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Why does my SIL not see how toxic my MIL is?

(18 Posts)
uptheroad Fri 28-Nov-14 13:33:15

MIL is an ignoring narcissitic mother to my dh. It has taken him a while to come to terms with his guilt and anger towards her but he is getting there. What sets him back is the fact that SIL seems to have a totally different opinion of her. She says she is a laugh and on good form and even when we have been at the same occasion where MIL has clearly behaved terribly, SIL still cannot see anything wrong. This causes dh so much confusion and he even questions if he has got it wrong. MIL has shouted and screamed at SIL's husband in front of us all and always moans on about how useless he is, constantly criticises a demeans my dh and just behaves awfully in general and SIL must see this. Please enlighten me as to why she still thinks MIL is so great and dh should make more effort to see her (even though he is often physically sick after and she makes no effort with him).

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 28-Nov-14 13:39:31

Is SIL the DD of MIL?

uptheroad Fri 28-Nov-14 13:42:14

Sorry for the ramble! Yes she is so my DH's sister.

smokinggnu Fri 28-Nov-14 13:43:17

If she was raised by this woman she may well see this as normal behaviour. Just because your DH sees through her doesn't mean your SIL does. Siblings can have very different upbringings.

Quitelikely Fri 28-Nov-14 13:43:47

Because they are the same as each other so she doesn't recognise the behaviour as being odd?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 28-Nov-14 13:47:54

I would say either...
- She has learned how to manage MIL having grown up with her and therefore sees it as normal or at least nothing to get worked up over
- She is similar to MIL and generally agrees with her opinions.
- She sees the behaviour but is frightened of or intimidated by MIL to speak out.
- She sees the behaviour but is too loyal to MIL to say anything to anyone else.

I'm sure there are others.

sugarsinner Fri 28-Nov-14 13:55:18

My Dad was emotionally abusive when my brother and I were growing up. My brother is in complete denial and sees my Dad as his best mate. I guess he's been conditioned to his behaviour. I remind him from time to time but he goes quiet on me, seeing things as he wants to see them and not as they are. Perhaps this is the case with SIL? She'll probably turn into her mother one day too!

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 28-Nov-14 13:56:37

Theres a similar issue between my Dad, his sister, and their monther.

My Grandmother was, by all accounts, a horrible parent to my Dad and Aunt, and he has struggled to maintain any sort of relationship with his mum. His sister, on the other hand, visits her very frequently and takes umbridge at my Dads "lack of effort".

She fails to accept that he has his own (justifiable) reasons for the limited contact, and to be honest, at the crux of it, she is using the fact that she visits her mum regularly regardless as some sort of indicator that she is clearly a Better Person. Only shit people dont visit their own mothers (in her opinion) - irrespective of what has happened historically.

So in my aunts case, martyrdom? An ego boost? She relishes being able to berate my dad for the lack of contact.

uptheroad Fri 28-Nov-14 14:29:48

It is so helpful to hear of other peoples similar experiences. It shows me that this is not all in our head and that it is possible for SIL to see it as acceptable.

cuddybridge Fri 28-Nov-14 14:50:15

My DM has some narc tendencies, but she is life and soul of the party, so everyone thinks she is wonderful, apart from the person who is currently out of favour(it varies but there is always one).

As a result of this if you are in the circle, its great fun and you feel so relieved and grateful, and so you don't object to anything in case you are cast out.

The cast out person is belittled and ignored, but if they toe the line, she will eventually allow them back in.

If your MIL is like this then maybe your SIL is terrified of being"cast out", and goes along with it all.

BeCool Fri 28-Nov-14 14:50:33

there was a lot of toxic behavior in my family growing up.
My 2 siblings had a different reaction to it at the time and couldn't believe as adults I still felt there were things to be dealt with/talked about.

I had a breakdown as a young adult triggered by many of these events. my brother/sister shrug about them and think I'm a drama queen. I'm talking about events involving pedophiles and lots of emotional/verbal abuse so quite heavy shit.

Everyone deals with stuff in different ways.

comedancing Fri 28-Nov-14 17:16:00

Interesting your mil is horrible to your dh and her son in law..she may be a sort of man hater so your sil doesn't suffer at her hands. Also its at different times in our lives that our eyes are open to what is going on..until then we are in denial...your sil hasn't had her eyes open yet.

Meerka Fri 28-Nov-14 18:48:13

If you want to believe in a loving mother it can be impossibly difficult to 'see' - to allow yourself to take notice - of the things that indicate your parent is as poisonous as a teacup of yew, belladona and aconite. If you 'saw'... you might have to do something.

Or you can grow up thinking that behaviour pattern is normal and okay and adopt it. People who don't think and act the same way are wrong (usually weak).

Or she might be afraid.

NanaNina Fri 28-Nov-14 19:06:42

Maybe because it's her mother and she really does perceive her in a different way. I think many people "overlook" the faults of their parents as there is a deep seated desire to be loved and accepted by their parents.

Am wondering why you can't just accept that this is the case?

textingdisaster Fri 28-Nov-14 19:08:09

if you are in the circle, its great fun and you feel so relieved and grateful, and so you don't object to anything in case you are cast out.

The cast out person is belittled and ignored, but if they toe the line, she will eventually allow them back in.

This really reminds me of my SIL (h's sister) who does just the above to me some of the time when we go up to see h's family. That has really described her behaviour perfectly so thank you cuddybridge as I was berating myself for feeling so hurt. It doesn't affect me in the same way that it would if she were a blood relative of mine but it is enough to make me feel miserable and like not going along for visits (they are 2 hours away).

textingdisaster Fri 28-Nov-14 19:12:43

In fact my h also does this to me to a certain extent. I know my sister and I are annoying / precious / have our obsessions - but I really think that my h and his siblings (well 4 out of 5 of them) are narcissistic/toxic LOONS angry.

Feel better now grin.

cuddybridge Fri 28-Nov-14 19:22:23

Im glad I managed to help, what I find working best with my DM is low contact, going to No contact if I am the cast out, and just kind of going with the flow.
It irritates my DM so much if I don't take part that she can't bear not to include me. But I only go back low contact and that is as much as I am willing to put up with, any hint of bad behaviour and Im off again.

My DH says its like training a puppy!!

LilyPapps Fri 28-Nov-14 19:26:08

I think one of the major complications of sibling relationships (as I know all too well from my own experience) is that, despite growing up in the same family, an age gap, a different gender, a different place in the birth order, a different 'role' assigned by the family (the good girl, the irresponsible baby, the rebel, the clever-but-impractical one etc etc) and even slight differences in family circumstances (more or less money, say) mean siblings can have completely different experiences and have different relationships with a parent as a result.

I'm always taken aback by how completely different my younger sister's memories of our grandmother (who lived with us) are to mine. Four years her elder, a fat adolescent, and cast as the responsible eldest, I was far more aware of my grandmother's vicious tongue, intolerance of ordinary child behaviour, and the extent to which she was an appalling, ungracious burden on the entire family, when we were already struggling and living in an overcrowded house, where my father and I spent three years sleeping on the sofa and a camp bed so that my grandmother had a room to herself. My sister remembers her as a 'character '. We have very different relationships with our mother in part as a result.

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