I am really struggling with empathy for my ill sister-in-law and her parents. I would very much appreciate any advice from caregivers on how I can change my thinking - any book recommendations, groups, mantras that you’ve found useful or that you wish extended family who doesn’t live the reality of mental illness daily would do/read. With each negative, unkind, boundary stomping or stressful interaction I find myself growing more resentful and just wanting to completely cut ties with my inlaws. Logically I know she is sick and her actions are outside of her control, but I can’t get my feelings to match. I have paused all contact with her and my in-laws for the remainder of my pregnancy and will continue it through my postpartum period for my own well-being. However, I don’t think that is a fair or kind long-term solution. I’m hoping during this “quiet” time so can work on myself and my empathy and get to a better place so at least my in-laws can be part of my baby’s life
To be honest, this is partly an issue from my own family. I grew up with a parent that suffered from serious depression, was frequently verbally abusive for many years, and refused to address it for 14 years. It left scars for me and my siblings that followed us into adulthood in different ways. I am deadset against my child ever being exposed to someone with untreated mental illness, especially someone who is not an immediate family member and with whom I have no relationship.
As background, I never knew her before she was ill and my interactions with her over the last 9 years have either been non-existent or negative despite my best efforts. When the interactions became negative I stopped interacting beyond basic pleasantries and small talks about topics that were safe (her dog, the beach, the weather, etc.). She has been very cruel/verbally abusive to her parents and her other sister-in-law. Things like yelling that God made SIL barren on purpose because she’s too awful to have kids while poor SIL was unsuccessfully undergoing fertility treatment. This was completely unprompted, as are most of her abusive outbursts. For the last 2 years the voices are telling her that I am laughing at her, think she’s fat, etc.
Plus as I’ve mentioned on another thread, her behavior and that of her parents have been very stressful and unreasonable during an already difficult pregnancy.
Thank you in advance.