Should I be frank with Dsis or brush it under the carpet?(43 Posts)
I have had a falling out with my Dsis about 6 months ago.
She found out about a close and long term family friend of hers who had taken advantage of her vulnerable daughter at the age of 17. This friend had started picking my niece up from her boyfriend's house after they had argued, (which was happening often) taking her to his house, getting her drunk and having sex with her, on several occasions. It ended when my niece managed to tell him to leave her alone but she spent a year living away from home in breakdown, becoming hospitalised twice, before my sister found out this year.
My Dsis has said a few things about this that really disturbed me:
She refused to tell my niece's father about this because she said he was emotionally vulnerable and really relied upon my niece for support.
She told a mutual friend that Dniece had done something really bad and that she (Dsis) couldn't hold her head up walking down the street because of it.
She said she could understand the 'friend' becoming attracted to my niece because she was so voluptuous.
Shortly before Dsis found out, she had been taking cocaine with Dniece and the 'friend' together at a weekend away - she said that's when she noticed their body language together was strange.
Shortly after Dsis found out, the 'friend' fell and broke some ribs. She said she would go and visit him in hospital as she knew how much that could hurt having broken a rib herself in the past.
She said that she understood why Dniece hadn't told her anything all this time as she had agreed with the 'friend' not to tell anyone and that was fine.
Dsis has a history of mental issues and I'm the one in my family left carrying the responsibility of being there for her. After trying to offer some (asked for) advice and getting a barrage of justifications I gave up and we haven't spoken for 6 months.
Now it's xmas and Dsis has texted to say shall we just forget about it and have some fun together?
I will go and see the family, and I won't bring this up, what I want to know is - is it ok to briefly mention in my email to her that although I don't want to go into it all over again, I still feel upset by her actions.
I feel so bad for my niece but nothing can be done now.
I feel that I can't just accept her invite and brush over all this.
Don't put it in an e-mail. If you're annoyed with someone, either tell them to their face or give them a wide berth. If the 17yo is 'vulnerable' have you considered talking to the police or social services?
What is your sister's relationship to this "long term family friend"? Sounds like she is/was/hopes to be in a relationship with him? Do you or your sister still have contact with your niece?
I certainly wouldn't be for forgetting it or spending any time with DSIS.
Ignore text, you can always pretend that it never arrived? If she really felt sorry for the fall out then she could have called or visited? You sound right to be giving her a wide berth and don't feel bad for continuing to do so. I hope that your Niece is ok and this fist ace from her mother isn't preventing you from having a supportive role.
Don't brush it under the carpet. I agree with quietly, it's your niece who needs your support right now. Your sister may not be in a position to understand that if she has her own problems, but that doesn't excuse her - she is in the wrong.
'getting her drunk and having sex with her', you mean raping her. Because thats what you've described
So you sister found out her daughter was being raped, she then blamed her daugher for being 'so voluptuous', and said 'Dniece had done something really bad and that she (Dsis) couldn't hold her head up walking down the street because of it.
She visits the rapist in hospital over her daughter, she deny her daughter even the possibility of support from her father putting his needs over her daughters.
She takes drugs with her daughter. . .
I know you say she has history of mental issues, however that doesn't stop her being an abusive mother, because thats what this is.
You accepting her invite will just tell your poor DNiece that she is somehow in the wrong, it will allow your sister to think what she has done is ok.
While I don't agree with telling all the family what happened, I think that is your DN's choice to tell who she wants/ when she wants, the fact is you know what has happened.
I hope your DN is getting some support.
Short version: YANBU to be upset about what has happened, Y would BU to not offer help support to your DN, at the least to tell her you know and that what happened was wrong and in no way or shape her fault. It is never to late for someone to get help/support, for some people the effects of being raped can last a lifetime.
YABU if you help brush over all this.
Thanks for your responses.
I should clarify that Dniece is now 20, this took a while to come out. The family 'friend' had a short relationship with Dsis when Dniece was 2 yrs old - and they stayed friends ever since. He is 25 years Dniece's senior.
I haven't spoken to my niece about the issue but I hope she knows I am there for her. I have only seen her once this summer and she was pretty drunk when I saw her.
I would like to ignore Dsis's text but she has also emailed and is sending 'friendly' messages via our mother - who quite clearly doesn't know the full picture and just thinks I am being rude.
Agree with smellslike.
Your priority should be supporting your niece who has been badly neglected by your sister.
This is a really good point and I will make better efforts to connect with Dniece.
Theres no way I'd be able to sweep this under the carpet, Christmas or not
I'm wavering over sending my email but must do it tonight. I just don't want to trigger a deluge of justifications which is what has happened before.
I get that you have historically been the one "carrying" your sister's problems, but seriously I think you need to adjust to the new reality - which is that what to write in an email to your sister should NOT be uppermost in your mind at the moment.
Your next port of call is the police, SS or Rape Crisis. This is just awful.
This is awful. I agree with smellslikecatspee
It is awful and I've been brooding on it all summer. I just can't bear to see my Dsis.
I will go but I think she's a crap parent.
I've been thinking about this thread all day, and OP I am sorry if I sounded a bit harsh, but I did feel it needed to be laid out clearly.
I realise that if the norm in your family is to forgive your sister everything it can be hard to change.
Please reach out to your niece and give her whatever support you can, she may refuse it, but let her know that someone recognises the wrong that was done to her.
BTW the fact that this so called friend had a relationship with your sister when your niece was little actually makes it so very much worse.
And while this may sound hysterical please do not this man around any other young or vulnerable people.
To the contrary smellslikecatpee your post was lucid and helpful.
You seem to be as angry as I am.
At the time my Dsis told me that Dniece had told her that it was not rape. So we have to go with that. But she was young and vulnerable and undoubtedly taken advantage of. Perhaps she looked up to the 'friend' like a father figure since her own father wasn't there for her, I'll never know.
So... I am going over there today and dreading it. I found out last night that Dsis has invited a friend of mine over today as well.
I'd be glad to see this friend normally but she's been invited to offset the tension I know. Which really pisses me off.
The friend doesn't know that previously Dsis has been quite scathing and insulting about her, now she's being used as a buffer between us.
That's just...awful. I can see why you are angry about it. Do you know how DNiece feels about it? Could you talk to her?
I would contact the 'friend' and tell her why she has been invited along tbh.
I would strongly advise her that you will be discussing things she will not want to hear and that it could end up getting nasty.
It went fine I guess. The friend came along with me (I picked her up on the way) and there was no discussion of anything at all since none of us are likely to go into it in front of the children - Dsis also has a 6yo and a 3yo and my two were there as well.
Dsis thanked me for coming and you wouldn't have known there was anything wrong but I am still angry with her.
In addition to my upset at the situation with eldest Dniece I am also concerned that they are overcrowded (unnecessarily). The family is in a 2 bed (council) house, eldest Dniece has her own room although she mostly lives away at college, and Dnieces 2 & 3 (aged 6 & 3) sleep in the main bedroom with Dsis and her partner. Their beds are pushed up against one another. Dniece 2 is not related to the man who sleeps in the room with her. (Dsis has 3 children by 3 dads, this isn't judgey at all, just trying to be clear).
Dsis is therefore eligible for a larger house and there have been two recently available on the same street as her. She refuses to think about moving. Her mental issues get in the way of rational thought and planning.
I hope this isn't seen as drip feeding but it's been on my mind since I went there a couple of days ago. I'm good friends with Dniece2's dad and he has been talking to me about the sleeping arrangements there, he is concerned as well.
We both feel that Dsis seems to have lost her moral compass with what happened with Dniece1, and really wish that Dniece 2 (and indeed Dniece3) had her own space.
Your absolute priority is your sister's children. Your sister sounds like a lost cause unfortunately - she's an adult and supposedly a mother but she is not capable of parenting at all. In your shoes I would get in contact with your niece asap and step in where her mother has failed. Something like she experienced can send someone down a very bad road and you have the opportunity to stop that happening. I would maintain a relationship with your sister but only with the purpose of keeping a very close eye on the other two children - they are in very high danger of also being abused. It is too much to hope that your sister will suddenly see sense, she won't.
The best thing you can do is be there for your DN's. Has anyone else talked to your SIS about how vulnerable all her children are and that SIS should be protecting them. Agree a bigger house is needed, that sleeping arrangement is not appropriate.
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