Dear Abby: Rude sister-in-law’s demands put damper on holiday giving

Dear Abby: My brother and his wife have been married 3-1/2 years and have an 18-month-old daughter. My sister-in-law, “Barb,” is either very rude or passive-aggressive to our mother in emails and when she thinks no one is around.

At Christmas, Barb sends out an email detailing what we are and are not allowed to buy for their daughter. If we can’t do exactly what she wants, she threatens to cancel Christmas. This includes asking her permission before we buy any toys. Barb tells my mom that because her mother doesn’t have much money, Mom can’t spend more than her mother does. So, because my family has a little more money, we are being punished.

Barb is extremely demeaning and hurtful to us. I can’t understand why my brother allows it. My husband and I are sick and tired of her acting this way, and the way she treats my mother is cruel. I’m tempted to confront her about how she has ruined Christmas for my parents. She basically doesn’t allow us to have feelings, and I can’t believe we are standing for it. Help! – Holiday Hostage

Dear Hostage: Your sister-in-law may be telling your parents not to spend more money on gifts for the grandchild because she doesn’t want her mother to be embarrassed. However, if her rude behavior extends beyond that, rather than take her on, the person you should “confront” about it is your brother.

Dear Abby: I’m a 15-year-old bisexual girl, and I have a big problem with relationships. They make me feel awkward. I don’t like holding hands and the mushy-gushy stuff hurts my soul. I’m asking for help to come out to my parents and also what I should do about not liking relationships. Am I the only one like this? I told my friend once, and she was really confused. – Awkward Teen in Texas

Dear Awkward: I do not think you should come out to your family until you are sure of exactly who you are. From the tone of your letter, you appear to be still trying to figure that out – which is completely normal for someone your age.

Please do not put any labels on yourself right now. Concentrate on school, friends, things you enjoy. Give it time, and I predict that in a year or two, when you are more clear about things, you will know what to do.