Author Topic: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?  (Read 23644 times)

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BeagleMommy

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2013, 08:37:06 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.

Phoebelion

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2013, 08:47:14 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.


edgypeanuts

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2013, 08:55:38 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. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2013, 09:02:48 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.

alice

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2013, 09:03:21 AM »
let him know you are recording it, and then see how he behaves.  no law broken then!

MrTango

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2013, 09:05:48 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."

cwm

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2013, 09:05:56 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.

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2013, 09:27:28 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. 

LeveeWoman

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 09:31:31 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.

lady_disdain

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 09:32:36 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.

Virg

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2013, 09:47:47 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

mspallaton

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2013, 09:50:30 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. 

tinkytinky

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2013, 10:10:31 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.

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LeveeWoman

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2013, 10:18:02 AM »
She has brought this up, yet he continues to deny, and to make excuses for, anything he's said and done.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2013, 10:18:33 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.