Author Topic: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?  (Read 23838 times)

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MrTango

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #105 on: October 01, 2013, 02:44:31 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.

Twik

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #106 on: October 01, 2013, 02:50:12 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?
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weeblewobble

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #107 on: October 01, 2013, 04:21:41 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.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 04:23:26 PM by weeblewobble »

Iris

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #108 on: October 01, 2013, 07:15:25 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.
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bopper

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #109 on: October 02, 2013, 09:02:01 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."

acicularis

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #110 on: October 02, 2013, 09:24:56 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.

weeblewobble

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #111 on: October 02, 2013, 09:31:12 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?"

Amara

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #112 on: October 02, 2013, 01:14:28 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.

weeblewobble

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #113 on: October 02, 2013, 01:30:44 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.

gramma dishes

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #114 on: October 02, 2013, 01:34:47 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. 

DavidH

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #115 on: October 02, 2013, 01:46:44 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.

weeblewobble

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #116 on: October 09, 2013, 09:04:01 PM »
OP, any update to this situation? How did BIL's birthday go?

djinnidjream

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #117 on: October 10, 2013, 01:15:44 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. 
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Kaypeep

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #118 on: October 10, 2013, 01:29:40 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. 

Browyn

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Re: Mean-spirited, devious, brother-in-law -- must I even respond to him?
« Reply #119 on: October 10, 2013, 04:19:18 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)))