Dealing with my sister-in-law
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|Fri, 03-08-2013 - 1:13pm|
My sister-in-law is an adult a little older than me. She has been a single mom for many years now after a divorce of her own choosing. She is raising a daughter who is now a young adult but still lives at home while she finishes her last year of school. My sil has always been very self-centered. As long as I have known her, the focus somehow always turns out to be on her. My husband's family never says "enough already, this isn't about you." Instead, they ignore it, walk away, maybe make a comment that goes over her head, and then they talk about her after she leaves. The dynamic of the family is very odd, but we are not involved with them very often so it almost never affects us.
Anyway, we have recently made some major changes in our careers and our living situation, all good changes. My sil has told us she cannot hear about it, we cannot talk about it as it makes her sad because good things are not happening for her right now. She has been jobless for a long time living on alimony and too selective about the job-hunting process, telling prospective employers that she may have to leave if my niece is sick at school and she will not let her ride the bus home either. No one wants to hear that in the interview, right? She thrives on the single mother thing and thinks she is the only one in this situation. She is constantly complaining to us "but I am a single mom!" whenever we say anything that could be negative, like "had a long week at work" or "the kids have had us running crazy." Nothing is quite as bad as her situation, even though at this point, it is entirely of her own doing. No one can complain about their own situation because she deserves special treatment, and conversations are exhausting.
We are set to go to a big family dinner tomorrow. I was hoping she would not be around, but she is coming. This means that the entire afternoon will be spent listening to her complain about how her latest interviews didn't go well and how her house payment jumped significantly due to her poor choice of an adjustable mortgage, as she mentions her $150 hairstyle appointment, and how we need to change the subject about our positives because they just remind her of how badly people are treating her by not hiring her or dating her or how she may lose her home. We even gave her a good realtor name when she asked, thinking selling would be better than foreclosure but now she refuses. (I guess she would have to find something else to complain about?)
I almost do not want to go to the dinner, which is sad because I want to see the rest of the family. My bil is driving a long ways to spend the weekend and bringing his three small children and a new baby that I have not seen. A lot of good things will be brought up but the Big Black Cloud will be there complaining the whole time, driving everyone crazy, yet no one says anything. I may just be the one to finally yell "enough already! this is not about you and the world does not stop spinning because you can't have everything how you want it!" That would be seriously frowned upon and then I would look like the mean one, yet I feel like someone in her 40s needs to be told what she is doing to everyone else, as maybe it would stop, rather than everyone just enabling. We teach our children how to behave, why does no one say anything to the adult who behaves far worse?
How does anyone else handle a major Debbie Downer or all-about-me person? I need help, or I will have to get up every three minutes to refill my drink and find someone else to talk to, in the hopes she does not find her way to that conversation too. It will be a long afternoon of everyone avoiding. Not a lot of fun.