Frustrated with In-Laws: am I overreacting?


Hello everyone,

I am so furious with my two brother-in-laws right now and I am just feeling the need to vent. One of them (who is 21) has been staying with us since July. We were helping him out since both his parents kicked him out of their house (for whatever reasons) and he needed to take some high school diploma exam. We’ve not charged him rent or even for food. Last month, another brother-in-law of mine (he’s 24 and recently out of the military), began staying with us for what was supposed to be a very short time as he was going to look for an apartment in the area. Again, we haven’t asked any money from him either. Mind you, we’re not millionaires either as my husband is enlisted in the military and I’m a full time mother.

We have a 14 month old boy and I’m 14 weeks pregnant, with a blood clot in the uterus called subchorionic hematoma, so I’m supposed to take it easy until it, hopefully, goes away. So the only thing I DO ask of the brothers is to help me out once in awhile with watching the baby while I vacuum or do some other housework. Both of them are currently unemployed and don’t wake up until noon most days.

Today, I asked the younger one when he woke up at 1 PM to look at my vacuum cleaner if it was clogged. He knew I wanted this done the day before and agreed to do so. I asked him to do it then because I needed to vacuum before putting the baby down for his nap (I still nurse him for naps) as later I would need to make dinner. Well, he continued watching his TV show, so I put the vacuum next to him by the couch. He then said, “That’s pretentious.” I had to control my anger but I did say in return that I have taken them both in my house, asking nothing in return except for them to help me out around the house with the baby since they’re home ALL day. My anger toward them (the younger one in particular) has been building up as he usually snaps when I ask him to watch the baby while I vacuum, “Didn’t you just vacuum the other day?” I vacuum three times a week since we have a shedding German Shepherd.

If they weren’t here, I’d obviously have my husband help me out with these chores since I have a bit of a high risk pregnancy, but they are here, and they don’t do anything! I told my husband what happened and he’s furious so he’s kicking them out today. They were supposed to be gone 2 weeks ago, so this is the last straw.

I am just so mad that I’m even allowing this to anger me so much. Am I overreacting? What is a Christian to do in this situation? I believe I’ve given as much as I possibly could to them but second opinions would be helpful. And, yes, I’ll be discussing this all with my Confessor on Saturday.


Deep breath, sweetie!

You have been infinitely more patient than I would have been. The ne’er do well brothers are freeloading, and it’s time they go. It sounds as if your husband backs you up (they are his brothers, so it’s his responsibility to handle the situation.) Be firm, insist he does, follow through, and then just concentrate on taking care of yourself. (Perhaps dh can help a little with the housework while you are pregnant.)

God bless!


In general, when you are pregnant you have to be a bit careful because your hormones can have an exaggerating effect on your emotions. You may be OVERreacting but I think you are correct about the injustice of the situation.

That said, you talked to your husband and I think that you should get out of the way and let him handle this one.


It is time for those 2 to check out of The Deadbeat Motel and get lives of their own. You and your husband have carried their dead weight long enough. Don’t let them talk him into staying a minute longer than necessary to pack and call a cab, and DON’ T lend them any money.


There are two sides to this, which is why you are feeling like you are over-reacting. The first side is the “turn the other cheek” part which says they are here and need your help and they are poor and abused and… etc.

The other side is the righteous anger side which says they should get up off their lazy butts and help.

I would offer this advice: Tell them, with your husband, at a family meeting, that their days of mooching are done (say it nicely). They have [this length of] time to get a job, get a place to live or make serious inroads in contributions; meaning helping to pay for food, utilities and housing or seriously contribute in other ways. They should also be getting up at a reasonable hour and help with the care of the house and family. Nothing is free, your husband works hard to pay for the lights, food, tv, water, trash, etc and they aren’t paying AT ALL.

“Pee or get off the potty” in the Army vernacular. Give them a month or two and then if they don’t follow through… out they go. Tell them you love them and that they are welcome to stay… if they balk, tell them it’s not negotiable. They either help or leave. You and your husband deserve a home where you have less stress and that you can have a healthy baby. Again, this is not negotiable. And that goes for your husband, too. You both want the best for your family, and that includes the two brothers.

God bless and I hope this helps.

Be fair, be reasonable and be firm. That is the best thing for all of you. It may even change the way behave in other areas also.


*I believe you have done your very best! It is time for them to move on! They need to learn what it is like to work and accomplish things on their own. The longer they stay the more comfortable they become and the less likely they are to learn to do for themselves! Once they get on with their own life’s, invite them over for a VISIT only. Let them know you care about them, but they need to establish a life of their own.
God Bless all of you,
Angel Face
P.S. Good for your husband!


Heck, no. These are two able bodied young men who have taken advantage of the situation long enough. I’d give them a week at most to get their stuff together and make other plans. She is pregnant - a higher risk pregnancy, at that - and shouldn’t have to put up with this stress.


Wow. I’m so glad your husband is kicking them out.

No wonder their own parents kicked them out.

Maybe someday they’ll get the message.

Though your hubby should have piled them in the car and driven them down and enlisted them both in the Army. It’s time someone made a man out of them!

You were really restrained. I would have turned on the vacuum cleaner and applied it to his eyeball and said, LOOK! There is a big dirtball collecting more dust on my sofa. Must get it off!

They not only didn’t do the bare minimum, they created work for you.

Your home isn’t a flophouse.

They owe YOU an apology.


Thanks for the replies. Liberanosamalo, your comment about the dust ball on the couch made me laugh out loud. My husband told the one that he’s mad he disrespected his wife after we’ve opened our doors to him for so long, and he told them he wants them out…well, the brother apologized to me but it turns out they don’t have any money right now to drive cross country. See, we’re on the West coast and they are moving back out to the Midwest. The older brother was just discharged from the Army (he’s been in since he was 18 and served in Afghanistan, which does make me respect him more and even a bit sympathetic toward him) and now he’s going on unemployment until he finds something else to do. His first check, though, was delayed and he’s expecting it next week no later than the third. My own family and I are actually moving cross-country right before Thanksgiving, so things are getting hectic for us. Anyway, they offered to go stay with a friend until the check comes, but I just told them they can stick around here until the third, but my husband told them they really need to begin giving more of an effort to help me when I ask for it and not to give me any attitude about it. They agreed, so we’ll see how it goes. This is their final chance and by the third, they’re out the door no matter what. Maybe I’m too much of a softie…I don’t know…I just don’t want a family feud to begin.


I just want to clarify that my husband has backed me 100% in this situation and it was my decision that they could stay for a few more days. He didn’t even ask me to consider that as he knew I was quite angry earlier, as was he.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for the replies.


Aww. No problem. You just baby yourself. Maybe your BILs can learn a few lessons. Because if they ever marry, this is NOT acceptable behavior toward a pregnant lady! Big brother needs to sit them down and have a good heart to heart.

Thanks to your DH and your BIL for their service. I hope he’s in touch with one of the many organizations that are out there and ready and willing to help those who are getting out of the service.

I appreciate you are trying to keep your family from erupting into a feud. Maybe someday you’ll all look back on this and laugh. :wink:

Hubby sounds like a keeper. Loyal to his family and looking out for them, but protective of his wife.


SourGrape sounds like a keeper too. :smiley:

No need to feel bad about experiencing frustration. We all do. I think you did a good thing to vent it and get it out. Think what could someday happen if you kept this all bottled inside for years and years until one day, maybe your husband or your child does one thing that pushes you over the cliff and then all that pent-up fury comes crashing down on their head. Not a good scenario.

I too loved the dirtball on the couch comment! :thumbsup:

I think it says a lot about you, SourGrape, that even as upset as you were you gave them another chance. We all learn by getting second chances, though some need the 3rd, 4th, and 5th chance too. “How many times are we to forgive them, seven times?” “Seventy times seven.”

Forgiveness and second chances, as it appears your husb is aware, must be based on some form of sincere willingness to turn around. I don’t even know if I could have had your patience with them. Were I in your husband’s shoes I probably would have told them the next time I find my wife washing a dish or using a vacuum cleaner while you guys are sitting on your duff will be the day I drive you both to the homeless shelter whether she pleads on your behalf for mercy or not. Men understand terms like that, cavemen that we are. :wink:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit