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AIBU to think that grief can only explain behaviour not excuse it?

88 replies

InvisabilityCloak · 26/04/2011 16:29

I've namechanged just in case i'm recognised.

My DH's SIL has been really awful to me over the last few years because i could have children and she couldn't. I seemed to become her family punchbag and she seemed to go out of her way to hurt me and spoil every happy occasion we had.

Some examples are:-

  • Telling me i should have kept my 1st pregnancy a secret and emigrated.
  • Saying she wanted to slit her wrists and she'd done nothing but cry since she'd heard our news.
  • Calling me a fat cow and making lots of snide comments about my appearance whilst pregnant.
  • Deliberately telling us the a later time for a family celebration and not explaining that everybody else was meeting somewhere else first so we missed the b'day gift we'd paid for. This also made my FIL cry and shout at us for being late.
  • Sitting at my DS2 christening with a face like thunder and literally ignoring people who spoke to her after running out of the church sobbing.
  • Ignoring my children and ignoring their birthdays etc

I could go on but i've probably already outed myself if somebody who knows us reads this.

I should also add that this SIL has had alot of IVF attempts, has been pregnant twice with twins losing both pregnancies around 20 weeks, during one of which i was also pregnant.

Everytime i have been pregnant i have felt guilty, tearful, ashamed of my bump and it has been the elephant in the room (Or maybe i was Grin ). My pregnancies was never talked about by the family, no exciting announcements, no cheesy baby showers, no talk about things we would buy and names we might use. Every christening or birthday for my children was spoilt or ignored.

This story has a happy ending as after a long hard road she finally had a DD and is planning a huge 1st birthday party this weekend. [happy] [happy] [happy]

I am left feeling sad and bruised by the whole experience, i'm supposed to just forget everything she has done because they now have a baby.
I will never get those happy times back now and if i'm honest i feel bitter about it. I'm over the moon for them and my niece is gorgeous but everytime they have a big celebration i feel pissed off. They did the big announcement, emails of every scan sent to the family, big baby shower, non stop baby get the idea.

I have never discussed her behaviour with her or addressed it because to be honest at the time she was in pain and it wasn't the right time.

Just to clarify i have always been supportive, acknowledged the children she has lost, and been sensitive to her feelings. I completely get that this situation just have been hellish for her and i can't ever imagine how hard it must have been but does that mean it was ok for her to do what she did to me?

Is a person's bad behaviour ever excused by grief?

I'm going to press post now....
OP posts:
BooyHoo · 26/04/2011 16:31

grief is a feeling, not a behaviour. people are responsible for behaviour. your SIL chose to act the way she did to you. grief did not make her do it. grief may have made her feel like doing it but she had the option of not doing it. she chose to behave that way.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack · 26/04/2011 16:34

Grief, as horrid as it is, is not an excuse for being bad mannered, rude and generally hateful! She sounds horrid!

anonacfr · 26/04/2011 16:35

YANBU. It sounds like she had a horrible time but still it doesn't excuse her behaviour.

I can understand she felt jealous and hurt that you had children and that she couldn't, but it's not your fault and she shouldn't have taken it out on you.

What did your DH and BIL say about it? Was it acknowledged within the family that she was treating you badly?

squeakytoy · 26/04/2011 16:35

Thats not grief, that is just bitchy twatty behaviour from a jealous person.

flyingspaghettimonster · 26/04/2011 16:36

You are not being unreasonable, but need to be the better person I think. Who knows how such stress and grief fucks with your head? Losing two sets of twins at 20 weeks must be earth shatteringly horrible, and if you were pregnant at that time then I presume you gave birth to a child and that one of the events she ran out of sobbing was an event for that child? Of course it would seem unfair to her, and she would have been imagining her twins having their christening, which never got to happen, or imagining burrying her babies... just treat her like a person who has suffered from a severe mental illness and is now recovering - try to put all the horrible behaviour behind you. You don't have to be best friends or anything and you'll never forget what she has done, but at the end of the day you have a lovely bunch of kids and husband, it isn't worth welling on bad past events.

I am glad she finally got the baby she clearly needed so desperately. I hope she will be a nicer person for it.

ILoveYouToo · 26/04/2011 16:36

Shock Shock she sounds absolutely vile and selfish. YANBU; as someone has said, grief accounts for her feeling like that, but she chose to behave in such horrible ways.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows · 26/04/2011 16:37

YANBU. Many of us feel sad/upset/jealous when someone else has something we want. We don't generally behave like 2 year olds and throw tantrums, though.

annapolly · 26/04/2011 16:37

I have been in her position and it is excruciatingly hard, but it is no excuse for her behaviour.

Unfortunately there is little you can do about it now, but I don't think grief in any excuse.

controlpantsandgladrags · 26/04/2011 16:39

wow she sounds awful. If she couldn't (understandably) deal with seeing you pregnant and then with your subsequent children then she could have dealt with it by distancing herself......instead she chose to treat you badly.

Do you feel like you need to clear the air/bad feeling by trying to talk to her about it, or do you think you can put it behind you and hope that she's nicer towards you now that she has her own child?

HerHissyness · 26/04/2011 16:39

OK, you have been a darn sight more civil than I would have been, all respect to you.

Nothing you can do about the past, but absolutely everything you can do about the future.

If she EVER steps out of line like that again, don't you dare let her get away with it. Say loudly SIL specifically told us to come at 5pm, I asked to confirm 3 times.... drop her in it every single time and don't let her off the hook for a second. Or when she tells you something, call everyone else and double check, because she's told you the wrong time in the past. expose her for the poisonous cow she appears to be. The TRUTH will set YOU free.

Claw your respect back.

She may be your SIL somehow, but you don't actually have to spend much if any time with her if you don't want it. Choose how you spend your time.

You sound lovely, she quite frankly doesn't. Lots of people have difficulty conceiving, not all of them behave like this. If not jealous over this, she would have found something else.

LisasCat · 26/04/2011 16:40

My best friend was wonderful when I told her about my current pg, despite the fact that both times I've conceived with no bother (DP just had to look at me!) whilst she has spent many years TTC and had several miscarriages. She admits she's sad, and I feel awful, but she puts her feelings of sadness aside to be happy for me. That's what a decent human being does.

TrinityRhino · 26/04/2011 16:41

she is hideous

there is no reason for her nasty behaviour

I'm sorry you have to put up with it

HumphreyCobbler · 26/04/2011 16:42

Horrific things happen to nasty people as well as to ordinary people. Your SIL sounds like a nasty person.

I lost a baby at twenty weeks and found other people being pregnant very hard. I am not unsympathetic to her situation (who would be?). But she still sounds horrible.

I think you have behaved well but am not surprised you are feeling battered by this situation now. I agree with flyingspaghettimonster, she gives good advice.

InvisabilityCloak · 26/04/2011 16:43

anonacfr it was sort of acknowledged within the family. People knew it was happening but what could anyone do? The worst of the behaviour always happened at family occasions when if i'd called her on it i would have been the bad guy and it would have caused a huge scene and spoilt the occasion.

I generally turned the other cheek and tried to empathise with her, i'm just finding it hard now that they have their happiness (Which they really deserve) because in a way she spoilt my happy times Sad

Honestly there are so many things she did i, i could go on all day.

OP posts:
bubblecoral · 26/04/2011 16:43

YANBU. She should apologise to you and your DH, and if I were you I wouldn't be bothering to celebrate her dd's Christening or birthdays, until she is old enough to notice your absence herself.

Plenty of women go through what your SIL has been through without treating members of their family in such a vile way.

pinkhebe · 26/04/2011 16:46

my sil had lots of trouble conceiving (now has 2 lovely dc through ivf) whereas during the 7 years she was having problems, I popped out 2 with no problems at all. She is the nicest, more generous and caring Auntie I could have wished for.

we didn't know she was trying to concieve until our youngest was 1 so I didn't even try to be gentle about my condition, and it must have caused her great anguish.

Your sil is a cow

caramelwaffle · 26/04/2011 16:48


It is/was exactly as squeakytoy said.

InvisabilityCloak · 26/04/2011 16:49

annapolly and humphrey i'm so sorry you've experienced this too Sad

Thing is i actually like her, some of this behaviour was whilst she was TTC and some of the worst was after losing the babies.

I held the babies she lost (Whilst pregnant myself at the same gestation) and i attended the funerals and after reading aome of the stories on here i think as a family we couldn't have been more supportive but obviously she didn't want support she just wanted her babies Sad.

I feel ridiculous the more i type Blush

OP posts:
wannaBe · 26/04/2011 16:49

it's a shame she had a child - poor kid having to grow up with a bitch for a mother like that.

pjmama · 26/04/2011 16:51

Her treatment of you was totally inexcusable. She sounds like a horrible person and i'm surprised you're still civil to her.

Ishani · 26/04/2011 16:53

I'd be tempted to shit on her birthday cake or blow out her candles at the very least, what a nasty woman.
I know a lady who wasn't even allowed to burry her 20 week old babies but who sent me a congratulations card and present and didn't say a word when she realised I used one of her names.
People do react differently and maybe it's easier to take it out on family, sad though.

InvisabilityCloak · 26/04/2011 16:53

She has always been a centre of attention type person, said she wanted to have the first grandchild etc.

I think she found it hard to handle when we had a baby first, we'd been married about 5 years and they'd been married about 10 years. I have to be careful as i'm paranoid about someone reading this and knowing it's me but she even mentioned the lack of pregnancy in our wedding video complete with smacked arse face!

OP posts:
Groovee · 26/04/2011 16:55

Oh dear God that could have been my story. Dh's SIL did very much the same and when she finally had 2 children off the same sex then started bullying my child off the opposite sex in numerous ways which resulted in my 9 year old being yelled at in a horrific way that I haven't spoken to said SIL now for 20 months and I believe she doesn't understand why we won't speak to her. She never saw her behaviour as irrational and she also needed everything on her terms.

I wish I'd never ever met the woman as she's so not nice and not good enough to be an aunt to my children.

Acinonyx · 26/04/2011 16:57

YANBU but I think you are going to have to be the bigger person as pp said. During my 8 years of IVF pre-dd I got to know a lot of other women going through similar and they ranged A LOT in how the dealt with it. I knew some lke your SIL. I think it just sends some people a bit crazy for a while. I experienced something similar when I had dd - it was as though I suddenly changed teams and became the enemy to some people Sad

InvisabilityCloak · 26/04/2011 16:57

If i made a stand now it would involve not attending my niece's milestone occasions and i could never do that.

I've not had the easiest of times in my life and i feel a bit like my kids are my happiness and i deserve that happiness.

I've been a bit of a walkover i suppose and in my attempts to be sensitive to her feelings i've allowed her to trample all over mine!

OP posts:
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