My sister in law complains about me to my husband and in laws. How should I handle this?
by Stressed out
I am an Indian woman married for 3.5 years now. My husband is sweet, loving and gem of person. He has two elder sisters and a brother. My husband is the youngest in the family. He is closer to one of his sisters as compared to his other siblings. This sister is the one that causes problems in our marriage. I get along well with my husband’s other siblings and their spouses as well.
The SIL has been very interfering in our lives even before we were engaged. She had to know everything beforehand... what I am wearing for my wedding, where are we going for honeymoon, if I was getting a bikini wax. That is none of her business. She is two years older than me and a married woman. I expected her to be a little mature but it looks like she has no manners at all and even now keeps pressing to ask details about things in our marriage that don’t concern her at all. After all these years I am already fed up of her and my husband knows that I will never get along well with her. He understands how irritating his sister is and tries to calm me down. I have told him we need boundaries from her, and we try not to mention anything in front of her so that she starts asking details about everything as usual. I feel that she is jealous of me and my professional achievements in life.
My in-laws were very happy when my husband and I got married. It was so nice to receive love and appreciation from my in-law family, but she started complaining about me behind my back to my in-laws. My parents-in-law and I don’t share a good relationship anymore because they talk bad about me behind my back as well now. Basically this family is very high on gossiping which is something I really hate. I usually try to ignore this gossip and it really hurts when my in laws criticize my way of doing things on a regular basis.
Anyway, my husband and I moved to USA as we got a job opportunity here. We decided to buy a home where my husband’s parents could live independently after we move. The home is in our name but it is meant for my in laws and the place is near where my husband’s other siblings live so that family is close in case of any medical needs. They were very happy with the home we bought and I put most of my savings in it. They told us they were proud and very happy as it was a dream for them to have a place for them. While decorating the home, we gave some suggestions on how they can give the home a modern look with the furniture and walls. They are traditional and don’t really want to understand what we tell them. It was hurtful when they started being rude to my husband about it and even started saying things like I make them feel it is not their home and I continuously fight with them. I was taken aback when they discussed this with my SIL and she then complained to my husband about me based on this. My husband was
on this with me 100% and told her that the parents are lying and he was there when the conversation happened. He told her they are overreacting. I was personally at a loss when I was attacked like this. We were really excited about the home too and felt we did a good gesture for his parents. It seems we cannot even give a suggestion for a home we bought with our hard earned money.
I have a feeling my SIL must be really jealous that I got to move to USA with my husband and now continuously keeps asking if she should also relocate to US or Canada. It would be too much for me if it happens and surely she will try to rock my relationship with my husband. My husband is gentle and cannot confront his family even when he knows they are acting obnoxiously. A few days ago, my father-in-law made a racist comment on a family chat group and I told him that’s not a nice thing to say. I would say this even to my own parents, siblings, friends etc. Somehow my SIL found this an excuse to complain about me to my husband. She personally messaged my husband that I should not say such things to my father-in-law. My husband defended me and that we should try to teach good things to family whenever possible. My SIL on the other hand hates that we have a different opinion on these things and says things like our education is useless if we cannot be nice to family. She is not well educated herself and maybe this was her way to make herself feel better about herself. I don’t know.... but she has been complaining about me to my husband ever since we got married.
My husband tried to make her see our point of view on things but she always ignores it. She instigated fights between us earlier, but we understand each other better now. My husband tries to make her understand but just gives up to her rants now. He agrees with me on her behavior but cannot ask her to shut up when she complains about me. Ideally I would’ve expected my husband to tell his sister that he will not tolerate this behavior from her, but it looks like this is too much to ask. He just says some of his family members have small minds incapable of understanding the bigger things and tries to console me. I love my husband, but it leaves me stressed and hurt, especially when this concerns my dignity.
Whenever she complains about me to my husband she asks him not to tell this to me. She acts as if nothing happened behind my back and talks nicely to me face to face. I feel this is such a hypocritical behavior. Why cannot she say things to me directly where I can defend myself? I know I can get irritated easily with interfering, dual faced people and honestly have tried to ignore a lot of such behaviors but I am at a point in life where I am beginning to feel that there is no reward for being good to people. The only reward I wanted from this family was respect for me and upholding my dignity.
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist