Stylized illustration of a witch in a pointy hat

 Ask Rene:
Why Is My Sister-In-Law So EVIL? 

Hi Rene:

I have been with my husband for seven years, married for four of those. My sister-in-law doesn’t like me and I have no clue why. Admittedly she is better as of about a year now since she found Jesus. Now she doesn’t blatantly disrespect me anymore like she once did, but she won’t talk to me and won’t speak and when we are at a family function, you can cut the tension. 

I used to buy her two boys school clothes and take them places to which she would say to her brothers, “I guess the b*tch wants me to like her.” WHO DOES THAT! By the way, she has no job and their father is absent.

 I am just so over her, her attitude, her rudeness. This woman is 39 with a baby by a nobody and lives with her mom and stepdad in a 2-bedroom apartment.

My husband says he isn’t going to get involved; he says that she is stubborn and I am too, so he doesn’t see a resolution, but if she calls and needs something, he will usually do it; a ride somewhere, the whole food stamp/money exchange so she can get cash, logging into her bank account, cashing her meager child support checks, faxing documents, and applying for jobs online.

I am livid that he can do for her/them, but he can’t demand that they respect me.  I shouldn’t have to “ask” him to help make things right. It makes me question his love/devotion/respect for me OR wonder if he just doesn’t have the balls to stand up for his wife. 

I really want my husband to put me first because I am his family, too.


Over The Drama


Dear OTD:

I’ve been writing Ask Rene here for three solid years now, though the  site has been around much longer. There are three types of letters I get more than all the others; they are  a) My daughter is dating a loser, b) My mother-in-law doesn’t like me and c) I hate my sister-in-law. Seriously, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this complaint. But here’s the bottom line:  YOU CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE!

Now, having said that, here are a few things you need to remember and what I would do if I were you.


“Sometimes being pushed to the wall helps you get over it.”
-Peter de Jager
Creative Commons/Brett Jordan

If you were over it you would not be writing me and I wouldn’t be able to hear/feel the hurt and anger leaping off the page. So admit it; this chaps you and you want your childish sister-in-law to yank that stick out of her fanny and act like an adult. Listen to me: That’s not going to happen.  You can’t make her change and any effort to do that is only going to frustrate you more. Drop that expectation. Okay?

Read more: Our Story Begins: Are You A Mother Or A Martyr?


Father Albert and Rene .jpg

Dr. Phil says it and do I believe it; I have seen it in real life. If you allow people to treat you like crap they’re going to keep doing it. I know you’re trying to be nice but some people only understand when you pull the bit back in their mouth.

Read more: Rene On TV: Rene And Father Albert, Together Again


Creative Commons/Robby Virus

And you can’t get people like your husband, to get it for you. There is no correlation between being nice and respect either. If you want to help out her kids, buy the clothes and let your husband give them to her, but no more from you directly. This is a classic case of “kindness for weakness”; the nicer you are to your sister-in-law, the more she walks all over you. So…..

Read more:  The 4 Reasons Michael Strahan And I Will Never Stay In Our Lane (VIDEO) 


Creative Commons/Kokabella

Time for you to take action. What that looks like in real life is this: be civil but don’t go out of your way. Say “hi” and keep it moving. The next time she says something rude, do NOT even respond; simply walk away. Any reaction on your part is reinforcement for her. She knows what she does bothers you which is why she keeps doing it. Don’t give her the satisfaction of knowing this bugs you, even if it does.

Read more: Why Reinvention ROCKS!

Now I have to be really blunt about this: You are going to have to grow up. Yes, you. Is it fair that you be the only adult in the relationship? No, but yours is the only behavior you have control over. Your sister-in-law is an emotional terrorist who is holding you hostage. Don’t let her.

Good luck!

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