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Posted by: scmd ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 03:28AM

Lately I've spent so much of my time putting my various nieces' noses back into their proper joints that I feel like that is my real job. Their parents all say let them work out their own problems, but sometimes I know their feelings or bodies are hurt or rights are being trampled upon, and their parents don't always come to their aid when there's a very real need -- even a medical one. One niece was dealing with a relatively serious ocular problem over Thanksgiving and her MD father was tired of her medical issues. I couldn't ignore it and got her the care she needed.

Then I had the dental school student primary chorister niece who had issues with a stake pres's wife at an inservice. The same niece had a sexual harassment issue in dental school, and her own parents told her it came with the territory rather than helping her find out whom to contact.

Then two weeks ago I had another niece who was caught on an honor code violation at BYU for being found by campus police three minutes past curfew with a flat tire on her car. (She had been trying in vain to remove the too-tightly-applied lug nuts for over an hour; the campus police were nowhere to be found then.) Her dad said she shouldn't have cut it so close and was going to leave her to face the Honor Code wolves by herself. I couldn't do that to her, and contacted those I knew who could help her.

The latest is more an issue of hurt feelings. Laura*, in her final year of medical school (but ["..." - age deleted to protect ID]) very young to be completing medical school), has been assigned for her final clerkship before Christmas break to a rotation associated with a heavily LDS-influenced practice. The partners decided to help the S.A. bell ringers collect, which is fine. Everyone associated with the practice until Christmas was asked to help, though my understanding was that no heavy pressure was applied. Still, a 4th-year med student doesn't want the attending physician evaluating him or her to think he or she is slacking. Laura was a music performance major in addition to biochem in undergrad, and offered to bring her violin or cello to a bell-ringing session. This somehow offended someone responsible for coordinating the event, and Laura was told not to show up with or without a musical instrument. (She's quite proficient. I don't know why they wouldn't want her playing. If there was a particular time when someone else had something musical planned, which I don't think was the case anyway, she could simply have come another time.)

Now Laura thinks the people at the new practice all hate her and is nervous about showing up for her first day of the new rotation tomorrow. She's already having trouble sleeping because of the steroids prescribed for her eye condition, so she'll probably go in tomorrow morning after having been awake all night.

She blogged about it on her [name deleted] site on blogspot, but I think I covered the essence here.

I don't recall my own young adulthood being so tumultuous, although I was locked away on a mission for two years of it. Are my own nieces especially sensitive, (there's more with a couple of others I haven't even touched here) or is it an 18 to [20-something]-year-old girl thing in general? I don't know how I'm going to get through this as a parent of a girl if it's this hard just being an uncle.

*Name and several other details changed (marked as such) to protect IRL ID*



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2017 12:23PM by Maude.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 08:03AM

You are good and brave person to keep up and advise all the relatives!

The older I get, the more amazed I am at the social pressures we allowed, especially from Mormons.

Husband was asked to provide free treatment for family and members. He often took "welfare" cases because they were in need, but it irritated him when family and church expected him to do everything for free.

I remember going to my MD uncle to ask advice when I was a teen and in college. He had no problems getting involved. Most of it was good, but some of it in hindsight wasn't good for me. I think I was conditioned to find the male leader or something.

At some point, we (husband and I) had to quit getting involved with the drama of extended family. The Mormon aspect was a big factor. It seems to feed on itself. We had two kids to talk through and guide. The trick is not taking credit or blame for their lives. My now adult kids did well without their relatives or church.

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Posted by: scmd ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 08:38AM

dagny Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You are good and brave person to keep up and
> advise all the relatives!
>
> The older I get, the more amazed I am at the
> social pressures we allowed, especially from
> Mormons.
>

Thanks for the input, Dagny. I do a bit better with the nephews. For them I'm mostly just there to give input regarding missions and to let them know I'll help to be their way out of a mission should the need arise. I feel as though they've been cared for better in the first place, though, The time resources go to preparing the boys to serve missions. Only after the all-important mission prep has been done can what little time remains be devoted to meeting the girls' needs.

The girls to me just are more vulnerable, and in most cases I've felt that their parents have invested much more in their boys and have left the girls to find their own way too often. When it's just ruffled feelings, which it sometimes is with Laura*, it's a bit easier to smooth over, though Laura has been through enough very real trauma (two separate incidents that might have emotionally crippled the average person at the age at which they happened to her) that even the ruffled feathers are a bit harder for her to handle. Sometimes the cliche of "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger" is nothing more than a cliche. Some instances of trauma probably do leave a person in a weakened state, sometimes in dealing with matters seemingly unrelated. Still, I feel like I make more headway in helping Laura through her difficulties, maybe in part because she's chosen the same career oath I chose, so I have a beter idea of what pitfalls she may face.

when it's an eighteen-year-old and what I would consider to be a totally bogus honor code violation, I look at it differently. Those campus police should be there to protect my niece, not to castigate her for lacking the physical strength to remove lug nuts and for lacking the status where the local towing company is concerned for them to arrive to assist her in a timely manner. And i feel as though her parents should know better and should be more of a source of support to her, if only to tell her that BYU itself is what is bogus and to help her to transfer to a more legitimate university. Then again, her parents and all four grandparents are themselves BYU grads. They all probably think BYU is as good as it gets.

When a lower-level dental professor slips his hand beneath my niece's scrub all the way to the front of her bra, then pauses to determine whether to probe further, then her parents tell her it comes with the territory, as because she's young and pretty, the men are going to be tempted to put their hands beneath her clothing, and it's maybe something she has no choice but to accept, or to find a husband and start making babies with him so that she can stay out of the dangerous real world, it gets to me. If such were an activity my niece were to engage in with a young man of her choosing and it were to come to light of church authorities, she would be subject to church discipline, but because it's a young male professor, that somehow changes the terms and it's my niece's fault for being too pretty. Or perhaps her scrub top was too loose. Where loose and tight clothing are concerned, sometimes the poor girls are damned whatever they do. They're sluts if their clothing is too tight, but if it isn't, it seemingly gives men carte blanche to explore female bodies manually in areas where no other witnesses are present.

While my parents are basically very good people, and I love my siblings and their spouses, sometimes I feel as though my wife and I are the only really lucid adult members of the family. That's just two of us to look out for the interests of thirty-two nieces and nephews on my side of the family, not counting our own two babies, who obviously come first for us.

*Name changed, as in OP (for ID protection)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2017 12:26PM by Maude.

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 11:05AM

scmd Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> While my parents are basically very good people,
> and I love my siblings and their spouses,
> sometimes I feel as though my wife and I are the
> only really lucid adult members of the family.
> That's just two of us to look out for the
> interests of thirty-two nieces and nephews on my
> side of the family, not counting our own two
> babies, who obviously come first for us.


I'm so glad you wrote this, scmd!

You are describing the role my youngest son has taken (or has been handed) in our family. I don't know if you are a youngest sibling or not, but it seems to me that the youngest one is often the caretaker of the bunch.

I'm going to take additional pains to point this out to my husband (like I have many times) that this son must not be allowed to be the rescuer of we who are sometimes too lazy to walk through complex matters ourselves. He has definitely taken on this role in his wife's family.

While I would advise you to let your family members wipe their own noses, I would also like to commend you for being such a remarkable uncle to your nieces.

Your post has pointed out a family dynamic that many of us will do well to examine. Thank you again, and good wishes to you and your family.

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: November 28, 2017 03:48AM

I am very sorry if I sounded flippant here, scmd. These are vey serious matters that you have outlined. But, I hope others in the family will step up to the plate and at least help you to help these girls.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 04:02PM

Yikes. If that professor is still teaching, sooner or later that school is going to get a complaint.

I think times are changing when it comes to that kind of thing. The church's attitudes toward women is going to be problematic for them if they don't change.

They are so lucky to have a wise uncle who will give them the straight scoop on things!

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 04:18PM

scmd: What you describe about that dental prof sexually assaulting your niece is completely appalling and outrageous. How could any sane parent think that is the price of doing business, or whatever? Telling her she has "no choice but to accept"? Unbelievable. I am so sorry that happened to your niece.

Far too many women are already part of the "metoo" crowd. One small hope is that this is a better time in history for females to speak up and be believed about the way all too many males interact with them in all too many places, especially those where they should be safe.

I'm glad Niece can at least find you approachable to disclose this incident to. That will likely help her somewhat although perhaps not nearly enough.

It can be so difficult for a lot of women to disclose such occurrences and then not being believed or no action taken against the abuser or no justice can make you feel not heard, powerless, traumatized without recourse or healing. As we've seen in recent news, it's something that stays with you long into the future and it can be very damaging. It can be embarrassing, especially for younger women, to discuss. It is trust betrayed, first taken away by the perp and then perhaps by those who could or should protect and assist but don't.

Abusers need to hear this is not right. It is not acceptable. It will not be tolerated. Those so abused need to know that disclosure will result in action and that incidents like this are not their fault.

(Edited to remove personal info I thought better of).

I'm sure your nieces and nephews are thrilled to have you as their uncle. Carry on! And good luck now and with all the challenges to come.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2017 09:12PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Nomoremoxey ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 10:09AM

I would have so appreciated parental intervention, when needed.

And that's it, the need for help, where their parents would rather not trouble themselves. You add measures of fairness and care to their lives, where those things would be lacking otherwise. You model how love and compassion are done.

You do not describe "needy" young women, rather, young women of substance. That they are of substance does not mean that they (deserve and) need no aid or comfort.

"Elder" is not a mormon word; they don't own it. You are being an elder for your nieces, a needed and treasured family and social position. The thing I trust is your abiliity to discern when real help is needed, or when you should let them learn to navigate, two very different things.

The one that stood out for me-

...If it's true that your niece spent an hour trying to loosen lug nuts, rather than calling AAA, then I would not think her "needy." The thought of her in a place so isolated that no help was forthcoming, after dark, with a disabled car, kneeling at a wheel, gives me the chills. No one she could call? Leave her car and find a ride home? Broken nails and blistered hands could have been the least of it, if her claims are true. Her Christmas gift would be that AAA membership, and her reaction will be telling. It could be a story her parents have heard a hundred times, or she truly might have been stranded in a dangerous situation. Hard to judge, but if she was that desperate about transportation, she will be gushing her thanks for AAA. If no gush is forthcoming, then she does not know what it feels like to be that stranded, that desperate.

I am an older woman, who as a younger woman, felt that desperation more than once, and can still accurately recall the details of those harrowing situations. I changed my own tires, wired a muffler pipe on the side of a road with a coat hanger, have fought off the advances of a passing tow truck driver who "wanted to help" with a flat tire, started my car under the hood with a screwdriver. I could also shade/invent a story to my benefit, and at the time, wouldn't think twice if I could get away with it. My youthful fortitude (and moxey) "saved" me in many ways, many times. Unreliable vehicles and stories hold hands very nicely.

You could also ask her where she got her flat fixed, the one in her trunk, and see if she can name the place, give details, like, it was a nail, she needed a new tire, how much it cost - she would have those answers without hesitation. Pauses (umm, ohhh umm, ...huh?) could be interesting. And, for a young lady without AAA, fixing the flat would be a priority, especially, had I once needed that tire. That, and a $3 can of WD-40.

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Posted by: scmd ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 05:00PM

Nomoremoxey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ings would be lacking otherwise.
> You model how love and compassion are done.
>
> You do not describe "needy" young women, rather,
> young women of substance. That they are of
> substance does not mean that they (deserve and)
> need no aid or comfort.
>
> "Elder" is not a mormon word; they don't own it.
> You are being an elder for your nieces, a needed
> and treasured family and social position. The
> thing I trust is your abiliity to discern when
> real help is needed, or when you should let them
> learn to navigate, two very different things.
>
> The one that stood out for me-
>
> ...If it's true that your niece spent an hour
> t
> gushing her thanks for AAA. If no gush is
> forthcoming, then she does not know what it feels
> like to be that stranded, that desperate.
>
>
> You could also ask her where she got her flat
> fixed, the one in her trunk, and see if she can
> name the place, give details, like, it was a nail,
> she needed a new tire, how much it cost - she
> would have those answers without hesitation.
> Pauses (umm, ohhh umm, ...huh?) could be
> interesting. And, for a young lady without AAA,
> fixing the flat would be a priority, especially,
> had I once needed that tire. That, and a $3 can
> of WD-40.

Meredith called AAA. The local contractor was too busy to get there until eighty-five minutes later. The company seemed to think she was in an area where someone would come to her aid and therefore didn't consider her their priority. In fairness to them, some nights are busier than others, but I thought they had time limits to meet and obligations to subcontract at their own expense if they couldn't meet the time limits on their own. They make a tidy profit off the idea that many of us pay just to be protected while basically never using the service. If it ends up costing them a bit once in a blue moon, that should be the price of doing business under their model. (To be perfectly honest, i don't know what their guarantees are, but I believe they do list maximum time limits, and I would assume eighty-five minutes would exceed that limit for an eighteen-year-old woman by herself well after dark.)

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Posted by: Very Afraid ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 10:58AM

Thank goodness you are a male, and that your career gives you some credibility within your Mormon family. I'm a divorced single working mother (with an MBA), and never had church position higher than stake organist; therefore, no one in my family listened to my warnings about a family pedophile. They laughed at me, and thought the "dirty old man" relative was funny. He had molested me in childhood, and no one believed me. Pedophiles can be very manipulative and convincing, that the touching was "accidental", or that it was the victim's fault, etc. Two of those victimized nieces are in their thirties, and have never had boyfriends, and are in therapy.

You can always feel right, within yourself, for trying to help, but you can't change the world. Even though I was ridiculed and shunned for doing so, I'm glad I at least tried to help. What is most important is that you protect your OWN children.

I went to BYU, and to the University of Utah, and to a university in California. I was born in California, and grew up there. Never was I ever molested in California, but at BYU, I was assaulted, with an attempted rape, in Cannon Center at BYU, and escaped with only a broken arm, after some football players rescued me. I had an attempted date-rape, by an RM. I was "flashed" several times, walking to class early in the morning, on a deserted pathway. Coming home after a dance, on a double date, our car broke down in a snow storm. As instructed by our dorm, my double-date dorm friend and I called the campus police, and reported our plight, but they said they were too busy with others in the storm, and couldn't help us. We called my uncle, who had to dig out his car to come and get us, and take us to the dorm. We were 5 minutes late. No one would listen to our explanation. The campus police gave us no support. We were put before a student council, as though we had committed a crime, and ordered to clean the bathrooms in the dorm, for the entire month, every Saturday night. The cleaning had to be done between 7:00 pm and midnight, because no working on Sunday. My dorm mate and I made a horrible racket, getting the mops out of the cleaning closet, throwing the metal bucket down the hallway, bumping into the doors of the student council member and the dorm supervisor, singing loudly, and accidentally dropping the bucket down the garbage chute. No one said anything, but it made us feel better.

My biggest regret in life is that I stuck it out at BYU, when I didn't like it. The dorms were fun, and the dating, dances and parties, the skiing, but the classes were boring and most of the teachers were not inspiring. The oppressive cult atmosphere was depressing, over all. There was a lot of drama, rudeness (aside from the usual pranks), and cruel gossip. The girls were all "boy-crazy". There was a secret girls' club, which included some cheerleaders and flag-twirlers, a homecoming queen, and a runner-up to Miss America, who would run around the baseball field every night, and throw up on home plate. Bulimia was something that was popular. I was an athlete, and they used to get mad at me that I could eat anything I wanted. Our dorm section was considered to have the prettiest girls.

Most of the negative relationships and negative experiences in my life were with Mormons. The cult seems to be rampant with abuse towards women. My own little girl was molested at a ward camp-out, while she slept in her sleeping bag. She screamed, and there were witnesses, but the bishop made the kids promise not to tell, because it would ruin everyone's fun, and prevent future camp-outs. It was the bishop's creepy high school son, who was the perpetrator. He went on a mission, became elder's quorum president, got married in the temple, had three girls--and he molested them. By that time, we were long gone from the cult.

Reading you account of your nieces, I am so grateful to be out of all the drama and jealousy and victimization, that Mormon women have to cope with. I'm sure jealousy is a problem with your nieces, since they are so accomplished and beautiful. Yes--I know first-hand that there is a lot of "music-rivalry". I was a music minor in piano performance at BYU.

I'm also sorry that your niece works with Mormons. A great (and famous in Utah) mentor of mine told me in confidence (I will never reveal his name, because this is illegal) "Avoid doing business with Mormons." He was right. My own children have been successful in life, and they don't have to deal with Mormons, yet, they all live in Salt Lake City. It is possible.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 12:51PM

I think young adulthood means parenting goes into super drive. I found it the most difficult time for my kids because they were old enough to get into bigger problems beyond their ability to cope. Little kids are demanding and relentless, but they can't drive or get embroiled in work related or dating problems which might impact the rest of their lives.

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Posted by: Strength in the Loins ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 03:12PM

I am glad that your nieces have someone to go to bat for them.

I wish I'd had the same. Those years (18-25) were just awful for me and to this day (I'm now 45), I harbor a lot resentment towards those who should have been looking out for me but instead were too immersed in their own lives to watch over me and provide sound guidance. Although, to be honest, it probably wouldn't have mattered that much. When I did receive guidance, the advice was usually terrible. Going on a mission was not only a waste of two years, it actually took me in the wrong direction in many ways. It wasn't just the two lost years. It was the emotional and spiritual damage that lasted for many years beyond that.

I eventually found my way out of the church, but most of my major life decisions regarding career, marriage, and children had already been made by that point. It is hard to not be bitter about what might have been had I not been subjected to the toxic influence of the church and had received better mentoring and more support than what I got. It's not that my life is terrible, but it could have been so much more.

Anyways, major kudos for looking out for your extended family. Those years are so vital.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2017 03:13PM by Strength in the Loins.

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Posted by: laperla not logged in ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 03:40PM

I've often thought that Alexis attracts the vehemence of narcissists. First because of her achievements. Second because she has been encouraged and not "beat down" by her family (the good side) so she says things that someone like me would instinctually be afraid to say (IRL.)

She gets the attention or "narcissistic supply" that narcissists crave and envy. Therefore, she is the enemy.

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Posted by: numbersRus ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 04:03PM

My wife spends a good deal of time helping our niece. Her parents have issues with each other (not sure why my wife's sister stays with her husband) and it seems they both dump on their only daughter. She's a freshman in college and having lots of drama.

That said, we have other nieces and nephews that don't seem to have major drama, or nothing that gets outside their immediate family.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 04:34PM

I am glad that you've been mentoring them. Way to go!!!

I am also glad that all these abuses of power and position are being reported. I hate the fact that it gets swept under the rug or the victim is told to "get used to it."

I hope the church becomes very uncomfortable. Their policies and attitudes have been unacceptable for a very long time.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: November 27, 2017 05:25PM

One thing that will get to me every time is gratuitous unkindness. For BYU to hold the one niece accountable for a flat tire shows exactly what that school and its administrators are made of. A flat tire for a young woman can be terrifying. And I don't care that they showed you how to do it in driver's ed. It's another thing altogether to be alone and vulnerable, and in the dark, and have to do it on your own. Thank goodness in my state drivers will go out of their way to help. Any time I've pulled over my car in distress someone has *always* offered to help.

As for your niece in dental school, that is sexual harassment of the most egregious nature. Of course she needs support.

Heck, at age 60, I am still getting advice and support from my family when needed. I am currently encountering an extremely difficult work issue that I have not seen in all my years in the workforce. And my very experienced older brother is giving me advice.

I think it is a great thing that you are standing up for your nieces as they are starting to make their way in the world. I'm sure that they will long remember your kindness in doing so.

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