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Dysfunctional Family, Mental Illness & Behavioral Issues
July 23, 2013
11:53 am
New Member
Forum Posts: 0
Member Since:
July 23, 2013
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Hi Everyone,

This is my first post...but I really need some objective insight into my situation.  Sorry in advance if this is long.

First, my older sister has been diagnoised with schizo-affective disorder and is now on her 2nd hospital stay. She has five children and is unmarried and only 1 or 2 of the fathers are remotely useful (not much).  My sister was abusive to my 2nd oldest niece and progressively neglectful of her children due to mental illness.  When we were children my sister was mean and unloving to me and caused alot of turmoil in our house  whch was made worse by our two dysfunctional parents.  However, at the time no one suspected my sister had mental illness...my mother and I found out about a year ago when my sister was 40 years old.  While we were aware of her behaviors (tendency to lie, steal, feel threaten or entitled) and tried to understand the root of it....it still never occured it was mental illness.  In fact, as a child my mother took her to a psychologist as a child who found nothing wrong.  

Now to my present problem.  My 2nd oldest niece (now 17) ran away from home last summer because of abuse by my sister. (We had suspected emotional abuse but not physical and niece always denied it).  Please note, I was a child when all this started.  However, when things came to head last summer I called DCFS and was going to obtain legal guardianship of my niece and was very willing to help her.  But, during a period of time I became aware of my nieces tendency to lie, steal and that she used marijuana and drank.  My niece strongly denies any of this behavior.  However, I saw it on her twitter and facebook (she doesn't know I can see her FB).  I also found my niece has a tendency to ignore what I tell her but act like she just didn't understand or always has a story to explain it.  My niece also got arrested for stealing/fighting and was not going to tell me about it..only did because her older sister told her to.  

Ultimately, I decided not to obtain legal gaurdianship of her but to try to help her from outside my home.  This decision was also due to the fact that I take care of my elderly and disabled mother.  Eventually, myself and her older sister concluded it would be best for my younger niece to live with my older niece (her sister) and family.  However, my niece does not want to go and is now homeless or couch surfing with friends. I feel guilty like I should just let her stay with me.  Part of me wants to help her despartely but I don't think I can do it with her living with me and her behaviors which I think could be attributed to anger/pain she feels from her childhood.  It hurts me to think my niece feels unloved or unwanted even by me.  Yet, I cannot ignore her sneaky behaviors...it's stressful.  Now, my niece has the people she leans on call me and indirectly ridacule me about what I should and should not be doing. 

To make matters worse my nother (niece's grandmother) does not want her in our home (which I own).  I do not want to put my mother in a nursing home (another set of issues) but I deal with it.  Yet, yesterday I broke down and told my niece she could stay with me...if this happens there will likely be major tension in my house.  It also makes me angry that my niece is uncooperative...this makes me want to let her continue couch surfing instead of her forcing her way.  There is no reason for my niece to stay where we are now because of bad influences she hangs with and poor grades.   All the more reason for her to get to a more healthier environment.  


On my last note, I now feel that I will have to try and get guardianship of my sister for her own sake.  I do not expect this to be easy or simple.  Also, make arrangements for her other children.  I guess my issue is that I feel there is an underone of expectation that I take on all the children and burden because I'm the Aunt.  In reality, after growing up in a dysfunctional family and now this....and my own depression and desire to attain my own goals...I feel there is only so much I can do.  And, it that it should be okay for me to say no to my 2nd oldest niece (at least in terms of her living with me at this point).  But, again the guilt ....because she told her friend(s) "I whole big house she could stay in" which to me is not the point.


Please help!!! Am I crazy or being selfish or irresponsible??? Or Crazy.  Thank you.

July 23, 2013
2:57 pm
Forum Posts: 1134
Member Since:
January 18, 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Sorry your post exhausted my emotional intelligence.  I have nothing to offer as advice.  Maybe someone else on the site can help you?


Good Luck


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