Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law conflicts are prevalent, but so are sister-in-law conflicts!
Sisters-in-law come in different packages, and the troublesome ones are classified as follows, according to FirstCry Parenting, which also gives some tips on how to deal with these types of women:
- The Tattletale. This type of SIL is the classic rumor-monger who’s very fond of finding fault in others, including you, regardless of your relationship. In fact, she may even be harboring hatred toward you without your knowing why. Best not to confide in this person, and don’t get involved in any of her social media comments, no matter if you’re the target. You don’t stoop to her level, and it’s the best way to safeguard your inner peace.
- The Annoying One. This person is unethical with an entitled attitude. She lacks respect for others, and her annoying habits can get under your skin. If her bad manners are not extreme, use your sense of humor to ease the burden that her lack of ethics has been causing you. But if the situation is unbearable, tell her so with frank words and avoid her whenever you can.
- The Controlling One. This SIL is a control freak. She tries to overturn your decisions and overrun your life. She assigns you with tasks and wants you to do them according to her rules and standards. She exhausts everyone but thinks no one is doing enough. You can try talking with this person and whoever her allies are, but should the situation persist, stand your ground.
- The Meddlesome One. This SIL wants to know absolutely everything; privacy is not in her vocabulary. She asks endless questions — at times simple and funny, other times irritating. For her, knowing every detail of a person’s life is the right way to achieve intimacy. To protect your privacy, respond to her questions with a smile and a shaking of the head. You can also pretend to be shy. In time, she’ll accept that you’re not the kind of person she’s been expecting you to be.
- The Judge. To this woman, she does everything better than anyone else. She never stops comparing other people’s skills, qualities, and intelligence to her own, always making herself the queen. If tolerable, try to assess if there’s anything that can be gained from her criticisms. If extreme, you can talk to your in-laws about the difference in your strengths and weaknesses. If nothing changes, don’t take her words seriously and just get on with your life.
- The Avoider. This SIL makes you feel like an outsider. She never shares important family matters with you, and she treats you like a stranger. How to resolve the situation? You can try talking to your husband about it; ask his help to make you an integral part of the family. If your SIL’s treatment of you doesn’t improve, focus on those people who make you feel cherished and at home.
- The Green-Eyed Monster. This SIL hates you for taking away her brother. She blames you for what she feels, and she makes sure that you suffer for it. She can be hypocritical and means to crush your spirit and break your heart, pretending to be kind to you in the presence of other people and lashing out at you when the two of you are alone. The solution? Don’t repay evil for evil. Remain kind to her and cheerful in spirit. Focus on everything that makes you happy, and don’t give her the satisfaction of seeing you be negatively affected by her attitude. Sooner or later, she will give up. And even if she chooses to be a rude and narrow-minded person for the rest of her life, it’s her loss, not yours.
Now, this story from the Original Poster with the username u/gymbabysit in Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum is not a new experience for many. How many of us have encountered relatives who behave like entitled members of royalty?
The misfortune of this young woman is that she has not encountered this kind of experience before, and she feels lost concerning whether she was wrong or if it’s her SIL who’s treated her unfairly.
OP shared these details in her post: “My brother and SIL moved into my parents’ house where I (f23) live a few weeks ago with their 2-year-old while their house is being renovated. I watch my nephew sometimes, but I don’t know much about kids or taking care of them. I usually go to the gym very early on weekend mornings when it isn’t crowded. Yesterday morning, I got up and went to the gym; as usual, no one was up yet. At the gym, I leave my phone in the locker so I don’t get distracted. I did my workout and went in the sauna for a while.”
However, OP didn’t realize that her morning routine would be harshly questioned by her SIL. She continued to relate, “When I got my phone out of the locker, I had a bunch of calls and texts from SIL demanding to know where I was, saying she needed me to watch my nephew while she and my brother went out and ran errands. When I came home, she blew up on me for not checking whether they needed me before going to the gym because they had errands to run and she missed her nail appointment.”
Of course, those words offended OP. She felt it was unfair for her SIL to say those things, especially since she’s been really trying to help them when she could. But she has her own life too, and going to the gym is one of those habits that make her happy. Was she really being selfish and neglectful? OP’s conscience felt very disturbed as she shared this story with the AITA community.
The response of the AITA members?
Savings_Bird_4736 responded with, “NTA. Don’t let her turn you into her in-home childcare! If you start making small concessions like this, it will blow up in your face.”
Likewise, calligrafiddler commented, “Yeah, wtf, OP? Do NOT feel badly about this, and do NOT let it stand! Tell your SIL right now that you are not her on-site childcare. You have your own life and your own responsibilities. If she wants to ASK you to babysit, tell her she may, but you will decide yes or no on a case-by-case basis. You have to put your foot down now so they don’t take advantage of you. Seriously, OP. Use your words. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t give in. NTA.”
Kathrynlena also frankly added, “This is the real issue. It’s not just that SIL expects OP to provide childcare, it’s that she expects OP to be on-call, on-demand, 24/7, and never make any plans of their own just in case SIL might decide she needs childcare at a moment’s notice. I mean, why on earth didn’t she ask OP if they were available to watch the child at X time BEFORE making the appointment to get her nails done??? What the actual f-ck?!”