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Sister in law is making me look bad

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Hi, everyone

My sister in law and I have known each other since she was in middle school (about 6 years) and always got along well. There were just two little things that bothered me a tiny bit: the first, that everytime she would come over small items would go missing and I would then find them in her room when I went to my inlaw's. I always let it slide becaude sadly I know my MIL is this way too and has always been, so my SIL sees it as normal. The other thing is that she still keeps in contact with my husband's ex going as far as telling me no when I asked to take her prom dress shopping so she could go with her instead. I realize she has the right to choose her friends, so I do not interfere with this.

Anyway, things started going downhil after our wedding three months ago. It all got bad when one day they all came over to our house for dinner and she grabbed the vacum to start cleaning up. I took it from her hands and told her it was okay, I would clean up later. She ran to my husband's office upstairs and when I went up to hang out with them

half an hour later she was sobbing and stormed out. Husband told me how upset she was by my behavior. I explained to him I was just trying to be polite but either way I went to look for her an apologized. She said it was okay and accepted the apology. I then explained to my MIL and BIL what was going on and they were graceful about it.

Now three weeks have passed and she has become very rude. She will not aknowledge my presence and when my husband has asked her to come over she has very bitterly said "I am NOT going there" right in front of me. When it's time to leave and we're saying our goodbyes (for 6 years my inlaws and I have always said goodbye with warm hugs) she will hide from me and cling to my husband, burying her face in his chest as if I'm an evil witch or something. Everyone else has kept quiet about this, but I am getting tired. Holidays are coming and I don't want to feel uncomfortable either at my inlaw's or in my own house if they do decide to come over. And I don't feel the way she uses my husband is correct. She is 19 and not a child anymore.

Btw, she was my bridesmaid and we have always incluided her in our activities (going to the gym, playing sports together). We used to take her out at least once a week and always paid for her expenses as she has never worked a day in her life. On her last birthday I bought her a fancy cake and she thanked my husband instead of me. Husband clarified that she should thank ME, and she did it very bitterly. I still have to drive her around sometines (she doesn't drive either) and, again, she will only thank her brother.

Everytime she does something rude she hugs him and buries her face in his chest and will not let go for ages. He is very loving and would never pull away, but I feel that by him hugging her back he is sending the message that this behavior is okay.

Any suggestions?

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Are they a different culture or socioeconomic structure? Ask your new husband to do more and try not to invite them over as much. His sister can have whatever friends she wants, keep yourself out of his sister's business.


Also stop crowding his family this much, you already seem not to respect them. Are they really stealing things from your home? Have you asked your husband about that?


If you are already having problems, a few sessions with a marriage therapist may help bridge whatever cultural, or boundary or communication or expectations issues you seem to already have. Most of all get things in perspective and institute better boundaries.

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Hi, Wiseman. What did you see in this post that woukd suggest to me not respecting them?

My husband has lived with them for all his life (he is 28) and is very, very attached to his family. I, on the other habd, lived on my own since I was 17 (I'm 25 now). So he does try to spend as much time as possible with them and I support this as it is only a couple of times a week and we still have our own private time, dates and such.

As for the stealing, yes, my MIL is open about it but looks at it as something funny. I have found makeup, perfume, clothes in my SIL's bedroom and even though I first believed it was my MIL she later bragged to me how she steal things from her friends. So yeah.

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I talked to him about this last night, but I know from all the years I've known this family they re incapable if saying 'no' to her. She is the youngest and has gotten away with everything by crying. Her parents do not have any rules for her as she will just cry and they will give in. Same goes for my husband, he can't bear to see her cry.

I know he's been trying to make it up to be being extra loving and taking me our, bringing flowers- but I seriously doubt he will say anything to her directly.

I always thought the "kill them with kindness" tick worked, but I guess not. I will at least stop driving her around. Still, I have no way out of family gatherings or even Christmas gifts. We're warly shoppers and it is expected of me to buy her a gift :/

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She's only 19. Her behaviour is childish and you may not get along but if you are truly wanting to work with what you've got and stay married, you're going to have to expand a little and think much bigger, I'm afraid. Your scope in your marriage should be including future plans and ideas far exceeding the existence of this 19 year old in your lives. Eventually she will grow up and grow out of the family and develop her own life, give or take 5-10 years. She won't be around in the next decade as much.


Different people have different approaches but there's something bothering her deeply and I might be more prone to understanding her and mentoring her once she's willing to put down her differences. She's not going anywhere and neither should you if this marriage is what you want. Think bigger, as a bigger sister. Put your things away safely and don't leave them lying around. Lock your bedroom door if you need to or your closet with your valuables. Put some of it in a safety deposit box if you don't want them in the house.


If she doesn't like your presence, limit your presence and stop trying so hard to get on her good side or include her in events with your friends. She'll warm up to you eventually if she feels you're worth someone getting to know. It doesn't sound like she trusts you and that's her prerogative. Don't get caught up in all this. Think smart, be kind. Stop lowering yourself to the level of someone this much younger or someone so young. You're indirectly competing with her. Stop that.


There's nothing wrong with being a witch by the way. Just depends what kind.

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We don't go to a psychologist anymore, but church group hasn't stopped. Also, I do have my own friends and space but Sunday is family day and that incluides my own mom and brother, we all hang out, go to the movies, go for lunch, whatever. It is a day I enjoy as well.

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Wiseman2- thanks but I think you might not be reading the responses. I Do Hang Out With My Own Friends. It is just that for SIX years we have spent one day a week together and that is the same daymy family joins in.

As for the rest, yes, I will treat her with respect and stay out of her way.

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verytime she does something rude she hugs him and buries her face in his chest and will not let go for ages. He is very loving and would never pull away, but I feel that by him hugging her back he is sending the message that this behavior is okay.
Your husband is an enabler and you really should sit down with him and ask him to back off when she cries to get her own way or when she hides in the folds of his arms when you don't cater to her every whim.


The interpersonal relating with this child is counter productive to her being a mature and emotionally healthy spouse for the man that she one day meets and marries. Your husband is contributing to her immaturity and is not allowing her to learn how to self-sooth. His codding of her contributes to her obvious immaturity. Further... allowing both the mother and the daughter to steal is just bizarre. Why would all of you allow that? If she's stealing from you then she probably is also stealing from her friends (if she actually has any) and that won't be so easiy overlooked as what you guys do when you also enable her to steal without consequence.

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You’re not going to change her, so focus on your own response to her until time and exhaustion move her beyond this phase. I’d remain immune to noticing her behavior and let the chips fall. She felt humiliated by your taking the vac away, so either she’ll nurse that forever at her own expense, or she’ll grow tired of making a punishment show of it. Either way, I’d stop investing in the outcome and just pretend not to notice whatever she does. She wouldn’t get any mileage out of it with me.

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I don't get it. Surely her family is aware of her childishness. I don't know how this could reflect badly on you. So what if she gives you the silent treatment? Speak to others. The only way you can "lose" this game is if you make it the big deal that she is. People gravitate toward less drama. I'd let it go. If she's crying over not vacuuming someone else's house, she's got issues much deeper than whether she hugs her brother making the difference, or even a dent. He reminds her to address you when it's you who put in the money or effort, so it seems he's keen to hold her to some level of respect for you. Unfortunately, he can't just bust her lip open and hope that'll wisen her up.


If her family by and large chooses the path of least resistance, then you and your husband are a blip. You won't change her even with the firmest stance. If letting her be a brat insofar as her simply choosing not to talk to you gets the family through the gathering without a blowup, and you're otherwise reasonably comfortable with most the other people, just focus your energy on the more positive things going on.

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Take your cue from the rest of the family and ignore her crazy. That is the right way to deal with dramatic people. If they try to pull you into drama and you don't respond, they'll give up and find a more willing target because it takes two to tango.


Your husband is standing up for you as much as he can without causing a war by pointing out to her persistently that she should thank you for whatever. That's really all he can do. He cannot force her to grow up, mature, stop acting like a drama queen, etc.


Basically, you can't control what she does, but you can't control how you react. Stop trying to be her pal, stop bending over for her, stop doing favors for her, and just be the adult in the room along with the rest of the family. Be nice and civil to her, but that's about it. Socialize and chat with others.

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