How do you deal with being derided behind your back

So I have two brothers, and both are married. I have, in the last few years come to the realization that one of their wives constantly derides me behind my back and I have pulled back and stopped socializing with her because of it (the feeling of subtle contempt I got from her also became noticeable). Talking to the other brother’s wife recently confirmed this (she filled me in on how I was being derided, what was said, etc).

The wife that does this is usually into it with someone, and it is always the other person’s fault according to her. So it isn’t like she is a saint to everyone except me.

I guess it hurts, because I’m sure its been going on for a lot longer than the 2-ish years I’ve been aware of it. And it hurts because I feel like nobody said/did anything about it.

It hurts too because when my brother (the one who is married to her) would say mean things I would stand up for her, and now I realize she was doing the same thing to me once I left the room.

I wish I had better social skills sometimes so I could avoid these situations. Yay internet.

I wish I had better social skills sometimes so I could avoid these situations. Yay internet.

It isn’t your social skills it’s her being an ass for some reason. Personally I’d bring this up with her husband (your bro) and find out if it’s true. If it is I’d thank him for putting a stop to it (sarcastically) and tell him that I hope they both have good lives and goodbye.

But that’s me and I don’t have any friends

Is there some issue between you and your brother (and/or his wife) that you’d do well to address with them directly? If not, I’d suggest you drop it and try not to listen to any more secondhand information about what someone’s said about you or anyone else.

I think your best defense is just not listening to any kind of gossip, not even when it’s about you. It’s probably a good idea for you to limit your social contact with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, but other than that, I’d suggest you just let it go.

You said she does this to everyone, right? So since you’re not her only target, she’s probably not all that popular in your family. She sounds like a bitch, and those who know her probably would take your side over her’s.

It all depends, I guess. Sometimes it hurts, depending on who it is. Most of the time I shrug it off, unless it’s someone I care about. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t be upset with the above situation. Quite the contrary. However, I’d be more upset with how others reacted. Who does she say this to? Do they agree, or do they defend you? As you pointed out, your other sister-in-law is the one who told you – I’m guessing she’s not too found of this woman either.

If you feel you must do something about it, you could talk to your brother, although I would be very careful how you address it.

My in-laws have the decency to deride me in front of my face, usually talking to my wife as if I were not there at all.

Since you’re looking for advice, I’ll move this from MPSIMS to our advice forum, IMHO.

I’m sure it happens to everyone at one time or another. I think all you can do is simply to be a good person to all and be confident your actions will speak for themselves.

The fact that she’s always in conflict with someone is a clear sign that you sholdn’t take any of this personally. And I suspect that no one did anything about it because it’s common knowledge among the rest of your family that she’s like this, and no one takes her seriously.

I’d make sure that your brother doesn’t have a problem with you but otherwise, I would just ignore it. Sounds like she’s not worth your time.

Don’t let anyone else live rent-free in your head.

Especially if they’re jerks.

I’d bet that no one says anything to her because they all know she’s a bitch and it’s pointless. They probably just ignore her.

I’d guess that they didn’t say anything to you because, really, what’s the point?

Your brother is married to the woman. He’s going to take her side over yours, most likely, even if he knows she’s wrong. Please note that it’s one thing for him to say mean things about her - and something else entirely for YOU to do so. If YOU start bitching about her, he’s probably going to get defensive.

So your best bet is to simply ignore her like everyone else does. Avoid her when possible, to limit your stress.

As far as feeling hurt about it - nothing wrong with that. It hurts when people treat us badly, especially someone that we trust or whom we’ve treated well.

You just need to decide whether to wallow in it, or get over it and move on.

Aim blindly over my shoulder.

There might not be anything you can do in this case… But…

Morally, “Pay It Forward.” The next time you’re in a group, and someone derides someone else who isn’t present, try to raise their consciousness. “How would you feel?” Mention your situation: “My SIL does this all the time…” Make it clear that you don’t want to participate in it, for moral reasons. Stop the poison when it would spread.

Try to be the kind of person that no reasonable person would want to deride.

And, of course, always remember, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” (Wilde.)

Echoing lieu, Tom, Qadgop and others. All good advice. Also, not to bring you down or anything, but you’d probably be horrified to know how many people talk negatively about you behind your back, even by making up lies to do so. The more people you know, the more will talk about you. They do it for a lot of reasons, but insecurity is usually a big culprit. The best thing you can do is avoid these people at all costs and work on letting it go. There’s nothing you can do to stop these people; they will talk and from their mouths will spew poison and lies. All you can do is love yourself and ignore those who would bring you down.

I find this especially difficult. Do you have any tips?

Invoice the bitch.

For a serious answer, surround yourself with positive people. If your problem is crippling or you don’t have/can’t make friends, seek therapy. Resilience and self-esteem are not innate traits, they are learned behaviors. If you don’t have either one, you’ll be crushed when an acquaintance thinks or speaks poorly of you. When you have both, you can write them off easily. Because you know it’s THEIR problem, not yours, and you’ve internalized that.

I think a big part of it is just realizing that a lot of what I considered to be a relationship with my in law was just an illusion on my part. So I need to grieve about that for a while, accept that I really don’t know where I stand with people all the time, and approach relationships with that in mind.

It hurts because she has done some nice things for me in the past (and vice versa obviously) and part of me wants to go back to that, but I know that was in part an illusion and the substance I thought was there probably wasn’t.

It’s quite possible she was just doing nice things for you to impress your brother. Maybe she used to like you and changed her mind. Or perhaps she is simply this two-faced with everybody. Whatever the reason, there’s nothing you can do to make her like you now.

It sounds like you’ve got a good gameplan for moving forward. Take care of #1, and you’ll be ok. =) There are billions of people on the planet and we meet thousands of people in our lifetimes. It would be frankly astonishing if every one of them liked you.

I know exactly what you mean, I’ve felt the same way before: when you suddenly realise that your experience of your relationship with someone in no way matches their relationship experience. It really does take a little grieving, you’re right. No wallowing mind, but you have lost a relationship that you valued, being sad is true. It’s also exactly that which makes *you *a good person. You care, you are kind. Don’t change.

This is such good advice. My SO did this recently, and I cannot tell you how proud it made me. We were with a bunch of friends, and they were joking about another friend. It wasn’t perhaps meant to be nasty, but it wasn’t very nice. My SO said: “You know, he doesn’t know that you say these things about him. I’d really rather not hear you talk like this.” I think everyone quite instantly realised how nasty it really was what they had been doing.

I’m not quite so accomodating of abusive people, myself.

I would cut her out of my life completely. And if I couldn’t do that without cutting out my brother, I’d cut him off too, and tell him why. Their offended little feelings would be a rotten stump and my face would be an axe.

If you had a week to live, would you spend it with a stranger who cared or a relative who uses your feelings as a scratching post? Silence enables it, accepting things feeds it, shuck it and absorb yourself in something self-affirming, work out, take a trip, renovate your home. And if their next communication doesn’t start with an acknowledgement of truth, let them be somebody else’s family.

Either make your own world or settle for what other people leave you. JMO.