Q. I had a fight with my sister in law. She spoke all bad about me & my mother. I was in shock state hearing whatever she said & was not able to answer her back in that situation. Things between me & my husband also not so good from then on. i don’t share anything with him nor he listens to me the way he listens to his sister. I once want to answer her back for whatever she said but not is not happening. I am unable to move on. I cannot be kind to her anymore which is my husbands expectation. (via Tumblr)

A. You’re in a tricky situation. Since it’s your husband’s family, there’s not much action you can really take against them. After all, it’s his job to put his family in their place when they treat you badly.

So it sounds like your husband is where you need to start. If he respected you the way that he should, he wouldn’t allow his family to speak to you or treat you that way. Sit your husband down and have an honest conversation about how you’re feeling. Don’t blame anyone or use inflammatory language. Instead, approach him as though you are asking him to help protect you and solve a problem that you have. If there’s no growth there, you need to be honest about the bigger state of your relationship. Then, you need to accept that some people just need to be “put in a box”.

Give your sister-in-law the “gray rock treatment” whenever she comes around. Keep everything completely surface level with her. Don’t tell her anything you care about. Don’t share details of your life with her. If she speaks to you and tries to start and argument, leave the room. When she interacts with you — and she doesn’t behave herself — treat her as though you were a cold gray rock, unmoving, uncaring.

When you stop becoming a target, you stop being a temptation to people like that. Focus on rebuilding your self-esteem and know that you deserve better than a toxic husband that refuses to stand in your corner, or inherited family that use you as an emotional punching bag.

I help you unlearn your pain. Author & NLPMP. My book “Relationship Renovator” is available now.

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