April 01, 2011,
D.O. asks from Hillsboro, AL on March 31, 2011
My Husbands Family Hates Me!
i would like to start off by saying that im a shy person i am not a person that just starts conversations with people. If you talk to me i talk to you back and i don't think im a very moody person. This is how i have been the entire time my husband and i have been together(4 years). So his family told him that everytime i go to there homes i always have a mad/serious face and that it seems like i don't like them and his mother says that she always talks to me but i dont reply to her i just ignore her. All of that is not true i dont look happy because no one talks to me and i dont get upset i just listen to everyones conversations. So a couple of days ago i received a text from his sister saying that i should be more involved with there family and that i have to keep it cool with them. that made me so angry because i dont think i have to be with his family all the time i think i just have to get along with them and be polite. And i thought i was cool with all of them. So i dont understand why would be they be so two faced infront of me they are super nice but then they are talking stuff about me. Now i dont even feel comfortable going to there homes. i dont know what to do, should i confront them or just let it be?
So What Happened?™
i am not super shy when i get there i say hi and i do smile and i say how are you doing but they dont try to keep the conversation going. and this is how i have been all the time i dont know why they are so upset now and they go to my husband and say thinga about me to him but not to me thats why im saying they are two faced. I am not shy once i get to know you i am a blast of fun. My family is the same way they are not all out there they are more reserved and quiet. plus when they have conversations that make me feel so uncomfortable because my family is not as open as they are.
J.M. answers from Boston on April 01, 2011
I would talk to them about it. Also, make more of an effort to ask about themselvesand develop relationships.
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M.M. answers from Dallas on April 01, 2011
I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I am very aloof. That comes off as bitchy. I have been told I am unapproachable and intimidating - again when you are aloof those can be the perception. Sounds like you may have the same issue as me. I will catch myself in the mirror and I will have a 'mean' face when I know I don't feel that way. I know I have a scowl and I have had ALL of my life. I have to consciously try to make sure I don't have this face. I try to make extra conversation, even though I hate small talk, I try to do it b/c I know others will think I am being a snob. I feel I have to work harder so I am not perceived as being rude or bitchy. It sucks! I wish I had been born w/ a better personality. What sucks even worse is that I try so hard and it still doesn't work very well. On the inside I am saying all these great or funny things, but they just don't come out that way :(
The only advice I can give you is to listen...a little constructive criticism never hurt anyone - even as adults. His family obviously wants to be closer to you or they wouldn't say anything at all. I know it is uncomfortable and your feelings are hurt, but sometimes we really don't come off as we think we do. When someone takes the time to bring this up expressing they want to get to know you better but they don't know how b/c they feel you are unapproachable - take that as a learning moment.
Or, I could be way off base and they are just being petty and rude. If so, just ignore my comments :)
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K.C. answers from Philadelphia on April 01, 2011
It sounds to me like a classic case of personality clashing. They're outgoing and boisterous, you're quiet and reserved. They can't understand how you can be like that and you can't understand how they can be like that. It seems like you all need to clear the air. Call your SIL back and tell her something along these lines: "I can see how you'd think I'm stand-offish...I've always been shy and reserved. But I LOVE spending time with all of you, you're all so open and fun. It's just SO different from what I grew up with that sometimes it's a bit overwhelming for me. So if you see me sitting quietly with a serious look on my face, I'm SOOO not mad or anything, I'm just taking it all in. I love your brother, he's a kind and warm man, and obviously you all are a large part of why he's so wonderful. I consider myself part of this family, a very quiet part, and I'm glad you care enough about me to let me know how you feel. I know you've been confused by me, but I wanted to clear the air. I just didn't realize my shyness came off so negatively to you - that's the LAST thing I'd ever want." Just put it all out there.
They're talking to your husband instead of you because they probably feel you're not very approachable and maybe they're a bit intimidated by you. It seems like they really do WANT you to be more involved and part of their family - which is NOT a bad thing. There are so many people posting here who complain of neglect from in-laws...you don't have that problem. They WANT more of you. Most SILs would have just complained behind your back for years instead of sending you a text. She is reaching out. Take this opportunity, be a part of their family. You'll be happy you did.
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C.O. answers from Washington DC on April 01, 2011
How wonderful that your SIL is reaching out to you - she is NOT being two-faced - she WANTS you involved in their family - SHE WANTS TO INCLUDE YOU IN THE FAMILY!!!! keep it cool? well, she wants to not be in the ice box...sounds like their PERCEPTION of you is that you are cold as ice - and remember PERCEPTION IS REALITY...whether it's true or not - it's THEIR PERCEPTION - therefore for them - it's reality.
I would LOVE to have a video camera that you weren't aware of when you go over to their home so you can see what they see.....you claim 'shy' - they are perceiving you as mad/serious - so you don't LET YOURSELF be approached...does that make sense? You are holding yourself back and you don't see it. I wonder if you would have the "audicity" for lack of better words - to see yourself as others see you.
you say you're a blast of fun - well - how are they supposed to know that when you keep yourself closed off to them?!!
I am a VERY open person. My family is very open as well. My husband's family?! HOLY SMOKES batman - can you say "closed"? Just because they are more open doesn't make them rude. You are looking for trouble because someone has called you on the carpet. And you don't like it. OPEN UP!!!
They are your extended family now. YOU need to reach out to them as well. It's like you want THEM to bow to you or come to you - well, honey - it takes two!! YOU need to make the effort as well. Seriously - TRY IT!! Try going outside your comfort zone and REACHING OUT...you might find you like it!! You might find that it's not as bad as you think - it's OKAY to give. It's OKAY to let people in. Are you gonna get hurt? Sometimes. Yes. But really - you can't live your life under a rock or in a glass house.
I honestly do not feel they are two-faced. You are totally blowing this up and making it about you...and really?! they WANT TO KNOW YOU!!! How bad is that?! They want to include you!!! Stop using "shy" as a excuse and break out of your bubble and live. Get to know these people. Love them. You might be surprised in the end.
6 moms found this helpful
S.T. answers from Washington DC on April 01, 2011
doesn't sound like hate to me, hon. sounds as if they are just more upfront and direct than you are comfortable with. 'confronting' them (which sounds angry) is certainly not called for, but talking to them and asking for clarification? you bet you should! in a friendly, open fashion.
the absolute best strategy for any social situation which involves shyness or discomfort is to ask questions about the other person. people LOVE to talk about themselves. if the conversation starts to flag, ask another question. 'where do you get your hair done? i love those highlights!' 'what an interesting painting over your couch. where did you get it?' 'your jello-mayonnaise-sweet potato casserole is so....interesting. how creative you are to come up with that combination!' you get the picture.
there can be an element of phoniness to this which can be overcome by making sure that you ask about things that DO interest you (even if you're not really burning to know.)
this will move you past the prickly 'no one likes me and i don't know what to say to them' phase into a place where you are perceived as being a terrific listener. at that point it will be easier to have the important and more difficult conversations about what it is precisely that they expect from you that you're not delivering.
don't take this as a negative. it doesn't have to be. you can do this!
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J.G. answers from Springfield on April 01, 2011
You need to make an effort to get to know them. It's not always easy, I get that, but it sounds like in the 4 years you havn't made much of an effort.
Sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. (ie, some people are not comfortable speaking in public, but in jobs we often are required to give a talk or read something).
Don't give up after the initial greeting. Come up with 5 or 6 questions that you can ask them: "How are things at work?" "How are the kids doing in school?" "Are they playing any sports this season?" (or scouting, 4H, etc.) Ask them questions about themselves. Try and hit on a topic that they might have a lot to say about. Find ways to get them talking. Try and remember things that they say are coming up so that you can ask how it went.
The more you do this, the more comfortable you will feel. Don't give up so quickly, and don't make them to all the work.
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A.R. answers from Dallas on April 01, 2011
My SIL has been married to my brother for almost 20 years, and together for longer than that. In all that time I think I have had less than 5 real conversations with her, she has never initiated a conversation with me or my mother. If you ask her a question you get a one word answer. If you try to tell her about something going on in your life she zones out. For all these years she's blamed it on shyness. It's a shame, because she has pretty much alienated my whole side of the family with her excuse and lack of effort. Yes, I am blaming her. We have tried but she refuses to respond outside her comfort zone. We finally just decided she must not like us. My mother has a relationship with my nieces, but it's because she has made a huge effort to be available and to get along, there has been no reciprocation from my SIL.
I tell you this because it sounds like this is the path you are headed down. They are reaching out to you! Of course they are nice to your face, they are trying to get to know you. Of course they expressed their concerns to your husband, you wouldn't respond! Take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and TRY! Don't confront, just make an effort to be more accessible. If you are not comfortable talking about yourself just yet then ask them questions. Talk about the kids. Ask about your dh growing up. Talk about the house. Talk about a tv show. Something, anything, to get the ball rolling. It truly sounds like you have made no effort to get to know these people; that you have sat back and waited for them to roll out the red carpet for you. If that's not what you intended then the ball is now in your court to fix it.
4 moms found this helpful
R.V. answers from San Francisco on April 01, 2011
Reading your post took me back to the first time I meet my husbands parents when we were dating. We meet at a resturant with all his family, sisters, brothers, cousins. I was young and shy and by the time we left and got in the car I burst out crying because no one said more then 2 words to me. I'd never in all my life felt so ignored. Well as our relationship went on I learned that is just how they are. None of them to this day with start up a conversation with me. You have to initiate one and keep it going. Once we had children I was determined , for the little ones, to make a relationship with my mother in law. We now had something in common. And we did have a very nice relationship through the babies. I was the one though who had to step outside myself and be thoughtful. But to this day I can go to my husbands families house and nobody will initiate a conversation .I have to start it and keep them going with questions. I love them all and I just find it a bit of a selfish type behavior. I now teach my children how to be polite and friendly. To talk to people and ask questions of others. Not just talk about themselves. I notice a lot of people in this world only know how to have one way conversations and talk about themselves. We have to teach our children to have conversation. I think that is the case with my husband and his family. He's kind of the same way. My in laws are both passed on . I miss them . So just except that this is how they are and step outside yourself and be the conversation starter and carrier. You'll have more fun and maybe they'll learn something. And then again, maybe they won't. But you will. Blessings,
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J.R. answers from Glens Falls on April 01, 2011
Being introverted myself, I have frequently had this issue that others find me stand offish when really I'm just me. I'm just not gabby. I had a conversation with my SIL the other day about this. His family has actually been critical of me, too, which is totally weird to me because they all live on the other side of the country, I don't see them frequently and when I do it is usually a mass gathering of their family and friends...and absolutely no one I know. My SIL was talking about a cousin who hasn't "matured" yet so he doesn't speak up much. I said Maybe that is just who he is, being gabby isn't necessarily a maturity thing. He went on to tell me how he was more naturally an introvert but he was pushed to be extrovert as part of growing up and now the family is trying to push this cousin into growing up a little. And I said but why is it wrong to be an introvert? Anyway, after we talked awhile, it made him think about how his family has placed this huge value on being an extrovert to the point of pushing people away from their nature. So, I suggest that you respond to the SIL and tell her that you are more reserved by nature. That there is nothing personal about it and it doesn't mean that you don't love them or hold them in high regard and she and the rest of her family shouldn't read it the wrong way. You are just being who you are and you were raised an entirely different way and the world is about tolerance and you look forward to growing closer to them over time. If you do this, you will know that you have taken the high road...and it might make them think about whether their expectations of you are fair. Good luck!
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