19 thoughts on “My Sister-In-Law is Either Manic, on Drugs, or Just Plain Nuts!

  • September 17, 2012 at 10:01 am

    You absolutly can not control her behavior. Going off on her will not help. Your brother has to be the one to end/take care of things. You can say all you want but if your brother doesnt hold her to anything it wont matter. Its like yelling at a child but never giving and upholding any consequences. All you can do is try to give your brother advice or call cps or the cops on the sister in law. Other then that the only thing going off on her will do is make you feel better. Trust me I know from experience and Im sure you do too.

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  • September 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

    And I say this because I was in a similar situation with my sister in law. Her husband would complain and say she was crazy but anytime anyone really wanted to hold her accountable for any of it he would make excuses for her and enable her to continue her behavior. I finally just cut them out of my life.

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    • September 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Jen,
      I think your final statement says volumes. “I finally just cut them out of my life.” I think I am reaching that point very quickly. The concern for them is consuming a great deal of my energy which in turn only hurts my ability to be the mom I strive to be.

      My brother does enable a lot. He is frustrated and overwhelmed and I feel real bad for him. He’s out of options and answers but he still wont take any steps to make the situation better. As much as I would LOVE going off on her, youare right, it will only be really bad.

      Thanks!

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      • September 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm

        Plus I forgot to add, that if you went off on her your brother could end up getting mad at you and that wouldnt be good.

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    • November 5, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      hi I am with jen on this one. her husband needs to take the reigns or another sibling or her doctor or mother or father. consult her family doctor or a therapist but there is something where you admit them for their own safety or the safety of others because of endangering the welfare of theirself or others (the children in this case). they will place her in a pyche ward for evaluation and see whats going on with her. you fear for her safety and her kids but you have to go thru the er doctor if you can get her there to agree to it, or her husband or parents/siblings talk to her family doctor in concern and they in volve a coroner to commit her. to have the workup. a counselor or therapist can advise u on this as well. ive been there before. now im dealing with a sister in law too and it sounds familiar…

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  • September 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    If you call CPS anonymously, you will implicate your brother in any resultant charges as well. Once you hand a ball to CPS, you cannot influence what CPS does with it and for as many “thank god for CPS” stories out there, there is an equal and chilling one about CPS gone wrong. Been in education & legal; know from experience.If I were you (advice from a speculating human only, think for yourself before you act), I would take my personal feelings toward the woman out of the equation because that, while annoying, is not the first priority problem.Keep a journal of all experienced problems with the children, especially incidents co-involving yours, like the one you mentioned, and concrete like the 10 year old watching an 18 month. Don’t bring up her unpleasant attitude in hustling your child out (unless your child was upset/made to feel unwanted/punished for being there/sitting in a wet diaper etc) or your following her to see why.I would keep an open open open dialog (keep it light for the kids’sake) with your kids and encourage them (not interrogate or they’ll clam up) to be very open about how aunt does things at her house when they are with her. You need to make sure your kids are safe.Interact with your nephews as much as possible and make sure that whatever else is going on, they seem healthy and mentally stable for the time being (kids can be oblivious to a lot). If you see any wilting, withering, withdrawing, or odd acting out (possibly mimicking adult behavior) then you’ll have to act fast or abandon the process for CPS.If you know the 10 year old is left often, make sure that kid knows how to reach you (without relying on “contacts” on a digital phone) and that it is more than okay to check in with you when alone if needed for anything from advice to phone chat for company. That 10 year old may put forth a very responsible demeanor and loyalty to the mother but secretly be relieved to know there’s a back-up adult who can be reached in an emergency. Remember however you feel about her, she’s that kid’s mother. And make sure you ARE there…that kid is getting enough lip service right now.When you have a concrete set of examples, you will have to face the option of sitting down separately with your brother for a loving, non-judgmental conversation about your concerns and some actionable mutually agreed choices: like his kids come to your house not the other way around. Such restrictions may wake him up to how “not okay” things are. Do it one-on-one, involving other family members at this stage will make him feel ganged up on.He can get mad and the drama starts and CPS may be your only option. He can break down and be glad that someone in the family wants to help him walk through this thorny path he’s well aware of and at a loss to deal with; he can be grateful for the information of what is happening while out of town and will take the ball himself (keep it related to the kids, any possible affairs are his affair). Don’t offer concerns about housekeeping unless it is kid specific regarding an unsafe condition, like choking or tripping hazards or access to harmful substances like drain cleaner, sewage, unsupervised baths or pools.You may not have any idea how he will react but start from the viewpoint that your brother may be oblivious to all and may doubt you. Seeds of thought planted that he may come to recognize later. Find fault with the action, not the human. Express concern for consequences for the young. At the end of the day, you can just leave it as “do as you like with your children, but these are the rules for mine” and wait and watch. Stress how you want all the cousins to grow up together in familial love –not that you are threatening to withdraw contact (however true that may be if it comes to the safety of your own children).If you find your brother as concerned, and if separation is possible, you should explore (with a lawyer, best case scenario) options of having your brother contact CPS initially in order to better influence custody decisions later. Some states are brutal to fathers without a huge amount of paper-trailed back up. And, if you are right about the in-law being a complete psychopath, then I can about guarantee she’ll use that route to discredit your brother should she find something “better” while gallivanting.Even if the in-law is not involved with the other woman, it sounds like she may be looking to sow wild oats some way and the other woman is simply her vehicle or partner in crime. You could comment that you have been so impressed with the in-law’s weight loss: how’d she do it, you want to try it…type conversation to see if that sets off any warning bells with the brother. That drop in weight is significant although if she’s feeling the seven year itch and is out tomcatting, it could be due to vanity instead of illegal drugs but still is a red flag.But most of all, yes, it is established that your sister-in-law has problems and is not behaving responsibly towards children. Why is not important unless and until she is willing to see her actions as detrimental and seek help in correction. You need to not be angry but resolute; calm, firm and as kind as you can, but resolute. Silence is consent but there are many ways of speaking.

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    • September 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      BareHeadedWoman,
      You have given me so many things to consider! She hardly ever watches my kids, and they dont spend much time over there. When she allowed my son (who was 6 at the time) and her son (who was 8 at the time) to go to a park 1/2 mile from their house alone, without lunch, in the cold, and made them stay there the entire day I decided I had enough. I had told her twice already that my children were not allowed to be outside anywhere unsupervised, especially at the park. She did not want them bothering her so she sent them to the park. The same day she had allowed my daughter who was 3 at the time to play outside alone in the front yard. They live on the main road in their neighborhood right by the entrance, I was scared to death when I saw her bouncing around the front yard alone. Anyway, things have never been the same since.

      She’s always had a problem understanding what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to the safety of children, and I’ve always questioned how responsible she is. That is why I decided my kids would not be spending much time over there. The history is long and complicated, but now it has all come to a head and while I am slightly removed from their lives, it does not change how much I care about their current situation.

      I will definitely let my nephew know I will always be here and make sure he knows I am there for him. I will have a talk with my brother about my concerns, and let him make the decisions. I cant force change but I can give an outside opinion of what I see. I dont want the kids to end up taken away and put in foster care when a neighbor (or teacher) decides to show concern and call the police or CPS.

      I just wish I could do more. Sometimes caring is a very troubling quality to have, thats for sure.

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      • September 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

        Since I don’t know your state, I don’t know it’s educational laws…but in most states, it is a LEGAL requirement that if a teacher has ANY suspicions about neglect or abuse, that teacher must report it to CPS (a specific “red flag” taught to report is if a minor talks of being left unsupervised–even if it is overheard conversation with peers). When a case is opened (even if not by a teacher report) the teachers involved with the child will be interviewed about the child’s history and/or why the teacher didn’t suspect. Even if a teacher did, if they didn’t report it, they will say they didn’t on average simply because saying they suspected but didn’t report is tantamount to dismissal, tenure not withstanding. Most teachers just make the call and don’t consider all aspects of a situation or the consequences to the family.Teachers nationwide are taught to report any and all suspicions and let CPS weed out what is abuse and what isn’t, but for a reported family the hell is just starting. But whatever CPS says about the first priority is allowing a family to stay together with surveillance, instruction, and therapy–to work it out–is a myth. CPS generally separates first and asks questions later. Most reports are filed by either school or doctor’s office personnel (just takes a phone call). And cases and charges are run through a separate family court where your rights and responsibilities are not the same as criminal–a stacked deck, if you will. If your brother’s family gets turned in, tell him to get a family court lawyer, period.I hate to diss on the only real last hope severely abused children have but honestly, I’ve seen CPS drop the ball on too many really horrible cases while putting another family through absolute, chronic hell because a vindictive divorced spouse got drunk one night and called CPS out of spite. In your situation, it seems if your family can work it out without them, you’ll be much better off in the long run. In any case, it may give your brother something to think about.Good luck to you and yours and lots of love,hope, faith and courage sent from my part of the world.

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      • September 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

        Thats good Beth. Maybe just telling the kids that they can call if they are scared or need something can help. I still cant say for sure that cps should not be called. If people like us dont do it who will? But you know more then us, so it is your discretion. I hope for the best.

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  • September 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Your brothers first loyalty is to his partner and children. Of-course he loves them more than you, and should stand by his wife and children. Sibling relationships between adults are supposed to change, as adults make their own family, as opposed to the family of origin which is a secondary importance. Except for your parents, you and your brother’s primary care should always be your own families. Competing for your brothers love shows a juvenile and self-centredness that it sounds like he doesn’t have time to deal with. If you love your brother as much as you declare, why not support his choices and family, instead of building resentments, petty jealousies, distrust, excluding family members, taking sides, creating suspicion, and spreading malicious-yet to be proven, and potentially devastating tales of gossip and character dessimation. The term princess comes to mind. Surely your brother and sister-in law deserve support, care, compassion, and concern, if your sister in law does indeed suffer from mental health issues. Alcohol and Other Drug Use, Substance Use Disorder, is a serious psychiatric disorder, and individuals suffering from this DSM categorised psychopathology deserve health care, psychosocial support, and assistance with managing their illness. They deserve the same compassion and consideration you demand for your diagnosis. The difference is that Substance Use Disorder is highly related to early mortality, public shaming, extra stigmatisation-more than the usual for mental health disorders. Punitive, morally judgemental, and discriminatory attitudes provide serious barriers for the individual in seeking treatment. This in turn lengthens the period of chronic ill health, and lifestyle issues and legally criminalising side-effects prolong the nightmare for the children, partners, supporters and the unwell individual. She possibly needs psychiatric help. She definately seems to require some parenting support also, if your stories are factual and precise (which I suspect they are not). Be kind. Love your brother by quietly, humbly, and respectfully, helping him and his family in the ways they request.

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    • September 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Bertha,
      Your comment confuses me quite a bit. First of all I am not a person full of malice and hatred. If I were this evil person who is lacking compassion, and concern, and I am unable to care, then why would it matter? If I were a “princess” and “competing” for my brothers love and were so selfish and juvenille wouldnt I have called CPS already?

      Please re-read the post again, and then consider your comment, I feel it is completely out of context. I was stating the clear and simple fact (that you stated, again) that as we all got older, married, and had children that our relationships changed. Thanks for highlighting one of the most important points in my post.

      I will not support her. I had tried that in the past and it has never worked. I do have a great amount of resentment toward her and that is because of the chaos and havoc she had brought throughout my entire family. It has not affected just me, but every single person in my family including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, siblings. Every single person has been negatively affected by her malice. To explain why I cant say or do anything without being “wrong” in this, I had to give a brief outline of what the past includes. Mind you, all of those things were in the past!

      Also, they do not request help, so how can I help them? I cant! That is precisely why I am so agitated. Also, I don’t like being called a liar, and your comment “…if your stories are factual and precise (which I suspect they are not).” is just nonsense. I have no reason to lie, or fabricate, or bend the truth. I am writing out of genuine heartache and concern and you badger me and accuse me of lying. Shame on you.

      I know all about addiction, I have lived through it many times and understand its devastating consequences.

      Oh, and she refuses to seek treatment because any treatment will make her “fat” so getting her help she needs is out of the question. I tried, TRUST me, as a major advocate for mental health awareness. I have begged her for a solid year now to seek help, again. She will not go back on meds because she doesnt like the weight gain.

      One last though, they do not deserve any support, care, compassion, or concern because they have never once provided any to anyone else. However, isn’t that exactly what I am trying to figure out how to do? Of course I will support them in any way I can, regardless of whether they deserve help or not, which is why I am so concerned. It is who I am, I care and help, I support, love, and give of myself selflessly in any way I can regardless of any past resentments. It’s just who I am.

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  • September 23, 2012 at 2:20 am

    You need to tell your brother immediately what is going on when he is out of town. If they didn’t have any kids, I would not be saying this. But, it is not only ILLEGAL but DANGEROUS for a 10 year old child to be in charge of an 18 month old toddler. Plus, it’s not fair to the ten year old. He is a child..he is not mature enough to take on this responsibility, nor should he.If your brother cares about the welfare of his children, he will come home and either kick his wife out of leave with his children. He Has to protect them. For all you know, she may be bringing drugs or other men in the home when your brother is out of town.Forget the jealousy (which I personally don’t think you have at this point)..this is about innocent children that are at risk. What if there were a horrible accident and you did not do anything about it NOW while you can? You would feel horrible!I think you’re a good person who is very concerned. Re: CPS..yes, I agree they can backfire on children in danger. But, if it can be proven that your brother is out of town while she is pulling this and have documentation that the kids are left alone to fend for themselves, I think your brother will be fine.Also, they can drug test her.You MUST let your brother know NOW so that he can get his children to a safe place.

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  • September 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    This woman sounds like she may be drugging with her girlfriend- it doesn’t matter what she is really doing- you must inform her husband, and while he is home. The Dept of social services should be contacted immediately by the childrens father, and report the negligence. This may be a problem, as he is out of town working m-f, but this has to be dealt with. The childrfen may be put in a foster home for a while, but at least they will be safe. Divorce may follow, and child custody most likely will be given to dad. It’s a mess, but must not be ignored for the sake of the abandonded children. I will pray for the situation. Steck

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  • September 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Others have said exactly what I would say, with the exception of Bertha. Good work sticking up for yourself there! I have a friend who went through this for years with a sister-in-law. Apparently the brother was so enamoured he couldn’t end it on his own, but finally the s-i-l left him. Unfortunately, a lot of damage was done to the kids in the meanwhile. So I feel for you in this situation. I think you do have responsibility to talk with your brother about what goes on when he’s out of town and to make sure your nephew and the other kids know how to get in touch with you and with emergency personnel in a crisis. Then hope and pray for the best. It’s hard when you have high standards and realize you can’t make everything perfect for those you love. I sincerely hope this situation has been resolved by now.

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  • February 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Really, don’t change a thing.

    Then… Tell your brother to hire a private detective to get some info on your SIL, and have him do the following:
    1. Change all his accounts and have his check direct deposited into the new account.
    2. Have all their joint credit cards canceled, and come up with a cover story that he left it somewhere when he was traveling, let her get her own card without his name and SSN.
    3. Inventory all of the high-value items in the house, with model and serial numbers.
    4. Gather all of his most precious items and put them in a safe place where she can’t get them.
    5. Get 2 years worth of all of his, her, and their bank records and hold on to them (evidence, and they are Discovery Documents) – and pull a credit report.

    After about 2 weeks of this, I’m sure a sufficient amount of info will show she’s unfit, and he can file for divorce from her with cause. HE SHOULD FILE FIRST!!! Not her!!! She will likely cite abandonment with his travel, and in court, it will be hard for him to say otherwise! He needs to do this for the kids! Tell him there is no more marriage, that he now needs to save his kids, and she’s got the upper hand by default – HE MUST FILE BEFORE SHE DOES! But he needs documentation to have that!

    Then…

    6. Have him get a good attorney (there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap attorney) and consider having a Temporary Restraining Order on her so she can’t legally take anything from the house or drain any accounts, and have him weigh having a Process Server to serve her with the papers while she’s at her friend’s house. It sounds like he has Cause to Divorce her, and I’m quite sure she’s wanting a divorce, but JUST ON HER OWN TERMS. If she has that chance, she will eat him alive. I will venture a guess she’s tired of the marriage and has been unplugging for a while now so it’s easier emotionally to do it. She needs psychiatric help, no matter if they want to stay together or not. He does, too, I’m sure, but more to learn how to set boundaries with someone like her.

    She’s probably not all evil, he’s surely a good man – but what they had between them has died, and they need to euthanize this wailing beast of a bad marriage – either through counseling (doubt it will fix it) or divorce. The kids need it, and he and she need it.

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  • April 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I advise minding your own business. Perhaps finding someone close to them that has influence to step in for the kids’ sake. You are a source of discord and an excuse for her to act out. I speak from experience. I called my sister in law out, and shone the spotlight on the manic behaviour and drugging, and now am vilified. It’s been a rough few years being estranged from my brother and his kids. Know you are dealing with someone who’s not well. Find an intermediary to step in, but remove yourself and your family from the equation til things improve.

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  • November 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    also if she is placed in a pyche ward it might help her, and if shes drugging, well help prove a custody case later. plse im asking no one get offended..this is a very uncomfortable subject for me and im trying to help. i agree somethings going on with her and the kids are at risk the husbands out of town and the ladys not at home at 2 am etc. did i understand shes bipolar ? that could explain some of the bizarre behavior. they are immature sometimes. the drugs if there are any may be on top of it.

    as for me, my bipolar sister in law…a relationship is impossible i dont think anyone can have a relationship with a bipolar unless they work with you.

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  • September 10, 2018 at 12:13 am

    This writer, sounds like a nosey obsessive control freak that is used to manipulation to get her way. It’s not your family it’s your brother’s family. Stalking and following and interference in other people’s family affairs is what any reasonable person knows is unacceptable. Mind your own business no wonder your sil doesn’t like you. Karma always catching up… exaggeration & long winded one sided complaints to the internet only fool some ppl. In your heart you know you don’t help your brother you are part of the problem for the none stop drama.

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