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Sabotaging Sister In Law

Dear Sugar
My sister-in-law got drunk about two years ago and laid into my husband about me in front of our whole family. She went into everything I had ever done that she perceived as a slight to her and her family.

Her parents apparently agree since they have sided with her. Now, I feel extremely uncomfortable around my husband's family. I apologized to her at the time of the fight, but she has refused to apologize for her actions. She claims that we make her get that angry and it was time to get these issues out in the open.

She has a history of this type of behavior with her other brother and sister-in-law. DearSugar, how can we handle future family get togethers? We are ignored and made to feel 2nd rate. Ganged Up On Gwen

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Dear Ganged Up On Gwen
The most important thing that you can do is to keep a unified front between you and your husband around the family. If they see that they can even slightly come between you two, they’ll try and tear you guys apart. You can’t let that happen.

Can you divide and conquer? It’s not fair to have a forum for everyone to gang up on you. Set up a time to talk to your husband’s parents first since they matter most. They only want their son to be happy, so you’ve got a chance to make things right with them.

Listen to what they have to say and apologize if you can understand their perspective and see how something that you’ve done may have offended them. If not, then just explain your intentions and try and figure out a way that you can all move forward as a loving family.

Next, talk to your sister in law. If she feels that it’s necessary to get into all of the details, explain to her that she's hurt you too. Instead of focusing on the past, you would just like to move on and figure out a way to have a civilized family relationship.

Be firm about the fact that you are not going anywhere so you must find a resolution. Tell her that all this is doing is just hurting your husband and her brother.

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