Author Topic: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?  (Read 22253 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #45 on: September 27, 2013, 01:22:01 PM »
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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.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #46 on: September 27, 2013, 01:22:33 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.

Amara

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2013, 01:45:29 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.

Susan45

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #48 on: September 27, 2013, 02:04:06 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.

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2013, 02:04:44 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.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2013, 02:08:45 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.

Melxb

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2013, 02:09:05 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?

artk2002

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2013, 02:09:32 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.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

LeveeWoman

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #53 on: September 27, 2013, 02:11:20 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.

jedikaiti

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #54 on: September 27, 2013, 02:13:05 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.
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zyrs

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #55 on: September 27, 2013, 02:18:30 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.

Zizi-K

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #56 on: September 27, 2013, 02:26:31 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.

BeadMom

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #57 on: September 27, 2013, 02:37:03 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.

cicero

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #58 on: September 27, 2013, 02:37:31 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?


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buvezdevin

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #59 on: September 27, 2013, 02:37:51 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.
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