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I Simply Cannot Like Her Anymore!

My relationship with my SIL started really well. At the time, we lived in different countries so we started by exchanging emails and she eventually came to visit us. We hit it off right away and kept exchanging emails when she returned home.

We eventually moved to my husband's country and that's when the issues started. We spent the whole summer with the in-laws and that was the worst summer of my life thanks to her. For no reason I was aware of, she would ignore me or isolate me during conversations by mostly talking about her life, her plans, her travels, her friends. There was never a lunch or dinner when she didn't monopolize the conversation. She never even used English to talk to me when I didn't speak their language. Then, on days when we'd plan an outing with my husband, she would make a scene and complain that he never did anything with her and that he was always with me. They didn't even use to hang out together before he left. She'd also make scenes to her parents when they would suggest to show me places around because she didn't want to go there or it was not what they usually did but nobody ever said anything to her. I brought it up with my husband wondering whether I should have a good chat with her but he said it would make things worse. It's accepted in the family that she has a temper, that she's very sensitive, has a inferiority complex and therefore must not be confronted, told off or anything that could upset her. She's weird but she's like that. She's immature but she'll eventually grow up. Besides, she's not always like that. Patience! She's 6 months younger than me for crying out loud!

Maybe due to our cultural differences and having the same age, I started seeing her a a spoiled and immature girl. That alone is not enough to dislike somebody, I know. It got worse when I started learning and understanding the language. I can't stand stupid people. I'm not perfect, I'm not the smartest and unfortunately I am super impatient. Maybe because I have 4 siblings and growing up we would regularly call the bull on each other, I find it incredibly frustrating having to listen to somebody my age that makes comments my younger brother would make (he's 10 years younger) and not correcting her. Worse, watching my PIL respond to her as if she were a kid that doesn't understand anything and that could get upset at the slightest word. Especially when that very topic of conversation was discussed the week before. Or teaching me something I already know. My SIL is such a ticking bomb that when we go to visit my PIL, depending on her mood of the day, you feel tension creeping up your bones as soon as you step in.

I thought that I was unreasonable and that I should make an effort to know her better. I tried inviting her to do things with me, concerts, etc. She always had something else to do or she wouldn't reply. Family activities though, she'd always be there. She invited me 3-4 times to do things with her and I went. But how do you have a conversation with somebody that fires questions at you the whole time, even private ones at that? She has no sense of propriety at all. If I'm talking about a friend, she interrupts and wants to know the life story of my friend even though she doesn't know them. She interrupts all the time. If I slip a word to my husband during lunch, she leans in to listen and joins the conversation. If we talk about seeing a movie or going to a restaurant, she suggests to do it the 3 of us together.

After 3 years of being ignored at the table, she's starting to talk to me. To ask me word definitions in French. She's learning it and I speak it. It happened before when she would prepare for her English exams and wouldn't understand some exercises. I find it hypocritical. How do you ignore somebody and then talk to them because you want to know how to say bird in another language? Besides that, they've been small issues about her copying me (clothes), discussing present ideas and then offering exactly what I said I would without letting me know and others.

Ignoring her worked for a while but it's gotten to the point where I stress when I think of her or hear her voice. Even worse, I think now I obsess over her. I bear her a huge grudge and sometimes even wish her the worst. But that's also linked to some of my own personal issues. I have no idea what to do. If I were to discuss it with her, I think she wouldn't understand seeing how:
1. she never apologized for her attitude that summer
2. she wouldn't even know what she did wrong
3. she's probably forgotten all about it.

I hate these moments when I'm around her and become so negative but I do not know how to break the cycle. I do not want to see her, talk to her, answer her questions and disclose my life to her. We're thinking of having a vow renewal ceremony and I do not want her there but my husband would never accept/understand it. After almost 4 years, she remains a stranger. She's not a bad person, she's actually quite a nice person with friends, co-workers and relatives and my family. So I assume I'm the one that has the problem.

I wish my husband had another sibling with whom I could get along. I always thought I'd have SIL or BIL I'd be really close to. There are days when I think it'd be so nice to have a relationship with her but I do not want to try again. I'll just have to wait and see with my own brothers and their partners. Or hopefully move soon to another country or continent.
shills29 shills29 26-30, F 1 Response Jan 29, 2013

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How annoying! It sounds frustrating because there is no one who can really be on your side. Everyone just accepts that this is how she is and enables her. That's how I feel with my sil at times... like I'm in the freaking twilight Zone and nobody realizes that her behavior is atrocious except for me. Trying to be friends will probably never work. You just have to be cordial and keep a distance for your own sanity. I'm glad my husband admits his sis is ridiculous, but it's his sis, so obviously he still cares for her and enables her. Just don't buy into the nonsense... getting sucked into her world is what she wants... She can have someone else to try to control to fit her needs.