SIL "sentinel" problems

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
SIL "sentinel" problems
7
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 1:27pm
Hi everyone,

First, let me say that it can be difficult to come into a new family, and my DH's family is no exception. MIL can be quite challenging at times. However, that said, my new SIL is very, very difficult for all of us to handle. She and BIL have been involved with each other--total, from first date to now--about a year and a half. In that year and a half, I've watched this person systematically destroy BIL's relationships within his family. We were all looking forward so happily to their wedding--until the actual week of the festivities. In four days (yes, that's *days*), SIL said exactly one sentence to me; she did not speak to or have any contact with MIL *at all*. This, despite sitting next to her at the rehearsal dinner and MIL doing much of the organizational work for the wedding. She didn't have manners enough to even return the best man's toast by raising her glass when he came over to her (best man was DH). SIL wrote a speech for BIL to give (which he did, verbatim) that publicly insulted MIL by rehashing different issues they've had. It was stunning to watch. There's so much more, I won't list it all. I've never encountered someone so full of vitriol and so willing to publicly air it. :-(

This brings me to the problem: now, seven months later, no one can get through to BIL--not by email--SIL will respond and decide if BIL "needs" to see your email; and she'll tell you she is deleting it w/o him seeing it; not by phone--SIL answers all calls and will not apparently pass on messages. Mail is a waste of time; she'll read it or trash it. We live far away from them, so we can't just drop in unannounced. We'd invited them for Thanksgiving; they canceled the Monday of that week, saying they never had airline tix. (They did; we even had their seat numbers from the itinerary they'd originally sent us and apparently forgot about.) This may not sound like a big deal, but it also made us unable to invite anyone else from the family due to $$ of last minute tix. SIL/BIL have completely ignored all holidays/birthdays/occasions for his side of the family (the whole side); even Grandma isn't immune. They didn't simply ignore holidays; we've heard from friends that they received gifts, etc. No thank-yous were sent for the wedding gifts, no acknowledgements of receipt were sent or voiced, either. Wedding pics have been circulated and ordered (without any of us even seeing them--even MIL or GMIL); and the list goes on and on...

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we might be able to do (other than grin and grit our teeth when we talk about the "lost son"?)

Sim

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 5:13pm
Maybe your DH can talk to his brother?? Maybe he can call there until he gets through to him?

It sounds like SIL is controlling BIL's relationship with his family and she is doing a pretty good job of it. I tend to doubt that BIL probably knows all the e-mails, etc. that have been sent, deleted, etc. I think he needs to know. Can he be contacted at work? How about sending him letters or e-mail at work?

The way SIL is controlling him is just not right and BIL has a right to see or talk to his family.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 7:57pm
Dear Simgirl,

It sounds like something serious happened b/w your SIL and your MIL. Somehow, your SIL became upset at MIL and it sounds like she is punishing the rest of the family for it, too. I agree with the posting that suggested that you contact your BIL at work or at some alternative number/address. He should be able to have contact with his family if he wishes to. Try to contact him in a way that is direct so that SIL cannot prevent the message from being communicated. I also think it's unfair for SIL to prevent communications b/w family members. Even if she chooses to not have contact, she should leave your BIL a choice as to when and how to communicate with family members. Sometimes people turn around, but sometimes people don't and it can't be changed. I hope your SIL has a change of heart. Take care.

Avatar for nickyhollysmom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 1:48pm
Try to get through to BIL through alternate means. Do you know his workphone number and email? I find it really odd that HE doesn't say anything about any of this-that she's so hostile towards his family. Or is she one of those creatures that will argue with him for hours on end until she gets her way?

I understand because when I read your story, it was like reading about my DH's brother's psycho wife all over again. Same type of ultra-nasty woman, same type of tactics to alienate him from his family. What MY BIL did was find ways to make contact with the family away from her. It's like he goes out of his way to make contact and be nice to the rest of us because he knows how she is. But everybody in DH's family lives within a half-hour of each other, so this won't work in your situation-unless BIL decides to make phone contact at work, or someplace where she can't intercept any messages.

Sorry you have to deal with someone like that...it's nervewracking...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 3:52pm
Hi everyone,

I tried to post this yesterday, and for some reason it's not showing up. Thanks for all the replies! You're all right: the key is to get to BIL w/o SIL. Work would be the obvious choice.

However, there is a problem with that, too. BIL owns his own biz. SIL worked for the state until they married (she quit two months before.) Now, she works at BIL's biz. It's a field that requires a lot of training, and she has none--nor any interest in it, because it takes years. So, she runs the "office" end of it so he can be free to deal with the customers. She answers the phone and screens all the email they get. She opens the mail. That type of stuff. In theory. You see, she has forgotten to pay bills at least once that we know of--the electricity got cut off at the biz for four days last month. BIL has worked for years to build this biz and it's scary to think about what may or may not happen now.

Until SIL began working there, we could rely on catching him alone at work. But now she's there ALL the time, EVERYWHERE. Eeks.

I think there is something to the idea that MIL/SIL had conflict before the wedding, but don't think anything that happened merited this type of reaction, from what little I know. I've had issues with MIL over the (many) years, but I can honestly say that it has never occurred to me to openly, publicly insult her at a family function in front of a microphone! <> DH has done **nothing** that deserves this hate and anger.

I'd planned (at Thanksgiving, which was after the wedding fiasco) to take SIL out to run errands with me while BIL/DH/MIL had some private "family" time, but obviously that didn't work out. :-(

We need other creative ideas on how to contact him w/o her being the filter!!

Sim

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 2:34pm
Oh, dear, there's more to the story now. SIL is pregnant--and still not speaking to any of us. The baby will be a first grandchild and thus put this whole mess into overdrive. Waaahhhhh!!!

Sim

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 7:13pm
This is NOT good.

That chick is a piece of work, something else I tell you. There is no way he should have read a speach like that....airing out his dirty laundry for everyone to hear..it's none of their (guests) business(especially when it concerns his mama). I'm not implying that the mama is perfect, but this man has no back bone, to be so easily influenced by his (controlling)wench.

Now here is the bad part. Okay, so she doesn't let him receive calls, mail, email etc. He is a GROWN MAN, why hasn't HE tried to contact his family? WHY? Because she has probably been feeding him all sorts of BS, and he's dumb enough to believe it. Even if your H did have a heart to heart with him, he'll probably go running to tell her all about it. I hope the heart to heart opens his eyes, but doubt that it will. He has to be ready to open them himself. She is a VERY unhappy person and has problems, she needs to see a counselor. I think maybe she doesn't have that good of family relationship with her own people, or she looks down on her H's side for some weird reason of another.

Good luck, I hate to sound negative, but it will probably take some time for things to change, hopefully it will happen soon.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 3:02pm
I agree with the op who mentioned BIL being a grown man. For whatever reason, he is allowing her to block the contact. The road/phone/e-mail does run both ways, and unless she is actually abusing him (using fear, pain or drugs to control his behavior) then he is choosing not to contact his own family, as well as choosing to go along with that nasty speech.

I am so sorry you and your DH and the rest of the family has to go through this, and wish I had words of comfort/advise.

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