Our expert says:
Obviously, as you know, unless your SIL is actually severely mentally retarded, there is no biological reason why she can't rapidly learn to act as an adult --- but so long as close family insist on infantilizing her, expecting nothing more, and treating her as a child, she wouldnt have any motivation to grow up. I find its much more common than most people realize ( and more than books acknowledge ) for a family system to build itself around an individual who is the Designated Sicko, and to strongly resist and sabotage, collectively, any attempts to remedy that person's problems. <br>And even where unuually severe Bipolar Disorder ( I suppose the diagnosis was made by a proper psychiatric expert after a careful assesment, was it ? ) is seriously disabling, this is not the way in which it disables someone. <br>And it is very fair indeed to make it very clear to the family that you will NOT take over her care if they continue to treat her in this way and then expect you to care for an aged child created by THEM, not by Bipolar Disorder. <br>It makes sense for you to write, in confidence, to the psychiatrist treating her, who may need to know this extra information, and also to know that you are not prepared to take over her care if she continues to be infantilized. <br>Consent can on occasion be a tricky thing, but nothing stops you from writing to him or him from reading the letter. And it is not usually seen as a major consent issue if the treating shrink asks her if he can call and talk with some of the people who now care for her or who may do so in the future.
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