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from a sister's angle

Discussion in 'Parents & Siblings' started by swaram, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. swaram

    swaram Senior IL'ite

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    Hi ladies,

    I have had my shares of issues with IL's, 2 SIL's etc, and the only way I could stop them after 10+ years was to totally cut off my interactions with them, especially SIL's and told them not to interfere with my personal affairs or my family ( my parents etc) affairs. IL's still visit and stay with us but I don't talk one extra word other than what is necessary.

    I have not restricted my DH's or my kids interaction with DH's family. He visits his sisters, talks to them etc. In general he doesn't talk much on the phone , so the calls are not every week to his sisters, but to his parents he talks more frequently. This was always the case. I am the one who use to call them more frequently than him.

    MIL's main concern over the current situation is as follows - her daughters cannot come and stay at my place and enjoy the luxuries of birth family ( tamil - porandha veedu kondadal). She is telling some of the relatives that she is upset that the daughters have lost that priviledge due to me. I am sure SIL's have the same feelings too. In the past SIL's with their family will visit us and stay for a week or 10 days twice a year and then come every long weekend etc, since they are within driving distance. When they stay with us they will not even lift a finger, I have to do all the work etc and even tea has to be served and once finished they will leave the cups right where they had the tea. they will not even bring it to the sink. I am a working person too with kids. But that is their family approach. For the younger SIL, I will have to pack food for her family for the next few days and DH will have to buy groceries etc. for them and send it along. FYI - They are all well settled in life. If i am to rank they both definitely are higher than us in every aspect.

    Obviously now none of these happen and they too do not come and stay overnight at our place. I can accept it if MIL is unhappy about the current relation between me and SIL's, but her main concern is about her daughters enjoying the birth family luxuries. She is not even concerned about the tons of fight me and DH have had and also that those fights have left a huge scar in our relationship. She does know about it very well.

    I do not have brothers, so I cannot view it from a sisters angle. I have no plans of discussing this with IL's but just want to get your opinion on MIL's greatest concern. maybe I have a biased opinion. Those who have brothers - from a sisters angle what will be your priority.

    swaram
     
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  2. Malyatha

    Malyatha Gold IL'ite

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    Swaram,

    I am both a husband's sister and a brother's wife, so here is my perspective from both sides of the fence:

    1. The sibling bond is very strong and life-long. One's marriage does not change or weaken that bond in any way. In fact, trying to break that bond will cause problems between the spouses rather than actually affect the relationship between the siblings. So a brother's wife needs to be very aware of the fact that her husband's siblings - brothers or sisters - are not going to suddenly disappear from the picture just because he is now married.

    2. It is perfectly reasonable to expect to visit and stay with siblings but treating the sibling's wife like a servant - heck, no can do. They were wrong, plain and simple, and quite entitled to think that they could treat you like a servant during their visits to your home. They should have picked up after themselves and if they didn't do this, then they are at fault. You had the obligation to be a gracious host but THEY had an equal obligation of being decent guests.

    3. Your MIL will naturally be more concerned about the fact that her daughters can no longer visit their brother than she would be about your relationship with your husband. Naturally, her daughters will be her priority. She is not right, of course, but that is standard operating procedure for the vast majority of MILs.

    BTW, just out of curiosity, why did your SILs stop visiting you completely?
     
  3. swaram

    swaram Senior IL'ite

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    Hi malyatha,

    SIL's stopped visiting us since me and them are not in talking terms. Under the current circumstance they cannot expect me to serve their whole family and they also know that I will not do it anymore. Mi's concern is not just them not visiting us, but they also will not get treated like queens. for them the concept of visiting siblings is to take rest at brothers place and let brothers wife do all the work ( cooking, cleaning, babysit their kids while they go shopping - I have to do all this before I head to work and after I come back). Whether I have vacation or not doesn't matter, they will come when they have vacation.

    Just to give you an example - I was 8 months pregnant - both my SIL's family were visiting us. One of the SIL took a gallon of milk from the fridge and accidentally dropped it down, almost half a gallon of milk spilt on the floor. Both SIL were there and they just told me oh sorry and walked away. I had to clean the whole mess, imagine bending down and using a towel to absorb milk and pour it in sink when you are 8 months pregnant. I had to repeat this several times to clean the milk spill. When i asked DH for help he said he has to help SIL feed her kids. Her sister is there, her husband is there, but brother has to help her. If i had asked either ofthe SIL for help then they would have created a huge scene.

    Even when I had a discussion with DH later about it, he admitted his fault but came up with all lame excuses as to why his sister was busy etc. Second SIL did not have kids that time, but she did not help either, instead she was just sitting in a chair and watched me clean. Few years later when SIL complained about me to him, apparently he had quoted this incident and told them that what they did was not right and i hate it when they treat me like that. They called and told me _ Oh we should not have done that? But their behavior continued after that too - I did not see any change.

    Now I am sure they find it delicate to come and stay over for long durations after I directly said how some of their behaviour is not acceptable and I will not tolerate it anymore.

    swaram
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  4. Malyatha

    Malyatha Gold IL'ite

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    Woah... quite a HUGE sense of entitlement, huh?

    BTW, why do you care what MIL goes around telling people? You know that their behavior is way out of line and intolerable, and you further know that MIL expects you to take crap from her daughters so the twain shall never meet.

    Listen, swaram, sisters have certain rights but they also have certain responsibilities. If they won't accept the responsibility of treating their brother's wife well, then they cannot have the privilege of extended stay at their brother's home. After all, think about it. Would they like it if their brother visited their home and treated their husband like you-know-what?

    BTW, do your SILs visit your BIL's house? How is their treatment there? Does MIL not have a problem with your co-sister? (Seem to remember that your co-sister orders your 70+ FIL around but that your BIL just stands by and doen't say a word to chide the woman for being so disrespectful to his father)?

    But, I am more concerned as to why this bothers you. You are not wrong in expecting respectful treatment under your own roof, so why are you bothered by their lack of visits? In fact, if I were you, then I'd just be glad that they no longer visit me because I don't want or need to put up with their outrageous behavior!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  5. ShilpaMa

    ShilpaMa IL Hall of Fame

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    Swaram... hats off to your for your patience & those attempts to clean the house even in 8th mnth.
    In my case my SIL apparently doesn't need a queen treatment but she's too huge in size & gets exhausted due to medical reasons even if its to pick up a spoon.... however that tiredness is apparently not visible during munching & eating & being behind the wheels. She's simply tired at home.

    Hence I do whatever I can & remaining I leave it for my MIL.. she grins and bites her teeth & wants to call up my mgr to put a leave for me... however I also ensure that they visit only when my MIL is here so that she can do their work which I cant.. some ppl say that in India this shudn't be a problem due to domestic help however they also refuse to budge even an extra mile even if you promise them a double pay.
    Some choose to even sit at home & believe me its more tiring to do the work that you're not used to.

    So I take it easy & let every dirt & washing machine pileup... when my MIL starts doing then only I go and assist her 50% cos in past I've learnt my lessons as to when I try doing things on my own they leave everything.

    You can't avoid their visits & talking to them else it'll have a long term resentment with your DH as a volcanic burst.. however to set them right you need to lets things pile up & make them realize their share of work. If all the vessels are out.. simply say that we need to eat out now.. dont clear dishes etc.
     
  6. blessed

    blessed Platinum IL'ite

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    Swaram,

    I had been and infact have been for many many years in a similar situation, you are relieved now because you are on not talking terms and they stopped visiting your home but in my case it is not like that because my inlaws stay with us ( actually we stay in our inlaws home).

    My two sisters inlaw come and have a happy holidays here, they chat , shop, visit relatives everything without me, but I am like a unpaid servant just have to cook, clean, serve and be always smiling inspite of this kind of treatement. They have been treating me like this from the time I got married and every year I think I have to put an full stop but my DH will plead me to adjust saying they are going to stay only a fortnight and any unpleasant memories will be a scar for ever.

    But this time I am not going to bend, I will take a vacation to my parents house as soon as they set their foot here.
     
  7. swaram

    swaram Senior IL'ite

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    Malyatha - SIL not visiting absolutely does not bother me. In fact I am very relieved. I have had people tell me that since I don't have a brother, I don't know the brother-sister relation etc. So I just wanted others thoughts on these comments made by MIL.

    With SIL visiting BIL's house - BIL lives in India - so the frequency is once in 2 years and of which most time is spent at their parents place and then few days at BIL house. Not sure how the dynamics work there, but BIL will not let anybody treat his wife like that. Another advantage is BIL has a cook and maid servant in their house.

    Shilpa- I live in the US - so I cannot wait for MIL to start the cleaning - it is my house - ultimately I have to do it. Advantage of being in US is since I don't talk to them now, they don't come - whereas in blessed's case the parents are there and the SIL will still come and cause problems.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  8. Malyatha

    Malyatha Gold IL'ite

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    As a sister, I am telling you that you are not wrong in your expectations of respectful treatment under your own roof. You don't have to have brothers to understand the brother-sister bond. It is obvious that the sibling bond IS very strong BUT so is the spousal bond. A sibling MUST respect his or her sibling's spouse, and, if that respect is missing, then everything else goes downhill from that point on.

    Regarding your MIL's remarks -- ignore, ignore, ignore. You are already doing a fine job of ignoring her so let her say what she will. You could be Mother Teresa and she would still have a problem with you, so why bother?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  9. ShilpaMa

    ShilpaMa IL Hall of Fame

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    Swaram.. exactly I was suffering as long as I felt that it was my home & my responsibility to keep it clean or make them feel comfy.
    Now when it gets filled with majority of ppl who dont consider me a family but an unpaid servant to fulfil their chores.... I made it a point to let it be their home for a while & me becoming a guest as well.. this was less tiring. I switched to hostel mode where all were equal bearers of fun and responsibility.

    Now they'd do whatever they want in my kitchen, appliances, furniture setup, grocery, vendor change etc.. I leave it completely to them... I've got used to their setup as its easier for me to do the same in my ILs & SILs house.
    As Malyatha said - "You could be Mother Teresa and she would still have a problem with you, so why bother?".. More you take tension more it spoils your health.. whether you talk to your SIL or no really doesn't make a difference if she shud visit her bro as long as there's no directive from your side that so n so can't enter the house.... There shudn't be any guilt...
     

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