How to handle an indirect insult from sis and bro-in-law

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2008
How to handle an indirect insult from sis and bro-in-law
Sat, 12-10-2011 - 3:25pm

I'm going to try to keep this as clear as possible, and brief.

About a month ago, I posted something on Facebook about going for a run.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002

I wouldn't say anything.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-2010
Ignore it. They are BITTER people. It sounds like they wanted you to react so the best way to get back at them is IGNORE them and save yourself the stress. You have plenty of things that are more important in your life that you can focus your energy on. Bitter people need an attitude change and it sounds like your confrontations won't help with that in this case.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2010

Agree with what izzy said.

Tracing this back, I don’t think her initial comment to you on FB was that bad.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

When I read the first part of your post about your update on FB, your sister's reply, and then your response to her with the part about if she's tired and stressed etc I thought "whoa, where did irishtea get all that stuff from the few words that her sister wrote"? Then I read your explanation of the backstory/family history. Now I understand how you read so much into a few words, but I also think you *could* have let the words mean no more than what they say on the page and not read snarkiness into them. And then in the email you went on about the quitting school, look for pennies, resentment etc--which she easily could have taken as you giving her unsolicited advice and psychoanalysis, which nobody likes to get, especially competitive siblings. I understand your side of it but IMO you fanned the flames this time.

Maybe your sister is trying to bait you on FB. Don't bite. Instead click the drop down menu that lets you Hide her updates. (I don't recommend unfriending her because it might stir up a new batch of drama).

Don't send that email. Its taking her bait and then making things worse. Its no less insulting than what they said on FB and they will probably be pi**ed. Even if they say "truce" they might get nasty.

Instead work on accepting that your sister is envious of how your path in life worked out and that its HER problem. That envy doesn't allow her to see that your path is not easier or better than hers, just different. Be conscious that you cannot change her, you can only change the way that you respond to her. And that she will not change until she is ready, regardless of the advice you try to give her.

I know that we often feel that its important for our kids to get together with relatives at the holidays to learn something about extended family or know their cousins etc but if you think that its not a good environment overall then don't subject them to it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2008

Thank you for your responses, and for yours ELC11.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2011
Hi! I want to thank you for posting this. You made me feel better about my situation. So maybe I can make you feel better now too.

I am in a very similar situation as you. I have a child w/special needs, I decided to leave my dream job to become a stay at home mom, and I am currently on the outs with all my siblings. You are not alone.

My siblings are angry, miserable, and have never had my back. But they expect me to drop everything (even at welfare of my child) to be there to support them when they need something. They are passive aggressive, uncompromising and refuse to resolve anything. It's impossible to have a healthy relationship with them. I have mourned the loss of the type relationship I wish I could have with them.

In your case, I agree with the other poster that you fanned the flame. She was trying to provoke you and you gave her what she wanted. When she tries to provoke you, what she is doing is trying justify her role as a victim. Your response to her to tells her she's right. She's not taking accountability for her role in it, only that it proves she has a right to feel victimized by you. That's how they think. They think they are the victims and they are looking for an excuse to remain the victim. I know, because I have fallen into that trap myself. It can be hard to resist but you must.

I would call her again and apologize without expecting anything from her. Just call and take accountability for your role. Acknowledge the fact that she apologized for the original comment and you didn't let it go. And it caused some drama you didn't intend. Just admit what you did and make no excuses for why, but don't expect anything in return from her. Tell her you love her and wish her a merry Christmas. Do it so that you can walk away knowing you did the right thing. You might blow her mind. Maybe she needs to know you love her. Maybe she won't care. It doesn't matter how she responds. What matters is, unlike her, you take accountability when you are wrong and you try to make it right. And that's all you can do.

I hope you can repair your relationship with her. You may not be able to tho. IME, ppl like your sister like being in a victim role because it works for them. If she is unwilling to change, I would keep my future conversations with her positive but brief. I would stay off her radar as much as possible. And I would only go to family functions with her if you really want to.

: )

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
I hope things settle down between you & your sister. Keep in mind, the holidays bring all types of stress and everyone handles it differently. Some handle it better than others. You have gotten great advice here. I'm just adding a bit more. You seem to be very self aware from what I have been reading & are to be commended for this. Unfortunately, many of us aren't. You sound like a positive person and your family is lucky to have you. My only suggestion is to pull back on the unsolicited advice.

I had to read your message twice because after the first time, I was ticked at you. Your message came across to me as you were perfect, able to handle everything. That your sister was wrong for not understanding you without knowing your day to day life, she can't possibility compete in the stress arena with you, she is not handling her stress in a positive way like you do & she did not obtain all the therapy that you did. It sounded to me a bit like you were saying I'm better than she is and therefore she is all wrong. After reading your post a second time, I didn't feel this message as strongly.

I don't believe this is exactly what you meant to portray but if you delivered a similar message to your sister then I can see with the background you both have that it would have set off a battle. No one should attack anyone else & your sister was wrong to do so. But IMO, you are also wrong for proceeding to tell her how she needs to change her life. You haven't walked a mile in her shoes & she hasn't yours.

"She responded saying she didn't mean anything by it, that it goes to show anyone can take anything that's posted any way on any day. She also said "I'm sorry you were offended", and that it was her sarcastic sense of humor."

Why did you feel that you had to respond telling her it was her problem that she was stressed & she needed to be the one to change this? I believe that you were wrong here. You should have ended this discussion when you received the above message. You weren't asked for advice & therefore you shouldn't have given it.

I find it sad that you have taken one simple comment and exploded it into a major source of anger. We all have triggers that make us react to things & I suspect her post just triggered angry feelings from the past about your relationship with her and this flared out of control.

It's great that you feel you can handle everything that you have going on in your life in a positive frame of mind. That you are able to cope using stress relieving techniques that work for you. Your family is very lucky to have you and I mean this sincerely as I raised 2 special needs boys, have a special needs grandchild, am special needs myself & a child of an alcoholic parent. So I have a bit of a view into what your life may be like. I work & have always worked full time. People tell me I'm amazing, they can't figure out how I can handle everything without stressing, Most people aren't aware of my life unless something comes up where I have to share some facts. I have done counseling, I use exercise, reading,writing & other ways (non alcoholic) to handle my stress but what I do won't likely work for anyone else as it's a personal thing. Also, different things work better at different times. Sometimes I'm just so overwhelmed that I can't see how I will get through the day. But I do & unfortunately, it's likely that I whine/complain too much those days. In other words, on those days I am likely a _itch to my family.

Figure out what type of relationship you want with your sister. Decide to go to her party if you want to or stay at away if you don't. This is all part of handling the stress in your life. Good Luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
This is all too familiar to me. My sister is similar to your sister BUT I think you're causing too much drama here. When you post on Facebook you're going to get a wide variety of comments. You weren't surprised by her response and admit it in your own way may have posted it for her to see. You should examine why and what you post on Facebook because it's all meant for something good or bad.

My sister and I have an unhealthy relationship and it's only getting worse. I've set boundaries but she gave birth to the 3 most fabulous people and I have to bend the boundaries to spend time with them. If I cross her she knows the kids will be loyal to her (they're adults now as children she always threatened that I'd never see them again) so I put up with her crap on holidays.

What are you so defensive about???

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999

I'm not saying that you're mistaken, but from the outside looking in, it doesn't seem like either of the posts were manufactured to ruffle your feathers...Especially, the second one by her husband.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004

You were raised by an will always have adult-child-of-an-alcoholic issues.