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Is breaking ties okay?

Thread starter #13
Hey everyone thank you for all the empathetic replies.
I think I had a freeze response. I thought I'd just be better to get away from the situation than to keep trying because I am being pushed away. And when they tell me I can't talk to her anymore, I won't. But until then, I need to be there.
I decided to send her videos daily, nighttime story times, stuff I do like kayaking and hiking, playing with my dog, crafting etc. She loves tutorials on crafting lol.
I think I need to cut ties with the parents...well, at least minimize contact.
They're what had me triggered and overwhelmed, not my niece.
6 year old me would love to have an awesome aunt. So that's what I'll continue to be for her. Even though sometimes it will be tough and my patience with his parents will be tested but I'll be patient because I don't want him growing up the way I did, alone with 2 unstable and unreliable parents.
Also, it's only been about a week since I actually talked to her. I never abandoned her, we facetimed after it happened but I wasn't allowed to bring it up and it took a week for my brother in law to even let me talk to her...he was mad at me for my sister's actions. I've only not talked to her for a week.
As far as your questions, cps and police have been around, my brother in law has made sure my niece is safe and last time I talked her she seemed happy actually. Charges I'm not sure of but she has to take a parenting class and the child is safe with the other parent. Although they both have anger issues. I can only be the best person I can be and help where I can.
Thanks again for all the insight.
 
#14
So the other perspective is the the more insistent you become with pushing the parents for you to have contact with the child the more likely you are to draw upon the child, the unwanted and possibly hostile focus of her parents - at least the parent who has already assaulted her. That's an unforeseen and unknowable consequence that may occur.

This happens a lot when authorities are involved with abuse situations. The abuser blames the victim for the perceived unwarranted attention on them. They don't actually get that the abuse of the victim perpetrated by them is the driving factor. And you would not be in a position to point that out to either parent by the sounds of the dynamic that already exists between you and your sister and BIL.

Authorities and family like you, save for when a victim is removed entirely from the situation where the abuse is occurring, cannot be there 24/7. So, you don't know what you may put into action by ramping up, or insisting you are entitled to have contact with the child. Particularly if you don't have a good relationship with the parents. And it seems you do not have that.

I use the word entitled purposefully because you have no entitlements to that child and that's part of the problem and you should keep that in mind. The parents have the right to withdraw your contact with the child any time they choose. And if you push too hard or try to focus too much on the child there's the risk, your sister the abusive parent, becomes jealous and they may withdraw contact from you.

The last thing you should risk is causing the child to be in the centre of a hostile situation between you and her parents.

Jealousy, control etc are major motivators for isolating victims. Be careful you do not trigger that.

Whatever is driving the abuse towards the child, attention by an insistent relative is going to escalate tension in the house-hold. That means the child may become the target for further hostility. That needs to be avoided. So please be aware of your position and I think that you are going to have to continue contact with the parents if you wish to have continued contact with the child.

It's a really fine line. If you get thrown out of the family circle like so many others in your family have been then you become no use whatsoever to the child and possibly bring further problems.

If you stay amicable to both parents for the sake of the child and simply try to stay within the family there is the possibility of you being able to help the child by maintaining contact.

But there is a price to be paid for that... your abilities to manage your mental health. Which brings me to...

I was of the opinion that your question in the opening post related to your mental health, your ability to cope, your resilience and resistance to the constant triggering that was occurring because you had contact with this family.

So it's not hip, but it is important to keep in mind that if you cannot manage your mental health due to the actions of your sister then you're likely putting yourself in jeopardy and that's not going to help you or the child in the larger picture.
 
#15
I don't know what country you are in and the laws there. In the UK, when child protection services were involved, I met them with my sister and asked to be included in what they do. I spoke to them about my worries.
What I did was hand over the responsibility of keeping the children safe to them, as it's their job. But I wanted them to know that should they think the children needed to be removed, they had me. This worked until my sister forbid the social workers to share any information with me.
But by this time, the children and I just text each other and they were old enough to meet me without her.

So, it's about balancing.
Maybe be clear with your sister and bil: you're only interested in niece. You're communicating with them because you care about her.
She is likely to be in the middle.
One of my niece's told me that they were continually told not to talk to me, to lie about what was happening, and that my sister and bil said mean things about me. I had known this already because it was obvious, but you know what? When my oldest niece came to me and said why didn't anyone do anything? I could answer: I did. And explain what I did.

It's not easy.there is a lot of heartache, sleepless nights, family disputes. Awful.

Do you have any other family members to share the load?
 
Thread starter #16
That's the thing, I am constantly triggered because my sister acts just like my father and it has been affecting my mental health. My niece wants to talk to me everyday. And we usually talked 3 times a week we had a schedule goimg until the divorce. I feel like I'm constantly walking on eggshells all the time, which I had to do when I was younger. I still have ptsd from my childhood,obviously. And the selfless thing to do is be there for her. And I will. I do think I can maintain a civil relationship with my BIL. He's the more stable...I guess. It's just really hard to be my best self for her when I'm feeling my mental health suffering because I don't know how to deal with these triggers.

thank you for the advice on the frequency of the calls...maybe that's what's contributed to the more hostile behaviour from them. She has said many many times she wants to live with me and my husband and she always was so happy when we could go visit every week and would give her the attention and kindness she doesn't get from them.

It's a hard situation but knowing what's in and out of my control helps me feel better mentally. I can only do what I can. I have done everything I can to make sure she is safe. There isn't much I can do. I feel like I'm constantly waiting for something horrible to happen again. I dread calling her sometimes because I see the affects of her parent's behaviour. It really hurts. She even mocked me coughing the other week because my sister(only has monitored visitation) always mocks people coughing or laughing in a hateful way(our father did that constantly) But after she did it i calmly explained that that is not nice and try not to do that. I was triggered for the rest of the day, in a haze. I could write all the little things turn into big things bc of my PTSD but it would take a long time. At times I feel I'm watching my childhood play out right in front of me to one of the people that matter the most to me. It's gut wrenching. That's why I wanted to avoid it.

Any tips on how to deal with these triggers and feelings of being back in the past when they come up?
 
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Thread starter #17
Also, as far as other family members? My sister has pushed them all away. I only see them at birthday parties and christmas. But they've all told me they have to contact them before getting an invite. They both will purposefully ignore anyone who "pisses them off." They both disowned my mom for a year or so when she had been babysitting and they said " she doesn't act like she wants to babysit. She acts like she doesn't care." There was no proof to this. My niece loves my mom and she was so interactive and kind to my niece. Now, neither of them will even answer a phone call from her. She says it hurts her a lot. I told her why they did it.
We both just wonder what the heck goes on in their minds.

Another situation, my Bil's mom got pushed away because she was dating someone he didn't approve of. He withheld contact. I remember my niece saying " I miss mawmaw" and he said well she's busy and can't come over. When he had just told me she had asked to come see her granddaughter.

But now, she babysits. She's very kind too. But she is only being used. He has kicked her in and out of her granddaughter's life every other 6 months using some random excuse.

See how they are now?

There is no rationality to their behaviors or choices. Their love isn't really love...it's just empty space. So when I say this us a hard situation to deal with, I'm not being selfish or trying to get out of it. Maybe I was thinking of it because it seems no matter what that i can't prevent her from growing up how I did.
 
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#18
I totally get where you are coming from.
The amount of sleepless nights I had about "how bad does this have to get for the children before it gets better" and it really triggered me too. (and is the reason i'm in therapy now because things got particularly bad last year and my parents accused me of making it up, and that triggered me into a depression - I also felt like my childhood was being played out before me).
So I get it
And I'm so sorry you are going through it.

Maybe that is your strategy then? Just dealing with bil and cutting ties with your sister? Or reducing contact with your sister?

Maybe forming more of a relationship with bill's mum? So that you can also see your niece when she does?

I don't think there are easy answers at all.
It's a tough old road. Really tough. Because what happens to her is beyond your control.
But she will always remember what you have done for her. And she will make her own mind up about her parents when she is old enough to. At the moment, she is following advice and guidance from them, as that is all she can do.
Are you able to talk about this in therapy? To help manage triggers?
 
#19
Hello everyone,
I have a situation I'd like some input on. I'm an auntie to the cutest little niece. Been there for her since day 1. She's now 6. We used to go over all the time, always been close, and lately had been keeping in touch through Skype...but recently I've ignored her calls because I felt the following events were stressful to deal with so I avoided the situation all together:

This past month:
- My sister has shown her true colors, especially lately. She is a copy of my father, who abused me physically and emotionally my entire childhood. She triggers me constantly. It's been so hard to remain even friends but I did it for the kid.
- Sister found out her husband was cheating with someone who is on probation for an assault charge.
- Then sister beat my niece so bad that my brother in law filed charges against her.(wasn't there, haven't been around them bc of pandemic, only skype)
- When I was told it happened, I wanted to call her right away and comfort her and help. But I was told by my brother to not bring it up at all. I wasn't allowed to be there for him. He's always been controlling and munipulative.


When I say they're both toxic I mean they always say things to bring me down, mock me, be little my successes, ignore boudaries I've set, try and push family members away.

Thing is, I think I'd be happier not having my sister and brother in law in my circle, so that way I'm not triggered, boundaries don't constantly get pushed, I could leave my past behind a little more. Leave more room for happiness.
But what about my niece?
I want to be there for her but have been dealing with her parents toxicity for too long now.
If I just wanted to keep them all out of my circle...is that okay? This would include not talking to my niece anymore. I know I'd be hurting my niece's feelings. I feel so guilty because she's very attached as I am to her but I'm ready to get off her parent's rollercoasters.

Hope this made sense. I've had a headache on and off for a bit.
Thank you for any advice or insight.
That's the thing, I am constantly triggered because my sister acts just like my father and it has been affecting my mental health. My niece wants to talk to me everyday. And we usually talked 3 times a week we had a schedule goimg until the divorce. I feel like I'm constantly walking on eggshells all the time, which I had to do when I was younger. I still have ptsd from my childhood,obviously. And the selfless thing to do is be there for her. And I will. I do think I can maintain a civil relationship with my BIL. He's the more stable...I guess. It's just really hard to be my best self for her when I'm feeling my mental health suffering because I don't know how to deal with these triggers.

thank you for the advice on the frequency of the calls...maybe that's what's contributed to the more hostile behaviour from them. She has said many many times she wants to live with me and my husband and she always was so happy when we could go visit every week and would give her the attention and kindness she doesn't get from them.

It's a hard situation but knowing what's in and out of my control helps me feel better mentally. I can only do what I can. I have done everything I can to make sure she is safe. There isn't much I can do. I feel like I'm constantly waiting for something horrible to happen again. I dread calling her sometimes because I see the affects of her parent's behaviour. It really hurts. She even mocked me coughing the other week because my sister(only has monitored visitation) always mocks people coughing or laughing in a hateful way(our father did that constantly) But after she did it i calmly explained that that is not nice and try not to do that. I was triggered for the rest of the day, in a haze. I could write all the little things turn into big things bc of my PTSD but it would take a long time. At times I feel I'm watching my childhood play out right in front of me to one of the people that matter the most to me. It's gut wrenching. That's why I wanted to avoid it.

Any tips on how to deal with these triggers and feelings of being back in the past when they come up?
I just ended my relationship with my parents by asking to make my brother their 100% beneficiary on all bank accounts etc. I give up on trying to change anybody but me. My family - what is left can come on ad nauseam scapegoating me and anyone else. The river denial runs long. If they fail I file a deed variation upon death and my brother gets my half. If anything is left. They can right. Without me. My health and future are worth more.
 
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