Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

snide comments from partners sister

(48 Posts)
metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 13:26:03

Sorry this might be a long rant!...I've been together with my partner for almost three years and we share a home together. He is late thirties and divorced (he was unfaithful to his wife, no kids). My partner has a sister who is just a couple of years older, she lives alone with her two little boys who are very cute and lovely and is also divorced and separated from two previous partners.

I've always been polite and also friendly to my partners sister, particularly when I saw that she wasn't very happy and seemed quite down and lonely (by her own admission). From very early on however, she started making snide and quite bitchy comments to me always based around my appearance style which by my own admission is crap, the fact I don't wear much makeup etc...they seem geared to make me feel low when I was when chatting about modelling I'd done donkeys years ago to get by at uni she'd snark 'well I suppose you don't have to be conventionally attractive to be a model' with a nasty look on her face. She has bought the subject up...not me...and when she did I admitted that I'd been rubbish at it. If I try and start a pleasant conversation with her she doesn't engage though she is as nice as pie to me if her parents are present.

At first I was quite shocked and kind of convinced myself I must have misheard what seemed like school girl bitchiness..when the remarks became glaringly obvious I still didn't take offence and thought it might be because she was depressed ...I didn't mention the comments to my partner for fear of causing bad feeling and instead nagged him to phone / text his sister more often, buy her little gifts etc. to cheer her up...she didn't know I'd suggested these things and he didn't get round to doing them..but the point is..I went out of my way to try and be kind despite her snide remarks.

I had a very bad episode of feeling down recently after arguing with my partner (due to him getting drunk and verbally attacking one of his good friends) and being worried about some scary surgery I have due. My partner overshared this with his sister and she sent me a very austere patronising text 'urging' me to seek help because I was in an emotionally bad place' was invasive and cold. I couldn't take it anymore and told my partner about the years of snide comments saying I was sick of receiving bitchy remarks in my own home and wasn't happy that someone who had bitched at me for years should feel entitled to invade my privacy with cold, condescending messages at a time when I needed comfort..I'm also not happy about her sticking her nose in our business so often. It turns out that my partner had noticed some of his sisters snide remarks for a man to pick up on snarky backhanded compliments shows how glaringly obvious they were.

Predictably when he told her he'd noticed the remarks she became upset and denied them despite the fact he said he'd heard them himself....I googled 'problems with sil' and found out that it's not uncommon for sister in laws to be this really a thing? From posts written by people in the same situation, it seems likely she will now try and cause trouble, accuse me of trying to damage their relationship etc..surely for a woman to behave like that in her's is 40's is just odd I think. The fact her remarks are all based on my appearance seems weird. Apparently this sister has gained weight and is unhappy her partner went off with someone much younger...but I don't think this entitles her to take it out on me I'm sure she's not the only woman in the world with these issues and my life isn't easy street. The remarks seem to be of the type a jealous girlfriend would make. Partner also told me this sister didn't exactly warm to his ex either. Im close to my own brother which is why I find all this so hard to understand - I do all I can to make his partners feel comfortable. Has anyone else had issues like this, or know where they tend to stem from. I now feel she is out to cause trouble.

OurBlanche Tue 01-Mar-16 15:48:53

I have written a lot about DHs siblings and the PoisonousSIL. Sadly, such nastiness isn't all that uncommon.

I am in the lucky position that we know have 0 contact, but that does mean that DH doesn't have any family contact now. Despite him having a lot of family they all see him as some weird, unapproachable being. That would be his mum's fault, she made him the family whipping boy at a very early age.

All you can do is give yourself permission to heartily dislike her. Accept that the two of you simply don't get on and then consign her to the SOP bin (Somebody Elses Problem). Then, if your DH tries to get you to play nice you can say, calmly, "no dear, we don't get on, remember?"

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:18:17

Yes, agreed this would be the rational way to behave. Thank you. Think I can do it...although I'm angry now..obviously she's got the reaction she wanted for so long and didn't get.

I'm just slightly worried about her turning DH against me...and possibly her parents (who I get on well with)...using excuse that I argued with DH and so am somehow unhinged. Background is, as mentioned an argument stemmed from DH having a drunken rant at his friend..when he stomped out of the pub various other friends asked why I was with him and told me he'd been unfaithful to his ex multiple times. Okay this is none of my business..but prior to moving in with him I had asked whether it was just the once, wanting to know what I was getting into and laid it on quite thickly when he lied....saying he'd only done it once in 9 years. It was a bad addition that crappy drama I was due appointment next day to discuss corneal transplant...which I'm worried sick about. So it just all became a bit much....last thing I wanted was condescending text from someone who obviously feels a lot of spite towards me. After his affair my DH said he nearly had a nervous breakdown (annoyed me a bit on behalf of his ex as be was the offending party) and his sister always is there for him...telling him he shouldnt blame himself etc WTF.

I dunno, I am just wondering what this woman is capable I mentioned, she slags off my hair when she knows I've lost hair (due to previously having had a thyroid issue which has also led to thyroid eye disease TED which has also caused some visual problems ..I have some facial scars following ops which she knows about and yet she makes nasty comments about modelling work I did prior to being scarred...who does that? I dont want this to come bewteen me and my partner - while he acknowledges that she has made snidey remarks he says he feels uncomfortable thinking of his sister being like that so prefers to sweep it under the carpet now. Feel let down.

OurBlanche Tue 01-Mar-16 16:28:34

Then you need to stop dealing with her shit, right now.

Your DH won't turn against you, you said he has noticed it. You can say that you just don't have the will or wherewithal to cope with her and that you can only do what you can do.

Same with the PILs. They will know what she is like, honestly, they will. If they ever comment you just have a bland sentence, "Sadly she and I have just never clicked", ready to trot out.

Anything your DH did before you met him is done with. He acted badly then. She is acting badly now and you really don't have to put up with it.

I say that as it took me about 15 years to get my head around BIL/SILs nasty manner. She just doesn't like me and has, in the past, actively sought to let me know. Now, well, should she ever try she would get a look and a calm "fuck off, that doesn't wash any more". I know how hard it is when family connections mean you have to put up with people/behaviour you would normally just walk away from smile

SisterNancySinatra Tue 01-Mar-16 16:35:57

Next time she makes a personal comment about your appearance , tell her about your past thyroid problems or scars . Don't be afraid of her otherwise she will become a bully . If she listens to you and still has no compassion then realise she just doesn't like you and it's better to keep away from
Intimate conversations with her . It is difficult with bullies when they know they are popular with everyone and they are easier to be believed than the victim.

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:45:21

The trouble is woman is very much alpha female....PIL definitely think sun shines out of her...she is one of these women that don't like to show any weakness or emotion especially in front of her parents and wants to seem very capable and very kind. When her last relationship broke down it was mentioned that it must have been because of the 'class difference' lol.

She didn't warm to DH ex and he blamed ex for that...I guess the poor girl was treated same as me and the sister was nice as pie to her when anyone else was around....DH definitely doesn't know / wont accept what she is like as she is always on his side and the only dislike she seems to show is towards woman he has relationships with.

Fine for her to hate me..I just dont get why all remarks are appearance related..doesnt seem to fit with a sister simply taking against her brothers partner or ebing over protective... she stares at me strangely, has made weird remarks about my figure. Makes me very uncomfortable.

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:47:58

SisterNancySinatra ..thanks...thing is this woman knows about my illness..she knows I've had to have ops on face and eyes for it..she knows I feel uncomfortable about my scars and also nervous sometimes due to my visual problems and not being able to see very well...which is why I feel her comments are a bit sick. Its not like I am a burden on her brother...we earn the same, he doesnt have to get involved in my medical care and I'd recovered from my illness before we even met.

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:49:37

she seems to have an issue with me being thinner than me..which I'd get if we were rivals for the same man...but that isnt the case...and I'd swop my dress size thicker hair any day of the week

nowyoucmo Tue 01-Mar-16 17:00:23

She sounds very jealous of you. Sorry OP.
Have you told her how you feel (ie. not through your DP?) x

RatherBeRiding Tue 01-Mar-16 17:10:10

This woman is a sniper.

Some useful insight/advice here you might be able to use.

OurBlanche Tue 01-Mar-16 17:16:48

I was once 'sniped' by PoisonousSIL at a family meal. She muttered something at me and I

Stopped talking mid sentence
Turned and looked directly at her
Said "I know we don't get on but was that really necessary?"
Turned back and continued my conversation.

Result? She burst into tears, sobbed loudly and just pointed at me, and everyone looked at me like I had stabbed her in the eye with a chopstick!

DH was confused, he hadn't heard her say anything and she was clinging to him, crying and pointing, doing her usual trick of smirking at me over his shoulder. She is sneaky, the restaurant is full of mirrors and she missed all of them... unless she is, as I have long suspected, on of the undead smile

Yseulte Tue 01-Mar-16 17:23:44

I have had a friend who does exactly the same thing OP. I'm ill as well which makes it particularly awful.

She snipes about my weight telling I must have an eating disorder, in fact I have IBS, gastroparesis and nausea. It's always appearance.

I came to the conclusion that I think you must come to which is that you just can't see someone who makes you feel shit, who prioritises their own ego kibbles over your wellbeing.

You've got too much on your plate to deal with.

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 17:24:36

I do think she is jealous...only because all the comments are looks related its hard to think of any other reason....but if I say so, I am going to just look like I'm full of myself...and as her sniping seemed designed to bring me down..the last thing she would do is admit it.
What I dont get is who would be jealous to the point of obsession / snide remarks to persons face regarding their brothers partner? If it was ex-partner or a love rival or OW I could understand it. This is hard for me to get probably because my bro is very close in age in me...we're very close but the idea of being envious of his partners is just beyond my comprehension...his partners are not my 'competition'.

As Im close to my bro, I'd never in a million years suggest or encourage that my DH doesnt see his sister...quite the reverse..but the underhand nature of her remarks, the cutting me dead only when no one else is around etc makes me worry as to how she will now act with him when Im not there and that she has an agenda (im not going anywhere near her again) i love my DH but by his own admission he is not the strongest of people, his sister is very much an influence on him.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 01-Mar-16 18:38:27

Stop listening to her. It isn't rude if it is used as a form of self defense.


Good luck on your eye

metoo72 Tue 01-Mar-16 19:00:36

thanks so much! Feels I'm getting towards end of very long road.
Off topic...but, undiagnosed thyroid problems are really are mismanagement of thyroid conditions. They mainly affect women so if anyone here happens to be hyper-thyroid or has hashimotos (which can cause hypo) and has any eye discomfort at all...demand to see an eye specialist. I didn't and the DR seemed to think it was just allergies....thyroid affects every part of the body and because mine wasnt caught in time, Im now facing corneal transplant (i've also had to have facial and eyelid surgery). Only mentioning it because by chance, a girl on another unrelated forum mentioned she had thyroid condition and her eyes hurt, I told her to see specialist and hers was caught in time.
Honestly, it's just ridiculous to me that this pathetic, disgruntled bitter woman can get to me when I've beaten much scarier things!

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 09:53:54

it's just ridiculous to me that this pathetic, disgruntled bitter woman can get to me when I've beaten much scarier things!

That's cos you can see the big thing, feel it, it behaves how a big bad thing should... so you know how and when to stand up to it.

Family, friends aren't supposes to be big bad things. So she is continually surprising you. She is acting abnormally, you don't automatically go into defensive mode. Partly because you are acting with normal levels of politeness and partly because you have that nice level of naivety and so don't believe anyone would really say/do that.

PoisonousSIL had me beaten and confused for years, until I gave myself permission to hate her with a passion. Since when I haven't really found it necessary to give her much brain space at all smile

You can do this. You might have to have a few serious chats with your DH, but you can do this.

metoo72 Wed 02-Mar-16 11:14:52

Thanks so much for all your support it really does help as I feel quite isolated.I guess this problem is old as the hills.

I'm perfectly happy to give this person the middle figure...I don't give a fig what she thinks of me...I think that's why her snide remarks didn't bother me at the time. I guess that's why she got frustrated (i.e snipes got no reaction) began slipping up and things when other people were present.

While I'm quite happy to accept her for what she is and simply pity her I am concerned about damage she can inflict on my relationship. Partner refuses to except his sister isn't a nice person (despite hearing the remarks) he has always run to her with his personal problems and she has quite a strong influence on him. Apparently now she is getting upset and playing the 'poor me' card.

I must admit that because I haven't come across it before, yes I am naive. A small part of me, like him, thinks possibly her remarks were ambiguous...I guess as this is easier to accept than a 43 year old behaving like jealous school girl.

I get that people can put foot in it or be misunderstood, but it's just that the remarks have edged into the dozens now...these are the ones that she's said in presence of others...

eg - she started some boring convo about hair. I replied 'God, my hair is terrible, I have to wear it in this naff 90's style because it's so thin at the sides' ie laughing and taking the piss out of myself.
her (solemnly) - 'I think its really sad when people are stuck in the past with their style there are a couple of guys at work who are like that with their hair. Same style they had in their 20's. I's sad'

She starts talking about makeup asking what I use. I reply that I don't really wear any. She sticks her nose in air and says 'well it doesn't suit some people anyway'

Her 'you're very slim. You have a good figure. Expect it's just because you've been ill. (thanks and cheers for that!)

Remarks about not needing to be attractive to be a model when this is what I used to do. I actually agree with her - however it just doesn't sound very kind....and she looked like she was sucking on a multipack on lemons when she said it.

This is just the tip of iceberg. Am I being a complete dick for even considering she might just be misunderstood. Like I said, she has virtually admitted herself that she feels old and lonely...I don't really care what she thinks fo me. But I do care about my relationship - is very hard to try and tell DH your sister is a spiteful bitch without it ending in tears.

Bloody annoying how these people can make us sweat the small stuff when we take much bigger stuff in our OurBlanche says, i guess it's because it's so covert.

tallwivglasses Wed 02-Mar-16 11:37:53

I think the mistake you're making is that you're trying to understand why she's like that. No point. She's bitter and toxic and just not very nice. As other people have said, just calmly ignore/dismiss what she says and spend as little time as possible alone with her. Or you could always play SIL bitch-bingo...

Heavens2Betsy Wed 02-Mar-16 11:50:47

This could be my SIL. She has pulled so many stunts over the years I've lost count and of course DP and his whole family think the sun shines out of her arse. Like yours OP its mostly appearance related and seems like she is jealous of me for some reason.
She is constantly making barbed underhand comments about me, my kids and my appearance. If I call her out on her rudeness she cries and accuses me of "taking everything the wrong way" because "she didn't mean to sound rude" and they all console her because she's just perfect to them and they can't see what's in front of them.
Luckily she now has a new bloke who is taking up all her time and energy. Funnily enough last time I saw MIL she said that she doesn't get on with her new man's sister as she is being 'difficult'. I would bet money on her playing the same mean games with her bf's sister that she does with me.
She has to be the queen bee in every situation.
I've found that the best thing to do is avoid her where possible and bite my tongue when I do have to see her.

metoo72 Wed 02-Mar-16 12:04:05

Yeah, you are all right - pointless trying to work out why she behaves this way (and that is definitely what I've been doing because it just made no sense....I guess I'd have to have her issues to 'get it' so I'm glad I don't understand)'s all a bit murky and toxic and in giving her issues space in my head I'm just allowing her to bring me down to her level.

metoo72 Wed 02-Mar-16 12:06:44

that would be poetic justice if she met a man (she's single) with an interring sister.... grin

Yseulte Fri 04-Mar-16 08:09:06

If it's any consolation I spent years thinking my friend's comments were 'ambiguous' or she'd 'put her foot in it' unintentionally.

One day I just woke up and realised it was no accident and it's just 'predatory self esteem' at my expense to perk herself up.

I get the hair thing too, I have CFS/Fibromyalgia and a slightly low thyroid, and after a period of stress literally half my hair fell out. So now I get pointed comments about my hair.

Honestly, women like this can fuck right off. Just tell your DH that you won't see her any more (he can see her as much as he likes). I don't see my friend any more and it's such a relief not to have to brace oneself for the onslaught!

I'm really, really sorry about your eyes OP, what an idiot your GP is.

stopmeshopping Fri 04-Mar-16 08:59:15

OP, these type of comments have nothing to do with being an over protective older sister and everything to do with either envy or at least trying to bring you down to make herself feel better. This is always the case with appearance snipes. You are correct in that they are abnormal comments for a sil to make out of concern for her brother, whatever tosh she trys to tell him. Accept that she is just rather bitter and don't do her the favour of trying to understand why.

springydaffs Fri 04-Mar-16 09:33:30

Tallwivglasses has it - she's just a bitch.

Why someone has to be like that is neither here nor there. But she is such a transparent, wispy little bitch I really think you can put her in her place quite easily. You say you don't care what she thinks about you so some short and pithy comments to put her in her place wouldn't go amiss. Face her down. This is imo a classic situation where the bully is patently weak. Answer her clearly and succinctly when you are alone together, don't fudge it out of embarrassment. Re "that was a bitchy comment, are you jealous?"

And don't do that self -deprecating thing in her presence eg what you said about your hair. Don't do that!

My sister is like this and I empathise with the complete confusion as it's so left -field, so blatant. Actually so LAUGHABLE. Conversely, she made her comments in public - I said ' if you do that again in public I will answer you in public'. That did it.

LobsterQuadrille Fri 04-Mar-16 10:10:13

I've just RTFT. OP, I had a SIL who sounds very similar - although I am no longer with her brother. She was very strange indeed - as you say, almost a rival for his affections and in our case, I was his first girlfriend and she was two years older and single, so maybe she thought he'd always be there for her? I really have no idea. I tried to avoid it just being the three of us and in general was fairly successful aside from a terrible weekend when we went to stay with her, which is why I can really relate to the "did she REALLY just say that?!" type of comment. I like to think that I am halfway articulate and ready with a quick response and am ashamed to say that she floored me on a number of occasions.

Interestingly, although I have no contact with her any more (or with ex H), I am on very good terms with his mother (who is DD's grandmother) and see her a couple of times a year and she has said more than once that ex SIL has always been "difficult". Her only contact with me now is a Christmas card, which she pointedly addresses to DD and Lobster - OK, not awful but no-one else does that. She'd be welcome to see DD but probably thinks she's supporting her brother in breaking contact.

Definitely no self deprecating comments! And ideally DH wouldn't be over-sharing but I'm sure that your SIL is very good indeed at the sympathy/caring act when she wants to be, and he falls for it (well, he would, if that's how she always is with him).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now