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Can you help me make sense of my reaction?

(27 Posts)
neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 08:05:45

Background: my dad died suddenly last year and during the process of clearin of his house my sil was angling for certain items from the house. I felt it was innapropriate for her to be asking what was happening to certain items but didn't say anything. Then my db asked for us to sort a collection of patches my dad had won for sport as they meant a lot to him. Myself and 2 other brothers agreed he could have them. Cue big fight where sil rifled through my dad's patches as if she was at a jumble sale, picking out the nicest ones for her family. Her dh, my brother even had to argue that they were going to my other brother. It was horrible and I felt disrespectful of my Dad's memory.

This week my gran died. My mum asked if there was anything I wanted from the house and I mentioned a special clock she had that I am quite attached to and she said I could have it. At the funeral however my sil spoke to both my mum and my aunt about how much db wanted the clock and all of a sudden she was getting it and I was getting a washing machine.

I felt very upset. I suspected db had no real interest in the clock and sure enough later said he didn't care about it. I just felt sil wanted it to decorate her house but it actually means something to me. My mum got all dramatic and said she was stuck in the middle and started talking about me to others in the family making out I was being awful.

Anyway she can have it, my nice association with it has been ruined and I would rather keep the peace but I feel really horrible about it in quite an intense way. Feels a bit of an over reaction and I am not sure why.

beararse Sun 02-Oct-11 08:24:13

It's not an overreaction. It's not SIL's place to be taking things which have sentimental value to you. She's being grabby and vile.
ve sentimental value to you. She's being grabby and vile.

Depending on what you feel up to I'd be tempted to sit down with her and your DB and explain how you feel about the clock,

Depending on what you feel up to I'd be tempted to sit down with her and your DB and explain how you feel about the clock, leaving out any reference to what happened with your dad's belongings. Keep it friendly and neutral if you can with no accusations but just explain how much it means to you and that you would love the clock for sentimental reasons. If your DB isn't bothered then she'd be a truly awful person to keep it from you.

FabbyChic Sun 02-Oct-11 08:27:35

Your SIL sounds a right bitch, and she has no claim to any of your grand mothers things she is not family.

Point this out to your mother that she has no claim and should not be pandered to.

buzzskillington Sun 02-Oct-11 08:43:58

I'm not surprised you feel awful. This woman seems to be baggsying stuff she has no right to, and her dh your db, doesn't seem bothered/doesn't even agree with her. Yet she seems to get her way.

Did your mum forget or think you weren't that bothered about the clock to give it to sil instead of you? Maybe she is all defensive about it because she knows she got it wrong, but it's easier to put pressure on you to stfu than sil. I'm not sure why db has still got the clock when it's caused all this trouble and he's said he doesn't care about it - surely he should have just given it to you when you were upset? (I suppose he has to live with sil, 'tho).

It's really sad - but it frequently happens that real resentments and rifts are created when it comes to the sorting out after deaths. I'm sorry for your losses.

neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 09:06:41

No my mother knew, we had talked about it. I even said to her that I predicted sil would try and get it. I actually feel really upset with my mum but she likes to be in the middle of a drama. She did lots of dramatic 'can I talk to you on private' with my other brother to sort out the problem of me. My brother then went all 'I am the mature on and will sort it out' on me which annoyed me. Right now I feel I don't want to be around any of them. I'm always trying to keep the peace and now I am some kind of villain just because I objected to someone having something special just because they want a feature in their house. I feel a bit betrayed by all of them.

Pagwatch Sun 02-Oct-11 09:12:56

I know exactly how you feel and it dies feel awful
Because you are grieving so you are not just arguing about a thing, you are arguing about a thing that represents someone you love.

You reactions are reasonable. But you need to remember that your grief will not ease if you get the clock. Your sils behaviour about your dads belongings was awful but it's over and your dad wouldn't have cared. But he would have cared about you being upset.

What is happening about the things is wrong. But I would let it go and get on with grieving. It will just make you more upset to get involved in a spat with selfish arses.

neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 09:16:31

Oh I am not going to fight for it, not my style. She can have it. I just need to vent about it. I also feel my mother chose sil over me which is not a nice feeling.

Pagwatch Sun 02-Oct-11 09:18:55

Good for you.
Personally I would tell them to keep the washing machine too.

Let it go and find different ways to remember your gran

ShowerGel Sun 02-Oct-11 09:34:47

There is a lot going on here.
There is sibling rivalry, laid down at an early age and lasts forever e.g. 'older child' taking charge, mother at the centre of the decisions, etc.
There is rivalry with another female I.e. The SiL.
There is attachment to your grandparents via the belongings, what is known as 'continuing bonds' and as, in all cases of death and bereavement, there is grief.
The items themselves may not have any intrinsic value but when they become a focus for a battle, as they appear to have done, then it is about the relationships.
How to resolve it? A tricky one - you could write down your feelings in a letter, making sure it was fairly structured - 'when X happened I felt Y' type of thing - so that no accusations or blame are promoted. Don't send the letter but keep it and let a couple of days/weeks go by, then read the letter. If you are happy with the way you have worded it, then send it.
It is very normal, when bereavement occurs, that these upsets occur. You have had two fairly close together and the issues from the first have compounded the issues from the second.

Bluebelle38 Sun 02-Oct-11 09:47:51


Well, the SIL sounds like a right pain in the arse. I am actually shocked at how blatant she has been.

I'm really sorry your mum didn't stand up to her. I can only imagine she thinks you are more likely to forgive her and get over it whereas the SIL may cause ructions with her.

Either way, it isn't fair.

If it was me, I'd be telling your mum you were disappointed with the way she handled things but leave it at that so she can't thrive on the drama of it all (ridiculously immature behaviour for a grown woman).

And yes, if you don't need the washing machine, I'd be letting them know it is unwanted.

All the best xx

buzzskillington Sun 02-Oct-11 10:03:06

Your mother sounds a nightmare. sad

neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 10:12:37

She's awful. An alcoholic when we were growing up and very self centred in general. Everything is always about her. One of the worst things about my dad passing was not having a parent to go to. We also lost an aunt this year so it's all been a bit much.

Bluebelle38 Sun 02-Oct-11 10:22:53

Your mum should be ashamed of herself. Why would anyone try and gleen drama through someone's passing.

I'm really sorry, neepsntatties, but you seem to have an understanding as to why she is the way she is so maybe in future keep in mind this isn't about you - it's all about her and what she is going to get out of it.

She was probably loving having the power to be the one that decides. How totally ridiculous.

And yes, give back the washing machine - that will really piss her off lol

buzzskillington Sun 02-Oct-11 10:35:37

Aw, poor you sad. The only thing you can really do with someone like that is to step off their little merry-go-round.

IvyAndGold Sun 02-Oct-11 10:36:00

Sorry that you're having to deal with all this on top of your losses sad

Agree your mother sounds hard work, and your SIL a PITA. I've seen the fallout because of family members getting grabby after someone's passing; when my great grandmother passed away, my DGM's SIL took her engagement ring. DGM gave up after months of pleading and reasoning and arguing to try and get her mother's ring back. To top it off, SIL ended up pawning it, as she has expensive clothes/holiday taste, but not the income to match. DGM was crushed sad

Would definitely give the washing machine back. If you asked DB, in front of SIL, if you could have the clock back, since he has already told you that he isn't interested in it, and that it has great sentimental value to you, she might have less ground for arguing it? Is your brother likely to sit back and give his wife her way, or will he be reasonable?

neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 11:15:39

The clock is still in my gran's house. I think stepping off the merry go round is a good way to put it. The washing machine will be handy actually but I hated the way sil arranged things as if it is fair for her to get the special item because I am having a washing machine. I don't exactly have any memories related to a washing machine.

I am going to speak to my aunt and just say sil can have it, I want out of it and if I speak to her I won't have to deal with my mother.

squeakytoy Sun 02-Oct-11 11:32:02

Your SIL sounds absolutely vile. Sadly family deaths tend to bring out the worst in a lot of people. sad

neepsntatties Sun 02-Oct-11 21:48:25

I wish I had never said I wanted it now! My mother and aunt keep going on at me about how awful a clock it is - really loud and ugly and that it could only really go into my brother's house and I said I am fine for it to go there. Done and dusted and I felt much better. Now db is saying he really doesn't want it. Thing is now I feel like I don't want it because I don't want to be in the middle of this bloody issue. What a carry on. I feel like everyone is annoyed now.

IvyAndGold Mon 03-Oct-11 07:09:13

Oh your mother sounds like she'd drive me round the bend! I'd either have the clock from DB and tell DM 'I have the clock - DB does not want it. It is all sorted. I will not be discussing it any further. It is a non-issue.' Or let DB keep it and tell him that's what he gets for not telling his grabby wife to keep her hands to herself!

springydaffs Mon 03-Oct-11 10:06:07

I've just ordered a book which may be of interest to you 0P - it's called Dealing With The Crazymakers In Your Life. It's written by a christian psychologist but I wouldn't let that put you off - it looks to be good stuff.

I found it because my sister sounds like your mum ie creating a drama out of nowhere and then bleating that she's 'in the middle' when she created all the confusion in the first place!

I won't even bother to mention your evil SIL - her behaviour is not worth words on a page.

I'm not surprised you feel very confused/gutted - what they've done is crazymaking. You have my sympathies - these types pull out their best stunts when you are at your most vulnerable. Step away my dear (GET AWAY FROM THEM). What was it I read on here? Something about a British naval tactic is least exposure to the enemy. That should be your motto. These people are poisonous. Sorry OP. sad

springydaffs Mon 03-Oct-11 10:08:55

Here it is: "Someone told me once that a British naval tactic is to expose yourself to enemy fire as little as possible"

oldwomaninashoe Mon 03-Oct-11 11:42:33

I had all this many years ago with my younger sister when first my Mother died, then 10 years on when my dad died. She made mine and my other sis's lives complete miseries with her greed and insisting that "everything" was valued. She was convinced my parents everyday posessions were priceless antiques.
I let go many objects that I had a sentimental attachment to telling myself "they are just objects, my memories, experiences and love that I have and feel for my parents is in my head, and no-one can take them"

I suggest you adopt this tactic and distance yourself from your SIL. I'm sure the clock will bring her deep joy!

Thumbwitch Mon 03-Oct-11 11:51:26

YOu poor woman.
Drama llamas all around you, very selfish people who couldn't give a shit about anyone's feelings apart from their own.
You are not over-reacting - your SIL is a grabby selfish person and your mum is a PITA.

I think you are right to just step away and leave the clock now - as you said, your memories of it are tainted with this whole shenanigans now, so it's not the same clock it was before in your head. I wish your SIL joy of it - sounds like your brother isn't all that keen on it either so perhaps in future he'll ask his wife to keep her nose out of his family's personal effects before the blood family have sorted out what they would like first.

We have some grabby types in our family - they descend like vultures on the deceased member's property and pocket all the bits they want, even fighting over them (actual hand to hand fighting, y'know? So undignified!) so I feel bad for you cos I know it's not nice.

neepsntatties Tue 04-Oct-11 16:13:12

Well the clock has a home and it is going to drum roll my mum! Even though my brother said he didn't want it. Looks like I fell for one of my mother's stunts again.

springydaffs Wed 05-Oct-11 11:59:34

sorry, being a bit slow here, don't get your last post <der icon>

Sorry you've been done over by your mum - again sad. What gets me is that it doesn't matter how many times they do it, we seem to fall for it again and again. I guess because they're relatively 'normal' in between; plus their stunts are so outrageous, so unbelievably, eye-watering cruel and mad, that there is no way you could predict them.

<keeps eye on post for that book I've ordered>

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