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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Murder In Mind...

I feel a few words of explanation may be in order after my Six Word Week posting - Explication, as les Francais say...

I have a chequered history with my in-laws, or out-laws, as I prefer to think of them.

Father-in-law in his eighties, still giving us grief. Treated mother-in-law badly, started an affair with the mother of my husband's friend the month she died. She was then pregnant to her husband. She's still with him, her husband that is... He left his first family for an affair with my mother-in-law whom he never married... All this remained hush-hush in the family for around forty years. He never saw the children again. They were left saddened, we found out from an aunt years later... Silence. Pictures in their grand-mother's photo albums cut in half, that kind of thing! He has lived all his life in pursuance of the better deal, woman-wise. Chauvinist. Charmer. Intelligent. Greater-than-thou attitude. Politics-crazy. A pain in the proverbial.

Sister-in-law I met in College - Two husbands, three kids. Chronically depressed, occasional alcoholic. Doom-monger and stress-giver. It's all someone else's fault, never hers. Has never sought counselling. Probably addicted to anti-depressants. Never divorced from her second husband, now a legal citizen of this country after marriage to her. Pays no upkeep towards his little daughter - But takes three holidays a year to his and his fiancee's countries... Not holidays, to his mind. He works illegally, and fails to pay tax in this country. Drives a car without licence or insurance... Sister-in-law whines but never acts on any advice, especially from me. Is a right royal pain in the proverbial with everyone but men through whom she lives her life.

She has ruined all but my last three Christmases with her histrionic breakdowns and selfish demands. Sectioned once. Many crises, many drink-related. The week I lost my dad she drank herself stupid in public and almost lost custody of her daughter. Never allowed me to have a decent relationship with my niece or nephews even though I wanted to be a decent aunt to them.

Never says sorry, or apologises. For anything. Not especially self-aware.

Things have been quiet for a time. She is now in another relationship and, until it breaks down, will be out of our hair. Temporarily.

'Phone rang on Friday night - It's mid-winter January. I hate the phone ringing late. The 'phone ringing late is a portent of death and disaster to me, experience shows... She could have rung at any time, chooses not to. I answered the 'phone.

She always makes me feel awkward and so I stiffen my reserve. She eventually tells me that her father has ruined yet another car through his reckless and devil-may-care attitude to what he owns, and needs two thousand pounds to fix the engine. Wonders if we can help out? He doesn't know she's asking us.

I have no ready cash. I am no cash-cow. I am in debt to my late father's house and its upkeep. It's not yet let to tenants or on the market to be sold. I have a son in College (so has she, her eldest). I am about to be made redundant from work with no real or full-time employment option in sight. I am paying my way through part-time College and the therapy course... My own home needs repairs and maintenance - Badly. I have no kitchen ceiling, or kitchen to speak of, and wild-at-heart electrics!

I tell her so.

She feels no empathy with anyone but her own concerns, and her silences speak volumes, "I do not believe you. You are hiding the truth from me. How can you not comply. You are more well-off than I have ever been. You are a liar. This is our right! You owe us..."

I cannot yet forgive her yet, for she will never, ever let me be. I owe them nothing.

Advice please?

Fhina is in her Therapy Room... Rocking.

Knock gently, s'il te plait?


Anonymous said...

You owe her nothing. She is laying guilt on you and you let her do it.

You did not cause the trouble she and her father are in. Why should you help them out? Is she offering to help you through your difficulties? No, she will make them worse.

She is just trying to get what she wants. Who knows if she tells the truth?

I'd say be polite, but don't let her in.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

you can't choose your family, but you also shouldn't let them walk all over you. You married this family, they are not actually yours.
I wouldn;t let her guilt get to you....
and how does your husband feel about it?

Juniper said...

(I have never commented before, but I've been reading your blog for months now and I love your smart and empathetic perspective on life.)

I've seen this kind of person before you write about in this entry. They are always the victim, and never take responsibility for their actions. They have people along the way who enable them and they never learn from their own mistakes.

It's not up to you to clean up her messes, you don't owe her a thing and it sounds like you have been amazingly kind to her over the years.

I say... Bavo for saying no. And for setting boundaries with her. She is only bringing unhealthy things into your life, no one deserves that.

Mrs Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Jones said...

(Deleted earlier post because I can't spell or make myself understood in the morning - am trying again!)

Well, I sincerely hope you just calmly put the phone down on her. And I don't think I need to tell you that you absolutely do not own her one penny of your hard-earned money. You owe her nothing, as you said yourself. Toxic SIL is toxic. Do not engage but ignore. Or give her a piece of your mind. She already thinks you're a dreadful person so how can she possibly think any worse if you just tell her where to go.

Plus, as someone else has pointed out, what is your husband doing about this? She's his sister and he should be the one dealing with this matter, not you.

Have some hugs. ((()))

Gigi said...

Everyone else's advice is perfect. You don't owe her anything. You can only be polite but firm. Your husband should back you up on this - he shouldn't let you take the fall for being the bad guy. Although, it sounds as if - no matter what you do - to her you will always be the bad guy. Many hugs. Toxic family is always difficult.

slommler said...

I agree! You do not owe her! She is trying to take you hostage...don't let her. In fact, I think she is a toxic relationship in your life and should be avoided at all cost. This is a new year...start out fresh! No toxic relationships from now on!!
Woot!! Woot!!

libby said...

Oh gosh I do feel for you...but do not lose resolve or beat yourself up...you have no need to do anything for this person...do not be guilted out.

Dragonfly Dreams said...

Fhina - having the same type of toxic family and family-in-law members, I know how hard it is NOT to feel guilty, and I also know that giving advice is much easier than taking it. Be that as it may, I am in total agreement with everyone else. Say No. A "yes" will help everyone else, but it won't help You. And if you don't look out for You, who else will? :-)

Moannie said...

Do you want to socialise with this person?

Do you want a relationship?

Would you care if you never saw, heard or thought of her?

If the answer is no, to any or all of these questions, here is what you must do.

Hang up the phone when you hear her voice. Keep doing it till she gets the message. If she comes to your door send your husband to see her off.
This kind of leech can drain your soul.
Get rid.


Anonymous said...

I agree with all the above. But you will prob lie awake at night feeling guilty. Life is too short, though, you must stand firm.

libby said...

Just saw your photo! gorgeous and not at all what I thought (that came out wrong but you know what I mean...)

gpc said...

Excuse me, but are we related? If not, what is it that makes us feel the impulse to help our abusers? Because that is what she is. I was raised in a fundamentalist god help you nasty sinner church, and I've always blamed that for my core belief that everyone is entitled to my time and money and love except me. So I understand the conflict. But, I tell both of us, be strong. Push those feeling aside, there is nothing pure or true about them. She not only does NOT deserve your help, it is no help to her to give it. You can kill yourself helping, and she will be no further ahead. I have learned to say 'I am so sorry you are going through this," then bite my tongue and say nothing more. No money, no time, no more beating myself up for the mistakes and poor judgements of others. As a previous reader says, life is too short.

Z said...

What I wonder is, what's the father's part in this? She's asking for money without his knowledge, so has he asked her for it, or what? Is it even genuinely for his car? Actually, I know quite a few people well into their 80s and 90s who still drive and not many of them are fit to, it's a blessing if he can't afford to do his car up and has to quit.

If father really wants his son's help, he has to swallow his pride and ask, and then it's up to your husband to discuss it with you. Is she wanting to get the money and present it to him, pretending it's from her? Or is she actually trying to get some for herself? It's fortunate that she's been so unpleasant because it will a) harden your resolve and b) mean you won't care if she cuts off all contact with you or threatens to.

It's horrible and shocking when someone is abusive to you, however typical of the person it is. I'm so sorry.

Jan said...

Fhina my love you owe her and her father nothing and indeed you have nothing but sympathy to give. You cannot bankrupt yourself in worldly goods or emotionally for others who really care nothing for you. You may be thanked grudgingly for monetary help but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be quickly forgotten or even twisted and used against you. Smile nicely and apologise but don't give in to imaginary guilt. (((((hugs)))))

My Blonde Moments - Sharon said...

Hi Fhina,
Thanks so much for visiting my blog.
I LOVE your blog already!

Advice~ let them figure this one out on their own. You have done enough.

I was always taught "charity begin's at home", so take care of your house and all that entails, then, if you feel the need to be generous, do so to people who do not use you as a doormat!

You, my dear, are lovely!

Something I wrote earlier...

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