My sister -- just a rant

myfampgOctober 2, 2011

My sister has a 15 year old son. She has been a single mom most of his life. His dad and her seperated during pregnancy and divorced after he was born. His dad walked away, never paid child support until the state caught up with him six years later and at that point he wanted to 'get' what he was paying for ... Meaning 'if I'm paying, I want to see my kid'. I have no problem with this however, I think he could have been seeing his kid for all those years even if he was unable to pay. Somehow he thinks the two are linked together and that he didn't want to he a dad so he shouldn't have to pay. My sister has been married four times in 15 years. She has never lived alone. If she isn't married, she has a live in man. They bounce from apartment to apartment. Until the last two years, my nephew has never been at the same school consecutively. He is just a mess. He has ADHD and has been diagnosed with biopolar disorder. When he was 12 he spent most of his year in a psychiatric hospital because of suicide threats. He suffers from real anger issues. (I can only imagine why)

The therapists came to the conclusion that he was angry with his dad. His dad just kind of comes in and out. Not supportive, not consistent, not anything other than a buddy to have fun with on the weekends. Add on Mom's multiple boyfriends and live in's, the moves, the changes in school, having no friends and no real sense of 'home'. BUT Dad has changed in the last two years. He has remained consistent and has been an actual good presence for my nephew. I would even go so far as to say, my nephew 'might' benefit from living with Dad but Dad says he just can't have a child living with him because of work etc more excuses. And my sister would probably flip if she didn't have her son (this is sick to me sometimes )

Anyway- my nephew is kind of over the anger, he is doing great in school, he is managing his mental health with medication but with behavior modification he is doing excellent. I'm so proud of him. My sister has a great job and makes more money than I do yet she never has a penny to her name, so I buy my nephew clothes and shoes and anything he might need when I can because I think if I didn't he would literally have nothing.

She won't even buy him new shoes when they start falling apart. I have had to buy him toothpaste at times bc he doesn't have any.

So today, I spent the day with my sister. This is rare. We are 'close' on the phone but we rarely 'hang out'. Both of our kids were with their dad's today and my Dh had to work. I went to her apartment.... OMG!! It smells really good but the kitchen was full of dirty dishes from Thursday night. She told me this. The bathroom was disgusting. The trash can was over flowing with trash all over the floor. You could hardly see the sink. The dining room table was covered in clothes and paper(maybe bills?) there was no couch. I mean the couch is there but no way can you find the couch under all the mess. Clothes, shoes, towels, pillows, blankets, God only knows what else. The hallways are lined with just junk. This could be a show on hoarding. No kidding.

Then she tells me that she wants to find a food bank to see if she can get some food for the week bc they have none. But yet in the same hour she tells me she gave a friend $40 so she could buy HER kids food. She said she wants to help people. My response was you don't need to help others when you can't help yourself. If you want to help people, donate this crap!!

The reason I wanted to post this-- not only to rant over it but to get some advice. I've tried helping her. I tried giving her pointers for the last 10 years on keeping a clean house but she wont listen. I'm to a point where I feel she needs an intervention. Is this CPS worthy? My nephew is 15. He is highly aware of what is right and what is not. He told me tonight when we picked him up from his dad's and brought him to my house that he wished he had a cool room like my kids. He even commented on how nice my bathroom was. He also raided my pantry (he was with his dad so this has nothing to do with my sister 'today'). He confided in me that he is embarrassed by his home. It's nasty and he can't have friends over. He can rarely find clean clothes. I told him he should help out by doing his own laundry. He told me he does the dishes because 'no one else will do them'. Meaning mom nor her live in will do the dishes. My sister told me that they eat pizza every night because it's cheap. (really??) his face is broke out with acne and I suffer from it too so I buy him the face wash to help him. He says that he is out and needs more. So i gave him my face wash that I bought yesterday for myself. I can buy more for me tomorrow. I just don't get it. How can someone be so irresponsible? I know he is 15 but he is still a 'child'. He won't graduate from high school until he is 19 so he has 4 more years at home.

What do I do? I can't invest a lot of 'time' because I have my own family but I could do a little. Should I contact the authorities? Help!!

My last rant is when my nephew got in the car tonight from his dad's, she grilled him for 10 minutes on were they went, what they did, who they were with etc. I slapped her leg and said 'none of your business'. She claims she is just interested not being nosey and my nephew said 'no your nosey'. I spit a bit of coke on my steering wheel... But she is like one of those BMs. I didn't know she was doing this to him. So I talked with her for a while and told her that grilling him was wrong. He'll tell her if he wants to share but if he doesn't then she should not ask. I also noticed a difference in my nephew. Almost like he was more mature after spending the weekend with his dad. He was kind of laid back and happy. He wasn't quiet but he was just 'cool' if that makes sense. Normally he is like an 8 year old trying to be the center of attention and interrupting. I think being with Dad on the weekends is actually really good for him.

I just don't know how to help him. I've thought about contacting his dad but I surely don't want to alienate my sister. I couldn't trust that he would keep my contact quiet. He would tell her everything I say but something has to be done.

Sorry so long!! I hope you were able to read it all and that I can get some advice.

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--" my nephew is kind of over the anger, he is doing great in school, he is managing his mental health with medication but with behavior modification he is doing excellent. I'm so proud of him."--

Good for him! It sounds like that no matter the chaos and mess around him, he at least is doing 'ok' and working hard at overcoming his own issues. It is strange though that your sister assures he get help and therapy yet does nothing to deal with her own issues. Ever watch that tv series on hoarding? OMG is right. I won't even begin to think I understand hoarding behavior, cause I don't, but I wonder if the moving/partner to partner lifestyle of your sister has somehow helped create the hoarding tendency? Perhaps she views the total mess and junk in her house as the one consistancy that belongs to her and the one thing she can control with thinking 'my possessions'. IDK.

Such inconsistancies. Poor son has no shoes yet the lady has a housefull of them. No clothing, yet the house is littered with clothing. No food yet hands her money to others for food. Makes one wonder why she did not hand her friend the address for the foodbank instead of the cash.

Is the 'stuff' all over her home the reason she is always broke? Meaning she spends her money on all this junk and therefore has none for the things she really needs? I'm not sure there is anything you personally could do to 'help', it seems like professionals with training to deal with people with these issues would be the only hope of breaking what is going on.

Has your nephew talked to his therapist about his living conditions? Is there a school counselor that might be able to assist him? A sink full of dishes would not give CPS much room to work with, but a housefull as in unsafe, unsantitary ect might. If you 'rat' her out, be prepared that your sister will be angry with you and perhaps try and shut you out from interfering with what obviously she sees as 'no problem'.

I have not a bit of advice, but wanted to say from your 'vent' I think you have real reason to feel concern. I'm just not sure what it is you could do to 'help' all on your own...this sounds like it may be a bigger issue than you yourself could take on without some outside assistance.

In the meantime, perhaps you could include your nephew in a bit of your weekend activities (minus Mom) just so he knows Aunt Myfam is there for him and give him a wee bit of a chance to have some normalcy in his life, a decent meal ect. And continue to help out a bit with the little things you have been doing (like the facewash).

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 8:04AM
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You say your nephew is bipolar. Often Bipolar runs in families. It just might be your sister is bipolar she sure has alot of the Characteristic of being Bipolar!
She is unable to have a consistent Relationship with anyone an increase in sexual affairs, is a big sign of bipolar. Spending sprees for herself and being unable to us her money wisely! another sign.She gives money away while needing it herself.
I'd be betting she is also a unmedicated person with Bipolar.
Contacting CPS in my state they do not tell who contacted them. You could call and ask if they will keep your name confidential if you make a report.
Some one really does need to step in and help make some changes for your nephew. Right now if your able to have him over on week ends to have some normalcy in his life.
Have you ever set down and had a serious talk with your sister? Asked her why she has no desire to clean? Why she does not buy your nephew needed shoes and clothing?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 9:30AM
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I don't think that the conditions of the house are unsafe so I don't see a need for CPS to be involved. It just sounds like your sister is either lazy or maybe suffers from depression. He is a big boy and while I do agree that he should still be able to depend on his mother for things, he can do things by himself. My older kids are 14 & 15 and they cook, clean, do laundry, etc.

I'm sure you feel bad for him. The little things that you are doing for him are really great. I like the suggestions someone else made about maybe including him in some activities sometimes or maybe just coming over to have dinner, watch a movie, play games, etc.

Does dad know about the conditions he is living under? I would think work schedules could interfere with having a young child at home but for a teenager who can do alot of things by themselves, there is more flexibility. Maybe dad needs to seriously consider his son staying with him??

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 10:14AM
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Trying to get a bipolar teen ager to do much is hard. You can not press their buttons to much or you upset the apple cart so to speak. If you have not lived with a bipolar family member you have no clue! I have 2 boys that are. And it is not easy. Yes sure he should be doing chores and you say he often washes the dishes.
But that is not his job to take care of the whole house work! That should up to mom and live in boy friend. He should clean his room..But being unable to sit on the couch due to piling up of junk not good. dirty dishes yuck sitting around for days. maybe not a CPS issue but some one needs to get her to kept a cleaner house.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Thank you all so much! It kind of makes me feel that I do have reason to be concerned.

I've told my sister to get therapy. She refuses. The only constant she has in her life is her job. She has maintained the job for 15 years. Is promoted often and makes a good living.

She actually kicked the BF out this weekend. I just found out today. But she already has a new dejore she is talking to. Jumping from one to another is her life.

I didn't realize these were characteristics of bipolar disorder. They did say it was hereditary but she has never been tested.

She has always been bad with money. Nothing new. She has always Been promiscuous. Since about 13. She is 40. I am the younger sister by 10 years and I'm often mistaken for her older sister that takes care of her.

My parents are at a point of tough love. They will no longer help her out financially.

Now that she has kicked the BF out, maybe I will offer to go over this weekend and help her get organized. The clothes are her's and the clothes my nephew has are too small. She didn't buy him a thingfor the new school year but bought the neighbor boy new shoes and two outfits bc his mom didn't buy him anything. She has A very generous heart -- for others. Just not mom material I guess.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Gardenandcats. Thank you so much for your input. Along with his bipolar he is ADHD so the fact that he does remember to do the dishes after school and to walk the dog are huge accomplishments for him this school year and he is very proud of himself.

He is socially awkward. He has no friends. He has been bullied and picked on and my sister rushes to his rescue and fights for him at school but really nothing more at home. He is making excellent grades this year so far. This is really the first school year that he has really done so well.

I do invite him to do family things with us and they eat with us about once a week. Maybe I could make it two nights that way she would be responsible for the other 5 and it might help her out more.

The only problem I see with him going to Dad's is he will have to change schools and districts. They live about 20 min apart but he couldn't attend mom's school district. He is finally in a consistent setting and changing schools would set him back. That's why I'm not sure CPS is a good idea because honestly, I think they would move him. There is so much more. Another problem w Dad is that he would be left alone a lot. He can't be left alone for long. He is about 12 or 13 maturity wise. He can walk home and get in the house but my sister has to call and get him started on homework over the phone. She has to call back and repeat. He is only home for about an hour alone right now. With Dad's job it would be very late into the night.
I just feel so awful for him. Ya know? Our parents raised us better. And if my sister does have a condition mentally or emotionally she needs to get help. She is too proud I guess. She refuses counseling because it's for 'crazy' people. But she takes her son and makes sure he is being treated for his illness, just won't recognize that she has 'something'.

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to hold off on the CPS thing. I'll see what I can do to be more supportive.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 4:09PM
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If you do have the time including him into your family life would help.. It sounds like he is doing better and any changes would disrupt the positives in his life that he is making.. Many with bipolar are immature for there age. And need alot of guidance... Sounds like dad would not be a good place for him either..

I would hold of on CPS nothing good would come of it and might be very up setting for your nephew.
Your sister not seeking help or admitting that she has a problem is very very common in anyone with bipolar..Does she seem to go through lows in her life depressed and unsettled. Then on a high new boy friend and every things rosey? Thats bipolar for you..
I suggest you do some reading online about Bipolar it will help you to understand the condition
and help you deal with her and your nephew better.
Let us know how it goes good luck your a good sister!!!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Thanks Gardenandcats
Yes she is pretty up and down. She cries a lot and then she is very happy for a few days. She spends her money on eating out and buying crap that makes no sense. Like dvd's and video games. Or she will buy tons of different shampoos and body washes, lotions etc. But not the necessities that are needed like shaving cream or toothpaste. Then after a week of being on a spending spree, she is broke and can't pay the bills to keep the household going. Because I'm not in a position to give her cash, I'll throw in odds and ends in my grocery list that don't add up to much like toothpaste or deodorant for my nephew. I'll take him to get a hair cut on occasion when I take my kids. My Dh and nephew have sci-fi in common so my Dh will take him to the movies or play a video game with him or he will talk with him about a game or a movie. My dad doesn't spend much time with my nephew but he will take him fishing or to the lake for the day when he can.

My nephew used to be such a discipline problem that it was really hard to be around him for long. That has pretty much stopped. He would have outbursts and family gatherings were stressful. My sister has outbursts too. She thinks the entire world is against her. We tread carefully with her. Right now she just met a guy that is showing her attention so she is on cloud nine today. It's all she has texted or emailed me about. The cute little things he says to her etc. It makes me want to claw my eyes out because all I want to know is how my nephew did at school today. Nothing else.

I love that little guy. He lived with me when he was 4.. I was just 19 and she wanted to go off to be with some guy in another state. But then when she came back and I was pregnant with my Dd, I sent him back because I didn't know how to support two kids. My exdh didn't want to help raise him. I regret it now. Ugh

But I can support from the sidelines. I do my best but you know?? I still have my kids and all of my drama with my ex and the sm, I just feel overwhelmed thinking about it.

Thanks so much for your advice. I might have to use you as a resource for info If you don't mind. It is nice to talk to someone and get advice from someone that has children that has the same problem.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 12:14AM
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Yes you do have to put you your kids and husband first..It musy be stress full for you. Your description of your sisters spending is a red flag!!!
Hypomanic episodes (the up happy side of bipolar)can often be excessive money spending, compulsive shopping and impulsive purchases, unneeded purchases .Often leaving the bills unpaid...During bipolar episodes there is often a lack of ability to link actions with consequence..So shopping with out regard as how are we going to eat this week? Is another very common symptom.
Statistics show 90% of bipolar people will not stay in a Relationship for more then 2 years! They flit from person to person often without regard to their personal safety or the well being of their children.
Your sister probably has no awareness that she has any type of a problem. She has been this way most of her life and this is just the way she is.
If she is truely Bipolar ( which is more then likely) it will do you no good to try to reason with her about her spending or her many boyfriends. They march to a different drummer then the rest of us.
With the proper meds she can live a much better life.If you can get her to accept that she has a problem and get her to seek help remains to be seen. I sure hope you can get her to get the help she needs..

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 10:44PM
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I'm so mad at her right now. She is back with this boyfriend today. And he is moving back in. He has not worked 11 of the 12 months they have known each other. 11 1/2 of those months he has been living with her and OFF of her. She provides 100% and he does NOTHING! She said she feels guilty! WHY??? She doesn't know. She feels bad for him. And she LOVES him!!

And you are right. I do not believe that she has been in a relationship that lasted more than 2 years. She was with her first husband for 7 but she cheated most of the time. One husband last 4 months, the third was about 3. Another was almost 2 years (I actually liked this one). She says she gets lonely. I am having a hard time supporting her today. I want to lock her in a closet and throw away the key! She makes the worst decisions. And again... I ask, how is nephew today? Oh he's fine, anyway back to me and my boyfriend...

I wonder how I can get her to listen to me. Is there a website you would recommend for information?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 11:04PM
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