Put me out of my misery please
November 15, 2012 7:34 PM Subscribe
Tricky family situation, I don't know how to act or move forward and need some objective advice.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My sister-in-law is evil/insupportable/possibly really mentally ill. There are many situations over the last few years where she's behaved badly towards my parents or me. It generally comes down to criticizing my entire family constantly over their character, habits, values etc. To clarify, nobody imposes any of the values on her and the values have nothing to do with politics or religion or anything like that. In fact she once described my family's values as: wanting to be educated, advance in life, improve oneself and have financial stability, whereas she wants to [quote] sit naked on a deserted island, catch fish and burn money [unquote]. In the latest incident, I was having tea at her place and we had a disagreement over something really immaterial (whether a certain thing is called A or B); a silly conversation turned into her attacking me and telling me that I'm arrogant and a know-it-all. I didn't want this to get out of hand so I said that I really didn't want to argue and it would be better for me to leave. To which she said "Get the f*** out". She apologized immediately but I was very shaken over this, a heated argument ensued. I don't want to give more examples of her behavior but it's essentially random acts of aggressiveness towards my family, never-ending criticism and essentially creation of a hostile and uncomfortable atmosphere whenever we're together with plenty of eye-rolling, sighing and just general lack of politeness. Over the past few years I have gone from thinking that she's socially inapt to thinking that she's an evil person to thinking she might have a genuine mental issue that she's not treating.
After the latest episode, I was really shaken because it dawned on me that this person hates me, hates the way I speak, hates the way I behave, hates what I have to say. How else do you go from "I think A should really be called B" to "Get the f*** out of my apartment". For a few weeks I was extremely disturbed by this situation but in the end I concluded that sister-in-law or not, I need to cut this person off from my life. I feel that no matter how I behave or what I do, these episodes will continue happening and I don't want to be a part of this or have this toxicity infused in my life. As is, I spend too much time getting very upset about this. I am six months pregnant and I really don't need this negativity at this point or ever. I haven't really spoken to her in the past three months. A few times she knocked on my door (we're neighbors :)) and has randomly brought some food or juice or something and then just said bye to me after handing it off; the last time she did bring something I told her "no, thank you", which offended her because she complained to my brother that I'm not being nice to her. I am at a point where my feelings are so negative that I feel like I don't want her to bring me anything, I don't want her in my life, I don't want any interaction. I am not trying to be mean to her, I just feel that no contact is the best thing for me.
A few weeks ago my brother has announced that they are getting a divorce; they have two children and right now are still living together. The marriage has not been good for some time. Apparently things are very bad between them at the moment but my brother is not really talking much about this. He and I used to be very close but now not so much. A part of this may be that he's been in this horrible marriage and is stifling it inside and just doesn't want to share out of hurt, pride, sadness. A part of it is that after years of indoctrination on his wife's part in regards to how horrible we all are, he might have actually believed it. On my side, I've recently grown somewhat resentful towards him because I feel that he brought this person into our family and all of us suffered because of it (including my elderly parents). Whenever she's behaved in an ugly way, e.g. screaming at my mother or doing something to me, my brother has completely ignored it. I get that his loyalty is and should be with his wife but there were situations where him simply saying "I am sorry for her behavior" would have made things easier to bear.
Now, moving on to my real question: my daughter's 1st birthday is coming up. I would like it to be fun and light-hearted and positive and for these reasons I don't want to invite my sister-in-law. I don't want the usual awkward atmosphere now amplified by the fact that they're getting a divorce. I spoke to my brother about this explaining my rationale and asking if he could come with just his two small children. He said that it's either all of them or nobody and that he can't imagine that him and the kids come and she stays at home. I told him that since they are getting a divorce and taking into consideration the situation between her and I, it's not that much of a stretch and that I'd really want the birthday to be fun. He reiterated that even though they are getting a divorce, they are a package deal at this point. He's trying to make this divorce easy for everyone and I need to be supportive and be nice to the sister-in-law and not exclude her.
I'm at a loss what to do. I really don't want her at my daughter's birthday and I am not in a mind frame to be genuinely nice/kind towards her and I don't want to fake it. On the other hand I would really like my brother and his kids to come but they probably won't if she's not invited. And on top of this I feel that there's a fundamental unfairness in the way he's framing this, i.e. he was nowhere to be found when she's behaved badly towards me and never supported me or was interested in my feelings but he expects me to suck it up and have this person I can't stand at an occasion that is very important to me just to make his life and divorce easier because this is a very difficult time for him.
I really don't know what to do. Suck it up? Count on my brother coming next year? Other options? I'm upset about this and can't stop crying and feeling pity for myself (might be pregnancy hormones); all I know is that I don't want to feel this way, I've genuinely have had enough. Help. Any opinions, insights, advice, ways of rationalizing this will be appreciated. Thank you.
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