My brother-in-law makes me uncomfortable

What you need to know:

Empower your young daughters and relatives to be cautious of bad touches

My brother in law has a very uncomfortable glare that makes women in the family uneasy around him. He flirts unnecessarily and no one confronts him. He does not even spare the young daughters of the family. What is the right way to confront him without upsetting family dynamics?       

Anonymous

Dear anonymous,

I am sorry that you have to go through this stressful situation. It feels so uncomfortable, especially if it is coming from a close family member. In most cases, such a person has individual self-defeating behaviour that can be destructive to other people. I recommend that you find a way of letting your brother-in-law know that you are uncomfortable with his behaviour.

It is also important to keep a distance from him. Letting someone else know about this problem, especially your husband, family member, or a close friend; just someone you can trust is also a good idea.

Meet him in a private setting but not far from where people are for example a coffee shop or conference room or if home then you can arrange two chairs and invite him to sit and have a discussion with you.

This is a bold move and requires that you deal with your emotions before you approach him. The ideal way is when you are calm so that you do not instead attack him as this can escalate the issue.

Be clear about the status of your relationship with him. You might have to remind him that you are his in-law and would like that you respect each other.  

If you believe that it is innocent, tell him that but also explain the fact that his behaviour is making you uncomfortable. If you do not think it is innocent, you may want to ask why he is behaving that way. Emphasise the fact that you are not comfortable.

Protect and empower your young daughters and relatives to be cautious of bad touches even from relatives and teach them to report to someone they trust if this happens.

Let them learn to have zero tolerance towards sexual harassment such that they can be protected from such an uncle.

Reader advice

Tell someone you trust

Rita Jules. I recommend keeping a distance from him and letting someone know about this problem, especially your husband, family member or a close friend; just someone you can trust. It would have to be really bad for you to actually confront the person although sometimes that might be necessary.

Talk to him

Mathew Woods. If it continues to be a problem, it might be worth pulling that person aside. It could be that he actually means no harm. If you do not think it is innocent, ask why he is doing it.

Meet him privately

Joel Musoke. Ask to have a private discussion. Meet with him in a private setting, but not in a place that is removed from other people. Places such as a coffee shop or a conference room at work are ideal. Never arrange the meeting in your car, your home or any other private areas that may encourage the other person to make a move.

Do not allow disrespect

David Mukisa. In most cases, the mistake women make is tolerating all sorts of misconduct. While it is a good gesture, it also gives room for more evils. While you may be concerned about the unity in your husband’s family, you should also consider your happiness. Do not allow any form of disrespect to continue. Stop it as soon as you notice it.

Tell your husband

Elizabeth Lydia. When you feel that things are getting out of hand, you should immediately report it to your husband. After all, they have grown up together, and your husband knows him better. Your husband is in a better position to make it end without resorting to extreme actions.

Clip those wings

Freddie Rukundo. Avoid locking eyes with him; it is not a staring contest. If you confront him, many are likely to say you are crushing on him. Also, do not try to be friendly with him if you are uneasy around him. Since he thinks he is too good to be admired by every female, make him realise that he is not all that.

Call him out

Victoria Allen. You are giving this man too much attention and consideration which is making him think and feel that he is important. To me, he is an evil person who should be told so whether the family dynamics are disturbed or not. Do not tolerate such behaviour.

Demand changes

Tory Atiku. As him to change or stop coming around you or your family members. There is no need for him to continue making you uncomfortable.

Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

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