16 answers

How Do I Deal with a Jealous and Envious Sister and Sister-n-law

Well, to make a long story short, my sister and I have not been getting along. Six months ago we got into it because I finally got tired of her remarks like "why do you have to keep accompanying your boyfriend to the bathroom?" (this was during a camping trip) and "Now are you going to wash his A...?" (this was because I accompanied my boyfriend to the shower) Well, a month ago my sister started calling me again and not to be rude I talked to her, but she didn't mention what had happened on our camping trip. We were together again at our mom's house and I continued to carry normal conversation. I had also decided to attend our mom's yearly Christmas Eve party knowing that my sister and sister-n-law (whom pulls her ignoring act and hates you all of a sudden but you never know why---probably because you walked the wrong way, I don't know)would be there who hated each other before but now suddenly are the best of friends. Anyways, I chose to sit quietly and mind my own business because I already felt very uncomfortable and out of place. Anyone who wanted to talk I talked with joyfully. After unwrapping our gifts my sister asked how we (my boyfriend and I) liked ours. I told her it was exactly what I needed and "thank you."
Well, I guess the evening was not to my sister's liking because she called two days later to fight. She wanted to know why I didn't thank her for the gift, why did I not talk to her that night (which I did...I was not ignoring her), and why did I say in my bible study that the only reason we had our fight at the camping trip was because she was not SAVED. Let me explain the last one a little more. You see my sister-n-law never attends the same bible study (we are Christians) that I do and when she had shown up, I was a little weary. So, like every week at bible study, I pray for my sister and for her healing with any issues she may be dealing or not dealing with and that may the Lord help her in her troubles. Anything we say in our small groups is confidential and is not to be repeated outside that room and my sister-n-law turned a prayer into gossip! (May the Lord help her...)
So, my question is how do I deal with my family. Both my sister and sister-n-law are dependent on their husbands for everything and don't seem to have hobbies or interests of their own. My sister has an eating disorder and is very unhappy in her marriage. I am already changing churches and have told my mom that I won't attend any more family functions. Any advice girls?

What can I do next?

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I have a similar issue with my mother, and recently a friend of mine told me a saying and it has changed the way I think tremendously.
"It is what it is, nothing more and nothing less."
I know it sounds corny but honestly you cant change the way anyone else thinks or acts you just need to take a step back and think "It is what it is." If you and the sister or sister in law start to get into it just step back and say "I have to go now we will talk again later." And realize nobody gets along ALL THE TIME. Just chose to walk away (or hang up) when you feel the stress levels starting to rise.
Best of luck and Happy New year!

1 mom found this helpful

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I have a similar issue with my mother, and recently a friend of mine told me a saying and it has changed the way I think tremendously.
"It is what it is, nothing more and nothing less."
I know it sounds corny but honestly you cant change the way anyone else thinks or acts you just need to take a step back and think "It is what it is." If you and the sister or sister in law start to get into it just step back and say "I have to go now we will talk again later." And realize nobody gets along ALL THE TIME. Just chose to walk away (or hang up) when you feel the stress levels starting to rise.
Best of luck and Happy New year!

1 mom found this helpful

D.,
I didnt realize you and I could possibly have the same sister-in-law. The only difference is you have mine on a good day. I know this wont help but my sister-in-law is no longer a part of anything anymore as my husband got tired of her as well. My advice is to just plain refuse to be around her ever. I have been married for 18 years and that girl has been a thorn in my side for about 9 of those! She is just plain crazy and loves a problem so she can cry and get attention from her father (he passed away 2 years ago) Now she does her own thing but has a very hard time understanding why no one wants to be around her. Seriously let it go and just stay away from her at all cost! Your family will understand if they know how bad she makes things for you.

C.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
Jesus said to love God first and love your neighbor second. Loving God, really loving him will take us places that are often difficult. You have been given a very difficult assignment, and that is to love your sister, and her sister-in-law. You can't love her with your own natural love, but will have to get alone with God for that kind of love. Notice I said "get alone", this is not something that will be transferred to you through a small group Bible study unless you are willing to be honest with your own "stuff". Some of that stuff might be feeling that you are better than your sister. Why,look at all you've accomplished, supporting your family, getting a BA without asking for help,volunteering in the community, singing at church, it sounds like you've really got it all together. But Jesus said that it ALL boils down to Love. Going to church does not make you a christian. The sign that you really are is christian is your love for one another. Sharing your "prayers" for your sister in front of her sister-in-law, uncovering her despair and pain does not seem like a loving thing. You mentioned that you prayed these things every week, "like every week at bible study, I pray for my sister and for her healing with any issues she may be dealing or not dealing with and that may the Lord help her in her troubles".

So, D., what would Jesus do? How would Jesus love her? She's in an unhappy marriage, has an eating disorder, and doesn't have any concept of how much she is loved and adored by Father God. She is striking out in her pain. Where is Jesus in this picture? I know he wants to love her into wholeness. When you find out how loved and treasured you are by Father God, what joy and delight He takes in you, you will have enough love to help you love her the way she really needs to be loved. My prayer is that you find a church where the love of God and from God is overflowing and you can be drenched and saturated so much that her hurtful words can have no impact on you.

Dear D.,

The holidays can be so hard with family! Seems like you are moving ahead with your life, and you hit the nail on the head regarding their being jealous. Being cheerful is so important. Don't let them get you off course! Frankly, you already are dealing with it, but do you feel uncomfortable?

Sounds like they are unhappy and followers in their lives, so is might be threatening and hard for them to let you be happy and independent. They are projecting their sadness and frustration on you. They are acting childish and insecure for whatever reason.

Compassion and love go a long way, and you can't let them take you off your course.

When people were jealous of me in school and doing stupid things to try to "get my goat" my mom said to never stoop to their level or get pulled into their stuff. It was hard, but I did it and pretty soon (amazingly soon, actually) they stopped bothering me. And, things like that soon slipped off my back because I learned to be neutral toward them. I didn't do anything to antagonize them, or to criticize them.

With family it can be a little different, but if you can stay neutral and not emotional, you will keep yourself clear and happy. Then you can carry on with what you need to do in your life. You might even have to make active decisions about what to say around people who know them, even in bible study! Not everyone can keep confidences, I am so sorry to say.

Probably the best thing to do is send them love through prayer, but stay neutral! Try really hard not to be swayed emotionally by the conversations and accusations. Anytime you are offered a dish of negative or critical talk, just say "no thank you" on the inner and be cheerful yourself.

It saddens me to hear that you have decided to not attend any family functions and switch churches. As Christians we are the light to the world. You could be a wonderful example of Christ's love to your sister and sisiter-in-law. When we are living God's Will, Satan is going to use all things and situations (& relationships) to get us to do what he wants us to do. Remember your commit to God and be His tool for the ones that aren't as strong in their relationship with God as you are. Listen for His guidance. I will be praying for you. In Christ, T. M.

Well, I have had my own trouble with family and have been hurt a few times. Here is my honest true advise. Family is really important and you need to embrace people for who the are not what you hope them to be. Running away and judging them is something I tried and i was the only lonely one then.

I am not saying go against your values, I am saying lower you expectations of others and raise your boundries and that way people can be exactly who they are and you get to decide how they effect you. You sound very independent so this may be easy for you, but not particiapating in your family and running away is sad. Who benefits and it keeps the wounds open. Go for it and then everybody is a winner.

Remember to live each day like it was your last...I am sure none ofthis would matter then

hi D. -
wow, family rifts can be so complicated and difficult. i can tell you from experience that this type of dynamic can only be helped by using communication with others, compassion for others, ownership of our own part (it takes two, etc) and love and time. not going to family functions is NOT the answer (you punish everyone in the family for what?!?), love and communication are. you didn't sound so compassionate about the struggles your sisters are going through...someone has to be a hero - can it be you? we are all able to offer our strengths at different times in our lives, and your sisters sound like they could use positive guidance/mentoring. perhaps loving, open and honest communication from you would help them - and you! speculation can be dangerous, too (for example, assuming what someone means with a look or an attitude - our imagination usually ALWAYS blows things out of proportion).
anyhow, good luck and make sure that you're taking responsibility for what you bring to the table and aren't finding yourself pointing your finger at others...remember to communicate and love, not alienate and separate.
peace!

Please don't take this the wrong way - but you need to learn to accept them for who they are. There is nothing wrong with how they are living their lives - You are an achiever always striving for more - they are content to be dependent - - - not one is better or worse than the others. You might deep down be a little jealous that you don't have someone you can be dependent on besides yourself.... I think it is a mistake to turn your back on your family - your son should have the right to know his family - the good, the bad and the ugly...

My mother did what you are proposing and it cost me my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles - I understand and respect why my mother did it - they were always harping on her and insulting her - - - but I do wish she could have found a way to love them and not let their words hurt her....

Just a thought...Maybe when you accompanied your boy fiend to the bathroom/shower they saw themselves in your actions. They see you as the good girl that can't and or doesn't make mistakes. Its easier for them to reduce you to nothing because it biulds up whatever tiny seed of esteem they might have. Which really says they don't have any. I go through very similar attitudes with my family. Love them and be a part with them but don't give them the right to ridicule you. Speak up for yourself and what you believe. When they say things that hurt you tell them right then and there~! Pray for them that they would not be so critical and your heart not to be hardend towards them. Life is too short to keep hard feelings.

Hi D.,

Honestly, I think you should get over it. How would you feel if your sister and sister-in-law died tomorrow? Would you want to end your relationship on a sour note because your pride didn't allow you to accept them for being the way they are? Doesn't the Christian religion tell you that all have fallen short of the glory of God, and doesn't that include you? I would say that you and your sister are probably very much the same, and that forgiveness, or rather acceptance of her would be the best way for you to "get over" your issues. Trust me, a life in strife with your family over petty issues is not worth it.

My partners ex and her two sisters are constantly bickering over one thing or another. They cannot forgive and accept, but fail to see how they are being exactly the same to each other. They will live their life miserable about their relationships, and I guarantee if one did die suddenly all would be forgiven and only regret would be left behind. Think about that, next time you are feeling like you need to pray to save your sister.

Good luck,
T.

I have somewhat a similar issue with both my mom and my sister. Needless to say, cause of the trouble they have caused in my life, i have nothing to do with eaither one of them anymore. hopefully your situation will turn out better then mine

Hello D.,
I have not responded before D. but when it comes to family it tugs on my heart.I am just going to pour out what my heart is telling me to say: I understand your frustration with rude comments or judgemental actions from your sister and sister in law, BUT, it seems they need you more than you know. I know you are probably thinking there is nothing nice you want to do when it comes to them BUT set the stage of what its like to be a Christian and love on them. The devil is trying to get them and if you stop going to family functions who are they going to be able to look up to? JUST A THOUGHT!

To me, it sounds as if your sisters unhappiness is the root of her issues.It also seems she is jealopus of your happiness in your relationship, and in your life in general. I have a somewhat similar situation with my sister-in-law. I never know if she will speak to me, or about me (in front of me)! After 17 years of marriage, I have just decided that I cannot control the way she acts, but I can control if I let it get to me or not. Ugliness on the inside = ugliness on the outside.
I am a christian as well, and the whole bible study/prayer group thing was out of line. While you may want to address the issue with your sister-in-law, you might want to lead by example so-to-speak. Maybe next prayer meeting, you could pray that God might bless her with the wisdom of knowing appropriate conversation and inappropriate conversation.
You never mention how your Mom deals with any of this. Is she aware? How about your brother? You might have a little confidential chat with your Mom and tell her how uncomfortable you are feeling and why. She might be able to offer you some great advice.
Keep your focus on God and your son, and you cannot go wrong! I will be praying for you!

Oh man! I live with my family on the same property and its hard to make and keep boundaries intact at times. I guess all you can do is keep your communication clear with them and express in a non blaming way but just how you feel when she says or does things. You know what shes up against with an eating disorder an such- alot of not loving herself. If you can remember we lash out sometimes to distract from our own pain and shes just having a hard time. Make and keep your boundaries- changing church and unfortunately minimal family stuff. Gotta take care of yourself. Good luck!

I think it is unfortunate that you have to change churches because of extended family and their problems. I would definitely never join a Bible study with extended family because family issues are often discussed, and it should be a place of complete confidentiality. If you like your church you could just switch Bible studies. As far as family functions, a cooling off period sounds like a good idea, but if you want to see your mom you may have to put up with them once in a while. Just be polite, limit your contact and screen your phone calls. As long as you are confident that your own behavior toward them is Christian-like then you are doing okay. And keep praying for them.

Hi D.,

Families are a hard thing to deal with. You are a graduate with a BA degree in Sociology. I would hope, that with your BA degree in that field, that you would have the working skills to work this one out. If not, please let me give you some advice that you may not want.

Tossing a little comment that your sister is not saved, was a cop out on your part. You profess to be a Christian, so turn the other cheek. I'm serious. This of this: So what if you feel that your sister and sis-in-law are friends. I'm not friends with either one of my sis-in-laws because we do very different things. They are apparently friends and do things together that I am not involved with because they are always trying to out do each other... their problem, not mine. I personally have much better things to do with my life that be competitive with another woman.

I am a house painter and they are office types. I wear blue jeans and they wear skirts. We have nothing in common. At family gatherings, I talk to my aunt, my parents, my brothers, my own adult kids and I will talk with my nieces (who are adults but can barely converse in public) and nephew, and if one of my sister-in-laws engages in conversation, I converse. If they have issues with that, then tough. End of sentence.

Today will be our "Christmas". If one of my sister-in-laws thinks that she needs to tell me about my husband's and my adopted RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) daughter, to tell me what that girl (adult) is doing these days... (this girl put us through total misery, and threw away her own baby boy, but now she lives with some actor in LA... the entire story is very long), I intend to firmly and quietly tell my sister-in-law off. I know that the woman will be quite vocally offended, gasping, spitting and sputtering and all that, if this happens. Her problem, certainly not mine.

So, accept your family for who they are and don't get twisted up with them. You can find a more socially acceptable group of women friends to hang out with - go camping with. I did, and I'm much happier in the very long run.

About me:

I am 54 years old, married to the same man since the both of us were 18 years old. We are high school sweethearts and married over 35 years. (Yes, it takes a lot of work to stay married for that long - both parties must stay committed). We have two sons, ages 33 and 30. I am a grandmother of a nearly 5 year old girl, and a 3 month old boy. I am a house painter of 35 years. My husband is a building contractor. I have been a volunteer firefighter/EMT/Ambulance tech (10 years). I rescue equine (20+) years. I was also a beautician many years ago too. I also volunteered for the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program and was their "volunteer of the year" in 2006.

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