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I received this letter and have modified to conceal the person's identity.
Dear Garden Oracle,
I have an issue that I am not sure how to resolve. My sister-in-law and I have not gotten along since day one, we could not be any more different. She has friended, unfriended, blocked, and unblocked me for years on social media. I have wanted to block her for years, as she will use anything to bully or pick a fight. My brother-in-law is a gentleman and not a game player. She considers herself the queen bee, is the first daughter-in-law, and is vindictive and harsh if she does not like you. Recently, she sent me a message asking me something and it came out of the left field. I answered no, enquiring about her and her husband. No response. Okay, I set it aside. I shared with my spouse that she had unfriended me, sent me this odd message, and they were of no real support other than asking "what have you done now?' Clearly, I am on my own here. She intimidates everyone in the family.
I would have blocked her years ago if I had felt that it would not create a negative ripple for my spouse. I have blocked her on everything now, including my phone. I wish that I never had to talk to, see her, or interact with her again. I would never have chosen to have her in my life. For years now, I have kept my mouth shut, put up with her uppity attitude, and her trivializing my children and me. My kids will not relate to her at all now.
The holidays are nearly here, and I dread having to see her, deal with her, or having her create a SCENE at a family function. I live several hours from her, so if I do go to a gathering, and have to leave, my spouse is put in a very awkward position.
This is the same family that has in nearly 20 years, failed to acknowledge a birthday for me, yet they get a card and a gift from my family every year.
What can I do?
Sick of the Game Playing
Thank you for your letter. I empathize with your situation and thank you for permitting me to publish it.
You are not alone. I have worked with countless clients with the same familial issue. When I am working in the capacity of the officiant, I make the strong point of letting the couple know that their families are marrying, not just the two of them,
You cannot choose your in-laws, it can be such a roll-of-the-dice. Find comfort in the people that you find resonance, and be cordial to the in-laws that you feel shacked to for life.
Firstly, remember that you love your spouse. This is the worse part of the vows. Even though they have left you out in the cold and on your own here (that is a different topic for another day!), detach from what has happened. Focus on the health of your marriage, rather than the very interfering and destructive sister-in-law.
Secondly. this may seem harsh, but don't attend gatherings where she will be unless you have a discussion with your spouse. You want to have someone to run interference. The pandemic has ruled out large family gatherings for at least another 2 years, and that would be the only circumstance in which I would recommend you attend for a short period of time.
Thirdly, please let this stay with you. Do not make your in-laws have to choose between you and her. While the two of you will likely never mesh, do not break up the entire family because of this. More than likely, you are the one out in the cold, as she has been in this family much longer than you.
Lastly, forgive her. I can already hear your mind whirring, "she needs to ask my forgiveness!" Sorry love, you need to forgive her as this sets you free. She harbors animosity for you for whatever reason, that ruins the quality of her life. When you forgive, you are freed from this toxic connection. As I stated earlier, the issue with your spouse not having your back is a deeper problem.
There is no traction or demonstration regarding the support that you need. It is your spouse's role to speak up for you with their family, not yours. You stand up to your family, not your spouse. It is time to assess your marriage, for if support does not show up with this extended family issue, then you are not getting much support at all.
It is time to repair your marriage! I do suggest finding a qualified couples therapist to help the two of you navigate the challenges you have been experiencing. It is of the utmost importance that you have each other's backs, or you are very likely to become little more than roommates.
Thank you for shedding light on this topic, you are not alone.
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In Divine Truth and Love,