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Family feud stressing me out!!(113 Posts)
I don't have children (a sore point, very much a factor in this story) but I know this is an active forum. I'd appreciate any advice about how to deal with the sister in law from hell and the way she's poisoning family relations.
I've been with my partner for 17 years. For the 1st 10 years I had a great relationship with his close knit family of mum, dad, two sisters and a brother. I have nearly no immediate family so the upset in this dynamic had hit me hard...
When his brother met his now wife relations went down hill within a a few months. Initially, I got cross with her and we had words when she cancelled plans we had with them for the EIGHT time. I'm talking her texting me last min as I'm stepping into a taxi to pick her up. The final time when I told her she was rude was when they were supposed to come visit me when I'd moved away for work, they text, last min, with conflicting excuses and she said 'well why would we want to drive 150 miles to see you when we work hard all week?'. Charming!
A few months went by and Xmas came. A week before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis aged just 26 which she'd been told about by MIL. We had both told our MIL that we wanted to forget about the words we'd had. But she didn't. She had our in laws visiting two pubs opposite each other on Xmas eve to see their sons separate (she was 5 months pregnant by then and said she it was too much for her to cross the road!!!). Then I got an FB message on Boxing Day calling me a 'sh&t stirrer' keeping the brothers apart because we went to the inlaws in the afternoon (we do every year) and they went round in the evening. I said how dare she attack me when I've just had bad news. She said 'we all have health scares I had precancerous cervical cells but I don't harp on about it!)
A few days later I messaged my bro in law/her boyf to say happy birthday then realised I'd been blocked from his FB. I emailed him and he admitted it was her but he'll stand by her. I called him gutless and told him where to go. I was so upset that people in my family could kick me when I was down and feeling vulnerable right after the bad news I'd had. My boyfriend refused to say anything to his brother, I felt bullied while I was ill - deep down that caused resentment between us.
Right I'll try summarise the following 8 years! ... The two brothers barely saw each other anymore. I'd asked for an apology and she said she had nothing to apologise for. Bizarrely I thought (I felt it was a set up) they asked my boyf to be godfather when first kid was born but as we weren't speaking and we felt she should apologise we never went to the christening. Perhaps we should have but I was hurt over the previous Xmas.
I tried to get along with she did nothing to help me warm to her. For her kid's 1st bday my partner went and I passed on my apologies for not going (I was in work 150 miles away) but bought a present. She sent messages me an attack to say my boyfriend could only be bothered to come for an hour and I could couldn't be bothered at all (charming, you're welcome for the present!). This became a reoccurring theme and we were regularly accused of not making the effort with the kids (that we didn't pop round to see the kids and how nasty she is to us was obviously connected!)
Over the next 4 years or so, we largely didn't speak and the parties/gatherings in this once close knit family grew fewer. One time, on my suggestion, we met up and myself, my partner, his brother all apologised and we'd have moved on but she refused and said her boyfriend had nothing to apologise for either, so another year went by not talking (then they'd moved in opposite us!!). She shouted after us that the whole family inc MIL was on her side!!! Soon after, she came into our MIL's house and she saw me holding her child. She messaged me to say I was not to do that and I said you can't ban me because your kid is often at MILs and I go there. She said she could!
They had a 2nd kid. I made the move to get us all taking again. We went to the christening (partner not asked to be godfather this time even though we're speaking, hmm). They planned their wedding and we read about it 5 weeks before on Facebook. I told her that was kinda rude not to wait till we'd been told in person and it all kicked off again. They'd organised it quick as her father had terminal cancer, but we found out from the best man he knew about it 4 months before. My boyfriend had booked a £500 holiday with friends on the wedding day (wouldn't have if he'd been in the loop). He's have cancelled but we felt so uninvolved/uninformed. Then she had her hen do and invited all girls in the family but me. My boyfriend decided they will never treat us with respect so we didn't go.
Some months later her dad died and I made the first move again and baked her brownies. For 2 years, finally, it seemed we'd put the past behind. We had more barbecues as a family. We even went to their house for some. We played with their kids (we've always bought them Xmas/birthday presents). We weren't best friends but we could chat pleasantly at gatherings. I found out her hubby's friend said to my boyfriend in the pub, 'how come you don't do anything with your nieces, I take them out more than you do!' Clearly slagging us off! Fuming but I kept offering to take them out. She kept saying yes ok but it never happened.
Then, just before Xmas, my partner asked his brother if we could start taking his nieces (now 4 and 2) on days out. The bro said yes and a trip to the park was arranged. Then the sister in law blocked it. We can't ever win! I asked her why and she said she didn't trust us with her kids! I told her how insulting. My partner and I babysat all his sisters kids (my partner is a bit older than me, mid 40s!). She also posted a passive aggressive picture post on Twitter that same day saying "I'm a mother and I will do ANYTHING to protect my children and nothing will stop that". She denied to the rest of family that was aimed at us. My boyfriend is fuming. Protect implies we're a danger!
Then we bumped into them leaving the in-laws as they came in. We all said hi except her. She blanked us completely. Then Xmas came. Again we were the bigger people and bought them all presents. The MIL passed them on. We didn't even get a card back. I saw my bro in law in a shop and he virtually ignored me and a message from me about chipping in for his mums surprise 70th birthday weekend away wasn't replied to.
We've just had enough of this. We told his brother the day we asked about the park trip, that we planned to adopt this summer and we said it would be nice for our future kids, and his kids, as cousins to play together and we told him social services would analyse our family set up and want to meet everyone. He asked for his "support" (I.e. No drama) and he said yes. Now this. Gee that girl likes go kick me when I'm down or stick the boot in at a key time like this!!!
What I'm even more upset by is my mother in law's reaction. I'd detected a long time ago that she was siding with them (as the SIL once told me). Just a subtle tone and the fact she was always defending her. (E.g It was in black and white her banning me from being around her kid but MIL said I'd misunderstood). We're getting married in 6 months and I wrote them the sis and bro-in-law a letter to say we'd like then to be part of it, and we're adopting too, but we need an apology and to be treated with more respect. I also acknowledged we should have gone to their wedding. No reply.
The MIL said she felt awful passing on the letter, but a few weeks before had no qualms ringing up her son, my boyfriend, to say it's a good idea if we spend time around nieces supervised with her to start off with! She reckons SIL is just being 'overprotective' not nasty and we just need to gain her trust. I pointed out she's told me via FB "forget it (seeing the kids) after all the crap we've had from you its never going to happen. Then MIL blurted out 'well look who started this'!!!!!!!!!! She also said SIL said (like it was gospel) she saw my at the shops and waived at me but I blanked her (total lie, she is blanking me, grr! Why can't she see she's manipulating her to pretend she's sweetness and light!!)
My partner stormed out, mad. I went to but she burst out crying, sobbing about how she's stuck in the middle. I was fuming but hugged her! But since I've been too mad to speak and 2 months have gone by. My boyfriend has been to see her on his own and I've asked for her not to call round/the house while I'm still mad about what she said. No apology.
Another thing we noticed. She used to pop in to see my elderly gran (my only family) say once a fortnight and that stopped abruptly 6 months ago. It's like we're being shut out. My boyfriend said this to her and she went to see her since I've not been speaking to her her (still mad though!).
Then she's promised to bake a pie for my boyfriends bday last week. She forgot and he had had to remind her a week later (again, doesn't feel focussed on us). Then she baked it straight away and said he could collect it but his bro and the kids go round every Sunday so my partner said he'd come round after when his bro had gone. Then she huffed and slammed the phone down on him! Like its his fault he feels so uncomfortable!!
I am FUMING. This latest trouble is clearly one person's fault - the sister in law and the mum has her blinkers on. Why? There's only one explanation - she's provided her with two grandkids who she dotes on and we haven't (we can't have kids naturally). It presses so many of my buttons. The trouble caused when we're adopting, that we have less power as were childless (feels like she can get away with murder), that SIL has spoilt so many family gatherings for us (when this is the only family I have). Now MIL has turned on us, we have no other grandparents to rely on. It's not enough with SIL that we don't get on and we could just tolerate each other, she has to poison all relationships, between two brothers, son and mum, me and bro in law, U.S. and our nieces, our future kids will have NO cousins at all. She's obsessed with making out we don't do anything for her kids but truth is we're not allowed and she won't admit that to MIL!!
I'm so angry and I'm shouting at my partner that his mum is banned from our wedding. He agrees and feels so let down but doesn't want to go all guns blazing. I'm just so depressed that this feels like the stress caused by her goes on forever and we can't escape it.
Sorry this is so long, you know when you need a rant! Any advice please?
Well, I couldn't read all that, but, just want to say...
Stop caring what they think or say or do.
Life gets so much simpler....
Are you a drama queen yourself? Why tie yourself up into knots otherwise?!
I'm really confused and can't follow any of this.
No I'm not a drama queen. But I haven't leant how to deal with stressful situations I gusss. I find it hard to rise above it, coz she's always there tormenting me!
Also I'm tying myself up in knots because I'm about to go through the adoption process and SIL is deliberately causing mayhem in the fanilly when we need their support
Sugar, that's part of life, dealing with other people's drama and not taking it on board...
It's called protecting your boundaries.
Yes sorry, I know my post is vert long, the end not was for no reason at all she's said we're not to be trusted around her children and were about to start the adoption process and they will be interviewed on our suitability!
TBH you do come across as very hard work. Going back to your very first point, I don't think I would have given them 8 chances to cancel on me, after the second time I woud've given up! I also don't understand why your PIL had to visit 2 separate pubs in your point about Christmas also, why is his her fault, why couldn't you have crossed the road to the pub they were in? You seem to expect that she needs to make amends in some way and that's not going to be enough without a grovelling apology.
With regards to your nieces, you don't have a right to them - I wouldn't let someone I didn't have a good relationship with take my children out either!
The SIL does sound hard work also, but after reading your post
essay I feel quite sorry for your PIL's being stuck in the middle of a frankly ridiculous situation.
Well, we were inviting them to things becauss wete vice people and he's always been close with his bro. Xmas eve my partner called his bro who said he'd come over then we got the message she wouldn't budge and it was obvious why.
I think people are missing the point that the past was the past. We spent the last 2 years on good terms and she's kicked off deliberately as were about to adopt. To cause that upset now is pretty evil.
And ok fair enough if she doesn't want us involved with get kids but she goes around telling people we don't make the effort!
In fact I'm going to delete this post, I've had enough of justifying myself. I don't think anyone understands the upset unless you're adopting.
I understand that you are looking to adopt, but unfortunately that doesn't mean that your SIL suddenly has to forget all of the previous upset and conform to your ideals of a happy extended family!
I think you need to step away OP. You are going through the adoption process you and your partner do not need this stress or drama right now- take yourself out of the equation and don't mention sil again.
I don't think you can patch things up at the moment it's too fresh, stop pushing the issue and leave the whole thing for the time being.
I am really sorry but I lost the very will to live after the fifth paragraph.
You are waiting for an apology you will never receive. Sounds like so much has happened.
Ignore and move on and stop worrying what other people are hearing....thinking etc.
She sounds pretty awful but you sound like a dog with a bone.
You are the cause as well as the instigator in half if these dramas. If I were the PILs I would wash my hands of you both.
grow up. I can't believe you all are parents or to be parents. The children will learn bad habits.
Thank you wishful, you're right, we do need to step away.
Only, yes too much has happened. She is awful and yes I know I've taken the bait too quickly in the past. At the heart of it is I lost my mum and whole family very young so my inlaws became my whole family and she came along and rocked the boat. That's why I've not shrugged things off so well... I do need to learn the skills to do that.
Wow, quietly... You don't know me no need for the personal attacks!
I'm a little taken aback by some of the attacking comments here.
It's true that I haven't dealt well with conflict at times. I've taken the bait and been too quick to react. We've often both sounded off making things worse.
But I alway had good intentions. We tried to welcome her into the family with invitations and she was plain rude. I've always apologised to her to see if we can move on and she can't ever admit that she's wrong and goes on the attack again.
The last two yrs we were on good terms and she has kicked off just as we're adopting. Someone's suggested she doesn't have to play along. She does have a duty to be respectful to not put her husband and MIL in an awkward position. But she is forcing people to have divided loyalties which is wrong. We offered to take their kids to the park after two years of politeness ffs!
Accept there won't be a relationship with the two of you and back off. Stop trying to mend something that's beyond repair. You have tried. Leave it now. Polite and gracious with distance.
At the heart of it is I lost my mum and whole family very young so my inlaws became my whole family and she came along and rocked the boat.
It's really hard to accept change that we don't want, especially when it's something that was really precious to us. But you have no more right to this family than she does. You need to learn to let go, and to accept things and people as they are, rather than be personally insulted by every tiny situation.
I imagine your SIL could write a description of the situation just like this, but about you, and I agree with pp that your PIL must be horrified at what has become of their family.
I agree that you are not completely blameless in this situation, but your SIL does sound a bit of a mare.
However - you need to find a way to go forward. It would appear that your SIL has no intention of making this easy in any way, so I suggest that you leave your BIL and that side of the family out of any adoption information, because, let's face it, you don't really have anything to do with them so they will not be a large factor in your or your adopted child's life.
Your MIL - ffs, can you not understand that she has divided loyalties? Never mind the wrongs and rights of it, she would be upset that her 2 sons are at loggerheads in the first place, and she's hardly likely to do anything to jeopardise her relationship with her grandchildren. I rather hope that she will accept your adopted child as a true grandchild as well, but (to prepare you) I wouldn't bank on it. It's not uncommon for adopted grandchildren to be treated differently, sadly.
For your own sake, you need to rein in your expectations of everyone else and do your best to maintain the moral high ground with them all. Make it up with your MIL (if you haven't already, I can't remember) and apologise for sulking (YES! Sulking) for 2 months.
I think your SIl is a lost cause. Be civil, do the right and polite thing as and when necessary, but don't do any more than IS necessary.
You sound very tense
It must be the hardest thing to not be able to have children when you want them and also when you don't have a mother
I think you are projecting this and hitting out at the world . I think you are deep down trying to prepare yourself for failure of the adoption process and have in your head already blamed your sil
Hav you had a chance to talk all this through with someone who could help you with some mindfulness or therapy ? I mean that kindly . It coupd help alleviate all this negativity and out it into some perspective . As family feuds and issues go ... There really aren't any to speak of
You need to stop demanding apologies ! Try just apologising yourself and let things go . It's not worth it .youve been tense worried wound up stressed under pressure , I don't know if you've gone through ivf but the hormones involved can effect lots of things inside you and the wey you see things
So you think you could deep down be jealous ? She has the relationship with mil and two children that you want so badly ?
You are placing too much importance on her . Call her , say sorry , be honestl and open and embrace the family you already have there
It must be tough but you need to take a step back if you recognise this situation is damaging you . Then deal with it and find the best way of resolving your issues
Good luck with the adoption process it must be tough . Please learn to let things go as you are sabotaging yourself only here
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