How can I help my niece? also posted in GD forum. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 08-15-2007, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me give you a little background.
My sister has 3 children. A twin boy and girl - 4 1/2 years from second husband and an older daughter who is 12, Karina, from first husband.

This post is really about the oldest daughter, my lovely DN, Karina.

From the very beginning my dear sister moved in with her second husband, he had a terrible relationship with my DN. I'm talking that was like 8 years ago, when she was only like 6. He was never physically abusive to her, but he was really verbally abusive. Especially as the years went on, it got worse. He had called her worthless, stupid, idiot, ugly, lazy, good for nothing, etc..etc... The words that would make you MDC moms shiver. He would do it in front of a whole group of people, there were times when he kicked her out of the dinner table for spilling water etc... He has a lot of issues, but I cannot stand him....My DS sometimes would stick up for DN, but sometimes not...Let's say she has her own problems.

Then, once twins were born, clear favoritism towards them over Karina was so visible from both mother and especially father. Twins were very challenging in infancy and now and DS and her husband would often use Karina as punching bag, spacegoat...They put a lot of responsibility on her to watch the twins, the amount of time she spent with them is unfair to a young child.

I spoke to my sister numerous of times b/4 and after twins that she cannot allowed her jerk of a husband to treat my niece like that, but I never saw any results. There were times when I thought things got better, but then he would go back to his old ways.

I am very close to my niece. I spent a lot of time with her, both me and my husband. She loves coming over and spending weekends with us. In the beginning of my sister's second marriage she was happy to drop her off every other weekend at my house, but once twins were born, I have to beg her to see my DN.

My sister has a terrible relationship now with her second husband and in general she never had an easy life. She is nervous wreck a lot of the time and very open with Karina about her feelings and her anger.
Both Karina and my sister have also deal with a Mother in Law from hell.

In the beginning, my niece would cry every time she felt insulted, but then I noticed how over the years she changed. She is very compliant at home, too perfect almost, like she is not herself 24 seven. I think she keeps all her feelings to herself. She really loves my sister though I have to say. I think she almost feels sorry for her.
I noticed that my niece is one of those children who always wants to please as not to get yelled. She feels a lot of resentment that she keeps inside.

When she is around me, she tells me a lot about how she feels constantly criticized. I also noticed that she has hurt on her eyes that never really goes away if you really pay attention. I notice that she also started saying: all boys like me in school, which concerns me a little bit, since she never got that fatherly love.
Basically I am really concerned about her future. I feel like nobody sees what I'm seeing. My sister says: "Karina is so wonderful, she helps me so much, she listens to me..."
but I'm telling something is wrong with the way she is. Sometimes she is almost obnoxious around me, almost like she feels she can act herself for a change and uses that power to the fullest.

I really don't know what to do. I feel like I failed her, because I didn't push the issue with my sister, didn't get involved enough, but what could I do? It's my sister's life, how can I change the situation? Plus when my high-need son was born, I was so preoccupied that I kind of stopped thinking about the whole situation. Now, I'm afraid it's too late and nothing can be done, to get that beautiful child to flourish and develop to her full ability. Advice?
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#2 of 2 Old 08-15-2007, 12:46 AM
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Do you suspect any other types of abuse here? I just ask because, well first let me state I am by no means an expert, that there are a few red flags here for me. Maybe it is a little too close to home for me, but it sounds eerily like a situation with people I know where the father was sexually abusing the daughter.

Is there any chance she can stay with your family?

Mama to A born 8/7/99
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