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  1. #1
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    Abusive In-law situation

    Hello,

    I'm new here and I coming because I'm having some issues with my in-laws.

    Or to-be-in-laws. I am not married to my boyfriend, but it is on the horizon.

    I met my boyfriend through his sister at work. She had put me up on such a high pedestal at first, and I thought she was so pretty and charming, I was delighted to get to know someone like her. I'd truly thought I'd found a kindred spirit and we seemed to be working towards a friendship. She introduced me to her brother thinking, I think, that he and I would get along (we were both painters with a similar sense of humor) and that she'd love to have me as a sister in law. But before we started dating, it was like I did something, and she lost interest. I cannot pin-point what, but I remember her being hard to track down, a lot cooler towards me, and her seeming disappointed when I finally told her.

    Fast forward to a year and a half later, and she has completely cut off contact with him and with me.

    I was invited to his mother's birthday, and she had been very distant and cool towards me at the time. She approached me privately and told me not to come. I wondered if it might be because of some family tensions and tried to assure her that I was completely ok with everything, had been filled in and that there would be no judgement on my end. She said that wasn't it, but just didn't think it was a good idea for me to come. Given the coolness at the time, and assurance it had nothing to do with the family, I assumed she just didn't want me there. I told my boyfriend I felt that going would make her uncomfortable, and I was going to sit it out. He confronted her and told her it was not her business to come to me about his guests. She apparently lost it later that night and threw her husband's xbox controller.

    The Monday after, I e-mailed her letting her know it was a misunderstanding (I came to understand she was very likely embaressed that I'd see her mom was an alcoholic - even though she knew I knew) and that I didn't hold any ill will. That I thought very highly of her. She said "no worries" about it and I thought we were ok.

    The next family event she ignored me in a way that was obvious to everyone, but denied having any issue. Her mom encouraged her to invite me to her baby shower, and she did, but it was awkward and she sat away from me (and her mother) the entire night.

    A year later, we seemed to be going in a good direction and she seemed to be warming up to me again, despite the odd comment here and there, and little things like not including me in any photos of the family. I had assumed I was over sensitive to those things, and was delighted that we seemed to be going in a good direction.

    One night while my boyfriend, her husband, and her other brother were gone winter camping, I was invited for a girls night. I was very excited. However, it ended very badly. This sister-in-law exploded at me after I called her on a comment about one of my boyfriend's exes that was a clear put down to me. She told me I was reading into it, that she didn't like me, and that she'd better like who her brother dates, because no one is coming between her and him. Then she started to go on about I had ruined her mother's birthday (and she was "pregnant at the time and the stress could have made her lose her baby"), told my boyfriend she'd told me not to come when she told me not to and was therefore untrustworthy and she'd never felt the same about me since, and then exploded into an hour long tirade where she got in my face about all of my faults and revealed a number of things to her remaining family that I'd told her in confidence. I literally got about 3 sentences in within that span of time and no one could seem to get her to let me talk. Her other sister in law seemed to think the outburst needed to happen to get it offer her chest, but her mom kept trying to intervene on my behalf to get her to stop.

    She at one point called me a "F*ing drama queen" and slammed the door on me and shut off the lights. She screamed at her baby for crying too much and then, when she continued out in the living room, her mom asked her why she needed to tear everyone down (she'd moved onto her) and she attacked her mom, pummeling her until the other sister in law pulled her off.

    I was in the room overhearing this and was scared that I was going to be physically assaulted next. I wanted to call the police, but was too scared. I had to keep my sister in another province on the line with me in case she tried to come in. The mother left and I was an hour out of town with no car and had to call my brother to come get me at 3 am.

    I was really shaken up and began to have PTSD symptoms afterwards (I was crying a lot, losing sleep, very jumpy, replaying the night, unable to concentrate etc.) according to my psychologist, and felt really hopeless. What was worse was that the family seemed to be trying to get my boyfriend and I to get over it because "family forgives", before I even got a legitimate apology. She apologized on Facebook, but when I didn't respond quickly enough because I was still in shock, she would block and then unblock me.

    I eventually told her I appreciated the apology, and that we'd make time to talk soon. When she finally returned to work from maternity leave, I asked if we could talk, which she brushed off as being too busy with other friends for. She told me to remind her if she forgot. I was annoyed by this. The next day she created a fuss when my department was very short staffed and I wasn't answering her calls quickly enough, came and cut to the front of the line and da public display where she threatened to call my manager.

    My boyfriend called her again, asked her why she couldn't just be civil with me and she told him he could be like their estranged sister, and has since cut him off. The family continues to centre around her, but we don't get to attend many functions, though I can see them privately very rarely.

    He is of the opinion that she is used to getting her own way and that he'd asked her to be civil to me three times for his sake, and she simply couldn't be. I have stayed with him because I love him and this has really been our only issue, and he has stood up for me. I also know that he is just as frustrated with his family.

    But I am wracked about this at times, and incredibly confused. I go between anger and self-blame.

    I would love to be able to talk to someone who's been through any similar situation.

  2. #2
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    Re: Abusive In-law situation

    I hope you and your bf can move far away from his sister toxicity and just live your lives without the drama ok His sister will not change so it would be best to stay clear of her. Don't blame you for anything you tried to get along with her but she does not want that she wants what she is getting drama attention so walk away from her
    I am glad your bf is there for YOU hugs
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  3. #3
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    Re: Abusive In-law situation

    Hazel,

    I am not clear on what connection there is between your boyfriend's family and your place of work....are you employed by his family?

    Specifically, which member or members of the family are you in conflict with..the mother, the sister and/or others?

    He is of the opinion that she is used to getting her own way and that he'd asked her to be civil to me three times for his sake, and she simply couldn't be.
    Does your boyfriend have difficulty dealing with his family on an adult to adult basis or is he still regarded and dealt with as a child?

    She apologized on Facebook, but when I didn't respond quickly enough because I was still in shock, she would block and then unblock me.
    Does this family communicate person to person or is communication done via social media?

    You may find some interesting insights in the following article:

    How to Handle Your Monster-in-Law | Psychology Today

  4. #4
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    Re: Abusive In-law situation

    I am not clear on what connection there is between your boyfriend's family and your place of work....are you employed by his family?
    Thanks for asking, Steve. We both worked in the same department in a hospital, which is how I met her. She left that department to return to an old job at another building (still in the hospital), where I later ended up also being employed. I made the switch when she first went off on maternity leave, but the two departments we were in (I've since moved in light of this and for more opportunity) needed to call each other to coordinate various things.
    Her second day back was when she caused the scene at a desk where I was working with patients. I normally have 2 people working with me, but was by myself that day, and very swamped, and so was dealing with the people in front of me, and she was frustrated that I wasn't answering quickly enough.

    It was not a high priority issue she wanted resolved by any means, especially when you're short staffed. She wanted a fax sent. It could have waited until later in the day. The usual procedure for the person who was replacing her while she was on leave would be to leave a message and I would call her back. This SIL not only left a message, she sent an email to my co-worker only CCing me on it, asking why she couldn't reach us, then she came upstairs and cut in line, threatening to call my manager. I think she was looking for a fight. It shook me up, though, and I needed to leave momentarily to regain my composure since I found her intimidating. That was the final straw for me because I was concerned she may jeopardize my job.

    Specifically, which member or members of the family are you in conflict with..the mother, the sister and/or others?
    The SIL. I got along well with the others, and the mother likes me. But they have a closer relationship with her in some ways than with my boyfriend, and he has a tendancy to be almost forgotten at times, while she's often the centre of most of the focus. They've said they thought she needed to apologize and whatnot, but the family is more concerned with getting things back to looking normal, rather than actually being functional. Their way is to just try to move on after and rationalize it away but not actually seriously talk about the anger. She's since spent a lot of time with his brother's family, but we usually end up sitting out on family events because of that. They don't seem to contact us much. I am aware I am an outsider, so they're more wary of me, but they seemed to like me at the time. They just rationalize her behaviour as "stress" or whathaveyou.

    Does your boyfriend have difficulty dealing with his family on an adult to adult basis or is he still regarded and dealt with as a child?
    Is he still regarded as a child? In some ways. Or in a stunted role, I think. This SIL would like to be able to pick who he dates, and have it be someone she's good friends with. The mother and brother are very hands off and encouraging which was nice.

    My boyfriend is the most level headed of the bunch, but his role in the family was to just leave when chaos was brewing. I understand this is how he coped growing up, and his needs seemed to come last, while the sisters and mom, for instance, would fight it out. His dad was abusive to his brother, but there was a divorce before my boyfriend was too old, and that brother left as well.
    They are used to my boyfriend not causing much of a fuss, and so now that he is voicing more anger, she is convinced I've turned him against her since I told her that she told me not to come to his mom's birthday. That his anger towards him was spurred on by me and that I "have all the contrl" now. He's told her he's not my puppet, but a lot of the burden of making everyone ok again has been put on me to not say things to him that she's doing. When I do I'm a "tattle tale". Yet she waits until we're alone and then does it. She'll never admit to him that she does it until presented with a lot of evidence. He knows she does because the other family members can back it up, but even when I tried to call him before the camping night incident escalated, I was guilted by the other SIL for "ruining his camping night" (not in so many words, but essentially) and not sorting it out amongst ourselves. I wish I had been able to contact him, because it DID get way worse. And I was by myself, an hour away from home with no car, with people who are still strangers more or less.


    Does this family communicate person to person or is communication done via social media?
    Face to face, but also on social media. She's never actually called me, though. She called her brother. When I finally called her, that's when I got the brush off, even though she seemed sympathetic online.
    Very confusing.


    You may find some interesting insights in the following article:
    Thanks! I'll check it out!
    Last edited by Retired; July 30th, 2014 at 03:05 PM. Reason: reformat Quotes

  5. #5
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    Re: Abusive In-law situation

    Hazel,

    First a formatting tip when using Psychlinks Forum software (vBulletin): When you want to include someones comments as a quote in your reply, copy the quoted text, paste it into the Reply Message Composition Window, highlight the quote and click on the "Quote Tool"Quote.JPG to achieve the result in your post I took the liberty of editing..

    To comment on your response:

    Is he still regarded as a child? In some ways. Or in a stunted role, I think. This SIL would like to be able to pick who he dates, and have it be someone she's good friends with.
    This may be the key to your problem! The sister in law obviously has a distorted view of her role in your boyfriend's life and it would seem to be an issue he needs to deal with directly with this woman.

    His life is his own and he his choices are his to make, and not to be second guessed by another family member. She needs to reorient her thinking to accept that your boyfriend is an adult and she needs to be dealing with him in an adult capacity, respecting his privacy, his choices and his boundaries.

    You may have to re-evaluate your own role in your relationship with this man, and he may have to re-evaluate his own relationship with his family members. Everyone may have to have a face to face discussion (not on social media but in person, face to face) to set some ground rules and some boundaries.

    The article I suggested may have some helpful suggestions to negotiate some boundaries.

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