Ughhh and the drama begins AGAIN!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2010
Ughhh and the drama begins AGAIN!
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 2:02pm

So here is the story:

FIL has started the process of creating a "trust" to leave behind his wealth for his 3 kids. He has also been wishing that his kids identify ways in which to grow the family wealth - by finding new investment opportunities. DH identified a a property that he wanted to invest in. He asked FIL and his brother and another investor if they'd like to put in $$. They said yes and they're working at trying to acquire the property. SIL (DH's sister) found out and is REALLY upset that she wasnt included. She sent an email to FIL alleging that he always favors his sons and does everything for them and nothing for her. Examples she included in the email includes things like:

- Why FIL and MIL spend more time with my 11 month old and not her two kids (we live 15 min from inlaws while she lives 7 hours away)

- Why FIL and MIL never offered to babysit the kids and encourage SIL and her husband to take a vacation? (FIL&MIL always offered to babysit their 4 yr old when she was younger (I have witnessed this many times) but she was very attached to her dad. Both SIL and BIL never left her with inlaws even when offered because they didnt feel comfortable seeing her in tears when they left. DH and Ihave a different parenting approach since our daughter goes to day care and we're perfect okay with some parting tears. 

- Why FIL/MIL  gave more $$ for a housewarming present to me and DH and less to her and her DH? (She bought a house 10 years before me and DH because they're older and got married at a younger age. I don't know what they gave her as a housewarming present so don't have a )

- Why FIL didn't pay a penny for mine and DH's wedding reception but then in earlier years had asked SIL's inlaws to foot 50% of the reception bill eventhough he was the fatherof the bride. (In our culture, bride's side pays for the wedding and groom's side for the reception.)

- Why FIL did not help SIL start a business? (He already has a successful business. He did offer her support. She decided she didnt want to put the extra hours and would rather focus on her kids since her DH had a good job that could support the both of them. It was her decision.)

These are just some of the examples. I could go on and on. 

FIL called SIL's husband to get him to try to explain to his wife and SIL's husband flipped out on him and told him that he should learn to treat his kids equally. He also called DH's brother and told him that he should stand up for his sister against his father. He is now stirring the pot by also alleging that my MIL/FIL treat BIL's (DH's brother) wife badly. (this is only partially true in my opinion. I would concede that MIL was obnoxious to BIL's wife in the beginning years of their marriage but that I have noticed that things have improved and they have reached a pretty normal medium where both know each other's spaces).

My dilemma in this is that although SIL and BIL have not said anything directly over the years, their indirect message is that somehow we are being favored and treated better than we should be. I feel resentful. I feel angry that they continue to compare my daughter and her relationship with her grandparents with their kids relationships. And the problem is that they never tell us this directly! Perhaps its because they know that its not that easy to bully me and DH. (Well, it is easy to bully DH but not when it comes to any issue regarding our daughter because he is fiercely protective of her.)

What should I do? For the last couple of years, I have chosen to ignore the comments. I have heard SIL accuse inlaws of favoring us over them in verbal fights where I have played the part of a listener (never uttering a word since SIL and her DH getreally aggravated and its hard to calm them down in that state). I have not responded because she was fighting with her parents and not directly with me or DH. But I can't help but feel that our silence is being misconstrued. Is it our place to say anything? Or should we not get involved?



Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 3:41pm


As far as I can tell this is a BUSINESS PROPOSITION and would be between the parties named. If your SIL wanted to be part of that business proposition then she could make an offer to invest along with your FIL, DH, etc. They could then accept or reject her offer to invest. And if they accepted her as an investor she would have X% say in the investment.

And a trust is a very good idea no matter what your FIL does with his money because this girl will be trouble with a capital T when your FIL dies.

As for the long list of "wrongs" that's her baggage. Your FIL doesn't owe her any explanations about how he's treated people over the years. And all the "shouldas and couldas" are just things no one can answer because they were decided years ago. And the distance she lives away from her parents, well, that's just a reality she's not willing to accept. One set of grandkids is 15 minutes away; the other 7  hours. Duh! Of course the grandparents are going to see more of your kids than hers. That was a choice she and her husband made when they chose where to live. Not your FIL problem.

What little you say about your FIL says he's a wise man. Let him handle your SIL. Don't get in the middle of her cat fight. She'll make her bed and then have to lie in it.


Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 9:57pm
While I understand that in "olden" times, everything went to the sons in our Asian culture, I am surprised that your FIL is not including his daughter in the will. Surely he can give her something?

Can you email your SIL with the issues you mentioned? Balance the negative points with some compliments for your SIL so that at least you leave the channels of communication open and things don't morph into a hugh fight?

I finally emailed my SIL after all these years and told her what issues I had with her (she and I had a mini cat-fight last weekend). She has not emailed/phoned me back and I don't care. At least she knows how I view her idiotic comments and nosiness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2010
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 9:39am

My FIL has divided his wealth equally amonst all three children, including his daughter. DH has not talked to his sister since all of this happened. He wants to stay out of it. That's why I'm so confused. I don't know if it's my place to step in. If it were my own family, I would've stepped in. But last time (and the only time I have) I stepped in to try to resolve issues between her and her mother, it caused a huge rift between my and my SIL where she misinterpreted my intentions and she and her husband launched into personal attacks against me which have taken me years to get over. I lost a lot of respect for both of them in that process (and I used to respect them and love them like my FOO before).

I think SIL knows that mine and her relationship is not the same as it used to be. We talk less. We don't talk about personal issues. We are very respectful to each other in public. I assume she probably talks about me to her other brother and her parents but that doesn't bother me.

That's why this is a weird situation.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 10-14-2012 - 2:03am

I think its between your FIL and his daughter. She was using you/your dh and child in examples, but they were all about things that FIL did. Those were his choices and only he can explain them, if he wants to.

I don't think that you should say anything. Your dh probably shouldn't try to talk to his sister about this either, because its not things that your dh is/was responsible for. I agree with the PP who said that they need to separate the business transaction part of it (invite her to invest, or not) from all of the other complaints.

Some people always feel that things are unfair, no matter what you do or say they will never be satisfied. Trying to explain to SIL rationally won't help because she is operating on a purely emotional level and won't want to hear reason/logic. Just try to stay out of it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 1:14pm


I think I can offer a different perspective on this issue and hoping that it helps.  The most important thing that I want to say first is that probably the reason you were not brought into this is because the idea of "favortism" isn't something that you or your DH did wrong and therefore your sil/bil may feel it is between them and their parents.  You see, I feel some of the same things that your SIL /Bil feels but I wouldn't think it was my sil's/bil's fault.  This idea of treating children differently is wrong and what the parents are doing is sad.  Often parents think - I'll give more to this child whether it is time or resources, simply becasue they are having a harder time at life etc.  But, in fact, they are reaking havoc on their family as a whole.  Children need to feel loved by their parents and in my opinion if someone feels that there is favortism it should be discussed and not discredited.  I do think your sil is whining about a lot of things and many may not be fair assessments but, she obviously feels like there is some favortism going on and I would hope that your inlaws would take the time to understand her feelings. 


You shouldn't feel bad that there is more time spent with your children because you live closer - that is just a fact of life.  But, are you privileged to things like sil asking them to come for visits where they might turn her down?  Or some of the other things that she's upset about? 

There are always two sides to every story and it is hard to say if the sil is just seeing things unclearly or if there really has been favortism over the years.  But, from your perspective, I think you should try to understand that she feels this way.  Personally, I don't hold my sil accountable for anything that is a result of what her parents do (based on my opinion).  Therefore, like in my email to his parents cutting them off, I did not share that with my sil.  This was between us and parents, not us and sil. 


How did you find out about all the stuff that she's complaining about?  I just wonder if it was the inlaws sharing this with you and your DH, are your inlaws putting you guys in the middle and thus causing more conflict? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 1:20pm

I agree with you about staying out of the whole thing - the letter or comments seem to be made to her parents and not to the siblings.


I'll respectfully disagree about him not owing her an explanation about her feelings of how she was treated over the years.  No, he doesn't have to offer her explanation on how he dispurses his money etc. but this is their daughter and she feels like the brothers have been treated differently and better.  It does happen - I know that as I see it with my DH and his parents and our children as well. 


I won't make this about money because I don't think it is about money - but who knows for sure.  In our case, money is/was never a factor because our inlaws have none.  And if they did, I could care less.  But, if this daughter is feeling this way, I'll bet in her own heart she feels she has very valid reasons and I believe as a parent we owe it to our children to listen and try to resolve.  Yes, she's an adult now but these will always be her parents.   Feeling like your parents may favor a sibling or siblings over you is very damaging to ones self esteem and I believe that she has every right to express those feelings and hope for her parents to care enough to want to work it out.