Sister-In-Law Slander


#1

My husband and I have been married for two years, and we are doing heavy renovations on the house we bought together. Since I am pregnant and our daughter is only 11 months old, I have been staying at his parents’ house for a couple of weeks until he can get the debris out and seal off the unfinished rooms for now. I am so grateful that they have been letting me stay with them. However, I am struggling with a predicament with my husband’s 26 year old sister who also lives with her parents. My husband’s sister is a compulsive liar, and it has bothered me since my husband and I started dating 4 years ago.

A little back story, my husband and his siblings have suffered a lot because of their sister’s compulsive lying. My husband says that it started when she was 3 - telling her parents that her siblings were hitting her, etc, which got her a lot of attention. My husband would try to explain to his parents that she was lying, but their response was often, “Well, she’s crying, so it was obviously real to her,” or “We have to let her imagination grow.” She was never taught not to lie. My husband said that when he would get punished for the lies she made up about him, his sister would smile at him from behind her parents’ backs. Both of my husband’s siblings have verified these stories and say they don’t take any stock in anything their sister says.

Since I am now dealing with the lies on a daily basis, along with some backseat parenting to my little girl, I am wondering what I can do, if anything. I have recently found out that my sister-in-law has been telling people that I’m “super depressed” (I’m not). This makes me nervous about her eventual influence on my children and what she could be making up about me or my husband that could bring repercussions upon us in regards to being seen as fit parents. I’ve heard her slander many people before. She recently told a mutual friend of ours that another mutual friend was doing acid, which was very false. She also constantly tells me and others that my own 56 year old father texts her and messages her on facebook from my mother’s smart phone. One time she told me that my father facebook messaged her from my mom’s smart phone during Mass “I’m in church, and I’m bored. You should come visit me.” When I asked my mom and dad about this, my mom told me 1) that she ALWAYS leaves her phone in the car during Mass 2) that my father can’t remember her phone’s pass code, let alone know how to type on a smart phone, let alone know how to use facebook messenger.

My husband and his brother can barely stand to be around her, and I’m concerned. I don’t know what to do, but I do care about her and the family. It’s hard to stand by and watch my sister-in-law hurt herself and others like this. P.S. On the rare occasion when my husband has confronted her on the validity of her statements, she has exploded.

Would talking to her as a family help? When she’s confronted one on one, she basically is able to rage that person into a corner to avoid facing the truth. If multiple people are voicing their concern at once, would that get through to her? Or is this something I need to let go?


#2

You are in a difficult situation… your sister-in-law attitude have the potential to make your family’s relations very complicated if not everyone is carefull. Hopefully you staying to your in-laws’s house is a transition.

What are your parents-in-law today attitude? Did they always defend her and believe her?
If it is still the case, talking to her as a family is impossible, because they will take her defense.
If they are not blind anymore, it is possible, but with their full consent and at their initiative because if you seems to take the initiative in front of her, it will makes the think worst for you, and can take her revenge.

perhaps whe has something that need psychiatric help, but we cannot known without a diagnostic. And she is an adult, so nobody can force her.


#3

I’d suggest that after you return to your home you don’t have further contact with his sister. She’s not a safe person to have around your children.

If his parents support her in her lies, sadly they aren’t safe people to have around your children either.


#4

Depending on how much longer you need to be there…I’d be debating whether I should stick it out for a few days or tell my husband I’m done and to figure out other arrangements.

Once your done…I’d start putting up some serious boundaries and limit contact.

We’ve done this in our family…and it’s saved our sanity and made the marriage much more pleasant.


#5

I would not feel comfortable staying in that house. Hopefully your time there is almost up. Basically, I don’t think there is anything you can do to help. She needs to see a doctor for this and she’s probably going to have to get REALLY uncomfortable before she’s going to be willing to do it. It also sounds like her parents would undermine any attempt to help her. They are already allowing her to avoid responsibility by allowing her to live in their home. For your own sanity, I’d say the only thing you can do is make it clear that you won’t play. If she makes up an outrageous story about your father texting her, tell her, “No, he didn’t.” You aren’t required to give the benefit of any doubt. If she rages, she can do so without you there. Take your family and leave. If your inlaws get upset, tell them you and your family won’t be around toxic people. Don’t concern yourself with lies she tells other people. If she’s known as a chronic liar, she won’t be believed anyway.


#6

I’m not sure what exactly you would be likely to “get through.” Her behavior is decades past a good-family-talking-too. I think you could have 500 people there talking to her and nothing would change, but you probably already know that.

Her behavior seems extremely odd. I’m not a psychiatrist, yet it sure seems like something is really off here. I wouldn’t rule out that she’d benefit from medical attention, which you cannot control and you already know that too.

All you can control is your contact with her. Which I would limit to “hello” and “goodbye” on occasional holidays. Other than that I’d stay away from her. I’d go back to your house today no matter how messy it was. God bless.


#7

I’d find the nearest extended stay motel and check in.


#8

Find another place to stay. Limit contact with the sister.

Also, if anyone can benefit from an intervention it is your husband’s parents. He and his siblings should consider having the two of them come to a group family session with a professional counselor (without the sister) to discuss what sort of mental illness she might have. It would be excellent if all three siblings unified on a strategy that established boundaries and put the parents on notice that while they love their parents, they will no longer tolerate the sister lying and spreading lies about friends and family members. If they have to see their parents separately from the sister or if they have to leave family events if the sister starts her nonsense, so be it.

But YOU need to stay out of it. This is for the three siblings to confront their parents about, or not. If they won’t then you and your husband need a plan and strategy for boundaries and exiting bad situations, limiting her contact with your children, and for blocking her on social media.


#9

Get out and cut off contact


#10

Find someplace else to stay. If your portrayal is accurate, it is not in the best interest of your or your child to stay there. I would not leave my child unsupervised in that environment, or around your sister-in-law, ever. Other than that, I would avoid her. It really is your husband’s job to deal with his sister and with the way she impacts his own family (you and his children). Tell him you would like him on that task.

Unfortunately, we don’t choose our families. However, we do choose our in-laws. I am assuming you knew about his family when you married him. Don’t be afraid to be firm in keeping your kids and yourself out of the line of fire.


#11

First, how much do her parents ‘really’ believe’ her (as in, have they ever confronted your father for his alleged ‘texting’ their daughter)?

If they haven’t, just try and ignore her. Is there any way you can move in with your parents, or somewhere else? If it’s just that they offered first, or have a more comfortable home…well, I think you’ve endured the discomfort long enough. If there isn’t any other way, try to stay away from her as much as possible. And, once this is over, know you’ve eliminated two babysitting options…this young woman, and, at least for as long as she continues to live in their home, your in-laws!


#12

Do you think her acting this way is more behavioural or psychiatric cause?

Have you all tried “starving” her of the pay off that she gets-ie:the attention?
For example if no one paid any attention when she claimed that your dad was messaging her while in Church and she couldn’t cause the drama or discord etc how do you feel she would react then?

What do you think she gets out of telling people you are very depressed?
Do you think she is just misinterpreting your mood or rather do you act offended/outraged/embarrassed over it and then she feeds off the drama that her lie has caused?


#13

I was sort of thinking this way myself. If she says she’s got a text from your dad, just say something like ‘tell him I said hi’ or something along those lines. If she sees it doesn’t phase you, she’ll stop getting whatever it is she gets out of it. You already know that calling her a liar doesn’t affect her. So, why do it?


#14

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.


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