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Husband’s family members that treat me poorly

Community Member

Hi everyone,

I have been with my partner since we were 15, we are now 25.

My husband has an older brother who is also married. They have been overseas for a little while & I am so anxious to need to catch up with them again at family gatherings.

My husband’s brother and wife have been together for a shorter time then us but they always feel like they need to dominate the family, show off & treat us like outcasts. It is so discreet most times and previously we found out that his brother/gf at the time, was talking badly about us to my husband’s younger brother (there’s 3 of them, my husband is the middle child). We tried to discuss this and tell them how we feel and we were told things like people can have opinions and to get over it.

Anyway, a lot of the things seem petty but since then they have made a conscious effort to leave us out of events, my partner’s parents are oblivious to it & say oh just try to get a long and be civil.... but I don’t know what else to do. They try to become favourites and go out and do things with extended family members like cousins and leave us out, but when they haven’t been around things are great and we get along with everyone fine. I know things get said about us & it leaves other family members thinking we are bad people.

I know I need to stop worrying what others think, act confident and be strong because I love my husband and he is very supportive. However, I am obsessing over these things, I see things on social media of everyone getting along and doing things after we have been treated like non existent. I dread every family gathering and it just makes me feel terrible because I want things to be normal.

I know it’s impossible for everyone to like you and for everyone to get along but I don’t know how to manage sly, discreet actions that are intending to leave us out, make us feel less than and put other thoughts in people’s head.

We also have no benefit or want absolutely no tension or some sort of competition/game they want to have with being more superior in the family. Things like showing off assets, money and achievements always also come up. My husband and I are humble and don’t want to succumb to this game they play.

Overall, I struggle to stop thinking about it or have anxiety from it no matter how much I tell myself it doesn’t matter. Any help/tips are greatly appreciated!!Thank you

5 Replies 5

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi avocadoqueen,

Welcome to the forums, and good on you for posting! Ugh, this sounds like such a stressful situation. I think you're absolutely right to lean into acting confident, trying to care less what they think, etc.– they just sound like people whose opinion of you shouldn't hold much weight, but of course the fact that they're family makes it more complicated.

If you really wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on, maybe find out if this negativity is coming from your brother or his wife. Is he your husband's younger brother? You said they haven't been together as long, maybe there's some younger sibling/couple anxiety going on and they're trying to prove themselves or something. In any case, they're not behaving like adults or loving members of a family. Hopefully with time other members of your family will see that.



Thanks Gems! They lived overseas for a short period and have come back.

He is older & they have been together for less time than me and my partner.

Thank you for your advice, it’s much appreciated x

Hmmm, some people are just like that I guess :/. It really sounds like you and your husband are doing the right thing by not getting dragged down into this weird game they're trying to play. All you can do is try to stay above the fray and have good relationships with your other in-laws on an individual basis. Still, it's so frustrating to be told to get along and be civil when you point it out...

Do you have another family gathering coming up soon?



Thank you, we try! Yeah we have a family birthday coming up soon with all relatives as well.

They have also had to hotel quarantine coming back home so it’s going to be a big deal and all the celebrating because the family make you feel obliged that we need to make them welcome and see them. I understand that but it’s annoying when they know we don’t get along & it’s like we are all faking to be nice, it’s in just over a week they come out. I think that is stressing me out because it’s been so long and now I have to use my energy that is wasted on this.

Ah, I see. Sometimes the only way out is through I suppose. As I said the best thing for it is to just not engage with the little sniping comments and not let them win by dragging you down, unless they say something really outrageous that you cannot let slide. Most normal, well-adjusted people on the outside will be able to see that they're acting like jerks, even if the rest of your family doesn't seem to see what's going on. Luckily it will only last a day it sounds like?