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SIL hates my niece. WWYD?

(85 Posts)
AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:12:17

My DB is 31, has a little girl (My DNiece 5) from previous marriage. DB also has little girl (18 months) with his partner of 4 years. I will call her SIL, SIL adored my niece (5) and treated my niece better than her biological mother. She truly seemed to dote on my niece. My DB then decided to have a baby with SIL (DNiece 18 months) as it seemed that they were ready to add to their little family.
Since the day my DNiece (18 months) was born SIL has acted like my DNiece (5) does not exist, and at best treats her as a though she is a PITA and major inconvenience. To the point where she was brushing DNiece (18 months) hair, so DNiece (5) wanted to be involved and asked if she could have her hair done next and SIL just said 'No'. As small as that seems its other little things like not involving DNiece (5) in games with her half sister. She is even trying to exclude her from major family events.

Things have come to a head as SIL has stated that she loves Sundays and cannot wait for my DB to take DNiece (5) home after her weekend stays and she looks forward to it more than anything else.

I am gutted. For my DB and my DNiece (5) as everything seemed perfect and happy until SIL changed her tune so massively. My DB doesn't know what to do for the best as he doesn't want 2 children from 2 broken relationships. He confides in me and cannot seem to find a positive solution to this mess.

I also want to point out that DNiece (5) is an absolute angel all of the time. Even if she was not surely no child would ever merit this treatment?

So WWYD?

(Apologies for long post)

scotlass Sat 04-May-13 22:21:24

The poor girl. I felt physically sick reading this. Emotional abuse which IMO this sounds like can have long lasting implications on her self esteem.

Has anyone spoken to your SIL and told her of specific examples like the one you mention? Maybe she's so wrapped up in her PFB she's forgotten that she was a really important person in your DNieces life.

Your DB really needs to be trying to manage this situation, doing nothing isn't really an option. It's terribly sad for all of you to be in this situation but the adults need to be advocating for a little 5yr old girl. Her emotional needs are as important as her physical ones.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 04-May-13 22:28:12

Your Db needs to grow some balls and stand up for his eldest child, tell his partner that its unacceptable.

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:28:55

Thank you for replying Scotlass. My brother has told her quite firmly on numerous occasions that this treatment is just not on and to be fair she changes for a few days but then goes straight back to mistreating her when she thinks my brother is not bothered anymore.
I probably come across as a nosy interfering cow but my biological father dumped me on the whim of his gf and I haven't seen him since I was 7 so this stings like a sod tbh. Although I know my brother would never dump my niece smile
I make damn sure my niece feels loved and valued when I see her (when I see both nieces in fact, I wouldn't spite my youngest niece).
I like your point about how she has possibly just forgotten and I wish I could believe it's just because my youngest niece IS her PFB.

I think your DB needs to have strong words with her. Either she fixes up her behaviour towards your Niece or he has to think about the future of their relationship. His daughter should be able to visit him to stay, without being emotionally abused.

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:31:31

VivaLeBeaver - he already has a new house ready to move into minus the SIL it's just the guilt he feels over two children from two broken relationships iyswim?

Vatta Sat 04-May-13 22:33:42

Sorry, but this kind of exclusion of one child is emotional abuse. It's very cruel. If your SIL can't be nice to your neice, then your brother has to step up and make sure his daughter never sees his partner. Perhaps he could have contact time with his daughter somewhere else (like your house if that's practical?). That might also be the shock your SIL needs to realise how unacceptable her behaviour is.

tribpot Sat 04-May-13 22:35:45

he doesn't want 2 children from 2 broken relationships

Maybe he doesn't, but his dd2 already has one parent who's favouring her above his dd1. By condoning the SIL's behaviour he's doing the same.

It is simply cruel to a five year old girl to make her spend time in this atmosphere. Your brother has a hard decision to make but I think his children come first - both of them.

Alligatorpie Sat 04-May-13 22:35:47

That is horrible, what a bitch. I hope your bro stands up to her, he can't let this continue.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 04-May-13 22:36:46

He has to talk properly to the sil and say he can't watch his eldest dd being hurt. She is already being hurt by this sad

If the sil cannot change he will have to act to protect his eldest dd, removing her from the sil's orbit.

How sad sad

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:38:11

vatta genius! It is absolutely an option for my niece to see my DB in my house. Hopefully it would as you say make the SIL realise how bad her behaviour is. Hopefully it would only have to be a short term situation as my DB loves having both his little girls together the entire weekend. Thanks alot! :D

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:43:38

I have just text my brother with the suggestion of coming to my house with the girls, minus the SIL. Hopefully he will give it a go and SIL will come to her bloody senses. Didn't think I'd find any kind of solution, was just clutching at straws posting here so thanks guys!

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-May-13 22:44:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scotlass Sat 04-May-13 22:45:20

admiral you're not coming across as interfering, you're quite rightly standing up for your DNieces rights to be treated fairly and equally.

I can understand your DB not wanting to break up his family and it's so so sad if it does mean the relationship ends. However the little girl cannot keep being exposed to SIL's disdain, she will feel it even if words are not used.

Using your house sounds like a good start and perhaps reading up on attachment theories so someone can articulate to SIL why the girls need to be both looked after sensitively and responsibly may help.

Good luck to you and your DB in tackling this.

zipzap Sat 04-May-13 22:45:59

This has happened in dh's family, albeit this is now 20 odd years down the line... Hopefully the same won't happen to your niece and her dad!

SIL married new bil after she had had nephew1 - not his, never was married to his N1's father.

Niece1 and Nephew2 then came along - N1 was pretty much ignored from when he was young - he's now in his mid 20s and hasn't had any contact with his mum for years. He still is in contact with his half sis and bro through - although I still don't know if they know he is their half rather than full brother sad. When N1 needed parental support it came from his aunts and uncles rather than his own mum sad

MIL barely tolerates SIL and has as little to do with BIL as she can get away with but hasn't cut contact because of other GC, but it's very sad as an outsider coming to the family to see what has happened. N1 is very shy, has had very little support (things like the bil didn't want him to watch tv with him so he used to come in and go to his room - basically I think he wanted to forget that he ever existed so just didn't speak to him and ignored him. Niece and N2 are now getting to their early 20s and getting good support from their parents with uni - money, cheap car, help finding nice uni and course and general support etc. None of which they gave to N1. he's a sweet lad and doesn't begrudge these things to his half siblings but obviously hates his mum for the way that she was happy to fall into line with her dh and effectively ignore her ds1 to just play happy families with her dh, dd1 and ds2 sad

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:51:33

zipzap that is bloody awful sad I've been in that situation myself and it isn't fun and I know from experience it can leave lasting scars. Hence my concern for my niece. I may also ask my DB if he wants me to/minds if I talk to SIL about her feelings regarding my niece (politely, calmly etc) my DNiece (5) doesnt exactly have a calm life at her mums house either which really doesn't help.

ChasedByBees Sat 04-May-13 22:54:05

Poor little girl. I wonder if SIL would respond to the thought of her marriage breaking up and some other woman treating her PFB like this? She is putting her relationship at severe risk - does she know how close to breaking point things are? She is being abusive. She needs to be shocked out of this.

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:54:55

I would like to say in my brothers defence: he adores my DNiece (5) and is constantly and continually pulling SIL up on her treatment of DNiece. He treats the girls as equals, as he rightly should. He comes to my house once a week, every week with both girls and we spend alot of time playing with them which is lovely but it is quite blatantly obvious that SIL cares very little for DNiece. Apparently SIL suffers from depression but is that really a justifiable reason for this treatment of DNiece???

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 22:55:52

ChasedByBees - my thoughts exactly! If the shoe was on the other foot she would NOT tolerate this!!!

Vatta Sat 04-May-13 23:00:24

You're welcome admiraldata, I really hope it helps.

tribpot Sat 04-May-13 23:02:22

It might be the reason but it is still unacceptable for the child to suffer for it.

Personally I don't see how your DB could ever trust her alone with his DD1 again but hey ho - perhaps she will be shocked out of the abuse.

AdmiralData Sat 04-May-13 23:06:14

tribpot - thankfully my brother doesnt leave my DNiece alone with her. When he came to collect me recently he brought my DNiece with him as he can't risk her feeling left out by SIL but I absolutely agree that she shouldn't suffer because of any emotional issues SIL has smile

Vatta Sat 04-May-13 23:08:10

What tribpot said - if SIL is so depressed she's emotionally abusing a girl she should be treating as a daughter then she needs serious medical attention, and the family should step in to protect your neice until this is resolved.

northlight Sun 05-May-13 09:17:28

Does your older niece look more like her father than your younger niece? Could she be perceived to 'belong' more to the wider family because of family resemblance. Is she perhaps prettier/better natured and, yes, I know it's mad to compare children of such different ages - or indeed at all - but does your SIL know this?

Do SIL's own family have much to do with her daughter?

Could SIL resent how much your older niece is loved within the family and irrationally feel that this means that her daughter is loved less? You say that your older niece does not have an easy home life and, quite rightly, you make much of her when she is with you. Is SIL too self absorbed to realise that you are compensating for the less happy aspects of your older niece's life?

None of the above would excuse her treatment of an innocent child but it might to some extent explain it.

fuzzpig Sun 05-May-13 09:37:10

That is so sad sad I hope your DB can put a stop to it.

I'm a stepmum and I have to say when I had my own DCs with DH, it brought me even closer to my DSCs, as I loved seeing them together and bonding. We encouraged them to read stories, choose their clothes etc. My DCs are so lucky to have 3 'extra' siblings who adore them, and vice versa.

Sorry I'm rambling. I just hate hearing about people like your SIL, gives stepmums a bad name angry

I have a lot of MH issues too that were exacerbated by pregnancy and birth, but I was very aware that I mustn't let this affect my DSCs. Depression needs to be sorted if it is making her so paranoid, it is not a green light to treating other people badly.

Your poor little niece. And I feel sorry for the younger one too, as it's not healthy being brought up in the uncomfortable position of 'favourite' and seeing nasty spiteful behaviour towards her sister.

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