SIL tries to destroy familial relationships with manipulation

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My brother married his wife years ago and they have several children now. For the better part of the past 10 years or so, I had been the sole target of her aggression and manipulation. She has tried to destroy all of my relationships with my female family members and has tried to drive a wedge between me and my brother by inciting problems, lying about my behavior, and, as all those with some type of ASPD, she is always the victim or the hero - never the villain.

Before they were married, I found out about some very manipulative behavior she was pulling on my brother. I knew that if I told her to stop, she would continue the behavior in secret. I was concerned her behavior would escalate without anyone's knowledge and she would do even worse things to my brother to manipulate him (finances, etc.) - so I decided to tell my brother what she was doing. Unfortunately, he confronted her, he told her that I was the one who blew the whistle, and our relationship was never the same after that. Enter her decade-long siege to destroy all of my relationships with my family members.

Things are fairly quiet now because we live in different places. Our last incident ended in me yelling at her for the first time, and calling her out on her awful behavior. She has since resorted to completely stonewalling me, which is frankly the best outcome I could hope for. But for most of our challenged past, I have been constantly on the defensive with her and my entire family. My brother has even called into question my account of events, despite never really asking for my side of the story, and he seems to believe the lies she has spread about me. The way she has treated me and other members of my family seems to go unnoticed by my brother and others despite it being very wrong and very public.

There have been other incidents with other family members, but overall, she seems to have everyone fooled. She plays the part of a loving mother and wife (until she explodes at the children for doing something she dislikes). She maintains stable relationships until someone upsets her, sometimes for years on end. But she throws over anyone who does anything she dislikes, however small. I know I will not be the last person caught in her path of destruction. But she has lots of patience, and is careful to maintain shallow, placid relationships as long as possible, so there could be years between the last and the next incident.

But in the meantime, I feel like no one notices her behavior and gives her a constant pass because "that's just how she is". My brother especially picks up a lot of the household responsibility. She is lazy and happy to be waited on hand and foot when it suits her. She speaks her mind without regard for whether what she says is appropriate at any time, and says mean and cold things about people constantly, even in the presence of their friends and family.

While I know that there is little I can do about it, and my counselor tells me not to forecast, there are two situations of which I am terribly afraid: 1) She and my brother will eventually split ways and she will do whatever she can to completely ruin his life. 2) Nothing will happen and my relationship with my brother will remain strained for the rest of our lives because of her and his choice to believe whatever she says whenever she says it.

I have tried to keep a close relationship with my brother, but I still feel him at an arm's length. Normally when we talk, he tells me how tired and stressed he is and how much responsibility he has all the time. Again, he's never asked for my side of the story. And because of that, I have never had the chance to tell him. I feel so sorry that he married someone who is so emotionally stunted and who doesn't take care of him emotionally either. To be honest, he is a wonderful upstanding man, and I believe he could have been much happier in his life with someone else who does not have some form of ASPD.

Mostly, I wanted to note that she does not fit the typical profile for a sociopath or psychopath, with lots of failed or troubled relationships - she does have those, but she has plenty of more recent stable relationships with enough people that she passes under the radar as long as she isn't actively stirring up trouble. I want to know how many others out there have people like this in their family and want to find support in how difficult it is to deal with them once they have targeted you. I guess I want to know if anyone else has been the sole focus of manipulation and destruction for as long as I have - over 10 years - and what advice can be offered. I don't know how to approach this or what to do regarding my brother other than keep on keeping on in my relationship with him and others.



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Re: SIL tries to destroy familial relationships with manipulation
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 10:12:52 PM »
Hi Jazzyjules - I want to welcome you to OOTF! I am thankful you have reached out for support and encouragement. Thank you for sharing a snapshot of what brings you here with us.

You have already sorted through a lot of painful realities and come to some very wise conclusions as you live with someone in your immediate family who has targeted you, who is high conflict - though ever so covertly... and for whom the prize seems to be your dear brother and wining the hearts of your family members.

It is incredibly tricky to navigate when a sil positions herself as a nemesis and is adept at pulling the wool over people's eyes that matter to you a whole lot. I am so sorry you are facing this.

I can closely relate to your experiences with a similar sounding situation and sil for several decades - though on my DH's side. Finding the forum and sharing my experiences over on the in law boards and finding support there, along with the toolbox and resources I have dug into here at the drop down menus above and throughout the forum have been a big help for me. I cannot quantify how much help, to be honest!

I trust that as you continue to share and spend time reading through the experiences of others you will begin to have a more clear picture of what is the best path forward in all of this. I look forward to supporting you!