SIL

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
SIL
6
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 3:45pm
My DH and I were married last June. Recently, we have run into some problems with his family. One of his sisters has contributed to those problems. She misunderstood something I said to her in an e-mail, and replied with some hateful comments. I responded to her by explaining that she misunderstood what I had said. I also told her that I was sorry that I had hurt her feelings. That didn't seem to matter to her because she sent repeated e-mails to me with the same hateful tones as before. I saved all the e-mails, both the ones I sent to her and the ones she sent to me, and showed them to my husband. He was shocked that she could be so rude to me when I explained to her several times that I was sorry and that she misunderstood me.

Shortly after he read the e-mail exchange, she sent him an e-mail explaining that she was mad at me. He responded, telling her that she misunderstood what I had said to her. He also told her that her comments to me were very rude and uncalled for. She responded to him with a nasty e-mail. (We thought about just calling her, but decided that it would be best to e-mail her so we'd have a record of what was said.) She mentioned in the e-mail that she didn't believe there ever was a misunderstanding.

We are both very irritated that she thinks we're both lying about the situation. We're more irritated that she ever thought it was acceptable to talk about me to my DH. We told her that and she responded with more hateful comments, this time they were about my DH. We seem to think that part of her problem has to do with her being jealous of our marriage, but we're just not sure. Some of the things she has sound make it sound as though she thinks I have taken him away from her. She'd made comments like, ". i know her as someone that married my brother and lives w/ him in and i never get to see him." She's also made comments like," maybe it is selfish of me b/c u love more, but , don't just give it all to her. realize that there is still me and others left that would like a little too."

I've tried my best to include her because she is my sister-in-law and because I know she looks up to my DH. I've spent hours some nights, both over the phone and online, helping her with her chemistry. I'd call her when she was sick. I'd send her e-mails asking how she was doing, and telling her what was going on with us. When my DH and I were dating, we'd occasionally take her out to eat and to movies with us. It's not like I've ignored her or anything like that, so that's why I don't understand her attitude towards me.

She and my DH were never very close when they lived at home. My DH has been out of his parents' house for over five years. He and the sister mentioned are seven years apart; she's 19 and he is 26. They have one other sister who is 23. She gets along with her sister about 50% of the time, while she hasn't argued with my DH until now.

The described incident happened a couple of months ago, and we're obviously still upset about it. I've told her over and over that I am sorry that I hurt her feelings. I have told her over and over that she misunderstood me, but she just doesn't want to believe that for some reason. (She told me that she likes conflict; I don't know if that has anything to do with all of this or not.) She has never once said she was sorry about the stuff she said to either my DH or to me. That's something I don't quite get either. So, for now, we're stopped making contact with her. We're not sure what else to do. Any ideas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 4:32pm
All I can say is, that most people do not often lose control of themselves and type things that they do not mean to say. And they don't do it repeatedly over the course of several hours. What she said to you, and the foul language that she used, she MEANT it. And she knew that you would not like it, she knew it would upset and hurt you both, and she knew that you would probably back off from her.

So she has created a gap. And she can close it any time she wishes, with an apology. She does not wish to close the gap. This is what she wants.

Because she is a young adult, a family member and still lives in her parent's home, I think your husband might want to let his parents know why he and his wife no longer socialize with the daughter. Just for their information.

That way, if this woman is going around burning a whole lot of bridges, they can encourage her to get some help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 5:08pm
We had a similar situation happen with emails between me and MIL. I totally believe you when you say you tried to work it out over the emails (the chosen venue for the IL to spout and feel they can cuss at you in!!) and that the in-law is the one being unreasonable! We finally just emailed MIL and said something to the effect of "This has obviously brought some other feelings and issues to the surface as the catalyst has been discussed and its explanation pushed aside, and yet the hurt feelings go on. We have decided that if you want to work on this problem any more, we would all be better off to see a family therapist." Well, MIL hemmed and hawwed a little at that but we eventually got her in a few sessions and it was great!! We saved the emails to show the therapist and after 2 sessions she TOTALLY let MIL have it saying MIL has horrible boundaries, etc!! (Yeah!!) So now we are not as chummy as we were, but at least things are not so strained and maybe can build up from there...?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 5:29pm
Hi clarisentient, welcome!!!

How old is your SIL? She sounds VERY immature, selfish and rude. Sounds like she is looking for attention. Does she have a boyfriend?? Does she live with your ILs???

I think this is definitely HER problem and not yours or DH's. I would say stop responding to her nasty e-mails. It's kind of like the bully in school. As long as the nasty one gets a reaction, they will keep doing it. If you and DH stop responding to her e-mails, maybe she will get the hint that she can't behave that way. If you keep responding, you are just giving her more to say against you and adding more fuel to her fire.

Hope this helps.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:34pm
My SIL is 19. Yes, I think she is looking for attention. (I told my mom about all of this and that is the first thing that came out of her mouth.) She's a freshman in college right now, so she lives in a dorm during the school year. She comes home most weekends to see her boyfriend of one year.

My husband and I both feel that her maturity level is very low. We haven't talked to her for a few weeks now. The last time we talked to her was in responds to an e-mail she sent my husband. She told him that she was going to spend the night at our house sometime in the near future. She said she was going to do that so I could help her with one of her classes. After she said that, she asked when *he* was going to visit her at school. My DH and I sat down and composed a message to her from his e-mail account, telling her that *we* aren't comfortable spending large blocks of time with her after the way she treated us. (I'm not sure what the deal is with her always asking when *he* is going to visit her. She never says *you guys* or anything like that. The messages are always sent to him, and always say when are *you* going to visit me.)Anyway, in the message, we also addressed her jealousy. She responded to the e-mail as a whole by telling us to "get over it." She said that over and over in the e-mail. She ranted again about how she doesn't believe that a misunderstanding ever occured. At the end she said she was over it. Of course, that statement confused both of us because she couldn't be over it if she had to spend that much time ranting about it. After that particular e-mail, we called it quits with her.

I hate to do that, since she is his sister. Just because she happens to be related to one of us, it does not mean that she can say whatever she wants to one or both of us.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:51pm
My husband tried to tell his mom about it, but she didn't want to listen. She said she doesn't want to get into other people's business. She and her daughter are quite a bit alike. She, my MIL, has had some issues with me as well. I'm really not sure what they are. My DH and I think she has the no-one-is-good-enough-for-my-son complex.

My DH and I dated for almost seven years before getting married. She spent most of that time ignoring me. I'd go over to the house and try to talk to her; she'd answer with one or two words. She'd have whole conversations with my DH, but rarely with me. When she wasn't ignoring me, she was usually doing something mean. My husband confronted her about the things she done to me. She listened, but didn't bother to say that she was sorry about anything. Sadly enough, we're currently not speaking to her either.

I feel really bad about all of it because they are my husband's family. I feel really bad for him, I mean. I'm just glad he is supportive of me. If they do something that makes me feel bad, he feels that they are doing it to him too. I don't know. I just don't understand all of this. It's like they don't want to try to get along with me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: clairsentient
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 5:13pm
You are right. Just because she is his sister doesn't mean that she can say whatever she wants. Since she is 19, she is still pretty immature. Hopefully, in a few years or so she will grow up a little and realize just HOW IMMATURE she has been. Or maybe this is just her personality. Time will tell.

Good luck!