TROUBLESHOOTER / I’m irked by my sister-in-law’s behavior

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 50s seeking advice about my self-centered, greedy sister-in-law.

Though my daughter is attending a two-year university, we still keep her used clothes in our house. My sister-in-law previously asked if I she could take them for her grandchild, and I carelessly consented.

To be honest, I wanted to keep the clothes for my own grandchild, but I’m giving them away — though somewhat belatedly — telling my sister-in-law, “I don’t have many clothes that are good enough to give you.”

Sometime later, my daughter came back from her aunt’s house with some clothes in hand. Some of them were in good condition, but others hardly fit my daughter or were in shoddy condition. I can’t believe my sister-in-law thought it was appropriate to give those clothes to my daughter.

Every person handles their belongings differently, and it’s annoying that she’s forcing us to follow her way. It’s good that my daughter’s clothes are being reused, but I feel like my sister-in-law is pressuring us. Maybe she’s in a bad financial situation.

I don’t know how I should interact with her from now on. Please tell me how I should interact with her.

S, Shizuoka Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

You seem to be traumatized by the issue of your daughter’s clothes. Are you mainly annoyed that your sister-in-law gave her low-quality garments?

You can’t complain to her face to face, and you comply with her requests because you can’t say no, only to feel regret later. You then start feeling bad and hating yourself. Am I right?

As your reason, simply tell her you can’t give them away as you have an emotional attachment to them. It’s all right to do that even if she isn’t happy about it. It’d be even better if she stopped interacting with you.

I can’t help but wonder if you unwillingly interact with her out of a sense of duty. If you became frustrated with your back-and-forth, you should decisively solve the matter on the spot. Otherwise, your relationship will become distorted.

Depression caused by trivial matters will lead you to act out against others, which will only make you feel miserable.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Jan. 23, 2019, issue)Speech

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