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Why do I put up with my sister in law's rubbish?

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 October 2017) 7 Answers - (Newest, 10 October 2017)
A female Canada age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Hello all,

Could someone please tell me the meaning of when something is on the up and up?

I am so angry right now and thank goodness I love my husband enough to put up with his family's crap albeit we do have arguments before I go out with them because I get anxious because I know my sil is going to say or do something stupid and I feel hurt and I get angry and I have to force myself to go.

Tonight at dinner I tell my in laws how my gf of 20 + years wants to pay-she knows I can't afford it to take me along down south all inclusive for her mother who I know as well's bday turning 73 and her aunt who is 2 years younger...she's paying for it all as she recently came into some money. Later on as we're leaving and it comes up again between just her, I, and my other sil and she says with a half closed eyed look "as long as it's all on the up and up" and now I'm like saying yeah no they're older ladies and there's no heavy drinking...like wtf I ask myself later...why am I explaining this to her? Like did she not just accuse me or someone I'm associated with of something unsavy? Like what does that mean????

I'm I right to be ticked off? This may mean not seeing them for awhile cause this is # 152 of stupid crap I put up with!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 October 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I think she meant it exactly how I perceived it by her tone and facial expression...when I started explaining myself she said oh well that's good.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 October 2017):

I think maybe what she meant was .. she hoped your friend did mean that you didn't have to pay .. not that you were doing anything sneaky .. you know she on the up an up and doesn't change her mind and you end up with a hefty bill

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (10 October 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I think you need to grow a thicker skin and learn not to sweat the small stuff.

Relationships with in laws are often difficult because often it's people who do not have much , or anything ,in common, who would not choose each other as friends and associates, and that are forced by circumstances and etiquette to interact . So, it's pretty normal to end up with grating on each other nerves. For no particular reason.

Your SIL clearly likes to needle you with inane comments, either because she senses your dislike of her , or because she resents having to have you around because of family obligations. It does not really matter who started first or whose " fault" it is, it's more like a shoe which does not fit perfectly, there is bound to be friction.

Now I can imagine that you don't like to be needled, but you should not overreact or act hypersensitive . That will only encourage her to needle some more. Instead, if you offer a flat surface, so to speak, she can't plant hooks in it.

Plus, you are ,IMO, authomatically reading the worst in her futile comments, and taking them the wrong possible way. Is it really necessary ?

For instance, this " on the up and up " thing. I did not take it as if she was accusing you , and the older ladies, of wanting to abandon yourselves to wild orgies, or shameful behaviours, ... dancing naked on tables, hooking up with random young men etc.

" On the up and up " also means " aboveboard, transparent, inequivocable " and stuff like that, and I thought at once that she might refer to the situation of being invited to an all expenses paid trip. Like " make sure that it's a gift with no strings attached, or, that there are no hidden costs , or that she won't offer just because she wants something back from you " Something along these lines.... Now, of course this is just MY interpretation of her comment, but, I would say, surely makes more sense than accusing you - and the two old ladies- of criminal or scandalous conduct, right ? and instead... this is the first thing that you go thinking... So the negativity is not only in her words, but in your thoughts as well !

You are right anyway that you do not have to defend or justify yourself - of anything. So don't. The best course of action , IMO, is that you'd just ignore her blatantly and totally let slide off you any snide , or presumed snide , remark.

But if you do not feel capable of that, then don't be passive aggressive. Do not " swallow " offenses ( or ar least what you perceive as offenses ) just to ruminate them later on by yourself and be driven to distraction.

Just ASK her, and I do not mean, " challenge her" or " confront her ", I mean literally ask her what she means.

" On the up and up ? This is a strange thing to say, and I do not understand what you mean. Please explain ".

So, if there's a reasonable alternative explanation , other than ill will, for whatever she says to you, then you'll know it. And if there isn't, and SIL just wanted to spew venom- she'll be left with egg on her face and she'll look like a fool.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 October 2017):

Honeypie agony auntOP, you need to grow a thicker skin when dealing with this SIL.

Her comment - "as long as it's all on the up and up" on your vacation - you could have dealt with in a humorous way, like telling the SIL that you are sure there will be trouble with all these old ladies and pina coladas on the beach.

It's NOT for her to make a judgment call on whether the situation YOU are going into is "on the up and up" - that is on you. So DIFFUSE the situation by making her comment a joke.

Like YCBS said, you can't control OTHERS. What they say, feel, think or do... NOTHING. All you CAN control is how you react to it. By getting annoyed and angry you lose. She wins. Your SIL is obviously a woman who likes to create a little drama, to needle people and get under their skin. Probably... because she is jealous that you are GOING on a vacation.

She LIKES getting under your skin. Who knows why, so STOP letting her. Match her snide remarks and ridiculous comment with humor. She won't be as busy trying to get under YOUR skin constantly when you don't react in the way she is hoping you will...

WHO cares what she thinks? She is your SIL. Not your partner.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 October 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for the replies.

My sil is constantly putting her foot in her mouth...I know where I'd stick my foot!

My husband and I tolerate her and the sad part is that it's his brothers wife and he tolerates his brother as well.

We only see them when we have to, maybe 4 times a year at the most and I made it sound worse than it really is about hubby and I arguing...I get anxious, he feels bad and starts saying why did he respond yes to the invite etc. I just dont want my husband to not see his brother cause of her even if their relationship isn't the greatest.

Dont know why she's like this, I've seen alot of ugliness come out of her in different ways. She IS a gossip, I have watched her tell secrets that shes sworn to keep quiet to everyone, gotten nasty texts because she wasn't included in something only because they were doing something the next day with my mil that we weren't included in first so made our own plans.. just a bunch of crap really.

Truth is I tolerate her. If not for being family, I would not choose to be friends. I guess I'm guilty of waiting for the worst thing she can say so I can just say you know what...go f*** yourself and not bother with her at all anymore.

I just don't get it, cry me a river how we don't get together enough but say stupid crap the next minute and wonder why. Truth is I just don't like her and I wish I could change that but every bloody time it's a new comment.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (10 October 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntYou can't control what people do or say. Your strength lies in how you CHOOSE to react to it. Yes, it is a CHOICE. You can CHOOSE to be angry and upset and affronted, or you can CHOOSE to laugh it off, treat it with disdain and let it roll off you. Practice enough and it will become second nature.

You are CHOOSING to be upset by your SIL's little jibes. She must be laughing her socks off, knowing how easily she can pull your strings and how much power she has over you. Sweetheart, stop GIVING her that power. YOU can stop it in an instant if you CHOOSE. You could have CHOSEN to take what your SIL said as a "joke" and asked "Do you think there is a chance it might not be on the up and up? Ooh, how exciting! What do you imagine could happen?" This would not only have put her on the spot, making her explain what she meant, but also would have made her realize how silly her comment was and that you weren't upset by it.

And your poor husband, stuck in the middle of all this. HE has no control over what your SIL says OR how you react to it. I am sure he must have more important worries on his plate than whether his adult wife can put up with childish jibes.

Save your anger for true injustices in the world, not some childish (possibly jealous?) family member's jibes. You will feel so much stronger for it, and your marriage will be so much better for it too.

Head up, shoulders back, deep breath. You know you can do it.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (10 October 2017):

You've got to learn not to let people push your buttons. Your sister-in-law senses your disdain and contempt for her. She dislikes you for whatever reason(s); and she's probably the family-gossip and trouble-maker by reputation. Every family has them. She says what she thinks everybody else wants to say. She shuts-off her filters when you're around.

When you marry into a family; as a couple, you vowed "for better or for worse." Sometimes for worse includes your in-laws. If they don't live with you, the good part is leaving when the visit is over. If you have your own place; you have the pleasure of kicking them out. The suffering is only temporary. Like a cold, or a bad rash.

If you're the type of person who gets worked-up or you're oversensitive; people will pick on you. They'll get their jollies; because they can easily get a rise out of you.

Grow a thicker-skin. Give no reaction; and tell yourself several times over before you get there that she's just not going to get to you. When you get flustered, you're affirming that she is the Alpha-female. Proving her the stronger personality of the two; because every word out of her mouth hits you like a rock.

Stop being so prissy, and let her stupid mouth-diarrhea roll off your back. She's spoiling for a confrontation. You want to tell her off. In this case, you must take the high-road. I often say, women see through each other. They see things in each other no one else can see. Most of the time, it makes no sense. You can't make everyone like you.

Some people don't have a filter, or don't mind letting you know they don't like you. Well, that's how the world goes. You can only survive in it if you're tough enough to roll with a few punches. Be dignified and a full of grace.

Learn to close your ears when she speaks, and tune her out. You'll hear less and less of what she's got to say. You don't have to have a comeback for every toxic word she spews. She's probably just jealous of you, and likes to see you leave with a bitter taste in your mouth. Apparently you make that all too easy.

Don't go see them for a while; if that's what it takes. You're still likely to cross paths; and you'll deal with her again sooner or later. Toughen-up!!!

It's not being passive not to react to her comments. It's being an adult; and it takes the wind out of sails when she doesn't get some kind of reaction when she throws you a few barbs. She probably thinks you're snobbish and figures she's knocking you down a few pegs. Simply smile and shake your head as though she was a silly child talking foolishly.

Keep getting upset. You're feeding her all the narcissistic-supply she needs. Her pleasure is seeing you squirm. So stop squirming. She's nothing but a mean frustrated person who found herself an easy target.

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