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Old 01.07.2011, 16:08
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Childishness or Mental Disorder??

I have been with a lovely man for close to 7 years now. Absolutely love him and his family. I know they love me as well. My problem is with his sister. She is older than me (late 30s) but behave like a 3 year old all the time. She cannot understand that she is doing something wrong (not robbing or killing.. more like she shouldn’t lick her knife in restaurant, etc)or will look sad when someone in the family told her off.. You would have thought that we will enjoy some peace and quiet after, but no.. she is back to her loud and attention seeking demands after a few minutes.

She refuse to back down from a discussion until she get the last say. Even when she is ask to do something by her mum (it seems that mum is the only person who can sort of control her), she will come up with reasons and excuses of not doing it immediately. Only with lots of shouting around the table, will she finally do it.

To cut the story short, I brought up this subject with my husband (not in front of the parent of course!) that maybe she should go for a mental check up? He say he will and he also told me that he never realised it before as they were used to her behaviour. As I am not the only one who thinks she behave a little not too bright. My family and my friends who met her ALL say the same thing.. “Is she mentally ok??”My partner spoke to his mum and she got all defensive that his sister is ok,just having low self esteem! She need to be praised whenever she do something good, like cleaning the dishes.

I really do not want to have the burden of looking out for her when her parent pass away. She stays near to us as well! She is very needy and always look for permission to do things. If it really turns out that she is mentally not quite there, I do not mind looking after her in the future. But what if she is just plain childish and refuse to change as her mum side with her (most of the time as his sister will turn to her mum with a confuse sad puppy look, tug on her shoulder and say Mummy)when my husband told her off for saying/doing something wrong.

How should I approach this? Leave it, or really speak up soon about possible checkup? We are having a baby soon (have not told his parent yet)and I am afraid that she will feel like she is no longer the baby on the house and will feel jealous and her attention seeking / childishness “illness” will get out of control??
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:37
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Husband's familly? That's a lost battle. Just avoid his sister when you can, incl. sitting as far away from her as possible at the table, and when just can't, just look the other way. Saying yes repeatedly usually is the solution in most conversation with egocentric people. You don't have to mean it.

Last edited by Faltrad; 01.07.2011 at 16:46. Reason: "his" instead of "her"... sorry for feminizing your husband
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:43
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

make her do the checkup. otherwise if she is just childish and moves in when other family passes YOU are stuck with it. If it is a mental disorder well then she might need guidance to get a bit better
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:46
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

post some pic's on here, I'm sure some of more socially challenged male members would jump at (on) the chance of a mental chick
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:51
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

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post some pic's on here, I'm sure some of more socially challenged male members would jump at (on) the chance of a mental chick
Sorry, no picture allow... I am trying to avoid her at all cost, but whenever we have dinner, she always want to be a part, even when we only invite the parent. If we invite the parent for a short holiday, we have to invite her as well, otherwise she gets all upset and her mummy will ask why.
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:52
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Wow... sounds like a tough situation. I know that I, too, often find it difficult to know when I should say something or when I should just try to let something go.

But it sounds like this woman is definitely not keen to "constructive criticism" and would just try to play the victim if you did give her any. So yes, perhaps the best you can do is try to ignore her as much as possible. I think a lot of people act in accordance to expected reactions, so hopefully she will eventually get the point.

Good luck!
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:56
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Personally, I will stay clear of this person as much as I can. Its a lose-lose situation.

Suggesting that she goes for a mental checkout will most likely result in:
1. (if she doesnt have a mental problem): you being a shit stirrer and you dislike her so much that you think she has a mental problem
2. (if she really is mentally ill): you are still being a shit stirrer and you've made MIL confront what she has been in denial in all these years.

Seriously, from what you've written, your MIL seems to think that the sun shines out from your SIL's backside. To me (but I am no mental health expert), it simply sounds like she is just an attention seeking, spoilt brat with lack of social graces - so suggesting that she might be mentally unstable is going to get you on her blacklist faster than you can say "raclette". And all that pouting, whiny childish behaviour that you mentioned after being told off, seems very familiar. I know of someone who uses a baby voice to say "sor-weeeee" when you tell her off, and sulk in a corner like a child. I mean, come on, act your age - not your shoe size!!! Most annoying but not mentally ill.

The best way forward is to make your OH understand your concerns - although tread carefully - its his own blood sister we are talking about. Work out how you can minimise contact with her once the baby arrives and keep it only for holidays and important family occasions to reduce the stress.
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Last edited by summerrain; 01.07.2011 at 17:12. Reason: spelling
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Old 01.07.2011, 17:31
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

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I mean, come on, act your age - not your shoe size!!!

Unless we're talking about European shoe sizes...
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Old 01.07.2011, 17:43
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

My husband knows about this as I told him time and time again we should stand united to fight this. He is actually getting better, but it means more shouting during dinner as she is ALWAYS doing something wrong. Never had we have a nice quiet dinner with her. After 7 years, we finally manage to sneak his parents out for a nice dinner. I can tell you, everyone enjoy it so much! No stress, no argument, just plain simple adult conversation.

After she heard about it, she wanted to go out for dinner the next day! But we did not as we have to head home that evening.

My husband told me recently about how they sat his sister down (father, mother, brother) a week before our wedding and have to talk to her every minute till the actual dinner to remind her that that she has to behave during the ceremony and dinner. She did, which means she can be controlled!
So I really do not know what her problem is during the rest of the days..
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Old 01.07.2011, 17:54
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

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My husband knows about this as I told him time and time again we should stand united to fight this. He is actually getting better, but it means more shouting during dinner as she is ALWAYS doing something wrong. Never had we have a nice quiet dinner with her. After 7 years, we finally manage to sneak his parents out for a nice dinner. I can tell you, everyone enjoy it so much! No stress, no argument, just plain simple adult conversation.

After she heard about it, she wanted to go out for dinner the next day! But we did not as we have to head home that evening.

My husband told me recently about how they sat his sister down (father, mother, brother) a week before our wedding and have to talk to her every minute till the actual dinner to remind her that that she has to behave during the ceremony and dinner. She did, which means she can be controlled!
So I really do not know what her problem is during the rest of the days..
Its good to hear that at least your husband is on your side. Some OHs can be seriously blind and defensive over their families which makes things even trickier.

The fact that she can behave at your wedding means that she isnt mentally ill - again I am no mental health expert so dont take my word for it.

She just lacks boundaries and sadly, parents have a huge part to play in that. They either are so resigned that they turn a blind eye or so numb to all her antics, or indulge her even further.

I say, minimise contact even further. Sounds very harsh, but some people are simply too toxic to be around. For those mandatory dinners, either relook at the things that irritate you (I dont know what they are, other than licking her knife) and flip it on its head. See the funny side or just ignore her. Some people thrive on attention, be it negative or positive. She might be even enjoying the drama that she has caused in winding you and your husband up.

Have a few more glasses of wine - the stressful things will ultimately become funny.
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Old 01.07.2011, 18:10
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Perhaps she has Aspergers? Great that your husband is beginning to understand your concerns- perhaps you can use the arrival of a little one as a good (and valid) excuse to get a better understanding and assessment of the situation. But it has to come from him, or you'll forever be the baddy of the piece with his family. Surely he has seen her grow up and witnessed how she got on at school and with other people, so should be able to put 2 and 2 together. Congratulations btw - and hope you find a solution. I don't think avoiding her is the best way out, and is more likely to make the situation worse.
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Old 01.07.2011, 19:17
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Does your SIL hold down a job? If not, has anyone mentoned why not. If she does, do you have any information about how she behaves at work? And is her job a skilled one or not - wondering about intellectual normality, as opposed to the "mental illness" that has been suggested. How much schooling has she had? Does she have any friends? ie: does she spend any time away from her family with any peer group?
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Old 01.07.2011, 19:31
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

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Sorry, no picture allow... I am trying to avoid her at all cost, but whenever we have dinner, she always want to be a part, even when we only invite the parent. If we invite the parent for a short holiday, we have to invite her as well, otherwise she gets all upset and her mummy will ask why.

two questions:
1) Do you also feel a bit entertained by it?
2) Do you really want to help her?


answers:
1) rhetorical

2) If yes: help her.
If no: don't complain overly in public, because it's family.

And...yes there is something wrong.

Also, if people scream regularly at others. Doesn't matter if she has a mental disorder or not. And I wonder what their excuse might be.

From your post I get the impression it's a bit like an attraction for the family, and the behavior gets somehow supported.
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Old 01.07.2011, 19:33
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

It's obviously very hard for the family to say that their grown-up daughter has a real issue. But they know she's different, they're protective of her and they explain everything to her. They obviously know how she appears to the outside world.

Just let it slide, there's nothing that you could possibly do that wouldn't cause some kind of anguish. If she has a job and a loving family and can be semi-independent, then that's already an accomplishment.

Why not take it in your stride and just embrace her and the situation as it is.
It would be less stressful for you.
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Old 01.07.2011, 19:35
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

My husband's older sister used to behave in a similar way and his mother always turned a blind eye to her behaviour - it turned out that she was actually terrified of her daughter. My late MIL was a really sweet women and I could never understand why they had no friends round and no social life but soon understood that they were not sure of how their daughter (who lived at home) would behave

It turned out that in fact she did have a mental disorder which sadly became worse.

I would actually avoid if possible, any contact which would put you in an uncomfortable position Blood is thicker than water and although they are probably sympathetic to you - she could be possibly a little jealous of you too and you are in a no win situation..
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Old 02.07.2011, 00:00
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

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she is ALWAYS doing something wrong.
What exactly do you mean by this, can you give us a few examples?


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My husband told me recently about how they sat his sister down (father, mother, brother) a week before our wedding and have to talk to her every minute till the actual dinner to remind her that that she has to behave during the ceremony and dinner. She did, which means she can be controlled!
So I really do not know what her problem is during the rest of the days..
My son has Asperger syndrome and this is typical of the type of session we need to have with him before some big social event. And yes he can do very well if he is well prepared, but it takes an awful lot out of him mentally to do it as he has to continuously fight against his natural tendencies...

The good news is that because these individuals have a very high IQ, they can "learn" a lot of the skills they need to get along in society, with a good support system. In my son's case he does most of the things he wants to do, although his class has had several sessions to learn what it means to have him in their class and how they can help him fit in better. And I must say to their credit they do look out for him a lot.

Jim
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Old 02.07.2011, 01:04
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

It sounds like a person with Autistic spectrum problems who never had to adjust or learn to deal with society..Before pushing hubby into conflict, ask him if they had her diagnosed at all? Another thing is she might be totally ok, just a possessive sibling who is stricken by jealousy and who is used to certain behavior that might be beneficial to her for whatever reason..Ask your hubby if she acted like this in front of his exes, too, female friends, male friends, etc. Or, which is hard to believe, I know, the family is bored, so they let the attention hog get away with her shticks since she is keeping them busy. I would probably have your inlaws over for dinners, but her lot less, since she seems to stress you out. Once every 6mo, obligatory thing? I think I would feel a tad uncomfortable having her freak out my child and expose him/her to maladjusted ways. If she is an Aspie, or Autist, there are adult centers that specialize in treatment, it must be uncomfortable for her as well, if she is without any help and therapy, coping strategies..
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Old 02.07.2011, 09:14
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

If your husband's sister is along the Autism/Asperger's spectrum, maybe it would help you and your husband to read more about these conditions in women, especially.

Here's a start
http://blogs.plos.org/neurotribes/20...-an-aspergirl/

Rudy Simone is an American, living in San Francisco - she's written a lot about being an "Aspergirl". The blog post, I think, summarizes some of the differences between men and women.

Many people with these conditions have a lot of anxiety, so it's helpful to deal with that aspect. On the positive side, people with Aspergers/Autism are loyal and generally intelligent, but they may need help to structure proper behaviors. If she's really anxious about social situations, she can forget how to behave or misbehave. And yes, even if she's well into her 30's she may require some structure and reinforcement.

Of course, that may not be the issue at all... it's hard to say on an Internet forum. Good luck! And congratulations.
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Old 03.07.2011, 10:23
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

My nephew was diagnosed with Aspergers just last year, at the age of 28.

He was a very odd, introverted child and teenager and prone to violent outbursts. Now that we know why we all can rally round to make him feel comfortable in certain scenarios.

He now has a job and his own flat and seems to be coping. I am quite proud of him and what he has achieved. I don't know if he takes any medication or not.
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Old 04.07.2011, 10:56
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Re: Childishness or Mental Disorder??

Thank you for all the helpful reply. To some of you , I might sound like I hate his sister, but I am really sincere in helping her IF she is really suffering and not just a spoilt brat by her mum.

She does have a low paying job as she is not book smart and somehow the companies she works for always went bankrupt or if they need to lay off workers, she is always one of the 1st to go (always due to the fact she is the newest??)

I will definitely read up on Asperger and find out if she might have a very mild condition.

It will make me more patient towards her if she is really ill, but am I wrong to be distant if I realised that it is really just plain childishness?
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