My 'sister-in-law' is causing me so much anxiety! Help!
Hi everyone, really hope someone can offer me advice on this subject. I have been dating my boyfriend for one and a half years and I have always been super close with his younger brother, who is seventeen. Six months ago, his brother entered into a relationship with a girl from his school. At first we thought she was sweet, but I realised more and more that she was actually a very manipulative and jealous person due to her own insecurities.
My boyfriend and I were very worried about his brother's wellbeing because of the things she was saying/doing to him, so we approached his mum to talk about it. Unfortunately, his mum only defended the girl and did not seem too worried at all. Over time, it seems like this girl has turned her jealousy issues towards me. Whenever we are together, she is 'offended' by something I say. Except, nothing I say is ever offensive, she actually twists my words and sometimes makes things up. For example, I was discussing with my boyfriend's mum how my own brother will probably not go to uni after high-school. This was ALL that was said. Next thing I know, I hear I have 'offended' her (even though she was eavesdropping and not actually in the room) because she is not going to uni and I obviously think she is very dumb and hate her...
My boyfriend's brother has expressed to me that his girlfriend is jealous of my friendship with him and would prefer it if he did not message me on social media at all, and did not talk to me as much in person. However, they then turn around and tell my boyfriend and I that we do not 'include them' enough and don't give them enough attention.
For some reason, when they gossip about me, my boyfriend's younger brother always tells my boyfriend. For example, he told my boyfriend that his girlfriend thinks it is very wrong that I am friends with my ex-boyfriend and I am disrespecting my current one.
She has now messaged me to ask whether I have a problem with her?! I am gobsmacked. My boyfriend and I have done nothing but be nice to her. I feel like she is manipulating the situation to gain more attention and play the victim.
This is causing me so much anxiety I don't want to go to my boyfriend's house. Please help!
Hi Caity P,
Interesting situation, I am sure many families deal with these sorts of issues between "in laws", by the way it sounds, this girl sounds quite immature as you said they are quite young judging by your boyfriends brothers age. Everything that is happening and she is saying seems to be coming across as a massive sign of immaturity especially the jealousy which I think most young people experience in relationships as they haven't had to really deal with these sort of emotions before. This I think is one of those situation where you have to be up front and talk about it with everyone, the fact you don't want to go to your boyfriends house is sign it needs to be spoken about and resolved or will simply hover around over your heads. Speak to your boyfriend first maybe and see what he thinks and how to address it. You clearly care here and want it all to be peaceful.
My best for you,
She will always charm the mum but somewhere along the way she will come unstuck, but I wouldn't begin to criticise her to the mum, just yet, if you do and this g/friend breaks the r/ship then you will need to repair the r/ship between you and the mum.
She is only jealous of you, that's why she's doing all of this,
Don't let her break you and don't let her see you upset, that's only 'adding fuel to the fire.' Geoff.
Almost a year on and this situation is STILL going on. We attempted to talk about it with the girl and my boyfriend's younger brother, however, the younger brother just became very defensive and started retaliating by putting me down. Over Christmas, I attempted to show more interest in the girl to ultimately make things easier, e.g. I included her in the chit chat and I bought her a small gift to signify hopefully moving forward. This was met with attitude about how I was trying to make her look bad for not getting me a gift, and after Christmas she continued to ignore me and death stare me at family events. Then she went through my Instagram and unliked all my photos that she had previously liked. My boyfriend thought this was particularly immature, and confronted her about it saying that the behaviour must stop. She made up an extravagant lie and my boyfriend's younger brother totally bought it. He thinks she can do no wrong.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend's mother refuses to see the girl's behaviour and puts pressure on us to be friends with them. My boyfriend's younger brother completely ignores me now. My boyfriend and I have tried very hard to resolve it and to try and ask the parents to help resolve it, but they try to justify their bad behaviour.
Recently, we all had dinner at my boyfriend's parent's house and neither of them spoke to me once. They completely ignored me. A few days later, I received messages from her saying it was "so nice to see me" but her/my bf's younger brother won't be able to come to my party (which I have notified them of 2 months in advance) because she might celebrate her birthday that night as well. I know this is not true. I am appalled by the fact she doesn't think I can see through this level of fake.
I am at a complete loss. This situation causes me anxiety on a daily basis...
Nearly a year on and this situation is still going! I really hoped that my boyfriend's younger brother would do as you said... see that her behaviour was hurtful and put a stop to it. Unfortunately, the complete opposite has happened. His brother seems to have completely forgotten about the friendship we used to have and now completely ignores me. My boyfriend and I have tried so hard to sort this out and help him see why we are disappointed with his/his girlfriend's behaviour, but he just retaliates by saying really mean things about me. It's extremely saddening 😞
Hello Caity P, it's disappointing all of this has happened, but now the younger brother has other interests and wants to support her.
At the moment it's probably best to stop contact with the two of them because what it's doing is only making the situation exist and causing more trouble for you, that's not what is healthy for you, especially when the parents try to justify their bad behaviour.
Please don't punish yourself anymore.
I agree with Geoff that you need to remove yourself from this situation, at least for the time being. That may also have the beneficial effect of making your boyfriend’s mother step in and adjudicate the situation as she can put a stop to it. You’ve tried reaching out to this girl, which I think was a really mature thing to do, you’ve tried talking to your boyfriends mother, you’ve tried talking to your boyfriend’s brother, and all with no effect. Any thing that you do now will be met with a similar response because it’s clear she has no desire to resolve the situation. She is enjoying exerting control over the situation and I think you need to get some of the control back by not participating in these games. The one positive from all of this seems to be that your boyfriend has been supportive throughout this whole situation, which is great. I’m sorry this is so unpleasant for you
Hi Caity P,
Sorry to read about the trouble you are having with your boyfriend's brother and his girlfriend. Like Geoff and Juliet have mentioned, sometimes it is best to remove yourself from a situation.
People who try to control others, [pick on them or are bullies feel fuelled by the responses they receive from their victims. If you no longer react, she will hopefully get bored and leaved you alone.
No matter what she does or says, you know who you are deep inside and that is what counts. Not who she is, but who you are.
Find ways to build up[ your self confidence. You don't need people like her in your life. It is sad, some people just like to cause hurt and trouble.
Cheers to you and your boyfriend, from Dools
Geoff, Juliet and Mrs Dools have given you some really good thoughts about how to move forward. I agree, it's very difficult trying to help if people don't want help. You have done all the right things, talked to all the right people. Now I it's time for you to look after yourself.
I wouldn't like to hang around people who said nasty things to me, even if they were my hubby's siblings. I would just take a step back and let them get on with their lives while my hubby and I get on with ours.
Many images in the movies, advertising and other media portray families as 'happy', 'getting on together', 'sharing', 'loving' with little 'conflict' or 'nastiness'. However, the reality is somewhat different. I know so many families, including my own that do not talk to one another and have not for decades. They have nothing in common and can't stand to be in the same room together. I find this terribly sad, however, I have no control over their behaviours.
As the others have said focus on you and your boyfriend. If your anxiety doesn't improve then you may like to see someone about it. Perhaps your doctor?
Keep reaching out. You're not alone.
Thank you so much for your helpful response. I agree with everyone's responses about staying away as much as possible. This is definitely what I have tried to do for the past few months. I feel like staying away is the best thing for me. Unfortunately, my boyfriend's mum adds another layer. Instead of 'stepping in to moderate' because I'm not coming over, she actually makes comments about it to my boyfriend and praises the other girl for coming over more. Considering she is fully aware of goes on, it's a bit of a joke. She has tried multiple times to force us to interact (e.g. have dinner together). This makes me incredibly uncomfortable, because while this other girl is quite good at 'faking it' I am not. My anxiety takes over and I become very shaky, which makes me look like the one that doesn't want to put in any effort. This girl is one way with my boyfriend's parents and another way when she knows they are not watching. My boyfriend and I have tried to establish boundaries with his mother as well, by telling her we do not want to sit around the house with them and want to limit our interaction to special occasions. However, his mother is not getting these boundaries.
I am having a party soon and the girlfriend/sibling expressed they might not come. That was fine with me! But his mum is now telling me that she is going to tell them they have to come... It doesn't seem to matter to her how uncomfortable it makes me (I have literally been in tears about this with her). My boyfriend and I continually reiterate the boundaries and it doesn't seem to sink in. If it is this bad now... what is it going to be like down the track! 😞