Will let my nephew visit but not my niece - what can I do???

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argh

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Will let my nephew visit but not my niece - what can I do???
« on: October 03, 2016, 10:02:04 PM »
Feeling very sad and don't know what to do.

My sister is the very worst of my mother and father - aggressive narcissist and getting worst  :(

She has three children - my nephew who's 14, niece who's 12 and other niece who's 9. She lives about a two hour flight away. I absolutely adore my nieces and nephew and have been to visit many many times - make a real effort to get them good presents, make sure that they know that I love them etc. If it wasn't for them I would be NC with her definitely - every time I go there her behaviour is appalling (and getting worse) and it takes me days to recover from it.

I could go on and on about all the times she's been horrible - but I have a specific problem at the moment and I really am at a loss of what to do.

When my nephew was 10 I flew him over to visit me (accompanied of course!) and he's had another visit after that. When my niece turned 10 unfortunately I was in the middle of a life meltdown and on long term sick leave - my sister was reluctant for her to come, which I was disappointed above but thought was fair enough in the circumstances (I knew I would be fine to look after her, but in the circs it was not outrageous of my sister) but I said to my sister okay well why don't you come as well - that would be fun. She said no. A few months later on the phone I raised it and she said okay we'll talk about dates when you come over next. So I told my niece and got all excited about it and then my sister said no. I'm pretty much recovered now and I asked again a few months after and again no. She won't say why - just has a psycho tantrum if its in person or if by email just says "she will not be coming".

I've recently moved house and when I was visiting them a few weeks ago I said well I am open to visitors and it would be great if niece could come for her solo visit and of course nephew  welcome again too (other niece is still too little). My nephew got really excited, worked out the dates and flights he could come on etc. My sister of course had a pyscho tantrum and said no and gave me the furious psycho icy treatment for raising it. Then yesterday out of the blue I get an email saying nephew will come on these dates. I wrote back saying that's great - thanks so much for that - but can I beg that my niece can come on a solo trip as well. As this means my nephew will have had three trips and my niece not even one - that's so obviouslu unfair!!!! I said that I would fly back with my nephew and then pick my niece up to get on a flight back straight away and then fly back with her.  So my sister wouldn't have to go to any extra effort - just drop my niece off when she picks up my nephew and I will fly back and forth from another friggin' country in one day to make it happen.

Her email came back just saying "she will not be coming". When I asked her on the phone before I sent my begging email she said "this is our only family holiday time" - she is full time stay at home and they spend every weekend together. Two days is not going to make a difference to their "family time".

Should I call or text my niece to let her know that I did ask for her to come so she doesn't think I didn't ask for her? I'm not too concerned that she would think that - she knows that I love her and that I have been trying to get her over her for ages. I don't want to dump my stress about it on her.

I just can't work out why my sister won't let her come. If she's worried I cant look after her then why let my nephew come? And a few months ago she let her go on a sporting trip to another country with just one teacher for 20 girls.  Of course I blame myself - about two years ago I was visiting and came across my niece crying her eyes out in her bedroom - she'd gone to get a towel from me from the cupboard near my sisters room and my sister apparently had come out and raged at her about how it was her fault she never got any sleep, etc etc. My niece was distraught. I didn't know as much as I know now and didn't handle it well with my sister at all - we basically ended up having a big fight about it and she threatened to never let me see the kids again and I left and didn't come back from six months. I worry that because I did that she now think's some weird thing about me and my relationship with my niece. I really don't know.

Of the three kids this niece is the one she's the worst with I think. She's pretty bad with my nephew but he's somewhat of a golden child. The other niece she basically ignores (eg she didn't have door on her bedroom for three years because my sister said that it would take two hours to attach)
With my niece she does things like pick a fight with her in the morning and then my niece has to suck up to her so they make up. Its awful to watch. One of my visits I again came across my niece balling her eyes out in her bedroom and it was because my sister had gone nuts at her in the shower because we were late [surprise, surpirse, we weren't even remotely late] - then I watched as during the day my sister manipulated her with icy then "forgiving" looks and then finally had gossipy chats and "forgave" her.

So - the whole thing is just heartbreaking. The specific advice I am seeking though is (i) any suggestions on what I could to get my sister to let my niece come on a visit? (ii) what should I tell my niece? Last time my sister said no my niece got upset but I think I dumped some of my upset on her too - I went and sat on her bed quietly for a bit and then said "I'm so sorry niece, I don't want you think that I won't do what I say I will" and she said in a frustrated voice "yeah I know".

I really mean it when I say my priority is my niece here - I've done lots of work and am doing really well at dealing with my own hurt and dissapointment and fear of my sister - so that's not really the issue her.

AARRGGHH.

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Ursula

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Re: Will let my nephew visit but not my niece - what can I do???
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2016, 01:15:32 AM »
If you mention it to your niece and your sister finds out, she will be unhappy with you. She's being difficult but she doesn't have to give explanations for her decisions.  Is it possible to ask your niece's father why she's not allowed to visit? Or will such a question set off a temper tantrum from your sister? It's sad but there may be nothing you can do.

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Malini

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Re: Will let my nephew visit but not my niece - what can I do???
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2016, 05:01:34 AM »
You sound like a really great auntie, your nephew and nieces are lucky to have you.

My situation is a bit like yours and a bit different. I have 3 nieces whom I adore. When they were young, I did a lot of babysitting or caretaking for them. Then my brother and I were estranged for 5 years and I had no access to nieces, continued sending presents and cards to them in the hope that one day things would get better and that when they got older and could make their own choices, they might want to reconnect with me.

B and I have reconciled since about 5 years and I've been able to have access, reconnect and build a new relationship with my teenage nieces.

One of the things I've noticed is it's important to them that they know that I care for and get on well with their parents. Frankly, I do struggle with my SiL, who is not a bad person but we have little in common and I would never choose to spend time with her if she wasn't my SiL and it's probably reciprocated but we manage to enjoy each other's company well enough when were thrown together. I understand only too well the issues of family loyalty and know that the girls need to know that I at least like their mum otherwise they feel as if they are disloyal or abandoning her when they are with me.

Your niece has witnessed a fair bit of conflict between you and her mum, maybe she even feels responsible for it and it's a really difficult situation for a child to be put in.

You can't force your sister to let your niece come and perhaps your continued invites are exacerbating the situation at home for your niece (it's unfair, I know, but you're dealing with a disordered person here). What started out as a nice idea has turned into a power struggle with your sister and she is holding all the cards and knows she can get to you every time she refuses. Drop the rope, stop with the invites but continue to show your nieces that they are special and mean a lot to you.

Your niece obviously knows you care for her and would like her to come visit, and possibly when she can decide for herself she will come. In the meantime, perhaps next time you visit you could do something special with her like go to the movies, just spending some one on one time. It's a bit like a divorce, we need to focus on the best interests of the kids and sometimes that boils down to taking a step back to take the pressure off of them and remaining supportive and loving from a distance in the hope that things will turn around one day. 

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