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New Perspective Needed to Repair Relationship with In-laws

hannahmichannahmic member
First Comment
edited April 2016 in Family Matters
Thanksgiving before last I confronted my SIL. My relationship with ILs has been hell ever since. It continues to stress and hurt DH and I want to make it better for his sake. I'll share some of the high points and end with the most current issue.

His sister was my MOH she loves weddings, we had a great relationship while DH and I were dating so I was excited to have her participate in everything. She didn't throw a single shower in spite of mentioning it several times, no big deal other friends stepped up. She has now been in several weddings and accommodated lavish showers. I've never made issue over it or really given that much thought. Our engagement lasted six months, as time progressed she got more and more bratty. I can only assume that she couldn't take not being the center of attention. She would constantly make comments about "her wedding" FIL participated, always reassuring her publicly that she would receive the best.The rest of us shrugged it off, she wants to work in the wedding industry let her play and dream. MIL once corrected her in front of me saying "This is not about you." Life went on I had a beautiful wedding. 

DH's parents pastor a church so often times holidays are very busy days for them. My mother offers to host them on holidays so that MIL doesn't have to worry about cooking and seeing after guests on top of everything else. We shared several fun holidays together at my parents' house while dating. We often spoke of the value of the relationship both families shared. Everyone seemed to anticipate these traditions continuing and through our first year of marriage they did. I do want to say that equal time was spent at his family's home for other events. I understand that no matter how good a relationship between in-laws is they're each going to want their own time together as a  family. We cannot spend each and every holiday at my mom's house, I realize this. So our second married thanksgiving we gather at my parents' house. From the moment she stepped through the door (30 minutes late) SIL had her nose turned down at the whole affair. We had a large crowd so my mom pulled out an extra folding table there was a tablecloth but no decor. This was appalling to SIL she could only talk about what her mom would have arranged and what their family "used" to do. Want to see me mad, insult my family. I found myself alone in the kitchen with SIL and told her that if she didn't want to be there then we didn't want her there. Honestly, that was all that was said. You would have thought I'd cussed her out by the fallout. She dragged FIL into my parents' basement to have a private conversation shortly after the in-laws all left. I confessed what I had said to DH and apologized. I called SIL the next day to apologize. I handled the situation so wrong and I am still embarrassed by my behavior. Her response was "Good, you should be sorry. I'm glad you called." This is where I really ran into trouble. Obviously she needed to apologize for her behavior. The conversation took a turn for the worse and we both said a lot of things we shouldn't have. MIL and FIL were both listening in apparently. MIL got involved more things were said between she and I. We have since spoken of the event and cleared things up though there is still a lot of discomfort. FIL continues to protect SIL who has no relationship with me other than when we are in public. She will not take responsibility for her actions. I'm struggling to let that go so it still plagues family relationships today. 

So recently... My mom traveled to attend a ladies event with me at my church, I posted a photo to Instagram and SIL commented. She hasn't spoken to me or my mother in months so I deleted her comment. I maintain that space as a reflection of myself and I do not tolerate fake. I didn't do it to be mean or hateful. I will not participate in making her look perfect when she is far from it. I suspect the comment was made to draw attention to her because she and MIL were not invited to the event. After the comment was deleted she blocked me and sends DH a text saying she needs to talk to him. FIL calls DH to ask if he is going to talk to his sister. DH says no and fills FIL in on how frustrated he is by the entire situation. The same day the deleting/blocking Instagram childishness occurred MIL posts a bible verse with caption "Keep holding on..let God take care of the wicked." Is she calling me wicked? Am I insane? How do I make this stop? 

I can admit my faults. I need to deal with some pride issues among other things. I'm looking for an outside perspective. We're traveling with MIL & FIL this weekend so I'll have a great opportunity to move forward. Please help me go in equipped to take responsibility for myself and move in a direction that will make DH's life happier. 

Re: New Perspective Needed to Repair Relationship with In-laws

  • After getting there, or maybe even before going there, ask if you can set some time aside to talk to them to discuss some of the things that have happened. Ask them to please hear you out and basically tell them what you told us. That your family enjoys spending holidays with them and like being able to help make the holidays easier for them. That when your SIL came in your impression of her attitude was.... which you didn't appreciate, which is why you said what you said.

    Explain why you deleted the comment from your instragram. You didn't tell us what the comment was, but assuming it wasn't a negative comment, maybe admit that you took the comment the wrong way, but felt that due to recent events, that it was not made in a genuine nature.

    Then tell them what your feelings are for them and what you would to see happen with your relationship with them. And ask them that if SIL comes to them telling them that you said or did something, to contact you to ask you your side of the story before they jump to any conclusions. Not saying that SIL is always wrong, but that they should hear both sides of the story first. By doing this they will over time realize how much she can manipulate them.

    I'm not saying admit that everything is your fault. Just admit to your mistakes why certain things people did made you feel & react the way you did and hopefully that things can be different going forward. Hopefully that will help. Good luck & keep us informed on how things go.

  • Is your FIL a reasonable person for the most part ?  Is there a way you can get him to empathize with you by asking " FIL / Dad, imagine Mom/ MIL worked herself into a tizzy cleaning and cooking for a bunch of people on Thanksgiving day.  All she wanted was for everyone to be happy and comfortable and then one of the guests made a rude remark about how the table looked and they did it right in front of you.  You probably would have told them that if they don't like the dinner they could go home too, right ?  I understand that SIL is your daughter and will always defend her, but that is how I ( my wife ) feels about her mother.  What SIL said really hurt her feelings, just like it would hurt your feelings if someone said the same thing about mom and your home.  You would have held them accountable for their mean words too, Dad. "

    Keep trying to get him to empathize with you by asking him what he would do if the situation was reversed ?  Really try to get him to think about what he would do.  In fact, I think it would be better if your husband was the one who asked him these questions.  Let him know that you were just defending your mother, like he would defend his wife and how he is now defending his daughter.  If he admits that he would have been upset too or if he admits that SIL can say rude stuff, that is when I would ask them to just give you the benefit of a doubt when SIL comes to them with a complaint.  You are not asking that they believe you over her, just that they give you the benefit of a doubt and that they treat you in the same manner that they would want your SIL's future IL's to treat her because you are someone's daughter too.

    As far as the instagram thing, without knowing what she said, yeah...I can see how that would upset her.  No matter what, you are not a mind reader so you can not say what her true intentions were.  Perhaps to her it was a small olive branch she was trying to extend.  I know if I was trying to mend a relationship with someone and said something nice about one of their pictures, I would be hurt if that comment was erased.  So if you were to apologize for something, I would apologize for that.  
  • All you can do is to say you are very sorry for the specific wrongs you have committed. Take responsibility for each and every thing your have done or have said. Then, move on and promise yourself that NO MATTER WHAT, you will not let SIL drag you into her mire.

    If it means leaving a room, then you politely excuse yourself when you are able. If it means holding your tongue, then you do so. Water off a ducks' back - you are the duck. And your goal is to maintain peace and kindness for the sake of your DH, MIL and FIL and your own parents.

    IF and only IF SIL is openly hurting another person's feelings should you say anything negative to her. And even then, it could be as simple as, "What do you mean when you said XYZ?" A bratty person gets "it" really quickly when someone is pointing out his/her fault without being mean about it especially if you ask the question when other people are around to point out their wrong. Another good one is. "I'm not sure what you mean by that statement or question." Even if it seems like a simple statement or question, a bratty person is saying or asking it from a mean place, so draw attention to the backhanded meanness.

    If SIL is just bragging or spouting off but not hurting any body's feelings, let her go for it. Just sit back and let her dig her own grave of yucky comments and attitudes. People are smart. They will see it too and they won't need your help pointing it out.

    Silence is your best friend. If she says something directly to you that is mean or bratty then you can excuse yourself, or if you want to respond you can say something like, "Well, that's an interesting perspective/comment/idea." It's not putting her down, it's acknowledging that she spoke to you, but it's not giving her any good credit.
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    I agree with mommyliberty.  Apologize for what YOU feel YOU did wrong and leave it at that.  I disagree w/ both Erikan and disney (who I often agree with!).  Don't rehash what your SIL said or did.  That just leaves too much room for "she said/ she said" and misinterpretation, etc. 

    Your SIL sounds bratty.  And she's her father's child so I'm not entirely surprised he's protecting (enabling??) her.  It sucks, I get it.  But trying to talk to her father into YOUR views of situations involving her... this WILL NOT END WELL!!!!!!  Trust. 

    The less you say, the less you let her get to you- you WILL come out looking like the bigger person.  And I'm going to say that about when it comes to your family too.  This whole "don't insult my family!!!" bit.... eh, people aren't dumb.  They are going to see her for who she is and they are going to ignore it/ laugh it off.  you don't need to rush to the rescue to defend your family's honor - especially against a bratty, jealous girl! 

    The only caveat to what I said above - where does your DH stand on all this? What are his views of his sister's behavior?  If HE wants to talk to his dad, that's one thing.  Son to dad - family.  Let them work it out.  But if YOU get involved, well, again, it will not end well.  SIL iwll always win out against you.  However, brother discussing sister - there is a chance that your DH could explain what happened and your FIL may listen.
  • I wanted to stop back by and thank you ladies for your input. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and offer your thoughts. You've equipped me with confidence to keep pushing to make this relationship better. 
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