I don't know if I am being gasiighted by my SIL, or I'm the jerk.

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
4811 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Her ups and downs and quick behavioral changes can mean that she is suffering from a mental illness (or illnesses). I would keep my distance from her and not engage her in any drama. 

Post # 3
7643 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I just looked at your history, and I assume you mean that woman who pretends to her church friends that she’s a virgin? http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/tell-me-im-being-dumb-sil-is-lying-about-being-a-virgin-and-its-annoying/ If so, that’s very recent so it doesn’t sound like she’s changed.

Anyway, I’d keep my distance. Meet her at family events and be cordial. If Darling Husband wants to hang out with her from time to time, then let him, so long as HE understands what she’s like. From that earlier thread, I got the impression that you were afraid to tell Darling Husband about her hypocrisy. I think you need an open conversation with Darling Husband about her. So long as Darling Husband is on your side and understands your issues with her, I don’t think your SIL will be much of a problem.

Post # 4
1303 posts
Bumble bee

You don’t need to have a friendship with this woman. You can be pleasant while maintaining a completely superficial relationship. When you have to be around her just make small talk and avoid any personal topics. 

Post # 5
3311 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Just be civil. That’s all you can do.

Post # 6
607 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

Relinquish the power she has over you by forgiving her. Let go of your resentment – she’s your FI’s sister and she’s not just going to disappear from your life. You might as well start practicing strategies to deal with her without putting your sanity at risk. I agree with PP who suggested she is probably struggling with her own mental illness. Not letting her get to you is the best thing you can do for yourself.

That being said – forgive, but don’t forget. Don’t place your trust in her again. Don’t put any expectations on her at all. You can be kind to her and still understand that girl’s got issues. And keep the conversations open with Darling Husband. Don’t let that grace be confused for gullibility.

Post # 7
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

You do not have to be friends with her, but I agree that when you have to be in the same room with her you could just keep the conversations at the surface- if that makes sense. She hurt you and has issues herself that hopefully she, and the people around her, realizes. I know it may hurt your husband but I do not think he can expect you to just forgive her and act like the last few years did not happen. I guess you live and you learn but never allow her to get to you, you deserve better than that!

Post # 8
627 posts
Busy bee

My advice is to talk to your husband and come to an agreement where you are civil, he is free to be close with her, but you both agree to “protect” you/the relationship from her. That means that if you guys are having a problem and he needs advice, he’ll agree to seek council from other friends or relatives, and that if you are going through a rough time, he won’t share it with her.

Post # 9
3291 posts
Sugar bee

I think we have the same SIL 😑 I get the subtle jabs ALL THE TIME. I know what you mean about not wanting to bring them up because they are subtle, but after a while they get to you. The best thing I’ve done was distancing myself from her… We spend as little time as possible with her. Its unfortunate because she is the mother of our nephew, but for my own health I CANNOT be around someone like that, it’s not good for me.

Post # 10
5917 posts
Bee Keeper

annonabee217 :  She hasn’t changed. If she had, she would feel bad for the way she treated you in the past not downplay it or say it’s ‘all in your head’. She sounds unstable and vindictive, my advice to you would be to minimize her in your life as much as possible- family events where you can’t avoid her, just be polite and don’t engage her otherwise. It sounds like you’ve found yourself a great therapist, that’s great and I would continue with him/her. 

I’m wondering though about your husband feeling ‘caught in the middle’ when one person is being victimized by another person’s actions and that ‘one person’ is his wife. It’s one thing to love his sister, it’s quite another to be utterly blind to what she’s doing to his wife. It appears that at least some of her Mean Girls b.s has occured in front of others, so I’m not getting how he’s not more loyal to you. 

Post # 11
3867 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

annonabee217 :  So, I, too, have a crazy SIL. Seriously feel free to PM me sometime because I probably could have written this post myself. A brief (and vague) backstory:

We used to be super close, I threw her a bridal shower and bachelorette party (MOH in her wedding) loaned her and her new husband money after they went broke to pay off their wedding and then three months after their big day, she completely cut ties with me. She spread rumors about me through the family, said she never liked me, that I was a terrible person, etc. After that, she refused to be around me. If I was attending a family event, she wouldn’t go or she’d make her husband (DH’s brother) chose to go alone or “stand by her.” My Mother-In-Law also could not be trusted as her “loyalty” shifted from one day to the next and she frequently took sides. 

This ^^^ was five years ago. We tried to reconcile, but that only lasted a few months and then she started freezing me out again. This second “freeze out” lasted until my niece was born. We played nice for a few months, but then she flaked on my wedding. That culminated in a MASSIVE blowout between Darling Husband and his brother. After that, SIL “played nice” again, but eventually cycled around to freezing me out again. 

By this point, I learned my lesson. My thing has always been this: You don’t need to be friends with the in-laws. You don’t even have to like them. But you always have to be civil. My biggest issue with her was that she frequently acted as if she couldn’t even stand the sight of me and couldn’t even muster up a hi, how are you at the handful of gatherings we’d attend together. It was beyond insulting, but I eventually glided into indifference. Now, each time she “warms up” to me, she doesn’t get anything more than she gets when she’s attempting to freezing me out–polite indifference. I will smile, chat with her if the situation calls for it, but besides that, I am not actively attempting to be a part of her life. Darling Husband typically arranges for us to see our niece either with Brother-In-Law or with my Mother-In-Law, and I have allowed myself to just be politely unconcerned with SIL. I spent too many years trying to figure out what exactly her problem was. I finally realized that it literally didn’t matter what her problem was. Crazy’s gonna do, what crazy’s gonna do. She’s currently back on her “warm” stage where she’s trying to include Darling Husband adn I in everything and inviting us on trips and to dinner at their house, etc. Bottom line: I keep it light and polite. We don’t over-engage her because I am no longer at the point where I want to be friends with her. She has said many, many nasty things about me and has never officially apologized, so I don’t want to have anything to do with her more than I have to. However, I am always polite and cordial with her. 

My suggestion is this: As long as you and Darling Husband are on the same page, loosen the hold she has over you. Do not confide in her again–that should go without saying–and absolutely ensure that your husband does not either. From then on, feign polite indifference towards her. When you see her at family gatherings, smile, ask how she’s doing and then angle yourself away from her. I don’t know how close your husband feels like he needs to be to his sister, but at the very least, he must be supportive of you. Not to divert from the matter at hand–but your husband “feeling caught in the middle” rubbed me the wrong way. It seems to suggest you may not be on the same page in terms of her behavior which is worrisome. 

However, whether she has truly changed or not, the sad fact remains that she fucked herself over in terms of a “normal” relationship with you. She’s proven she’s not to be trusted, so she is no longer privvy to private thoughts, conversations, secrets, etc. that you may have. Do not talk to her about ANYTHING you wouldn’t publicly broadcast on the news–and absolutely make sure Darling Husband is on board with you. Good luck, Bee!

Edited to add: The best day of my life was the day I started pitying SIL. I literally feel bad that she wastes so much time on me, that she allows me to bother her so much. I feel incredibly sorry for her. And, if I were you, I’d feel sorry for your SIL. She devotes way too much attention to you–and instead of feeling hurt and betrayed, feel sorry. What a sad, miserable life she is leading. 

Post # 12
4260 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

I would super fake nice and not disclose a thing to her.  I would also work on forgiving her, not for her or your Darling Husband, but for you.  Carrying around bad feelings only ever really hurts you, but I would never trust her again.

Post # 15
3867 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

annonabee217 :  Well then, your Darling Husband also needs to get over this lack of friendship. You need to help him understand that due to your SIL hurting you and betraying your trust more than once that a friendship simply is off the table. Tell him that you are sorry he feels any “discomfort” when you’re together, but that you are simply uninterested in anything other than polite indifference. Even if SIL wasn’t like this, I don’t think it would be your DH’s place to try and force his wife and sister to be friends. I get along with DH’s sister just fine, but we are never going to be “friends.” Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and your Darling Husband needs to let go of this “picture perfect” relationship he envisions for you and his sister. It’s simply going to set you up for failure time and time again. Also, as terrible as this sounds, I’d stop complaining about SIL to Darling Husband. Save that kind of talk for a friend–simply because if you eliminate your eye rolls and distrust, you can much more easily “fake” being polite and cordial. I typically will save most of my SIL vents for friends. Darling Husband feels the same about SIL, but it’s sadder for him because it’s who his brother is married to so sometimes he feels uncomfortable. So to ease that, I will vent to him 10% of the time about this and to friends 90% of the time. 

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