Just Looking for a little emotional support/perspective



  • I had a.. well not quite a fight more of a discussion with my sister-in-law. Her hubby is my younger brother. I'm an expat and spend most of my time overseas but when I'm back I usually stay with my brother and her and their two young kids. We never really discussed this arrangement explicitly - just came to pass and it's how we've carried on the past 10 years or so. We're all in our mid-to-late thirties.

    Anyway, we sat down a few days ago to have an open discussion about our relationship. I opened by asking her to let me know if anything I said was coming off as condescending - as although I don't ever have any intention of coming off that way I think that sometimes does happen. I also stated that my only real hope in having a chat like this was to better understand one another.

    I started by simply asking if she was ok with the fact that I live with her while I'm back - this particular interval has been longer due to covid and travel restrictions. We'd never really addressed it explicitly. Overall sounds like we're both ok with the arrangements, understanding there will always be some friction when you live with another human. We're both somewhat reasonable adults so we manage.

    We then got into a discussion about an event that transpired at a social gathering a few days prior wherein she felt attacked by me, my brother (her hubby), and my other brother and responded with attacks of her own.

    I think pretty much everything I said to her was responded to as if it was an attack.. despite by best efforts at every turn to pull out of a me vs you conversation into a discussion where we were both on the same side of the table. She misinterpreted most of what I said and I struggled to correct those misunderstanding as they happened in real time.

    In the middle of this part of this discussion after she finished one of her rebuttals to something I had said (which again was not at all intended to be an attack/judgment of any sort) I tried to offer an olive branch in the form of "Hey, you know I advocate for you and defend you when you're not around." To which she defiantly responded "like to who, I'm not sure I believe that." I mentioned my mother as an example.

    Didn't really have any effect as the conversation continued with me trying to clarify and gain a better understanding of her thought/feelings and being received as an attacker.. not getting any real authentic/genuine feedback. I was very frustrated by the inability to get her to understand the real meaning of anything I was saying. I was visibly disheartened by the experience. I felt completely defeated as I felt I approached her with open arms and an open mind willing to examine myself, her, our relationship.. willing to be vulnerable even.. and it was met mostly with attacks. She condescended me, talked to me like she was disciplining a child at one point, judged, invalidated, and perhaps most disturbing seemingly has written me off in some ways.

    A few hours later I received an text from my mother stating she was very upset with me. I texted her back and she informed me that my sister in law had told her "somedumbguy told me that you talk trash about me. Is that true? I don't know if he just said that to try to hurt me or..."

    I spoke to my mother on the phone for the better part of an hour explaining that what my sis-in-law had said was not true. She was flat out lying and, per usual, exaggerating/fudging things. I let my Mom know I would never violate her trust and discuss what her and I talk about concerning my sis-in-law - what she says in confidence to me is kept in confidence. I told her exactly what I said to my sis-in-law and further promised I would never even mention my mom again in conversation with my sis-in-law.

    I was speechless.. I felt quite hurt and a little betrayed.. Sis and I hadn't explicitly declared we wouldn't talk about our discussion with others.. soo not a big deal that she did poke my mom about it... but the lie - which I can only gather was built upon a worst-case assumption about my saying I've advocated and defended her - that really stung.

    Firstly for the complete misunderstanding.. if she had asked she'd have found out nothing near that was what I meant by saying what I said - far more innocuous.. but 2ndly because I felt my olive branch had been taken - widdled down into a small spear - and then used to stab me in the back. My olive branch was seen as an attack - per her statements to my Mom.. that she thought me saying something about advocating/defending her was in fact an attempt at attacking her.

    Just curious for some feedback on this. I decided not to continue the conversation unless she opens it back up with me.. and also probably not without a 3rd party present.



  • @somedumbguy then idk maybe avoiding her for the time being giving her and yourself some space is the best thing you can do. Also are you sure it's not a problem for them or do they not wanna be rude and tell you to leave



  • @Fana you're very kind 🙂



  • I don't have a single clue how the message you tried to send was misinterpreted, you really are expressive and open with what you feel. Don't exasperate, all this... chaos has originated from miscommunication, there is no evil intent. I would give it some time and then attempt to explain the whole situation, what you truly meant to say.
    As for the lie and betrayal from her side, I know it is infuriating. I would totally lose my interest to even live close to someone who would grab your hand just to drag you in the hole they are. However, give them the benefit of the doubt, settle all of this with a conversation, you have to understand her perspective as well. What you said must have striked her insecurities, otherwise I couldn't explain myself why there is so much bad blood from some remarks that could be taken as condescending, it truly is folly to entirely deny someone close over that.



  • @OLIAG Well articulated! I literally feel how calm and composed you are while typing this, man...
    Wow



  • @OLIAG Opinion often consumes the minds of people, and they are so fixated on their point of view that they don’t see how someone else could express a different one. So it's also best to look at the situation from their perspective and think about why they may believe in or support the things that they do.

    I guess this belongs to you...

    images (24).jpeg



  • @OLIAG I guess the easiest example of a misinterpreted phrase was "I advocate and defend you around other people" expressed empathetically being interpreted as an attack as opposed to an attempt to bring us to the same side of the table... instead of on opposite sides.

    I think that quote you mentioned is quite relevant. I spoke with my therapist about the whole shpeal and one of her more salient points was.. don't challenge a delusional persons delusions..

    It's all good for the timebeing. Though painful, I did learn more about her from the exchange.. and although I was rebuffed at every turn I believe she at least understands some of my perspective more clearly even if she completely rejects it.

    Thanks again for taking the time to engage this and reply thoughtfully!!



  • @Thales_BG Thanks for the message good sir. Relationships are rough. I've found myself pitching the "how to deal with someone with dementia argument" to friends quite often... and I'm exercising it a bit with my sis-in-law now.

    Basic idea is that in some instances it's easier to just go along with whatever you're getting from the other side of whatever interaction "Yea Bob those selfish aliens sure do seem to like stealing all of your mayonnaise!" Instead of "What are you talking about!? John took the mayo. He's standing over there with it in his hand!!" Even though you may be right, in instances where the other party cannot handle criticism or their delusions being exposed... your correction serves only to further alienate the other party - which pushes you both away from having a productive interaction.

    People are complicated. It's funny. Although she can be a whole set of things that drive me nuts when she's feeling on edge/anxious/stressed when she's not in that state we get along just fine, sharing giggles over nonverbal exchanges, collectively teasing my brother, or laughing at ourselves for stupid/silly things we do. I suppose it is what is is for now and that's fine.

    I don't know if she has any guilt in the mix of whatever is going on inside of her emotionally, from what little we've touched on it sounds like she holds onto to some resentment towards me from over a decade ago. Perceived slights from things said and done that were interpreted very negatively - interpretations that are a far cry from my actual intentions or actual meaning. Seems the book is closed on those things on her side - no space to discuss or form new understandings - I am whatever she's judged me to be based on her interpretation of those events.. I get no say.

    I also challenge myself to hold no resent towards her, although I certainly do fail in moments 🙂



  • @Thales_BG Thanks for the message good sir. Relationships are rough. I've found myself pitching the "how to deal with someone with dementia argument" to friends quite often... and I'm exercising it a bit with my sis-in-law now.

    Basic idea is that in some instances it's easier to just go along with whatever you're getting from the other side of whatever interaction "Yea Bob those selfish aliens sure do seem to like stealing all of your mayonnaise!" Instead of "What are you talking about!? John took the mayo. He's standing over there with it in his hand!!" Even though you may be right, in instances where the other party cannot handle criticism or their delusions being exposed... your correction serves only to further alienate the other party - which pushes you both away from having a productive interaction.

    People are complicated. It's funny. Although she can be a whole set of things that drive me nuts when she's feeling on edge/anxious/stressed when she's not in that state we get along just fine, sharing giggles over nonverbal exchanges, collectively teasing my brother, or laughing at ourselves for stupid/silly things we do. I suppose it is what is is for now and that's fine.

    I don't know if she has any guilt in the mix of whatever is going on inside of her emotionally, from what little we've touched on it sounds like she holds onto to some resentment towards me from over a decade ago. Perceived slights from things said and done that were interpreted very negatively - interpretations that are a far cry from my actual intentions or actual meaning. Seems the book is closed on those things on her side - no space to discuss or form new understandings - I am whatever she's judged me to be based on her interpretation of those events.. I get no say.

    I also challenge myself to hold no resent towards her, although I certainly do fail in moments 🙂



  • I like... have almost figured out how to navigate posting/replying properly 🐶


  • Freedom Writers

    @somedumbguy I know this is real but does it feel like a dramatic soap opera! Intense. You should write novels.



  • @somedumbguy Mate you got to talk to your brother if she is okay having you around.



  • @JonnnyM that's been done a number of times. seems the me being around thing isn't an issue. Thanks for taking a gander and taking the time to comment! appreciate it!



  • @JonnnyM it's complicated. I think me and my brother are completely cool with the situation. sis-in-law I also believe is usually happy to have me around. I helped out with the kids this trip back in ways that no one else could. When I got back stateside this time she actually cried and hugged and thanked me for coming back.



  • @JonnnyM time and space thing is currently being exercised



  • @somedumbguy well, I believe there are always two sides to every story... but since you need some comfort too after having to explain everything to your sis-in-law but still end up with disagreement, I would say that you remain calm and put aside all your emotions to avoid further misunderstandings. Control your anger too and try to resolve it in the right time, not for now but sooner. Because as you know both of you are too emotional at the moment.



  • @Dang-girl thanks. yea - absolutely two sides to every story.



  • @somedumbguy as for my thought, maybe you raised your voice while talking . Women, seems sensitive at times...like instead of understanding the situation they would rather try to win an argument and play victim. Lol



  • @Dang-girl yea - that's true. it's complex. we actually recorded the 2nd half the conversation. There's a lot of history at play that I couldn't really get into. One of things I found out during the conversation is she essentially has decided on what I must be feeling and my own reasons for my words and behaviors - explaining to her how I feel / think and why I say / do what I say and do is rejected... or in some cases my trying to correct the inaccurate dialogue she's carrying on with herself about what I must have been feeling/thinking which caused whatever behavior/words I said is considered to be gaslighting



  • @somedumbguy just let time do the mending for now man. You're hurt and she's hurt too, i guess. If she take the initiative to open up first and talk about those misunderstandings , you can perhaps try to resolve it together (Which I think she wouldn't do that?but who knows). Reality is.. We all have a pride to protect Lol.. so yeah, just buy ample time to reflect and be willing to apologize in time if you realize that you have your own share of mistake.








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