OP, that type of behavior would drive me crazy! Sorry you have to put up with her.
A small SIL vent. - Page 2
We no longer have regular contact with my brother because of a SIL. She cannot stand our family, my mother and I in particular. I haven't spoken to him in over 2 years. Randomly she'll have some sort of epiphany and apologize to us and let him talk to us for a while, then she'll freak out and back it goes to no contact. It's been like that for the last 19 years. It sucks. I wish he would stand up to her, but it's his life and he gets to choose it. It'd be easier to deal with if he were happy, but we know he's not. He's said so emphatically. He stays because of some health issues she has and because he sadly doesn't think he can do any better. He left her once and was back to his old self, in regular contact with us, happy, etc. he went back and the wall went immediately back up.
I no longer will play the be nice to her so I can talk to my brother game. She's extremely verbally abusive to me and I used to take it so I could have a relationship with my brother. Now that I have kids that's not an option for me as I won't allow them to be exposed to that kind of behavior.
I'm no angel and have verbally sparred with her a few times after being provoked (she has called me several times and called me the C word, just for having the audacity to exist and invite them to my wedding, or if she's found out that he has spoken with me.) But I don't start things with her. I've always been polite until she's pushed me to my breaking point.
I'm just done with the whole thing now. It's sad.
Just a thought, and I could be projecting, but could she possibly be depressed? Don't get me wrong, I'm usually the first to vent about similar family relations and situations, but what you're saying about your SIL screamed depression to me. I guess it's because at times I have probably come off similar to how your SIL is, although not the same situations, and I wasn't trying to be mean/rude/snobbish, I was just painfully depressed and coping the best I could.
Just something to think about.
I'm very sorry you are putting up with this...I don't have any advise other than to ignore and stand up for your mother like a pp said. Drats...sorry.
Depression sounds like a good option.
I had my almost two year old sit on my lap for thanksgiving at the in laws this year. I have vowed to eat dinner in the living room ... alone for a few years. It was a disaster. She was constantly kicking her grandpa and tossing turkey all over their new carpet.. i couldn't see her well enough to shove food in her and she was too pepped up to eat anyway... she'd rather go lick inanimate objects. It was awful.
Could she be on the spectrum? My child is (and they don't seem to understand but whatever) and i'm pretty sure I am an Aspie. In talking about my child to a friend things started coming out in the open. Like she thought I was very rude because I never made eye contact. I've been told I'm "mean" or hate people because I don't talk!! Just because I'm "shy" and have very little social skills does NOT mean I hate everyone or think I'm better than them! I am now trying very hard to make eye contact with my one friend but it's literally painful for me to stare at someone's eyeballs. I won't go into it more but.. maybe she's a little aspie. Every year I complain to dh I am alone in the living room watching tv all by myself and I hate it but honestly I have nothing interesting to say. Conversation just DOESN'T come to me. I feel dumb and insignificant and never ever go to parties. I just don't "get it". I see nothing fun about standing around with a drink in hand. Bar scene? Ridiculoulsy boring. I don't "get" a lot of things.
My nickname in GRADE school was pokerface. I had THAT much expression even if the school was on fire. I'm sure it's worse now since I'm very isolated and dh doesn't talk.
It could also be they have a huge fight every year that they go to your families instead of hers. Maybe he's winning more battles than you think?
I also have gluten allergies. I never ever ask anyone to cook for me. I bring food enough for my daughter and myself and if I don't like it.. it's my own damn fault. I always have a box of gluten free rice chex in the car if I feel sick from hunger. When I was young and a vegetarian MY side of the family would always cater to me and that made me feel super uncomfortable (and they'd always forget bone marrow had meat in it anyway and it wasn't trustworthy so they did it all for nothing). DH family wouldn't cater to me at all I don't think unless I made a point of demanding it which I don't do.
I'm actually very hurt I'm not best friend's with the SILs and his mom but it's probably my effervecent personality *sigh*
Wow, you actually sound just like me in that area!
I do see SIL sometimes outside of the family gatherings, and she doesn't act this way. She's still rather cold and abrupt, but she talks, etc (mostly to complain about my brother). She just has issues with the "family" I suppose. She's definitely not depressed. And I would say she's not on the spectrum because she has other friends and I doubt many people would be their friends if she acted so sullen around them. And on her blog, she is very animated (although a bit of a know-it-all).
She's not hideous like neetling's SIL. She has never yelled or called any of us names. She always does the "proper" thing (ex: bring gifts for birthdays). I just was venting because the sullen, sour soooo above-it-all behavior gets to me (and my family) at times. Just a little effort would be so appreciated....I know she can do it. I have seen her do it with her family. Engage a little. Participate in a conversation. Smile. My family isn't that bad.
Disclaimer: I adore my SIL and our family gatherings are usually very comfortable and friendly. None of us are perfect, but we all have "family time" at the top of our priority lists and that helps a lot.
From observation of other families and occasional experience with my FOO and my ILs - when there's some kind of behavior going on that you can't stand, stop putting yourself in the situation. Some otherwise happy families just shouldn't spend Christmas together, for example. My cousin's family has a Christmas that they still refer to as the "Eff You" Christmas, because that's what the sisters wound up shouting at each other in front of their kids. Normally, they get along very well.
In YOUR family, it sounds like big dinners with parents, your nuclear family, your brother's nuclear family and whoever else comes by are just not pleasant. So stop attending them. Invite your parents to your house. It actually makes no sense to eat with somebody who rejects the communal-eating concept, and while your mom should do as she pleases, I'm all for hopping off THAT crazy train as soon as you can. It's a terrible example for your kids - as is the rudeness. You don't need to be exposed to that. You can find ways to spend time with your brother and nephew (and even your SIL, if she's much better in other contexts). Invite them over just on their own, in the afternoon before dinner. Go to the bouncy place with SIL and nephew. Change the paradigm.