Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

Advice Vixens

Hi Vixens! Im in need of some advice... concerns "family." So recently a family member has announced they are having a baby. We are delighted for them as this was looking an unlikely prospect for them. However there are a few issues.
1.This person (his sister) doesnt have a great relationship with us, or more specifically, me. I have young kids one who is just coming out of the baby into toddler stage and although i have given a lot of my baby stuff away as i have no plans to have any more I am expecting that I will be asked for items for her. I am on a mission to get rid of the rest asap before the question comes in but i am worried this is going to cause tension and upset because although she was never generous with us, its expected that we would help out...
When i was pregnant with my kids, she offered nothing. Infact she stayed well clear of us despite having quite a lot of baby stuff from her last child. Over time, more and more items emerged that she never offered but had.
2.When my kids were born she visited once and stayed away thereafter. Never text to ask how we were doing or anything. When i was diagnosed with PND things got worse. She seemed to use it as a means to talk down to/ look down on me and behave like a bitch. I was excluded from things, she spoke to me like i was shit on her shoe and tried to make me feel really inadequate. To be honest i have never really forgotten about it or gotten over it. My issue here is there will be baby showers and things like that coming up. I have no wish to be part of any of it. Im still very angry about how i was and still am treated but i cant go the next 7months wishing that karma does its thing with her. I wouldnt wish pnd on anyone but i wouldnt mind her getting a taste to see just how hard it is never mind when people are bitches to you. Thats no good for anyone. How do i stop being angry?
3. The girl barely speaks to me or looks at me when she does have something to say. id ask what her problem is but she would never say. shes passive aggressive like that. She excludes us from any get togethers she plans for the family or gifts that everyone goes in on. She takes pleasure in driving a wedge in as and when. She only ever seems to get in touch when she wants something. A few years back we helped them out by renting a house to her and her family. They trashed it upon leaving further straining the relationship. She is one of these ones who likes to keep up with the jonses and equates spending money to being great. Thats fine for her. Im sure her debts are sky high trying to live this affluent lifestyle that they cannot afford and will less afford with another addition.
A lot of this is old stuff that needs to be let go of but i am determined to never let anyone treat me or my family like this ever again. Some of this is beyond my control. Any tips to see me through this next while would be great, thanks!

Also, it doesnt matter what this girl has, or how much she has, she still finds it in her to be horrible. Its like the more money she spends, the more arrogant she seems to be.

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    I don't know how often you have to see her, or what family obligations might come up that will force you to be in close proximity with her -- but how do you "stop being angry"?

    By being amused.

    She is fooling no-one with her behaviour. If you can see this side of her so clearly, others can as well...which means there are a LOT of people both within the family and without who will try to spend as little time in her company as possible.

    She's a hollow shell of a person: a three-year-old throwing a perpetual tantrum, insisting she's A Real Princess. Take a tip from Ebenezer Scrooge's nephew -- in talking about his famously miserly, miserable and anti-social uncle, nephew Fred (even though he was cut off without a penny) was more amused by his uncle than annoyed by him. Quoth Fred: "I couldnít be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers by his ill whims? Himself, always.Ē

    Fred (and Mr. C. Dickens) knew whereof he spoke. Unless there's some sort of divine ghostly intervention, this woman will ALWAYS make herself miserable and unhappy. But she doesn't have to make YOU miserable and unhappy. At least, not if you can find it within yourself to see that she is fooling no-one, and that it's actually entertaining to watch this person desperately try to put up a front everyone can see through.

    But no matter what, DO try to stay involved in the life of her child if you can. That kid has a complicated, potentially miserable life in front of them. Having a cool and grounded aunt/cousin/whatever to count on may be something that will be very, very important in his/her life...

    Good luck, and remember ... you are NOT the only one who can see this woman for who she is. And isn't it amusing -- rather than upsetting -- when you discover the Empress has no clothes?

    reply to Kal
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    Thankyou Kal. You are right, it is amusing and maybe that is the best way to look at things. I do find though that while most people will openly acknowledge that she is incredibly selfish, they just dismiss it like, yes that's the way she Is, that is how she is etc and tend t .turn a blind eye and keep say nothing whereas I would be more likely to pull her for it.

    reply to anonymous
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    Hello! Kal's advice is spot on about how not to be so angry with her. I have a SIL who treats me very similarly, who just cannot seem to be happy for or celebrate other people (at least it seems she has that attitude toward my husband and I anyway). I've taken the approach of finding amusement in her childish behavior and also feeling a little sympathy for how miserable she must be to not be able to be happy for someone else.
    It does still get frustrating that she doesn't reach out to my husband or I unless there is some family problem/drama, or it's time for an event to celebrate something in her life that requires one or both of us to open our wallets and give our time. With regard to the drama, my husband I comment very little and remain neutral. When it comes to parties, showers, and other life celebrations I try to navigate those situations with an approach of first asking, is it something that despite her actions we/I would enjoy going to for the sake of visiting other friends and family members? If yes, we/I will go and take a gift, if no, we/I will send a small gift and don't attend. We set a budget for gifts and stick to it and don't feel the least bit bad about not spending a fortune on someone who is ungrateful no matter what.
    Unfortunately we cannot control how other people act, we can only control our reactions to them and how much we let them affect our moods/lives.

    reply to Kay
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