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You Asked: My Sister-in-Law Puts Me Down!

Dear Sugar--

What do I do with a sister-in-law who seems to have a life mission to belittle and put me down every way possible? I don't want to hang out with her because she is so evil and rude, and then she twists everything around to make my husband think that I'm the one who's not reaching out to her. She is just such a pain!

A while back, she said that since she's older than I am she should make the first move to fix our relationship. I was open to the idea, but after a few days she was back to her old self again. I'm just so tired of this. I don't want this for my life anymore. Help!

--Tired of Her Tara

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Tired of Her Tara--

No matter who the person is, a friend, relative, boss, or co-worker, if they are treating you poorly, you shouldn't stand by without standing up for yourself. Since your first attempt to mend your relationship failed, have you asked your husband to intervene? Does he have any input on how to handle her behavior towards you? There is obviously a reason why she's acting this way -- is she jealous of you or incredibly insecure? Does she feel like you "stole" her brother away from her? Is she single and wanting to be in a relationship of her own?

Regardless of her rationale, it isn't right for her to treat you this way so sit down and have a talk with her. Give her some examples of what she has said or done to hurt your feelings and ask her why she feels the need to put you down. Try talking to her in a calm manner so she won't feel attacked and come to the table with some ideas of your own on how you can better your relationship. Since she is your sister in law, you will be involved in each others lives forever, so instead of spending your time and energy disliking each other, be the bigger person, again, and work together to move past your differences. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
Faith8011 Faith8011 5 years
I have a situation where my in-laws favoritize my husband's brother and my husband's sister. And we're basically the black sheep. My sister-in-law acts fake when we have gatherings with his side of the family. She gets all dolled up and talks like she's in high school but yet she's 33 yrs. old and is married and has 2 kids. She likes to have expensive things and has a huge house. But if it's just her & I hanging out together not at family events ( which we never really hang out together ) then she's herself. But at family events she ignores me and acts like I don't even exist and yet talks and go's out of her way to my husband's brothers wife. My husband also sees this but doesn't want to get involved with it. He's tried before asking her why she's rude to me and she plays dumb. I've personally tried to have a one on one talk with her and it gets no - where. I tried to kindly ask her to include me as well and not shut me out when her and my husband's brother and his wife get together. She'll even have them babysit for their kids but never asks us. It's pretty hurtful and hard to try to figure her out. I keep questioning myself why is she like this towards me. And why does she act like this where she is someone completely different. It's hard because my husband's mom always plans family events non-stop for b-days or holidays. And it really makes me un-comfortable where I don't even want to go to these family events. His mom always stands up for her and my husband's brother. When my husband and I were 1st dating and got engaged they did not get along and he was sick of their favoritism and they would fight about it and now he's to the point where he just accepts it and let them treat us like that. I can't stand it. I think it's not right. I can't change her but I don't know what to think or do and don't even know how to act around her anymore.? Can someone please tell me what you think the reasoning might be.? I have tried to ignore her but she just likes to be the center of attention big time. And I think it's dis-respectful towards my husband and I. I remember her telling me how she kills people with her kindness and I think that's just not right where she is not being honest to not just others but she's also not being honest to herself at the same time. Am I doning something wrong? We've avoided some family events for Holidays last year and his mom just got mad at us. We also have a baby and I see them favoritizing his neice and nephew but really doesn't seem to care about our daughter. Coping with In-laws is not easy. I feel that if I put my foot down it doesn't do any good because they just back each other up and defend her or his brother. And I've had enough. My husband is sick of drama so he just accepts it the way it is. But I think it's wrong because that gives them the oppertunity for them to walk all over him and they know they can and yet he'll be their for them when they want or need the help and I get upset at him for it because I feel that he's not defending me as his wife and yet if we ask them for help with trying to fix something or what ever it maybe they seem to have an excuse. Maybe I'm being selfish for feeling the way I'm feeling. Any advice would be great on how to deal with this and when to put my foot down. It in a way makes me feel like I'm in school being bullied. And I'm in my 30's. Any advice or help on how you'd handle this would be great. Thanks : )
cat926 cat926 8 years
I read the article and thought that we might have the same sister in law. She does not have a life so she visits us and insists on ruining our life. Lots of little snide comments and she acts like she is Gods gift to the earth - no wonder she can't find a date and then on top of it all = she coaxes our 4 year and 6 year old to sleep in her bed - is this woman an adult in any way - she is strange as hell and creepy as can be - she does not have one friend to speak of and so all she does is come visit us - and then her parents show up and want us to "take care of her" - the woman is 40 years old trying to sleep with a 4 year old????? What the fu????? So when they fall asleep, I get them and move them to their beds but it is RIDICULOUS! and SHAMEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cutepuppy cutepuppy 9 years
Your sister in law is probably jealous of you and of course she isn't going to admit it. I don't get along with my sister-in-law either. She's evil. Everytime she notices that I am unhappy or if someone from her side of the family is mean to me a smile always pops up upon her face. She espeically likes it if I show up with the family and I am not my usual beautiful self. Ive come to the conclusion that she is extremely jealous of me. It's not my fault that I am smarter and prettier than her. Im not mean to her. She just needs to work on herself and stop takeing out her short comeings out on me. Every time she is around me it reminds her that she doesn't feel good enough about herself. Thats just really immature. I am always working on myself to better myself and still am. It doesn't make me want to be mean to a person just because they are at a more advanced level in life than I am. Or if they are more attractive than me. I just try my best to improve myself even more. And I also think of positive things about myself. Every one has short comings and good things about them too.
juliemyjewel juliemyjewel 9 years
I have the same problem with my BF's sister. She is the most crude, rude biotch ever, but since she's family I have to deal with it. AVOID AVOID AVOID! That's it!
dcmurray1970 dcmurray1970 9 years
If your husband doesnt stand up for you and make her treat you with respect you might want to find a new husband
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
Don't let her walk all over you! But don't burn any bridges at the same time, try to be mature about it. She's family, so keep it civil. Sit down with her, and have your husband with you! I totally agree with Dear's advice -"Give her some examples of what she has said or done to hurt your feelings and ask her why she feels the need to put you down." Discuss the situation, honestly and openly. Though don't point your finger, or make accusations - you won't get anywhere with that. Just be honest about how YOU FEEL and not what SHE DID.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
This is just a comment more than a suggestion - The fact that this is her sister-in-law doesn't mean that it's her husband's sister. I have two sister-in-laws - i.e. my husband's two brothers' wives. And if that's the case, it may be an entirely different story. Her husband might not want to step in becuz it's his brother's wife. But either way, you definitely need to talk to your husband. Give examples of things that she's done and explain your feelings and concerns about the situation. Tell him that you're hurt and upset by the things that she's said and done and perhaps come up with a plan of action together. But I like the idea of just leaving the room when she makes a rude statement or comment.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
I agree with DearSugar, you are family now and you are going to have to work it out. The way she is acting is very immature and needs to stop right away. People like this like to have the attention on them at all times - I am sure she was like this growing up. Talk to your husband and be honest with him. He has known her longer - he could help you give an inside advantage to why she is acting this way. If he says "She is always like this" then let it go. Keep your distance from her. If she is not like this - your husband can possibly help you figure out what to do. Good Luck.
onesong onesong 9 years
that is FRUSTRATING. i think you definitely need to get your husband involved before you speak to his sister again - this is his family, and you need his support. he doesn't need to say anything to her, but i think he needs to hear where you're coming from, and understand that it always "takes two to tango," so to speak, so it can't just be you not reaching out. also, the whole thing about her being older and YOU reaching out?? that's crap. if anything, it's the other way around...who's supposedly older/wiser/more mature, here? (not that i think she is, but see what i mean?) regardless. once you speak to your husband, you need to definitely follow dearsugar's advice and have a heart to heart with her. i also think that after you very calmly lay out what's been hurting you and give your suggestions on how to change your relationship, i think you need to follow marci's advice. if she bothers you, don't get angry, just walk away--no scene, no nothing, just a simple removal. if you feel the need to say something, you can say, "i've explained to you that i don't appreciate being spoken to in that way," as you leave. good luck!
Rachie-Rees Rachie-Rees 9 years
I know what you are going through I have 3 sisters in law, two of them have been terrible for my relationship with my husband. They have also caused big trouble in their own family by their antics...My husband and I got to the point where we had to leave the town and move to the big city as they were way too much trouble for us. We had enough! So I understand!
meganekko meganekko 9 years
Well, remember not to take her attacks personally. You're definitely the bigger person here. You don't have to put up with her crap, and I certainly wouldn't. (It sounds like you've had to put up with enough already!) Your husband probably knows what his bratty sister is like, and if he doesn't, maybe you should lay it out for him. Best of Luck!
yvette yvette 9 years
I didn't read this article. Ooops. I want that lady's hair!!! It's so cute!
sweettreat sweettreat 9 years
I have the same problem with my sister in law....I say, just distance yourself.
Marci Marci 9 years
Don't tolerate repeated bad behavior towards you from anyone. Once you do, they'll never stop. I think the key is to let her know you won't listen to it or entertain a thing she says. Remove yourself from her the instant she says anything that you don't like. It doesn't have to be a big scene. Just leave the room. No big drama. Simply tell her you don't like to be spoken to that way and go into the other room. And if your husband is sitting back and watching this happen, he should be ashamed of himself. You should come first, sister or not.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
Ok, I hope that your husband is just sitting around while all of this is going on in front of him. This is his sister, but he should be man enough to stand up and defend you in these kinds of situations. "To honor and respect," is part of the he should do something about that. If you attempt to sit down and talk to her, it might cause an even bigger rift between you two. Perhaps a meeting with you, her and your husband would work out?
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