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Few people probably can push your buttons the way your meddling in-laws can. For some, learning to love them as family can be a challenge, especially the ones who are not so easy to love. Take Janet’s sister-in-law, Amy, for example, who has apparently been spreading rumors that Janet’s husband is abusive. What made Amy jump to this conclusion, you ask? Well, Amy, who is married to Janet’s brother, paid her a visit over the holidays after not seeing her for a long time. Since they last saw each other, Janet has dropped 20 pounds, ditched her glasses and taken an interest in makeup and more “girly” attire. In the past, she’s been known to dress like a tomboy. Well according to Amy’s logic, Janet made these changes because her husband is abusing her. Janet explains on Reddit:

They came up for Christmas, and it was the first time I’d seen them in about a year. In that time, I’ve improved a few things about my appearance. I’ve lost 20ish pounds, got Lasik, so I don’t wear glasses anymore, and changed and colored my hair. I was also dressed up nicely and wearing makeup when I saw them, which isn’t something I do regularly.

None of these changes are really big in their own right, but I guess all of them together meant I looked different from how [Amy] was expecting me to look. She complimented me when she saw me. “You look really happy,” were her exact words. I was flattered, and there was no drama while I saw them.

Now Christmas is over, and they’ve long since returned to their home. And then, slowly, I begin to hear that she is apparently spreading rumors about me? I’ve heard from a cousin that lives down where they do, that [Amy] seems to believe that I didn’t make these changes to myself because I wanted to, but that my husband forced me to? [Amy] has only known me as a plain-dressing sort of tomboyish person. I guess she sees these changes as me being more ‘girly’ and thinks that isn’t my normal so my husband must be a sexist pig who is making me be more of a girly girl? Because…reasons? Presumably, this benefits him in some way? I don’t even know.

Needless to say, this is all nonsense. My husband hasn’t forced me to do anything; I made all these changes myself. They make me healthier and feel happier. My husband is mostly supportive and at worst is merely indifferent to these changes

Initially, Janet thought that she could just ignore the whispers, and they’d go away, but the rumor has gotten so out of control that Janet’s aunt reached out concerned about her wellbeing.

At first, I just sort of ignored these rumors. Because, seriously, they’re so crazy what else can I do? I didn’t figure anything could come of it. But today I got a call from an aunt asking if I was okay with my marriage. I guess I’m lucky this aunt knew me well enough to not believe the story outright but was concerned enough to check on me.

Now she’s unsure of how to deal with the situation.

What do I do about them? How do I talk to [Amy]? What’s the tactful way to say, “You’re crazy and why are you making this up? Stop it!” I feel sure if she actually thinks I’m being abused, that me telling her they’re not true will probably just make her think my husband has brainwashed me. On the other hand, if she doesn’t actually believe it, if she’s just trying to hurt me for some reason (in which case, WHY?), then obviously me telling her they’re not true will change nothing.

How would you handle this?

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