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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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I am feeling extremely betrayed by sister-in-law. I am sooo

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I am feeling extremely betrayed by sister-in-law. I am sooo sad and angry and depressed. The list of emotions goes on and on. The situation is this. I have been with my husband for 18 years. We started dating when I was 19. We have definitly had our rough patches. A lot of fighting in some of those years. At about age 26 we got married. My sister-in-law (his sister) and I were friendly but not overly close. When we moved back home from living out of state for 7 years in 2004. We became extremely close. I thought of her as my sister. My husband and I and her and her husband and another couple hang out almost every weekend. I talk to my sister in law on the phone almost daily. We talk about everything. I even have some secrets of hers that I have kept to myself because I know they would be hurtful to others if they ever came out. Needless to say about 3 weeks ago, we all took a family vacation. Me and My husband his sister and her husband and their parents. On the last night there everyone was drinking and I was not. We were sitting around the table and people were being rude and making fun of people that we met at the Lake earlier that day. I was a little over it. I was trying to blow it off but then my sister made a rude comment to me. It was hurtful and then she apologized. But they were still all drinking. Then my husband began to rag on me and I stood up and said FU and walked to my room. Since we returned from the vacation my sister in law will not speak to me like we use to. I knew that something was up. I finally confronted her and asked her to tell me what was going on. So she unloaded!!! She basically said that she is tired of watching me belittle my husband and have a total lack of respect for him. That for all these years she has stood back and watched. That it makes everyone uncomfortable and it is like the elephant in the room. She then proceeded to bring up situations in which my husband and I have fought in public. Things from 15 years ago and 10 years ago. Stuff that she was not even around to witness. The coversation also led me to believe that her and our other friends must have been sitting around bashing me (I know this is true because I have seen it in action first hand and also been a party to it in regards ***** ***** other friends). It hurts to think that someone that I thought was my friend would talk about my character for so many years and still "pretend" to be my friend instead of talking to me privately about the stuff that makes her feel uncomfortable. I will definitly say that I have earned the "Bitch" title at our parties, because my husband gets so caught up with hanging out with his friends and drinking, I will ask him to leave and he basically ignores me. When I begin to raise my voice he finally starts to listen. I am not saying I am perfect or that we have a perfect relationship but it works for us. I watch our friends and families relationships and sometimes it makes me cringe as well. But I let it go because it is their relationship. How do you move past such a betrayal of a friendship when it is family. I do not want to ever see her/her husband or my in laws ever again. I am so afraid of being judged if I say or do 1 wrong thing. My husband is very supportive through this. He told his sister if it comes to it, I am his wife and that is what he will choose. I am hurting so bad and am crying continuosly. I feel that my life (friends and family) for the past 6 1/2 years since we moved home has been a lie. How do you move on?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 7 years ago.
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Lori Gephart :

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.

I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your sister-in-law. It is understandable that you would feel betrayed by her actions. It is painful to have someone who you believe is a friend be so hurtful. However, if you consider the way she has talked about other people behind their backs is it any real surprise that she would do this with you also? Keep in mind that past behavior predicts future behavior, so typically, unless they learn from their mistakes, people will continue to behave in similar patterns.

You can determine how much power to give her words and her comments. You don't have to allow her to be in the role of judge and jury of your marriage. This is really none of her business. Now that you know what your sister-in-law is like, you can determine how much to trust her in the future. You may decide to be cordial to her out of respect for your husband and the rest of the family, or you may decide to set other limits that you need to set. You may certainly decide not to trust her with your secrets. Either way, be sure to avoid letting this come between you and your husband. Remember that he is not responsible for his sister's behavior and that no matter how she treats you, she is still his sister.

It may be very helpful to write some letters to her, that you don't send and that you shred, in order to vent your hurt and anger in a way that will not escalate the problems in the family. No matter what you are feeling, you can choose to rise above this and behave in a way that will allow you to feel good about yourself in handling this very difficult situation. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.


It is really hard to think that I will never be friends with her. I know that I can never trust her again. I feel like I have lost my life. Our primary group of friends is now gone because of me. Not because of my husband! It is hurtful. My mother-in-law who I speak to almost daily as well has not picked up the phone to call me at all. They are all calling him but no one is calling me. I am the one that they hurt. OUr children all do similar sports together, go to the same daycare and we live in a small town. My mother cut out all 4 of her siblings from her life. I have always resented that from her. That she didn't work to make it better. I vowed to never be that person, however, I somehow now understand her more than I ever have. How do I not be a hippocrate of what I vowed I would nevr let happen in my life.


Does she have a valid point? Am I wrong? Should I be the one apologizing for making people uncomfortable when we are in social settings? I am not perfect but neither are they. Do I talk to her about this or do I just heal myself and let go of the relationship?

Lori Gephart :

This does not have to be an all or nothing situation. While you may not be able to have the same relationship again as you thought you had, you may be able to have some form of friendship if you desire it. This may take honestly communicating your feelings to your sister-in-law and your mother-in-law and hearing their feelings as well.

You may try reality testing with your husband about whether he sees your treatment of him as inappropriate. If he is uncomfortable with your behavior in public, then your sister-in-law may have a point, although it isn't really her issue, this should be between you and your husband. If she did have a concern about this, it would have been much more appropriate for her to talk to you in a calm and caring manner about it.

This could be incentive for you and your husband to work on your relationship for the two of you, not for the extended family.

You may want to make attempts to have a reasonable relationship with your in-laws, rather than repeat your mother's experience of cutting them completely out of your life. Do you have anything to lose by discussing this with them? We all make mistakes, the question is whether these are repeated or not. I wish you the best with this difficult situation. Please let me know if I can help further.


Thank you for your help. I feel alone right now (with the exception of my husband) and it is nice to have another person's point of view. It makes me not feel so crazy in my head for the emotions that I am feeling. Thanks again!

Lori Gephart :

You are very welcome. Remember that journaling can also be quite helpful to let some of these thoughts and feelings out. These feelings certainly do not make you crazy. Good luck with your family situation.

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