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Cousin's girlfriend is turning my family against me

  • 03-04-2020 1:52pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    My cousin has a girlfriend, (lets call her Jane) and in the past 2 or so years she's become VERY close with my family. She comes everywhere with us, she even came to the Mother's Day dinner I organised for our mothers, even though she hadn't been invited. Not through malice or anything, it's just a thing we do as a family every year. She is also in our family Whatsapp group.

    The problem is, Jane hates me. I am very well liked within my family and I'm pretty sure she can't stand it. If I make a joke and my cousins laugh, she sits there with a face on her. She ignores me when I speak to her. She once elbowed me in the side when I was standing at the bar next to her. I didn't know what to do so I said nothing, because I felt she wanted me to make a scene. But I was fuming.

    She has flat out made up lies about me in front of me. We went on a Hen's holiday and I went home early one of the nights. She told people that I "went down a laneway with some man and rode him". When I got annoyed and said this never happened she smirked.

    She is now best friends with two of my cousins. One is the sister of her boyfriend, the other is my cousin, who I used to be very close to but never see anymore, because she spends all her time with Jane. They go out together, go for coffee, call round to each other, and even go on holidays together.

    I've tried so hard to resolve this. I thought if I was nice to her it would help, but when I'm nice to her she looks me up and down. So far all that's worked has been to ignore her completely, at which point she tries to talk to me, but honestly I cannot deal with that level of toxic drama. I am a grown woman and I really don't need it.

    My cousin who is her best friend, whenever she sees me, says I need to "sort out" my issue with Jane. Every time I say "I honestly have no issue!" she looks unconvinced. In the past she told me that Jane told her she has tried her hardest with me and I never give her a chance. I told my cousin this is completely untrue but again, she seems to be siding with Jane. The frustration makes me want to scream.

    I can say, hand on heart, that I am not a rude person, and I would never be intentionally treat someone badly. It hurts that my family know this but seem to believe Jane.

    The only person who sees through her is my sister, who is feeling the same way as me. I no longer get invited to places and I'm pretty sure it's down to Jane. I've basically been pushed out of my family.

    I've come to the end of this post and I'm crying with frustration. It's been horrible and I don't know how to resolve it. I feel like I've lost my family. We used to be so close.

    Does anyone have advice on how to deal with a situation like this?

    Just some backstory on Jane: She comes from a family with one brother who she does not get on with. She has a very tense home life and has said she feels like she can never be herself at home and she hates it. I think this is why she has leeched onto my family.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 461 ✭✭Pistachio19


    Why do you need to feel so included in your cousins lives? Have you friends outside of this circle? If so steer clear of the cousins and concentrate on your sister and friends. That way you don't have to have anything to do with Jane at all. If your cousins are stupid enough to fall for Janes toxic behaviour then let them off. They may see through her eventually, they may not - either way you don't have to care if you have minimal contact with them all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,018 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken


    Ignore this woman completely.
    I'm guessing she's an insecure sad human who derives pleasure and a boost to her low self esteem by knocking you down.

    She's truly not worth bothering with and I'd agree with other post, move on from these cousins. There are other people out there to be friends with.
    By all means be friendly towards your cousins if you wish but don't interact with this Jane.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,088 ✭✭✭aaakev


    Was reading that thinking my sister could be Jane....


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭Tork


    Your cousins aren't going to rock the boat for one simple reason. Jane is your cousin's girlfriend and a possible future in-law for them. Maybe some of the family aren't as keen on Jane as you think they are. There might even be some who've seen through her. The thing is, nobody is going to rock the boat. It isn't in their interests to fall out with Jane or cause a rift between her/your cousin and the rest of them. If your cousin was placed in a position where he had to choose between Jane and the family, Jane would win. Every time.

    If your cousins are believing Jane over you, there is absolutely nothing you can say or do to change their minds. It's the equivalent of trying to convince a die-hard Donald Trump supporter that their orange golden boy isn't the greatest president the USA has ever had. If your cousin tries to raise the subject with you again, simply shrug your shoulders and tell her to believe whatever she wants to and walk away. Jane has well and truly manipulated her. Unless she manages to work out for herself what sort of person Jane actually is, consider her a lost cause. Much as you'd like to be able to do it, you can't control how other people think or act.

    The advice given by the others here is spot on. Be civil to your cousins who've drunk the Jane Kool Aid but stop trying to seek out their friendship. It isn't going to happen. By all means, keep in touch with your aunt and uncle and other family members but accept that your relationship will be different with them. It isn't going to be as tight but you don't have to cut contact or fall out. I think keeping the lines of communication open is important but you need to distance yourself from them. I hope you have other people in your life apart from your cousins. You seem to have been so tight with them, it makes me wonder did you neglect cultivating friendships outside of the family?


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,457 ✭✭✭✭Kylta


    Maybe you were to reliant on your relationship with your cousin's for too long, and Jane has now disrupted the status quo.
    After all cousin's are only friends with blood ties and though cousin's are clingy with each other when their younger most drift apart from family, branch out and find other friends ( 'all my cousins and my children's cousin's only meet up for family functions and such, and we all live within very close proximity to each other. That is not to say we don't look out for each other, ). Maybe you need to branch out socialise more outside the extended family. In regards to Jane I'd say make her absolutely irrelevant in your life just turn her into an non-entity. Remove her our yourself all social events, ( there is no point in been friends with somebody who you can't trust and tells lies about you ).
    if unfortunately you have to meet up for family functions like wedding/funerals etc. Stay in the company of your own immediate family. Besides if you really want to get in touch with your aunties or uncles use the phone. Its good you got this issue of your off your chest and hopefully some of the advice you got will help overcome your issue. Try not to let this issue personally burn you out. When we're upset we rarely take everything in, so I suggest that if possible you might re-read all the posts you received.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 61 ✭✭Cath54


    Unfortunately there are toxic people like this out there and when they get into your family, things are never quite the same again. They are poisonous to some and totally charming to others, they divide and conquer.
    I think other posters are correct when they say let them off... hard as it is. You won't win this one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 211 ✭✭smokie72


    Sounds like a text book narcissist. Was in a work situation years ago where one didn't like me for no reason. Would manipulate people against me. Very insecure, jealous people with low self esteem. Life is too short to deal with these negative people. You never win as these narcissists get a kick out of putting people down. Others in your family probably have guessed it by now but don't want to get involved. I be avoiding as much contact as I can with your cousins if I were you. Don't be surprised in a few years they come back to you when Jane shows her true colours.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hi OP,

    I wanted to post because I went through something similar a few years ago. Sorry for the length of this!

    First off, it's an absolutely awful experience. The anger came flooding back to me as I read your post. It's more complicated as well because this is your family.

    Jane is so toxic and you're left so confused because you've done nothing wrong. It really boils down to the fact that this is all about her - her low self esteem and insecurities. She subconsciously sees you as a threat and is jealous of you. Have a read up about narcissists and female sociopaths.

    The only thing you can do is walk away from her and not engage with her craziness. You'll never win because there are no depths that she won't sink to to cause drama.

    Something similar happened me but not with family. When I met my now husband 10 years ago there was a girl in his friendship group who was dating his best friend. They were a big close group of guys and girls. A lovely bunch of people I thought and initially things were good, all very friendly.

    Well as time went on I realised that all these lovely guys and girls were slowly turning against me. I was so confused and hurt. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and totally blamed myself. It so nearly led to us breaking up.

    Eventually it all came out over a few months that this toxic girl was making up awful lies and stories about me. Turning everyone against me. I was so angry for so long and so hurt. I couldn't believe that people bought the things she was saying about m. But that in itself was toxic for me.

    It took time and alot of pain but I eventually realised that the people she turned against me just weren't worth it. I distanced myself from her but continued to be friendly to the friends I had no issue with. I didn't stoop to her level because I think that's what she wanted. She wanted to start drama and become a victim.

    Instead I got on with my life. It was so hard but eventually I cared less and less. Do you know what, a few years later now and most of those friends are sick of her crap and have all seen through her. I've been to all of their weddings now and she's the one who has glaringly obviously not bee invited. She has treated so many people badly now. She's burnt alot of bridges. I'm so glad I was able to walk away with my head held high. Her chickens have come home to roost and I wasn't involved in any of it.

    Trust me when I say that people like her can only keep up the 'act' for so long. If you don't engage with her drama (and I mean really don't engage) then she'll eventually move onto another target (after trying to press ALL your buttons). She has an intrinsic desire for drama and destructive behaviour. It may take a few years but most people will eventually see through her. By then, you'll have moved on and be living a much happier life without her in it.

    Also, that doesn't mean you have to cut anyone else but her out of your life but you may need to distance yourself from the people she is closest to. She will have poisoned them with lies about you. But keep the communication channels open. They may or may not come back around to you but you'll always know that you were always right and fair towards them.

    Try to take this time for you. Reflect on what good relationships you have and what makes you happy. If needed, look at developing new friendships outside of the family.

    Take care. It's an awful situation to be in. X


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hi, OP here. Thank you for your responses.

    I know some asked if I have friends outside of my cousins. I do have a good circle of friends, my cousins aren't my only friend group. But we are very close, and it pains me that someone has come along and taken that away from me.

    In relation to taking a step back from my cousins. I actually haven't been bothering with them as much anymore. Partly because I've been focusing on my own friends, partly because they don't invite me to places as much anymore anyway. I've tried to get on with things but deep down it really hurts and I wish I could fix it.

    I know people have advised to ignore her and walk away from the situation but then it really feels like she's won and gotten her way, you know?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,394 ✭✭✭ManOfMystery


    I know people have advised to ignore her and walk away from the situation but then it really feels like she's won and gotten her way, you know?

    That's one perspective.

    Her goal is clearly to wind you up, to annoy you, to ridicule you, and so on. If you remove yourself from the situation and no longer let her interfere in any way whatsoever with your life or your general happiness, then No - she hasn't won, as she won't have got what she wanted.

    I get the urge to stand your ground and the dream of a situation where she apologises or everyone suddenly realises what she's really like. I've been in similar scenarios in the past and always longed for that perfect outcome, but life is unfair - it rarely happens and I learnt the hard way to walk away. She's clearly crafty, but her behaviour is also totally irrational so you're never going to get a rational outcome from her.

    It's highly unlikely such a toxic person is only nasty to you. Once you're no longer in her sights, she'll move on to another target, and maybe another after that, and eventually people will cotton on to what she's really like. You have to take the higher ground for now and play the long game. And whilst it would be nice to maintain some semblance of a relationship with your cousins, if their behaviour and opinion towards you can be swayed so easily then maybe they weren't as invested in things as you were anyway - if I was in their shoes I'd be making up my own mind, not letting some blow-in influence me.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭Tork


    I get the urge to stand your ground and the dream of a situation where she apologises or everyone suddenly realises what she's really like. I've been in similar scenarios in the past and always longed for that perfect outcome, but life is unfair - it rarely happens and I learnt the hard way to walk away. She's clearly crafty, but her behaviour is also totally irrational so you're never going to get a rational outcome from her.

    This is so very true. I think just about everyone here can relate to what you're going through to some extent. It doesn't have to be a "Jane" scenario. Being accused of something you didn't do or not being listened to also bring up feelings like this. Those bring out very strong emotions in people so it's understandable that you'd love to see justice served.

    The poster above hit the nail on the head when he said there will never be a "gotcha" moment. If anyone in that family is to figure out what Jane is like, it will happen in the same way that she reeled them in. Gradually... It is highly unlikely that she'll ever admit to anything either.

    Hopefully for your cousin's sake, he'll end his relationship with Jane before it's too late. You're in the lucky position where you can walk away from all of this and have a life minus the drama. If your cousin's relationship with Jane goes the distance, it is unlikely to end well for any of them.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,651 ✭✭✭✭beauf


    I would just avoid any interaction with her. Put as much distance between you and her in every situation. Just avoid situation where she'll be there.

    Without you to pick on she'll have to pick on someone else, because that her true nature.

    Without any contract with her you'll be less stressed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,061 ✭✭✭leggo


    It’s very easy to get into these situations with the mindset that you want to ‘win’ and ‘expose’ these people for who they are. It’s a really bad idea. For a start they’ll win any pissing contest like this easily because it’s standard, learned behaviour for them that they’ve likely had bred into them from birth. They know all the moves, know your reactions ahead of time and can plan to spin things in their favour whether you go left or right with your reaction. They’ll go places you wouldn’t because you have a conscience. You won’t win, simple as, you’ll only get dragged down into their mess and lose the high ground down the line and be seen as as bad as them.

    Honestly, the best way to deal with it is to just exclude yourself from the situation entirely, to let it go and legitimately stop caring. If people take her side, were they ever that close to you to begin with if they could drop you so quickly? Are they worth stressing yourself out for daily and trying to ‘win’ over?

    Then trust me on this: more and more people will start to see it. It feels impossible to imagine when a bunch of people you know are charmed by this person and under their spell, but it happens. They need a target and will move onto someone else, then eventually enough people will connect the dots and they’ll be dead in the water with this group of people and just move onto another. The wall they’ll run into there eventually is that it’s harder to make friends and just find another group as you grow older. They’ll burn through group after group, family after family, then most likely just find themselves excluded from everything or left dealing with the absolute dregs of society.

    My closest friends today got that way at first because we all encountered the same poisonous individual, called out how mental he was being to all of us, then just did our own thing away from the main friends ‘group’ at the time. Slowly but surely more and more people from the main group saw through the guy and started getting close with us. He burned through person after person, group after group, and the only people he’s left with now who’ll tolerate his **** are the kind of easily led fools who we now all pity because the situation is clear for what it is. Again, I get how that can feel like an impossible scenario from where you stand, but people’s true colours really do show with time and you’ll get the apologies you deserve from many of those being disloyal to you now when they see it. Just remember that the only way you ‘win’ though is to stop caring, stop engaging, to just get on with and build a happy life away from this person. They‘ll be happy to let you because they’ll see it as job done and they can’t touch you then.


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