My mother-in-law is passive-aggressive. What a surprise.

My mother-in-law buys me clothes sometimes, but they’re always a size L or XL. I’m not super skinny or anything, but whatever she buys for me always looks HUGE. A couple times I’ve mentioned that I don’t wear a large, but she says something like, “Oh, I thought the medium looked very small. This one looked like it would fit.” How can I get her to stop doing this?

You can’t. It’s like trying to stop the sun from rising, or getting Oprah to stop giving kooky medical advice.

Just don’t wear the stuff she gives you. If she asks, “Where’s that cute sweatshirt I gave you with the kittens on the front,” say, “It’s in a drawer upstairs. It’s too big.” When she asks, “Why don’t you ever wear the t-shirt I made you with my face embroidered on the front,” say, “I don’t wear it because it’s too big for me.” Don’t be angry or petulant…if she really is trying to make you feel bad, that’s just going to encourage her to do it more. Just be sweet and matter-of-fact, even if after the conversation is over you have to go hide in the garage and chew on your tongue for half an hour.

Crazy, passive-aggressive people who do crazy, passive-aggressive things can’t be reasoned with or gently prodded into realizing that they’re being insane. They need to be dealt with head-on.

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