“You Can Have Her On Weekends”: SIL Loses It At Family Dinner, Demands Custody Over Baby
The perceived closeness of “family” can cause some people to make requests that would normally get you laughed out of town. Or, even worse, the demands can be so outlandish as to seem offensive. So why do some people feel so entitled to your things?
A woman shared her shock at her entitled sister-in-law deciding that she should have custody of OP’s baby. Because she couldn’t have one of her own, the SIL decided that, naturally, she should simply take OP’s child and was shocked when she was expelled from the house. Readers did their best to give OP some advice and shared their disbelief at the SIL’s entitlement.
Some people’s obsession with having a child borders on unhinged
Image credits: macniak (no the actual photo)
A woman described her experience with an aggressively entitled SIL
Image credits: Polina Tankilevitch (not the actual photo)
Image credits: u/Angel698
Entitlement is a coping mechanism for an unfair world
Image credits: Andres Ayrton (not the actual photo)
Part of the reason why these stores are so compelling is the inside look at the delusions some people operate under. As unhinged as the sister-in-law’s demands are, she must truly believe that, somehow, she is entitled to just ask a family to hand over a child. While it’s equal parts comical and unnerving, researchers suggest that this sort of confusing entitlement is a side effect of other, unresolved psychological issues.
OP mentions that the SIL might be jealous and is perhaps not coping with the inability to have a child particularly well. Instead of resolving this negative emotion, the SIL seems to have internalized some idea of cosmic justice, i.e. her misfortune in life means that she should get something she wants. While this might seem absolutely absurd to anyone else (and it is) this can be a coping mechanism for someone who is going through a rough time. If you, rationally, have no hope on the horizon, you need to invent something to keep you going.
Unfortunately for all involved, this can often mean a misplaced belief that you are owed something, hence the unhinged, entitled behavior. As ridiculous as it sounds, she most likely actually believes that OP would be okay with handing over a kid for her to raise. More worryingly, she appears to have already decided that it will happen, as she has envisioned how OP would visit her own baby in the future. Sadly, there are a number of psychological blockers that make people overestimate their chances of something happening simply because they want it to happen.
The SIL needs psychological help, but OP has to put her kids first
Image credits: Yan Krukau (not the actual photo)
Setting aside the SIL’s outrageous demands, OP is correct to immediately kick her out. While we might be sympathetic to a person who is hurting, this is not a positive sum game and OP is doing her best to protect her own kids, even if it means hurting the SIL’s feelings. From the older children’s perspective, this could create a universe where adults freely talk about exchanging children. Fortunately, OP nipped the entire concept in the bud. She is also lucky to have a partner who is just as firm about this question, as sometimes people “overlook” the unacceptable things their family does.
It’s good that the SIL appears to be alone in her delusions, as partners and family members who don’t know how to create boundaries often “allow” people to build these ideas without stopping. While it can be painful to kick this person out and tell them in no uncertain terms that they are delusional, it’s better to rip the band-aid off early, instead of allowing these ideas to fester. At this stage, it could be possible for the SIL to get the help she needs and see the error of her ways. Regardless, OP already has children and responsibilities, an entitled adult acting like a child is not one of them.
Readers suggested a variety of ways that OP could make sure the SIL doesn’t get away with doing anything stupid. While some suggestions were a bit extreme, for example acquiring a gun, most were sensible. While it might seem unthinkable that the SIL would actually try to kidnap a child, her asking for custody was already ridiculous enough, so best to be on the safe side. In the long run, the SIL does need the help of a therapist, but it’s important to not frame this as OP’s responsibility. This is an adult woman who needs to come to reality before she can be a family member in good standing again. If you want to explore more entitled family members and children, Bored Panda has got you covered, check out our article on a whole family that wanted a woman to hand over a kid.