Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Sister In Law

Posted By Anonymous

Dear Sister-In-Law,

Our mother-in-law is on her deathbed, yet you still can't put away the pettiness that has plagued our relationship from day one. From the beginning, we have done our best to welcome you into the family. Yet from the beginning you have treated me coldly, found one reason after another to confirm your belief that we are intentionally excluding you from the family.

Normally, I would shrug this off and continue to take the high road. I would say that if you want to allow your pettiness to keep you from allowing yourself to be welcomed and accepted into our family, then it's your problem. But this time you've crossed the line. And I can't just shrug it off because it is impacting the people I love.

You are driving down here with your husband to visit our mother-in-law. I think this is a good thing. I really do. I am happy you were able to put things aside enough to make the trip. It what is best for both her and you. It is also what is best for your husband, who needs your love and support right now. But, my husband received a call this morning saying that because you are coming, and you can't put aside your petty grievances, you won't be staying with us. And, even though we cleared our schedules to be with family at this time, we are left hanging because you don't want to see us. And even though we canceled our dinner reservations (our first night out since the baby was born to celebrate my birthday) so we could spend time with family, we can't count on that because you do not want to see us.

And again, normally I wouldn't let such things bother me, but here's the catch. You don't want to see us, or spend time with us in this critical time. But you want to use my mother's house for free lodging. Even though it made me angry that you wanted to use my family and I in this way, I called my mother and asked her to open up her house to you, which she was more than willing to do. Because even though I don't think you deserve it, your husband does. And because now, when our Mother-in-law is dying, is not a time for petty grievances. It's a time for family to come together and support each other. So I didn't hesitate to call my mother on your behalf.

And even though it makes my blood boil to know that upon hearing that I was upset about my family being used, you turned everything on me, saying you had to get a hotel instead of staying at my mom's because I was uncomfortable with you staying there (something I never said or even implied). That even after all this, you are still finding ways that things are my fault, that I am the one being unreasonable, that I deserve your ire and stubborn silent treatment.

Given all this, I can still look past your pettiness. I can even swallow my pride and allow you to use me and my family so you and your husband can have a place to stay during this difficult time. But what I can't shrug off is the way your stubborn pettiness is fracturing this family at a time we need to be coming together. I can't look the other way while you prevent my husband from being able to be with his brother right now, to have him to lean on and to be there to be leaned on in return. I can't pretend it's all ok when you are leaving him to go through this without any other family to help him through this.

And it makes me angry that at the same time, you are leaving your husband to go through this without his brother as well. That because your relationship with him is fragile enough that he feels he has no choice but to take your side, even at the expense of his own brother. Because he knows his brother will forgive and always be there (even after all this crap), but you may not. With all that this family has gone through (the messy divorce that has left strain and tension and now the loss of their mother), your stubbornness and pettiness are robbing these guys we love of the only thing they have left -- each other.

We have tried everything! Hand made Christmas gifts? Check. Knitting lessons? Check. Stocking our cabinets with your favorite foods during visits? Check. Homemade whatever you want to eat? Check. Showing you around and doing whatever you want to do? Check. And this is the thanks we get. You have hijacked this family. It is always about you. Even with our mother-in-law dying, when it should be about her and about our husbands and coming together as a family, it's about you.

But I will never say these things to you. I will continue to do my best to keep the peace and not add further strain to our family. I will keep taking the high road and not give you any more "proof" that I'm the bad guy. I will continue to welcome you when you'll let me. Because that's what this family deserves. Maybe one of these days you'll realize that. And for the sake of our husbands, I can only hope you don't cause irreparable harm before then.


Anonymous said...

After this visit is over with, I think you should print this out and mail it to her. Now is not the right time, but later. Later you should send it. Hang in there and I'm saying a prayer for you MIL.

Mr Lady said...

I am right there with the first commenter. Later. You've got to let her know, and what's the worst that will come of it? She'll hate you. She already does. You've got nothing to lose.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

You seem very mature and respectful, while she comes off as selfish and immature.

I think she needs to hear this later... how much more harm can it do? Better for her to hear it straight from you, rather than use any gossip or second hand info to either misinterpret or twist to her advantage.

Candy said...

You're a saint. There is no way I could do what you're doing and continue taking the high road in the face of that kind of hatred. I know you'll make the right choices. I can see it's the kind of person you are. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

i'm almost speechless. i think i would have throttled her long ago if she was part of my family.

Anonymous said...

I have a sister-in-law that has hiijacked my family. We walk on pins and needles and try to make sure everything is to her liking. And yet, it never seems to be good enough. The whole dynamic has changed in our family for the worse since she joined. And I keep my mouth shut too. And sometimes I wonder if I should, but I do for my parents. To keep the peace. All that to say, I totally feel for you and am sorry that you and your husband have to go through this!

The Grown Up Teenager said...

Wow, I couldn't keep my mouth shut as long as you have, so kudos to you for taking the high road, because I honestly couldn't bear it for as long as you have.

That said, I fully agree with the others who said that she needs to see your feelings in a mature, rational way at another time. Obviously, as you have realized, now's not the time, but sometime.

And if you can arrange a boys night with your husband and his brother, woman-free, try to do that, so they have the support of each other without any wife-drama from her end during this hard time.

My thoughts are with your family.

Dawn said...

My condolences for what you and your family are going through. I recently lost my grandfather, and it's painful.

I do not understand these so-called emotional hijackers. Why they feel the need to suck all the energy from everyone else and make others miserable, I'll never know.

Anonymous said...

The first commenter is right.
Wait a month or so, and then send this to her. She will never see the light otherwise and things will just go downhill from here. For the brothers' it.
Good luck. And all the best to you.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been married 17 years. We gave up our life in a different part of the state and moved our children to my husbands hometown when his mother's health became bad. We spent the next 2 years helping Dad with her and she passed away. When it came time for the funeral I got the great pleasure (NOT) of finally meeting my husband's sister. At the time we had been married 14 years and I had never meet her. She came for the funeral, didn't visit before Mom died, and only lived 2 hours away.

We now live with Dad and are taking care of him. I can only imagine what she will attempt to do when he passes away. While she was here for the last funeral she stole stuff before she left. Things that Dad looked and looked for.

I like my friends at least I got to pick them.

OHN said...

Is it a law or something that we ALL have to have at least one relative like this?

You just wrote a post about MY sister-in-law.

You and I must be related.

Anonymous said...

I agree that she sounds self-absorbed and petty. There is just one thing that bothers me about all this, and I swear I am not trying to pick a fight.

But how did she hear that you were upset about the use of your mother's home? If you are going to take the high road (which I think is exactly the right thing to do in this situation)then that means no complaining about her behind her back.

If everything you say about her is true, she is definitely a trouble-maker and is hurting your family. Just be careful that you are not fanning her flames, tempting as it may be.

Anonymous said...

Get over yourself kid. If the MIL was put in her place in the first place you would have nothing to bitch about. Its you r fault you didn't straighten your mother out which put out your poor sister in law. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I think this sounds very one-sided. There is a lot you are not saying and you are definitely not sharing her perspective. I am sure you don't really know what that is. You are doing alot of assuming and you certainly are not being fair.