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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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So... my sister in law has been here for 5 years now, when

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So... my sister in law has been here for 5 years now, when i first met her the first thing she said to me was : your fatter then your photo.; I was so upset as she didn't greet me properly, maybe its because of the country where she came from, the ppl are very blunt.
Anyways throughout the years she has called me fat and compared my child to her child and compared what we have to hers.
My mother loved her and she treats my mother in law like crap making degrading comments about her behind her back and also talks to her really bad.
I am starting to diislike her more and more every time i see her and I don't know what to do about it.
Another thing is that we were pretty much pregnant at the same time and when she was 3months pregnant she was told that her baby has a heart problem, at the same time she had plans to sponser her grandma from overseas. She has an option to terminate the baby or to keep it, she has kept him and her grandma was able to come to aust for 3months to visit the baby. After being 1 month of giving birth she decided to fly overseas to pick up her grandma even though knowing that her baby has problems, and after two weeks coming back from overseas she went straight to work.
My baby was born 10days after hers and my mother decided to do a party for the new born as it is part of our culture. Anyways she came to party but didn't stay long as she used her son as an excuse (thats the way i felt) but it was okay for her to leave her sick son to go overseas and to go to work full time. She has been going on about having a party for him too, and now the baby is 7months old she is doing a party for him even though his birthday is XXXXX 5months. she has invited over 100people to the party, what do you think she is trying to do? I am getting frustrated and bitter about this whole situation and i don't know what to do. she asked me for my opinion and ive told her, no one does a 7months party for a baby, but shes using her son for sympathy "i don't know when he will live up to, what if he doesnt make it to his 1st" he is so healthy, he looks it anyways after 2 operations. He is a cardiac baby by the way. She also comes from a poor country and when she came to australia, we helped her and her partner a lot, they spend money like crazy and they only have one income. What annoys me is that when they run out of money they ask for help for emergency when we don't have the cash.

What do you think, am i overreacting?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

With the way this woman is treating you, you are not overreacting at all. Even if she is from another country, only someone with a problem would start treating their own relatives poorly. No one should ever call you fat, not matter where they are from. Nor should they try to get money from you or treat their mother in law as she does.

It sounds like that is woman either has a personality disorder or she was spoiled growing up and has learned to treat others like they are beneath her. Either way, it is unlikely she will change unless she has a reason to. So that leaves you to decide how you want to react.

If she does have a personality disorder it can be difficult to even be in the same room with her. Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed even if they are hurting others.

Knowing what your sister in law has and how to react to her behavior can help. While there is no way to diagnose her without seeing her for an evaluation, the behavior you describe sounds like narcissistic or borderline type. Here is a link that can help you figure out what she might have:

http://www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/personality-disorders

Many people can have some traits of one personality disorder or they can have some traits of a couple of personality disorders. By finding a personality disorder that seems to fit, you can at least know what you might be dealing with.

When dealing with someone with a personality disorder, it is helpful to keep in mind that they are not reacting to who you are as a person or even what you are doing. They are going by cues they learned long ago on how to relate to their world. And their responses can seem overwhelming and out of touch with the actual situation. They can also be very hurtful and hard to cope with.

If your sister in law won't get help or change in any way (common with someone with a personality disorder), you may have to change how you interact with her. One thing that helps is to see what she does as about her own issues and not you. Also, think of one phrase you can say to her that neutralizes anything she might say. such as "I'm sorry you feel that way". That usually shuts down the person and you can make a quick exit out of the situation. Also, try to ignore most of what she does. If it is attention getting, ignoring her might cause her to act out, but it may also get her to realize that she won't be rewarded for her behavior. And if she asks to borrow money, tell her that you already loaned her money (and if you did not get it back mention that) and say you feel bad for her but you don't have any more to give. After a few times, she should stop asking.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

 

 

 

 

 

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.