Codependent Sister-in-Law - Talk About Marriage
The Ladies' Lounge Sharing and support.

User Tag List

 2Likes
  • 1 Post By peacem
  • 1 Post By BioFury
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1
Codependent Sister-in-Law

My husband and I (both 35) have been married two and a half years and have our first baby on the way due in March. His older sister (38) moved out to LA over a year ago to pursue her career in TV production (she had been in ATL and got laid off Oct. 2014). She dallied away while receiving her year's severence in ATL and then sold her $300,000 house and moved to LA. We let her stay with us while she got her feet on the ground. The deal was supposed to be 3 weeks - it turned into 4 months and did not end well. She never cooked, cleaned or paid rent and sat on the couch watching TV most of the time. We finally put our foot down and said she had to move out. She found an overpriced townhouse (for someone who is unemployed) and has gone almost a year now without work. She only applies for high position jobs that she is no longer qualified for and cries and cries when she doesn't get them. But that's not even the problem...

She has become so "depressed" that she cries to my husband literally all the time, complains that he never makes time for her, and is extremely demanding of his time and energy. She looks to him to be her main support system out here and it is affecting our marriage. He isn't nice to me after spending time with her, he feels torn between the two of us, essentially because she is expecting all of the same emotional support one expects of a spouse. I was understanding for over a year, but it has really come to a head.

He feels responsible for her emotional well-being, partly because his parents tell him he has to look out for her and "make more time for her." I'm not saying I don't want him to have a relationship with her, it's just that the boundaries are so unhealthy and muddled that to the outside eye, it is just plain weird. I understand wanting to be there for your sister...but this has been going on for over a year now and I am scared that there is no end in sight...even after the baby comes. In my worst moments I just wish she would move back.

When he does make the effort to spend "special" time with me, she ALWAYS has some sort of victim-issue come up right after that requires him to spend just as much time with her. It's like he is dating his sister on the side. She is always playing the victim and manipulating him because she knows he loves to "rescue" her and be the martyr.

Has anyone had a situation like this? I feel hopeless - I went to our couples therapist by myself about it and she says I need to try to keep my mouth shut around him and just vent to friends/family/therapists and to let him have the relationship with her that he has...and that eventually it will implode on itself. But it doesn't look like it is. It looks like it's becoming a pattern that is only to going to get harder to stay calm about once this baby comes. I'll tell you, I'm going to need 100% of my husband at that point, and I'm not going to be so willing to share him for a while.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Some sort of validation for thinking the whole situation is messed up?

Sugarbear is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 12:52 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,330
Re: Codependent Sister-in-Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarbear View Post
My husband and I (both 35) have been married two and a half years and have our first baby on the way due in March. His older sister (38) moved out to LA over a year ago to pursue her career in TV production (she had been in ATL and got laid off Oct. 2014). She dallied away while receiving her year's severence in ATL and then sold her $300,000 house and moved to LA. We let her stay with us while she got her feet on the ground. The deal was supposed to be 3 weeks - it turned into 4 months and did not end well. She never cooked, cleaned or paid rent and sat on the couch watching TV most of the time. We finally put our foot down and said she had to move out. She found an overpriced townhouse (for someone who is unemployed) and has gone almost a year now without work. She only applies for high position jobs that she is no longer qualified for and cries and cries when she doesn't get them. But that's not even the problem...

She has become so "depressed" that she cries to my husband literally all the time, complains that he never makes time for her, and is extremely demanding of his time and energy. She looks to him to be her main support system out here and it is affecting our marriage. He isn't nice to me after spending time with her, he feels torn between the two of us, essentially because she is expecting all of the same emotional support one expects of a spouse. I was understanding for over a year, but it has really come to a head.

He feels responsible for her emotional well-being, partly because his parents tell him he has to look out for her and "make more time for her." I'm not saying I don't want him to have a relationship with her, it's just that the boundaries are so unhealthy and muddled that to the outside eye, it is just plain weird. I understand wanting to be there for your sister...but this has been going on for over a year now and I am scared that there is no end in sight...even after the baby comes. In my worst moments I just wish she would move back.

When he does make the effort to spend "special" time with me, she ALWAYS has some sort of victim-issue come up right after that requires him to spend just as much time with her. It's like he is dating his sister on the side. She is always playing the victim and manipulating him because she knows he loves to "rescue" her and be the martyr.

Has anyone had a situation like this? I feel hopeless - I went to our couples therapist by myself about it and she says I need to try to keep my mouth shut around him and just vent to friends/family/therapists and to let him have the relationship with her that he has...and that eventually it will implode on itself. But it doesn't look like it is. It looks like it's becoming a pattern that is only to going to get harder to stay calm about once this baby comes. I'll tell you, I'm going to need 100% of my husband at that point, and I'm not going to be so willing to share him for a while.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Some sort of validation for thinking the whole situation is messed up?
There's not a lot of good options thanks to the current systems way over the last 50 years pounding into men that they are responsible for women and family first (as opposed to their own responsibilities).
You'll probably have to get hard with him and tell him, theat for her own good she needs to get hold of a professional counsellor/career coach before she gets too unemployable. And that to do so he's going to have to break that dependency she has on him because while it might seem like he's being supportive, it's really enabling her not to do her best because she knows she can run back to him.

I recognise it's hard to put others first with your own pregnancy and hormones adding extra stress but you _really_ don't want to be things into ultimatium territory at this point.
He has to stop because the sister needs to find her own independence, otherwise she'll never get back on her own two feet.

Abbreviations:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
spotthedeaddog is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 02:43 AM
Member
 
peacem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 642
Re: Codependent Sister-in-Law

Yes this is what my SIL was like when we got married. She would have happily moved in with us if I hadn't said no.

Just to help you get your head around this - I think it is your H that is co-dependent not your SIL. If this is the case your SIL will also have a dysfunctional that your H is enabling. My own SIL has BPD with narcissistic traits that means she feels very entitled to time and attention above that of say a spouse or child of a sibling (she absolutely gets jealous of my husband hugging his daughter or buying me a gift. When we were first married she seemed to think she should come out on dates with us - if we went out on our own we had to do it secretly. That is how bad things were). My SIL most certainly thinks she should come before our child or our marriage. Be careful because when your child is born this clingy behaviour will only become worse.

I am amazed that your therapist thinks you should be quiet about it. There may be more context around that but that does not add up.

She needs to leave before the baby arrives and you *both* need to be a united front in building boundaries. You could agree to maybe one afternoon a week, or a weekly phone call. But ultimately it is your husband that is your main problem not your SIL because he is the enabler.
peacem is offline  
 
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 04:14 AM
Forum Supporter
 
Satya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,750
Re: Codependent Sister-in-Law

Your husband needs to grow up and shed her like a pair of antlers.

She's a grown woman that takes zero responsibility for her own life. At her age, it's pitiful. I bet she can't live alone. Let her find someone else to cling to, or you won't want to stay married long... Because you'll lose all respect for your husband.

Once that's gone, it's REALLY hard to get it back. By marrying you, he chose you. If he feels differently now, kindly remind him of this.

Some men are rescuers to lost causes. He stands to lose a lot by continuing.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

~ Abraham Maslow

Last edited by Satya; 11-29-2016 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Grammar
Satya is online now  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 06:51 PM
Member
 
BioFury's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Stars & Stripes
Posts: 385
Re: Codependent Sister-in-Law

You need to sit down with your husband and tell him that you would like him to put firm boundaries in place for his sister. He doesn't take her calls between so and so hours, she can only come over this many times, for this long, etc.

She needs to grow up. Your husband needs to quit enabling her behavior.

"The problem with unproductive people, is that they tend to be the most reproductive people." - Unknown

"If you can't kill then you will always be subject to those who can." - Ender Wiggin
BioFury is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 11:59 PM
Member
 
oceanbreeze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: california
Posts: 173
Re: Codependent Sister-in-Law

It sounds like your sister in law has no empathy for you and your upcoming baby. Maybe she is even throwing all these fits to see if her brother would choose her instead of caring for the new baby because she has always been "the baby."

My baby is due any day now (37.5 weeks as of now) and I have 3 younger sisters which always act like they are in distress (29, 27, and 24). The youngest one has her act together since moving out to Irvine for college and has figured things out on her own now. My 2 middle sisters have not got their act together and are always teaming up or trying to team split my mother, husband, and I. Or really crazy, when my 29 year old sister is upset, she plays games with her daughter that we are not allowed to be near her when she's upset...but she lives in my apartment for free (barely cooking, always complaining, always having a problem, doesnt clean unless forced to with her baby bottles for my niece, and demands that my mom and I need to give up our full paychecks to make sure she has our apartment to stay in...she's not even in the lease and already my landlord is getting upset that she needs to leave because we've already had complaints about her dog attacking people, etc.)

So I may not in this case be the best person to answer how to help your situation, but maybe, speak with your husband how your child is upcoming and that you would like some favors to be done by your sister in law. Tell your husband how helpful he is and has been to your sister in law and that you need her help, too in preparing for this baby. It might actually turn her off. And then she can help by making pre-made dishes that can be frozen in your fridge and once the baby is born, she can help to defrost and bake/reheat them. Start praising your husband instead and ask him to ask his sister to help your growing family. Say that you want her support and need her help too. Yes...this is terrible that it may or may not be from the heart, but if your husband understands the idea that you need her help, too and want to include her into the family, then he might even shift his thought processes. and you can tell him that it will be so helpful since he may be working (I dont know if he will take paternity leave from work or not), but draw your husband back to you.
oceanbreeze is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Tags
codependency, codependent, husband and siblings, sister in law

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on Talk About Marriage, you must first register. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Important! Your username will be visible to the public next to anything you post and could show up in search engines like Google. If you are concerned about anonymity, PLEASE choose a username that will not be recognizable to anyone you know.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sister in Law Copycat blackberry717 General Relationship Discussion 21 11-28-2016 07:10 PM
When sister in law moves in...how do I say no to her dogs?!?!? helpmehelpmehelpme1 General Relationship Discussion 53 09-15-2016 07:39 AM
Sister in law aka friend of his ex visiting catfan The Family & Parenting Forums 18 03-30-2016 06:59 PM
Inlove with My Sister in Law Gooch78 General Relationship Discussion 42 03-30-2016 11:26 AM
Big problem my husband likes his sister in Law simplysadmarriage General Relationship Discussion 50 01-28-2016 10:49 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome