My Husbands Family Hates Me!

Updated on April 01, 2011
D.O. asks from Hillsboro, AL
15 answers

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?

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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.

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answers from Boston on

I would talk to them about it. Also, make more of an effort to ask about themselvesand develop relationships.

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answers from Dallas on

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 :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


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 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 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


answers from Philadelphia on

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 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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answers from Washington DC on

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!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

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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answers from San Francisco on

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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answers from Dallas on

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.

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answers from Portland on

I don't think they're being two faced. They are bringing up how they feel directly with you. Two faced is when they talk behind your back. They are saying that they want to get to know you better. They are telling you how you come across to them. I hear you when you say you don't come across that way. However they are telling you that they see you in this way and that they want you to be a part of the family by spending more time with them. Nothing you said here indicates that they hate you. In fact it's quite positive. They are being open with you and asking you to let them see the real you.

I understand you're shy and it's difficult to open up to people. I understand not wanting to go to their home because you see this as criticism. I am guessing that one reason you are shy is that you have very little self-confidence which makes you vulnerable to their comments.

There are two sides to this. You think that they're misunderstanding you and I suggest that you're misunderstanding them. This is a case of poor communication. His family and you do not understand each other. Perhaps you do always reply to her and she doesn't think it's a reply because it's so brief, for example.

I suggest that you and your husband get together with just one or two members of the family; perhaps the mother and sister who have reached out to you, and talk. Tell them you do like them but feel that they don't like you. Explain about being shy.

It does sound like you aren't comfortable with them because you're shy and up until now you didn't know that the relationships weren't OK. You will have to put out an effort to be more involved with them. I suggest you do this for your husband's sake. This is his family. You don't mention children but if there are some, it's important that they have a good relationship with their grandparents.

I'm wondering if you would benefit from some counseling so that you can improve your self-esteem and confidence. I was shy as a child and young woman. I learned to be more outgoing and am the opposite now; very outgoing. I'm much happier too.

Don't confront them. Find a way to feel at least neutral and preferably positive about them. Then get together and talk. Perhaps your husband could explain the way you act to them and both of you reassure them that you do like them but have a hard time in social situations.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Glens Falls on

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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answers from Redding on

If you seem closed off, that may be what they are reading.
If you are shy, it seems they would know that.
They might not know, after 4 years, why you are still so shy around them.
You don't talk to anyone because you say no one talks to you. What a vicious cycle.
Instead of feeling more uncomfortable, I would hold your head up high and have a smile on your face every time you see them. What would be so hard about saying, "How is your day going?" instead of waiting for someone to address you?
I knew someone who was really very shy. She was a great person, but she was so shy she made other people uncomfortable. She admitted to me about her shyness, but to some it seemed she was too good for them. She didn't make eye contact, she would fidget, (she was nervous but people thought she couldn't wait to leave), she didn't talk unless someone addressed her specifically and then it was only a one or two word answer. It was a problem.
I think the worst thing you can do is recoil even further.
You don't have to seem defensive, just say that you don't really know what to do when you get around all of them. It's not that you don't like them, you just aren't sure how to be.
Don't be hurt if they say they think that's silly. They probably really don't understand where you're coming from and the only way for you to change it is to try to explain and be more engaging. They are your family, after all.
You don't have to be crazy in love with them, but you can smile. I am a pretty engaging person so it might sound like it comes easily, but for heaven's sakes, you can comment about the weather or a new shirt someone is wearing.
I think it will take some work on your part. They aren't understanding where your reservations are coming from and only you can help them to work through that with you.
Hold your head up.
Throw your shoulders back and smile.

Hang in there!
Just my opinion.

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answers from Austin on

Why doesn't your husband speak with his family? He needs to have your back and let them know, this is just your personality. That you are extremely shy .

Are you this way even around your own family? Is your family shy?

My cousin married a woman who is so quiet with such a blank face we feel like she does not care for us either. We are a boisterous group. We ask her questions, we ask her to help.. She usually answers with very few words.. again with no type of expression.

When we asked our cousin, he says she is always like this around other people. So we do not treat her any differently, but it is amazing that she can sit for hours and not have much to say. We feel like WE are bring judged many times. My Aunt was saying that they have been married for over 5 years and not once have they invited her to their home for a meal. We ALL live in the same city. My Aunt invites them over, but this girl does not help or offer to bring anything.. My Aunt has to ask her to help.

I does make us all feel a little uncomfortable, but we love our cousin.

You may want to consider practicing speaking, Practice being around others or maybe getting some therapy. You probably want your children to grow up more confident. Let them know that they are important. That their ideas are interesting. That they need to be able to ask for what they want and deserve. They need to be able to speak up for their rights. They learn this from their parents.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would not take it personal. People tend to misjudge us by our body language. I used to be real shy and took some classes to help me get through that and now I feel comfortable enough to speak in front of a group.
Be a part of the solution instead of a problem.

Good luck to you.

N. Marie

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answers from San Francisco on

So sorry you are dealing with this. I hate confrontation but I'd rather have a discussion than get a text because it's so impersonal!!!!
My sister's boyfriend is really quiet. She usually gets together with our family without him. I sometimes wish it could be different but, if she's going to fly here with him and he's not going to enjoy it, I don't really see the point.
I personally think your husband's family should chill out about it. Maybe it will happen in time. I would just try to let them know you do care about them and want to be included in things.



answers from San Angelo on

I am this way. I am reserved. I am friendly, but it takes me time to warm up and get to know a person. I don't jump into conversations and talk about sex in a room full of people.

They made it impossible on me by talking about me badly even when I was standing right there. "What do you think of her? I think she is a wide load and a big one. I think she is controlling him because he missed two family bbqs to visit her and her dying relative. She must be keeping him away."

I kept going and acting normal and we both started confronting them. "I can hear you because I am standing right here. Don't invite me if it is a problem.
Act normal if it is not. In my family, we don't talk about people. Why would I want to go on vacation to a church retreat with people who call me names and criticize me for not being friendly when they are putting me dIown?" My husband told them firmly and stated if I don't want to come, I don't have to so they'd better start being nice. He also made sure they understood it was his choice to spend time with me over mean people who should be happy he finally found someone.

Personally, if I knew how horrid they were, I would have dumped my husband for someone with a loving family. Since you are married, you need him to step up and tell them they are making you feel more uncomfortable and they need to back off. I don't answer their communications. He does it all so they can't play the victim and start stuff.

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