I try to like my SIL BUT.....

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
I try to like my SIL BUT.....
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 8:08pm

he makes it very hard. As you know, DD had a baby girl the beginning of July. SIL decided that in addition to his Mon to Fri job, he was going to work weekends with his buddy building decks, fences, sheds, etc.. His buddy has his own business with 2 crews & likes to have SIL lead the 2nd crew. So DD decided that she would spend the summer alternating weeks between home & here. SIL likes to hang with the boys & even though most of them are married with kids they still party together without the wives. So DD comes up here for the July 1st Canada weekend & we have a blast. She has us to help entertain Noah & to rock the baby so she can catch a bit of sleep. Mon morning DH mets me at the car as I drive in from my zumba class. DD is crying after a call from SIL but won't tell DH what's wrong. He is concerned that SIL has lost his job, if only. I find DD packing & crying, I finally get it out of her that SIL called her from jail while I was out. He had been arrested on a DUI the night before & chose to go to jail overnight since she wasn't at home & neither was his family. He was released and heading home by taxi, so she had to go home too especially since he had been driving her car when this happened & had been in an accident but didn't know the extent of the damage done to her car since he was taken away & oh yes, the car was impounded for 7 days. He has also lost his license for 90 days.

I had brought DD up to our place & so now my plans had to change so that I could take her home & then stay as long as she needed me. The penalty for a DUI here is 90 days immediate license suspension, impound car for 7 day resulting in towing & impoundment charges then off to court where if convicted you must pay $1000 fine, 1 yr license suspension & then a device to measure if you are below legal alcohol limits for the 1st yr after you are driving again. In addition, there is the joy of watching your insurance cost increase significantly. Oh yes, there is also the lawyer's fee ($8k) as you need one for court. Let's remember that DD was on bedrest from her 17th week of pregnancy until her 36th week & her company has no short term disability insurance. She was fortunate enough to at least get a disability payment for those weeks from the gov't but much less than her salary. So financially, 2013 has been difficult & they were just recovering from SIL losing his job in 2012. The lawyer's fee cleaned out their savings which is really DD's savings because SIL kept all the extra money he made on weekends for himself. Needless to say, he isn't working weekends.

So our lovely, relaxing summer has changed significantly & while SIL was the one who was stupid, it appears that DD, Noah, my boys & I are the ones paying for his actions. We are the ones pitching in & helping with the kids to give DD a break. Until this week, DD has been driving SIL to & from work everyday. This means getting the kids up & out by 7:30 each day unless I'm there. Apparently, he is stressed because he can't drive - poor baby. Originally, he was very remorseful & intent on changing his life. I didn't make any negative comments to DD, just helped her focus on the actions she could take to help herself deal with her fear by breaking the issues into separate ones & addressing them. Such as finding out about the insurance, finding a lawyer, deciding how she wanted their family life to be going forward & talking to SIL about common goals as a family. I don't see the planned changes he committed to happening now. This makes me so angry. I can get over the dui & his stupidity & what it is costing his family emotionally & financially but I can't stand that he isn't changing. DS2 had a dui at 19 & wrote off our SUV. Now I can honestly say that it was a good thing. He went from this wild, unresponsible kid to a mature, serious & totally responsible man who is only 26 while SIL is 31 in a mth & is still acting like a child. DD called her baby brother for advice, first time in their relationship that this has happened & of course, he came through for her.

Somehow, DS1 convinced DD to come home & make SIL take the bus this week for 3 days. Since DS1 is a counselor, he is better at keeping his emotions in check & helping DD realize what actions she is entitled to take. However, we both almost lost it on Mon when she said that SIL didn't enjoy his bus experience. It was his first time on a bus. He told her that it was all her fault & she acted mature by chosing to ignore this comment & pretend he must have meant it as a joke. DS1 & I spent time alone last night & both let our anger/frustration out about SIL to each other. SIL's ears should have been burning. So far, the only good I can see of this situation is that DD is taking a more assertive position in their relationship. She doesn't like fighting so avoids telling SIL when she is upset as he immediately gets angry. But recently he mentioned something about his money & she informed him that he had no money. There was their money & she had her little fun money but he no longer had any fun money until he paid back the family savings. She uses her fun money for their family savings or to enroll Noah in activities not to have fun like he does. She is also insisting that he spend time with the kids something she didn't pressure that first mth after the baby was born as he works & gets tired. Thank goodness my DH believed we both had kids & jobs to do esp when they were babies. He also got up at night even if it was just to burp & change a diaper after I breastfed.

So this is just me venting & wishing DD was still small enough that I could just bring her home & take care of her. But she is a wife & mother, so I can only help but not interfer. DS1 spent 5 days with her after he got home before they came here & his focus was on the kids & trying to get her to talk. DS2 & his wife have gone over  several times when I wasn't able to stay down to watch the kids & take Noah out to give DD a break.. This is truly a family affair. SIL's parents have a busy social life but his Mom spent 2 days at their place & then they took Noah to their cottage for 24 hrs.

So once again, I'm not liking my SIL too much.


PS: thankfully the insurance is covering the car repairs as the accident was the other person's fault. In a way I'm glad he was caught, as 2 wks before both DH & I separately complained to DD that we felt SIL was over the limit when he took DH & Noah to tball practise one night. She was annoyed because she said he drank responsibility but now admits that she was obviously wrong.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sat, 08-17-2013 - 9:11am

I am so sorry Dee. I so wish this becomes a wake-up call for your SIL. It could have been a lot worse.

Your DD is fortunate that she has family arround to help her.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 08-17-2013 - 11:33am

No Dee, you can't interfer, and rightly so.  But this might be an opportunity to talk to your daughter more about HER actions.  I found with my kids, that it does help to play "Devils Advocate" a bit, and try to get them to see what their OWN actions, or inactions, as the case may be, have contributed to the situation. 

It sounds like your dd has taken the first steps by putting her foot down some.  If she hasn't spoken her mind as an equal partner in the relationship because she is AFRAID, then she really needs to continue to find her spine.  The best way for that to happen, is if you continue to remind her that she is a capable, intelligent person, with LOTS of support from family, and she never has to worry that she will be unable to care for herself and the kids if he walks out.  

If she doesn't speak up because she wants to coddle him, then hopefully, she is learning the damage that has done to HIM, by allowing him to continue to be a self-centered child. 

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sat, 08-17-2013 - 11:39am

Thanks, teadrinker. You are so right. Thankfully no one was hurt in SIL's case or in DS2's case. I have to very careful on how I react to drinking as while I have a glass of wine once in a while, I'm not a drinker & have never been drunk. It's my decision after being the child of an alcoholic & experiencing the damage this does to one without a car. But I struggle to understand how people can risk their lives & those of others when they step into a car to drive drunk. Once yeah but once they sober up, I can't believe anyone does it again.


Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sat, 08-17-2013 - 11:59am

Sabr, both DS1 & I are trying to figure out what it is that keeps DD from taking an equal position in their relationship. She is a strong, professional woman & believe me, she has no problem stating her desires or wants within our family circle. Our family loves to take different sides on any topic just for fun. She was raised to have an equal say in our family life & is known for taking control/being bossy as our DS1 puts it. She is more intelligent than SIL, she has much more education & she is very ambitious work wise plus she is beautiful. She knows she is doing 80% of the work at home, she cut the grass 24 hrs before her daughter was born because SIL was too tired.

Her DS is an oops & she believes had he not happened she & SIL would not be together today. I do believe she loves SIL but she knows this may not be enough so she tries harder to keep their relationship intact. He isn't secure in their relationship & is always expecting her to leave which generates a lot of his anger when she gets upset. Also, in his family, you weren't allowed to get angry & so he doesn't know how to deal with it properly.

I can be objective & see all this but I can't help hoping that at some point, DD will leave if the bad outweighs the good. I know she would take the kids & leave immediately if he ever even tried to hit her as one b/f did that & she was gone immediately. But I'm not sure she really sees the emotional situation we see as abuse.

As for her own actions, I asked her 48 hrs after the DUI to think about what she wanted her family life to look like. She thought I was crazy but the though stayed with her & a few days later she wrote out how she wanted their lives together to look like in a perfect world. She gave this to SIL & they actually talked it through, made a few adjustments to allow him some guy time. She was very positive as this was one of the few conversations that didn't result in a fight. Unfortunately, SIL hasn't stayed with the program they committed too so no real changes there. We will see if DD continues to make excuses for SIL or if she draws a line in the sand over the next few wks.

I laugh when my friends with kids under 18 say they can't wait until the kids are adults & they don't worry about them anymore. It gets so much harder when you must leave them to live their own lives.


Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 7:41pm

Oh Dee-I know you've had issues with your SIL before-but this is really bad. At what point do you think he will grow up & be responsible?

I admire your daughter for sticking by him, but it does sound as if she is reaching the point where her children must come first.

The sad part is that you can do so little without her indicating you can do anything more. Hang in there-she knows you are there for her-although she is obviously trying to handle it on her own.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 8:50pm

Hi Dee, I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. There are no easy answers for this.  It sounds like your DD is doing the best she can and being the adult here and putting her children first.  I certainly know what you mean about worrying about your kids.  Someone once told me "bigger kids, bigger problems."  It is so true!  When they come from elementary school crying it's because someone called them a name or made fun of them somehow, those problems seemed so hard at the time but it was nothing compared to what we see them go through as adults.  Mom and Dad can't fix it for them.  (((HUGS)))) to you!

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 8:56pm

What a shame. I'm sorry that your plans for a relaxing summer have been upended and replaced with so much worry.

I think you made a good move by asking your dd to think about this situation in the context of her kids. Sometimes a woman will accept certain behavior towards herself but realize that she cannot allow that for her children. So I hope that she continues to insist that he be an adult at least some of the time. Crossing my fingers that something positive comes out of this. Stay strong Dee!

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Mon, 08-19-2013 - 1:33pm

ITA on the kids thing.  My cousin married young (never went to college) and her dh would do trips with the boys too.  Thankfully no kids were involved yet so she just got out before that became an issue. She remarried a couple years later (to a man who already had a child) and their sons are now done with college...nice, solid family even though both are 'retreads'. Best of luck to your dd - that has to be so hard.