How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?

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candy

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How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« on: November 30, 2018, 11:29:37 PM »
I need advice on the relationship with the GF of my BIL. She happens to be a kind of coworker, not a supervisor, but she handles some of my personal files and I have my NPDMIL, enFIL or rather uNPDFIL and as I just recognized BIL, the GC of the family, badmouthing me and DH (SG) for month now. It is a smear campaign and they are talking about us to anyone who would listen. Anyone includes extended family, even my extended FOO, some of DHs close friends, BILs GF and her FOO. I feel I have to react or intervene but could really use this forums wisdom on how.

I am still thinking on how to sum up what has happened with my ILs for a post on the welcome mat (I feel it is so much and do not want to give too much detail at the same time). What I am dealing with now is triangulation again, flying monkeys queueing in to divide DH and me and to damage our reputation. I‘ll try to give a short version of the back story:

My FOC (DH, DD and myself) have been NC with NPDMIL and EnFIL for 4 month now.
NPDMIL had gone into physical conflict mode with me over our baby-DD which was totally out of line.
It was one incident of contravening our parenting in a row but it was the first and last time I (and DH) have let NPDMIL violate my boundaries in getting physical. Physical violence in any form is a tough one for me, it triggers me and it is a red line no one is allowed to cross. I cannot believe I am writing this down, it should be second nature to all humans to respect others.

We had a talk on boundaries - another one in a row - with the ILs some weeks after that incident which ended with NPDMIL and EnFIL telling us we were not entitled to have boundaries at all. They were verbally abusive, they insulted us, yelled at us, broke up with their son, it was disgusting.

To sum up there is no sense in talking with NPDMIL and EnFIL as the only reality that matters to them is theirs. It is their way or the highway. Well, on behalf of our precious baby and on behalf of DHs and my well being - the highway it is.


Back to my issue with the GF:
During the last months, coincidentally to the conflicts between NPDMIL/FIL and DH/me escalating the relationship between DH and his brother deteriorated. BIL and his GF contact to us cooled off, they couldn’t make the one hour drive for their niece‘s first birthday, they couldn’t find an appointment or an alternate date, they simply ghosted us somehow. DH was the one to address that unresolved conflict and to talk to BIL some days ago.

I have had no conflict with BIL or his GF, nor has DH. They have been invited and attended some of our most intimate moments, from our wedding to our DDs first day on this world up to her christening.

Now, that is how BIL puts it, there suddenly is a problem in how DH and me have treated his GF. He said we were not accepting her „as family“ and that we have to improve and change our behavior (towards them AND towards NPDMIL and FIL, of course, because mommy and daddy are right and we are wrong and GC-BIL knows it, for sure, he knows exactly how things went down without having been there himself  :roll:

The incident BIL refers to happened 4 years ago. I was pregnant and did not want to go public. I had a miscarriage in early pregnancy close to the 12 week mark. When I still had been pregnant DH knew, of course, and my mother. As DH was insisting and so happy to share the good news I gave my okay to him telling his parents and BIL. I told my sibs and F then.
BILs GF was and still is my co-worker. I did not want to announce my pregnancy at the workplace at that time. That’s why I told DH to inform BIL later on or to tell BIL to wait 2-4 weeks until he speaks to his GF about the good news. My only concern was my and the little one‘s health and my standing at the workplace. We had our finances depending on my work solely. A lot of thoughts, a lot of bills and concerns about when to go public.

I chose to not tell BILs GF because I did not want to put a conflict of loyalties onto her. If she had known at the time, she would had been the only one at work. Her job included taking care of co-workers health and safety regulations, mine included, and deciding whether to skip safety or to go public without my consent to protect me was just not the position I wanted to enforce on her. As I said, that pregnancy ended with a miscarriage, there have been other events to grief about in my FOCs history of becoming a family and if I had to redo my information management today, I would still not inform BIL´s GF.

Health, pregnancy and losses are very intimate personal matters. I cannot see how those topics can be viewed anyone else’s business than mine. It is my business, maybe DH’d business, but certainly not NPDMIL’s or BIL‘s or his GF‘s concern. This is a reasonable point of view, or is it not? Am I not seeing anything here?

I remember the exact same words of not accepting the GF as family being stated by NPDMIL 4 years ago. NPDMIL also asked me if I did not trust BIL‘s GF to be able to keep a secret, if I doubted her „good personality“. I told NPDMIL that I do not judge the GF because I do not know her this well (at that time I knew her for about a year or two and we have never been really close) and that my decision of how and when to inform people has nothing to do with anyone but me. „Oh, she [BIL’s GF] is just people to you..?!“

...today I second guess myself: maybe I should have told the GF that NPDMIL‘s interpretation of other people’s actions and thoughts differs from reality? Should I have seen it coming? I did not think it was necessary. I thought the GF to be a reasonable, down-to-earth kind of women who would think for herself. I honestly still hope so.

The whole „problem“ is made up by NPDMIL and apparently BIL is her FM. BIL may have a personal interest in keeping his GF and me respectively DH apart, maybe triangulation is already second nature to him. He shows some narc traits himself but he could just as well remain in his role of the golden child. With the latter he would need DH remain the SG, me as a second SG because his GF has been elected GC-DIL.

The „problem“, my „bad behavior“, happened years ago and BIL never made an effort to address it nor did his GF. It came nearly out of the blue when DH asked what was going on. DH’s „bad“ behavior is that he respected his wife’s wish for discretion and did not put his mom´s wish to discuss his wife’s pregnancy openly on the family table. BIL told DH he was weak and under my spell and he should man up and should have put me in line (to what mommy says, sorry, it is ridiculous, right?!)

I think a) the incident from 4 years ago just recently became a problem at all, there must have been a lot of talking behind our backs, b) who would wait years to defend his GF if there really was a problem? It just sounds like a made up story to me. It sounds like NPDMIL and FIL have to make sure to discredit us in every possible way, to make sure no one believes us if we choose to tell our side of the story with them.

The whole issue is perverted, isn‘t it? The ones who had to let go and grief, to fight and be strong, who had to announce pregnancies and losses, who waited years to finally hold a healthy baby in their arms are us, DH and me. But NPDMIL and BIL and his GF feel badly hurt? The ones who never even called me once to ask how I was doing, they are hurt? Adults (MIL and BIL) who put their needs and demands in front of the needs of a baby feel entitled to judge morally? A young couple who is not married yet, who just started thinking of having kids, they feel entitled to judge us and to know better? I do not get how one can twist reality and moral like that.


DH offered to talk and clear the air with BIL, his GF and me present. But a talk with the four of us won‘t help, that’s what BIL said. DH and me were not understanding his GF‘s personality if we thought talking could help, no, the behavior should change. DH asked what kind of behavior BIL was referring to, what he wants us to do... again, no answer to that, DH and me shall come up with a surprise  :stars:

I have to vent at this point. What is this? A telenovela?
I told DH that we surely can talk to BIL and his GF but we definitely won‘t put up a surprise show for anyone. If we refuse to follow NPDMIL‘s scripted drama, we are not going to do it for BIL or his GF.
We do not have any kind of romantic relationship with the InLaws or BIL‘s GF, in my opinion it is a weird demand.

Women are complicated, they are highly sensitive and easily hurt, which applies to NPDMIL and the GF of the golden child (but not to me), and if their feelings are hurt talking is out but the guys have to play a little show? Like the little monkeys in NPDMIL‘s family circus do?
I do not fully get the dynamic here, will be thankful for input...

DH is very disappointed about BIL ignoring our DD and not showing interest in his niece. We are NC with his parents, DH says another broken relationship is too much to handle right now...

Me, I just guess us, DD included, are not priority to BIL and it won‘t change until BIL comes  OOTF, if he does. Right now I just want all of the ILs off my back. I am okay with NC with NPDMIL and EnFIL. I am not responsible for the distance or estrangement between them and me, them and DH, them and DD, it is not my job to fix those relationships. If they choose to do nothing but stay within their dysfunction, that’s their choice.

If BIL serves as NPDMIL‘s FM, so be it. It is his choice. I won’t shut that door completely for now, as I know DH cares about BIL, but I think I will go VLC myself. Maybe BIL will think differently in some years, maybe when he and GF will be parents themselves, who knows. Maybe BIL will make his way OOTF. For now, I do not see anything positive coming from all those ILs.

But what do I do about the GF, my co-worker? I am on maternity leave now, I have some time to adjust.
I thought about contacting the GF and tell her how things really happened and what my motives were 4 years ago. Maybe I just want to say, please, don’t believe a word they say, ask me directly. Maybe I feel the need to clear my name of the accusations. The whole thing feels deeply unprofessional to me, I do not like this. I even thought about looking for another job, just to end this mingling of business and private purposes.
I feel trapped because whatever I do, BIL and NPDMIL will find an interpretation that discredits me. On the other hand the GF is surely able to think for herself.

I feel that made up problem is between BIL‘s GF and me, so we are the ones who should talk. BIL avoided talking to me, he does not want the four of us to talk, I am guessing maybe his GF doesn’t know what is said herself?

Usually I do not engage in gossip, I do not talk about third parties, I speak directly. I have no idea why I am somehow hesitating when it comes to the ILs.  It is my strong belief that ugly words fall back to the one who expresses them. If this was not work-related I would step back and let the liars tell their lies. But that is not an option, or is it?

I appreciate all input I can get. What would you do?

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Rose1

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Re: How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 12:34:53 AM »
From experience any discussion is likely to be met with "you're protesting too much, it must be true" or similar. In other words you can't win or control others behaviour, only your own.

This took me a long time to learn. Far too long in fact. The only issue I'd address is the work one. Especially if your personal files are involved and you have evidence or solid suspicion that information out of these files is being misused. It may be necessary to go to her superior and voice concerns or hr. Normally I would say have the discussion with the individual first, with a view to escalation. However sil is starting to sound very pd herself. And it might backfire. If it's just workplace slander, technically it comes under bullying but resolving it depends on the culture at your work. Is it tolerated or not. If not then a request to meet with her supervisor and discussing your concerns might be the way to go, maybe it will affect her performance review. If you think your sil is not pd but just caught up in the family dynamic, then a discussion with her privately around how the career limiting aspects of workplace bullying could impact her.
Might work. Long term? If the relationship with your bil continues and she doesn't stop, consider finding another job.
Privately within the family limited contact and no jade removes the pleasure of baiting you.

Not easy but practice makes perfect.
I had a manager who was probably npd and certainly promoted beyond his capabilities. He was obnoxious. Sadly after 12 years there I decided it was time to leave before he ruined my reputation professionally which seemed to be his plan with most senior women in the department. Hr was no use, he was too senior. So I moved on and enjoyed a new field and company.

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all4peace

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Re: How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 11:48:50 AM »
candy, I'm so sorry for your loss in miscarriage, and so sorry for the situation you are forced to deal with at this time with your DH's family.

How ANYone handles their pregnancy and the announcing of it is entirely up to them. That is private, personal, intimate knowledge. Even if the GF wasn't a coworker of yours, in the particular job she does, you wouldn't have been obligated to tell her about the pregnancy.

What you describe sounds to me like a highly enmeshed family system, where "blood is thicker than water" and "family is the most important thing in the world" are the unspoken guiding beliefs. When adult children in those family systems create families of their own, and do things differently, it is highly threatening for these unhealthy family systems. "Change back!!" becomes the unspoken battle cry.

You don't owe anyone a justification of your pregnancy announcement choices, but if you wanted to you could simply say something along the lines of "I'm sorry that was hurtful to you. That wasn't our intention." You could ask GF if there's anything that would be helpful for the 2 of you to talk about, and let her know you want a good professional and family relationship.

At some point you have to accept that they are going to do things the way they do them, and they seem pretty committed to drama and triangulation. It is so very hard to try to be healthy in an unhealthy family system. Many of us eventually find the need for detachment to be able to cope. Polite, calm detachment. Show up for meals (if you want to), be polite, and leave early. Perhaps even that will become impossible.

What you describe leads me to believe there will be no healthy family relationships because they don't appear to have the core beliefs or tools present that allow for healthy family relationships. For many of us it becomes a matter of "titrating" our level of contact to one that works for our marriage, our own family, and maybe even the ILs.

I'm so sorry you are facing all this.

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candy

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Re: How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 12:40:10 AM »
Rose1 and All4Peace, thank you very much for reading and answering. It helps a lot having an outsider’s perspective. I appreciate your kind words and your experience. I am trying really hard to not feel angry about all the things happening with my ILs. Hopefully there will come a sort of peace in detachment.

From what you both say I think I will communicate more briefly than usual with GF. Less words, no JADE. I will probably write a short letter to BIL‘s GF.

I don’t think BIL’s GF is PD but BIL may possibly be. GF has poor boundaries and is caught in the family dynamic. I know her place from the past and I do feel sorry for her as I know how rapid MIL and FIL are able to change their opinion. However, BIL is problematic. He just texted DH stating he (BIL) was so pitiable because he is caught between his parents and his brother. DH fell for it and actually began to feel sorry and accountable for BIL‘s misery.

What the heck? BIL chose to put his oar in. We have had no conflict with him or his GF, we have a conflict with MIL and FIL. We have not asked for BIL to take one side or the other, I would love him and his GF to stay out of this.

Surely I won’t mention any of my anger and bewilderment about BIL scapegoating DH again to BIL‘s GF. It won’t help my case. She has to figure it out herself. No JADE, got it  :yes:

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all4peace

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Re: How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 06:53:38 AM »
Rose1 and All4Peace, thank you very much for reading and answering. It helps a lot having an outsider’s perspective. I appreciate your kind words and your experience. I am trying really hard to not feel angry about all the things happening with my ILs. Hopefully there will come a sort of peace in detachment.

From what you both say I think I will communicate more briefly than usual with GF. Less words, no JADE. I will probably write a short letter to BIL‘s GF.

I don’t think BIL’s GF is PD but BIL may possibly be. GF has poor boundaries and is caught in the family dynamic. I know her place from the past and I do feel sorry for her as I know how rapid MIL and FIL are able to change their opinion. However, BIL is problematic. He just texted DH stating he (BIL) was so pitiable because he is caught between his parents and his brother. DH fell for it and actually began to feel sorry and accountable for BIL‘s misery.

What the heck? BIL chose to put his oar in. We have had no conflict with him or his GF, we have a conflict with MIL and FIL. We have not asked for BIL to take one side or the other, I would love him and his GF to stay out of this.

Surely I won’t mention any of my anger and bewilderment about BIL scapegoating DH again to BIL‘s GF. It won’t help my case. She has to figure it out herself. No JADE, got it  :yes:

I think there's a gracious way to say exactly this to BIL if your DH chooses to engage.

I'm still in the middle of this process in my own family. I am trying to take the stance of simply stating my position and letting my siblings know that I want a clean and loving relationship with them, as untainted by our parents' antics as possible. Unfortunately, for all of us, it will take time to see how everything settles out.

I do think that if we work hard on our own loving boundaries and being our best healthy selves, sometimes we can positively influence those around us who want something healthier but just haven't seen healthy behaviors modeled before.

My best to you!

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Unvitation to Drama

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Re: How to cope if SIL is your co-worker and the ILS slander you?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 03:37:11 PM »
Hi! I completely understand where you are coming from and have been put in this situation multiple times by my in-laws. First I was pitted against DH's older sister, then my now SIL, who was DH's youngest brother's GF at the time. Your in-laws and BIL are using this girl to get a reaction out of you. God knows what they've told her.....she's as much of a FM as your BIL. Honestly, I wouldn't respond....I would fundamentally act like everything is EXACTLY the way it has always been at work, because technically it is since she hasn't reached out to you on a personal or professional level to discuss her discomfort. I would return to work just as you left. I would treat her with the common courtesy you treat all of your other co-workers. If it's brought up to you, I would be aloof and tell any third party that you have no idea what they're talking about....because you really don't.....vague insinuations don't count. I've found that carrying on your own sense of normalcy allows the third parties involved to more easily question the motives the person doing the gossiping or behaving erratically (although it often takes time for this to happen.) Grey Rock....be boring, but polite. Behave exactly as you did before you had the baby, and leave the extraneous family stuff at home. If she wants to be a pawn, that's her problem, not yours.