To ask if there is any way to handle this differently?

(248 Posts)
NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Fri 28-Dec-12 11:44:01

It's a very long story so please bare with me and I don't want to drip feed

My SIL is lovely but has had a very hard life and as a result refuses to go any where near my DH. She won't be in the same room as him and refused to allow him to attend her wedding or any family get together that her and my brother wish to attend (DH, quite unfortunately, looks similar in build and looks to her very abusive ex).

For the last three years this has meant that if my parents or my brother host a family get together DH either can't attend or does attend resulting in a lot of tension and a very upset SIL. If we are hosting one then either only my brother attends or he makes an excuse not to attend. I've no idea whether or not she is seeking help dealing with her past but I hope she is sad

Is it unreasonable to want to attend family gatherings with my DH without worrying about how it will affect SIL? Or to not have my mum or brother asking if I wouldn't mind just bringing DS with me? Or asking me which weekends my DH is working so that they can plan a meet up for when he is?

SIL doesn't have any close family and seems to be thrilled that she's been taken into the fold and is mothered constantly by my mum . Any family gatherings that SIL doesn't attend DH is allowed to attend. I'm starting to feel pushed out of my own family, if that makes sense, since I'm not happy leaving DH behind every time there is a family event sad

DH says he doesn't mind and would rather not attend if attending is going to cause SIL stress. Thinking about it since my brother got married I've attended fewer and fewer family events and have made a lot more effort to do things with my PILs.

* I'm not entirely sure this is the right place for my thread. If not I'll ask for it to be moved.

I'm sorry if this is insensitive but I do think it's very odd behaviour from your SIL and the rest of the family. Do they not care about your DH's feelings?

If all the poor bloke is guilty of is looking like someone she's frightened of, then surely she needs to get some help and he should not be excluded from anything.

Quite bizarre!

Moominsarehippos Fri 28-Dec-12 11:48:40

Is it an issue between the two of them, or is it just the similarity between him and her ex that she can't bear? Are they brother and sister or just in-laws to each other?

If its the former, then they need to work out whatever is in the past, if the latter, then she needs to work on herself. Either way, she can't be haopy with herself to act in such a way.

GentlyGentlyOhDear Fri 28-Dec-12 11:49:46

YANBU that sounds like a really difficult situation for the whole family, but your DH is not her ex and shouldn't be made to feel like he is!
I think you need to maybe talk to your parents and DB about the impact that this is having on your family and on your DS too - surely he must be picking up on the fact that his dad is always absent from family gatherings?!

ImperialSantaKnickers Fri 28-Dec-12 11:50:25

Hi, yes, probably not the best place for thread as AIBU does get lots of traffic but also gets bun-fights...

You're in limbo really aren't you? Until SIL gets over her irrational aversion to your DH, you can't all be comfortable in the same room, and you don't know if she's even trying to get help to deal with this.

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 11:50:44

Sounds to me like there is something more to this, how long has this avoidance been going on?

Your poor DH. And poor you. This is a very strange way to behave. She really does need some help and I think the time has come for you to say something. It isn't right for you and your dh to feel excluded from things when neither of you have done anything wrong.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 11:53:15

This very strange behaviour. I'm sorry, but I just do not understand what your dh is supposed to have done to warrant such an adverse reaction! If it is simply down to a resemblance with someone then she needs to seek help of some description.

Is there more to it?

Fairyegg Fri 28-Dec-12 11:55:15

I also think there is something more to this, that you are probably unaware of op. I almost wouldn't want to know but I suspect if you dig a bit deeper you'll find your answer, but it probably won't be pleasant.

HollyBerryBush Fri 28-Dec-12 11:55:25

Nicely, she sounds two satsumas short of a bag. What does she do all day? Stay indoors just incase she sees someone with a passing resemblance to her ex?

I'm afraid she needs to grow up, sharply, and realise the whole world does not revolve round her and her dramas. That's what she is, a drama queen, who is projecting her issues on to your DH

millie30 Fri 28-Dec-12 11:56:19

I think your parents and DB need to gently explain to your SIL that this situation is not sustainable and possibly encourage her to get therapy for her issues (assuming the only issue is that your DH resembles her ex). Can you try to get them on board by telling them how hurt and isolated you are starting to feel in your own family? I also don't think they are doing your SIL any favours by pandering to this, as in the long run she needs to address her problems to be happy and healthy.

biff23 Fri 28-Dec-12 11:56:57

Your SIL needs some sort of help to work through this. I wouldn't play along with this any longer. You are all making it too easy for her to ignore the situation. You're DH has done nothing wrong, this isn't his problem so he should always be included. It's really up to your SIL to get help or not attend get togethers. Can't really understand why you have gone along with it up to now. You husband should be more important.

Sounds like your parents would rather have their son and daughter in law happy and present at gatherings than their daughter and son in law. It's a shame for you but they've obviously decided she comes before you sad
While everyone dances around SiL and her issues (however bad they may be) she will never make any attempt to be reasonable and accept that your DH is nothing like her ex apart from in looks.
You could either accept it, and give up on any hope of being a "proper family" iyswim because she is wallowing in her past - not very flattering for your brother really, since SiL obviously thinks he would "let something horrible happen" to her if your DH is in the room hmm
or you can tell her to sort herself out, or say you're sorry not to see her at family gatherings, what a shame she will miss them.
Of course, since your parents seem to want her rather than you, the choice probably isn't actually yours to make, they have made it for you some time ago by the sound of it, and chosen her sad

DontmindifIdo Fri 28-Dec-12 11:57:15

I think some strong words need to be had with your parents, she is making them pick between their children-in-law and they are picking her. Say that you feel they are pushing your family out, your dh has done nothing wrong to be treated so badly by his pils (make it clear they are treating him badly, even if he doesn't mind) and if she has the problem why should your dh be the one to suffer?

Sooner or later your ds will notice, ask if they want him to grow up thinking granny hates daddy?

Refuse all invites without your dh, keep saying you are offended. Eventually this will have to be tackled, sil needs help if she's struggling with seeing a man who just looks a bit like her ex but she knows is a completely different person, sweeping her problem under the carpet isn't helping her deal with it.

Unless there is more of a backstory then I think this has to stop. Your SIL does need to get some appropriate help but she can't keep projecting her issues about her ex on to your DH. In the longer run everyone tiptoeing around the issue may be making things worse as SIL is able to dump her negative feelings on your DH instead of getting proper support to deal with them.

I think you also need to speak to your DM and DB and explain that whilst you are understanding of SIL issues, it is beginning to have a negative effect on your relationship with them and with your DS's relationship with them as he is going to start wondering why nobody seems to want Daddy around.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 11:58:44

I think this is bloody awful btw. I cannot help but feel irritated by your sil on reading this. I am trying to be objective, but it's difficult. However I look at it, it's all very twisted that she should have this much influence over your family. Dyswim?

HollyBerryBush Fri 28-Dec-12 12:00:56

What happens exactly if they are in the same room together?

Roasties Fri 28-Dec-12 12:01:02

This sounds very unfair.

I have someone in my family that reminds of my abuser. I posted here about it once for advice and was given the advice to concentrate on the fact that even though he reminded me of him...it was not him . And to look at their differences and not their familiarities

Which was really good advice , would you be able to perhaps a conversation along these lines with your SIL?

whois Fri 28-Dec-12 12:02:58

Your SIl is either seriously mental and therefor she and your entire family are being extremely U to exclude your DH. Or there is something more to this.

Have you asked your brother and parents what the actual fuck is going on and at they are punishing your DH and you by exclusion for the crim of looking like SiLs abusive ex?

SavoyCabbage Fri 28-Dec-12 12:03:05

Oh my goodness, your dh should not be excluded from events on the basis of his physical appearance.

The members of your family who are allowing this situation to exist, need to stop, your husband should not be tangled up in this.

HollyBerryBush Fri 28-Dec-12 12:04:05

Is it unreasonable to want to attend family gatherings with my DH without worrying about how it will affect SIL?

No it isn't - but by doing so you are making her problems, your problems.

She sounds quite manipulative - weedled her way into your mothers affections at your expense - does SIL have any contact with her own family? If not, I think you may find there is a reason for that.

pictish Fri 28-Dec-12 12:05:07

I suspect if she's had a harsh, unkind and unloving past, she is probably quite enjoying having this warm family behind her.
I suspect it's a case of her enjoying the attention OP.

It's absolutely not on!

bradywasmyfavouritewiseman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:06:31

Yanbu.

If I were I would be expecting her to take steps (counselling, cbt etc) to get over this. It seems she is quite happy to carry on excluding your dh.

If she refuses to at least try and fix this, then really she should be attending all the family arrangments. She should miss at least half so your dh can attend.

LovesBeingAtHomeForChristmas Fri 28-Dec-12 12:06:36

What a lovely dh you have. I don't know the answer but it certainly doesn't feel right to me. She needs to get some help. What happens if she is walking down the road or someone gets in a lift who looks similar?

ZebraInHiding Fri 28-Dec-12 12:06:41

I think your family are being quite mean. How sad for you and your dh. sad

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