Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 05:39:16 AM

Title: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 05:39:16 AM
First, please let me say that there is so much going on with my BIL that this is by no means going to be the only post about his behavior.  But I will try to keep it short for now to focus on what I'm currently facing.

DH and I go on holiday with this man every year.  He's in his 50s, never been married, and no matter how many meals I've prepared and had him over for in the past, he seems to resent me.
Yes, I've tried pouring my heart out to him in front of DH on holiday (year before last) to get some resolution to the endless drama -- all to no avail.  He really took the words to heart from the X-Files:  "Deny everything."

By contrast, my husband is a good man, sometimes too good, and for a while was unable to believe how devious his brother is.  Plus he feels sorry for his brother since his brother is on his own.   Only when he actually observed his brother's behaviour and I pointed it out, did he begin to realize how selfish and mean his brother is.  Much of this snarky behavior is carried out at any opportunity he has to be alone with me - even for a few minutes!  DH is learning how underhanded his brother is.  And our ultimate plan is to totally distance ourselves from this man in the next few years. 

He bullies in the strangest ways I have ever seen -- body language, expressions, threatening/mean looks, grunts and sighs.  And if someone does try to call him out on it, his reply is usually:  "What did I do?" or "I was just trying to --- " blah blah blah.  He never, and I mean never, takes responsibility for his behavior.  No one can ever quote him because he uses body language for intimidation, and he is quite good at it.

2 dilemmas are currently looming.  I'll just discuss one of them here, and hope someone can give me some advice.

Since we go on holiday with this man, and things have become so dire that now I will not ever speak to him first (except the "Good morning" or "Thank you for taking us to -----" (he is always richly reimbursed for anything he does for us), or "Goodnight now, have a nice evening."

The reason for this is, when my husband has to step away for any reason, this man gets rude with me.  He talks low on purpose at the restaurant table so I can't hear him.  He doesn't do that to my husband.  And this summer when we were back from holiday, he followed us up the stairs to help with the bags and the moment my husband went in the restroom, he followed me into the kitchen and began mocking me and talking in a really weird passive-aggressive voice I'd never heard him use prior to this summer.  "Did you enjoy the holiday Suuuuuusan?" (He knew he had made both DH and me horribly miserable on 2 occasions, yet he pretended to be oblivious to his lack of manners or concern.) 

BIL: "Did you enjoy the holiday Suuuuuuusan?"
Me:  "Did you?" (By that point, I didn't want to give him anything about myself or my feelings.)
BIL: "Why yes!  I loved it!  I thought it was so wonderful." (in a fake smile, fake voice)
Me:  "Oh, I did, too." (I smiled but it probably wasn't much more sincere than his.)
BIL:  "Oh, I thought you woooooould." (very sarcastic and hostile).

The second DH came out of the restroom, he retracted from the kitchen and his expression became instantly innocent like, and his voice became normal.

I told DH about this, and we agreed to distance ourselves from him as much as we could for the time being.  DH and he own property together. 

So I said all that to ask this: 
If for whatever reason I am ever left alone with the BIL and he asks:  "Are you enjoying the holiday Susan?" or directs the conversation to me in the presence of my husband, is there anything I could say that would discourage him trying to engage me in conversation without being  horribly rude?  After repeated dramas with this man, I loathe being around him.  Even a few times a year is difficult for me.  DH knows this, but insists on my presence 3 times a year plus a week on holiday.

My husband insists we do Christmas with him this year - twice! - and a graveyard visit to put flowers on the graves of their parents.  I'm fine with that, but I know the insults/digs/contempt are always just below the surface with the BIL.

Thank you for reading, those of you who persevered.  I love this forum and the posts are great.
As I said, worlds more about the awful BIL drama.  If you have any questions or cursory advice, please respond.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 05:50:52 AM
Your husband is insisting you be exposed to this horrible man? Is he too intimidated by him to back away now?

For the time being, I'd never be alone with him. If your husband goes to another room, you could go with him. If it's to the bathroom in your home, you could go to your bedroom and shut the door. If you're at a restaurant and your husband goes to the restroom, go to the Ladies' restroom.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: atirial on September 27, 2013, 06:04:07 AM
To me, he sounds jealous.  He's acting like a child, and this is at the point where you should be refusing to be around him. If you can't avoid him altogether, can you make a deal with your husband that you are not to be left alone with him - if DH needs a drink you accompany him?

You could try treating him like a toddler, but if he's jealous and wants his brother to himself that won't work. If he is jealous then nothing you do or say will work, only what your DH does. I don't have any time for them, but there are men who only become protective if a woman is crying. Otherwise they assume the problem cannot be that bad. If your husband is one of them, is having an explosive crying jag in front of him likely to get him involved?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Two Ravens on September 27, 2013, 06:08:08 AM
Your husband is insisting you spend a week with this guy? Who sounds not only like a Class A jerk, but incredibly creepy to boot? I'd put my foot down and refuse to go unless the vacation was majorly shortened.

I'd also start calling him out on his behavior. Every time. "Why are you talking to me like that, BIL?"
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: guihong on September 27, 2013, 06:18:54 AM
You can choose not to go on these trips with him.  Yes, it will stir up a lot of drama, but so be it.  Let him go alone to see this creep.  Were I in your place, this would be a deal-breaker for me and our marriage.

Then you need to ask yourself why your husband, who is supposed to put your well-being first and foremost, would subject you to this treatment.  If you have children, are they in his presence?  I'd ask your husband if he would want your daughter to be married to a BIL-like man, or to be ordered to be in his presence for a week.

 By subjecting you to this bully, your husband has become a bully himself.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Corvid on September 27, 2013, 06:29:51 AM
Pull out a recorder and say, "I'm sorry, now what were you saying again?"



Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: secretrebel on September 27, 2013, 06:32:10 AM
Don't go on holiday with him. You don't like him and he's unpleasant to you. If your husband has your back he'll understand that this arrangement isn't working.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Dream on September 27, 2013, 06:35:55 AM
I would record him and then play it back as your DH stepped back into the room. This bully needs his actions brought into the light of day.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 27, 2013, 06:39:35 AM
Your husband isn't "too good" if he's insisting you spend a week with someone you have made clear bullies you and whom you want nothing to do with. He's being a doormat, an enabler, and therefore, a bully-by-proxy. He is making life easier for himself by making it harder for you. He is probably doing this out of habit, rather than malice, but it's still worrying and I think you both need to talk about why it's unacceptable.

I can see two solutions:

1. Go on the trip. And be alert the entire time so you can ensure you are never left alone with BIL. You will need to coordinate things a bit with your husband to keep this up for a whole week, I think. Things like, if husband needs to leave the room for whatever reason, he gives you warning (a certain look or comment or code word) so you can excuse yourself to the restroom or wherever for a good 5-10 minutes. If your husband thinks he'll be longer than 5-10 minutes, he'll need to sms you or otherwise let you know. Or just attach yourself to your MIL or someone and become best friends for the week. Always be doing something together--helping her cook, clean up, etc. so BIL can't start his maturity-of-a-six-year-old act.

2. Don't go. I think this is strongly preferable. You have no obligation to go to an event where you know you will be bullied. It's your husband's family, not yours. If he wants you to go with him, then he needs to make that work by protecting you from his brother. If he's not willing to stop his brother, then it's not reasonable for him to insist that you be subjected to an awful time.

Don't expect to change your BIL. He's an immature bully and there's nothing you can do. It's not your responsibility, anyway. I'm more concerned about the fact that your husband is insisting that you get bullied for a week.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: sammycat on September 27, 2013, 06:41:12 AM
You can choose not to go on these trips with him.  Yes, it will stir up a lot of drama, but so be it.  Let him go alone to see this creep.  Were I in your place, this would be a deal-breaker for me and our marriage.

Then you need to ask yourself why your husband, who is supposed to put your well-being first and foremost, would subject you to this treatment.  If you have children, are they in his presence?  I'd ask your husband if he would want your daughter to be married to a BIL-like man, or to be ordered to be in his presence for a week.

 By subjecting you to this bully, your husband has become a bully himself.

I totally agree. I would refuse point blank to associate with BIL again, and yes, it would become my hill to die on.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Sharnita on September 27, 2013, 06:56:54 AM
OP, are their parents still alive? It sounds like BIL might not just be a charity case. He might be the last blood relative left, his last connection to his childhood. That puts OP in a tougher spot, IMO  because cutting off BIL doesn't just hurt him, it hurts DH. I think that it is good to acknowledge that loss and, more importantly, the real loss of a relationship with.a healthy adult sibling who just doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: guihong on September 27, 2013, 07:03:46 AM
OP, are their parents still alive? It sounds like BIL might not just be a charity case. He might be the last blood relative left, his last connection to his childhood. That puts OP in a tougher spot, IMO  because cutting off BIL doesn't just hurt him, it hurts DH. I think that it is good to acknowledge that loss and, more importantly, the real loss of a relationship with.a healthy adult sibling who just doesn't exist.

But the OP's husband can see his brother all he wants.  Her refusing to go doesn't change that.  While I can understand your point of view, she has to take care of herself first.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: cicero on September 27, 2013, 07:07:38 AM
First of all welcome to the boards!

Now to your question- this is not about your BIL. It's about your husband. Your husband knows that his brother is creepy, obnoxious and rude to you and yet he insists on spending holidays together? You do not have to put up with this. Tell your husband NOW that he can do whatever he wants but you are staying home this year and his brother is not welcome. Your husband can make a choice ( and hint: be very unemotional about this, lay out the facts and make it clear that you will not be mad if he goes with brother but you have had enough). And the follow through.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Virg on September 27, 2013, 07:08:47 AM
Dream wrote:

"I would record him and then play it back as your DH stepped back into the room. This bully needs his actions brought into the light of day. "

This is a bad idea.  In many places, recording someone without their consent is against the law, and who doubts that BIL would be all over that if he could get her in trouble for it?

More to the point, though, if it's necessary to do this then the problem is much deeper than a jerky BIL.  If her DH isn't willing to take her word for what's happening then she needs to address that first and foremost.  Susan45, your DH is insisting that you spend quite a bit of time around someone who treats you abominably, and that's what has to change.  The reason why he's doing this isn't as relevant as the fact that he's choosing to inflict a passive aggressive bully on you because he can't or won't stand up and demand that his brother treat you properly, so your real problem isn't with your BIL.  Insist yourself that your DH fix whatever's preventing him from being true to you instead of the BIL who's actively trying to hurt you, and the BIL problem will take care of itself (well, DH will take care of it).

Virg
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: nayberry on September 27, 2013, 07:34:31 AM
Dream wrote:

"I would record him and then play it back as your DH stepped back into the room. This bully needs his actions brought into the light of day. "

This is a bad idea.  In many places, recording someone without their consent is against the law, and who doubts that BIL would be all over that if he could get her in trouble for it?

More to the point, though, if it's necessary to do this then the problem is much deeper than a jerky BIL.  If her DH isn't willing to take her word for what's happening then she needs to address that first and foremost.  Susan45, your DH is insisting that you spend quite a bit of time around someone who treats you abominably, and that's what has to change.  The reason why he's doing this isn't as relevant as the fact that he's choosing to inflict a passive aggressive bully on you because he can't or won't stand up and demand that his brother treat you properly, so your real problem isn't with your BIL.  Insist yourself that your DH fix whatever's preventing him from being true to you instead of the BIL who's actively trying to hurt you, and the BIL problem will take care of itself (well, DH will take care of it).

Virg


if its only to play to hear DH then it's hardly going to get her in trouble
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: BeagleMommy on September 27, 2013, 07:37:06 AM
You should tell your DH that he is welcome to spend time with BIL, but you will not subject yourself to his underhanded bullying.

You might also want to try explaining to your DH exactly how BIL makes you feel.  I would imagine that you feel tense and on edge just knowing he'll be around.  Ask him if BIL were a stranger, would DH put up with him treating you that way.

Basically, BIL is a coward.  He's not man enough to say these things in front of your DH because he knows he looks like a bully and he wants to keep people in the dark.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Phoebelion on September 27, 2013, 07:47:14 AM
It will also help that if you don't accompany your husband on these trips and if someone asks about it, you tell them the absolute truth.  That you don't choose to be around BIL and all his drama.  Believe me when I say people will totally understand.

Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: edgypeanuts on September 27, 2013, 07:55:38 AM
DH is learning how underhanded his brother is.  And our ultimate plan is to totally distance ourselves from this man in the next few years. 

He bullies in the strangest ways I have ever seen -- body language, expressions, threatening/mean looks, grunts and sighs.  No one can ever quote him because he uses body language for intimidation, and he is quite good at it.

The reason for this is, when my husband has to step away for any reason, this man gets rude with me.  He talks low on purpose at the restaurant table so I can't hear him.
Distancing yourself is probably the best option, but in the meantime, I would just keep in mind that he is pathetic and try not to let anything he says get in.  Body language can be ignored esp if you are aware of it.  If he leans in toward you, take a step TOWARD him.  Just smile at his pathetic-ness when he gives you a mean lookor grunt.  Do the opposite of what he is trying to accomplish.  It will frustrate him that it is not working and it will make you feel better. 
If he talks low, pretend he isn't talking!  Take out your phone or book and read a little.  As he insists he is doing nothing, he cannot really complain if it doesn't have the effect he wants. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 27, 2013, 08:02:48 AM
Your BIL does not like you out of jealousy, resentment, or whatever reason. You need to refuse going on these holidays because nothing you say will change his behavior.Tell your DH you think he and his brother will have a more relaxed holiday without you and you don't want his brother paying your way to create additional resentment.

Then get agreement from your DH that he will not leave you alone with the BIL. If DH goes to the bathroom excuse yourself to your bedroom. If you go to the kitchen and BIL follows you have DH agree to join you in the kitchen.

If your DH us aware of this behavior but won't confront his brother, then you need to put as much distance between you and the DH as you can.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: alice on September 27, 2013, 08:03:21 AM
let him know you are recording it, and then see how he behaves.  no law broken then!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: MrTango on September 27, 2013, 08:05:48 AM
If I were in your position, OP, I would tell my spouse that they are free to go spend Christmas with their brother if they choose, but that I am staying home/going to visit my family/whatever.

I would be very direct about why: "I refuse to put myself into a position of having to interact with your brother.  He treats me like dirt, and I'm not going to put up with it any more."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: cwm on September 27, 2013, 08:05:56 AM
OP, I'm going to just reiterate what others have been saying. Don't spend another minute around this guy. He's bullying you and your DH is letting him. Maybe their family dynamics are like that, where DH is afraid to make waves because of BIL, but you don't have to put up with it.

Start now. Don't go on holiday with them. Do something yourself. Whenever BIL walks into a room that you're in, walk out. Do not let yourself be alone with him. If it means you have to go right back out to your car and get in and close the doors, so be it.

If your DH will support you, tell your MIL that you're really wanting to start your own Christmas traditions this year. If you don't mind one dinner, go to that, but let her know that two dinners is just too much. And short of if you had a very close relationship with your FIL that you should need to go lay flowers on his grave with his children.

Distance yourself as much as possible from BIL, and explain to your DH why you're doing it. Tell him that you don't mind if he wants to go spend time with him, but you are done being bullied by his brother and won't take it any more.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on September 27, 2013, 08:27:28 AM
You can choose not to go on these trips with him.  Yes, it will stir up a lot of drama, but so be it.  Let him go alone to see this creep.  Were I in your place, this would be a deal-breaker for me and our marriage.

Then you need to ask yourself why your husband, who is supposed to put your well-being first and foremost, would subject you to this treatment.  If you have children, are they in his presence?  I'd ask your husband if he would want your daughter to be married to a BIL-like man, or to be ordered to be in his presence for a week.

 By subjecting you to this bully, your husband has become a bully himself.


I totally agree. I would refuse point blank to associate with BIL again, and yes, it would become my hill to die on.

ITA.  Your BIL is a misogynistic jerk and he has your husband buffaloed.  I would never spend another day on holiday with him.  I would use Mr Tango's wording as well. 


You have my empathy, because I have a sister in law like this that I haven't seen in 15 years. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 08:31:31 AM
I might consider going with your husband to put flowers on his parents' graves this Christmas, but I'd nix the other two visits with his brother.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: lady_disdain on September 27, 2013, 08:32:36 AM
As others have said, don't go on holiday with this creep. Why should you be stressed out and creeped out on your precious leisure time?

Second, if you do have to interact with him for any reason, I would completely ignore his weirdness and respond as though he had spoken in the most reasonable manner possible. He hasn't shown any sign of violent behavious (it would be pretty hard to deny and redirect, according to his M.O.) and he gets off on creeping you out. Every time you react or leave his presence to avoid him, he is mentally scoring a point for himself. So, deny him that satisfaction.

"Hoooow was the vacation, Suuuusaannn?" "Quite good, despite those two incidents." (look at him dead in the eye)
"Ooooh, you are aaannggryy." "No, why would you say that?"

Etc, etc, etc.

As to your husband. If he doesn't believe on this, you need a serious talk. Major serious talk. Ask him to leave you with the creep but, instead of going to the bathroom or whatever, to stand just outside the door so he can hear what is going on.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Virg on September 27, 2013, 08:47:47 AM
nayberry wrote:

"if its only to play to hear DH then it's hardly going to get her in trouble"

My second point is more to the point.  If she needs this recording because her DH won't believe her when she tells him, then she's got bigger problems than a jerky BIL.

alice wrote:

"let him know you are recording it, and then see how he behaves."

See the above.  The concept of recording him at all is a red herring to the real problem, which is that her DH is prioritizing his feelings and his brother's over hers.

Virg
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: mspallaton on September 27, 2013, 08:50:30 AM
POD to the posters who have said don't go on the vacation if you can avoid it.  Especially POD to the posters who have said this is, at its core, an issue to resolve with your husband because he should be protecting you from that behavior and not forcing you to deal with it.

Where I disagree is on how to handle it if you're somehow required to be in the presence of your BIL.  I would, instead, recommend defining your boundaries clearly and living them as fully as possible.  It doesn't matter if he ticks off a mental point because etiquette isn't about winning against him.  If he moves too close to you, I would put a hand out and tell him clearly and politely that he needs to take a step back.  If he acts innocent, tell him that you don't want him standing that close and repeat it as often as needed.

If he speaks too quietly to hear when he has spoken loudly enough with your DH in the room - don't lean.  Ask him to speak up until he is capable of being heard at your distance.  "Excuse me?  I didn't hear you.  What did you say?"  Over and over until he speaks at a normal volume.

If he says something openly rude to you, look him directly in the eye and tell him that was rude, you don't appreciate it and you will ensure the DH is aware of the things he says when you are alone together.  If he plays dumb, repeat and add "now you know I find it rude - so do not do it again".

Passive aggressive people have one fear - people who are aggressive aggressive.  Make no mistake - being PA is a form of aggression.  It is simply the aggression taken by cowards.  When met with true, clear, and real boundaries, the passive-aggression goes away and they either bring their true aggression to the surface (making the behavior wholly undeniable by DH) or they back down. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: tinkytinky on September 27, 2013, 09:10:31 AM
POD to the posters who have said don't go on the vacation if you can avoid it.  Especially POD to the posters who have said this is, at its core, an issue to resolve with your husband because he should be protecting you from that behavior and not forcing you to deal with it.

Where I disagree is on how to handle it if you're somehow required to be in the presence of your BIL.  I would, instead, recommend defining your boundaries clearly and living them as fully as possible.  It doesn't matter if he ticks off a mental point because etiquette isn't about winning against him.  If he moves too close to you, I would put a hand out and tell him clearly and politely that he needs to take a step back.  If he acts innocent, tell him that you don't want him standing that close and repeat it as often as needed.

If he speaks too quietly to hear when he has spoken loudly enough with your DH in the room - don't lean.  Ask him to speak up until he is capable of being heard at your distance.  "Excuse me?  I didn't hear you.  What did you say?"  Over and over until he speaks at a normal volume.

If he says something openly rude to you, look him directly in the eye and tell him that was rude, you don't appreciate it and you will ensure the DH is aware of the things he says when you are alone together.  If he plays dumb, repeat and add "now you know I find it rude - so do not do it again".

Passive aggressive people have one fear - people who are aggressive aggressive.  Make no mistake - being PA is a form of aggression.  It is simply the aggression taken by cowards.  When met with true, clear, and real boundaries, the passive-aggression goes away and they either bring their true aggression to the surface (making the behavior wholly undeniable by DH) or they back down. 

POD this (I had a whole page wrote out, but this says it better)  definitely draw attention to his behavior. He will stop if he thinks that he will come out looking bad.

(((hugs))) because I know what its like to be around inlaws that are this way, and DH be clueless. Like your DH, mine has finally seen behaviors that he didn't believe possible.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 09:18:02 AM
She has brought this up, yet he continues to deny, and to make excuses for, anything he's said and done.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 27, 2013, 09:18:33 AM
POD to the posters who have said don't go on the vacation if you can avoid it.  Especially POD to the posters who have said this is, at its core, an issue to resolve with your husband because he should be protecting you from that behavior and not forcing you to deal with it.

Where I disagree is on how to handle it if you're somehow required to be in the presence of your BIL.  I would, instead, recommend defining your boundaries clearly and living them as fully as possible.  It doesn't matter if he ticks off a mental point because etiquette isn't about winning against him.  If he moves too close to you, I would put a hand out and tell him clearly and politely that he needs to take a step back.  If he acts innocent, tell him that you don't want him standing that close and repeat it as often as needed.

If he speaks too quietly to hear when he has spoken loudly enough with your DH in the room - don't lean.  Ask him to speak up until he is capable of being heard at your distance.  "Excuse me?  I didn't hear you.  What did you say?"  Over and over until he speaks at a normal volume.

If he says something openly rude to you, look him directly in the eye and tell him that was rude, you don't appreciate it and you will ensure the DH is aware of the things he says when you are alone together.  If he plays dumb, repeat and add "now you know I find it rude - so do not do it again".

Passive aggressive people have one fear - people who are aggressive aggressive.  Make no mistake - being PA is a form of aggression.  It is simply the aggression taken by cowards.  When met with true, clear, and real boundaries, the passive-aggression goes away and they either bring their true aggression to the surface (making the behavior wholly undeniable by DH) or they back down. 

POD this (I had a whole page wrote out, but this says it better)  definitely draw attention to his behavior. He will stop if he thinks that he will come out looking bad.

(((hugs))) because I know what its like to be around inlaws that are this way, and DH be clueless. Like your DH, mine has finally seen behaviors that he didn't believe possible.



I had recommended the OP take an "avoid at all costs" approach because I wasn't sure from her OP if taking a direct aim approach would be comfortable for her.

But OP if you can do it, there is nothing wrong with these responses.

BIL starts whispering. You say "Why are you whispering?" in a normal tone voice. Or if you does whisper just ignore it and if he calls you on it say "Oh, you were whispering so quietly I thought you were mubmling to yourself. Did you ask me something?"

BIL says "Susan, did you enjoy yourself" You say "Yes for the most part except for X and Y events."... don't run away from the truth.

And as other's have said, tell him to take a step back.

And to help out with this strategy, start thinking of him as an errant 5 year old you are having to teach responsible social behavior. He's acting like a child so treat him like one.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Shoo on September 27, 2013, 09:18:47 AM
I have to ask why on earth you would even go on these vacations with your BIL.  So your husband wants you to go.  So what?  Stand up for yourself and make your OWN decisions.

You have TWO problems.  One is your BIL, the other is your husband. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 27, 2013, 09:37:53 AM
I think it's possible that he's attracted to you.

And yeah, you only have so much vacation money and time--that's a pretty low ROI (return on investment) if you have to spend any part of them on a vacation with this guy.

You don't have to make it be about "Your brother is mean to me, and I want to cut him out of our lives." Make it be about, "I want a vacation that's just us, you and me."


As for what you can say when he tries to talk to you--you want plausible deniability, too. So answer in the shortest possible way, and don't look at him. "Did you enjoy the day, Susan?" say "Yes." and walk away. Go pick up a book or a brochure. Also feel free to say to him the same phrase over and over when he crowds you: "You need to keep your distance."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 27, 2013, 09:50:53 AM
I think it's possible that he's attracted to you.

And yeah, you only have so much vacation money and time--that's a pretty low ROI (return on investment) if you have to spend any part of them on a vacation with this guy.

You don't have to make it be about "Your brother is mean to me, and I want to cut him out of our lives." Make it be about, "I want a vacation that's just us, you and me."


As for what you can say when he tries to talk to you--you want plausible deniability, too. So answer in the shortest possible way, and don't look at him. "Did you enjoy the day, Susan?" say "Yes." and walk away. Go pick up a book or a brochure. Also feel free to say to him the same phrase over and over when he crowds you: "You need to keep your distance."

I like this. Other people have suggested various come-backs and so on, but I don't think engaging with this guy is the way to go at all. Stick to responses like, "Yes," "No", and, "Mmmhmm." Asking, "Why are you whispering?" etc. to a bully doesn't often work. He'll always deny it. He is a bully and is probably quite used to or able to defend himself to make his victim look bad. Plus, you don't want to have a conversation longer than is absolutely necessary with this creep. Get up and leave the room if possible. Don't converse. Nothing good can come of it. It sounds like he's very skilled at being manipulative and creepy, and it's not worth purposefully going up against that unless you're feeling very strong and confident.

Don't record him. He's not going to say, "Oh, wow, now I can't bully you anymore! Too bad!" He'll just switch to another form of bullying. And a lot of it is non-verbal already. Recording him is a big fat red herring and wouldn't help anything.

But I still stand by this: if you don't want to go, don't go. That is 100% reasonable. The fact that your husband is not only willing for you to be bullied, but is now insisting that you be bullied, is very concerning, and this is the real issue here. I realise that this trip has some meaning to him, and that's fine. But it doesn't mean he gets to dictate that you are mistreated. He can go wherever he likes, but if he's not willing to ensure your safety after he has been made aware of what's been happening, then it's unreasonable for him to insist that you come with him.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Luci on September 27, 2013, 10:17:09 AM
Hugs! I agree with most of what has been written.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.....then if your husband doesn't help and support you, don't be around him at all. Life is too short (and vacations to expensive) to lose even a week in a horrible situation that you don't have to.

I love the line "Please speak up. I can't hear you."

The thing I love about kitchens is that when I get trapped in there by someone I want to avoid and is crowding me, he's always in my way. If he is standing between me and the sink, I need to get to the sink; between me and a certain cabinet, I need something from it...you get the picture. It doesn't take long before he figures out he is in the way or realizes I am really busy and just leaves. (The people I am talking about are generally kind-hearted but just generally intrusive bores. No real reason to cut them out of my life.)
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 27, 2013, 10:23:29 AM
The other nice thing about kitchens is that it is socially acceptable to chase people out of them.

I also think if he starts the mocking exchange outlined in the opening post, the OP can say, immediately and firmly, "Get away from me." Loudly. So her DH can hear it in the bathroom.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: delabela on September 27, 2013, 11:13:37 AM
Don't go anywhere where you have to be with him.  That's the only answer.  No Christmas, no vacation, no nothing.

If your husband wants to go, fine, you'll see him later.

At a certain point, you have to be responsible for not subjecting yourself to this man. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 11:50:05 AM
Thank all of you so much for your replies.   I have read each one here and I appreciate each one of you for taking the time to respond.  You have no idea how distressed the BIL has made me over the past 5 years. 

Sharnita, yes, DH and the BIL's parents are deceased.

There are many people who commented who I want to respond to.  All of you, really, and you all said things that have already helped me think in new ways and I'm reading going:  "Yeah!  That's right!  They understand!"

I agree with those who said DH is just as responsible.  Yes, he is a nice man, but all of you are right, he should have fixed this long ago and straightened it out with his brother.

DH always wants me with him in the presence of BIL because he says he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him (BIL).  I assured my husband that I am most definitely not afraid of his brother, I have just reached critical mass in how much more of his creepy (what a fitting word to describe it, someone used it here -- perfect description! Ha!)  I think DH never had the courage to stand up to the BIL before and he thinks that together we will do that.

However, on the other hand, I completely agree with those who say that no matter what I say to the BIL, it won't change his behavior one bit.  I agree with the person who said he's obviously been at this sneaky abusive behavior for a long time, and is an expert at not getting caught.

I also agree with the comment that the only thing BIL'd really fear would be being exposed to his circle as being what he truly is - an abusive, deceitful bully.  He wants everyone to see him as such a good 'Joe Citizen' type.  If they only knew.

DH and I had a long talk this afternoon about how to proceed.  You all have no idea how much I want to put BIL in his place.  But this man is so entrenched in the art of denial.  He says, "What did IIIII do?" and makes a face like the person accusing him is crazy.  Some of you here have already made mention that bullies/abusers do that.  Oh yes!  This man is the same.  So- DH and I decided it's hardly worth a confrontation because - as yet another poster explained - BIL might "get off on it".  And the BIL does seem to take great delight every time he thinks he has intimidated or upset me.  It's like he strives for that.

I agree also with the poster who said keep anything said to this man as short and terse as possible.  "Yes."  "No."  There is no reasoning with him - he will never accept responsibility - why waste your breath?

So DH and I have begun the distancing procedure.  We are both in agreement with it.  It actually involved me having a birthday dinner for the BIL next month, which, according to DH is the very last time I do this.  The same for the Christmas meal (one of them) as well. 

By the way, what really cinched this and goaded me to finally post today is, BIL misled DH and I and played us against each other, that he had been invited to our house for Christmas.
I am meticulous about my invitations.  So I wrote BIL and said:  "Things have been so hectic here lately, I can't even remember sending you an invitation.  Can you please tell me if dinner was at 4:00 p.m.? --- we look forward to seeing you at 4:00 p.m.!" --- he wrote back, and completely ignored my question.  This clued DH and I in to the fact that something was very dodgy.  DH spoke with him, and asked if he had been sent a Christmas invitation by me and a menu.  BIL said no!  He said:  "I just thought I was supposed to come over there for a meal."  DH said:  "Who told you that?" and BIL said:  "I thought we were going out to eat at one place before Christmas then I was coming around to your house."  BIL never committed himself to who invited him.

Of course I was livid.  He had misled us and yet I had already welcomed him (stupidly!) in good faith to come for dinner since he alluded to the fact that he had been invited.  What happened was, we were all discussing possible alternatives to eating our on Christmas.  He (said) he took that to mean he was invited to our house.  He wasn't.

So, the blatant untruth did it.  DH wants me to cook BIL's birthday dinner and a Christmas dinner for the 3 of us - then next year, there will be no birthday dinner and no Christmas dinner.  He has promised to talk to him less on the phone (he gave me specifics) and see him less regularly (specifics on that, too).

All of you have helped me so much.  What a wonderful moral support, because really, I was so miserable over all this and at my wit's end.  I don't really have anyone to talk with about this.

I really appreciate every one of you for replying.  I will be updating about how things go, and later on I will read through other posts and if i think I can help in some way, I will respond.

All of you really gave me great support when I needed it most.  I mean it, thank you every single one.

P.S. To those who said just let the husband see BIL any time he wants and just don't go yourself, I am in complete agreement!  But DH often insists I be there.  He has this thing about not wanting BIL to think I am afraid of him.  I have really pushed the issue that they can go out anytime together wherever/whenever - but DH has said:  "I don't want to be with him!"  Isn't that peculiar?  But yes - I would totally sanction them going on vacation together - but it's clear DH doesn't enjoy his company much either.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 27, 2013, 11:59:38 AM



I agree with those who said DH is just as responsible.  Yes, he is a nice man, but all of you are right, he should have fixed this long ago and straightened it out with his brother.

Be careful of those words. Asking your DH to "fix" the situation is simply not effective. It's asking too much of him. He can't change your BIL, or "straighten him out," and you shouldn't ask him to.
   
He should *protect* you. He should stop pressuring you, and stop pressuring your BIL, to have a certain kind of relationship.

He should stop pressuring you to be in his BIL's presence.

Quote
DH always wants me with him in the presence of BIL because he says he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him (BIL).  I assured my husband that I am most definitely not afraid of his brother, I have just reached critical mass in how much more of his creepy (what a fitting word to describe it, someone used it here -- perfect description! Ha!)  I think DH never had the courage to stand up to the BIL before and he thinks that together we will do that.

It is time for you to tell DH that safety comes first. That change is not important to you.

It's time for you to give up on this:

Quote
  You all have no idea how much I want to put BIL in his place.  But this man is so entrenched in the art of denial.

The goal is not to change BIL. It's to avoid the negative interactions completely.

Forget all his past offenses, and parsing them, etc.

It's time to simply remove the problem from YOUR life.

Your DH can still get together with his brother now and then--don't insist that DH have the same relationship with his brother that YOU do.

You and DH are separate people, and you each get to have your own relationship with BIL.
   In your case, that's never being around him.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: lady_disdain on September 27, 2013, 12:03:46 PM
Why would you cook dinner for him on his birthday? Let DH take him out somewhere or cook it himself.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: EllenS on September 27, 2013, 12:09:14 PM
What a charmer, I can't imagine why he never married.  ::)  Your BIL sounds like he is twelve. 

Somehow he has taken all your DH's and your power as rational adults and dragged you into his ridiculous, immature mind-games.  Any notion of exposing him, or putting him in his "place" is just perpetuating and participating in the game that he created.  It's like Vegas - you can never beat the house in the long run, because they make the rules.

My perspective is, just don't play. I like the a) avoid and b) "minimal answer" approach, even escalating to "ignore". Your DH worries that BIL will think you're afraid of BIL?  How convoluted and bizarre is that?  Pardon my French, but who gives a flying flip what BIL thinks about anything?  There is no reason why you have to ever see him again, and I can't understand why your DH wants you to "taper" off from this situation like cigarettes.  If DH wants to see him, bully for DH.  He's a grown man, he can see who he wants.  You just don't have to go, and if DH wants BIL over to the house, you can leave and go have your Christmas lunch elsewhere, with people you actually like.

He has used his intimidation and bullying to make himself into a large and powerful presence in your life, even to the point of being a divisive influence in your marriage.  But remind yourself who and what he actually is.  He is a pathetic, lonely, ridiculous jerk.  Take your power back and just let the annoying fly buzz. It has nothing to do with you, not really.

Hope things continue to get better for you.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 12:09:24 PM
Why would you cook dinner for him on his birthday? Let DH take him out somewhere or cook it himself.

YES!!!  
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Twik on September 27, 2013, 12:11:21 PM
Quote
DH always wants me with him in the presence of BIL because he says he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him (BIL).

This phrase worries me. Does he fear that BIL will be offended if he thinks you are scared? Or does he (consciously or not) sense that showing BIL fear is sort of like showing fear in front of a wild animal, making it more likely to do something dangerous?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: lkdrymom on September 27, 2013, 12:16:17 PM
Seriously...you are not cooking that man a birthday dinner. Tell your DH that you are stopping this year.  As a compromise you will go out to dinner that DH arranges. Why would you cook for a person who is so mean to you???

Might I suggest next time he makes a snarky comment at you that you burst out laughing. That will really through him off.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 27, 2013, 12:18:05 PM
Why would you cook dinner for him on his birthday? Let DH take him out somewhere or cook it himself.

POD.

You are already doing too much for this bully, and it's part of why he likes to push you so far. But this isn't major. If you want to cook dinner for someone who won't appreciate it and will cause you stress and grief, then go for it. But I think it's completely ridiculous. If your DH wants BIL to have a birthday dinner, then that's his responsibility, not yours. I'd book a restaurant. If you don't want to cook a dinner for a bully, then you absolutely do not have to.

It's time for DH to stop worrying about what BIL thinks ("he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him") and focussing more on what you think. Whether BIL thinks something is completely irrelevant if you're being mistreated. Again, I'm worried that this is an issue. Your DH should absolutely not be putting his brother's opinions before his wife's safety. Next time your DH brings up that he's worried that BIL might think something bad, just say something like, "That's not the issue. He bullies me. What he chooses to think is irrelevant. My safety is more important, don't you agree?" And keep repeating the last bit to any objections which might be raised.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: NyaChan on September 27, 2013, 12:20:13 PM
I think you should suggest to your husband that he take his brother out to dinner for his birthday and you can decide whether you will tough it out for another night or have "other plans." 

For Christmas though, I think there is a really easy way to make things better for you - why does Christmas dinner have to be just the 3 of you?  Invite at least one or two more people and you'll have added buffers so you won't be left alone with him and will have someone to talk to that isn't a total creep.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 27, 2013, 12:22:01 PM
Quote
DH always wants me with him in the presence of BIL because he says he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him (BIL).

This phrase worries me. Does he fear that BIL will be offended if he thinks you are scared? Or does he (consciously or not) sense that showing BIL fear is sort of like showing fear in front of a wild animal, making it more likely to do something dangerous?


Yeah, that was bugging me, too.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 12:22:33 PM
I think you should suggest to your husband that he take his brother out to dinner for his birthday and you can decide whether you will tough it out for another night or have "other plans." 

For Christmas though, I think there is a really easy way to make things better for you - why does Christmas dinner have to be just the 3 of you?  Invite at least one or two more people and you'll have added buffers so you won't be left alone with him and will have someone to talk to that isn't a total creep.

I really like this idea.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Amara on September 27, 2013, 12:45:29 PM
You know, OP, what I can't understand is why if you two are going to distance yourselves from your BIL you have to wait a few years to do it. And why do you have to do his birthday dinner and Christmas dinner this year? What is better about later than now? If you are going to distance yourselves, time will not make it better. It won't make your BIL feel better about it. It won't make your DH feel better about it. It certainly won't make you feel better about it. What exactly then is the reason for wanting to wait? Because your DH thinks your BIL won't think you are scared of him? That makes no sense to me. Time won't make him change what he thinks (if he does indeed think that).

Were it me I wouldn't be around BIL at all. Your DH's thinking is ridiculous. Unpleasant interactions should be stopped as soon as possible rather than eased off. More time just entrenches the behavior. And he's had five years now to "ease" off. Cancel your participation in the dinner and cancel Christmas plans. If your DH wants to maintain the relationship he can. You just won't be part of it.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 01:04:06 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on September 27, 2013, 01:04:44 PM
What a charmer, I can't imagine why he never married.  ::)  Your BIL sounds like he is twelve. 

Somehow he has taken all your DH's and your power as rational adults and dragged you into his ridiculous, immature mind-games.  Any notion of exposing him, or putting him in his "place" is just perpetuating and participating in the game that he created.  It's like Vegas - you can never beat the house in the long run, because they make the rules.

My perspective is, just don't play. I like the a) avoid and b) "minimal answer" approach, even escalating to "ignore". Your DH worries that BIL will think you're afraid of BIL?  How convoluted and bizarre is that?  Pardon my French, but who gives a flying flip what BIL thinks about anything?  There is no reason why you have to ever see him again, and I can't understand why your DH wants you to "taper" off from this situation like cigarettes.  If DH wants to see him, bully for DH.  He's a grown man, he can see who he wants.  You just don't have to go, and if DH wants BIL over to the house, you can leave and go have your Christmas lunch elsewhere, with people you actually like.

He has used his intimidation and bullying to make himself into a large and powerful presence in your life, even to the point of being a divisive influence in your marriage.  But remind yourself who and what he actually is.  He is a pathetic, lonely, ridiculous jerk.  Take your power back and just let the annoying fly buzz. It has nothing to do with you, not really.

Hope things continue to get better for you.

I suspect he's so good at the act because he's been the Golden Child all his life, so your DH has always been in the position of trying to win approval in his FOO.  Golden Children NEVER give up that position of perceived power willingly.  The power to continue a bullying dynamic lies with your DH taking his power back by making his own choices.  Good luck to you.

No need to make this bully a birthday meal.  He can celebrate his own birthday.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 01:08:45 PM
You know, OP, what I can't understand is why if you two are going to distance yourselves from your BIL you have to wait a few years to do it. And why do you have to do his birthday dinner and Christmas dinner this year? What is better about later than now? If you are going to distance yourselves, time will not make it better. It won't make your BIL feel better about it. It won't make your DH feel better about it. It certainly won't make you feel better about it. What exactly then is the reason for wanting to wait? Because your DH thinks your BIL won't think you are scared of him? That makes no sense to me. Time won't make him change what he thinks (if he does indeed think that).

Were it me I wouldn't be around BIL at all. Your DH's thinking is ridiculous. Unpleasant interactions should be stopped as soon as possible rather than eased off. More time just entrenches the behavior. And he's had five years now to "ease" off. Cancel your participation in the dinner and cancel Christmas plans. If your DH wants to maintain the relationship he can. You just won't be part of it.

Susan's husband and his brother own joint property. Perhaps her husband's looking for ways to get rid of his share.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Melxb on September 27, 2013, 01:09:05 PM
The interaction between your husband and his brother tells me that this bullying has been going on for a long time.  Is he older than your husband?  I think your husband may be more afraid of his brother than you are.  That's a troubling family dynamic.  Why in the world would you really need to spend any time with this person if you both dislike him so much?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: artk2002 on September 27, 2013, 01:09:32 PM
First of all welcome to the boards!

Now to your question- this is not about your BIL. It's about your husband. Your husband knows that his brother is creepy, obnoxious and rude to you and yet he insists on spending holidays together? You do not have to put up with this. Tell your husband NOW that he can do whatever he wants but you are staying home this year and his brother is not welcome. Your husband can make a choice ( and hint: be very unemotional about this, lay out the facts and make it clear that you will not be mad if he goes with brother but you have had enough). And the follow through.

Yes. OP, you have a DH problem, not a BIL problem. Your DH is putting his brother ahead of you and he needs to: 1) Understand that that's what he's doing; 2) Understand that that hurts you, terribly; and 3) Stand by you, not his brother.

lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

Lorelei_Evil had a good point above about why this is happening. It's likely that BIL was the Golden Child when they were growing up and your DH was relegated to the role of supporting cast. Your DH desperately wants his brother's approval because of this. He needs to understand that your approval must be far more important to him.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 01:11:20 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

Surely etiquette allows one to disinvite someone who lied about the way he was invited. But, if your husband insists on it, I'd tell him to do all the cleaning, food preparation and tidying. If he can't cook, surely he could get the food from a restaurant.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: jedikaiti on September 27, 2013, 01:13:05 PM
Quote
DH always wants me with him in the presence of BIL because he says he thinks that otherwise, BIL will think I am "scared" of him (BIL).

This phrase worries me. Does he fear that BIL will be offended if he thinks you are scared? Or does he (consciously or not) sense that showing BIL fear is sort of like showing fear in front of a wild animal, making it more likely to do something dangerous?


Yeah, that was bugging me, too.

Add me to the list.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: zyrs on September 27, 2013, 01:18:30 PM
I think you should suggest to your husband that he take his brother out to dinner for his birthday and you can decide whether you will tough it out for another night or have "other plans." 

For Christmas though, I think there is a really easy way to make things better for you - why does Christmas dinner have to be just the 3 of you?  Invite at least one or two more people and you'll have added buffers so you won't be left alone with him and will have someone to talk to that isn't a total creep.

I really like this idea.

Is there anyone in town that would put BIL on his best behavior?  The Mayor, Police Chief or a newspaper reporter?  I would consider inviting them.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Zizi-K on September 27, 2013, 01:26:31 PM
You know, just because your husband wants you to do these meals - you really don't have to. DH can even make you the bad guy. He can call up BIL and say, "Actually, sorry we got our wires crossed and Susan actually has a prior commitment that day and won't be able to cook dinner. Looks like we can go out just the two of us." And if you DON'T have something going on that day - schedule something. A dinner out with girl friends, a massage, a book club meeting, a new exercise class, whatever. BIL acts dominant because you and DH allow him to be dominant by giving in and not saying no.

My husband is similar in the he never wants to go and see his parents by himself. Even though they drive me a bit crazy, the truth is that he just doesn't like spending time with them alone because I provide a good buffer or distraction. My in-laws live a good 5 hours away, so it's not very often. But it sounds like you see your BIL more, and you have much more to be fed up with.

Your husband is asking you for a favor - but you don't have to say yes. You didn't commit to it, so you have no commitment to honor. BIL sounds like a nasty creep, and you have no obligation to him.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: BeadMom on September 27, 2013, 01:37:03 PM
I'm reading the whole "husband doesn't want BIL to think OP is afraid" as that the HUSBAND is scared to death of his brother and is using her as a shield. I know I'm being blunt; that is my opinion.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: cicero on September 27, 2013, 01:37:31 PM
You know, just because your husband wants you to do these meals - you really don't have to. DH can even make you the bad guy. He can call up BIL and say, "Actually, sorry we got our wires crossed and Susan actually has a prior commitment that day and won't be able to cook dinner. Looks like we can go out just the two of us." And if you DON'T have something going on that day - schedule something. A dinner out with girl friends, a massage, a book club meeting, a new exercise class, whatever. BIL acts dominant because you and DH allow him to be dominant by giving in and not saying no.

My husband is similar in the he never wants to go and see his parents by himself. Even though they drive me a bit crazy, the truth is that he just doesn't like spending time with them alone because I provide a good buffer or distraction. My in-laws live a good 5 hours away, so it's not very often. But it sounds like you see your BIL more, and you have much more to be fed up with.

Your husband is asking you for a favor - but you don't have to say yes. You didn't commit to it, so you have no commitment to honor. BIL sounds like a nasty creep, and you have no obligation to him.
this. so much this.

With all due respect to your husband, you have been talking about this for a long time and he has been putting his brother's feelings/actions above yours. that is NOT ok. NOW, that he finally "saw the light" and "accepts" that his brother is not ok, he... wait a minute, he wants you to cook this guy dinner AND still do christmas and THEN you won't have to do it anymore? yeah, sorry, not buying it. you will do the dinner and then christmas and then it will be time to visit the cemetary, and then it will be your husband's birthday and then easter and... you get the picture.

*you* - not your dh, but you- need to put an end to this now. if you don't want to spend any more time with this creep - *then don't*. period, end of discussion. if your husband does - then let him. let him cook him a special birthday dinner, let him do christmas together with him, let him go on vacation with him. that's all fine - *you* don't have to do any of that. If this will cause his brother to think you are this or that - who the heck cares?

Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: buvezdevin on September 27, 2013, 01:37:51 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

Surely etiquette allows one to disinvite someone who lied about the way he was invited. [snip]

Yes, and I would suggest doing it soon as Christmas is still months away so BIL has plenty of time to make other plans.

If your husband does agree that his brother's behavior merits the consequence of the two of you distancing yourselves, try to point out to him that consequences follow actions, and the situation is seldom, if ever, made better by deferring the consequences for months, much less *years*.  If your husband is afraid of being with his brother without your presence, for whatever reason, he is likely afraid of enforcing the decision to put distance between his brother, as well - it won't get easier, and you won't get the benefits until it's done... Just do it.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 27, 2013, 01:44:59 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

Your DH just calls him up and says, " Change of plan! Let's you and me go to a restaurant--my treat."

All taken care of.

nothing more needs to be said.

If BIL asks "why not the house, what about Susan," DH says, "I just thought this would be better."

This is acceptable for a host to do, in terms of Etiquette (which is what this board is about).

Not everything he knows needs to come out of his mouth in words!!

For that matter, you can simply make some food (as a favor to your husband), and then have plans to be elsewhere. This is a tiny bit sketchier, since you technically had "previous plans" to honor him, but at this point, I'll give you a pass.

In fact, if your DH won't go along with a change of venue, I would suggest that this is what you do.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 01:48:00 PM
Well, I can't believe I did this but - BIL was due to see DH tonight and I invited him up to the house.  When he came in, I confronted him about lying about not getting invited.  He couldn't believe it.  He apologized all over the place.

My husband was so angry while BIL was on the way up.  He didn't want me to do that.

I told BIL:  "You don't do that to someone!"

My last words to the BIL were:  "LEAVE. NOW." 

I was furious the more I thought about it and how things have been and what I've been tolerating.

I am still shaking from the confrontation.  I couldn't have rested otherwise though.  He tried to act so shocked and contrite which I know is an act.

But at least I am not having to cater to him this year.  Thanks everyone. 

Edit:  When BIL came in, I asked him to have a seat and said:  "Who invited you to Christmas dinner this year?"

BIL:  No one.

I looked astounded, because of the former dodge that alluded to the fact that he'd implied he was invited - which DH bought into thoroughly.  It had even had me doubting myself earlier this week.

When BIL said "No one."  I lit into him.  I couldn't help myself.  I said:  "You don't do people like that!  Who do you think you are?  Do you have any idea  or care how hard it is to cook a Christmas dinner?"  he mumbled something.  I assertively told him to speak up! 

Anyway, I finally stood up to him and let him know I wasn't going to be his hostess after abusing me.  Thanks so much everyone.  I would have never done that without having read all your posts.  I was a little harsh, I felt it was righteous anger.  My gut would not let me rest until I let him know I wasn't standing for that.  I knew that much even before my post today.  You all helped me formulate it.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Shoo on September 27, 2013, 01:54:42 PM
So, you're NOT cooking him a birthday dinner or any other dinner, right?  I can't tell precisely from your update.

Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 27, 2013, 01:58:11 PM
Well, I can't believe I did this but - BIL was due to see DH tonight and I invited him up to the house.  When he came in, I confronted him about lying about not getting invited.  He couldn't believe it.  He apologized all over the place.

My husband was so angry while BIL was on the way up.  He didn't want me to do that.

I told BIL:  "You don't do that to someone!"

My last words to the BIL were:  "LEAVE. NOW." 

I was furious the more I thought about it and how things have been and what I've been tolerating.

I am still shaking from the confrontation.  I couldn't have rested otherwise though.  He tried to act so shocked and contrite which I know is an act.

But at least I am not having to cater to him this year.  Thanks everyone. 

Edit:  When BIL came in, I asked him to have a seat and said:  "Who invited you to Christmas dinner this year?"

BIL:  No one.

I looked astounded, because of the former dodge that alluded to the fact that he'd implied he was invited - which DH bought into thoroughly.  It had even had me doubting myself earlier this week.

When BIL said "No one."  I lit into him.  I couldn't help myself.  I said:  "You don't do people like that!  Who do you think you are?  Do you have any idea  or care how hard it is to cook a Christmas dinner?"  he mumbled something.  I assertively told him to speak up! 

Anyway, I finally stood up to him and let him know I wasn't going to be his hostess after abusing me.  Thanks so much everyone.  I would have never done that without having read all your posts.  I was a little harsh, I felt it was righteous anger.  My gut would not let me rest until I let him know I wasn't standing for that.  I knew that much even before my post today.  You all helped me formulate it.  Thanks again.

Ligting into someone is not always the best way to go, but after years and years of his abusive nonsense, I don't blame you. Good for you for standing up for yourself!!!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 01:59:03 PM
My husband will try to talk me into still doing his birthday dinner, I guess, but I'm not going to.  Something about a few comments I read that said I shouldn't have to cook for someone who has been mean to me and abused me.  He was so fake around my husband.  I am not putting up with that anymore.  I can't believe what I took off that person.  All because I love my DH and didn't want to make waves.  Come what may, I feel so good about having confronted him just now.  I don't care what he thinks of me.  I couldn't care less.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Susan45 on September 27, 2013, 02:01:40 PM
I know, LeveeWoman.  But bad enough to insult someone every chance he got for years, but then to lie and worm his way into someone's house for a Christmas meal as well?  I had reached my limit.  I was never brought up to let go like that but I just had to put a stop to it. 

I hope he never wants to come around here again.  What he did I would never dream of doing to a person.  It's just so underhanded.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: FauxFoodist on September 27, 2013, 02:03:42 PM
You know, OP, what I can't understand is why if you two are going to distance yourselves from your BIL you have to wait a few years to do it. And why do you have to do his birthday dinner and Christmas dinner this year? What is better about later than now? If you are going to distance yourselves, time will not make it better. It won't make your BIL feel better about it. It won't make your DH feel better about it. It certainly won't make you feel better about it. What exactly then is the reason for wanting to wait? Because your DH thinks your BIL won't think you are scared of him? That makes no sense to me. Time won't make him change what he thinks (if he does indeed think that).

Were it me I wouldn't be around BIL at all. Your DH's thinking is ridiculous. Unpleasant interactions should be stopped as soon as possible rather than eased off. More time just entrenches the behavior. And he's had five years now to "ease" off. Cancel your participation in the dinner and cancel Christmas plans. If your DH wants to maintain the relationship he can. You just won't be part of it.

To me, the reason this is happening this way is because it's really not going to happen at all.  Cook BIL's birthday dinner this year and spend Christmas and things will change next year?  Uh uh.  I don't trust this at all.  How many times have we experienced someone saying "Let it go this time, and we'll address it next time" or something similar and the next time happens with nothing changing?  The time is NOW to stop.

And count me in on really not getting the whole OP must be there so BIL doesn't think she's afraid of him.  Frankly, after telling DH that she's not afraid of BIL, I'd stop spending any more time with him.  Who cares what BIL thinks, seriously???

And, to me, this sounds like another case of the squeakiest wheel getting what he/she wants.  Unless OP puts her foot down and lets the possible drama ensue, nothing is going to change.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: EMuir on September 27, 2013, 02:10:44 PM
I am very glad you confronted him. Of course your husband said "just two more events", it allowed him to avoid confrontation for a few months and when that was up, maybe you'd have forgotten about it.  Good for you for taking a stand.  You can't control your husband, you can only control yourself, and you have chosen to not be bullied anymore.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: FauxFoodist on September 27, 2013, 02:11:32 PM
Well, I can't believe I did this but - BIL was due to see DH tonight and I invited him up to the house.  When he came in, I confronted him about lying about not getting invited.  He couldn't believe it.  He apologized all over the place.

My husband was so angry while BIL was on the way up.  He didn't want me to do that.

I told BIL:  "You don't do that to someone!"

My last words to the BIL were:  "LEAVE. NOW." 

I was furious the more I thought about it and how things have been and what I've been tolerating.

I am still shaking from the confrontation.  I couldn't have rested otherwise though.  He tried to act so shocked and contrite which I know is an act.

But at least I am not having to cater to him this year.  Thanks everyone. 

Edit:  When BIL came in, I asked him to have a seat and said:  "Who invited you to Christmas dinner this year?"

BIL:  No one.

I looked astounded, because of the former dodge that alluded to the fact that he'd implied he was invited - which DH bought into thoroughly.  It had even had me doubting myself earlier this week.

When BIL said "No one."  I lit into him.  I couldn't help myself.  I said:  "You don't do people like that!  Who do you think you are?  Do you have any idea  or care how hard it is to cook a Christmas dinner?"  he mumbled something.  I assertively told him to speak up! 

Anyway, I finally stood up to him and let him know I wasn't going to be his hostess after abusing me.  Thanks so much everyone.  I would have never done that without having read all your posts.  I was a little harsh, I felt it was righteous anger.  My gut would not let me rest until I let him know I wasn't standing for that.  I knew that much even before my post today.  You all helped me formulate it.  Thanks again.

Good for you!  I was so angry on your behalf when I read the initial post that I couldn't even wait until I'd read all of the thread and your updates before posting.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: FauxFoodist on September 27, 2013, 02:15:25 PM
My husband will try to talk me into still doing his birthday dinner, I guess, but I'm not going to.  Something about a few comments I read that said I shouldn't have to cook for someone who has been mean to me and abused me.  He was so fake around my husband.  I am not putting up with that anymore.  I can't believe what I took off that person.  All because I love my DH and didn't want to make waves.  Come what may, I feel so good about having confronted him just now.  I don't care what he thinks of me.  I couldn't care less.

Again, good for you.

What is up with your husband?  We read that you love your husband, but how much does he love YOU that he would try to make you do this still???  Is your husband so afraid of your BIL that he won't do anything that will displease him and, really, risk his marriage?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Amara on September 27, 2013, 02:22:04 PM
Pat yourself on the back, OP! Forcing your BIL to confront his own lie was good. At least he knows you have had it. That's not to say I don't think he'll try his antics again and again, and that your DH won't try to persuade you to put up with them, but I do think you have taken the hardest step in what will be the journey to changing this dysfunctional situation.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: AnnaJane on September 27, 2013, 02:47:31 PM
Good for you, OP! You may be the first person in the entire family to call out BIL for his behaviour. Hopefully, your DH noticed that the world didn't actually end when BIL didn't get his own way.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on September 27, 2013, 02:48:17 PM
Just say "no."  It will get easier with time.  Your BIL is toxic.  Avoid him.  If your DH enjoys toxicity, let him deal with his brother.  Don't cook a birthday dinner for him.  I only cook for people I want to nurture.  What I would want to put in BIL's meal falls under the heading of "retaliatory rudeness" and I'm just not gonna go there.

Your DH has a noodle-spine.  If he wants to placate his bully brother, that's his choice.  5 years is enough.  You are not obligated to put up with this anymore.  You and your DH can visit his parents graves together whenever you want.  You don't need to go there with a bully brother.  Let him pay his own respects.

This man is a poster child for the "cut direct."  I would be hard put not to get my last licks in with "I wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire." >:D
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: poundcake on September 27, 2013, 02:53:23 PM
Sounds like it's time for one of these confrontations with your husband next.

Good on you, OP. I completely understand why you did this, too.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LEMon on September 27, 2013, 02:58:44 PM
The next challenge will be to stand firm.  Decide to withstand the pressure that will come to play nice.  I suspect DH is going to be very uncomfortable and try to negotiate with you.

I would make it clear what my boundaries are to DH.  "I will do this.  I will not do that."  And stand firm.  We call it having a 'shiny steel backbone'.

I would be making it clear he can take his brother out for the birthday dinner if he wants, and that there will be no Christmas dinner for BIL that you will be attending.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: EllenS on September 27, 2013, 03:07:51 PM
OP, may I suggest the "Polite Spine" category?  There really is an easier way than bottling it up for years until you explode.  However justified or understandable the explosion may be, it isn't good for you in the long run to do that to yourself.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 27, 2013, 03:23:18 PM
Ok, I only read the original post, did not read five pages yet.

Are you kidding me?   Your husband insists that you must spend at least three times with his mean brother and that you must go on holiday with this person that treats you so badly?  He does not even stand up for you???

Seriously, I would tell your husband to go pound sand.  I would not be spending Christmas with this person, once, let alone twice.  And if I had to at all, it would be one time.  And every time this person came near me, alone, my phone would be out with video.  Sweetly said, "BIL, you were saying?".   

Your husband and his brother can attend to their parent's grave on their own.

This guy is alone for a reason.  And it is not your job, or your husband's job to make sure he is not alone.  It is his choice to be alone. 

I think you really need to take a step back and think about the relationship you have with your husband and the relationship you want to have.  Yes, this is your husband's brother.  If need be, he can have a relationship with his brother that does not include you.  But, your husband married you and chose you as his wife and now family too.  Would he let anyone else disrespect you the way his brother does?   

I don't know if children might be in your future, but if so, do you really want your children around this man, or to let them see how this person treats you and how their father lets him do so?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: FauxFoodist on September 27, 2013, 03:26:15 PM
Sounds like it's time for one of these confrontations with your husband next.

Good on you, OP. I completely understand why you did this, too.

I agree that it's time for the husband next, and I don't think it was wrong of you to confront him the way you did.  NOTHING else was working, nothing.  Look how he responded -- he didn't attempt any more of his PA and bullying behavior at that moment, did he?  I'm not saying to do it this way again, but do continue to stand up for him assertively (not aggressively) and never mind your husband telling you to stand down as he's spent the last five years not sticking up for you, not believing you and not standing up to his brother.  About 2-3 years ago, I was standing up for myself to my DH's obnoxious boor of a BF, but DH became distressed so I backed down (DH tried denying it later, but I firmly set him straight on that one and quoted what he said that made me desist because he was getting upset).  DH will almost never stand up to his friend and really didn't for that situation so a) I no longer spend time with BoorishBF or BoorishBF and his wife (wife is another issue) unless other people are involved, not just DH and me, and b) I told DH that should this ever happen again, I will not back off since I already know DH won't exercise a spine and stand up for me effectively (BoorishBF is so over-the-top obnoxious that everyone else is expected to compromise or give in so that BF doesn't go off the deep end as is his tendency).  I've pointed out to DH that their other BF and OtherBF's wife also don't tend to socialize with BoorishBF or BoorishBF and wife anymore unless it's also in a group setting so I'm not the only wife who has had enough.  A bully will continue unchecked unless someone stands up to him so yay for you!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Zizi-K on September 27, 2013, 03:27:11 PM
Wow, good for you!  Congratulations!
I do love a happy ending.

Now, as others have said, you keep your cool going forward and develop a nice polite spine. I assume your husband has your back?

I hope you feel good standing up for yourself, and you do it more often!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 27, 2013, 03:30:26 PM
P.S. To those who said just let the husband see BIL any time he wants and just don't go yourself, I am in complete agreement!  But DH often insists I be there.  He has this thing about not wanting BIL to think I am afraid of him.  I have really pushed the issue that they can go out anytime together wherever/whenever - but DH has said:  "I don't want to be with him!"  Isn't that peculiar?  But yes - I would totally sanction them going on vacation together - but it's clear DH doesn't enjoy his company much either

OP, you stated the above in one of your posts.  Honestly, I don't think that your dh wants BIL to think that you are not afraid of him, I think your DH is actually afraid of his brother and wants you to be there for his support.  IF this is the case, then honestly, I vote that there is no reason your dh needs to see his brother.  You don't have to see someone just because they are family.  But, if he feels that he has to see his brother, then he needs to put his big boy panties on and do so by himself.  Maybe the more you put your foot down and say, "No, I am not going to be around a person who treats me like he does", your dh will learn that it is ok to not want to be around his brother and not feel any kind of loyalty.

Right now, your BIL has control of your marriage and your relationship with your dh by BIL's actions and how your dh works all he can to appease his brother.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Tea Drinker on September 27, 2013, 04:29:26 PM
I think the next question for your husband is "Why do you care whether your obnoxious brother thinks I'm afraid of him? What would happen if he thought that?"

Because what BIL does/did when your husband doesn't think he believes you're afraid of him is to bully you, condescend, insult you, and demand that you do things for him. Those are the sort of things that someone who does believe the victim is afraid of him does.

Also, if he doesn't want his brother to think you're afraid of him, he should be cheering you for standing up to BIL, because that was a brave act.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on September 27, 2013, 04:46:03 PM
I think the next question for your husband is "Why do you care whether your obnoxious brother thinks I'm afraid of him? What would happen if he thought that?"

Because what BIL does/did when your husband doesn't think he believes you're afraid of him is to bully you, condescend, insult you, and demand that you do things for him. Those are the sort of things that someone who does believe the victim is afraid of him does.

Also, if he doesn't want his brother to think you're afraid of him, he should be cheering you for standing up to BIL, because that was a brave act.
Good point, Tea Drinker.

I might reply to DH, "Maybe your brother should be afraid of me, 'cuz I'm not putting up with his guff anymore."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: JoyinVirginia on September 27, 2013, 05:08:03 PM
Thanks for the update, op!  I agree with others, no need to spend any time with your bil. Also no need, now that you have discussed it with dh, to analyze it or debate it to death any more.  Just no. if you're dh feels he must visit with bil because they own property together, your dh can get an attorney to handle sale of property, or whatever communication there needs to be.
Just say no. no I won't cook for him. No I won't go on holiday for him. No I won't go with you to visit him. He is boring. He doesn't like me, I don't like him, and that is not going to change.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: lisastitch on September 27, 2013, 05:47:18 PM
OP, I'm going to stand up a little bit for your DH, not because i think his behavior is acceptable, but because I think he's in a hard position. 
DH and I are facing a somewhat similar situation with my brother so I'm putting myself somewhat in your DH's shoes.  This is his brother, whom he loves, even if he doesn't like him.  They have a lot of history together.  Both parents are dead, and you don't mention any other siblings, so DH's brother may be the only person who shares DH's memories. 
You probably have a clearer view of your BIL than your DH does.  My DH, for some time now, has thought that my brother was mentally ill; it is only fairly recently, with some really egregious actions on my brother's part, that I can acknowledge that, at the least, he is mentally unstable.  It has taken me much longer to get to that point--my vision is clouded by those years that my brother and I shared.
So, yes, your DH may be hoping that the situation isn't quite as bad as it seems, and that if you and he back off a little, that maybe the situation with your BIL will resolve and he won't need to cut his brother out of his life. 
Your DH needs to learn to stand up for you.  It sounds as if this process is starting.  You've gotten some great suggestions on ways to proceed, but be aware that as hard as it is for you, it may be even harder for your DH.  It has been so hard for me to realize that I do not want my brother in my life.
Hugs to you and your DH.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Iris on September 27, 2013, 05:55:53 PM
You have received some great advice here, and yay you for standing up to bully  brother.

I just wanted to chip in and tell you my favourite phrase for dealing with people either trying to be bullies or pushing me to deal with one: "That's really not my problem", said in a tone of total unconcern. After setting a boundary (e.g. never seeing bil ever again) use it to stick to it.

"I want you to come with me so I'm not alone with bil"
"That's really not my problem"
"But he will think you're afraid of him"
"That's really not my problem"
Etc etc

As to your husband "insisting" that you accompany him to see bil, that's really not his call. Just say no.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: bopper on September 27, 2013, 06:06:51 PM
You and DH have inadvertantly trained BIL that his actions are okay. That is why he keeps doing them.
You are saying no more.

You should practice some phrases for your DH:

"Well, if he wants to join people for Christmas he shouldn't lie to them  and annoy them."
"No I won't be joining you if you want to visit your brother."
"I understand you want to spend time with him but I will not spend another vacation/holiday miserably again."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on September 27, 2013, 06:33:37 PM
You should practice some phrases:

"Well, if he wants to join people for Christmas he should lie and annoy them."
"No I won't be joining you if you want to visit your brother."
"I understand you want to spend time with him but I will not spend another vacation/holiday miserably again."
Personally, I think Iris's suggestion is better.  IMHO BIL needs a single message delivered consistently and that message is "That's really not my problem."

If he wants to join people to celebrate Christmas, she isn't stopping him.  She just isn't going to ruin another of her holidays being bullied.  I don't know why you (bopper) suggest BIL "should lie and annoy them."  I think it would be clearer if she simply replied, "That's really not my problem."

Likewise, she is not stopping her DH from spending time with his brother.  She simply will not spend her time with her BIL.  If DH is afraid of his brother, it's really not her problem.

Instead of responding to his complaints and comments with answers that address his issues, give a consistent "non-response" of "that's really not my problem."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on September 27, 2013, 06:33:46 PM
BIL is sabotaging your marriage.  DH has something good that BIL doesnít, and BILís reaction has been to try to destroy it in a way that he hopes will leave him looking blameless.

Reading your O.P., people here have been appalled on your behalf.  DH should also be appalled.  I have sympathy for him though. Growing up in dysfunction, one learns to adapt and see it as normal.  It can take a huge wakeup call to see what others see.  And it can be very painful. 

I donít think it needs to be a case of DH protecting you or you protecting him Ė it should be the two of you acting as a solidified unit to protect your love and marriage from an outside threat.  I hope the two of you can work this out.   
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: AuntieA on September 27, 2013, 06:54:51 PM
Just adding my ***BRAVO!*** to Susan45 for laying down the law to creep-in-law. Keep up the good work and watch your spine shine!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Hopefull on September 27, 2013, 06:58:04 PM
Susan you definitely don't' need to be near him and I suggest you stay far far away.


BUT
If you have to see him why not make a game of it!!! IF finances allow go and get some sort of secret recorder. Maybe something small you can put in your bra or something. Have it recording all the time you are with your brother in law. That way you will have concrete proof of BIL's "act".

Then post it on here for us to hear  ;)
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: suzieQ on September 27, 2013, 07:02:54 PM
You know, OP, what I can't understand is why if you two are going to distance yourselves from your BIL you have to wait a few years to do it. And why do you have to do his birthday dinner and Christmas dinner this year? What is better about later than now? If you are going to distance yourselves, time will not make it better. It won't make your BIL feel better about it. It won't make your DH feel better about it. It certainly won't make you feel better about it. What exactly then is the reason for wanting to wait? Because your DH thinks your BIL won't think you are scared of him? That makes no sense to me. Time won't make him change what he thinks (if he does indeed think that).

Were it me I wouldn't be around BIL at all. Your DH's thinking is ridiculous. Unpleasant interactions should be stopped as soon as possible rather than eased off. More time just entrenches the behavior. And he's had five years now to "ease" off. Cancel your participation in the dinner and cancel Christmas plans. If your DH wants to maintain the relationship he can. You just won't be part of it.
POD
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: doodlemor on September 27, 2013, 08:26:43 PM
BIL is sabotaging your marriage.  DH has something good that BIL doesnít, and BILís reaction has been to try to destroy it in a way that he hopes will leave him looking blameless.

Reading your O.P., people here have been appalled on your behalf.  DH should also be appalled.  I have sympathy for him though. Growing up in dysfunction, one learns to adapt and see it as normal.  It can take a huge wakeup call to see what others see.  And it can be very painful. 

I donít think it needs to be a case of DH protecting you or you protecting him Ė it should be the two of you acting as a solidified unit to protect your love and marriage from an outside threat.  I hope the two of you can work this out.

B-I-N-G-O!  Poddity, pod, and pod!  This creepy, creepy person is jealous of his brother. 

I agree with the PP who say that DH is actually afraid/uncomfortable to be alone with his brother.  I bet that brother has done unkind things to undermine him for his whole life. 



Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: doodlemor on September 27, 2013, 08:44:33 PM
Susan you definitely don't' need to be near him and I suggest you stay far far away.


BUT
If you have to see him why not make a game of it!!! IF finances allow go and get some sort of secret recorder. Maybe something small you can put in your bra or something. Have it recording all the time you are with your brother in law. That way you will have concrete proof of BIL's "act".

Then post it on here for us to hear  ;)

Snarky doodlemor would be tempted to post the dirt on the web, for all of this man's friends to listen to. 

Actually, if you had several secret cams when he came over [ if you ever let his sorry butt........him back in your house] you could post his act on youtube or facebook or both for everyone to see the truth.

PS I'm not sure if this is legal, but it would be *justice.*
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: zyrs on September 27, 2013, 11:57:07 PM
OP, good for you in standing up for yourself! 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: sammycat on September 28, 2013, 02:28:27 AM
I'm reading the whole "husband doesn't want BIL to think OP is afraid" as that the HUSBAND is scared to death of his brother and is using her as a shield. I know I'm being blunt; that is my opinion.

Bingo.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: bloo on September 28, 2013, 09:05:35 AM
PP's have given excellent suggestions for how to deal with BIL in the moment while he misbehaves.

But...

...this is a level of dysfunction I could not handle. It would be too mentally exhausting for me. OP, you have a DH problem, not a BIL problem. I would suggest that you set the pattern for how to command respect by refusing to your DH's dictates that you must be around this unpleasant person.

Sweetly decline while letting him know you understand that he wants to keep a relationship with his brother. At some point, your DH may have an epiphany that in keeping a close relationship with his brother, he's giving up important milestones to be spent with his wife (which, when you marry, your spouse becomes your primary family - not your FOO). Also he may note that you are mentally healthy enough not to put up with mistreatment, so why isn't he?

Best wishes to you OP!

ETA: Oops, just read your update! Good for you. Agreed with SoCalVal, though:

Quote
Quote
Quote from: Susan45 on Yesterday at 02:59:03 PM

My husband will try to talk me into still doing his birthday dinner, I guess, but I'm not going to.  Something about a few comments I read that said I shouldn't have to cook for someone who has been mean to me and abused me.  He was so fake around my husband.  I am not putting up with that anymore.  I can't believe what I took off that person.  All because I love my DH and didn't want to make waves.  Come what may, I feel so good about having confronted him just now.  I don't care what he thinks of me.  I couldn't care less.

Again, good for you.

What is up with your husband?  We read that you love your husband, but how much does he love YOU that he would try to make you do this still???  Is your husband so afraid of your BIL that he won't do anything that will displease him and, really, risk his marriage?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on September 29, 2013, 03:13:09 PM
At first, I thought DH may just be using you as a buffer so he doesn't have to be alone with his brother, but now, I think it's a little more insidious.  It sounds like when you're around, the brother picks on you , diverting his attention away from DH.  It sounds like your DH is using you as a shield.

And his argument about being around Bro because you want to prove you're not afraid of him is manipulative and silly.  Who cares what Bro thinks?  DH's insistence that you back down from telling Bro you're angry at his behavior is enabling and spineless.  And worse, it will take you two steps back in terms of your progress.  Because it shows Bro that if you set a boundary, you don't mean it, because DH will panic and restore the status quo.  Stick to your guns, Susan.  You're doing the right thing.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: NyaChan on September 29, 2013, 05:32:24 PM
How have things been going in the aftermath?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 29, 2013, 05:45:19 PM
Susan you definitely don't' need to be near him and I suggest you stay far far away.


BUT
If you have to see him why not make a game of it!!! IF finances allow go and get some sort of secret recorder. Maybe something small you can put in your bra or something. Have it recording all the time you are with your brother in law. That way you will have concrete proof of BIL's "act".

Then post it on here for us to hear  ;)

Snarky doodlemor would be tempted to post the dirt on the web, for all of this man's friends to listen to. 

Actually, if you had several secret cams when he came over [ if you ever let his sorry butt........him back in your house] you could post his act on youtube or facebook or both for everyone to see the truth.

PS I'm not sure if this is legal, but it would be *justice.*

I was considering this suggestion and the potential issue that it may be illegal where the OP lives.

So set up the recording devices and TELL BIL that you are done with his little snide, PA remarks and that you will be recording him at all times when he is in your presence from this point forward (and get this part on tape, too).  10 to 1, he'll be on his best behaviour for the first little while but will then forget and start back up.  And then you have him.

But frankly, I would just refuse to have anything to do with this guy again.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: katycoo on September 29, 2013, 07:44:29 PM
I've seen your most recent update and I'm really pleased for you.

I think you coudl allow BIL to have his birthday dinner at your place, but in that case, it is your DH who needs to do ALL the work to make it happen.

I'm reading the whole "husband doesn't want BIL to think OP is afraid" as that the HUSBAND is scared to death of his brother and is using her as a shield. I know I'm being blunt; that is my opinion.

THIS!  He doesn't want to actually start the distancing becuase he has an idea of what will follow but he doesn't want to admit it.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 29, 2013, 09:19:43 PM
OP ~~  You mentioned that your husband and Disgusting Brother own property together.  What is the nature of this property?  I mean is it the parents' old homestead (and is DB living there?) or is it commercial property or what?  Is there any possibility that you could either sell your part of the property or let the brother buy out your husband's half or something?  DB does not sound like someone who could be trusted to be honest or fair in business dealings and I agree with those who have been brave enough to mention the possibility that your husband is afraid of his brother.  I suspect DB wasn't very nice to him when they were growing up and that he got by with it right under the parents' noses.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: guihong on September 29, 2013, 09:34:18 PM
OP ~~  You mentioned that your husband and Disgusting Brother own property together.  What is the nature of this property?  I mean is it the parents' old homestead (and is DB living there?) or is it commercial property or what?  Is there any possibility that you could either sell your part of the property or let the brother buy out your husband's half or something?  DB does not sound like someone who could be trusted to be honest or fair in business dealings and I agree with those who have been brave enough to mention the possibility that your husband is afraid of his brother.  I suspect DB wasn't very nice to him when they were growing up and that he got by with it right under the parents' noses.

I was about to ask that very question, but Gramma Dishes did it much better.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 29, 2013, 09:59:51 PM
OP ~~  You mentioned that your husband and Disgusting Brother own property together.  What is the nature of this property?  I mean is it the parents' old homestead (and is DB living there?) or is it commercial property or what?  Is there any possibility that you could either sell your part of the property or let the brother buy out your husband's half or something?  DB does not sound like someone who could be trusted to be honest or fair in business dealings and I agree with those who have been brave enough to mention the possibility that your husband is afraid of his brother.  I suspect DB wasn't very nice to him when they were growing up and that he got by with it right under the parents' noses.

That's been on my mind for a few days.  Will the dissolution of joint ownership take a few years to accomplish? Could it be accelerated?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: bopper on September 30, 2013, 08:03:31 AM
I'm reading the whole "husband doesn't want BIL to think OP is afraid" as that the HUSBAND is scared to death of his brother and is using her as a shield. I know I'm being blunt; that is my opinion.

Bingo.

And not only that...You ARE afraid.  If he doesn't want BIL to know that it could be because 1) He doesn't want BIL to feel bad...this might imply that he still sees BIL as a "normal" person and his having some cognitive dissonance that his wife would be afraid of a normal person   or 2) He is afraid what BIL would do with the knowledge that you were afraid
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: MrTango on October 01, 2013, 01:44:31 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

If I were in your position arguing with my wife about this sort of thing, I'd say "If you're so concerned about honoring the committment, then you can go ahead and cook for your brother yourself.  I will have nothing to do with it."

Sounds like your husband's concerns about not wanting BIL to think you're afraid of him are actually a projection of your husband's fear of his brother.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Twik on October 01, 2013, 01:50:12 PM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

The bolded is an interesting phrase. I wonder what exact dynamics are going on between the two brothers. Is your husband trained to be the "nice" one, and that if he isn't "nice," the universe goes out of balance and we all fall into a black hole?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 01, 2013, 03:21:41 PM
Speaking as someone whose DH was programmed to the "reasonable one*" while his sister wreaked havock, I can only advise you to live your boundaries. If you enable him to continue the "just this one thing" cycle, you will never pull out of it. Your DH is used to appeasement, to peace at all costs.  He knows he can depend on your love, so he expects you to compromise because he can't trust BIL's love. So what you have to do is make it just as uncomfortable for DH to put you in the "compromise" position as it is for DH to confront BIL.

DH can plan to "honor his commitment" to appease BIL all he wants, but you will not be involved.  If he brings it up as planning for BIL's bday dinner, tell him, "I will not be here.  I will be at a movie that night, but the crockpot is in the cabinet left of the stove." When he protests, tell him, "I will not be there." And when the appointed night arrives, go to the movies. He can accuse you of not being supportive or showing BIL you're afraid of him or some other nonsense to try to force you back into the position of helping him appease BIL - because that's what DH's comfortable with.  He doesn't know any other way to operate. But ultimately, he needs to hear the same simple, repeated message that BIL hears, "I will not have anything to do with BIL."

*A friend of mine called it the "Curse of the capable" over the weekend and, boy does that describe the situation.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Iris on October 01, 2013, 06:15:25 PM

*A friend of mine called it the "Curse of the capable" over the weekend and, boy does that describe the situation.

Apologies to your friend, but I am so stealing that.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: bopper on October 02, 2013, 08:02:01 AM
lady_disdain and everyone who thinks I shouldn't be cooking for the BIL.  I completely agree, but the arrangement was made prior to finding out he misled us about being invited to our house for Christmas.  I have had this argument with my husband repeatedly, to which he says:  "We should honor our commitment.  If we don't, he'll think we're just like he is."  To which I said, "Who cares what he thinks?  He willfully misled us!  No one invited him to our house."  I honestly don't understand my husband's apparent apprehension to displease him.  It's sad to me, very sad.

If I were in your position arguing with my wife about this sort of thing, I'd say "If you're so concerned about honoring the committment, then you can go ahead and cook for your brother yourself.  I will have nothing to do with it."

Sounds like your husband's concerns about not wanting BIL to think you're afraid of him are actually a projection of your husband's fear of his brother.

"Yes, I said I would make his birthday dinner but I also thought he would be acting in a reasonable way. Its an implied social contract...you are part of my family so I celebrate with you. However, if he hit me in the face, should I still have to make dinner to honor the commitment?  No, because the social contract would be broken.  And I am telling you the way he treats me also breaks that contract. I will not be doing anything for nor with him anymore.  If you choose to make him dinner or go out to dinner with him yourself, consider the message that it sends to both him and to me.  I, for one, get the message that you condone his behavior and that you are going out of your way to be nice to someone that deliberately tries to make me uncomfortable."
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: acicularis on October 02, 2013, 08:24:56 AM
I'd be inclined to keep it short and sweet: "If you think you need to honor this commitment, then that is your responsibility. Because of how he has treated me, I feel no obligation."

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 08:31:12 AM
Or how about the important questions, "Why is so important to you keep him happy?  Why do you care so much about what he thinks?  Why is his happiness and what he thinks more important to you than my happiness and what I think?"
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Amara on October 02, 2013, 12:14:28 PM
I'm guessing that even if he can't articulate it, her DH feels that his only surviving bond is his brother. It's a lifelong one and he may, unconsciously, believe that it is more likely to last than the bond with his wife.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 12:30:44 PM
I'm guessing that even if he can't articulate it, her DH feels that his only surviving bond is his brother. It's a lifelong one and he may, unconsciously, believe that it is more likely to last than the bond with his wife.

If he keeps prioritizing BIL's feelings over his wife's, then he is almost guaranteeing it.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 02, 2013, 12:34:47 PM
I'm guessing that even if he can't articulate it, her DH feels that his only surviving bond is his brother. It's a lifelong one and he may, unconsciously, believe that it is more likely to last than the bond with his wife.

If he keeps prioritizing BIL's feelings over his wife's, then he is almost guaranteeing it.

Exactly!   ;D

I'd still like to know about the nature of the property the brothers co-own and why the husband seems afraid of his brother.  It is possible that if he stood up to him, they might actually have a better relationship in the long run. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: DavidH on October 02, 2013, 12:46:44 PM
The whole example of you gave, mocking your voice, grunts, sighs seems like grade school, not how adults interact, it's just bizarre.  I honestly don't get the entire interaction. 

Since you clearly feel very strongly that you dislike BIL, I also don't understand why you've entertained him for so long.  I'm glad you finally said something to him. For the record, your DH may be interested to know that distancing oneself from someone rarely involves inviting them over and cooking meals for them.  Further, I have it on good authority that men can, in fact, cook dinners and in a pinch order in meals if they are afraid of the stove. 

If DH wants him to come over for his birthday dinner, which is presumably not a milestone event for you, then a reasonable compromise is either for you to find somewhere else to be for that evening and for DH to cook dinner for his BIL or for DH to take his brother out for dinner without you.

For Christmas it's a bit more difficult since it is a big event for everyone involved.  I think you bluntly need to say to DH that you will not spend Christmas with his brother and that DH needs to choose who he wants to spend it with.  Force him to either say he would prefer to spend it with his brother or to spend it with you. 

I don't understand why not spending time with BIL implies you are afraid of him.  There are plenty of people I dislike who I won't spend time with and fear has nothing to do with it.  Perhaps you can think of someone or somewhere you DH dislikes going.  Suggest you go there or see them.  If he doesn't agree tell him he has to or else it will look like he's afraid of it.  That may help him see that dislike and fear are really totally different things.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 09, 2013, 08:04:01 PM
OP, any update to this situation? How did BIL's birthday go?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: djinnidjream on October 10, 2013, 12:15:44 PM
BIL sounds like the BIL that there used to be some posts about- the robotics team one who would lie and say he was an advisor.  Sorry- I can't remember who used to post about him- but there were quite a few posts about him- a few years back. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Kaypeep on October 10, 2013, 12:29:40 PM
BIL sounds like the BIL that there used to be some posts about- the robotics team one who would lie and say he was an advisor.  Sorry- I can't remember who used to post about him- but there were quite a few posts about him- a few years back.

I remember those stories.  The OP of those had the word "duck" in her SN, but I can't remember who it was.  But that BIL was more clueless and lacking social skills.  He overreached and thought he was more than he was because he seemingly had nothing else going on his his life and while was annoying, he wasn't mean or cruel.  This BIL sounds cruel or slightly unhinged. I agree with the others that the OP should distance herself and let her DH handle all things concerning his brother. 
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Browyn on October 10, 2013, 03:19:18 PM
BIL is sabotaging your marriage.  DH has something good that BIL doesnít, and BILís reaction has been to try to destroy it in a way that he hopes will leave him looking blameless.

Reading your O.P., people here have been appalled on your behalf.  DH should also be appalled.  I have sympathy for him though. Growing up in dysfunction, one learns to adapt and see it as normal.  It can take a huge wakeup call to see what others see.  And it can be very painful. 

I donít think it needs to be a case of DH protecting you or you protecting him Ė it should be the two of you acting as a solidified unit to protect your love and marriage from an outside threat.  I hope the two of you can work this out.

THIS! When DH and I were dating his brother (who lived with him) alternated being rude to me/ignoring me.  He had always been a bully. 

He couldn't stand the fact little brother was happy while he and his on again/off again girlfriend were off again.  DH confronted him with "be nice to her or move out - she is more important to me than you are".  We seldom see him but he is civil and polite and that's enough for us.  When my MIL passes some day we will no longer have any reason to see him.

(((hugs)))
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: doodlemor on October 10, 2013, 06:10:01 PM
BIL sounds like the BIL that there used to be some posts about- the robotics team one who would lie and say he was an advisor.  Sorry- I can't remember who used to post about him- but there were quite a few posts about him- a few years back.

I remember those stories.  The OP of those had the word "duck" in her SN, but I can't remember who it was.  But that BIL was more clueless and lacking social skills.  He overreached and thought he was more than he was because he seemingly had nothing else going on his his life and while was annoying, he wasn't mean or cruel.  This BIL sounds cruel or slightly unhinged. I agree with the others that the OP should distance herself and let her DH handle all things concerning his brother.

Her SN was Evil Duckie.  She removed a lot of her posts about the BIL and FIL, but the comments are still available.  She also had a link to her blog, and I think that she was an accomplished photographer.  The whole saga was very interesting, as I remember.  I think that she has been on this site in this calendar year.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 11, 2013, 12:06:28 PM
I wondered whether BIL or FIL or someone saw the posts about them and objected, and that's why she took them down.
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: weeblewobble on January 18, 2014, 03:30:34 PM
OP, any update to this situation?
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: Mel the Redcap on January 18, 2014, 07:10:08 PM
OP, any update to this situation?

OP apparently hasn't logged onto EHell since September 28 last year, so she hasn't even seen a lot of the comments that came after her blowup at NastyBIL. Hopefully things have worked out!
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: m2kbug on January 19, 2014, 02:07:56 PM
The problem with retaliation or "calling out" with people like this, is outsiders never see what HE did to cause YOUR "rude" behavior, so it's a pretty slippery slope to try to call him out because you'll end up looking like the fool or the witch or the emotional, unreasonable one, etc.  Apparently there are plenty of people (like DH) who don't really recognize the full scope of his abusive tendencies, so it's probably best just to avoid him as best as possible and avoid being alone with him.  This will take some coordination with DH on longer trips when it's a smaller group. 

I could say that you can either call him out on his behavior when he's alone with you or just pretend like you are clueless and don't take the bait.  Either say, "Why are you speaking to me in such a condescending tone?  I did enjoy this vacation, thank you for asking."  Or simply say, "Yes, I enjoyed myself."  "You seem upset.  Did you enjoy yourself?"  Quickly exit the kitchen.

I would not go on holidays with this person again.  Hubby, if you want to spend a week with your brother, have fun.  I'm not going.  Outside of family situations, I would refuse to spend any time with this person.  It's a little disheartening that he requires your presence when this person is clearly a bully.  I would not want to deny my husband time with is brother, but that doesn't mean I have to spend quality time with him as well.  Family gatherings and reunions, etc., where there are lots of other people would be doable.  I don't know if there's a way to coordinate where part of the vacation is you and DH while the rest includes brother or two holidays, or something.  You don't want to be stuck at home while hubby goes on vacation, so something needs to be arranged.   
Title: Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
Post by: FauxFoodist on January 23, 2014, 02:32:37 PM
Since she knows he'll pull this behavior when alone, why not just ignore him when they're alone?  She already knows he's going to be abusive, and nothing has worked so why respond at all to the bad behavior?

Frankly, I wouldn't spend any more time with this guy either and definitely not a vacation.