There is an old saying; we can choose our friends but not our in-laws.
How true this is!
If you’re experiencing friction with your sister-in-law, I know how difficult it can be to tell her to back off without offending your family members.
In this article, I’m going to list some common signs of a manipulative sister-in-law to help you better understand her behavior and how to deal with her!
11 Signs of a Manipulative Sister-In-Law
1. She Keeps Sticking Her Nose Into Your Personal Affairs
A strong sign of a manipulative sister-in-law is that she is always wanting to know what’s going on in your life and she’ll find ways to insert herself into every aspect of it.
She’ll pry into your personal business, offer unsolicited advice, and try to control how you live your life.
If you’ve ever had the feeling that you can’t do anything right in her eyes, it’s probably because she’s trying to control you!
2. She Makes You Feel Guilty for Things You Do
Another sign that your sister-in-law is trying to manipulate you is that she likes to make you feel guilty for things you do, even if they’re perfectly innocent!
She might guilt you into spending time with her, doing favors for her, or agreeing with her point of view.
Guilt is a powerful emotion, and it’s a classic sign someone is being manipulative when they use guilt against someone.
3. She Dismisses Everything You Suggest
A manipulative sister-in-law will often dismiss anything you suggest, whether it’s a new restaurant to try, a book you’re reading, or even an opinion you have.
She loves to be the one in control and she doesn’t want you else to have any input into what goes on.
This can make it difficult to communicate with her and feel like your opinion is valued.
4. She Doesn’t Allow You to Make Decisions
Another sign that your sister-in-law is manipulative is that she doesn’t allow you to make decisions, even if they’re about your own life!
She likes to be the one in charge and she’ll often steamroll over you to get her way.
This can be really frustrating, especially if you’re used to being independent and
5. She Uses People Around You Against You
There are few worse feelings than realizing your close friends are being lied to or used against you.
But if your sister-in-law is a manipulative individual, that’s exactly what she’ll do!
She might try to turn your friends or family members against you so she can isolate you and have more control over you.
6. She Pushes You to Do Things You’re Not Comfortable With
A manipulative sister-in-law will often push you to do things you’re not comfortable with, whether it’s skydiving or something as simple as trying new foods.
She will love to see you out of your comfort zone and probably gets a thrill from watching you squirm.
This is just another way she likes to control you and force emotions you’re not comfortable with.
7. She Pretends to Be Concerned About You
One of the most common signs of a manipulative sister-in-law is that she pretends to be concerned about you, when really she’s just trying to control you.
She might say she’s worried about your health, your job, or your relationship.
But if her concern always leads to her trying to take over or make decisions – and I just hope you can see right through her!
8. She Is Behaving Passive-Aggressively Towards You
A manipulative sister-in-law might not always be outright mean to you, but she might passive-aggressively try to control you.
She might give you the silent treatment, withhold information from you, or make snide comments.
Passive-aggressive behavior is a form of manipulation, and it can be just as hurtful as more overt behavior.
9. She Holds Back Information You Need
Withholding information from you, whether it’s important family news or just something as simple as the time of a get-together is another way to control you.
Manipulative people have to have control over other people to have the upper hand, and one way she does this is by keeping information from you.
This can be really frustrating and make you feel like you’re always one step behind.
10. She Is Always Putting You Down
If your sister-in-law is always putting you down, she’s trying to make you feel bad about yourself and break down your self-esteem.
She might do this in a very subtle way over time, or it could be more overt.
But either way, she’s trying to chip away at your self-esteem so she can have more control over you.
11. She Takes a Lot and Gives Nothing Back
In a healthy relationship, there is give and take.
But if your sister-in-law always seems to be taking from you and never giving anything back, it’s because she’s trying to use you.
She might take your time, your energy, or your resources without ever giving anything in return.
This can leave you feeling used and taken advantage of and is one of the most toxic behaviors someone can force onto another.
How Do You Deal With a Manipulative Sister in Law?
If there is no doubt in your mind that you’re dealing with a manipulative sister-in-law, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
There are many people who have been in your situation and have come out the other side.
The most important thing is to be aware of the signs of manipulation and to understand what she is trying to do.
Once you see her manipulation for what it is, you can start to take steps to protect yourself.
This might mean setting boundaries with her or cutting off communication entirely.
It’s important to do what is best for you and your relationship – even if that means making some tough decisions.
The most important thing is that you do something, don’t suffer in silence and put up with her behavior because it’s only going to break you down and make it harder for you in the future.
Be strong, and don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones – or even a therapist – for help!
Image credits – Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.