How do I handle a sister-in-law who takes out her feelings on my kids?

Lauren - posted on 12/30/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My fiancée's sister & I never had many issues originally, she was just not overly friendly towards me. My fiancée did warn me that she can have attitude problems & the family generally just shrugs their shoulders & says that's (R) - I won't list her name, I'll just call her R. Anyway, I never really took it personally & we were polite enough to one another at family gatherings. Then one Christmas 3 yrs ago, my fiancée's ex wife dropped his kids off to his parents & the ex wife & sister chatted & I heard the sister say it had been too long & they should get together & they exchanged phone numbers. So they began spending more time together & they began complaining about me to one another & seemed to find joy in being upset with me together, for instance when I asked my fiancée if his daycare costs dropped when his son started 1st grade & only attended after school care. He asked the ex wife for updated invoices. She couldn't provide them so he refused to give her his share of daycare costs until she provided invoices. The sister got upset on behalf of the ex wife & complained about me to her Mother. Obviously this info made it back to me via my fiancée. The sister & ex wife felt it was my fault for putting the idea in my fiancées head to ask for invoices, conveniently forgetting that it was a requirement written in the divorce decree & all I really did was mention that daycare should have been cheaper since he wasn't in full day care anymore. Anyway, despite these issues we still played pretend on holidays & she still got gifts for my kids on Christmas & birthdays. This year I know the sister got worked up when I told the ex wife my fiancée was switching jobs & there might be a lapse in the kids healthcare. I happened to mention she might want to look into Medicaid for the kids for the few weeks they didn't have healthcare. The sister said how dare I suggest the ex wife get Medicaid for them when the father is legally obligated to provide the healthcare. I said he can't get Medicaid since the kids don't live with him. Only the parent the child resides with can apply. Anyway, that was about three weeks ago. On Christmas, my son went with my fiancée to his parents. I stayed home since I didn't feel like playing pretend with the sister & her attitude. When they arrived home I asked my fiancée if his sister said anything about me. He said no; however, she gave my fiancées 3 kids Christmas presents & then gave my son nothing. His Mother gave him an apologetic look & said something like she can't force R to buy my kids Christmas gifts. They went to the parents on Saturday so they could see the brother this time. My daughter went this time since she wasn't with her Dad like she was on Christmas. His Mother gave my daughter a Christmas & bday gift (her bday was the 26th), the brother gave my daughter a Christmas & bday gift & both gave my son a Christmas gift, but the sister gave nothing. I emailed her to say that if she has issues with me, she has no reason to take it out on my kids!! They have no idea she doesn't like me. They call her Auntie R & always ask to go to her house & swim in her pool. My daughter asked me why Auntie R doesn't like them anymore since she gave them gifts before. I couldn't even say she was broke & couldn't afford them cause they watched my fiancées kids open big expensive gifts from her. It's not even the gifts that are the issue. It's her desire to make my kids feel like outsiders & to try to hurt them to hurt me. I think it's absolutely disgusting!!! When I emailed the sister she said she's not obligated to buy gifts for her brothers girlfriends kids. She said she takes care of her brothers kids quite well & if I have a problem with it then that's my problem. She claimed that part of the reason was cause my fiancée, and therefore I, did not buy a gift for her daughter. Her daughter is 19. 3 yrs ago all the brothers & sisters made a pact not to buy gifts for adults anymore, only kids. So starting this yr, all the family members treated the daughter as one of the adults. I don't buy that excuse. Cause then why buy for her brothers kids when he didn't get a gift either?? I used to stay home & assume that as long as I didn't see her there would be no issues, but now she's taking out her issues with me on my kids since I'm not there. I don't know how to handle this going forward?? My kids want to see the brother & grandparents & I know his Mom won't refuse to let the sister come just cause she acts like this. So how can I keep my kids from being her targets while still letting them see the other family? I really want to make it clear to the sister that this type of behavior is not acceptable & that we won't get together with her & play pretend while she behaves like this. I feel like she acts this way because her family tends to turn a blind eye & just ignore it therebye making the behavior somewhat acceptable in their eyes or at least permitting her to continue this type of behavior with no repercussions.

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Cristina - posted on 01/02/2013

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Like my mom says: "Don;t be so darn sensitive"...Tell your kid she is a juvenile bitch and move on. II don't change the world for my children, I TEACH them how to handle it. My ex's GF did not get the kids anything for Christmas even though they bought her stuff; they told me "Eh, she is just a two-faced selfish woman" and we laughed about it and I bought them an extra toy and told them we don;t need any cr#p from anybody. On the other hand, my MIL went over-board with presents for my kids as well, and God bless Her for that :)

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Kisha - posted on 01/08/2016

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God is going to make sure our babies are fine and I am a living testimony to all trust me and let go and let God and see how good things coming along.

Kisha - posted on 01/08/2016

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Baby girl I pray to god things are better with the kids and the R Sister whatever and WHO ever she may be but you leave that in gods hand cause he takes care of babies and fools the right way how dare anyone to take something out on a kid that is because they still a kid and has a lot of growing up to do me myself I'm a dyfes consultant and I am for the kids getting back to the parents ASAP and my response to what you went though is about nothing you Show a person you bigger than better and whether they do it or not your kids will always be ok as long as you have lungs to breeze air darling she don't make you nor break you like I said things they happen the way they do because this is what a person been wanting to do but anything after but is bull she will hurt even more if you fall back away from her for a while and I'm sure she will pick up on what she lost as a family member sometimes in-laws have some selfish ways but when you show them that you don't care and your not beat that's when they get to stressing like wow I wonder why such an such hasn't been over and then boom you got them in the headlock they will try and buy your love and friendship and kinship back cause they start missing you .

Lauren - posted on 12/12/2013

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Wow, this is the first time I received a notification someone responded. So I'll try to address all points. We are actually married now. We were married shortly after all this happened since, we had that point, been together for 4 years, now almost 5. When I live in a home with someone and share joint bills and joint responsibilities, all information is joint, decisions are joint, and anything that affects him, affects me. I do not think it is over-stepping my boundaries to be involved in discussions about Medicaid, since I'm the one standing there in court ready to figure out how to bail him out of jail with $1,000 in cash when his ex-wife tries to hold him in contempt (luckily it didn't come to that), but nevertheless, his situations cause repercussions for me and the last thing I needed was his ex-wife to try to say that we didn't provide healthcare for the children, so I was being proactive.

My children's Father lives in FL. If I don't handle gifts for them, they don't really get many. A good portion of their family is in FL. My brother and sister are far younger than me, so we often don't exchange gifts. That is part of why they love going to my husband's family's holidays. AND AGAIN, it is NOT the gifts, it is the fact that she purposefully excludes my children as if they're not part of the family, and the reason behind it is only to try to anger me, I mean it doesn't get more juvenile than that. I'm still trying to figure out how to handle this year. I told my husband's Mom, that I would prefer to come late, with my children, after gifts have already been passed out. This way they don't have to watch the other kids open things and be reminded that they, yet again, are "not family" - which will hurt even more now considering my husband and I are married, so anyone that thought we were not family last year, then what is the reason this year? My husband's brother adopted his wife's daughter. She is treated as if it is his own daughter by all of the family, but because my children don't have the same last name I guess that makes them not family in certain people's eyes.

As far as my husband, yes, I wish he would get involved more when people do these things. The reason his sister and ex-wife act the way they do is because he lets them. Sadly, the thing that I love about him, is also the thing I sometimes hate the most, he is very laid back and non-argumentative. I like that part of him until he needs to show some loyalty and put his foot down and say you can't treat me or my family this way, then it becomes frustrating. I love the man, I'm trying to get him to be a little more passionate about telling people this treatment is not acceptable, but often times he defers to me to handle it. I mean I told him the other day that the cable company needed to waive the installation fee because they messed up the installation. He asked them to credit it, the woman said no, and he said OK. I started telling him what he should say to her and he just handed me the phone and said you do it, I'm not good at this stuff. I got the fee waived by the way. Anyway, I have to work with what I'm given and sometimes that means that knowing that just because my husband doesn't get involved and stand up for us, doesn't mean that he doesn't love us or doesn't think the behavior is wrong, it just means he isn't good with confrontation and seeing that most of his family is the same way except for his sister, you can see why so many of them ignore her behavior and hope it will go away. The problem I see, though, is that her behavior only gets worse after it is left un-addressed. He has another sister, who was unemployed and didn't buy anyone gifts. I don't care at all that she didn't get my children gifts because she was not purposefully trying to exclude my children to hurt them or me, she wasn't able to do that for anyone, so again, it's not the gifts, it's the exclusion aspect of it. Seeing as I held my daughter as she cried and cried a few days ago because we found out that she can't go to FL this Christmas to see her Dad (and hasn't been able to go down the last 2 Summers either and hasn't seen him in 9 months), I'd really prefer that my children not experience any more torment this year.

Leela - posted on 12/12/2013

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Firstly you can't control her actions only yours. She is under no obligation to purchase gifts for your kids and you need to recognize that. I am reading your post and wondering where your fiancé is in all of this. I think you're overstepping boundaries e.g Medicare. Your fiancé should be having this conversation, not you, particularly as you're not married yet. Step back, it's not the end of the world and your kids will get over not having a gift. You have a much bigger issue in that your fiancé should be more involved.

Mary - posted on 09/19/2013

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Hi Lauren your kids should always come 1st & you seem like you want what's best for them so you need to explain to your fiancé that if he doesn't tell her to change her attitude or when she does act like that towards you or your kids he should say something coz its his family & if he doesn't you should say to him well if everybody is going to shrug off her behaviour everytime well then I will not allow my kids to be treated like this so if the brother & grandparents wish to see your kids then they can come visit your kids at your house or meet you somewhere without her around coz the only reason she continues to do it & (she will trust me) is because nobody says anything to her & I feel if your fiancé respects you & your kids that he should step in when she treats you or your kids this way & you & your kids deserve better... Hope it helps ... I know what it's like to be treated like that & I will never let anyone do this to my child & my husband knows if he doesn't stand by me when it comes to our child then he knows where the door is coz nobody disrespects my child or myself coz if it was my family disrespecting him I would stand up for him & not let it happen & I hate when people shrug off other people's behaviour coz if we all acted this way coz that's just how we are then I'm sure you could have more attitude than her if you wanted to but you choose not to be nasty & if you did it wouldn't be acceptable all because that's not you so just give it back to them if needed as you & your children deserve better & I know what you mean that it's not about the gift but they still went the wrong way about it coz that is unfair to your children so I say stuff them & if the nice people that accept you & your children in his family then they can visit you & the kids as I would never trust ANYONE that didn't like me ANYWHERE near my kid for any reason good luck hope you & your kids get the love & respect you deserve

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