Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Case In Point

The Case In Point posts will be one of the above mentioned stories which have prompted me to write the blog.

October 2008

While living on an Air Force base in Korea, my husband and I bought customized flight suits for my nephews, then 2 and 4. They were perfect replicas of actual flight suits worn by fighter pilots. We knew they would be great gifts for our nephews and supply endless hours of fun as dress up, or at least serve as a last minute Halloween costume over the next few years. We had custom "call sign" patches made for each boy, and included the American flag patch, as well as the patch worn by my husband's unit in Korea. They were amazing.

At the time we considered buying a similar suit for our own son. But since he was still in the womb, we reasoned that by the time he was big enough to wear one, our nephews would have long outgrown both of theirs.

The boys loved the suits, and both my husband and I expressed our desire to have them passed on to our son when he was big enough to wear them.

Jump to two years later. My nephews were now 4 and 6. Halloween was approaching and my son would have been able to fit into the smaller, size 3, flight suit. I asked my PSIL if we could borrow one for Halloween or if she needed a gift for my son for Christmas, a flight suit would be a great, and free, gift (she's cheap too). She said her children still played with them and each suit still fit its owner. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but again expressed how fun it would be for, one day, my son to be able to play with it as well.

Jump ahead to this Halloween, 2008, my nephews are now 5 and 7 and the younger one certainly is no longer wearing a 5. I asked again if we could borrow a suit for Halloween. Much to my disappointment, my PSIL had given the suits away!!!

Given my PSIL's track record, the suits are just as likely to be hanging in the boy's closet and she just doesn't want to give one to me. Also, I am very aware that these were gifts to the boys and we certainly have no right to them. However, we had asked for them before, let it be known that we would love for our son to have one handed down, and purposefully passed over buying one for our son when we were in Korea because we fully anticipated my PSIL being a kind and loving person.

Who does this?!?! I am so naive to believe that people can do nice things for others in this world? The sad thing is, something that we wanted for our son, we relied on her to do...lesson learned. To me, she either has a horrible memory, or she is just nuts! Seriously...who does that?!?!

I'd also like to point out that while we were in Korea for a second Christmas, we gave her boys monogrammed backpacks for Kindergarten. For our first Christmas home, she regifted our son books which we had given to her children...inscription still inside. Apparently she never even opened them...


After the first post, I received a multitude of responses, from, "This is hysterical," to "Maybe you should forgive and let go." Let me be clear: This blog is about venting, sharing and letting go of the frustration generated when we have to deal with pain in the pooper people such as my PSIL...have I told you her name? Used defamatory insults? Would I ever be sued for libel? No.

After the most recent issue with my PSIL, my own sister said, "That's horrible! Didn't anyone say something to her?" The answer is no. As a family, we have been side-stepping all of her bad behavior in fear of further backlash. I think her own husband is afraid her! My MIL is afraid the grandchildren will be kept from her (which has happened in the past), my husband doesn't want to damage the relationship with his brother, and even when I have suggested that she is in the wrong, watch out...my PSIL is never wrong, it is always someone else's fault and she has an amazing ability to turn any conversation into a conspiracy theory about how my MIL is trying to tear the family apart.

Many years ago, I saw an Oprah episode which gave me one of those ah-ha moments. She said, "People treat you the way you let them treat you." By no one saying anything about my PSIL's bad behavior, we have, in fact, enabled her and allowed her to treat the people in our family poorly time and time again.

As women, we are taught to be the better person, to turn the other cheek, ignore, deny and hide from problems. We do this until our day to day happiness is nonexistent. Instead of dealing with our feelings and acknowledging them (say, in a blog), we bottle them up. And when we've reached our breaking point, we end up paying thousands of dollars for actual therapy where the therapist says, "You have every right to be angry, every right to be hurt, to be frustrated. Have you discussed your feelings with her? Perhaps you should journal your feelings" (say, in a blog?)

Again, this blog is about venting, sharing and letting go of frustration. It is no different than calling up a girlfriend and dropping a few f-bombs for the simple sake of getting it off your chest.

When reading this blog, you should be able to laugh and shake your head, "Yes, I know what she's talking about!" Then share one of your own stories, glowing with exhilaration that you are not alone in feeling hurt, threatened, or utterly stunned by the bad behavior of the PSIL's in your own family. If you can't do that, then this blog probably isn't for you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If you do not have a Psycho SIL, chances are you are the Psycho SIL!

Let's face it. We all marry into a family with one person who just sucks...who never sends your kids as nice of gifts as you send hers, who makes you want to skip from Halloween to New Year's Eve just to avoid seeing her, who can't seem to get her children bathed for a family photo, who is selfish, stingy and down-right mean. I definitely have one of those in my family, and this is my blog to vent about her and the havoc she wreaks on our, otherwise stable, family.

It all began at my rehearsal dinner. I thought my SIL was great...overly helpful, very interested in meeting my family, always wanted to make sure she knew what was going on so she could "help", and she shared my irritation with our MIL. The last of which became our bond over the first year of my marriage.

We would sneak little moments in the other room during family events to snicker, evaluate and gossip over everything, especially our neurotic MIL. However, several years went by of listening to her berate my MIL (who really is a great person) at every chance she got, and one day, it just clicked...my PSIL was a grudge-holding, bad-mouthing, back-stabbing, manipulating narcissist, and I was enabling her. What was worse, after this realization, she caught on that I was trying to break ties with the devil and I became her next victim.

Apparently she has moved through the family, taking about 1-2 years to torture the kin of her choice. From dragging her husband into therapy just to deal with "his family" during their wedding planning, to claiming that our MIL was conspiring to keep the brothers from seeing each other, to not letting my FIL see the grandchildren for fear that he might not hear them when they were crying.

We had been living away from family (thank God) for most of our marriage until 2006 when we moved within 90 minutes of my PSIL and the rest of my husband's family. This blog is a memoir of the events over the past 2 and a half years.

Please feel free to read, comment on, and share stories from this blog, and please, please share your own stories.

If you don't think you have a PSIL, then, just maybe, you are the Psycho....think about it...