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Do you ever feel like a Step parent to your siblings, nieces/nephews?

raindrop's picture

I know I do. I could see the BS a million miles away with my older sisters life and I’d do my best to steer her in the right direction, oftentimes, tough love. She didn’t like what I’d have to say and my mom is still a Disney mom when it comes to her. And I was like the evil step parent who has always had good intentions, like most steps do, but I gently call it how I see it. I’m a very rational person and my sister always has her head in the clouds, and then when shit hits the ceiling, she always has excuses and blames everyone else. 

She failed a biiig test at work in May, a test that she had 6 months to prepare for. If she doesn’t pass within a year and a total of 3 attempts, she’s canned. Before she took it the first time, I used to get on her about STUDYING. Get off fucking Facebook and study. And I offered to help her study, I even bought her supplies. Buttt ohhh I was being too mean and making her nervous and I don’t know what I’m talking about, how she is studying her ass off. Ok. She bombed it bigtime. After listening to her excuses, she went on to say that she just randomly answered 30 of the 120 questions because she didn’t study anything from that section of the test. I called her out on it and told her I do not feel bad for her, she had 6 months to prepare and she didn’t even look at a section that she knew would be  1/4 of the test? Baffling. But oh I was mean, and she told my mom not to tell me when she was going to retake it. Once again, I offered my help. 


I then found out she made the decision herself to retake it 5 weeks after bombing it. I told her my offer still stands to help her, but, nooo, “she’s got this.”  I then notice she’s active on messenger anytime I log in, liking people posts, constantly on Instagram, going out of town for her sons sports on weekends instead of letting daddy go by himself. I said something to my mom, mon told me i don’t know how it is since I don’t have kids. Ok. I disengaged at that point. 

Found out today was her retake date. She bombed it. Mom is upset, she’s bawling. And I’m over here all disengaged. 

I also used to encourage her to give her dog up for adoption since her son is not responsible with taking care of him. He likes to cuddle and play with him, but taking him for walks? No. Brushing him? No. This dog was bought only under that agreement that since he wanted a dog, he would have to care for him, not my sister. Of course I was the bitch for even suggesting that it go to a more responsible family, and she went on about how much her son loves the dog and would be devastated if she took him away. I disengaged. I found out that last night my lovely nephew let him out without a leash and the dog chased after their neighbors 18 month old and almost bit her. The child’s parents screamed at my sister and nephew when they chased after him and they said they were calling her landlord about the matter. Now my sister is afraid of getting kicked out of her new townhouse because having a dog on a leash was part of the rental agreement. My mom agreed to keep the dog while they house hunt this year. My mom with new carpet in her house. I said nothing about it, but I was thinking about how my nephew needs to have that dog snatched away from his irresponsible ass and I kinda hope they are evicted. All I said was,  “mom, I hope you advise her that it would be very unwise to buy a house until she passes that test” and my mom looked at me and put her head down. 

Siemprematahari's picture

Darlin' its time you started to disengage COMPLETELY like you would do with a step kid. I think you mean well but your sister doesn't want to hear it and wants to do it her way.....regardless if it works for her or not. Anything pertaining to what she does and how she does it...... I would not comment on. Keep your thoughts to yourself and let your sister learn the hard way. She doesn't seem to care or want your help and opinion so just let it go.....

Wish her well and keep it movin', at the end of the day she's the one that has to deal with the fall out, not you.

raindrop's picture

Yes, she is the one who has to deal with it but it affects all of us. If she loses her job, my mom will ante up to help, no doubt. Which stresses mom out and then me. Ugggh. Mom won’t show tough love and I think that is the reason my sister is so irresponsible, it’s always been “mom to the rescue.” I’ll never forget when my nephew was 5 and he dropped a glove into mud from being careless. I told him to pick it up so we can go home and wash it. He refused. Mom started to reach for it and I stopped her while saying “he dropped it, he needs to pick it up.”  She looked at me like I was so mean. We got to my place and soonafter mom and nephew weee leaving for Walmart because he wanted a new pair of gloves. Ugggh. 


Anyway, UPDATE on the dog. Mom just told sis that they need to talk and my sister said she can’t stop by to talk until next week. Mom told her she needs to pick up the dog ASAP and put him up for adoption because she can’t keep him. Sister got mad and told her that her son, mom’s grandson 14, will probably never want to see her again now. Manipulation at its finest. Mom told her that she doesn’t care, and sister hung up on her.  We’ll see how this pans out. Lol. I’m so happy to be disengaged. It’s really taken a load off me. 

Rags's picture

I understand your frustration.  My bride has been the only adult in her family since before she turned 18yo.  

My BIL1 (the next eldest behind my wife) is 40 and just beginning to show signs of making contact with adulthood.  He and his wife support their family but just barely scrape by.  They can't afford medical insurance for themselves though they do insure their two BioDaughters through a state low income insurance program.  The twins they are adopting have coverage through the state and will retain that coverage until they turn 18.  He insists on working as a farm laborer because it is what he loves rather than using his CDL to actually make a comfortable living.  We have beat our heads against the wall of them calling for advice then avoiding actually following through on that advice and making the worst possible decision instead.

My FIL (GRHS) and MIL are the oldest juveniles I have ever known.  My FIL did not start to grow up until he became chronically ill and sadly by then it was too late.  Since his passing (a year ago yesterday) my MIL is beginning to show an inkling of growing up.  I am hopeful that this is a durable progression rather than the usual glimmer of hope followed by a long stream of poor, immature decisions.

My ILs had grand dreams of having a large agricultural business centered around a large hog operation. Which you can't accomplish with 15 acres.  They both worked multiple jobs for years to buy the home place (15 acres with a triple wide and several topple down rotting structures) and were within 7 years of paying it off when they took out a second mortgage to buy 400 acres on the far side of the state.  The plan was to grow hay on that property then truck it to the valley where the home place was located and sell it in a higher priced hay market. The problem was... transportation costs are higher than what the increased market would ay and they lost their asses to the point that they could not pay the mortgage payments on the big farm so they lost that to foreclosure. They had bought it from an elderly couple who owner financed it, put a big down payment on it with the money from  the 2nd mortgage on the home place, then made only one quarterly payment in the three+ years they owned it.  Once the big farm was foreclosed they took out a 3rd mortgage on the home place and then leased the big farm they just lost.  In questioning my FIL on the leasing of the lost farm he confirmed that it was more expensive to lease it than the quarterly payments had been and could not explain how he was going to actually make a profit when he could not make a profit at the lower mortgage payment level. My MBA bride and I (also an MBA) tried in vain to get them to understand that these were insane decisions but as my FIL said in his letter to us announcing the purchase of the big farm "I know this is a bad decision but this is my dream and if you can't be supportive do not say anything.".  We could not in all good conscience let them make these decisions without giving both our personal and professional opinions.

They always were about instant gratification and grandiose dreams without the resources or earning ability to afford those dreams.  Ultimately they lost both farms.  Had they stayed the course for 7 more years and paid off the home place .. and if my MIL had stayed with the State rather than cashing out her retirement after 20 years then blowing it on dreams of winning $millions at the casino my ILs would have had a very comfortable low 7 figure retirement.  

BIL2 is the most like his dad of all 4 of my IL's children.  He has qualified for Nat Guard retirement so he will have a small retirement check in another 25 years.  He has blown through a notable amount of money from his 3 combat tours (two in Afghanistan and one in Iraq)  buying junky old farm equipment, leasing land that he tries to farm far from successfully, and on a seemingly never ending stream of business ideas around farm services, etc... that he never gets past the spending money on junky equipment phase.

Then there is SIL.  She is the crook assed POS of the bunch.  She is the  youngest of my DW's three younger sibs.  My ILs allowed her to graduate a year early from HS under the reduced credit program when the state lowered graduation requirements in order to pump kids out of school earlier to save money.  She was in the transition class and could graduate at the end of her Jr. year with parental approval.  We begged my ILs not sign the approval form. If there ever was a kid that needed that year of school to mature it is my SIL.  To try to mitigate that crappy decision we offered to take guardianship of SIL, move her to TX to live with us and we would pay for college.  The deal was she would clean the house, keep the lawn and provide after school care for SS and be a part of our family.  We would pay for college, provider her with a dedicated vehicle to commute to school and schlep SS around, if we went on vacation she went with us.  Rather than the $400/mo we spent on after school care and lawn service we would vector that money into her college tuition and costs.  It was no deal for us since feeding, clothing and supporting another "adult" and paying tuition, books, fees, gas, car insurance, car maintenance etc... was far more than $400/mo  

She stayed with us for a year. A year of constantly battling her to get her ass to class, do her homework, clean the house, mow the yard, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.... Over and over again.  One might ask why we cared about her being successful in college and forced her to attend class, do her homework, redo her homework to turn in college level work rather than the work of a semiliterate 5th grader.  It was our money and we were not going to let her waste our money.  She actually had a 3.0+ GPA at the end of her freshman year of college.   

She chose to run home to podunk town SpermLand because she couldn't be without her BF.  The last thing we did for her was put new tires on the Jeep we bought for her to use and sign the title over to her.  Off she went.  A year and half later she spawned her first child out of wedlock. She and her BF did not marry because they were hoping as a single mom she would get charity from the hospital for the cost of spawning.  Sadly, that is exactly what happened.   They married when our nephew was a few months old.  

She applied to the local university in the next town over and got in due to her solid GPA while she lived with us and attended my DW's alma matter.  She pursued an education degree though there was not a snowballs chance in hell she could actually get into the school of education.  We repeatedly counseled her to switch to either business (that is what she was studying when she lived with us) or Gen Ed.  Eventually she was booted out of the Pre Ed. program due to crappy grades and eventually not allowed to borrow any more money on school loans due to her lack of progress towards graduation.  She went to that school for 5-6 years, borrowed over $80K which was mostly what they lived on and how they bought their house The used school loan money as the down payment for the mortgage.   That house has been in foreclosure 4 times and saved by the skin of their teeth with a "Hail Mary" mortgage recovery every time.  My bride counseled her over and over again not to live on school loans, not to buy the house, etc...   While they were struggling to feed themselves and their son they got a dog which they struggled to feed, then because "it doesn't cost more to raise two kids than one" they got pregnant again and again petitioned the hospital for charity to pay for the spawning of our niece.  And again someone else paid for the birthing of their spawn.  

They have scammed $tens of thousands out of family members to bail them out on promise after promise to pay back the loans.  They owe my wife's aunt ~$35K or more on the cars they borrowed money to buy, and a plethora of other loans.  SIL sold the aunts truck for her for $5K and told the aunt she only got $2K for it, stole the aunts credit card and used it to the tune of $12K, stole guns from my FIL and sold them, the list is never ending.   She has been shit canned from three different jobs in the past 7 years because she can't quit missing work for a plethora of bullshit excuses and she can't keep her mouth shut and do her job.  She knows best and can't help but treat her bosses like they are the idiots.  

She and her DH have spent $thousands on tattoos rather than paying their bills, they belong to a pool league ... instead of paying their bills, they take money from my ILs and never pay it back.  They disgust me.

The whole shit storm of my wife's family breaks her heart and for that I cannot forgive them.  

She is amazing. Focused, successful, educated (Dual Major BS with honors, MBA with honors), learned from her youthful mistake of a teen age pregnancy and does everything she can to not make a mistake twice.  Unlike her family who can;t seem to make a good decision if is written on a 2X4 and beaten into their skulls.

So, I get the frustration of parenting sibs, nieces, nephews and even parents.   I have watched my wife do it with a broken heart for nearly 25 years.  It breaks my heart to see what it does to my wife and pisses me off to no end that they couldn't make a good decision if it is the only decision possible.

raindrop's picture

Omggggg!!! Everyone sounds like a train wreck. It’s like HOW did your wife come out if that family so responsible?!? Haha.  So I’m curious, has your wife decided to disengage? Or does she still get caught up in their drama?  I really love being disengaged, I want to grab some popcorn and laugh as it all unfolds. It still bothers me that my mother, a total empath, cannot smell the roses and falls for my sister’s manipulation and “poooor me” disposition. But it’s not my problem afterall. Last year in June, my mom told me she will be putting big chunks on money down on her mortgage and have it paid off in 2 years. Now that a year has passed, I thought I would ask if she still thinks that is a attainable goal, how she should have 1/2 of the balance paid off by now if she stuck to her plan. She told me no, her house won’t be paid off next year. I laughed to myself, she literally took sister on a shopping spree to buy household items for her new place, meanwhile, sister/BIL/nephew all bought new IPhones just a few days prior. It’s so messed up, all of them. Sister knows better than to ask me for anything, and it’s a good thing, because if I were to cave, I can see my life spinning out of control quickly. Once these types get their foot in your life and get it their way, they tend to quickly infiltrate and take over. 

Rags's picture

Nope, she hasn't disengaged. However, they all know better than to even think about asking my wife for money.  No one has ever asked.  My wife is a CPA and does her family's taxes every year and about strokes out every year over the crazy choices they all make.

It may seem odd but I would be more inclined to help my MIL than my wife is.  DW lived the drama of the never ending series of financial crises her whole childhood.  That is what has motivated her to never put herself in a situation like the ones she experienced as a child and her family continues to repeat as adults.  They know better than to ask her for financial help and she/we give them our opinion on every decision they make ... at the least the ones that we are aware of.  We usually hear about it all from one or the other of them.  Then have what I call the rotating family shitbird seat.  They all thrive on painting themselves as not as bad as someone else in the family.  No cognition of the fact that they have nothing to feel superior about.  Just deflecting attention onto someone else's crappy decision.

It took a while but I was able to get my wife to reposition how she interfaced and dealt with them all.   They are here family and she loves them.  Their never ending drama fest was seriously impacting my wife emotionally .  So I started structuring her visits and accompanying her to help keep the drama minimized.  I told her that I felt that she needed to focus on spending time with them rather than focusing on the drama.  It has taken years but that strategy finally has paid off in normalizing much of the interface she has with them all.

My BIL1 and his wife have learned to emulate our strategy and are no longer on the rotating "I need money"  cry list that SIL perpetuates with all of the others.  SIL has pretty much made herself the family write off when it comes to help.  The only thing she has left to play, and she plays it fairly often, is the "my kids (your nephew, niece, GKs) are starving/will be homeless/will be embarrassed at school/etc, etc, etc...... if you don't help me with XYZ & LMNOP.".  We have told her that her kids will learn far more seeing her be held responsible for supporting them than seeing her steal money from family over and over again, scamming her way through life, etc.....   BIL1 and his wife agree but still get all kid focused on SIL's two increasingly more manipulative and entitled spawn.  We point out that if SIL and her DH can afford tattoos, concerts, hunting and fishing trips, phones and tablets for themselves and their kids, etc. they can scrape together enough change for Top Ramen to feed their kids.

My IL's family ability to compartmentalize, ignore what is right in front of everyone's eyes and strut around like they are the Emperor in the Emperor's New Clothes fable and repeatedly make the same bad decisions is epic.  It is enthralling and much like a slow motion train wreck that a person can't take their eyes off of but still heartbreaking to watch. For me it is how it impacts my wife that I care about.  

raindrop's picture

Well props to you for being so supportive to your wife and being her emotional support thru all of this family drama. I seriously wish I could find someone who understands my dysfunctional family. The guys in my past all had wonderful families and were scared of anyone who is from so much dysfunction. Orrr, one guy, completely disengaged from his entire family and literally had no one. Not even many friends, no fault of his own. His stories about them made my family look like saints. It didn’t work out because I just couldn’t get him to soften up and relax, everything was so black or white in his world, no grey areas. Someday I hope to best someone who GETS it. 

I hope it all gets better for you guys. Or should I say for her family. You guys are doing gr8 Smile