Does your sister-in-law send huge angry texts? Has she ever asked you to be part of a gossip web on behalf of someone or something? Is she always wanting to know about your life? Have you ever seen her wanting all the attention for you on family occasions? If your answer to two or more questions is “yes”, congratulations - you have a crazy sister-in-law. Of course, “crazy” can mean a multitude of things, but, starting from the situations mentioned above, let's say that it is not very normal. If your relative is one of those nutcases, read on to learn techniques for dealing with all the drama - the your attitudes count for a lot in these situations.
Method 1 of 5: Riding the Wave with Drama
Step 1. Recognize if your sister-in-law is a melodramatic
It is not very easy to deal with the dynamics of a relationship with someone melodramatic, especially if the person is the type who spends his life drawing attention to himself and making the whole family mobilize in times not always necessary.
- On the next family occasion, stay cool and watch. Notice how she interacts with other family members, how she reacts to what they say and do. Notice if people walk on eggshells and “agree not to wind up” when dealing with her, as that's how she gets everything she wants.
- Whenever she brings up a potentially dramatic subject, notice what happens next. It may be that other relatives strongly agree with her point of view about the absurd price of electricity, or gas, or raising a child, or personal care products, or dog bathing and grooming, or of mechanic etc. Maybe they'll agree to her every complaint at the same time (which will lead to more complaints, of course). The fact is that they corroborate this tearful and negative attitude that her sister-in-law adopts in a cowardly posture, to avoid confrontation. You can't change this dynamic on your own and suddenly, but you can take a new stance if you don't complain about anything yourself-and thus make yourself an example.
- See what happens when they disagree with her. Does she pout? Does she even throw a tantrum or try to fight back by attacking and belittling the person? While it is important to take a firm stance on the things that make a difference, it is necessary to know how to deal with a childish adult, who reacts like a child when he is upset. Learn, for example, that you can agree to disagree, not tacitly disagree. For that, you'll have to realize exactly what she wants - attention? Feel like you are dear? Ask for help?. It is possible to recognize these signs and think differently, but without agreeing with the worldview and posture she adopts.
Step 2. Don't get involved in the drama
Let your sister-in-law rant, vent, and put your dick in the world all you want, but don't join her. Try not to take anything she says personally; the wilder and more irrational her responses, the more desperate her desperation to provoke and get at someone-maybe even you-and get all the attention back to herself. If they're at her house or a neutral place, let her have a fit, tell her you'll come back when she's calmer, and leave. On the other hand, if they are in the your say you have something more important to do, or that you need to go to bed early, and say goodbye.
Method 2 of 5: Dealing With Your Weaknesses
Step 1. Analyze yourself first
This is much more difficult if someone is pushing the envelope, but it is necessary, as it is your reaction that will define how she feels she can act with you. Here are some things to pay attention to:
- If you keep silent, your sister-in-law may think you are an idiot, dazzled, or that you can only be quiet because you are angry with her for whatever reason. No matter what the answer is, she probably feels superior in all three options and will most likely use your silence to reinforce her own point of view at the expense of yours. If, on the other hand, you smile and accept everything she says, maybe she considers you more of a doormat.
- If you argue with your sister-in-law, she might think that her brother or sister has married a spiteful, stressed, and bitter person who hates her and will do anything to interfere with their siblings' relationship. You will probably act to defend yourself but, according to her, you are the one who doesn't care about her feelings and bring her down all the time. This is not to say that you shouldn't disagree with her, but that the way you do it should be cautious.
Step 2. Set your limits
When she tries to force you to talk about something, respond firmly and politely, always being clear about what you think. Avoid getting emotional; if she says things simply and objectively, it will be harder for her to invent a drama about herself. She's likely to keep criticizing you for simply speaking her mind assertively, but that shouldn't stop you from being yourself. After all, she will have to respect someone who isn't rude, doesn't lose her mind when she talks and makes herself clear, even about her own limits - if she doesn't, everyone will see who's calm and who isn't.
For example, let's say your daughter So-and-So got hurt because she was running in the street. Your sister-in-law may insist that So-and-so needs to see a doctor, or the consequences will be dire. You know it's nothing serious and that she's well taken care of, but your sister-in-law keeps pushing it, putting terror into simple facts, dramatizing the possible dire outcomes if you don't follow what she's saying. Be calm and answer, “It's very kind of you to notice that So-and-so has a bruise on her knee, but she'll be fine. This happens all the time and is how she learns to deal with the world, going to the doctor is not necessary”. There, that's it, the drama is over. If she keeps trying to push the envelope, smile and change the subject - refuse to talk about it again
Method 3 of 5: Dealing With Your Spouse
Step 1. Talk to your partner about how you feel
Don't curse, insult or insinuate things about your sister-in-law. Prefer to explain how you feel when she starts shooting everywhere and you're in the middle. Your partner can't blame you for feeling that way, so be clear and weigh everything you want to say. Then he will see that you have already understood your sister-in-law's dynamics and that you have chosen not to be involved in her dramas.
Say, for example, “You know, when your sister starts talking about the difficulties she has to pay for the children's private school, I get angry because we can't even pay our rent properly, and it seems like she never finishes the matter. From now on, when she starts this conversation, I think we can show that we sympathize with the problem, but we can't talk about it all night. I wanted to ask for your help to, for example, change the subject, something that does not involve money, preferably. Do you think you can help me with this?”
Step 2. Ask your partner to think carefully before talking about family issues
There's no problem with that; while you love to hear the news about your sister-in-law's life, all the drama that accompanies her is no fun. In fact, it is a good measure to start by explaining exactly what the “drama” you are referring to is. Help him to differentiate what is normal novelty and what is strange about the conversation. Soon, he will also learn to recognize the pattern of what is unnecessary, and you will have healthier emotional conversations about family.
- Whenever your sister-in-law starts reproducing these patterns in your home, talk to your partner. If you need to, create a non-verbal signal for these specific times.
- Ban all malicious gossip in your home and make it clear that you will not take part in it when you are elsewhere. Talk, try to come to terms with gossip and backbiting, and when they start talking bad about others around you, say they don't have that habit. don't worry if you is the subject of gossip, show that you're better than that and don't retaliate.
Method 4 of 5: Handling Your Sister-in-Law's Calls and Messages
Step 1. Prefer to ignore unresponsive messages
If the topic has nothing to do with family gatherings, if it's not positive or just plain normal, don't respond; messages that only express her anger at minor everyday factors, that make it clear that she is resentful of you for something she apparently did or said, or that are intended to maliciously gossip about someone in the family, ignore it.
Don't immediately send a response with anger, reprimand or apology - if you feel angry, don't take any action, let the time pass until you cool off before responding (if absolutely necessary). Reacting with irritation will only make family tension worse
Step 2. Do not interact with your sister-in-law through social media, especially if she likes to tease
A dramatic and boring person in real life probably has the same habits on the internet, which will potentially annoy you even more and perhaps make you lose patience with publications and virtual outbursts.
- Here are some action options if she sends a friend request:
- Just ignore it and don't add it. When she asks the reason, simply say that it's not to be on the internet too much, that social media is time consuming, etc.
- Respond with a “Thanks for adding me, but I'm not accepting anyone new to my profile for lack of time/privacy/too many friends”, or something like that. A card up your sleeve is to say “Anyway, we always see each other in person and I prefer to talk directly”.
- Set up her profiles for maximum privacy so she can't see who your friends are. Don't answer, say that you stopped using social media or that there are very few people you interact with on the internet, and you have no interest in changing that right now. If you say you didn't receive the friend request, she will eventually send it back and let you know; in that case, maybe you have enough time to dissuade her from the idea with a “I'll take a look” (even if it means Never give that “look”).
- Add it to a more neutral network like Pinterest. Thus, you will share your common love for photography, cooking and art in a humane and pleasurable way.
- If there is a discussion about the friend request, avoid the term “friends” as much as possible. Thanks to social media, the term “friend” is taken literally and many people are, at most, followers or fans. Your sister-in-law may feel rejected if you mention one of these options to her “friendship”.
- If she's already a follower on your networks, it might be a good idea to block her or set up some posts for her not to see. You will probably have to give an explanation for this - being a melodramatic person, she will not only notice, but will also be quite offended. Make a good excuse.
Step 3. Be careful with the relationship, both virtually and over the phone
There are people who, in addition to being dramatic, are abusive; if this is the case for your sister-in-law, it is a good strategy to record the conversations you have to show your partner and family, if necessary. E-mails, text messages, voice messages and the like should be kept, as some people with these characteristics like to attack others when no one is watching, thinking that no one will have the courage to expose them. The idea here is not to seek out your sister-in-law's rottenness, but beware if she tries any move in that direction. Keep in mind that this is only an extreme measure - if you know how to act with a cool head in situations that involve you, everyone can see who is causing the trouble.
Method 5 of 5: Looking for a better coexistence in the future
Step 1. Go with your lives
After all, you married your partner, not his family. Of course, relatives come with the package, but they are not intimate with you and do not share your life together. Make it clear that you are not bothered by jealousy, innuendo, gossip, and rumors, and soon your sister-in-law will realize that needling and teasing has no effect on you. That way, the games will cease and she will likely look for someone else to bother, even if reluctantly.
- Spend less time in your sister-in-law's presence. Think about the ways you are connected and strive to spend less time with her. When you can, arrange with other relatives to meet them at times when she is not present. It's not a good idea to do this all the time, or everyone will notice you're avoiding her and she'll be right to complain; it's enough that you are not there every time she is. If you live far away and have to visit it once a year, find accommodation so you can relax.
- Go for walks, go for a walk, and don't spend too much time at family events, especially if they irritate you. If there's anyone who knows how to pick up on the weak spot, it's relatives and, unfortunately, many like to do that; Of course, when that happens, your sister-in-law should be happy to have a whole team to pester you, and the best thing you can do is spend as little time with them as possible.
Step 2. Listen to what your sister-in-law has to say
One option that usually works is to let your guard down, get off the defensive, and listen to what she's saying. When she is at the height of her complaint, resist the temptation to answer that she doesn't know what difficulty in life is, rather try to understand what really bothers her, what makes her so angry and indignant. Take the focus off yourself, recognize that your sister-in-law is also entitled to dislike something, and you may find yourself surprised by her reaction. Respond to her complaints neutrally and without judgment; say something like "Wow, going through all this just to pay a utility bill is very frustrating, especially with four kids to raise!" Don't offer advice or solutions, don't mention paying for her or solving the problem. Believe me, she can handle it, you just need to listen.
Step 3. Be empathetic
If your sister-in-law has already done this, if she's tried to expose you or put you down, she'll probably do it again, even if you don't care. However, what is the origin of this behavior? If you are ready and calm to think about it, make sure she is not an insecure, lonely person, maybe she feels left out, or is a compulsive controller. You can be compassionate and emotionally withdraw from the drama. Without you as the scapegoat, she will eventually have to deal with her own problems and will no longer see you as a target.