I am a 20-year-old student. I am the only sister of three brothers and am also the youngest. My parents and brothers love me a lot, but despite that I am not spoiled. I help my mother with household chores and have been doing that since I was in grade 7.
Two of my brothers got married during last five years. They did not change at all and still love me to bits, and because of that my sisters-in-law are very jealous of me. They are not friendly with me and their behaviour is quite cold with me although they are fine with my parents. They pass snide comments in my brothers’ absence and think I manipulate them because they bring me presents often. Professor, it’s not that my brothers neglect their wives; they are very loving and caring and also bring presents for them but my sister-in-law think I am a greedy person. Our house used to be such a peaceful and fun place but now there is tension and suspicion. My mother talked to my brothers without mentioning what my bhabhis accuse me of, and told them not to spoil me by bringing gifts and asked them to save money for their own families as they are married. The result was that my brothers became extremely hurt and thought my mother wanted them to become distant.
Now my brothers and mother are awkward around each other and my bhabhis think that I am the cause of my brothers’ distress.
This situation is very upsetting for me. I blame myself for creating so much trouble but don’t quite know what to do to make things better. Professor, my family is very well off and my brothers are earning so well that buying presents for me is not a big deal to them and that’s why they were upset at our mother when she told them to stop doing it.
The thing is that both my brothers have a son each and as the only daughter I still have a special place in their hearts. I want to be on good terms with my bhabhis. What should I do?
Dear Misunderstood Girl,
You are a very good person because despite malicious comments from your sisters-in-law you have to bear; you do not hold any grudges and wants to be on good terms with them. Your sisters-in-law shouldn’t feel jealous because you are not a threat to them. They need to understand that you are not greedy or manipulative. Your sisters-in-law are not bad either or their behaviour wouldn’t have been fine with your parents. They feel insecure because of the special bond you enjoy with your brothers because they feel excluded somehow. You should try to befriend them also. Why don’t you bring small gifts for them and your nephews occasionally? This would show your sisters-in-law that you care about them and you are not a greedy person at all. Try to include them in your activities and conversations as this would make them understand that you have a regard for them and consider them part of your family. Once they realise what sort of a person you are they will be fine with you too. My dear, sometimes one has to make extra efforts for maintaining peace in the house, even if they are the ones not at fault. Making efforts to win your sisters-in-law will make you a bigger and better person. Best of luck!
Problems that need a solution? You can e-mail
Prof. Nadine Khan at [email protected]
Write to Prof. Nadine Khan, c/o Editor ‘You!’ magazine,
The News, Al-Rehman Building (4th Floor) I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi.