Keep it simple…



I am a 55 year old female with an in-law that is becoming troublesome.  I smoke; she does not.  She is married to my favorite brother and they live about 150 miles away.  They come to visit often, with one stipulation.  I cannot smoke in her presence.  I agreed to this, although I didn’t like it, so I could see my brother.  She had told me I would never see him again if I did not agree to this.  There is no health problem involved; at first she said she was allergic; later I found out she is simply annoyed by them.

Over the years, the issue has taken on new dynamics.  At first, I could smoke in the same room, just not near her.  Then it changed to I could smoke in the house, not in the same room.  Then it moved to I could smoke upstairs if she is downstairs.  Last weekend when we were here, I went outside to smoke and she followed me, complained about the cigarette and I had to extinguish it.  Beyond this, she does not pick up after herself when she is here, and she rearranges my furniture to suit herself, without asking me about it.  She gave me a new comforter for my bed and became angry that I did not have it on the bed when she was here.

I believe the cigarette issue is the tip of the iceberg and what is really going on here is a simple control issue.  She wants to control me.  She has MS, and I’m not sure how this comes in to play.

But I am getting annoyed being literally pushed around inside and outside of my house.  

What are your thoughts on all of this?  Is there anything I can do and continue to see my brother?  He will not come to visit without her.

Thanks for anything you can offer.




Keep it simple. Do you want to see your brother? If that answer is yes then you are going to have to to see the in-law. If you can’t manage it then you will not be able to see your brother. I would suggest that when you do smoke you simply keep it as private as possible so she doesn’t know that you are smoking. Yet, I suggest you keep it really simply. Do you want to see your brother. If so then you know what you need to do.

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