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by Abigail Van Buren

Favorite Son's Jabs at Brother's Wife Causing Family Friction

DEAR ABBY: I married "Darius" two years ago. I have had problems with my brother-in-law ever since Darius and I first began dating five years ago.

From my husband's perspective, his parents have always favored his younger brother, "Adonis." "Anything goes" is their attitude where he is concerned. Adonis takes things without asking, lies and constantly makes disrespectful comments toward us. He was never reprimanded as a child, and now he's an adult (24), the sniping continues.

A few months ago, he showed up unannounced at my home and insulted a guest who was visiting at the time. (She also doesn't care for him.) I asked him to leave to avoid making waves with her.

I think Adonis owes me an apology, but he refuses to give me a sincere one. My father-in-law thinks I should just "get over it" and says I am being ridiculous because I no longer want to attend family events if Adonis is present. Mostly the reason is I no longer want to tolerate his behavior while he's drinking and making constant "jokes" about me.

I feel bad for my husband because we have missed out on seeing family members and enjoying ourselves at events because I don't want to create a scene. Darius supports the way I feel, but says he can't demand an apology from his brother. I feel if I back down now, Adonis' behavior will continue for the rest of my life. I don't think I should be treated this way. How should I resolve this issue? -- FAMILY PROBLEM IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR FAMILY PROBLEM: I'm glad you wrote. Adonis is getting away with this because your in-laws are enabling it. Your husband should straighten his spine and inform his "little" brother he drinks too much, and he wants the sniping stopped. Your father-in-law is a mile off base. It isn't ridiculous to want to avoid verbal abuse from a drunk, and he, too, should have a talk with Adonis. Until that happens, you are right to keep your distance. Nobody likes pain, and your brother-in-law appears unwilling to stop being a large one in a southern portion of your anatomy.

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