Building a wall so I don't get hurt
Hi all. This is my first time here. I have known my husband for about 3 years..we were engaged for 1 year and will be married for 1 year in October. Basically, I feel like he is very immature and doesn't know how to solve problems, specifically problems with my in laws. In the beginning all was great between my in laws and myself and things stayed that way. However, just a few months after getting engaged, I began noticing my sister in law saying things to put me down and picking on me, my clothes, etc. At first I didnt say anything to her because I wasnt used to someone doing or saying those things so my instinct wasn't to just reply to her and shut her down. Also, I didnt want problems between me and her because my husband and his parents were so nice and good to me. However, I spent basically my entire engagement period upset and crying because I couldnt comprehend why she was being so mean to me. She managed to pick on me in ways that I didnt know were my weaknesses and so I couldnt defend myself. When I finally told my then fiance, he chalked it up to her joking and told me I will talk to her but I know her..she is very nice and so on. Essentially, he didnt see things how I viewed them...which was the reality that his sister felt threatened by me and felt like I was talking her brother and the attention of the family away from her. She is the only girl and has been spoiled her entire life. I didnt have a problem with that but my problem was when she would go out of her way to put me down when I would not even say 2 words to her. The more I tried to be the bigger and better person, the more she would do and say. Fast forward to my breaking point which was about a couple months before my wedding.. she crossed the line with me attacking my looks and denying she said anything when my fiance confronted her. I swore to him i will not speak to her nor will i go to her house. I was trying to not cause problems because no one would take my side over hers because I was just entering the family and they hadnt known me that well or long. I accepted this as the reality and decided I needed to protect my self because I was letting her get to me which was what she wanted. Basically, i let by gones be bygones but would not engage with her. She then started complaining about me ignoring her to my fiance! His position was being stuck in the middle. I tried my best not to put him in a situation where he felt that way because it is such a difficult position to be in and I would never want him to put me in that position but no matter what she did he refused to accept that she wanted to cause problems. The day of my wedding was the first time i saw her in a couple months. She walked into my wedding with a tiara on her head... Enough said. Just goes to further prove my point that she is desperately seeking attention. Oddly enough, it didnt bother me because I viewed it as a pathetic attempt and she was basically the laughing stock of my wedding. Mind you, we are both 27 years old. After I got married we opened a new page and got along fine for a short while but I still didnt trust her as far as I could throw her. When I didnt call her every day and kiss her a** like everyone else in her life did, she got upset and began saying things about me to my parents in law. Enough was said that they now turned against me. They accused me of holding on to my husband as if someone was taking him away from me..they accused me of purposely trying to do things to get under my mother in law's skin. At this point, I was just married for a couple months maybe 3. My husband didnt believe I was guilty of what they accused me of but he did not know how to make them stop attacking me and why they turned against me. I was so overwhelmed because my parents in law lived with me for about a month and this is when all the problems happened. I ended up with severe weight loss...didnt eat for days at a time...extreme nausea dehydration and ultimately, anxiety attacks that landed me in the hospital. I couldnt believe why I was being so bullied and attacked because I swear I did not do any of what I was accused of. I tend to be extremely sensitive and although it hurts me most of the time to be so, it is what makes me such a compassionate person towards others. I would never try to hurt someone purposely even if they hurt me. It is not in my nature and I end up feeling guilty because I have tried to go against my better nature in the past and it has only ever backfired. A few weeks after my in laws left my house and traveled back home, the damage was done. I was separated from the family and thrown to the outside. My sister in law would speak low of me and make jokes about me to my husband. One time i read what she wrote about me and it broke my heart because all he had to say to her was something along the lines of hey thats my wife cut it out haha. He threw in the haha so that she doesnt take it too seriously and get upset because God forbid he upsets her by telling her the truth and something she doesnt want to hear. I suffered another anxiety attack and stayed in a episode for days. At this point, I felt like my husband did not defend me, not just in that situation but many situations that happened prior. I started feeling hatred and resentment towards him. I didnt want to be with me. I wanted to hurt him in any way I could.. Worst of all, he didnt even understand why or he pretended not to just so he wouldnt have to admit fault. The reason it hit me so hard was because all I did and do is defend him in front of his face and behind his back. I was so good to him and took care of him and he just didnt acknowledge any of it. He just want to upset his family and it didnt matter if they upset me, that is how I felt. He would tell me he is stuck in the middle. Although he didnt want his family upset, he didnt want me upset, as well. he tried not to get involved so that he doesnt have to take sides but that didnt help the situation. We went through a very rough patch all within less than 6 months of our marriage. It was as though his family was rooting for us to fail. They just wanted him back and felt like i took him and his attention. I was the person that would tell him to go visit his sister because he hadnt seen her in a long time even though her and I didnt get along. I would constantly try and tell him bring us together so we can talk this out but he never knew how to go about things. He couldnt put his foot down and stand up to any of them. Maybe because he wasnt used to having to do that...maybe it was because he never expected to see this behavior from them..or worst of all maybe because he is just incapable of doing so even if it is what needs to be done and if it is the right thing. I would always tell him I dont want u to fight with anyone but u need to speak to them and show them u r serious. He wasnt realizing that what they were doing and saying to me, they were doing and saying to him. He was the one that told me my respect is his respect and we are one. He even tried telling his sister if she tries to disrespect me, then she is disrespecting him. Even though she told him ok, her actions remained the same. After everything, I was still bothered because he was bothered by the fact that his family doesnt get along with me. Recently, I spoke to my mother in law overseas and she seemed fine with me, like a different person. I figured she was trying for the sake of her son which I could appreciate and so I tried for the sake of my husband. When it came to my sister in law, who lives by us, I saw her in the street randomly and she would walk right by me without saying hi. She even saw my mother 2 times and walked right by her like she was nothing to her. My mother is 50 years old and the sweetest woman you will ever meet. SHe doesnt have a mean bone in her body and she was always so nice to my sister in law and parents in law. She would call and visit them. When my mother told me what happened, i wasnt upset because it was laughable. My sister in law was embarrassing herself. She was escalating things and creating more problems. Months later, my husband approached me about reconciling with her. I reminded him that I am not the one that has the problem and so as long as he doesnt admit that she has a jealousy problem towards me and that is why she is behaving so, i will not do anything for his or her benefit. To my surprise, he admitted to me that yes she is jealous but he doesnt know what to do and the way she treats me is not right. As long as my husband was understanding and communicating to me the reality of the situation and me and him were on the same page, I was willing to help him out and so I told him yes I am open to inviting her over to my house. At first she didnt want to but he pressed her on it and she eventually came over and seemed to be making an effort. We had pleasant conversation and at the end of the night, i told her not to be a stranger and come over whenever. She, in turn, told me the same. The next time I saw her which was a couple days after at her house, she seemed different. She wasnt as welcoming. The day after that, we all went out together and the entire time we were together she did not say anything to me besides hi and bye. All of this is front of my husband. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he must be realizing this. His words to me were if she ignored you then I will say something to her...but thus far she is testing her limits and he is not saying anything to her, yet again. The 3 year old cycle is beginning again. Although, I will say this time around I know her better and do not put anything past her. Also, she doesnt get to me how she used to. A year ago, her ignoring me would get me into tears but i dont deserve that. Now, it barely phases me/ I guess what really bothers me is that things are clearly happening right in front of my husbands face and because he doesnt like confrontation, he does not and will not say anything. Not unless I force him to. But I am sick and tired or constantly having to force him to stand up and stand with what and who is right. I have reached a point where I cannot depend on him. He has proven to me time and again that he doesnt treat me the way he should. I treat him better and i defend him to the grave and he will even tell you that he is 100% certain that I am genuine with him and defend him and stand up for him. I got married because I wanted to have a partner in life and someone I can depend on. To top things off, I suspected she was pregnant from the last time I saw her but wasnt sure. I overheard her saying something to my husband and confirmed she was in fact pregnant...about 4 months. She didnt say anything to me the last 3 times I saw her but worse than that, my husband didnt say anything to me for the last 4 months. Last time she was pregnant was right before my wedding and he immediately told me. She ended up losing that baby and I visited her in the hospital that time. but this time, I suspect she told him not to tell me further distancing me from the family. I would constantly tell my husband I am on the outside and he would ask me why I feel that way. As if enough hadnt happened, this was the cherry on top. I am a strong believer in not telling anyone about pregnancy until u pass 3 months, however, I know she purposely told him not to tell me just to make me feel left out and so it would bother me. Worst of all, he went along with her and this time, helped her out in making me feel like an outsider. It has been over a week now since she first came to my house, and although I know she is pregnant no one has said anything to me. I suspect my husband doesnt know how to tell me because he feels guilty and is waiting for it to come out of me, like always. He never brings up any situation that is attached to conflict especially when he knows he is not at right nor is his sister at right. This is the reason I havent mentioned anything to him. I want him to man up and tell me. As for her, since she didnt want me to know nor care if I knew, I imagine she could care less if I congratulate her. Her intentions were to use my husband as a tool to hurt me. She may think she succeeded but to be honest, I do not care. I do not have the time or energy to waste on being upset over her not including her. The only thing I want is for my husband to recognize her intentions. Knowing him, he wanted to stay out of it, like always. I do believe he loves and cares for me dearly. I, also, believe he is not capable of putting an end to all of this nonsense and I do not know if he ever will be. Do I ignore her efforts and continue to be the better person? Do I give her a taste of her own medicine? I really need advice. If I knew he would appreciate my efforts of trying to fix the relationship with her then I can comfortably just go along being better than her. But if he is still blind to her behavior, then all I am doing is for nothing.
I'm curious: do you have any sisters?
yes i have 6 sisters
The reason I asked is that you seemed to not be able to handle SIL's antics and attention-seeking. Surely, with 6 sisters, you know the drill: choose your battles.
Your husband is not blind to her behavior. To him, they are either an acceptance of her life-long behavior in family dynamics or he figures they are not important enough to be confronted, since this would cause conflict within the family. I doubt if he will ever "stand up" to his sister since that would take an immense amount of energy. He dismisses it. He sees it as a joke.
How did you find out she was pregnant? Do you suppose she is hesitant to announce this, since she lost a pregnancy before? How do you know he knows? Why do you think him not mentioning it is a betrayal? Why do you need her approval or her acceptance? This girl is never going to be close to you. (well, maybe when you both get older and have children)
I'd like to suggest counseling for you in order to become more comfortable around unreasonable people. You need someone you can talk to about this to learn how to smile and let all the other stuff go.
Your focus should be on your relationship. Don't allow her so much power in your life and in your marriage. Try not to make her so IMPORTANT to you and your marriage.
I agree with everything you are saying but I have never been picked on the way she picked on me and me ignoring her attempts to put me down and trying to be the better person went unrecognized, I felt. My husband tells me she is small minded...she is exactly like a child and so on. However, he agrees that certain things she does and says are out of line. The bottom line is that he wants us to be close like sisters but I can't see that happening when she acts so immaturely and I cannot bring myself to stoop to her level. I feel so hurt because I allowed her to take advantage of my kindness and silence for the sake of my husband and the end of it all I feel like I am constantly doing so much for him and putting up with much more than he would ever put up with for me. There was a time when me and her were actually close. It lasted all of 1 month. She was being super nice and I saw a different side of her so I know she is capable of being better than she her antics but no one is requiring her to and so she does and says what she wants because she knows she will get away with it. She has a 45 year old husband who calls her a child to her face and who happens to respect me greatly. Me and him had great conversations when I used to go over her house and I know this contributed to her feelings toward me as well. In the beginning my inlaws would constantly compliment me in everything from how I dress to the way I think down to my cooking. Again, this was all attention off of her.
About the sisters thing, you bring up a good point. The thing is my sisters and I have never put each other through all of those things. Of course there were arguments but we never fought over things like clothes or attention or had jealousy towards each other, like maybe other siblings do. The last time I had an argument with one of my sister was when I was in high school..over 10 years ago. All my life I never really had any close friends because I had my sisters so I didnt get out there and realize how people were. Being so trusting with my family made me so trusting towards others that when I did try having friends I would get betrayed by them. The girls would end up talking about me and one even made up a complete in depth story about me. Looking back, it is all nonsense but I realized I dont need anybody besides my family. And so, maybe that contributed to my experience with my sister in law...my lack of knowledge about the type of people out there and, like you said, not knowing how to deal with unreasonable people. Although I must say I am really learning because knowing I can be around her, and her trying all of the same things again is not having the affect on me that it used to. She is not able to shut me down emotionally like she used to. Theres that life experience!
I did try and seek therapy for a few months because I knew I needed it. I mean I was being so overly sensitive and didnt know why. After months of sessions, I came to the conclusion that growing up with a strict father who never had a compassionate relationship with us because of his old fashioned and objection to emotion way of thinking left me feeling hollow in the sense that I need others approval. Also, he would scream at us and he basically instilled fear into us so much so that we would avoid asking any questions even as simple as going to the store for fear of rejection. I didnt grow up knowing how to brush things off or defend myself. I grew up with a temper because I didnt know how to communicate and so all that built up inside me causing severe emotional issues later in life. Yea i guess it makes sense.
About the pregnancy thing. As I said i did suspect it when I first saw her. However, I didnt ask her because I didnt want to indirectly call her fat in case she wasnt. I found out she was because I went through my husbands phone and read the conversation where she told him she was having cravings and he responded to her casually, proving that he knew from before. Also, she told him she is having a boy. I don't think she didnt tell me because she lost the prior pregnancy because the day I went to her house, she wore a skin tight shirt and her belly was coming out a bit. Again, she does have a belly, so I was only 90% sure but still didnt ask. But the fact is she didnt try to hide it. Knowing her and the way she thinks, because all she does and says are just ways to bother a person...I am telling you to trust me on this because that is how she operates. I felt it was a betrayal on my husbands part because I wouldve wanted him to come tell me instead of allowing her to continue trying to make me feel like an outsider. He constantly tells me I are not an outsider and to stop saying that. But how can he now recognize his sisters huge attempt to make me feel so, even further? I wouldve wanted him to tell her "no i will not hide it from my wife because she is no stranger she is part of the family." However, he didn't. He confuses me all the time because he is the one that tells me u are part of this family too and me and you are one. Not to say he didnt feel some type of way about having to hide this from me, but again...no action on his part. Yet again allowing her to get away with whatever. He refuses to put an end to this cycle. For me, if I walk out the door he will forget me but he will never forget his family because they are his roots. The reason I am trying to make peace and have everyone get along is to draw him closer to me because so as long as there is distance between me and them, he will never be as content as he can be in our relationship because he is lacking that part...his family is so important to him and my fear is that if they ever take a stand against me, he will listen. I dont want to be maried with children 10 years down and have them cause problems knowing they can say what they want to him about me and he will chose them over me even if they are in the wrong.
As for your last statement about letting go, this is what I am trying to do. I dont want to lose who I am or change because someone treated me badly..I feel like me overcoming that and staying true to who I am is more powerful than merely giving in to her behavior and starting to do what she does by stopping to her level. It really has been a life lesson. I am now able to remove about 90% emotion from situations pertaining to her. I have learned to just smile and be. If she does not want to speak to me, then I will not speak to her. She cannot even stand to look at me and part of me wants to force myself in her face because I know if bothers her but part of me feels like hey if she cant stand me then the right thing to do is not force myself on her or into her home because it bothers her so much. This has been the type of internal struggle I have dealt with since meeting her. If she was anyone else beside my sister in law, I never wouldve looked at her twice. But hey life throws you curveballs and you have to deal. One of the biggest challenges I have is dealing with unreasonable people, like you said. Normally I would walk away and not give them the time of day but now that I am forced to, I am learning. Hopefully, I get stronger as the days come.