Wedding Woes

This is too vague to even begin to understand.

Dear Prudence,

I have known my brother-in-law for 15-plus years. My sister and he have two small children. I help them out with child care for date nights and trips. There is a conflict between him and me that has dredged up old issues. He would get upset by my washing dishes at their house.
I tried to ask why (it felt petty) and explained that I wanted my sister to come home to a clean house. She works really hard and is the primary caregiver in the household. I recently asked my husband to mediate a discussion so we can clear this up. My BIL says we are too different to get along: He is an introvert and I’m extroverted, we have no common ground, and I am impossible to have a conversation with. My sister just wants this to end and says she must support her husband in this matter.

The mediation felt productive, but my sister told me later that her husband was very upset with the situation. He felt attacked and like he could not express his feelings (he was given ample time and spent it bringing up grievances, like that I talked over him in a discussion about our shared political views). I have offered to stop washing dishes and try to be a more active listener. I can accept all of this crap. But he appears to make no effort to be respectful of me or change how he speaks or acts around me. I am resentful of the fact that he doesn’t see what he is doing is damaging. I do not want to go over there anymore. I find it triggering my anxiety disorder. I value my relationship with my sister and their children. I have been leaving before he arrives home. But it is getting to be unbearable to attend family get-togethers. Should I just let this go and continue to avoid him? Should I push back a bit with my sister, since it seems he is being manipulative? It is all very exhausting and feels detrimental to my mental health.

—Bad Brother-in-Law

Re: This is too vague to even begin to understand.

  • This isn’t just about the dishes. 

    Look you two don’t get along. Fine lots of relatives don’t. You don’t have to be besties but it seems like you’re all trying to force something that just is going to happen. Be respectful, be polite, and limit your contact with him. 

    If you want to do child care for your sister have her bring the kids to your house. Or take them out somewhere. Or stop doing the dishes. Communicate directly with your sister. And for the love of the gods stop talking about politics. 
    downtondivaOliveOilsMomshort+sassy
  • Image result for its not about the pasta

    Any opportunity to use this GIF.  

    Anyway, clearly this isn't about the dishes.  Either sister isn't coming clean about her husband's issues with LW or BIL isn't telling anyone WTF is wrong.  At this point, LW needs to cut their losses regarding being baby sitter to nieces/nephews. Or offer to watch them at their house.  Because there's clearly something LW is doing in sister/BIL's home that is upsetting to BIL.  Or he's just an unreasonable ass.  Who knows?  But trying to crystal ball this is affecting LW and clearly, LW feels they haven't done anything to warrant the reaction they're getting.  However LW clearly can't make it right with BIL, so it's time to change what LW is doing. 
    charlotte989875MissKittyDanger
  • This is all weird.

    1) Your husband isn't a mediator.   No one in the family can be a mediator.  There's no way your BIL is going to feel that this was productive as a result and it's only going to further any persecution complex he has.

    2) There's way more going on here.  Have you thought of oh, I don't know...talking to your sister in private about it?? 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • This is a really weird and rambling letter and even with that I feel like info is missing. 

    Regardless, it's clear that LW and BIL just do not get along. It happens. I think if LW is going to continue watching sister's kids, it needs to be at her house so there's no question about washing dishes or any other housekeeping at sister's house. At family functions, LW and BIL should just say hi and keep a polite distance beyond that as much as possible. And for heaven's sake, don't ask your husband (or any other family member) to mediate again.
    image
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    There has got to be something missing from this letter!  It is not about dishes or talking over each other over a shared political view!  Him being introverted and her extroverted can't be it either.  

    Maybe speaking with the sister privately and asking HER how this could be resolved may be helpful.  But LW should just tell sister that she will only watch the kids at her house from now on, if she continues to want to help her out.  
    short+sassy
  • I find it very telling that LW refers to respect their BIL's wishes as "crap".
    short+sassybanana468OliveOilsMomcharlotte989875
  • This is so ridiculous. Team letter writer is the problem here. A mediation? Over dishes in someone else’s home? You’re lucky he hasn’t said you can’t be in his home any more. 
    banana468OliveOilsMom
  • This is so ridiculous. Team letter writer is the problem here. A mediation? Over dishes in someone else’s home? You’re lucky he hasn’t said you can’t be in his home any more. 
    The more I read this the more I side with you.

    You're in someone's home and that person is telling you that he'd prefer you not do something. 

    Also, if the LW washes dishes like my mom, maybe it's not really helping?    My mom can sometimes pitch in and we find pools of water on the counter and crumpled wet paper towels or mis-stacked plates in the sink.   And one afternoon after Chiquito's baptism she broke two of my Riedel glasses.  

    So I'm starting to think that LW is really the fussy one and the BIL is attempting to not engage because he doesn't want to come between his wife and her sister. 

    Also, unless you're actually fearing for my safety with my spouse you have some hell of a nerve to come between the two of us.
    short+sassyOliveOilsMommrsconn23
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    This is so ridiculous. Team letter writer is the problem here. A mediation? Over dishes in someone else’s home? You’re lucky he hasn’t said you can’t be in his home any more. 
    The more I read this the more I side with you.

    You're in someone's home and that person is telling you that he'd prefer you not do something. 

    Also, if the LW washes dishes like my mom, maybe it's not really helping?    My mom can sometimes pitch in and we find pools of water on the counter and crumpled wet paper towels or mis-stacked plates in the sink.   And one afternoon after Chiquito's baptism she broke two of my Riedel glasses.  

    So I'm starting to think that LW is really the fussy one and the BIL is attempting to not engage because he doesn't want to come between his wife and her sister. 

    Also, unless you're actually fearing for my safety with my spouse you have some hell of a nerve to come between the two of us.
    Now that I think of it, wasn't there a long ago Prudie letter about ILs who only washed dishes in cold water? And that LW was basically asking Prudie's permission to never eat at the ILs house again.  

    Maybe LW only washes dishes in cold water!  LOL!
    banana468mrsconn23
  • banana468 said:
    This is so ridiculous. Team letter writer is the problem here. A mediation? Over dishes in someone else’s home? You’re lucky he hasn’t said you can’t be in his home any more. 
    The more I read this the more I side with you.

    You're in someone's home and that person is telling you that he'd prefer you not do something. 

    Also, if the LW washes dishes like my mom, maybe it's not really helping?    My mom can sometimes pitch in and we find pools of water on the counter and crumpled wet paper towels or mis-stacked plates in the sink.   And one afternoon after Chiquito's baptism she broke two of my Riedel glasses.  

    So I'm starting to think that LW is really the fussy one and the BIL is attempting to not engage because he doesn't want to come between his wife and her sister. 

    Also, unless you're actually fearing for my safety with my spouse you have some hell of a nerve to come between the two of us.
    Now that I think of it, wasn't there a long ago Prudie letter about ILs who only washed dishes in cold water? And that LW was basically asking Prudie's permission to never eat at the ILs house again.  

    Maybe LW only washes dishes in cold water!  LOL!
    Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
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    OliveOilsMom
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    This is so ridiculous. Team letter writer is the problem here. A mediation? Over dishes in someone else’s home? You’re lucky he hasn’t said you can’t be in his home any more. 
    The more I read this the more I side with you.

    You're in someone's home and that person is telling you that he'd prefer you not do something. 

    Also, if the LW washes dishes like my mom, maybe it's not really helping?    My mom can sometimes pitch in and we find pools of water on the counter and crumpled wet paper towels or mis-stacked plates in the sink.   And one afternoon after Chiquito's baptism she broke two of my Riedel glasses.  

    So I'm starting to think that LW is really the fussy one and the BIL is attempting to not engage because he doesn't want to come between his wife and her sister. 

    Also, unless you're actually fearing for my safety with my spouse you have some hell of a nerve to come between the two of us.
    Now that I think of it, wasn't there a long ago Prudie letter about ILs who only washed dishes in cold water? And that LW was basically asking Prudie's permission to never eat at the ILs house again.  

    Maybe LW only washes dishes in cold water!  LOL!
    Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
    But how did you shower? 

    I'm pretty green inclined, but I think I would have considered going with disposable plates for those months. 
    charlotte989875
  • I've got an even simpler idea...  LW - STOP babysitting for a while or if you babysit, the kiddos come to your place...  

    I'm also guessing they DO NOT share political views...  js
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    MesmrEwe said:
    I've got an even simpler idea...  LW - STOP babysitting for a while or if you babysit, the kiddos come to your place...  

    I'm also guessing they DO NOT share political views...  js
    She literally says they share political views. Not every conflict is about politics. 

  • Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
    But how did you shower? 

    I'm pretty green inclined, but I think I would have considered going with disposable plates for those months. 
    We'd stand outside of the majority of the spray and primarily just use the wet wash cloth for soap and then to wipe the soap off again.

    Sometimes we'd draw a bath with about half normal water.  Then use our microwave to heat large Tupperware containers of water and pour them in.  We could get the water at least tepid that way.

    Would have been even easier to heat water if we had a stove.  Buuuttt that was gas, too.  I dusted off my crockpot and used that a lot during this time, lol.

    Our heating was gas also, so we relied on lots of blankets and space heaters.
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    MyNameIsNotcharlotte989875OliveOilsMom

  • Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
    But how did you shower? 

    I'm pretty green inclined, but I think I would have considered going with disposable plates for those months. 
    We'd stand outside of the majority of the spray and primarily just use the wet wash cloth for soap and then to wipe the soap off again.

    Sometimes we'd draw a bath with about half normal water.  Then use our microwave to heat large Tupperware containers of water and pour them in.  We could get the water at least tepid that way.

    Would have been even easier to heat water if we had a stove.  Buuuttt that was gas, too.  I dusted off my crockpot and used that a lot during this time, lol.

    Our heating was gas also, so we relied on lots of blankets and space heaters.
    Wow, that must have been a trial!  I can't imagine not being without hot water, though I did live somewhere for a few months that did not have hot water for a shower (at least not in the bathroom I was allowed to use).  Was it during the winter as well, hence the  blankets and space heaters?

  • kerbohl said:

    Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
    But how did you shower? 

    I'm pretty green inclined, but I think I would have considered going with disposable plates for those months. 
    We'd stand outside of the majority of the spray and primarily just use the wet wash cloth for soap and then to wipe the soap off again.

    Sometimes we'd draw a bath with about half normal water.  Then use our microwave to heat large Tupperware containers of water and pour them in.  We could get the water at least tepid that way.

    Would have been even easier to heat water if we had a stove.  Buuuttt that was gas, too.  I dusted off my crockpot and used that a lot during this time, lol.

    Our heating was gas also, so we relied on lots of blankets and space heaters.
    Wow, that must have been a trial!  I can't imagine not being without hot water, though I did live somewhere for a few months that did not have hot water for a shower (at least not in the bathroom I was allowed to use).  Was it during the winter as well, hence the  blankets and space heaters?
    It was...a lot.  So many things, big and small, that were adjustments.  But it was also good lessons in perseverance, flexibility, and "thinking outside the box".  Plus focusing on what is actually important when your world unexpectedly goes so askew!

    The hurricane itself hit at the end of August '05.  We evacuated and eventually ended up in Miami.  But did not return to NOLA until the end of Nov.  So it was pretty cold weather until about March.

    The home we were renting at the time had not flooded, because it was on a little bit higher ground and was also raised over 2' off the ground.  We could see the water line had come halfway up the steps, so it was a close one!  But at least we had a place to go back to.  Most of the city still didn't have electricity either, when we returned.  You could see stars at night, when normally you can't.  But we knew from our landlady that power had been restored to our area around the beginning of Nov.

    Even coming back at the end of Nov., we were some of the early ones to return.  It was eerie!  Like a sci-fi movie where the actors wake up one morning and everyone else in town has disappeared.  Plus, here I am living in what is normally a medium-sized city.  But hardly anything is open, so I had to drive 30ish minutes to the suburbs to do even the tiniest things.  Like get gas and groceries.

    All the mail from about Sept.-Dec. was held "somewhere".  Then around Jan., you could finally start going to a central location to pick up your mail.  But mail delivery to houses didn't start happening for another few months. 
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  • kerbohl said:

    Hurricane Katrina flooded the gas lines in parts of NOLA.  Where I lived, they were down for 9 months, though I didn't return for the first 3 months.  My hot water heater was gas.  For 6 months, I had no hot water.

    I hand washed my dishes with one of those dishwashing wands that you can fill with detergent.  When I was doing dishes, I'd run just water through my coffee maker to get it hot and would then "dip" the wand into the coffee carafe.  Good times, good times! Lol.
    But how did you shower? 

    I'm pretty green inclined, but I think I would have considered going with disposable plates for those months. 
    We'd stand outside of the majority of the spray and primarily just use the wet wash cloth for soap and then to wipe the soap off again.

    Sometimes we'd draw a bath with about half normal water.  Then use our microwave to heat large Tupperware containers of water and pour them in.  We could get the water at least tepid that way.

    Would have been even easier to heat water if we had a stove.  Buuuttt that was gas, too.  I dusted off my crockpot and used that a lot during this time, lol.

    Our heating was gas also, so we relied on lots of blankets and space heaters.
    Wow, that must have been a trial!  I can't imagine not being without hot water, though I did live somewhere for a few months that did not have hot water for a shower (at least not in the bathroom I was allowed to use).  Was it during the winter as well, hence the  blankets and space heaters?
    It was...a lot.  So many things, big and small, that were adjustments.  But it was also good lessons in perseverance, flexibility, and "thinking outside the box".  Plus focusing on what is actually important when your world unexpectedly goes so askew!

    The hurricane itself hit at the end of August '05.  We evacuated and eventually ended up in Miami.  But did not return to NOLA until the end of Nov.  So it was pretty cold weather until about March.

    The home we were renting at the time had not flooded, because it was on a little bit higher ground and was also raised over 2' off the ground.  We could see the water line had come halfway up the steps, so it was a close one!  But at least we had a place to go back to.  Most of the city still didn't have electricity either, when we returned.  You could see stars at night, when normally you can't.  But we knew from our landlady that power had been restored to our area around the beginning of Nov.

    Even coming back at the end of Nov., we were some of the early ones to return.  It was eerie!  Like a sci-fi movie where the actors wake up one morning and everyone else in town has disappeared.  Plus, here I am living in what is normally a medium-sized city.  But hardly anything is open, so I had to drive 30ish minutes to the suburbs to do even the tiniest things.  Like get gas and groceries.

    All the mail from about Sept.-Dec. was held "somewhere".  Then around Jan., you could finally start going to a central location to pick up your mail.  But mail delivery to houses didn't start happening for another few months. 
    This makes me think of the quarantined area in China - Wu han? - I've seen photos, it's crazy.
    Sorry, this one is from Shanghai
    https://www.boredpanda.com/coronavirus-outbreak-empty-shanghai-streets-photos-nicole-chan/
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