to have with that part of your family to the maximum they agree. Try not to stress about it, just let things develop. BTW, based on what you've said, I wouldn't have much to do with the parents. I certainly wouldn't allow them to endanger your pets again and would call out their prejudices rather than give them a free ride.

Good luck.

Aquamarine1029 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:35:44

Seeing these people is only making you miserable. Send your husband to visit and you stay home. You need to accept the fact that you will never, ever have a close relationship with your SIL and her family. You are simply too different on some very major points. Stop torturing yourself and disengage.

froggygoneacourting Fri 18-Sep-20 13:35:57

Disliking a baby due to her parents does sound like an unhealthy level of projection.

It’s good that you’re in therapy. I really recommend trying to detach from them as much as possible - letting the dogs run loose by a main road is reason in and of itself to cut down on contact.

AmICrazyorWhat2 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:37:47

I agree with the above. Once your niece is older and has become more her own person, you can forge a separate relationship with her.

My DD (15) gets on well with my older SIL. Their relationship is now separate from ours and they sometimes spend time together ( pre-pandemic that is) without DH and I. That may also happen with your niece so don’t worry about it too much, it’s early days.💐

AlrightTreacle Fri 18-Sep-20 13:46:37

SIL and her husband sound like racist snobs, I wouldn't want to put too much effort into a relationship with them tbh.

Maybe that's why you feel a bit ambivalent towards their baby; deep down you know you won't ever have (and/or don't want) a good relationship with her parents. I mean you can't look forward to seeing them surely?

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:49:54

You dislike a ten month old baby?

That’s really disturbing, disliking the parents is one thing, disliking an innocent ten month old is something else entirely.

Honestly I’d speak to my therapist about that, it’s not healthy at all

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:51:04

Maybe that's why you feel a bit ambivalent towards their baby

Is this to soften it, you and a pp? Because you know full well she didn’t say she was a bit ambivalent. She said straight out she disliked the baby.

legalseagull Fri 18-Sep-20 13:58:51

I don't love my nephews on the husbands side, but I don't dislike them. Do you really dislike the baby or just don't feel connected to her? I love my sisters children because I love my sister so much. I don't love my SIL. I treat her children the same as my sisters kids, but they feel more like a friends child than my family

LockdownLump Fri 18-Sep-20 14:14:52

I like my niece's and nephews on my husbands side. I absolutely love and adore all of my sisters kids. I feel so differently about my families kids than in-laws kids.

I can't help it. I'm sure the feeling is mutual also.

I couldn't dislike. Baby, but if I didn't have a bond with the parents, I'd feel neither here nor there.

bwfcchick88 Fri 18-Sep-20 14:27:00

I know what you mean. I feel similar about my own DN, SIL, BIL. My DN is a sweetheart and I get on fine with my in-laws, but that's all they are to me, really. They're nice people, but our lives are very different- basically, they're not interested in us because we don't have children yet. We're not particularly close and I can't see it ever changing, even if we do have children.

Minimumstandard Fri 18-Sep-20 14:29:16

If I were you, I would strive for feeling neutral towards your niece; you're probably not going to see her regularly so don't need to dote on her. And her parents sound quite unpleasant.

But it's nice for your DN that others like your MIL are fond of her since children benefit immensely from family relationships. My mother adores and spoils DS to an embarrassing extent and brings so much to his life. My brother, on the other hand, finds small children irritating and has held DS once since he was born...As a parent, you accept that not everyone will love your children and that's fine.

earthyfire Fri 18-Sep-20 14:34:22

I feel differently towards my sister's children than I do to the nephew or nieces on my husbands side. I was there from the start with my sister's children. I see them more, I have more of a relationship with them, I connect better with them, I feel more loyalty towards them. However, I have never disliked the children on my husbands side, in fact they are lovely kids/adults. I can't say I have ever disliked a baby.

Ranunculi Fri 18-Sep-20 14:41:53

I’m really not arsed about my nephew. He’s not my blood relative. I don’t particularly like SIL and BIL. They don’t parent him particularly well so he’s naughty - he hits my DC and refuses to share toys. I send him birthday and Christmas gifts, and see him at family gatherings, but I don’t go out of my way to interact with him. I don’t hate him as such - I’m just not interested in him. It’s not uncommon.

Whatruthinking Fri 18-Sep-20 14:45:16

You can’t see anything nice or kind about them right now. Perhaps with good reason. Dn is an extension of them so you have no real connection with her emotionally right now cos she doesn’t come from a good warm happy place , IUSWIM??? but it will change as dn gets older and you create your own relationship.

AlrightTreacle Fri 18-Sep-20 14:47:20


Maybe ambivalent is the wrong word, but personally I don't think I'd have much interest in developing a relationship with a baby if their parents were people I didn't like. They're her DH's family, and they excluded him at Christmas? Obviously more going on here, but his family sound kinda toxic.

On a personal level I do have one aunt (dad's sister) that I have pretty much no relationship, she made little effort with us when we were younger because she didn't like my mum. I did see her occasionally when I was younger, but she is also a snobby racist (a bit similar to the OPs description of her SIL), and I haven't seen her in the last decade.

Sometimes families are complicated and weird.

Anordinarymum Fri 18-Sep-20 14:53:07

They sound awful on paper OP. It reads to me like you cannot stand them. I don't blame you if they are negative people. We don't have to like our relatives. There is no law that says it is a requirement.

Keep your distance. Stay civil and stop doing things for people who are clearly ungrateful. Perhaps cutting them out for a while will help and you may even start to like them a bit ( but not too much)

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Sep-20 15:01:43

Maybe ambivalent is the wrong word, but personally I don't think I'd have much interest in developing a relationship with a baby if their parents were people I didn't like

So? Ambivalent is not “maybe “ the wrong word. She used the word. She dislikes a baby. No point in sugar coating it.

She didn’t say, I don’t like the parents, and I’m a bit ambivalent to the baby, I don’t want to connect because of the relationship with the parents.

She said it loud and clear. I dislike the baby.

happyfeet245 Fri 18-Sep-20 15:10:35

I quite like my niece and nephews on my DH's side, but it's far from love. They're not my flesh and blood and as much as I get on ok with my BIL and SIL I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I never saw any of them again.
On the other hand I adore my niece (brother's daughter) and treat her as my own. You DH's niece/nephew would likely no longer have anything to do with you if you split up and they're not really related so I think feeling ambivalent is quite normal. However I could never actively dislike a baby.

AlrightTreacle Fri 18-Sep-20 15:10:41


Calm down, I'm sure the 10 month old baby is blissfully unaware of any of OPs private feelings of dislike towards her, it's not like OP said she has an uncontrollable urge to drop kick her or something.

She's come on here to ask for help because she wants to change how she feels and have a good relationship with her.

tyrannosaurustrip Fri 18-Sep-20 15:15:08

Honestly OP feeling cold dislike towards such a small baby isn't good, or normal.

Not being that bothered to have a relationship with her because you don't really like her parents - fair enough, entirely normal. Actively feeling dislike and negative feelings towards her? Not great. Is that really what you mean? Or do you just feel like you should automatically love her because she's your niece, even though to be honest I'm not sure niece by marriage counts in the same way, if you and your DH divorced its v unlikely you'd stay in touch.

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Sep-20 15:19:01

Calm down, I'm sure the 10 month old baby is blissfully unaware of any of OPs private feelings of dislike towards her

Eh, ok then, yes I’m all excited and worried rhe ten month old knows.


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