Question for those who are good at staying calm. My SIL is really quite awful. She upsets my DP, my MIL and my other SIL quite frequently and never shows any remorse for doing so. My head is saying stay calm, be polite, it is not your battle. My heart is screaming arrrgh and wanting to say what I think. It's a new situation for me (well, 5 years with DP but it has only been bad for say last two) as my family is fairly lovely and has no-one toxic like this.
I need some strategies, I need to know what to think to stop me losing my temper at her brattish behaviour. Please advise if you can.
I think you said it......it is not your battle. If you get involved you might just find yourself out in the cold if they all jump to her defense, especially if she is emotionally manipulative.
Don't lower yourself to her level by biting. If your DP is upset and wants to say something at some point, it is up to him and if it were my DH, I'd support him so I'd leave it to him if and/or when he decides to deal with it. Until then, just bite your tongue, kill her with kindness and humour her. People like her love to know that they are getting to you, so don't let her know that by reacting, it will only feed her.
Thank you for the reminder that she wants to see others biting, that is exactly it but sometimes the emotion gets to you, I hate seing others hurt and I want to scream at her how awful her behaviour is and how it affects others. Arrgh.
It's just so difficult to remain calm when it is my DP she is upsetting. Thank you both for your posts, I will repeat in my head 'not my battle, not my battle'
Good advice to keep your powder dry, but I have to say, I have another additional tactic. I never lose my temper, but I have been known to take someone aside and very calmly tell them exactly what they are and what I think of them. Along the lines of 'You're behaving badly and I suggest you stop it and finally grow up. I want you to stop being so vile to your family and treat them with the kindness and respect you think you deserve'. I'm usually a bit more...forthright, but you get my drift.
You know, sometimes people just don't know how to behave, or even understand what they're doing. Maybe someone should calmly point it out to her.
My only word of caution with this tactic is only to use it when you've really lost your temper and had enough. It only works once.
I think it is not for you to sort it, but for your DH, but if he is also unable to do it my only advice would be for you to protect yourselves from more abuse by avoiding her, leaving when things start to become uncomfortable, etc.
I think picmaestress' suggestion is very good, however... if she can get away with being like that with all the family, it is because the family has allowed her to be like that. So I wouldn't be surprised if you have a stern word with her and the rest of the family gangs up to "protect" her.
I agree with the "it's not your battle" thing, but... I would say there are moments when you can make points without getting too hardcore.
My BIL is mostly a very nice person who occasionally turns overly pedantic and slightly nasty with it. When he does, I let it go for a while, but look for an opportunity to "jokingly" make the point. So he'll be picking fault, again, with someone unnecessarily and I'll use his exact same tone and pick something out about him.
I have found it helps.
But then, he is at heart a nice person so perhaps just needs a reminder sometimes.
Why not just see less of her if you both don't like her? I like my SILs but still only see them 3-4 times a year. If she upsets your husband "frequently" why does he keep going back for more? Stay away from her.
Is she your DP's sister? If so then definitely stay well out of it. If you say anything then the family may well close ranks around her. I moan about my brother all the time, but I'd hate it if my DP ever had a go at him. My evil SIL is my db's wife. She has caused no end of trouble in my family and I was the only person who stood up to her and gave her a piece of my mind. Consequently I have been cut out of their lives and it has cause a huge rift in the whole family as anyone who doesn't go along with her is seen as taking sides and cut off. Whoever said killing her with kindness had it right. I wish I'd done that and not let her wind me so much.
I find it difficult to understand why people with horrible family problems keep seeing those who upset them so much. Just stop arranging to see them. If someone says "Why aren't you coming to x family occasion, Claire" just reply "because we never enjoy ourselves when SIL is there." And leave them to it.
I have had issues with my father, in particular, he winds me up no end. So I only see him about 4 times a year. I don't hate him or want to cut him out of my life - I just get deeply irritated to the point of teeth gnashing with him. So I avoid.
DP and I had a long talk in bed last night and agreed to just have very little to do with her. No matter what we do it is the wrong thing and abusive phone calls to DP result, spiteful facebook messages (I wish I'd never signed up to the bloody thing) etc. I wish she'd just go away, but she revels in causing problems. I will try to have as little contact with her as possible from now on and hope DP does the same, but if we do have to see her just be polite. Thanks everyone.