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Trying to not implode Re my sister, my niece and my dad

(19 Posts)
Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 18:58:29

I have been really trying to stay out of the drama between my sister, my nearly 90 year old authoritative and emotionally abusive dad, and my 21 year old niece.

Niece lives in a 2 bed granny annexe at my dads, rent and bill free. It is not self contained. It has a kitchen, and a toilet with a washbasin. The bathroom is shared with my dad. She is a student, studies very hard and does very well. She easily suffers migraines, so always comes home around 3-4, rests and have a nap, and then she goes out again around 8 pm most evenings to study with her study group. My sister usually spend summer holidays with them, helping with the garden as much as she can, and does her daughters chores while she is away seeing her dad for the holidays.

He is a cantankerous old man, always been in control. He did not want kids, but mum persuaded him, first to get my sister and then 13 years later me. He did not really have much time for us when we grew up, and behaved like a bully especially to my older sister. Mimicking her speech defect, and always biting her head off. She has spent her life walking on eggshells and hiding behind mum. She is an engineer, yet he is always talking down at her like she is some silly woman who knows nothing. She has health issues, scoliosis, arthritis, yet keep pushing her to do hard physical work like pressure-washing the drive, mowing lawn, and browbeaten as she is, she always complies. He is always taking the mickey at how she does things in clumsy ways, and it always end in tears.

Just yesterday all hell broke out because she included a plastic tub which had contained berries for jam making (His berries, won at the local bingo, sister had made jam for him, and cleaned the tub), in a bag with some of my tupperware to give me. The reason? It was not her tub to give a way. It was a principle that needed to be upheld, you dont give away somebody elses posession. So he raged. And she ended up in the annex crying, for the umpteenth time this holiday. She suffers anxiety, and has some mental health problems. Dad knows this.

That was just the background, to explain a little about how he is, and the relations. Niece is just 21, immature in many ways, and can be very naive. She does not care or understand the relationship between her mum and her granddad. She decided to invite a friend to move in to the annex with her, to also live rent free with her. Me and my sister told niece this was not a good idea, Friend would not notice much of dads behaviour, but me and my sister would have to take the hit for this.

Dad is nice and cheerful with Niece, always agrees with her, but rubbishes her behind her back to me and Sister. He always moans and complains about her. She is out too much (she has to go through the house to go out), she is noisy. She does not help enough (She does her laundry, run errands for him and do his shopping, but sometimes she misses items out, but most of the time he forgets that she has been shopping or done laundry). She has too many boyfriends (she is a devout catholic, as is her girl friend ). She leaves the house too early. She wakes him up in the morning, she does not come to look in on him in the morning before she leaves for Uni. Everything is wrong. But he beams at her and never tell HER if anything is wrong.

He rubbishes me to my sister and my niece, and he rubbishes my sister to my Niece and I. There is not a good word to be said about any of us. And if we ever try to talk to him about his shouting, or the issues he brings up to us (about eachothers failings) then he plays the Poor Old Man card, "I cannot deal with discord in my house, I am too old for this. I am always nice and pleasant, and woe is me everybody is so nasty to me" And then he rants about how his confidences are betrayed and how dare we talk to eachother about how rubbish we are.

Now. He has been foul to my sister, more than usual, in the last three weeks since Niece decided Friend is moving in, and he has been telling me that he feels completely taken advantage of, that he does not understand how Niece could even ask him to move a stranger into his home, to his bathroom. It was rude of her, and he did not want it, but could not tell her that because he wanted a good atmosphere in his home and that meant not confronting Niece. But I should NOT tell Niece or sister about this. I felt I could not let this continue, though.

So I spoke to Sister and Niece. Sister was glad she understood why he had been more than usual nasty. Niece went to talk to him, asking him how he really felt about Friend moving in, and he was all "Oh that will be so nice for you, it will be such a bonus to have this great girl in his house".....

I really dont know what to do. It is getting to me. I dont want drama. My sister is calling me several times per week in tears the last two months, and she has now decided I have to come with her when she goes back home as otherwise she will not be able to stop herself from taking too many sleeping pills. The thing with Friend is not the only issue that is causing my Sister to go nuts, it is a whole summer of mental torture, and my Niece who has introduced her new boyfriend, a much older international student, that my sister does not approve of due to big differences in culture and religion.
Not so easy for me to leave my kids for a week to travel half way across the globe. Her threatening suicide is a bi-monthly occurrence at least so I dont really think she will doe something. But what if?

The ONE time I meddled to try make things better and it just blows up even more. I have seriously had enough.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 29-Aug-16 19:34:20

Your sister needs to be no where near your dad. Help her to get therapy to get herself to that place.

You both need to cut him off. He is an abusive bully.

Sparkletastic Mon 29-Aug-16 19:39:16

Your father sounds vile. Your sister needs therapy. Your niece needs to move into student digs and stop taking advantage to her mother's detriment. Send your sister a carefully worded letter then step back.

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 19:40:56

I know she should stay far away. But that would also mean not visiting her daughter. Major mistake for Niece to move in with dad. They sort of thought he would appreciate that she is there and is helping him, and in the house in case something should happen to him. They thought he would mellow. He does not want rent, yet begrudges her that she does not pay rent.

Sis has been persuaded to get some therapy when she goes home next month. She is not coming for Christmas.

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 29-Aug-16 19:41:47

He's that bad but not bad enough to stop her daughter living there for free?
Giving his things away was wrong, and I can't believe the cheek of the niece moving someone else in without permission whilst living in someone else's home rent free. Sister is disapproving of boyfriend due to religion?
Frankly they all sound pretty bad (actually fucking awful) and I'd keep out of it all.

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 19:42:49

Niece wants to move into student digs, she just wishes this had all blown up sooner, as there is nothing available now as Uni has already started here. She will start looking though.

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 19:47:40

Well, they are scared of the consequences of her moving out. There is this "hold" abusive people have on you, I think. Sister is desperate to please my dad and get his love and approval.
Boyfriend is from a country and culture where Christians are persecuted, and he has a government job he is on leave from. Niece is adamant this wont be a problem. Sister is worried what will happen if she returns with him to his home country.

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 19:48:25

"Frankly they all sound pretty bad (actually fucking awful) " sad thats a bit harsh.

Cherrysoup Mon 29-Aug-16 21:59:21

I'm sorry, but your niece is taking the piss, frankly, to invite someone else to move in, rent free! It's ok for her grandad to allow her to live rent free, she's family, it is NOT alright for her to invite a mate in! That's ridiculous!

Can your sister not ask her DD to visit back at home rather than be subject to your father's nastiness?

Assam Mon 29-Aug-16 22:05:50

If he's that bad then you all need to go nc
But if he's not bad enough for neice to move out then just don't go see her
It won't mean she won't ever see her daughter - she just won't see her at her granny annex

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 22:40:42

He is not that bad to ME. I can handle him, and I am able to reason with him. He is pleasant to my niece.
He does talk a lot of crap about me. He is telling my sister she cant trust me, that she must never rely on me, she has to be careful, etc. This is in addition to all the stuff that I dont do - well, I do it, but perhaps not as quickly as he would like because I have a job and two kids and live a distance away.
My sister cant handle him, he pushes all her buttons, so blows up, then goes to bed with a nervous breakdown. Some times she overreacts, other times he is completely unreasonable.
You never know what mood he is in, so we all walk on eggshells, my Sister most of all.

She lives a 7 hour flight away, so cant come so often, and likes to stay long each summer. I always tell her it is not a good idea. She has decided she is not coming for Christmas, and that her daughter will come to her instead.

Sister is aware she is in a bad state, which is why she is seeking help. My problem is that I am now so worn out after a whole summer of this.

BaronessBomburst Mon 29-Aug-16 22:49:42

You had a thread on here when your niece moved in, didn't you?
You were unsure it was such a great idea at the time but most posters seemed to think it would do them both good.

Quintessing Mon 29-Aug-16 23:05:32

I probably had a thread, I cant remember now. I was not keen on the idea because I knew it would get the three of them closer together, and my sister never got on with dad very well. Every spring when she books tickets I remind her of the previous summer and how bad it was when she stayed so long, and every year she says "no dont worry it will be fine, I will handle it". Then she spends the summer moaning and crying on the phone to me and threatens to top herself, and by the end I am a nervous wreck. She gets it all out - to me, and I have nobody to offload to. So I bottle it up over summer. Then she goes home, chills, and next spring the cycle repeats. She seem oblivious to the pattern of summer horrors and joyfully books tickets, whereas I try to caution her and she gets annoyed with me. She has millions of reasons why she has to stay so long, and she admits the good outweighs the bad, as long as she can offload. To me.

I told her today that this is HER and her daughters issue and I cant take any more and I do not want to hear about the Friend and how they solve this.

Kr1stina Wed 14-Sep-16 13:17:31

Is this the same niece who is being radicalised by Islamists ? Or a different one .

Your family sounds very complicated

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 14-Sep-16 13:37:24

It sounds like your main problem is that you are being used to offload, and that you try to help and it backfires.

I understand that this is stressful. It sounds like the solution is to resist the urge to interfere, and also to stop being the emotional offload person.

You can cut your sister off when she wants to offload. It's harsh, but it seems from what you say that the result is that the same sorry cycle just starts all over again next year.

So start saying: "I don't want to hear about how Dad's upset you." And then swiftly change to another subject (have one handy). Repeat as necessary.

Your sister knows that you don't think she should be there in the first place as it upsets her (you're right: she should stay away from him). But you can't stop her going where she chooses. You can, however, cut her off on the topic of how upset she is and launch another topic of conversation.

It's a bit cruel to do this to a suffering person. So please do tell her that she has your sympathy, and gently remind her that she'd be happier not in his home. But you are entitled not to talk with her if the topic only ends up distressing you.

Ninasimoneinthemorning Wed 14-Sep-16 13:43:17

Your poor sister.

Hopefully he will die soon as no one is going to change the situation are they?

Ninasimoneinthemorning Wed 14-Sep-16 13:58:04

op that man has bullied your sister since she was a child, do you not think her mental
Health issues are down to him? In her vunerable mental state you are still not sticking up for her and her dd needs to be ashamed of herself.

That poor woman gets to be this bastards whipping boy so her dd can have cheap board and you don't have to pull your weight at his house. In fact you both should be ashamed of yourselfs. How you you feel if you had be tormented all your life? And still as an adult its continuing because your self esteem has been shot to pieces and no fucker is prepared to stand up to him for you.

Rather than getting pissed off because she is moaning

Ninasimoneinthemorning Wed 14-Sep-16 14:00:16

Posted to early :-

Rather than getting pissed off because she is moaning about her consistent bullying you should be helping her. She is a abusive relationship.

ricecrispy way to go on the 'look the other way' solution. hmm

Yoksha Wed 14-Sep-16 16:52:00

I find your explanation of the dynamics confusing! You say he's not that bad to you, you can handle him, & he is nice to your neice. Yet you say in your OP that he slags all 3 of you off to each other!!. Sounds like loathsome duplicitous behaviour to me.

Quite frankly, I think you & your neice are self-preserving. Your neice is extracting the urine! Your sister has been massively let down by all 3 off you. Your dad is yanking all your chains. Really, if my Dh was behaving like this, I'd give him his head in his hands. Age is no excuse.

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