What do you do if your future SIL is a controlling wacko nightmare?
And they just got engaged? Do you sit there awkwardly not congratulating them? Do you say something quietly to your brother alerting him to your fears? Do you talk about how dysfunctional they are to the rest of your family? Do you cry to your own partner in frustration? Do you write off your brother until or unless he comes to his senses? Do you stage an intervention with the rest of your family? Do you do nothing and cry inside?
First, I'm sorry. Second, why DO SILs bring so much drama???? I actually imagine my SIL having the same convo with people before I married here older brother. lol!
BUT....it turns out she's the crazy one, honestl and truly-- mine is crazy, I've only been married for 4 years (together going on 10). She actually has gotten worse, is crazy towards her brother now (Before it was just towards me), her legimately borderline personality disorder middle brother (whose voice is NEVER the voice of reason) thinks she is being crazy as well!
Sooo....all i can say, is things can change. my mom always told me "Many see, few know." I carry that in my heart always when I deal with friends or siblings relationships. You love your brother for him, good or bad. More than that, you can't really change--- unless she's a real psychotic murderer, then, well, she needs meds and isolation.
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
She's not crazy so much as she is neurotic in her need to totally control my brother and his life, which means he gets treated poorly and is barred from having friends, family, and interests of his own. In addition, he has to cook, clean and work for her on top of his 70-hour a week job. And receive no sleep because her work hours conflict with his, which means he must stay up all night to "see" her. Why is he being a doormat? I know that is his issue - he obviously needs help - she knows that and manipulates it (by offering therapy - yep, she's in that field). It's all very absurd. None of the family is cool with it and the engagement was received as a surprise and somewhat an unwelcome one. I'm the only one who lives near them and also the one who sees the extent of what is going on.
Maybe you could sit him down and say, "I'll just say this once, because it is awkward and it may be hurtful, and I'll abide by your choice, but I have to tell you this or I'll feel like I'm not being a loyal sister:..."
My uncle married one of these a long, long time ago. It took him ten years to extract himself from a wack-a-doodle marriage and another twenty to rebuild his relationships with the rest of his family. I guess, though, at the end, we were all there when he came back. He ultimately married a really grand lady who has done a lot to bring old relationships back to life.
My personal suggestion would be to have a private sit down with him and tell him that no matter what, you will be there for him in the future. Make sure you leave the door open so that ten years from now, if he wakes up and realizes he's gone down the wrong path, he'll feel comfortable coming back to you and your family.
Sounds enabling, maybe, but you can't change his behavior, you can't control his life now, you can only leave things so that he feels comfortable knowing you're there as a safety net when all is said and done.
You say nothing. Your brother needs an ally but you will not be able to help him if you are unavailable to him. Be warm and loving now with him, at least vapidly polite with her.One great way to keep him where he is is to keep him exhausted, as getting out of relationships is hard work, so she is doing a good job! But you have to be close enough to him to be helpful. At various times you can always ask, "Are you okay? Things alright for you?" and if he asks what you are talking about, you can tell him he looks tired and you worry about him.
If he does start to tell you things about her-his exhaustion, his resentment over something, I would always stay "behind" him-not in front of him-with my concerns, ie let him say whatever bothers him and support him without offering your own. Its important because you do NOT want to be "my sister who hates my wife". If his fiance/wife is any good aty manipulating and she sounds like it, she'll look like a rose and you will look like a shrew. YOU want to be the one looking supportive and let her look controlling and mean.. At first she may try to befriend you (hence the vapidly polite interactions, totally neutral) then she will definitely try to separate him from you and the family and anyone she feels is supportive of him, and likely in the process will say all sorts of things. But...they will not gibe with his experience of you, and thats the key
The prize is the relationship with your bro, so you have to really keep your eyes on it! And running away, taking a strong stand, telling him what a b$tch she is and so forth will totally damage that relationship and then you have no entree in to his trust, which you need.
I sure wish you luck, take good care of your self, with friends and so on, you may be the person on deck with the lifejacket so you need to make sure you are clipped in!!!
I don't say this to be hurtful, but in addition to whatever crazy $hit your SIL has going on, there is something wrong with your brother that he puts up with it.
I mean, he is "barred from having friends, family, and interests of his own." SERIOUSLY? And he is a grown-ass man and tolerates this? It sounds to me like they both need individual and couples counseling.
This really is just as much HIS problem as it is hers.
I am sorry that you're having to see it all happen. At some point maybe you could have a really non-judgemental talk with him about it, without demonizing SIL, and see what he says. Maybe they can get some professional help and it will work out.
My cousin just married a controlling, wacko wingnut. This woman has managed to alienate his whole immediate family. I am disappointedthat they all fell for it.
If they had just given her time and not flipped out when they perceived her separating him from the herd and then, after the shine wore off, slowly tried to bring him back into the fold, it may have gone better. But instead, they all fought with her and allowed her pot stirring to help her further alienate my cousin.
His sister made an interesting comment at the wedding - she said he married his mother...and she is right. So, he is behaving as expected as someone who has been raised by an extremely caring and loving but very controlling mother.
It will be up to him to decide if he ever needs to put his foot down and not accept the controlling behavior. No one else can change it because you can only be controlled if you allow it.
I will totally say something to my brother if I think it's bad enough, and way before the getting engaged happens. He was dating someone not too long ago and she would get absolutely belligerent when drinking, was alienating him from his friends, was suspicious about everything. I had NO problems telling him I didn't like her and that I thought HE deserved better, he is way too nice and too smart to have to put up with that. She did go after awhile thank god!
I have that very situation. He married her in 2004. They're still married but haven't lived together except for 3 months right after the marriage. It's just not my problem (well except for the time they came to visit for 4 days, but that's another story).
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant
Coming from me who almost married someone REALLY inappropriate, I wish someone had spoken up sooner. It would have prevented a lot of damage
BTDT with a SIL -- ILs all spoke up, she married the idiot anyway (perhaps in part to spite them). Speaking up only caused damage to her relationship with her family, and she probably stayed with him longer because of it. Nothing good came of the "intervention."
It depends on your relationship with your brother. Don't say anything to anyone else (including parents), and don't say anything in public- other than polite congrats. If you are close, ask him for coffee privately and say you've noticed x and y (facts) and those aren't things you'd like in a relationship. How does he feel about it?