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Brother-in-law and sister issues. Argh!!!

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 and sister issues. Argh!!!

  • Why does your husband keep falling? Just curious if this has been worked up. It sounds like he could benefit from PT if he hasn't already had it. 

    1. You are not obligated to spend your Christmas with someone you don't like. It sounds like he is not your BIL, he is your sisters boyfriend. I make the distinction because it sounds like he won't marry her and that does matter. He wants to be able to kick her out at will. This is ridiculous. I would tell her you are done rescuing her and her kids when he decides he's done with her. Which he will. Again and again since she allows it.

    2. You have every right to be upset that she has the nerve to speak poorly of your husband after all you both have done for her. Again, I would tell her to call someone else when she gets kicked out because this particular leech and leechette have no intention of turning their lives upside down for her (and her poor planning) again.

    3. You are under no obligation to accept someone who has treated your family and his own children so poorly. If she wants to be a package deal with him, so be it. She'll change her mind soon enough. 

    4. This is the thing I would take the most issue with. She sounds like a horrible, self absorbed person. Who knows if her son is delayed due to her not taking care of herself during pregnancy or from some other cause. I'm guessing she's ignoring it because she is afraid it has to do with her. She could also be ignoring it because she is afraid boyfriend will dump her again. I doubt he would want to deal with a special needs child. Regardless, this child needs help. Has CPS not been involved at all? I would think someone would have been triggered to report her. She needs help to see there is an issue and to get the help he needs. 

    Do what you can to get help for her children. I would call CPS and see if there is anything that can be done. Beyond that, I would be done with her. 
    KarenCanadaTarponMonoxide
  • I cannot tell you how VALIDATED you just made me feel. Thank you. All of your words - every last one - were exactly what I needed to hear.

    My husband keeps falling because the meds they have him on (Keppra, Epival and Lamotrigine) are failing. He's on a waitlist for an observational study. He injures himself alllll the time. He has also seen an interventional cardiologist, an electro (something or other) cardiologist and a skull based surgeon to rule out Tumarkin's Otolithic Crisis. He has no stimulants (coffee, sugar, etc.), sleeps with a CPAP machine since the head injury as he developed sleep apnea. He's a medical mystery wrapped in an enigma! Poor thing. To add insult to injury he's now developed an arterial vein malformation under his foot and has to have it removed to walk properly. I wonder how much one body can take!

    The local clinic has opened a file on my nephew, but I will take your advice and, if nothing happens within the next two months, will make some phonecalls myself and ensure he gets the help he needs. My mother will keep me updated if I ask.

    You know - I wanted to single out things you said and how they resonated with me, but the truth is that EVERY single word you said meant the world. You took the time out to craft a caring reply and understood the very crux of what I was - a little ineloquently - trying to say. Thank you SO very much. I feel so bolstered. Not about being right or wrong, but just being understood. You have MADE MY CHRISTMAS! ♡
  • I'm so glad I could help. You have enough problems. You do not need this drama llama sucking the joy out of Christmas.

    Enjoy your holidays...guilt free (hopefully)! 
    ;)
    KarenCanada
  • 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. No.
    2. No.
    3. No.
    4. No.

    You feel guilty because - and I'm just guessing here so I could be wrong - this is a pattern that has been repeated your entire life and you're just now standing up for yourself. Good for you, and stick to your guns! When you first start standing up for yourself to toxic people they are bound to freak out and make it seem like it's your problem, but inside they're just terrified because you're acting differently than what they're used to. You are handling this the right way, in my opinion.
    VORKarenCanada
  • THANK YOU! You are spot in with your assessment. No more hanging around waiting to get hurt. I'm making some long-awaited changes ... and it's exciting!!!
    joleri23
  • First, if you helped your sister it seems that both you and your husband helped her to try and get her baby and that didn't work out for you so you're upset.

    2nd, if your sister choses to be with him it's her life and not yours and yes, you have the right to not want to be around him if you don't want to but in order for you to have a healthy relationship with your sister you will need to be around him at some point.

    3rd, it does seem your husband falls easily and is clumsy. You are posting your side of the story here and we can only form an opinion based on that.  But it seems that there is always an excuse for your husband not to work and that he is trying very hard to not have to work again via a lawsuit.  Maybe the worker's comp saw through him and that is why he was denied.

    Most importantly, you need to stay out of your sister's life.  If her son was in such an urgent need of help then the doctor's office would definitely report her refusal to child protective services.  You are not the perfect parent either because no one is and she does not have to raise her children like you did yours.

    Enjoy the moments you have with your sister and nephew and forget about meddling in her life, live your own.  Merry Christmas!

  • 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? 
    A great deal of this is your enablement.

    You are enabling your sister and BIL both.

    If BIL wasn't smart enough to get either a vasectomy or wear a condom when having sex, he's a born loser and born fool.

    When it was discovered that the fetus gained no weight during pregnancy, didn't the authorities get involved? They should have --- the child could have been taken by child services and your sister could have gotten into some type of trouble for what she did.:(

    I can't see how a hospital can drop a ball on possible child neglect. They needed to ask her striaghtaway about her dietary habits during pregnancy. They'll see something was fishy.

    Child services needs to get involved now being she will not get her son the help he needs.

    There has to be a way to cut them off --- there are kiddoes involved -- oneon the way and anotehr one present --- but you can't keep falling for her nonsense and her hard luck incidents.

    Do not give her or him any money.

    Wishing you luck. 
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