Merging two families into one can be extremely difficult. Perhaps not in the day-to-day, but when traditions are called into question, anything could happen. And while mother-in-laws tend to get most of the negative attention, there’s another force to be reckoned with in many families — a sister-in-law.
If a sister-in-law doesn’t like you, she can cause plenty of stress in a marriage. According to Dr. Jane Greer, a relationship expert, “having a mean sister-in-law can definitely create strife and conflict between a husband and wife,” (via Brides). This is why it is very important to recognize signs and situations that show your sister-in-law doesn’t like you. When you recognize the signs, you can adjust your behavior to eliminate trouble or even completely solve the issues you both may have.
One sign that might be the most obvious indicator of dislike is not talking to one another — even if you are in tight quarters together, such as visiting her parents’ house at the same time (similar to what one struggling sister-in-law described in Scary Mommy). Accepting this mutual silence only perpetuates bad feelings. So, to mend it, you need to be willing to reach out and start a conversation to learn why she has some apparent animosity towards you.
More signs your sister-in-law isn't your biggest fan
There are tons of other signs besides not talking that indicate your sister-in-law’s aversion to you. For example, they might be tattletales by making negative comments about you to other family members. She might be controlling, judgmental, jealous, or even try to start fights over sore points that could fester between you and your spouse (via Parenting). Your sister-in-law might also try to manipulate you, project her feelings onto you, or even exaggerate things with words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ (via Hey Sigmund).
Even if your sister-in-law acts like this, there are ways to handle it without it becoming a long, drawn-out fight. Start by trying to understand where she is coming from ,such as a place of jealousy. Make your moves and talk to her while feeling empowered rather than feeling like you are being controlled. Take back the power you have within yourself and the relationship to address the issue, set boundaries, and resolve any conflict.
This should be done with care and empathy, though. Own who you are, but choose your battles carefully, and know that you don’t have to explain everything (via Hey Sigmund). She needs to do the same, but you might have to be the leader. Even if things get worse before they get better, it is worth fighting for more peaceful familial relationships, especially with your spouse’s relatives.
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