This is my first time writing into an advice column. My sister and mother are currently fighting and it’s getting vicious, they almost punched each other out tonight. My sister treats my mother with zero respect and almost ignores her daughter who is in the care of my mother, my mother is sick of it and has said very hurtful things to my sister like how the car that my grandmother left for her wasn’t hers and that the only reason the registration is in her name is because it’s cheaper.
My mother is also wanting her to move out and not come back. This is very stressful and I’m concerned about what it’s doing to my niece. Do you have any advice on how I could deal with this?
You definitely have a right to be concerned about your niece. That is a very tumultuous environment for a child, (no matter the age) to be living in.
If they aren’t getting along, your sister moving out might not be the worst solution, and it might be unavoidable. It sounds like with the situation with your niece it would be better if they could remain together, since your mother is caring for her. Depending on the custody situation, your sister moving out would either separate your sister and your niece, or leave your niece without proper care if she leaves with your sister. Either way, it’s less than ideal. However, if it is coming to the point where you are concerned about them physically harming each other, it might be unavoidable.
If you feel it’s escalating to the point where they could harm each other, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement. You don’t have to attach your name to the report, and honestly it would likely be better for maintaining positive relationships with your sister and your mother if you kept it anonymous and kept the report simple and free of specifics.
Do what you feel you need to, but remember that ultimately your mother and sister make their own decisions. You shouldn’t put this on yourself. Your concern is admirable, but it’s not fair to you and your personal well-being, nor is it realistic. If you think there is anyway you can get them to counseling for some mediation, then refer them. Your niece could likely benefit from counseling as well (provided that she is old enough to verbally communicate).
However, please remember that it’s not your job to fix their problems, or to play mediator. You need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Your mother and sister are adults, and their own people with the ability to make their own decisions, (even if those decisions are terrible).
What can you do? Be a friend to your sister, mother, and niece. Continue to provide support, but don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the middle. It sucks to see people that we care about being terrible to each other. They are lucky to have someone in their lives (you), who cares so much about them. If you currently live with them and the constant fighting is causing you stress, you should consider finding an alternate living situation.
I wish you luck.