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My brother is very big on what he calls "protocol." He insists that any contact with his wife and kids go through him; this includes contact from siblings. Once, several years ago, my sister, who was starting her real estate career, sent some newsletter/sales-y pamphlets to our sister-in-laws parents (whose contact information came from a condolence card they sent her when our father died) and my brother had a FIT about it because she dared to send them something and didn't have a right to because she didn't have a relationship with them.

I only started doing Facebook six months ago. This after ten years of avoiding any non-anonymous activity online, because my husband's nephew stole my identity and set up an account on a dating web site and arranged for me to be se#ually assaulted, a year to the day after I had been in real life. I am still very traumatized by these events, but I have been working hard on trying to trust people again, and I thought baby steps on Facebook might be a good way to go about it.

When I first signed up, I noticed my brother's wife on Facebook and sent her a friend request, which went ignored. A few weeks later, I noticed she befriended my husband on Facebook. Now, in real life they had met only a small handful of times while my father was dying, and except for becoming official "friends" Facebook, they did not trade messages of any kind. Still, I was kind of chagrined/hurt/bewildered why she would hook up with him on Facebook but not me, who has known her since she married my brother in 1990 when I was 17. But, I figured maybe she intended to accept my request but just forgot, and I let it go for several months, thinking I was just taking things too personally as I tend to do (trust issues).

Well, my birthday came and went, DH bought me a small Pepperidge farm cake (which I hate, but, hey, he bought me a cake. Yay.), sang "happy birthday" to me and called it mission accomplished. He also sent out a Facebook message to everyone in his contact list begging them to send me a happy birthday message "because my wife is lonely and has no friends, so do her a favor and say happy birthday." (Which of course made me feel even more depressed and humiliated than had he done nothing.) Oh, and nobody did anyway.

Meanwhile, tonight I log on to Facebook and notice that she's still friends with him (yes, we have full access to each others' accounts; sorry, trust issues again, had to insist on it when he convinced me to join) and all these months had ignored my friendship request. I brought it to his attention, and I said it feels a little inappropriate to me; I mean, I know they're not having an affair or anything like that (first of all, we live on opposite sides of the continent and secondly there has been no communication betwixt them) but considering that they have no other connection than through me, I take it as a snub on her part. (There's also a lot of history there...she, according to my brother, never liked me and was behind my being shut out as a godparent to both their children, while all my other siblings were included as godparents, and this because as a college student at the time, had no money with which to raise the kids if need be (which isn't the point of being a gp at ALL but whatever) and, well, I just think this is a slap in the face. One too many, as a matter of fact.

I have been feeling very low lately and this has been one rejection too many for me. DH is stressed out and says that's why he never is interested in scrabble, or even so much as a hug. I am trapped here in this apartment with no transportation and can't make it to the bus stop on foot - it's too far for me to make in my present out of shape condition, not to mention that my husband controls our finances and we have no extra cash with which I can do anything or go anywhere anyway, even so much as look for a job, which given my present mental/emotional state seems like a tall order. I have no friends here, and I'm afraid to go out and make any anyway, not that I would know how/where to begin looking after a solid decade. I thought this Facebook thing would help, but it's just ended up costing me my sense of privacy and security, plus now I feel even more isolated and alone. 

Meanwhile, I asked him tonight why he didn't unfriend my sister in law months ago when I told him how slighted I felt. His reply? He said he didn't know how to do it. I pushed back and said "of course you do. You showed me how to sign up for Facebook and how to use it." THEN he said "I'm too busy working and putting a roof over YOUR head and food in YOUR mouth! I have more important things to worry about than whether you feel slighted by something so petty."

Ah, so my feelings are petty, then. I suppose they are. But, they're still my feelings and I wouldn't remain "Facebook" friends with anyone HE felt uncomfortable with. I tried to think of a few examples, but he said he didn't care WHO I was friends with on there. Then, to shut me up I suppose, he non-apologized by saying "I'm sorry IF you felt offended by this." Oh, but first he demanded I go on there and unfriend my sister in law for him, since he claimed he didn't know how and was too busy working all the time - even though I see plenty of messages between him and his other friends that he does from work, so clearly he has SOME time. I guess my feelings just don't matter anyway. He did say he thinks my sister in law hooked up with him on Facebook anticipating a rather large inheritance my husband is set to receive soon...hoping to cozy up to him for some of the money...which makes me wonder WHY THE EHELL DIDN'T YOU DELETE HER THEN YOU #$%#?!

So, in a nutshell, he non-apologized and then gave me a guilt trip for feeling upset about his lack of ... what is it? Consideration for my feelings?

My question is this...if you've made it this far through my rambling word salad of a narrative: am I being petty? Or was my husband rude for ignoring my feelings? Is it appropriate for someone to approach/facebook "friend" an in-law's spouse without including the actual family member that makes the connection possible? Or is that weird? I think it's weird, but then I am very depressed tonight and not feeling altogether rational. Plus major awful PMS and hormones galore. So, your thoughts, please?

Just a side note: we made up before he went to bed last night, and we're ok, but I'm still not ok, though, truth be told. Very, very depressed and feel like a big fat NOTHING.

Firstly (((hugs))) because it sounds like you could use some.

Secondly, yes, I do think it's weird to friend someone you've rarely met while not friending the spouse that you met them through. I can understand why that bothers you.

However, I do think you turned it into a bigger deal than it needed to be. I'm struggling with how to say this without  sounding harsh. Your husband didn't really do anything wrong. He friended his SIL and then didn't immediately unfriend her when you felt slighted. Neither of those things are unreasonable. FB friends is the most tenuous of connections, it's not like he's hanging out with her down at the pub and listening to her saying nasty things about you.

I get that there's a lot more going on that probably make this more complicated than it seems, but taken in isolation this incident shouldn't be a huge drama, to me.

Finally, please get help. You are not a big, fat nothing, but you don't need my reassurance, you need real  people, professionals, who can really help you.  Best wishes.

OP, are you in counselling?  Because from the tone of your post, your head is all over the place.  I don't mean you're crazy, but you're clearly feeling down about yourself and overanalysing things and its affecting your relationship and your ability to make friends.

People use FB differently and you can't read into what someone else does or doesn't do, compared to what you would do.

I also don't see what the first part of your post about your brother and the second part about FB.  The only cnnection I can see is that brother blocked SIL from accepting your request as it was a breach of his protocol, but then you haven't raised that as an issue.

Why do you want to be friends with SIL on FB anyway?

No, you're right. My head really IS all over the place about this. I don't really desire a Facebook friendship with my sister in law; well, actually, I sort of did, but maybe just to prove to myself that what my brother told me wasn't true (about her not liking me and that I am not good enough to be friends with). I am/was more upset with my husband for staying facebook friends with her, even though I now I understand it isn't really a big deal at all. It's just the principle of the thing, but it did get my dander up, especially considering my brother's "protocol." When I raised the issue with my brother (remember, ALL communications with his family must go through him) he acted very non-nonchalant about it. (I mentioned his "protocol" because he deemed himself the proper person to discuss this with - I have no way to contact my sister in law directly. I only have my brother's cell number, NOT their home landline number. I thought he was being hypocritical.  It didn't even occur to me that he might have forbidden her to accept the facebook request until you mentioned it.)

But the important thing here is my emotional state. It's not good. I am very, very low right now and it is concerning to me. I have contacted crisis support and am looking into ways to find affordable counseling in my area. I think I'm in dire need of some help. This facebook thing is really a red herring and I see now that there are larger issues at stake. You're also right that I'm over analyzing everything and that probably means I'm having some kind of anxiety attack or bout of depression, and I need to follow up on that through proper means. Please wish me good luck and that I will be successful this time finding some support.

Thank you for your feedback, katycoo and Iris. It has been most valuable.

Many hugs and luck finding someone to help you.

Soemthing which might help you in the meantime - when you're not feeling very good about yourself, your mind tells you lies.  It lies about you not being good enough and blocks you from seeing truths, like maybe your SIL is just a massive Female Dog.  I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, your mind might be stopping your from seeing it.
Just know that it lies, and you really are good enough.


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