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.