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Brother In Law, Christmas, Crazy!

So I'm going to abbreviate this story: 2 years ago my sister falls pregnant at 42. Her boyfriend wants nothing to do with the baby BUT continues to date her. I know. Odd. But keep reading. My husband and I support her: through making her meals on weekdays to going to scans and amnio, keeping her company, helping her shop, even attending hospital orientation etc. He has 8 year old twins, is nearly 50 and says the thought of another is overwhelming. I sort of understand. Our grown daughter is nearly 20 at this point and the thought of more kids is exhausting, so my husband got a vasectomy because accidents happen. So come the New Year (2013), the boyfriend decides to give it a go. No thanks to us from either my sister or him. I hear nothing from her for the last 2 months, but hear from friends that she's not eating much and exercising 5 days a week to stay in her pre-pregnancy jeans. So come delivery day, I attend at the labour because he doesn't know where to go or what to do and instead they call me. Baby is norn at 5 lbs at full term because she lost/didn't gain weight in those last two months. Baby was growing fine until then according to the scans. My sister is in over her head and baths baby once a week, keeps him on soft pureed food until 15 months, basically refuses to educate herself or ask questions. FF about six months and he says it's not working she must leave. We make arrangements. We find daycare etc. and turn our.lives upside down again.They make up. Ok. Life as normal. No hard feelings. She (I'm 99% sure of this) tricks him into 2nd pregnancy. Same story: not interested. She must move out or have termination. This time I have no understanding because he had a scheduled vasectomy and backed out, she told me they don't use condoms and she's not taking the pill. HUH!? In the meantime, my nephew is developmentally delayed (20 months and can't say a word, let alone babba or dadda, can't use a spoon or crayon, can't point, makes grumbling noises while running back and forth back and forth, cries uncontrollably at "sad" songs, doesn't play with blocks etc.). Local clinic says he's missing red flag milestones but my sister says he's perfect as he is and refuses treatment. She basically says I must back off when I suggest he see a paediatrician. But she is having another baby now. Now an aside: my husband had a run of VERY bad luck, medically: 2007 suffered deep depression, 2008 contracted C. Difficil (superbug) while in hospital, 2009 had major stomach valve surgery (opened from ribs past navel), 2010 relapsed depression as he couldn't return to work, 2011 returned to work only to hit his head after one month - suffered brain injury and unpredictable grand mal seizures. There were no witnesses, so worker's comp (yes we appealed) refused compensation. Then in 2013 developed MASSIVE hernia and had to be cut stern to stem again. So no work since then as he falls often and HARD (he's 6'4" and 220lb). He keeps in great shape but can no longer drive or run marathons (intersections are dangerous), climb stairs or use machinery. We are often at the ER for CT scans to check for brain bleeds, but we try to find humour in it. I say he keeps falling head over heels im love with me. Our daughter is becoming a nurse because his problems and ER visits have inspired her. So he became a house-husband and does all the cleaning and cooking and dog walking etc. He's kept positive through it all, despite our severely diminished income.

So: today my sister says we must come for Christmas dinner but she's not fussing and is making lasagna, garlic bread and caesar salad. That's odd as it is. I always.make my family a roast lamb, trifle, roast potatoes etc. at Christmas. I - politely - say we're going elsewhere after our lunch, but thank you anyway. She persists and demands to know what could possibly be more important than me seeing her family. I tell her I can't be hypocritical and share Christmas with her boyfriend after what he did to her. I say I respect it was her decision to stay with him after he again kicked her out, but I can't pretend to like him. Short version: She says, "Fine. You've made your choice. You'll never see me or your nephew ever again. You've never supported me anyway and BIL (brother in law/boyfriend) is your family, like it or not. Oh. And (for good measure) there are plenty of things I could say about MH (my husband) and don't, like: he's a leech, he is a burden and with his medical problems he's a drain on you and there's no reason he can't get a job. But I'd never say that." (BUT you just did.) So I ignored that. But said again, "I don't want to upset you - especially since you're pregnant, but I don't want to spend my holiday being fake." So. Wow. She says I've changed because I know how much she loves Christmas and why can't I just come and not talk to BIL? I say, "I've not changed - I've just grown myself a pair!"

Am I unreasonable for:
1. saying no to sharing Christmas with the BIL?
2. being upset at her lack of compassion for my husband's medical troubles (none of which were any fault of his own)
3. finally standing up for myself and saying no to her "we come as a package deal - all or nothing" offer?
4. Being disappointed in her refusal to get her son the help he needs?

Why do I feel guilty? Logically I don't. Feel I should feel bad, but I've always been easily manipulated by her being upset ... but today I just wouldn't take it anymore. Thoughts?

Re: Brother In Law, Christmas, Crazy!

  • So I'm going to abbreviate this story: 2 years ago my sister falls pregnant at 42. Her boyfriend wants nothing to do with the baby BUT continues to date her. I know. Odd. But keep reading. My husband and I support her: through making her meals on weekdays to going to scans and amnio, keeping her company, helping her shop, even attending hospital orientation etc. He has 8 year old twins, is nearly 50 and says the thought of another is overwhelming. I sort of understand. Our grown daughter is nearly 20 at this point and the thought of more kids is exhausting, so my husband got a vasectomy because accidents happen. So come the New Year (2013), the boyfriend decides to give it a go. No thanks to us from either my sister or him. I hear nothing from her for the last 2 months, but hear from friends that she's not eating much and exercising 5 days a week to stay in her pre-pregnancy jeans. So come delivery day, I attend at the labour because he doesn't know where to go or what to do and instead they call me. Baby is norn at 5 lbs at full term because she lost/didn't gain weight in those last two months. Baby was growing fine until then according to the scans. My sister is in over her head and baths baby once a week, keeps him on soft pureed food until 15 months, basically refuses to educate herself or ask questions. FF about six months and he says it's not working she must leave. We make arrangements. We find daycare etc. and turn our.lives upside down again.They make up. Ok. Life as normal. No hard feelings. She (I'm 99% sure of this) tricks him into 2nd pregnancy. Same story: not interested. She must move out or have termination. This time I have no understanding because he had a scheduled vasectomy and backed out, she told me they don't use condoms and she's not taking the pill. HUH!? In the meantime, my nephew is developmentally delayed (20 months and can't say a word, let alone babba or dadda, can't use a spoon or crayon, can't point, makes grumbling noises while running back and forth back and forth, cries uncontrollably at "sad" songs, doesn't play with blocks etc.). Local clinic says he's missing red flag milestones but my sister says he's perfect as he is and refuses treatment. She basically says I must back off when I suggest he see a paediatrician. But she is having another baby now. Now an aside: my husband had a run of VERY bad luck, medically: 2007 suffered deep depression, 2008 contracted C. Difficil (superbug) while in hospital, 2009 had major stomach valve surgery (opened from ribs past navel), 2010 relapsed depression as he couldn't return to work, 2011 returned to work only to hit his head after one month - suffered brain injury and unpredictable grand mal seizures. There were no witnesses, so worker's comp (yes we appealed) refused compensation. Then in 2013 developed MASSIVE hernia and had to be cut stern to stem again. So no work since then as he falls often and HARD (he's 6'4" and 220lb). He keeps in great shape but can no longer drive or run marathons (intersections are dangerous), climb stairs or use machinery. We are often at the ER for CT scans to check for brain bleeds, but we try to find humour in it. I say he keeps falling head over heels im love with me. Our daughter is becoming a nurse because his problems and ER visits have inspired her. So he became a house-husband and does all the cleaning and cooking and dog walking etc. He's kept positive through it all, despite our severely diminished income.

    So: today my sister says we must come for Christmas dinner but she's not fussing and is making lasagna, garlic bread and caesar salad. That's odd as it is. I always.make my family a roast lamb, trifle, roast potatoes etc. at Christmas. I - politely - say we're going elsewhere after our lunch, but thank you anyway. She persists and demands to know what could possibly be more important than me seeing her family. I tell her I can't be hypocritical and share Christmas with her boyfriend after what he did to her. I say I respect it was her decision to stay with him after he again kicked her out, but I can't pretend to like him. Short version: She says, "Fine. You've made your choice. You'll never see me or your nephew ever again. You've never supported me anyway and BIL (brother in law/boyfriend) is your family, like it or not. Oh. And (for good measure) there are plenty of things I could say about MH (my husband) and don't, like: he's a leech, he is a burden and with his medical problems he's a drain on you and there's no reason he can't get a job. But I'd never say that." (BUT you just did.) So I ignored that. But said again, "I don't want to upset you - especially since you're pregnant, but I don't want to spend my holiday being fake." So. Wow. She says I've changed because I know how much she loves Christmas and why can't I just come and not talk to BIL? I say, "I've not changed - I've just grown myself a pair!"

    Am I unreasonable for:
    1. saying no to sharing Christmas with the BIL?
    2. being upset at her lack of compassion for my husband's medical troubles (none of which were any fault of his own)
    3. finally standing up for myself and saying no to her "we come as a package deal - all or nothing" offer?
    4. Being disappointed in her refusal to get her son the help he needs?

    Why do I feel guilty? Logically I don't. Feel I should feel bad, but I've always been easily manipulated by her being upset ... but today I just wouldn't take it anymore. Thoughts?
    1. I think you should have just left it at "Sorry, we're planning to do something else after lunch." There was really no reason to bring up BIL right then. If you want to stage an intervention and tell her to change, holiday planning was not the forum for it.

    2. She may have just been speaking out of anger, retaliating for your questioning of her own partner. Or maybe she doesn't fully understand the situation and how the two of you manage it.

    3. If you felt like you don't stand up to her when you should and/or that she takes advantage of you, that's another issue in itself.

    4. At the end of the day, it's her child and her decision. As long as she's not endangering him, there's not much you can do if she refuses your advice or concern. Do be sure that you offer it in a compassionate, considerate, and constructive way.


    I would feel guilty for blowing up at her in an unrelated conversation. It sounds like this was a long time coming, but you should have had this discussion with her in a very different way. :(

    image
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