Ugh. After knowing my sister-in-law for almost 13 years, we just had a bitch slap-down. It kind of makes me wonder if we were faking getting along this entire time and the volcano just erupted as they tend to do. My brother and I are extremely close – I love him dearly. So for more reason than anything else, I loved her because she made my brother happy and because he loved her.
But there are some serious points of disconnect there. Let’s just say things got ugly. She tends to be passive-aggressive which can make things catty – because a direct person will just say, “I don’t like you and this is why.” Instead I get veiled insults, cowardly implications all the while still bringing her sweet veneer to the surface making her smell like a rose.
Fortunately, I am not shy. So I fought her flicker of a cigarette butt in my face with fire. I just don’t think we have time to pretend to like or get each other anymore. Why should we? We’re very very different. So what? The pretending is enough to give me asphyxiation of the sphincter. That is not a good thing.
I don’t even want to bore with the details of the how’s and why’s that we’re different, but her image in my family is so important to her that I think she pretended all of these years to tolerate me to appear good, while deep inside she had a strong dislike for me – and at best she tolerated me. My guesses of the chasm between us would be that she disliked about me all of the things that she is not (straightforward, direct, honest, strong, yet truly empathetic). She is the type of person that will hold a press conference that she is going to Africa to help starving children, but if it comes to operating anonymously within a family system with someone who needs just as much love, her real nature (and claws) will come out. Why? Two reasons: 1) I wonder if her ‘save the world’ tendencies are truly genuine. and 2) Her narcissism needs an audience. Look at how good I am in my ivory tower helping the masses.
Do share your in-law stories and coping mechanisms. There have to be some much worse than mine.