Angry at SIL (FM) - The saga continues...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by elastigirl, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    (Mayline (re: your "feelings hurt" thread) -- I don't know if you were writing about my post, but I did put up a post last night about my situation with my SIL. I wrote the post in anger - then deleted it because I wanted to cool down first. So I wasn't disappointed by the lack of responses on the board :).)

    My situation is this: I only have one female friend in this town, my SIL. Over the past year since I moved here we have been best friends. We have done lots of favors for each other. But over the summer, when my condition (CFS/FM) worsened and hers (FM) got somewhat better, she never noticed -- or cared -- what bad shape I was in.

    She kept pressuring me to work with her on her housekeeping jobs. That opens a whole new can of worms. If she is well enough to work, why is she on disability? I try not to stand in judgement as she ~has~ had ~really~ bad patches filled with pain where she had to cancel or rearrange her cleaning jobs. She is also due to have major surgery.

    However, she doesn't have to work these jobs anymore. She receives a Disability check. My brother now has a good job and can support them both, with or without Disability. This part makes me angry: She keeps these jobs because of what she likes: $70/month cable, decorative collectibles, week-long vacations out-of-state, dinner out every single week, make-up, etc., etc..

    Meanwhile, if she comes home from an out of town trip to find both her utilities have been shut off, she has no qualms about borrowing money from my family or taking food from me (I only offer our extras, so we're not suffering -- but still!) In my opinion, her priorities are all mixed up. She'd rather have her gas shut off than miss a car race?

    And that brings me to her trying to make me do this housecleaning jobs. She knows how cluttered and unorganized my house is right now. She knows I'm very tired most of the time and that emotional stress causes physical pain for me. Even so, she makes snide remarks and demands that hurt me, so I don't think she believes me.

    And she doesn't split the money from "her" jobs half-and-half as you would do with a friend. No, she pays next to minimum wage and keeps the larger portion for herself. And what does she have her "workers" (yes, this is how she refers to the friends and family that have helped her out) do? Clean toilets and do the yucky stuff, all the while visibly disappointed in the job you're doing.

    All so that she can maintain a certain lifestyle? Sometimes I think that she uses her FM as a weapon to control us. After writing what I did last night, I saw that she was really taking advantage of us. I see her in a different perspective today. I know that a good, loving friend would not use their illness as a way to control people, playing on their sympathy just so they could have cable? Nope, it just doesn't fly.

    However, she left me all shakey and upset last night, asking me again to forfeit my Friday time alone (when my son is in preschool for three itty, bitty hours) to help her with a cleaning job. She's asked me four weeks out of six since my son has been attending preschool! I caved in once but said no to the two other times. Would she take the hint? No. Last night she had my brother call, probably to guilt me into saying yes, but I said no. Still, I'm left feeling like a real heel not helping a sick friend out. (Even though I've told her some days I only have 2 hours energy for the whole day, she wants me to give it to her?)

    I guess it may be time for me to a) get more friends, b) start seeing my therapist again and c) let my SIL know in no uncertain terms that I won't be doing housecleaning work for her anymore (but I'm such a wimp!) My priorities right now are my son, my health and ~our~ home. We don't go out to dinner every week, we don't have cable, we never go on a real vacation. So I don't think it's out of line for me to say, "No."

    Of course, I'm posting here because I'm very uncertain of myself and could use some input. Am I being a really bad friend? Am I reading her completely wrong? Am I just a fool? Do I just not understand what's she's going through? I'm not sure of anything right now. I want to keep her friendship, but I have to wonder if this is really a friendship? It's always on her terms. I really don't know what to do anymore.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/15/2005]
  2. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    silly me, didnt know what a SIL was at first.

    Well, if it were me, I would tell her that I couldnt and wouldnt be working for her anymore and not to ask you again.

    You have no need to explain yourself but if you feel you need to then just tell her you are not up to it and shes making you feel bad by asking continually.

    Her work is not your problem, she is using her friendship and family ties to get people to do the dirty work for her. She is using you.

    We never want to lose our friend El, but most of us have because they disappear on us or they dont care or understand. They are toxic friends.

    I think if you stand up for yourself and regain your power, because she has it right now, then you will feel a lot better. If she cant accept graciously that you dont want to work for her then that's her problem.

    Good luck. Dont be afraid.

  3. orachel

    orachel New Member

    First, I'd like to start by saying I'm sorry. It is EXTREMELY hard when one of your only friends hurts you this deeply. My best friend of many years went basically nuts the week of my wedding (we were all in mexico for my wedding) and suddenly started treating me like dirt in every way. She was the only "friend" I had there...some family on me and hubbys side, but she was my only friend. We still don't talk after that...quite frankly she was in process of divorce and talking abt I may have "lost" her (both literally and figuratively) forever. That hurts, too. I'd love to have her back in my life again.

    As to your situation, no question about it....Your sister in law is being terribly inconsiderate and even "snobbish" towards you. You have every right on earth to be ticked off and very hurt by her behavior.

    But if she's not a "vicious" person by nature, then there may be some other reasons she's doing what she's doing. I've read a lot of posts on here about people who go into remission (I've never had the blessing of a remission, so I don't know) and don't know "when" they're gonna get knocked down they push. They push hard. They want to get every single thing done in the shortest amount of time possible incase they start to be disabled again.

    Saying that, Its also clear that this in no way shape or form excuses her behavior toward you, or even her "using" the system (whether its her disability checks, or even the way she has her business structured) the way she has been. You make a good point that these "extras" she's buying are luxuries...and you and your family might like some "extras" too! That's only natural, esp as some of her luxuries come at the expense of YOUR sweat! LOL

    But here's the thing...I have a person in my life who is very very very important to me. She's like a 2nd mother (mine passed when I was only 16) and she was my mom's best friend. She's kinda always been that way. She's a loving caring person...don't get me wrong...but she's always looking for a "hook" in the system...

    She's just one of those people who thinks they're entitled to everything...sounds a lot like your sil, right? And sometimes, with my KK (who's now living with hubby and I due to her being unable to get her life together...she's in her 50's...but she's also helping take care of me, its rough, but we're making it thru...though I do have to do the vast majority of the "compromising") she doesn't realize that her sense of entitlement to everything can really hurt, her family, etc. I know when my mom was alive, it was a big bone of contention between them as well. She thinks nothing of asking to "borrow" my medicine, even though she knows that I can't spare any...not that it does anything for my pain anyway...and it's illegal! That bothers I just tell her no, sorry, can't do it. She's got 0 income right now, and she's living with us, and she knows how desperately broke me and hubby are right now. That doesn't mean that she doesn't ask me to buy her "extras" like wine or magazines whenever we're at the just goes on and on. But the rub is...even though I know this "negative" aspect of her personality is there and it always has been and probably always will be...she's very very important to me. So I put up with a lot of nonsense, and when she's insensitive toward me or the pain I'm suffering (often) I put up with it until I can't take it anymore, and then I gently "remind" her in a nice way how much I've done for her over the years...I've given her THOUSANDS in loans over the years...easy. I "remind" her that we are so close because we keep each other's needs in the forefront of our minds, and that is necessary (she doesn't sometimes...but if you remind her, she seems to realize how insensitive she's been) in order for our situation and friendship (heck..she's really family!) going.

    Now that doesnt' stop her seeing something of mine she likes and saying "can I have that?"...happens with jewelry, clothing, you name it! LOL). Also doesn't stop her from being insensitive at times...but she now lives with us, so I make a lot of concessions to keep the peace because I love her and know she's going thru a rough time.

    But her idea of "how can she get as much as she can get from anyone who's willing or able to give it...?"...that's just a part of her personality that isn't going away. So, I reign her in when she gets out of line...nicely, but sternly. Kind of like " can't treat me like that (or expect that sort of help from your family, or whatever) and expect us to have a strong and co partnership of a friendship. Remember when I did this for you? I wasn't really physically up to it, and I didn't like it, but I did it because I love you and I want you to be happy and healthy."

    Boy, this is a book! Sorry!

    I'd try the same idea with your sil...invite her over for coffee or whatever....sit her down and tell her how very very happy your are that her illness has improved. Tell her how very much her friendship has meant to you over the years. And try very gently to explain that while you know that she's better and trying to have a THRIVING business and that's great, you really need her to try to think back to how she felt BEFORE her remission...and how DIFFICULT it would have been for her to do the things she asks of you before she got better. Then tell her you love her, but that the things shes asking for you are just too demanding in your present condition, and remind her that she (of all people) should remember that! Explain that while your family does need and count on the money you make when she asks you to "help out", you really feel that you are deserving of a raise in light of the circumstances. That extra money is the only thing that's making it worthwhile for you to strain yourself like you do working for her....and if its minimum wage, it just simply isn't worth the toll it takes on your body. You're sorry, but you just won't be able to "pitch in" with her business as a hired hand any more. You love her, but your body isn't up to it. Explain that while she's gone into remission and feels much better, YOU HAVE NOT, unfortunately. You have only a few "energy hours" per day, and that your priority in those hours must be your family. Explain that you care for her needs too, but that its not fair that she always expects her needs to supersede those of your family with your limited energy. Tell her that with what you've been trying to do for her, your home has fallen into disrepair. Explain that it hurts your feelings a bit that she knows (or should remember) exactly how it feels not to physically be able to maintain her home the way she wants to because her body isn't up to it....And that you can't help but be a tiny bit surprised that your best friend, who owns a cleaning business, and knows how hard things have been for you, hasn't offered a helping hand in getting your home in order.

    She'll be very defensive at first...its very very hard to hear that you haven't been a very good "friend" to someone you care about. She may even storm out. If she does, she may just have to go home and think it over. If she's the good friend you've always found her to be, chances are she'll think on it a while and realize she has been pretty dang insensitive to you.

    Worst case...she just isn't a close friend anymore. And that's very difficult to bear (I know!!), but at least you were open and honest and KIND when you brought your concerns to her...your soul is clean, in other words.

    Please just consider my advice is very very hard when someone you love and rely on just hurts you emotionally and physically (with the work) again and again...and just doesn't even seem to realize it. But you sound like a pretty dang good friend, and I'm sure she does treasure your friendship.....It is possible that she just HAS NOT stopped to consider what she is asking of you from your point of view.....someone who isn't "well" yet.

    Blessings, elastigirl....I sure hope it works out for you. But if you handle it this way, she might be ticked off for a while, but you've done and said nothing that isn't true or is insensitive to her....In other words, you've left the door to frienship open when she does come to her senses and realize what she's lost, and how to treat you better in the future.

    Hugs...and good luck.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/14/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 10/14/2005]
  4. kaiasmom

    kaiasmom New Member

    My sister's husband is very controlling like your SIL. Luckiliy though, I don't have to deal with him often. Just have to watch him ruin my sister's life, along with my niece & nephew.

    My personal advice would be to tell her the truth. It won't be easy, but you will feel much better in the long run. I know it is very hard to say something that may hurt someone you love, but how much is it hurting you NOT saying anything? It is a terrible feeling to be taken advantage of. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Does your brother know what she's doing? Seems like he could stand up for you too..I would have a serious talk with him too.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that if I don't take care of myself first I won't be able to take care of my kids. Sounds like that 3 hours while your little one is at pre-school would be a great time to read a book, take a bubble bath, take a nap, or whatever else would help you feel better when your son gets home.
    He needs the best of you - not your SIL.

    Take care,

  5. lurkernomore

    lurkernomore New Member

    I am in total agreement with all of it. As for the toxic part, nothing could be more true. A *real friend* is someone who knows your weaknesses (not that fibro is a weakness, but Lord knows, it can surely make you feel weak and unable to clean your own home, let alone that of someone else) and love you anyway.

    This is not just a matter of compassion and empathy, but one of respect. If your SIL has had fibro for very long, surely she knows that the problems can wax and wane and some even luck up and have a time of remission, a grace period, so to speak. It sounds as if this is the case with her, and just because you are not where she is, she will soon learn, unfortunately, that with fibro, things are always changing.

    Empower yourself by simply saying no and sticking to it. You owe her nothing insofar as explanations go. You have to deal with your situation as best you can and that is all you owe to anyone. Best of luck to you and do not let her make you feel guilty. You are not in the wrong, she is, for being judgemental of you. She, of all people, should know better. And someday, she will.
  6. nanna4550

    nanna4550 New Member

    She is out of line expecting you to help her with her job. If she can't do it, she shouldn't. It's her problem to take on as much work as she can handle on her own, and turn down what she can't do.
    If you want to remain friends (if there is friendship there) then I would tell her you would rather spend time with her going to lunch or to a movie or a short shopping trip where you can enjoy eachother's company.
    Also, maybe you could tell her if she helps you clean your house, you will help her clean hers... but not do her job for her.
    You have been a good friend to her, she has just been a user (taking advantage of your kind heart).
    Teach her how to treat you with kindness and respect.
    You are not out of line to say "no".
    Hugs, Nanna
  7. risinforce

    risinforce New Member

    slowly start to seperate yourself from this person. This is a very toxic person. Don't be afraid to say no. Getting FMS is what has given me the strength to go from a push over, yes person to a definate, hard nosed, I'm sorry, but no person. Kind, but no, person. My mom is my toxic person. She doesn't minipulate me like your SIL does but she guilts me internally all the time and causes me anxiety etc all the time. It's a huge problem for me.

    I also lost a good friend due this illness. Someone who is in the medical field and I thought would be the first one to understand and ended up being the first one to throw a fit because I didn't call all the time, or spend time w/her anymore etc. etc. We no longer talk. Only whenever we bump into eachother. It's sad but I figure that if she was a "true friend" she wouldn't put "conditions" on our friendship.

    I wish you well and advise you to put yourself first always. If you don't, then your little boy will suffer because his mommy won't feel well. I'm a single mom of a six year old little boy so I understand. Mom needs to feel good. Take care of yourself and if your brother pressures you, remember he's your brother and well do what you have to.

    Best of luck and all my love,
  8. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    Thank you for all of the wonderful, well-thought out responses. I've read each one twice and am intergrating the all of the great advice. I see that I must speak with her -- but at this moment am too weak to deal.

    I had a long night with my son. His fever jumped to 101 degrees, his nose got all stuffy and he was awake, crying, for a big portion of the night.

    The cats were a problem too because they wanted to comfort him, so they kept jumping on him and rubbing their noses on him, waking him up again. I put them out, but then they were so worried about him, they just kept trying to get back in.

    What a long, dreary night with no sleep. When he's sick like this, I'm so afraid it will take a turn for the worst that I sleep with one eye open. Ordinarily, I'd be tempted to call a friend in the morning. But not this time. I'm too drained.

    By some turn of luck, both my mother and father called this morning to see how I was doing. Even though we've had some bumpy times in our relationships, we still love each other. So I have to say they managed to lift my spirits a bit.

    Am too drained though to type much more, so am going to try to rest with my son today. He's still in bed at 11am, poor kid. Again, a sincere thank you. I'll write more when I'm feeling better :).
    [This Message was Edited on 10/15/2005]
  9. JLH

    JLH New Member

    You are not being a bad friend, nor a bad SIL. Your SIL is the one who is the bad friend and bad SIL!!!

    I would never again help your SIL clean houses!!! Tell her "no thanks", that you're not able to work--if you were, you would be getting yourself a job--that she can feel free to employ other people to help her, though. Tell her that you need to save your strength to clean your own house!

    She is taking advantage of you and she knows it!

    If you really want to keep her "friendship", or just to keep peace in the family, have a talk with her and explain that your health is just getting too bad, that your pain and fatigue is about to get the best of you and that you have a hard enough time keeping your house clean, etc., and if you ever get to the point that you could help her clean houses again, you will let her know, but as of right now, you are just plain not able!!

    Don't let everything always be on her terms. If you want to do a "test", ask her to do something on your terms and see if she is willing!!!

    And .... DON'T EVER LET HER convince you to forfeit your Friday time alone with your son just to help her clean houses!!!!! YOUR SON IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN CLEANING HOUSES!!!!!

    It sounds to me like she wants all of these housecleaning jobs, but doesn't want to do the work!! Wants all glory, most of the money, but not do the work!!!! I THINK SHE'S A USER!!!!! (a user loser!! LOL)

  10. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    I had a few really bad days -- both emotionally and physically -- since her request. I am usually in good humor when I'm not having a bad flare-up. All of the emotional stress I had contributed to a big a flare-up and super-exhausted, cranky weekend.

    My usual level of care for my son suffered this weekend because of her request. He had a fever, I got no sleep. I was so stressed out, I didn't even want to answer the phone or go out. It was just me and him, trying to make through on our own.

    No, I can't let her keep doing this to me -- or my son. In many ways, she's a fantastic person. But in many other ways, she's completely selfish. So I do want to keep her friendship, but I will not permit myself to be manipulated by her anymore.

    By chance, I had reserved two books on Controlling People at the library. (I'm having issues with my son's father.) I have not had a chance to open them yet, but I hope to learn a few skills, especially how NOT to be a pushover.

    In the meantime, I have only spoken to SIL once on the telephone since this incident. I mentioned my son's fever and instantly realized after I hung up that I left myself open to her asking again me to work again this week. She might just think I said "No" because my son was sick and had to stay home from Preschool. (I didn't have the guts to confront her in my weakened state.)

    Yes, what was said about her trying to get other people to do her dirty work is true. At first, I was grateful for the income (pushover), but after a while it really got to me that even if I worked a job ALONE, she would keep 2/3s of the pay! (I would never, ever do that to a friend.)

    Now I just have to find a tattoo parlor that will can remove the word PUSHOVER from my forehead :).
    [This Message was Edited on 10/18/2005]
  11. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    ....but you did say this:

    " she makes snide remarks and demands that hurt me, so I don't think she believes me."

    You're almost there, but the final step is that, from the way you have described her, she does not *care* to believe you. She is manipulating you.

    Later, you said the following:

    "I caved in once but said no to the two other times. Would she take the hint? No."

    The reason she wouldn't 'take the hint' is that she doesn't want to. She is counting on you 'being nice' enough to back down.

    The bottom line's what she wants vs. what you want. You may not be able to have time to yourself AND your sister-in-law's sympathy. So it is up to you to decide what you can give up...your sister-in-law's (so-called) friendship, or your peace and quiet time.

    She's not going to be responsible for making the choice that's right for you. That's YOUR job.

    Friends don't treat people like your sister-in-law is treating you. Friendship is a give-and-take, not a take-and-take.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/18/2005]
  12. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    I came home from a luncheon today to find my SIL had left a bag of things at my door. A gift for my son (second hand shirt), newspaper ads (I don't get them here, so she brings them by some weeks) and a catalog.

    I used to welcome these gifts, but now I shy away from them because I think of them as "tick, tick, tick" -- things she's ticking off as favors to me, so I'll owe her in return.

    I'm feeling well enough right now to realize:

    ** My good health is every bit as important as hers.**

    When I first arrived in this town, I did not give myself much credit for being a single mom on her own, under tons of stress. Instead, I threw myself into helping my disabled SIL out (and she did small things in return, as above, etc., etc.), denying my own pain and fatigue -- until it just couldn't be denied anymore. All aspects of my life suffered.

    I realize I set myself up for all of this drama by never believing that my good health was equally as important as hers.

    If she's asking me to do something that jeopardizes my physical or emotional health, whether or not she believes me, I have to say NO for my son's sake -- if not for my own.

    She can ask me a million other favors which don't jeopardize my health, and I'll probably do whatever I'm capable of doing -- because she's my SIL and my friend. But this cycle of her pressuring me to do housekeeping has got to stop NOW.

    So I'm standing firm and saying "no" from now on with no more guilt. In the meantime, I'll try to get the guts together to tell her to stop asking. But from now on -- ~no more guilt~.
    [This Message was Edited on 10/18/2005]
  13. cafe52

    cafe52 New Member

    I'm sorry but your SIL needs a reality check if you ask me.
    If she is aking you to help becuse she is too ill to do it then she sould quit and take into consideraton that you have been stricken with the same illness and you can't do it eather.

    Whats her problem tell her to buy less makeup and take kess trips even though it sounds like she could still do them on your brothers salary and thats another thing why doesn't he tell her you are not able to do this.

    Your energy is very limited as it is and she wants you to use up yours so she can have hers she sunds very selfish and
    self centerd to me.

    you need your self time it is very important to your health so take it and don't look back.

  14. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    orachel, I want you to know it is because of the advice of your post that I have had interim conversations with her where I didn't allow her to make me feel guilty. You're hit the nail on the head -- why has she never offered to help me with my home? She's asked me to help clean hers and I did it. Now after her surgery, she'll be asking again, but I won't allow her to make me feel guilty if I'm not well enough to help her.

    I have taken bits and pieces of all of the advice I've received and worked it into my new, stronger "persona." Thank you so much for caring about me.

    Sadly, however, the saga continues...

    Quite by suprise, my SIL has been scheduled for partial knee replacement surgery on December 19th. We all expected her to be scheduled the spring of next year. (This is why I didn't say anything about her taking advantage of disability ... we knew this would come ... someday.) But now her expectations of me start all over again....

    First, she started pressuring/hinting for me to clean houses again. But she did not ask directly -- because of the help from these posts, I've been firm with her and did not cave. However, I think needs to see it in writing, "No, I'm not cleaning houses for you anymore." I do feel sorry for her, but she's taken advantage of me in so many ways. And when I "fail" her, she's given me the cold shoulder and/or anger -- until she needs something yet again.

    Guess who she plans to have by her bedside during her recuperation. Yep, you've got it. Me.

    What makes me angry is that she has a mother and two sisters. She also has two sister-in-laws. I am angry that she imposes on my family ~first~ and ~always~ when it comes to her health needs and financial mistakes. Last time she had an operation, she had ~my~ mother by her side, cooking, cleaning, washing dishes -- and even working her cleaning jobs FOR FREE! (It makes me furious even to think about how much she took advantage of my mother.) She 'borrows' money freely from my mother and my father, even hit one of my brothers (not her husband) with overdrafts when she took cash for a check she was supposed to deposit in his account. (SIL called it an accident, but I was there. I saw her pocket the cash. I thought she would let my brother know about the mix-up, but she never did, and she never made good on the overdrafts.)

    She came by my place on Sunday (after calling me on her cell and making a very racist remark about a family parked near her -- I hate her racist remarks, too -- she KNOWS I'm of minority descent -- so is her husband!) Any way, over cookies and coffee, she kept hinting that she wanted me to work on Thursdays for her favorite client. I ignored her hints. She's hired a new worker, but her worker is not available that day. I still ignored her hints.

    Eventually, she got to the point. She wanted to know when I'd be available to stay with her during her recuperation. I was put on the spot, so I grabbed a calendar and showed her what days. I am not so heartless I could say no, but I did tell her because of Christmas, I wouldn't be available until the day after. (My son deserves a good Christmas.)

    I couldn't help thinking, "What about ~her~ mother? What about ~her~ sisters? Why can't they find time for her?" So I asked her, "What about your mom?" "Oh, she can't help. She'll be lucky if she can get to the hospital for my operation. She has to work." "What about your sisters?" "Oh, they can't help. They've got things going on." I didn't even bother asking her about her sister-in-laws.

    I was curious why my SIL had gone to church that morning. She misses most Sundays -- except when she's in need of something. Turns out she convinced (guilted?) one of the sisters there to help her out, too. I wasn't suprised.

    This part makes me so angry. Then before she left, my SIL said out of the corner of her mouth, "Well, my mom's factory does shut down for the holidays...." WHAT!?! Then why did I commit my one week of vacation to her?

    Even though I am FUMING right now -- I have not allowed myself to think about it until today -- I'm trying to keep my head on straight. Her mother isn't in the best of health and does live two hours away -- but SHEESH my mother was in ~much~ worse health and lived THREE hours away, but my SIL didn't think anything of imposing on her. (Fortunately, my mother has other commitments at this time -- or you know exactly what would happen. I'm still afraid for my mother, though. She's vulnerable right now.)

    She is also planning to lean on my ~other~ brother and even my ~DAD~ to give her rides to doctor's appointments (when her husband is working). Always leans on us before her family.

    You can see my head is REELING. I wrote my SIL a letter which I plan to mail. I can't believe I'm spending the three hours my son is in preschool stressing over this right now -- and writing a stupid letter. But it has to be done. She has to see some of my feelings in writing.

    You'll see I've toned my anger down. I did make committments to her, even though I think she tricked me into it. I do love her -- though at this very moment it is tough. I think at this point I'm giving her a VERY generous benefit of the doubt considering what is coming up for her.

    For clarification, my brother's (her husband's) work weekend is Tuesday/Wednesday. I mixed my problems with her and her family with problems I have with my brother. That way she could put down the letter thinking not all of our problems were about her -- which could possibly cause her to stress out right before surgery. She also knows how to deal with my brother's bipolar reactions. I'm hoping she really gets the message about how I feel about her family right now.

    Please tell me what you think:

    "November 15, 2005

    Dear [sil],

    First of all, let me say that I love you and understand the operation you are going to have in December is very serious and will involve a lot of painful recuperation. I really feel for you.

    Because of this, I have committed to helping you December 26th through January 2nd (when [son] will likely be with his father,) and during the timeframes when [son] is in preschool thereafter (excluding Tuesday and Wednesday when [brother] is home) for as long as you need me. I just wanted to say a few things before you begin your recuperation.

    As you know, I had a very rough summer health-wise. Lately I've been feeling significantly better. However, I still must avoid stress and exhaustion to stay well enough to care for [son]. So I thought if we discussed a few things before your recuperation, we would both have a much easier time of it.

    By my calendar, I have only been feeling "well" for a few weeks now. Too much stress or over-exhaustion could result in a relapse that would make me useless to you. I don't think either of us want that to happen.

    So first, to be blunt, I don't want to clean houses anymore. It stresses me out even just to be asked. I have a whole laundry list of personal reasons why I don't want clean houses anymore, but I really don't want to go into it. I just want this to be an understanding between us -- that I don't want to be asked to clean houses during this time frame. However, I would be happy to make phone calls and relay messages to your clients and your workers when you are not feeling up to it.

    Second, I want [brother] to understand that the last week in December is actually a vacation for me. I would like him to come straight home whenever possible -- with no stops to the library or [other brother]'s office to play on the computer if you know what I mean. I think that would make me and you both very angry with him and cause all of us undue stress. However, if he needs to stop for groceries or gas, I would understand. I do want to get home before dark whenever possible (unless I'm staying over night.) That would give me some time to work on [son]-free projects.

    Third, I think your sisters and mother need to realize that even though I'm your sister-in-law and live the closest, I do have Fibromyalgia (although with varied symptoms from yours,) and it causes me exhaustion and pain when I am stressed -- or even for no reason at all. I expect them to give you as much time as they possibly can and not to think of me as being a "bad" sister-in-law for not giving you all my time just because I'm not working. As you know, this illness doesn't work that way. It makes you have to say "No," sometimes, even when you want to say, "Yes." I realize they have health/family/work problems of their own, but they have to make just as much effort as [brother]'s side of the family, don't you agree? And you can tell them I said that.

    Fourth, I need [brother] to understand I won't be there to wash his dishes. During the first week I'm there, I will plan on doing some dishes as I will be eating there, etc., but during the following weeks/months, I don't want him to leave the dishes for me to do when I get there. As you know, hand washing dishes is my Number 1, most hated chore ever (even worse than cleaning toilets,) and my old 'little sister,' feelings of resentment rise up when he leaves the dishes for me to wash. (As I've said before, he makes me so mad, I want to throw the dishtowel at him.) If he doesn't think he'll feel up to it, let's get our hands on some coupons and stock up on paper plates and plastic forks, etc., before your operation.*

    Well, that's about it. I prefaced this letter with, "I love you," and I'll end it with, "I love you." I realize this letter may cause you to be angry at or disappointed in me, but as you know, we must set our boundaries in order to get along better.

    I'm actually looking forward to spending this time with you. We'll be able to gossip, read, hang out, and I might even get some crocheting done. I hate to think of you in pain and am happy that I'm finally feeling well enough to commit myself to helping you. So I'll leave it at that. I truly hope you understand why I've written this letter.



    *She is very anti-paper plates & anti-automatic dishwasher, so this problem is really about her too.
  15. hoodnanny

    hoodnanny New Member

    i wished i had that letter years ago. i had two sil the same way.....i just took it...i am so glad to see you taking a stand....please stick to it.. she sounds to me like a very selfish person....and those kind of people do not need to be worried over one minute. they could care less how you feel.

    please stick up for yourself....dont be is you and your will love it when you wipe the slate clean of feeling like you are obligated to her. you do not owe her a thing...

    i hope for you the best...stick to your guns...
    best wishes......shirley
  16. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    And its a big BUT.

    This really has upset me. Shes on disability and can work full time and run a business.WISH I Could WORK.

    I get very ANGRY and UPSET people who cheat the system make it harder for those who really need it and don't get it.Because people who cheat.Now they really dig deep to find reasons to deny us.

    I know she is now having knee surgery,.That calls for a medical leave NOT FULL DISABILITY.Her knee will heal.

    My FM and CFS and also my advanced osteoarthritis will not heel and go away.I have not had any remission since this started In October 2003.

    I WOULD TELL HER NO WAY WILL I HELP YOU.She is not a true friend if she does not care how you feel.

    My true friend Mary.I told her that I was going to hire a cleaning co. to come in and do a big cleaning.I only can do a light cleaning.

    She and her 2 teenage daughters showed up on a Saturday buckets in hand to clean my house.NOW THATS A TRUE FRIEND...............I love her and her girls to death.

    Sorry E1 that I responded this way .I had to.I needed to vent about the disability part.

    And Elastigirl.I'm truly sorry that your SL treats you this way.


  17. sami

    sami New Member

    once told me something and it has helped me in so many situations...
    stop it now!!! do not let her take any more advantage of you..
    you are a woman, a beautiful person with a mind of your own..don't do things out of guilt!!!ever!!!!!!i used to and i got nothing back but hurt....
    don't even continue your conversations with her,enough is enough....
    stand tall and be proud...i have few friends and i don't care anymore..i have lost most people to this dd...they are not my true friends.....not in their hearts and not in mine...
    love you...we all do....
  18. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I think you are going down the right road if you are really going to do this -- writing the 'boundary letter' will give your SIL a clear depiction of your limits. Hopefully you will be able to enforce them.

    My one concern w/your letter is small. Refer to:

    " stops to the library or [other brother]'s office to play on the computer if you know what I mean. I think that would make me and you both very angry."

    My observation is that you should stick to your own feelings (This would make me very angry...) and not anticipate her reaction. You want to make sure that you are explaining YOUR concerns, otherwise, you leave an opening for her to excuse away your feelings by saying that she doesn't mind if her husband is late.

    The only other thing I can offer you is to stick to your ending deadline. HAVE AN ENDING DEADLINE. Last spring my SIL had emergency abdominal surgery when on vacation visiting my inlaws. Her husband was in the midst of moving them, so he wasn't available to care for their two young children, and my inlaws have their own health issues and couldn't handle them. I offered to go down for a week (taking off of work). I gave them a start date and finish date, and I made up my mind that I was going to be there as a service to my SIL and M/FIL and not give unsolicited parenting advice, or any other such thing.

    I just barely made the week, but I made it! I got a thank-you from the SIL and M/FIL, but I never received even an acknowledgement from my BIL except to have him ask me to come down a month later to take care of the kids when they visited (I said no).

    I love them, but I'm not going to be walked on.

    P.S. That's a four-hour drive each way!
    [This Message was Edited on 11/15/2005]
  19. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    petalinthewind and hoodnanny - thank you so much for the support. I needed it.

    suzetal -- her cheating on disability is the elephant in the middle of the room, isn't it? I ~really~ disapprove of it, too. I got tricked into writing a letter of support for her disability review. At that time, she had told me she was thinking of retiring from all the jobs, she'd been cancelling a lot of appointments. My brother had his new job. And, "Anyway," she justified, "I can earn up to $900 a month, no penality." She seemed in really bad straits at the time, depressed, suicidal, in pain, etc., etc. I bought it hook, line and sinker.

    However, now I know she didn't want to quit her jobs for real, and she doesn't claim her income (except for one client who reports her payments to the government.)

    Her basic lack of ethics, her racism, her mistreatment of friends, and her overuse (if not abuse) of my family makes me sick. For a while after my first posts here, I hardly associated with her at all. My life got much better, much less stressful. I beginning to believe she is toxic to me. I thought we could be 'lite' friends, but she wants more.

    However, at this point, if she was not married to my brother, I doubt I would be friends with her.

    sami - thank you. You've given me food for thought. I am thinking of backing out but because I made the commitment, I cannot see an ethical way of doing it. She will be in a lot of pain, too, and that just tears me up inside.

    Juloo - thank you for your tip. That's a small change that won't affect the context of the paragraph. I think you're right, I should drop it. Right now I don't have an ending deadline. When I realized I hadn't stated one, I knew I made a big mistake.

    Since her doctor told her it would take six weeks to recover enough to be up and around, we both know that by the FM multiplier, it will take her at least twelve weeks to recover. I think I will count off twelve weeks and put that expiration date in the letter.

    Some of part of me still believes I love her as a sister. I don't have a sister, and she was my only semblence of one. But this has gone too far. I am too much of a pushover, and she's pushing me to my limit.

    You won't believe this (maybe you will,) but tonight she had my brother call me. She was supposed to have her wisdom tooth pulled today. (She keeps calling it oral surgery. When I had four wisdom teeth pulled out, I called it having my wisdom teeth pulled out. And they did cut me.) She was wrong, apparently today was just a consult. Now she needs a ride on Friday. Because it was my brother calling, I couldn't stop myself. I said yes.

    Here's the catch: It was raining torrents today, so all the errands I planned to do today must be run tomorrow. And on Thursday I have two very important appointments plus my son's home from school. And on Friday I have a school book fair obligation all morning with my son in tow, a parent-teachers conference in the afternoon, and a nice little topper is that my son's father will be in town and wants to spend a few hours with him. When will I be able to squeeze in driving her to the dentist? I think I have to call back.

    The topper is all this stuff has to be done when I'm expecting 'my time of the month.' Mine are so heavy that I almost without fail must spend one day at home; it's just too risky to go out. I'm usually in a great deal of pain, too.

    So I've taken a bad fall today. I started out the morning posting, "Life is a Joy!" and am ending the evening thinking "Life sux." My neck is all locked up, my shoulders ache, I snapped at my son (out of character!) and I just made a cup of coffee -- even knowing what it's going to do to me tonight -- because I'm so stressed out. But I do realize it's not my life that sux. It's my life with her in it that sux.

    You see, even though I know that deep in my heart I love her, she makes me miserable. (Wow, that makes her sound like the ex-men in my life, LOL!) I wish I could just tell her what for. But with all the pain she will be in soon, I can't bring myself to do it. No, the letter will have to be enough for now. Sigh. I'm so sorry to vent in such a pointless way. She just tears me up inside.
  20. elastigirl

    elastigirl New Member

    You hit the nail on the head. I was really busy with my son and lost touch with my mother for a little while. It was during that time that my sister-in-law "used" her. My mother didn't think of it as being used.

    But I was furious! Not only did she let my mom work for free (I will be honest, my mom refused any money,) she let my mother give ~her~ money! And it was during this time that she confessed to my ~mother~ (it makes me cheeks burn just to think of this) that she wanted to cheat with a man who was her physical therapist!

    I keep pushing that out of my mind. I just can't deal with that! It's so upsetting. I know it's all in the past, and my brother has forgiven her (no cheating occured, but she came close -- fell in love with the guy), part of me just can't let go. If I even think of it, a whistle starts blaring in my head and smoke starts coming out of my ears.

    I'm going to go get a cool wash cloth now. I'm so angry with her at this moment just from remembering the pain she's inflicted on my family. My face is burning up. I guess forgive and forget is out of my vocabulary tonight. My family has forgiven her, but can I?
    [This Message was Edited on 11/15/2005]

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