Ask Rene
My Sister-In-Law Has Lost Her Mind


Hi Rene,

My husband and I have been together for 4 years, married for a year and a half. When we got engaged everyone seemed so happy for us but within months his sister began to make unrealistic demands of the wedding and started to call me names. Then his brother and girlfriend piled on, ignoring me, making up lies abut me to tell his parents, etc. They seemed on a mission to break us up. We ultimately got married without any of his family knowing.

Now, my husband and I have had a baby and I’ve encouraged him to reunite with his family. Within the past year we have slowly reconnected with all of them, and everyone involved has made a strong effort to make everything better.

But, my sister-in-law is still trying to incorporate drama into the dynamic with petty games like refusing to interact with my husband and me or limiting access to her Facebook page.

Yesterday, I sent her a message asking if we could put our differences aside and start fresh. She responded that she is not the type to forget everything and that we still have issues and basically time will tell.

So my question is this. What the heck do you do with people like this when they are now a part of your family? I feel that she seriously disrupts that for me.


Me, Stumped

Dear Stumped:

First of all, congratulations on the beautiful family (I saw the photos). You have a lot to be thankful for with that healthy baby and handsome hubby. But, we could all do with less drama on the home front so let’s talk about the witchy sister-in-law.

3. On Another Note . . .

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I would try to keep your husband out of this as much as possible. Men don’t think like we do and they are, many times, blissfully ignorant to the nuanced behavior of women. So don’t bother chatting him up about her; he’ll humor you but deep down wonder why you two cannot settle this over peanuts and a six pack of beer.

I know this is tough because you sound like me in that you want people to like you. But not everyone will, even the ones in our own family. Remember when you asked her if you could put aside your differences and she said time would tell? That answer told you everything you need to know. These are her issues, not yours. Now move on and leave her right where she belongs, in your rear-view mirror.

Good luck!


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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 8/23/2010)