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Difficult sister-in-law

(61 Posts)
anxiousgran Mon 18-Oct-21 12:23:16

Wish me luck as my sister-in-law and her husband come to stay!
I am always overawed by her, not helped by the fact that she is free with her opinions of some aspects of how we arrange our lives. She’s a bit of superwoman herself, has lots of very skilled hobbies I couldn’t dream of attempting.

She has a rather ‘refined palate’ and has been a bit critical of the food I make.
Worst of all, last time she came, she was a bit disapproving of our granddaughters. They shouldn’t use sticker books, why are they drawing on the floor and not at the table, they should be able to read that by now and so on.
I didn’t want DH to invite DS and the children to come round whilst SiL and husband are here as the children aren’t great at the dinner table at the moment, they rarely finish their meals and get down from the table. It bothers me if she is critical of them, they are delightful children.

I wouldn’t stop inviting SiL, she can be good company and she and DH are close. She’s always kind when we go to visit her, and she’s always keen we should.

DH says to let any comments go over my head, but when she’s gone or we’ve visited her, I feel inadequate for days after.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 18-Oct-21 12:26:02

She sounds a pain in the a** and I wouldn’t have her in my house.
I certainly wouldn’t stop my GCs from visiting at the same time , in fact I would revel in them being on the floor and being their glorious happy selves in your lovely warm, inviting and comfortable home.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 18-Oct-21 12:35:51

Certainly tell your DH NOT to invite the grandchildren while his sister is visiting. Be frank and say her comments on their manners drive you mad.

Have you ever tried requesting this lady to keep her opinions to herself until or unless asked for them?

If you feel that is too forthright, smile when she airs her opinions and say, "Yes well, we brought our children up differently, but things change, don't they?" then change the subject.

Sit down and think out a list of innocuous topics of conversation, you can deflect her remarks with.

If she has the bad manners to criticise the food you make, smile and say, "Yes, well I didn't know what to make, as you are such a fussy eater, so I just made something your brother likes!"

Just make sure DH does like it!

DiscoDancer1975 Mon 18-Oct-21 12:38:30

Sorry....why are they coming? Have I missed something?

Granniesunite Mon 18-Oct-21 12:39:21

You'll never match this woman's standards, She just doesn't understand the love, happiness and security you are providing for your lovely grandchildren.. They must feel so happy in your home free to be themselves. Rejoice in that and let her be a miserable old sod on her own..

silverlining48 Mon 18-Oct-21 12:41:14

No need or reason to feel uncomfortable. You are different people and if she invites you and is pleased to see you she may have no clue you feel like this.
If you invite your GC over while they are with you maybe avoid a sit down meal, have a buffet or no meal at all and plan a walk where the children can have a run around. Just ignore any comments about how your GC behave in YOUR home or maybe your dh, her brother should respond. What does he think about this?
Does she have GC? I rather think not.
Don’t get upset about this, there is no need to I feel inadequate. She is clearly a strong say it how it is character who doesn’t see the offence she is causing.

Baggs Mon 18-Oct-21 12:56:04

Someone who is openly critical in someone else's house in the inadequate one.

Baggs Mon 18-Oct-21 12:56:31

is the inadequate...

wildswan16 Mon 18-Oct-21 13:08:14

Ask yourself why she makes you feel inadequate? You are the one with a loving family home where your grandchildren love to come. You are the one who does not criticise people unnecessarily. You are the one who is going to let her comments fly over your head, your DH on the other hand should quietly ask his sister to not make derogatory comments on your meal planning etc.

Just smile after she has gone, and know that her life is probably lacking something to make her this way.

mokryna Mon 18-Oct-21 13:18:31

All hands to the pump, you DSiL could help, after all she is family not royalty.
When we all go away the whole family chips in. Last time a broadsheet was made and everyone filled in with the meals they would bring the ingredients and cook. Men as well as women cook a meal.
For the big family feast meals each brings a course.

Hetty58 Mon 18-Oct-21 13:18:55

I don't see why she would make you feel inadequate. In fact, she can't - only you can do that. Why have any concern over her 'comments', when they seem quite ridiculous to me - and others, I'm sure.

Neen Mon 18-Oct-21 13:20:10

Maybe some upfront short sentences

It is good we are all different isn't it.
Let's agree to disagree
Whilst I am in awe of your many talents, do not diss me or mine in my own home.
The world must be great at the moment in your eyes, because if your only concern is my grandchildren, that's amazing.

anxiousgran Mon 18-Oct-21 13:24:44

discodancer, they come every year about this time, and we visit them every summer.
DH and she are very close. They live a couple of hundred miles away.
Thanks for your supportive comments. I’m a very polite person and I couldn’t be rude to a guest. DH says just let it go, it’s just how she is.
DS wants to see her, he likes his auntie.
She does have grandchildren. In fact now I come to think of it, she has stopped her four grandchildren from all visiting her at once, as they fight all the time! grin

BlueBelle Mon 18-Oct-21 13:47:36

I have a sister in law similar Shes not an awful lady she and my brother in law are well off but quite generous and definitely not nasty people but they have no idea that sometimes what they say can feel hurtful to someone not so well off and they do come across as snobs
A couple of years ago they were staying with friends in my area they d never been this way before and said they d call and take me out to lunch which was a lovely thought They called at my house and of course I offered them a coffee before we set off my sister in law asked me what type of coffee I had, I told her (whatever it was ) Nescafé or whatever and the answer I got was no thank you if you haven’t got percolated I d rather not have any at all.
Ouch!! Then in conversation they said how lovely the area I was I said Well there’s always a bed made up anytime you would like to come back, the answer Thank you but we prefer something more luxurious’
Why couldn’t they just have said ‘thanks’ then just never took my offer up
It hurt…. my house isn’t anything bad it really isn’t

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Oct-21 14:05:41

I don't agree with your H that you should let her comments go over your head anxiousgran, you should deal with each comment as it's given, you can do so politely and TBH your H should do the same.

I understand that she's his sister and they're close, but it sounds as if his sister is disrespecting you in your own home and he shouldn't allow that to happen.

Lucca Mon 18-Oct-21 14:20:45


I don't agree with your H that you should let her comments go over your head anxiousgran, you should deal with each comment as it's given, you can do so politely and TBH your H should do the same.

I understand that she's his sister and they're close, but it sounds as if his sister is disrespecting you in your own home and he shouldn't allow that to happen.

Agree. Frankly I think husband is being a bit wet! He should tell her not to be rude to you.

Why doesn’t he cook when she’s visiting so you don’t get the flak !?

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Oct-21 15:10:36

" a bit wet" indeed Lucca.

Lucca Mon 18-Oct-21 15:14:06


" a bit wet" indeed Lucca.

Is one allowed to say that ?!

Allsorts Mon 18-Oct-21 15:25:00

Just try to let it go if it’s not that often, knowing me I would probably challenge a comment, but that wouldn’t help long term. Try to think PITA is it again. Won’t last long.

Hithere Mon 18-Oct-21 15:44:22

Your dh invited his sister- he can do everything for her to make sure he meets her high standards.
You are off the hook.

As for inviting your gc, I wouldnt stop it from happening just because sil cannot behave.
Call her out, she and her husband can go to dinner outside - i wouldn't modify my routine because my guests do not know how to behave

eazybee Mon 18-Oct-21 17:01:49

Your sister-in -law sounds frankly ill-bred to criticize her hostess in her own home.
Is your husband still in awe of the bossy older sister, that he doesn't support you?
Sounds as though she is desperately attempting to intimidate you, and is actually rather inadequate.

The sort of person who has 'lots of skilled hobbies' and makes sure you know it makes me want to run a mile. They are usually attempting to prove something; not sure what.

When they say 'and I made all these myself' the only response that comes to mind is: why?

VioletSky Mon 18-Oct-21 17:15:45

I'd honestly ignore her. What was it Buddah said, something like "if I decline to accept your gift, who does it belong to?"

If you don't accept her criticism, it belongs to her not you

Nell8 Mon 18-Oct-21 17:54:06

From my own experience -
Before SiL comes I strongly recommend you handwrite her a draft letter in which you give her both barrels! Include some swear words you know but are normally too ladylike to use. It's very cathartic. Just make sure you tear it up into tiny pieces before anyone else sees it!! wink

foxie48 Mon 18-Oct-21 18:31:54

You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. My SIL can be a pita but basically she's a good person, she's a real "know all" rather right wing and has married into pots of old money, which has gone to her head a bit. I don't spend lots of time with her but IMHO it costs me nothing to deal with her kindly and ignore anything that is potentially annoying or rude. I focus on her good points (and she has plenty) and just quietly ignore the more irritating aspects of her personality. It's what I suspect she does with me too and we rub along just fine. When OH and I are on our own, following a visit, we have a bit of a giggle. I'm actually very fond of her, she's part of my family and I'm part of hers.

Blossoming Mon 18-Oct-21 18:34:56

I’m feeling sorry for the sister-in-law. She obviously doesn’t realise that you dislike her.