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  1. #1
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    Default Can't handle my sister in law

    I think I wrote a similar post a couple of years ago when I was pregnant the first time, but it seems to be rearing its head again now that I'm pregnant again (and feeling super emotional).

    My partner's sister has had issues ever since I can remember - at least the entire 11 years I've been with my partner. She got mad when we first moved in together because she felt he was abandoning her. Then again when we went overseas a few years later. When we bought a house, she had a meltdown because their mum invested with us and she didn't think she'd get the same treatment (she would).

    When I was pregnant the first time, she'd just broken up with a boyfriend and basically became suicidal. So a lot of my early first pregnancy was spent worrying about her.

    Their brother died last year, which made her even worse. She'd met a new guy but they were on and off - and she was a complete mess when they were off.

    She went overseas and then came back early, showing up out of the blue on our doorstep with the guy (back on). She randomly comes over unannounced to complain about how bad her life is (she has a job, a ton of money, a great family and a guy that wants to be with her) but never answers my partner's texts or calls when he enquires after her (even though she often texts when it suits her).

    She wanted to commemerate their brother's death by coming over for dinner - which was fine. But she ended up leaving before dinner. She then reorganised for the next day, but then texted at the last minute to say she and her guy wanted to stay for a few days because they were about to move into a new place and the existing place was moldy (?). So I texted her and said that's totally fine, but it would be appreciated if she filled us in a bit more often. Because until that point, she'd been going on about how she had no idea what to do with her life and just wanted to 'disappear'. But she was actually looking for somewhere to live with her boyfriend, going to Uni and being offered a new job - stuff that someone who wants to 'disappear' doesn't do. She then didn't show up when she was supposed to, and when I asked why she texted to say my partner knows why and it's all too hard. It turns out my comment about asking her to be more forthcoming was so upsetting she couldn't possibly face me.

    Their brother's death affected me greatly as well. I knew him for 10 years and was a mess for a lot of last year. But she treats me like an outsider, never talks to me properly, but feels like she can come to our house whenever she wants.

    My partner understands my frustration but is worried if he says anything to her, it will push her over the brink. I just feel so helpless because while I feel she is disrespectful and manipulative, I also worry about her mental health. She refuses to see a counseller, and both her parents are worried about her, but they all tiptoe around the issue. It's doing my head in and I don't want to be stressed out while pregnant. It does also affect my partner's and my relationship at times because he gets defensive on her behalf, even though he does agree with me - but he feels trapped in the middle. It's not even that I'm upset for me half the time - I'm upset how she treats him because I can see how worried he is. I just don't know what to do. There have been so many other moments like this where she's texted my partner about wanting to kill herself (in a roundabout way) and then not getting in touch for several days - and it's turned out she went away with her guy for a holiday or something (that did actually happen).

    Any advice? Even just a virtual hug?

  2. #2
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    I couldn't read and not reply. I wish I had words of wisdom but I'm sorry I don't. I do have *hugs* for you though

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    misskm  (07-03-2012)

  4. #3
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    Oh you poor thing, that's a tough situation to be in. Sounds to me like she has a poor me attitude and is acting out for attention. I think it's great that you were honest with her even though she didn't react too well to it. Perhaps you can try and catch up with her one on one to explain how you feel and your concerns for her?? The fact that she has threatened suicide in the past I don't blame family members for treading lightly around her but surely you can still be honest with a gentle approach.

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    misskm  (07-03-2012)

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    Thank you for reading - and replying. She doesn't let anyone tell her anything negative at all ever - and either physically leaves, hangs up or pretends she never received a message. She also lies a lot. She has not spoken to her dad for several years because he e-mailed his concerns to her one time. She almost never speaks to her mum (although her mum does persist and keeps calling her to make sure she's OK - but she gets treated awfully). She really only listens to my partner, and he's worried that she'll cut him off if he says anything - and then she might do something stupid.
    Once, I tried saying something in person. She had come to our house and complained about her life for well over an hour and it was really draining (and it wasn't like it was a one off - and she didn't want anyone to suggest a solution to her problems). So I said something like 'how about we focus on some happy stuff now?' I tried to say it as gently as possible, but she stormed out crying and didn't get in touch for a few weeks. I really wouldn't mind if she didn't want to be a part of my life, but as she and my partner are close, I have to keep putting up with it. She is also really good with my son.

    *sigh* I just feel like this is going to go on forever...

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    Talk about being between the rock and the hard place... I hope it will work out soon. How old is she? My sister was really unstable like this until she hit 31 - now she has a partner, a family, a hope and is in a much better place.

    I am not saying it is a phase, they dont go for that long! But hopefully she will grow up/out of it? i dont mean that in a bad way...

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    misskm  (07-03-2012)

  9. #6
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    hugs to you! i don't know what to say, it's a tough one... you poor thing, having to deal with her when you want to just enjoy your pregnancy. I'd try and have the least amount to do with her as possible.... maybe when she comes over to complain, just feign a headache and go and read upstairs or something. ? or even a relaxing bath.. and leave her to your partner to deal with...

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    misskm  (07-03-2012)

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpac View Post
    Talk about being between the rock and the hard place... I hope it will work out soon. How old is she? My sister was really unstable like this until she hit 31 - now she has a partner, a family, a hope and is in a much better place.

    I am not saying it is a phase, they dont go for that long! But hopefully she will grow up/out of it? i dont mean that in a bad way...
    That's reassuring If she can settle down with this guy once and for all and convince him to have kids (I know that's a huge thing for her, and he's not in a hurry) then she probably will be a lot happier. I think she has really low self esteem amongst other issues. She's just turned 30 - so there's hope!

    But thank you for understanding! My partner can only say so much. He doesn't get how the hormones make me a bit crazier than usual too. I really feel like I'm less able to put up with unsatisfactory situations at the moment.

    And Minchi - I think that might be the way to go - avoid seeing her if possible for a while. I've kind of been doing that lately anyway because I can't be bothered listening to the negative ranting.

    Thanks again. You guys rock

  12. #8
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    SuperGranny is offline Worlds best grandma! Winner 2012 - Most Helpful Member
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    hi misskm, I think your SIL has major mental health problems. Depression, anxiety, I dont know what, but she is not managing her life at all, and because she is out of control, she tries to get everyone else to spin with her. Try to avoid her as much as you can, without being rude or causeing her any upset. I would search the library for books about depression or whatever other mental issues you can find. It seems to me the whole family knows she has problems but everyone is waiting for some disaster to happen and 'the professionals ' to step in. Perhaps when you find some ways to help her, you can get your partner onside with you, then eventually the family will be able to help her. Im curious, how did the brother die?? If that was a shock, unexpected, could it have escalated her mental issues. ?? Remember , you dont have to be her keeper, you have to look after yourself and your family, and your baby on board, try not to stress about her. Marie.
    Marie ~ mum to four adults,
    DS 1 -34, DD 1 & 2 - 33, DS 2 -29
    grandma to 4 grandsons and two granddaughters
    GS 13 yrs, GS - 8 yrs, GS - 6 yrs, GS -2yrs , GD - 2yrs and brand new granddaughter.


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    bpac  (07-03-2012)

  14. #9
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    It sounds like such a difficult situation! Is it possible that you could ask a mental health care professional about what you and you DP can do to try and help her?

    I hope things get better for her (and thereby you) soon.
    DH 28 ME 26
    AND...
    If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? - Ed Dussault

  15. #10
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    Her mother has dragged her to a psychologist once (after the first major break-up with the latest bf) because she really did seem suicidal - but she blamed all her problems on her mother and said she felt abandoned when she was a child (the parents had split up and the mum had started seeing a new guy - who the sister treated very, very poorly - which meant the mum had to see her guy outside the house all the time).

    Her mother continued seeing a psychologist to learn techniques on how to deal with her - but has been advised to just step back and stay as neutral as possible to all her complaining and accusations.

    But the sister refused to go back, and the psychologist said she didn't think she was suicidal, and was just naturally grieving the end of a relationship.

    The brother died after a long term illness, but he had been living overseas for a couple of years, so I think we all felt like it came out of nowhere - we had been expecting him back in the country a few months later.

    I have spoken to a friend who used to be a counseller and who comes from a family of psychiatrists, and she believes that she's just putting on an act for us. She definitely has mental health issues, but still functions quite well in society most of the time. I have tried e-mailing her several times over the years and tried to empathise, but she ignores me. So I'm not sure if there's much more we can do other than keep going on like we are. I told my partner I would rather he socialise with her without me for a while.

    But thank you so much again for your feedback. I just wanted to explain that we have tried in the past to do something about the situation.


 

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