I normally don't just vent here on GT, I usually try to do an actual article, but I think I need to vent now. Even if no one reads this, I just have to write it out.
I've always known, pretty much, that my niece-by-marriage is a compulsive liar. I've known a few in the past, and it didn't take me long around my niece to see the signs, consistently. I always hoped, I suppose, that it wouldn't be a big problem, but I knew I was kidding myself. Big time.
See, her mom, my sister-in-law, is bipolar and schizophrenic. Her mother is bipolar. And a few years ago, doctors verified that my niece is also schizophrenic.
So there's that.
As you can imagine, being both bipolar and schizophrenic do not make for a stable personality or stable relationships, and my sister in law is frankly abusive to the people around her. She verbally abuses her daughter when she is having an episode. When she's not, she puts a lot of emotional baggage on her. So you can imagine that my niece learned early on that the easiest way to deal with things around her was to lie.
But what I realized early on is that my niece lies about everything. Little things she doesn't even need to lie about. Anything and everything. In fact, everything I've read about the subject describes her perfectly. And I've known this for a long time, but how do you tell your sister-in-law, with whom you have an extremely tenuous relationship, that her emotionally abused daughter is a compulsive liar?
I see it. My husband sees it. I think Grandma even sees it.
And here's what scares me.
I'm going to be blatantly honest about my niece, who I actually care about very much. I'd like to say that she is both pretty and smart. Unfortunately, she is neither. She has limited social skills, may be somewhat developmentally delayed (surprise, surprise, given her history), and, well, she doesn't have a pretty face. She's adorable — but she isn't pretty.
What she is is very busty, and she has recently dropped from a size 12 to a size 2. She is in a new school where she claims to be popular, but her stories have the flavor of someone who other kids use as the butt of jokes, yet still interprets the attention as popularity. And she is lying to her mother about more and more things, and recently got busted about who she's been secretly spending time with (read: older boys). Her school principal wants her sent to private school for something I don't know the details of yet — something to do with a boy on school property. I can only imagine.
My sister-in-law's bipolar disorder manifested partly in hypersexuality when she hit puberty. My niece started displaying similar signs around age 12.
And I'm terrified that a young, attention-starved, socially clueless, un-savvy, emotionally and mentally unstable girl who wants to be pretty and knows she isn't, who is sporting a large chest and a newly svelte figure, in a new school where she is already in perpetual trouble and is already lying about her activities, will end up in a horrible situation.
I'm terrified for her. So, so terrified.
And I can't tell her mom any of this. She refuses to admit that her daughter is at all slow. She sees behaviors she used to exhibit, but she's convinced her daughter won't behave the way she did. And I know that if I shared my concerns, it would be World War 3.
She's a state away, and I'm an outsider, even though I'm an in-law. I shared my concerns with my husband, and his face fell a mile. "You're right," he said miserably. "You and I both know you're right. And no one is going to listen to us."
I feel like I'm just cringing, resigning myself to hearing disastrous news. Not today, not tomorrow, but someday. It's a horrible feeling.
But I guess I feel a little bit better, getting it all out here. So thanks, whoever's reading this.