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Posted by: neo | 2010-08-30

Mending a relationship

My sister in-law is a half sibling to my husband, she is the eldest. They share a mother. My husband also has a half brother from his dad’ s side, a younger brother. My late father in-law married the younger brother’ s mom after my mom left him.When my father in law passed away in Feb 2009 I travelled to the funeral with my sister is-law and all was ok. When we left the funeral, she gave me a bag and told me that there are things for the kids, myself and some money (knowing that the funeral was a an expense on our side). My husband and I left a day later than her. And she called me the next day in the morning to enquire if I liked the things she gave me. I told her that I hadn’ t had time to look. Her response was that I don’ t like the stuff she gave me, I mustn’ t act “ rich”  and give them to people I know. She will send me R250(since I am “ poor” ) to courier them back to her. Here I was with a man who is very emotional, just lost his dad, tired form a long trip to and fro the funeral, had no slept well and this lady is just on my case. Then she goes, another thing. I am sending my mom to your house and don’ t ask me that I need to plan with you. She needs to spend time with her son and she has a right to come whenever she wants. PS: my mom in-law didn’ t go to the funeral.
Stunned as I was, she then hung up. She normally used to plan my mom-law’ s trips with me cause she is old and sickly and between the two of us, we knew that the mom has accident’ s in the bathroom and my sister in-law always hired an extra maid for her visits as my helper can only handle my household considering that I have 2 small kids.
I then responded via email saying:”  I don’ t think that you would appreciate it if any of your husband’ s sisters spoke to you in a manner that you spoke to me (PS: She is actually not on speaking terms with her hubby’ s sisters) and 2nd, you are right. Your mom has a right to visit her son but it comes with a responsibility of knowing that you just don’ t tell people that you are coming. You ask and discuss with them. So, it’ s more of a privilege than a right and it would help if you can just run your household and leave mine alone. (based on the fact that she likes telling people what to do and when to do it and how).
She then decided that she will get her mom to visit at her house and get my husband as well to visit (we live in different towns). She did that. Flew my husband to her house so that he can spend time with his mom. All along I had been asking my husband to intervene in this matter and he told that he doesn’ t want to get involved. When he got back, he has a different version on the same event from his sister. That I didn’ t want the mom to come to my house and that I told her to stick her nose where it belongs. I then told my husband that it’ s weird that the topic is now open for discussion after he spoke to his sister and it wasn’ t when I spoke to him about the issue. He then “ switched off” . On his return, he came with my sister in-law’ s 2 kids. Nothing discussed with me. Anyway, 3 days later after this, my sister in-law went overseas (hence the kids were sent to me house) and a day later we got a call that my mom in-law ha d a stroke. My mom in-law lives in Mpumalanga but we asked the ambulance to send her to JNB and we all flew to JNB to my sister in-laws house as arranged with her husband. All hell broke loose. She spoke to me nasty at her house when she got back, gave me funny looks, made painful comments and made it clear that am not allowed to visit the mom in hospital. Based on the fact that she made sure my husband went all 3 visitation times, that not her nor her husband or maid would babysit for me at least once every 2nd day for me to pop in as kids are not allowed in icu. Day before i left, she gave me a letter... saying that am hurting her brother cause he is caught up in the middle and i must know tht her and her mom love him dearly. That hurt people hurt people.... I only responded via email when i got to my house. Saying.... that we both have wronged each other in some way and that we will have to work hard to mend our relationship because there are people being affected. The mom, our kids and my husband off course. She didn’ t respond. I called her 3x and she ignored my calls, I texted her, she ignored my messages and she told her brother that she doesn’ t know wht i want from her. She is minding her business as i told her too...
She now tells people that I abuse her brother..... she digs for information about me .... asks people about me.. i don’ t care about all these. My question is how to a repair this relationship. What do i need to say to her to start a conversation. My kids are missing their cousins and I don’ t know how to handle this as they were used to talking to them on the phone and visiting.... if not for forgiveness sakes, i will be nice to this woman for my kid’ s and husband’ s sakes 9he is always trying to manoeuvre between her and I making sure he doesn’ t offend anyone) and i don’ t like it

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Gosh, what a complex story ! As it started up, it reminded me of one of those school problems, like "If a train left Bloemfontein at 8.30, with 16 cattle on board .... what was the name of the engine-driver ?"
OK, let's see, you seem to be describing a very unpleasant, big-headed and interfering woman, who seems motivated to have arguments with you, and assumes her brother will always side with her. Your husband can't stay out of it, because she always drags him into it, so you need to discuss this calmly with him and sort out what you Both will do, acting together, to sort out all these bad feelings, to set out some ground rules for things like family visits, etc., and to make peace. I doubt that you can sort it out on your own - the Sister-in-law wouldn't let you.
If you describe the situation to your husband as a problem where you need his help to sort it out, rather than as something that makes you angry, he may see that it is the responsibility of both of you to recognize how she makes trouble, and both to sort out the current issues, and to make it hard for her to cause any more trouble like this in the future.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Beth | 2010-08-31

U r one brave I salute u 4 taking the time to try and repair the relationship if it were me I wud have told the bitch shit..and ur husband is weak as he shud side with no matter what..tell him u need his support to solve this issue ....

Reply to Beth
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-08-30

Gosh, what a complex story ! As it started up, it reminded me of one of those school problems, like "If a train left Bloemfontein at 8.30, with 16 cattle on board .... what was the name of the engine-driver ?"
OK, let's see, you seem to be describing a very unpleasant, big-headed and interfering woman, who seems motivated to have arguments with you, and assumes her brother will always side with her. Your husband can't stay out of it, because she always drags him into it, so you need to discuss this calmly with him and sort out what you Both will do, acting together, to sort out all these bad feelings, to set out some ground rules for things like family visits, etc., and to make peace. I doubt that you can sort it out on your own - the Sister-in-law wouldn't let you.
If you describe the situation to your husband as a problem where you need his help to sort it out, rather than as something that makes you angry, he may see that it is the responsibility of both of you to recognize how she makes trouble, and both to sort out the current issues, and to make it hard for her to cause any more trouble like this in the future.

Reply to cybershrink

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