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Old 03-07-2010, 02:09 AM
Location: Wherever I want to be... ;)
2,539 posts, read 8,832,088 times
Reputation: 1956


This is mostly just me venting. You all have been warned.

My husband and I are young, in our mid-twenties, and my husband has one brother 15 years his senior. We own a web development business and, although we aren't exactly "rolling" in money, we have enough at the moment to pay our bills and live a simple, albeit comfortable, life. We share one reliable "hand me down" car between the two of us, cook every meal at home, and basically feel thankful that we're able to get by and enjoy our little life.

My mother and father in law own a retail business and, in exchange for my husband's technical, point-of-sale, advertising and website support, give him a very modest salary (can we emphasize the modest?). This money doesn't even cover 2/3 our rent, but if he were to be billing them for the work at the standard rate it would (most months) be 4x the amount we're getting paid. The payroll write-off is good for our in-laws, and the money amount although small is a nice little bit of security because we get paid monthly and we "know that it is coming" where the rest of the money we make is paid through invoices from our clients that often get paid late, etc.

My brother in law and sister in law work at the aforementioned business. They are the ones that are slated to "take over" the business when my mother and father in law pass away. They DO NOT, however, own the business--and are "managers" at the moment.

He and his brother couldn't be more different--my husband is very quiet, frugal, keeps to himself and extraordinarily driven to succeed. They are much different than we are--they have three cars between the two of them; one being a brand-new Mercedes SUV that cost $60k. They take a great deal of vacation days from their work and often don't inform my MIL and FIL until the very last minute of their plans. They are VERY social, go out and drink/get drunk pretty much every weekend (and pawn off their two kids on some babysitter), are always buying expensive clothing/furniture/etc. Whatever, it's their life. They get paid a decent salary from my in-law's business, though they still live WELL above their means. They are in their late 30s/early 40s.

My brother in law pretty much hates my husband for no apparent reason. It's really, really sad. According to my mother in law, ever since my husband was born (when my BIL was 15) he never could get used to having a sibling. Thus, as long as any of us can remember he has kind of "had it out for him." He absolutely hates the fact that my husband gets this meager (but very nice for us, considering our simple life) salary from my MIL and FIL's business. He wishes to eradicate us completely from the business' work and get one of "his friends" to do the work--but he even doesn't own the business!! The problem is that the ONLY reason he wants to do this is because he just...hates my husband!! At this point we've offered to walk away from getting this money (as nice as it is) because of all the drama this has caused us. He calls my husband "unemployed" because he doesn't work for a company and owns his own business. He tells his legions of friends that we are apparently "mooching off of the retail business" and such...I don't even know why--he can SEE our tax returns if he'd like!!! It breaks my heart because my husband is the most mild mannered person on earth and doesn't try to pass judgment on anyone yet his idiot of a brother will say anything at all to try to get cut us down.

Oh--and here's the kicker--it was recently determined that my BIL has been "taking without authorization from my MIL and FIL" large amounts of cash from the business (in excess of several thousands a month for the past year or so) to fuel his lifestyle.

The thing that makes us the most angry is how he is causing so much stress to my elderly MIL and FIL over this. They are just heartbroken over how he can't seem to even be nice to my husband. My FIL has Parkinson's and the symptoms of his disease are aggravated by stress--this doesn't help. He whines to them about how they "favor" my husband and that he's their "golden child" and such. He won't even say these things to my husband's face. It hurts my in-laws so, so much that this happens yet my BIL just doesn't care. I feel like shaking him and yelling "you're 40 years old! Grow up!!" He whines to them also that since he doesn't "own the business" yet that they are ruining his "dream life." Just recently he threatened to "quit" if he they didn't stop paying my husband--WTF??!

It also doesn't help that my SIL (BIL's wife) is the b*tch queen of the universe and fuels the fire for her personal enjoyment, I think. She micromanages my MIL's spending of her personal money (because she pays their bills) and will cut down my BIL to my MIL (classy--huh?). She's also an abusive, neglectful mother to her two small children... but that's another whole story.

Anyhow, it's not the money--it really isn't. We don't care about the money. My MIL insists that we still get paid the amount because of the work we do for such a good rate but at this point we don't even want it. But beyond that it will always hurt how he "has it out" for my husband when there's absolutely no reason for it.

It just makes me sad, that's all. It's been dragging on my mind for weeks now. I had to get it out. I've never met a more malicious, hateful person than my BIL--I just wish I could pretend he doesn't exist, honestly. Do I have a right to be mad? We just want to be LEFT ALONE! I just get sooooo incredibly mad!!!

How can I cope will all this? I just mull it over again and again and again and get more angry every time I think about it. I need to learn how to not let it bother me. I just feel so hurt and worn out. All we want is to succeed at our little simple happy life... it doesn't help that my depression has been at its worst recently.

If you actually read through this all, you're a saint--really.

ADDENDUM: I wanted to say that some of you may read this and say "wow, for saying you're husband isn't judgmental you're sure making a lot of judgments about your BIL!!!"
Note, I said that my husband is not judgmental. Me, on the other hand, is another story. Even with all this BS, he would read this and tell me to 'be nice' LOL

Last edited by thepinksquid; 03-07-2010 at 03:26 AM..
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:13 AM
Location: New York, NY
1,629 posts, read 2,366,856 times
Reputation: 2411
There's not that much you can really do. You husband would have to decide to walk away or your inlaws would have to fire the pri**. I think they should fire the douchebag, pay your husbad what he's actually worth and simply hire a new manager. Suggest these things and see how he feels about it.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:22 AM
Location: Wherever I want to be... ;)
2,539 posts, read 8,832,088 times
Reputation: 1956
Originally Posted by Ticatica View Post
There's not that much you can really do. You husband would have to decide to walk away or your inlaws would have to fire the pri**. I think they should fire the douchebag, pay your husbad what he's actually worth and simply hire a new manager. Suggest these things and see how he feels about it.
Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it, seriously.

Honestly my in-laws are almost at that point. It sucks because he's their son but, still, he just doesn't understand. It's really sad.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:28 AM
Location: So Cal
40,425 posts, read 39,959,328 times
Reputation: 41904
Is this post for real?????????
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:29 AM
Location: Wherever I want to be... ;)
2,539 posts, read 8,832,088 times
Reputation: 1956
Originally Posted by Chowhound View Post
Is this post for real?????????
Unfortunately, it 100% is.

Everyone I've told is just dumbfounded by this.

Why, did the extreme crappiness of the situation make it seem like trolling? LOL
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:43 AM
Location: Wherever I want to be... ;)
2,539 posts, read 8,832,088 times
Reputation: 1956
Oh oh oh! I forgot one more thing!

I didn't clarify that my husband's work is done remotely. We live in two different states. Before we moved to where we live now, the business was having some issues with bookkeeping and they desperately needed a new cash register system (which we have experience with installations of). Our lease was up in the current place were living and we were planning on moving out to California for me to attend graduate school at that time.

We offered, my husband and I, to POSTPONE moving and me going to grad school out here to help the business out for a few months and work there. This was last April/May. I'm proficient at financial things, so I would help with that, while he could finish up the technical problems they were having as well as set them up with a new point-of-sale system. I offered to work--get this--FOR FREE and fix their books! We were going to live with my in-laws for free and my husband would get his small salary and we'd save up all the $$$ from that.

When this was presented to my BIL and SIL they said that it was just us "nosing in on the business" and that they "didn't need our help." My MIL still wanted us to stay, but we decided it was in our best interest (and sanity) not to. So we moved and my husband was able to install the cash register system mostly remotely, with the rest of the work being done during a trip this past Thanksgiving.

Now...my SIL is trying to convince my MIL to let her mother work there because they are "soo swamped with the books" and that they "have no help!"



Also, I imagine some of you reading this must be thinking that this *something* not adding up that is making my BIL act this way. But, sadly enough, I really don't have any reason he could be doing this. I wish I could say that we've done something to p*ss him off--but my husband remembers his brother being nasty to him from the beginning of his life, it's just manifested itself in different ways throughout the years. Over time it has just gotten worse, I guess. We joke that we feel like we're back in high school and we're the nerds being harassed by the popular kids or something... heh.

We may be quiet and a bit eccentric, but we're nice people. Really. Just because we don't drink and have social difficulties at times doesn't make us unworthy of being treated as human beings, if that's what he hates so much about us.

I have much younger half siblings that live across the world from me that I've only met a few times in my life yet I care about them immensely. As a much older sibling myself, I couldn't imagine doing the things my BIL does to my husband. Not in a million years.

Last edited by thepinksquid; 03-07-2010 at 04:29 AM..
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:09 AM
25,953 posts, read 26,758,083 times
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Belive it or not I do believe your story and it's not the worst thing I've ever seen. My family owned a business and we all worked together. The dynamics of my family are siblings who are close in age and those 10 20 30 years apart. They come from diffferent families basically and some we haven't even met. While we all at one time tried to work together it just would not work. One by one we dropped away and eventually we all ended up working for different competing firms. Yes, holidays were quite interesting.

I was paid well and had many perks working for the family, but the emotional and physical toll it took on me was just not worth it and I walked away from all of it just to keep my sanity. I evenutally did well on my own. I can only say I seriously doubt your MIL or FIL will run to the defense of either side and will continue as they have and not rock the boat either way, so you need to simply make the decision if your involvement in this retail company is worth the aggrivation and either put up with it or move on. As far as the anomosity between family members that has already been established for years and it will not change. It's there, like it or not, and it is another thing you either have to accept or disregard. Trying to change that would be like trying to fill up the Grand Canyon one brick at a time.
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:34 AM
Location: Corydon, IN
3,684 posts, read 4,282,894 times
Reputation: 7524
All of your post asks one simple question, the title question: How can a relative be so malicious?

The answer is that there never really will BE an answer. Some people are simply the way they are and there's no understanding it, no reasoning with it and only one way around it -- namely, to walk away from it.

I wish that wasn't the case; I wish I had some kind of suggestion for you on how to cope with this, or some formula for coming to grips with it, fathoming how and why things are this way. Sadly, I do not because there IS no formula.

Even if you understood whichever psychology is behind your BIL's behaviour, would you be able to CHANGE it? No. This person IS who he IS, period. People always have some idealistic notion that if they could just grasp some hidden nuance, then spell it out for the wrong-doer, that person would suddenly have an epiphany, realize their behaviour is crazy and unjust. I can fully understand your desire to grab these people, to shake them as though you'll jar something loose in their heads which causes them to simply knock off the malicious behaviour.

But it won't happen. If you want to understand it then simply look at their behaviour in other areas of life: How they behave with their children, how they behave financially, how they interact with one another, how the wife bad-mouths her husband to her own MIL, etc, etc.

It's simply who these people ARE. Some people are simply not good with others, whether it's certain others or all others.

It's not my place to say what you should do but I've learned through experience with my own situations that sometimes all you CAN do is to distance yourself from the controversy in any way possible while maintaining a good relationship with the parents/in-laws as best you may.

These old folks aren't really in a position anymore to take a firm hand with the situation (whatever the cause may be -- it's easy to say it's for no reason but unless you can fly back to your husband's childhood years you'll never really know what went on), and they're NOT going to take a stance to show favor or support to one child over the other, not anymore. They'll be gone one day and your husband WILL be out of the business, so it's really just a delay.

Concentrate on your grad school or your job, whichever, same for your husband, and make sure you don't need that money when the time comes.
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:54 AM
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,317,693 times
Reputation: 8909
I agree with Urban, there isn't much you can do about their behavior. Pulling away from it seems to be the only answer. I respect that your husband wants to be there for his parents, but they have to put BIL and SIL in their place. As long as they allow them to do what they are doing, they are going continue doing it. Obviously, they are aware of what BIL is doing. But, as an elderly people (and as parents who probably are being guilted and manipulated with his tantrums), they are probably too intimidated to do anything about it.

If it were up to me, I'd yank him out of the equation and will the business to your husband. But God knows the poop-storm that would bring upon your hubby and the remaining parent.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:25 AM
4,379 posts, read 4,472,589 times
Reputation: 1612
Sometimes family members can be our worst enemies.

I guess in life, trust can always be betrayed, no matter how close the person is to us. I think from now on, simply disassociate with the person.
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