«My mother always told me: living together with your husband’s relatives is not the best idea, so think twice. But I didn’t listen to her.
I thought everything would work out for me, and my communication skills would help with that. I even managed to get along with my mother-in-law! But when she passed away, everything suddenly changed. For a year now, we’ve been living under the same roof with my sister-in-law.
It so happened that we inherited the house, into which she had moved much earlier. We moved into our half of the house, suspecting nothing.
That’s when we noticed Hania’s character — she controls everything. My husband doesn’t say a word.
I often have to use various phrases to show her where her place is. But what to do if she still doesn’t understand?
I realize that sometimes character changes for various reasons. Hania had a difficult childhood — she is nine years older than my husband, and her mom was a very sick person. Therefore, raising Andrzej fell entirely on the shoulders of his older sister.
She took him to school and did his homework with him. Andrzej got used to being obedient, so even now, he can’t oppose her. I suspect he’s still afraid — he got used to it as a child.
My father-in-law worked hard to build this house. I must admit, it looks perfect! The house is large, with two entrances and two identical plots. Andrzej’s parents designed it this way so that the children would inherit two equal parts.
While Andrzej’s parents were still alive, we rented a two-bedroom apartment and lived there as a family of three — me, my husband, and our daughter. When my mother-in-law passed away, my husband’s sister moved into one of the two parts of the house. From that moment on, everything changed.»
Until now, we got along well, even though we only saw each other during family gatherings. Both she and I have teenage daughters, but hers is a few years older than mine and already goes to school.
So, you talk to someone, and it seems that everything between you is fine, and there’s even some understanding. However, living in the same house changed absolutely everything.
I remind you that we now have a shared household, although I believe it shouldn’t be this way.
When my father-in-law passed away, we moved into the house according to his last will. Or rather, into his half. Meanwhile, Hania already had a ready plan for a small renovation. The idea was to refresh the garden a bit.
She invited a landscape architect, a gardener, and planned the budget. She required only half of our contribution, while she took care of the organization and planning entirely. It seemed like there was nothing to complain about.
The idea was that the plots should look identical. So, our part of the plot was already designed according to Hania’s taste.
I had nothing against it, just like my husband. After all, we invested a lot of money, and we liked the concept. A few ornamental trees, a hedge, stone paths—basically, everything according to feng shui principles.
One day I said that white doors are not practical, but no one wanted to listen to me. Not even my husband, with whom we always made decisions together, now sided with his sister. Then it was time to arrange the garden.
My own vegetable garden
I grew up in a house outside the city, so I don’t like the hustle and bustle of the city. Since childhood, I helped my grandma at home and know how to cultivate the land.
After years of living in an apartment, I really wanted to have my own vegetable garden. Previously, I only had cocktail tomatoes on the windowsill, but now I have a whole plot. I can grow anything I want!
Nothing special: cucumbers, tomatoes, a few zucchinis. Taking advantage of a wonderful Sunday afternoon, I prepared the soil under the windows for vegetable cultivation.
I had just started building a greenhouse when my sister-in-law showed up. She was shouting so loud that the whole street could hear her! How did it happen that without consulting her, I ‘ruined the entire project’ and ‘want to build a greenhouse, even though weeds will appear.’ I was surprised.
Not only did she make all the decisions regarding my plot, but I also couldn’t grow anything. Everything had to look the same so that neighbors could envy us.
My husband tried to convince me for a long time to let it go. Finally, I decided to wait until the next season, hoping that we could come to an agreement.
I thought this goodwill gesture would turn things around, but it only got worse from then on.
Poor relations with my sister-in-law
As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of ornamental vegetation on both plots, and someone has to take care of it. So every meeting with my sister-in-law involves receiving instructions on when to prune, dig, fertilize, etc.
Additionally, my sister-in-law lectures our daughter. One day I noticed that Marysia stopped going to play with her cousin. I asked what happened, and she said, ‘Aunt Hania forbade me from coming to them.’
It turned out that my sister-in-law didn’t want Marysia trampling on flowers and generally playing on her plot because she was concerned about the house and the order on the plot. At the same time, her daughter does whatever she pleases on our plot!
How to show someone their place
I decided I couldn’t take it any longer, so I started using a defensive mechanism. It turned out that I could actually reach an understanding with her!
It just required choosing the right words during our conversation. Here’s a list of my favorite phrases that I use when my sister-in-law starts to overstep again.
«Is your life so boring that you constantly meddle in mine?»
«When I need your advice, I’ll be sure to ask for it.»
«I have the right to decide, so I do it my way.»
Once I clearly defined my boundaries, I noticed that Hania immediately started behaving differently.
If you apply a little pressure on her, she immediately falls silent. Perhaps she’s not accustomed to someone refusing her.
Previously, our ideas with my husband were not well-received. Everything we did was wrong. Currently, when she says something like that, I respond:
«Yes, I know it looks ugly and doesn’t fit. However, I like it! It’s part of my personality.»
When I openly refuse to do anything on my plot, Hania goes into hysterics, lamenting that it shouldn’t be this way, that we treat her horribly, that it violates her rights.
Then I suggest she call the police. There are also other effective arguments that help me have a conversation with her:
«It’s a pity for your valuable time that you spend on me.»
«If it’s so important to you that the plots look identical, do it like we do.»
«This decision belongs to my husband and me, not you.»
«You have too much free time, judging by how you spend it on me.»
«It’s hard to control everything, so you must be very tired.»
My husband wasn’t thrilled at first that it was difficult for us to get along with his sister. But we were never friends. It seems that she got bored with it, and she comes to us less and less frequently. Her daughter too.
I really don’t know what to do now. My friends say the most sensible thing would be to either move out or sell part of the house.
Renting an apartment while having a part of the house is not an option, and my husband doesn’t want to sell it — after all, his father built everything with his own hands, for the children.
Living in constant stress is not an option either. Besides, I really want to have a dog. However, I’m afraid Hania might poison the poor animal if the dog digs in the garden.
So, I’m waiting for spring. Do you think I should put up a greenhouse?