What would you call it when an aunt complains about her nephew in front of his mom to needle her?

Here is a situation:

Whenever a 2-year-old son does something wrong, his aunt always makes some remarks to her husband regarding that child’s misbehavior and she does it deliberately in the presence of the child’s mom obviously trying to needle her. For example, the mom told her child not to touch the remote control, but he just went ahead and grabbed it from the coffee table and accidentally dropped it on the floor – so the aunt right away told her husband, ‘Look, he is so spoiled! Never listens to his parents!’ Usually she doesn’t do it loudly. She can’t be accused of trying to start a fight with her sister-in-law (the child’s mom) as she does have the right to tell her husband whatever she thinks, yet she never fails to do it audibly enough so that the child’s mom could hear it.

What would you call the aunt’s actions here? How would you describe what she is doing?

I am most interested in a noun or a verb: “What she is doing is called (noun).” or “She is simply (verb+ing).”


  • What she is doing is called mockery.
  • She is simply ranting.


Passive aggressiveness is very apt. Provoking also comes to mind, depending on how we interpret her motives: she seems to be trying to provoke the child’s mother, she is trying to get under her skin, she is trying to put her down. I am assuming that the mother of the child is her sister-in-law: she is trying to drive brother and sister apart by provoking the sister and setting her husband up against his sister by pushing him to join her in her provocations. She is a sower of discord, a bully, a manipulator. And, no, I have never had a sister-in-law perform such tricks of bullying and manipulation on me.

Source : Link , Question Author : brilliant , Answer Author : Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica

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