Dealing with people you really can't stand?

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Joined: 16 Mar 2008
Age: 43
Gender: Female
Posts: 275
Location: Scotland

06 Jan 2009, 5:33 am

I think this is going to end up as part asking for advice, and part me having a bit of a rant to let off steam!!

My issue is this.

I can't stand my brother-in-law. Absolutely can't bare him. It was never that much of an issue because he lived 60-odd miles away from me and my partner, but now, he has moved to the same place as we live, which means seeing him way more often.

As far as I am concerned he is a moocher; he only seems to get in touch when he wants something. My partner thinks I am being overly sensitive, and it's causing us to fall-out. :(

I also can't stand the way he smells (he wears so much of that cheap body spray stuff I can smell 'him' on my settee, I don't like that). When he comes to our house he basically lies on the settee in silence, helps himself to the tv remote to change channels, or just helps himself to whatever's in the fridge.

I feel like he has no idea of personal boundaries, we also ALWAYS have to tell him to leave he never goes of his own accord. I think part of the problem is that he lived with us for a month when he came to this town, he has his own place now but he's not even so much as invited us inside....


I can't fully quantify the reasons I dislike him, but it's the way it's making me feel...when he phones asking to come down, I just seem to break down. I just want to leave the house until he is gone or hide away, but my partner thinks this is too anti-social. I don't care if it is or not why should I be civil to someone I can't stand?

It's not as if my partner overly likes him either, but he's her younger brother so I think she feels some sort of obligation to him.

He wanted to come down out-of-the-blue last night, and I just went into this semi-catatonic misery. Couldn't look at my partner, I felt a little betrayed that she let him come down, and worse still I felt she put me on the spot when she turned to me and asked me if it was okay for him to come down while he was on the phone....I hate him but have no idea how to stop him coming near me....I do not know if this is because of AS communication issues or just that I seem to have no self-esteem or willpower for anything left in me.

To be honest, I want to run away from it all.

I feel so stupid in that I am perhaps over-reacting, it's not as is he's Hilter or anything, but here I am 24-hours after he called (and despite my partner later texting him to say not to come down) I feel almost ill this morning, because I know he will be coming down on Thursday instead and so that's the timebomb ticking, I already have butterflies in my tummy and I feel incredibly depressed.

I don't feel I can really talk to my partner because:

A: He's her brother,
B: She has MS, which has gotten much worse since he came to live here. I know stress can exacerbate it and I know the tension between me and her brother is making this bad for her too, if I could just 'switch off' how I feel about him I would but I can't.

I don't know what to do. I feel so miserable and sad about this, I just wish he would go away......


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Joined: 1 Dec 2008
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,317

06 Jan 2009, 5:47 am

You need to work it out with her. Set boundaries. He can come down to visit on X occasions while you are planning to be there and Y occasions when you are gone (presumably Y would be more than X). You agree to stop stressing her out by throwing fits and making her feel bad for wanting to keep in touch with her brother. And both of you can brainstorm ways to make the visits pleasant, such as mentioning the smell issue, talking about house etiquette, and how long is acceptable to stay. Then when he comes by, you lay out the 'house rules' and tell him that is what you expect from him. And in return he can come to visit and you will be nicer. Otherwise, he doesn't need to visit the house. Your house, your rules. But as a host... you are socially expected to act presentable for your guests, regardless of whether you like him or not.