Is it possible to draw the line with inlaws when enough is enough?

Avatar for cupcakebabe
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2011
Is it possible to draw the line with inlaws when enough is enough?
3
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 2:55pm

My brother-in-law is a jerk, plain and simple. Thinks of no one but himself, UNLESS you can be useful to him in some way. God forbid you slight him because he's all up in your face about how you wronged him and he deserves better and whatnot. 

Now while I feel badly, because I hit my limit with him and refuse to have anything to do with him. I'm 36. I shouldn't have to swallow my feelings and be treated badly because he's my husband's brother. He also treats my husband the same way, but my husband, being the older brother, makes excuses for him: "That's just how he is." "He grew up differently." (He's techincally a half-sibling and when the parents separated he went with his mom, my husband with his dad.) And many more excuses. He's 38/39 years old and thinks the world owes him because his parents divorced when he was 7. 

My question though is, while I know ideally family is family, can one really say "No, I absolutely will not put myself around him." and refuse to do so? It hasn't been just a year or two, it's been 18 years of this and it's just tiring. And believe me, I've tried. I've tried to ignore the snide comments, the better than though attitude, the woe is me crying. But there has just been too much hurt on my part that I just don't feel like I should have to put up with it anymore (not that we see them regularly - especially after the last fight). 

I wish I could get my husband to understand that while he's fine with making excuses, I'm not. It's been far too long and waaaaay too many excuses. And now I'm not willing to invite them into my home. He thinks I should just pretend nothing ever happened.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I agree that after 18 yrs of bad treatment, enough is enough and you should be able to just cut off the brother.  But the problem is that your DH doesn't want to do that.  I think you could tell him that if the 2 of them want to go out, they can do that but you aren't inviting someone into your home who is disrespectful to you and difficult.  If your DH won't agree, then maybe you'll need the assistance of a 3rd party counselor.  I also think that people continue to be difficult when others put up with their bad behavior and don't draw boundaries, so your DH is probably making things worse by excusing his behavior.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2013
Shame on your husband for putting you in a position of EXPECTING you to tolerate his brother treating you with such disrespect. His parents divorced more than 30 years ago…get over it all ready! I'm not saying that divorce is easy for anyone, especially children, but using that as an excuse for more than 30 years is not OK. You have a right to be treated with respect in your own home and your husband has an obligation to see to it that you are.
Avatar for cupcakebabe
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2011

Thank you both. That is my point - that it's been quite a few years of dealing with his bratty behavior. It's not like it's been one or two. It's been 18 years. The last argument was me sticking up for my husband, to which he just gives his old, "It hurts me too, but he's my brother." answer. DRIVES ME NUTS. Then he'll throw a "I don't ask you to not talk to your sisters." to which I say that I'm not asking him to not talk to him, just not about me or the kids OR expect me to see BIL and his wife. I also point out immediately that MY sisters would never think of doing/saying the things his brother has. Perfect example: my husband had a medical emergency, ended up in the hospital for a month and subsequently, out of work without pay (no vacation time left as it was after his scheduled vacation). BIL was getting married. Rather than toss $100 their way, we gave a Keurig coffee machine. It was $150, I believe. I thought it looked nicer than money. The next day we got a phone call complaining about the gift, that it wasn't good enough, it wasn't a gift you give for a wedding, etc. Meanwhile, my husband was also IN the wedding so he had to rent a tux and all this while supporting his family with no pay, and recovering. Anyway, long story short, the last confrontation I had with BIL I finally spilled my guts on all the stuff he's done/said over the years that has been inappropriate, rude, and hurtful. But because I called him on all his BS, I hurt his feelings and he can never forgive me. Hmmm.... 

Anyway, it's always an argument. I don't prevent DH from seeing his brother, but I just don't want to be involved, nor do I want the kids involved (not that BIL cares about them anyway, never has, never will).  BIL is completely the type who would say something like, "I know your mom isn't here. It's because she's such a witch to me." Always playing the wounded. (Hence the grudge after a 30 year old divorce - one at which both parents were to blame.) 

And yes, I am in total agreement with people placating him and making it worse. His mom is THE WORST offender of this. It's like no one tells him he's ever wrong. If I found out my child called someone up and complained to them about their wedding gift, I would KILL them, 30 years old or 50 years old. But not his mom. She actually didn't send up a Christmas card this year because of the argument. She's only "related" to us when it's convenient for her, which really speaks volumes about BILs learned behavior. (That and his wife is the same way...)