Worried about my little sisters
April 26, 2012 6:19 PM Subscribe
I'm worried that my little sisters may be in an abusive situation, but don't know what's really going on or where I should go from here.
posted by whalebreath to Human Relations (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm visiting my sisters right now. I didn't grow up with them (we have different mothers) but I did spend summers visiting them and my dad. Those summers were stressful because my dad and his wife had nasty fights, and that house just felt like a horrible place to be. But I loved my little sisters so I kept in touch, even when my dad divorced their mom.
I'm visiting them now (staying at a friends place and taking them on outings), and I'm so, so worried about them. About a year ago their mom had a breakdown and ended up in a psychiatric ward for a good few months. I don't know much about the whole situation or what her specific diagnosis is, but I do know that she had lost it, and that she was released on the condition that another adult be living with her and the children.
So she had just started dating this guy, and he moved in. I felt a lot of mistrust towards him, wondering who this guy was who was willing to move in with his recent girlfriend because she had just lost it and couldn't be alone with her children.
Anyways, he does give off an eerie, kind of creepy vibe. He acts extremely friendly, though, almost too much. The kids hate him.
The oldest child ran away from home a couple weeks ago. She's 17. She's kind of out of control, was getting suspended for fighting and telling off teachers, does a lot of drugs and parties and is tough as nails.
The younger one is 12, always been shy and sweet, but is recently angry and wants to move out and go live with our dad because she hates her mom and her mom's boyfriend so much.
When I ask them about their home situation they don't usually mention anything specific, they will say they hate their mom and her boyfriend but won't really go into details.If I ask them what their mom's boyfriend is like they just say he's nice or dumb. But today when I was dropping the 12 year old off, she got in a really bad mood. She got mad at her mom over some things, and started storming around and kind of screaming. She said that she hated the mom's boyfriend, and had hated him ever since he had pinned her down to the bed so that she couldn't move. Her mom said that that wasn't how it happened, that she wasn't pinned to the bed, and my sister said that the mom wasn't in her body so she didn't know that she couldn't get up. I really didn't like how the mom was dismissing what happened.
Anyways so then I go pick the 17 year old up, and ask her about the time the boyfriend pinned the 12yr old to the bed, and if he ever had hurt her (17rd old) in any way. She said that he had once grabbed her arm and raised his fist at her, but that she had told him that if he touched her she would knock him to pieces. I asked her if he had ever done anything else to her or her younger sister, and she wouldn't really answer definitively, just kinda of kept mumbling 'i don't know' and dismissing my question.
I feel like those two things alone are enough to report, but I'm so scared of making things worse for either of them than they already are. They are both kind of out of control, dramatic teenage girls, and so I think most people are inclined to think that they just are upset by rules and fighting with their mom. I know the mom alone was stressful enough to make the eldest (now 22) run away at the age of 16. I want to try to talk to them and figure out what's going on and how I can best help them, I just don't know how to get them to talk to me. They love me, I've tried to be a really stable, loving, trustworthy presence throughout their lives, but I don't know where to go from here with this whole situation.
I'm leaving in a few days and don't want to go feeling like I've failed to recognize and stop child abuse, but I also don't know how much I'm reading into things, or how to get them to open up to me if anything is going on, or what to do about anything. Some objective, outsider insight would be much appreciated.