11 Apr
Sisters-In-Law? More Like Tormentors-In-Law

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have four sisters-in-law that I just can’t deal with anymore. Any time there is a disagreement, they all gang up on me (as the only in-law) and even my mother-in-law gets in on it as well.

Talking to them about my point of view, or telling them they hurt my feelings is completely useless, as they use this as an opportunity to convince me why their point of view is the right and only way, and then they usually make hurtful and degrading comments. Is it best to keep these toxic relationships out of my life? Or is there really a way to fix this?


Odd Sister Out


Dear Odd Sister Out,

Upon reading your question, of course I immediately pictured the sisters from “The Fighter”:



Wicked pissah, right?

Now, if your sisters-in-law look like any of the beauties above, my advice to you is this: STFU or else you’re gonna get your weave pulled out.


But if your female relatives actually don’t pee standing up, I have other advice. And it’s exactly what you yourself suggested—keep these toxic relationships out of your life. In other words, “Don’t Engage With Crazy.”

If at all possible, avoid getting yourself in situations where you have to interact with these ladies. Skip family parties and get-togethers to the best of your ability for a while. When you do have to be in the same room with them, stick to neutral topics like the weather. And if they try to pick a fight, say something bland like, “That’s an interesting thought,” then WALK AWAY. You may feel like you’re losing the battle because you’re not standing up for yourself, but you’re actually winning the war—-on your mental health. (BOOM. Suck it, Oprah.)

But because you’re related to these women, you’re basically in this situation for the long haul. That’s why I want you to imagine that you’re a duck and everything they throw at you is simply water rolling off your back. None of it soaks in. I know that’s easier said than done, but that kind of visualization has worked for me when I’ve been in toxic situations before. I also used to write the acronym “DLTAKYD” on my hand—which stands for “Don’t Let the Assholes Keep You Down.”

My gut feeling is that these women aren’t going to change how they treat you. So that’s why you have to change how you let them affect you. And with a little work, I think you can do just that. And once you do, it’ll be totally #wickedpissah.

Good luck,


17 Responses to “Sisters-In-Law? More Like Tormentors-In-Law”


Comment by tracey.

Wendi nailed it on the head here. BEST advice is what she said. Don’t think of it as losing. You can be the adult. Sometimes silence is the best argument. They may think you are weak, but if you know the truth, who cares?


Comment by Stephanie.

Luckily, I only have one, and she’s in California, so I only have to grin and bear it for the three to seven days she’s in my house, then I have an entire year to recoup. Marriage is such an odd concept when you think about it, isn’t it?


Comment by inkstainedwriter.

Totally agree! It’s a strange thing to “cut” them out, but it really is the only way to live your life without going crazy. I’ve had similar (though not as bad, thankfully) experiences with my family. Eventually, my husband came to realize that hey, I’m not making this stuff up and yes, they really are that insane. So we limit out visits and strive for everythign to be, “ok, whatever.” It’s a HUGE help.


Comment by hokgardner.

I was very fortunate in my sister-in-law. Lovely, smart, funny woman who also thought our mother-in-law was batshit. Unfortunately, she divorced my husband’s brother and left me alone to deal with the crazy.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get my brother-in-law to leave the family so I can have her back.


Comment by Steph.

Please take Wendi’s advice. When you have to be around them you could also think of them as toddlers who are annoying and use the distraction method (ex. you could ask them “have you lost weight? not that I would say that to a todder:) Good luck.


Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

Wait – are these 4 women all your husband’s sisters? I do think your spouse has a role to play in this. Because I’m guessing that they’re not just going to let you disengage and walk away. Bullies seldom do. He needs to be aware of the situation and ready to tell them to back off (particularly if you aren’t putting your dukes up).

But, gah, this all does sound so high school – how can you stand it?

Desperate Dietwife Reply:

I was thinking along the same line: what’s your husband’s position in all of this? Get him involved as well, he’ll be a great help (or he should be).
I would never treat my SILs in that way for no reason at all (but I must say they’re really sweet gals), but if I did, I would have my brothers to answer to.

Excellent advice Wendi, as usual. 😀

Good luck, Odd Sister Out!!!


Comment by Pam - Housewives of Frederick County.

Wow, Wendi hit it home baby! I totally feel for you, Odd Sister Out. Do you have any sisters of your own? Maybe you could bring her to the next ‘family’ gathering just so it doesn’t feel so lopsided. Also, she can give you her perspective on the whole dynamic. Unfortunately you can’t totally get them out of your life but always have your mental toolbox handy to deal with the animosity. Best of luck to you! Pam


Comment by Avprobeauty.

F sister in laws, I’m never getting married.


Comment by Christina.

Saw a great bumper sticker that said, “They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same” 🙂


Comment by Christina.

Saw a great bumper sticker that said, “They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.” 🙂


Comment by Christina.

Saw a great bumper sticker that said, “They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”


Comment by Ashley.

My bf of 6 years and two children later has a mom and dad who hate the living crap out of me. They’re complete bullies to me and my daughter and he insists we all get together every week to pretend to be one big happy family. They never do anything wrong. My daughter and I get two words said to us in the entire day we’re there while her little brother is loved on endlessly. I’m biding my time until finally it all comes out. Wretched wretched little people. My bf included. Getting a job soon to save enough money to leave his sorry @ss. I suggest LW do the same. It NEVER stops. EVER. They just find more ways to do what they do. Once a bully, always a bully. Once a cheater, always a cheater. You can’t change your opinion of these people for a second and they won’t change their little delusions of you either. Pack it up and move on.


Comment by Fragrant Liar.

I’m with Wendi. The less you engage on their level, the more intact your sanity, and the more interesting you become. You’ll be the enigma, and over time, maybe they’ll even begin to side with you when you absolutely must say something.


Comment by DevilsAdvocate.

While I agree with Wendi, there is (just possibly) another side to this. I mean, no one is innocent or blameless in this world. Is it at all possible that you might be setting yourself up for failure with oppositional behavior when you are around the in-laws? If you are expecting them to mistreat you, you may well be spoiling for the fight and setting the stage for the family to “gang up” on poor you. Don’t engage with crazy but also don’t start the crazy!


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Comment by Keyla.

I work with a toxic coworker… he’s awful, arrogant, a know it all, he interrupts constantly, doesn’t respect me or the things I believe in, treats me like I’m retarded and I was starting to feel really crappy about it, it was ruining my days, all the time. Then I decided one day that I wasn’t going to let him ruin my days anymore. So now when he starts talking crap or interrupts me when I’m talking, I simply stop talking, turn towards my desk, put my headphones on and ignore him. I’m not even subtle about it. It drives him nuts, it hasn’t changed him at all, but it’s certainly made me have better days!

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