After a difficult marriage my elderly parents have divorced, they're in their 70's. My sister and I are in our 40's She seems to have forgotten how difficult our father was, and seems to blame my mother for all the problems we had, and possibly for the break up of the marriage. We assume that's what's going on because she won't discuss any of this with us, and we're afraid of provoking a fight as her husband tells us she's "working through some emotional problems" around her parents divorce, it's obvious to all concerned that she's emotionally brittle, possibly staving off or recovering from a nervous breakdown. She could be difficult and seems to have inherited our fathers narcissistic personally disorder. This isn't only my opinion but is shared by friends/family.
At family occasions - wider family occasions because she won't come to ours - she's frostily polite but won't speak beyond "hello, lovely day" etc.
Before the break up she was a part of our sons life, and would take him out, and always made a huge fuss of him on his birthdays.
The problem for the last year and a half (since the divorce etc) she'll use an excuse not to come visit us, or our son. She's missed two Christmases and one birthday and our little boy knows something is wrong. He no longer gets to see his aunt or her children whom he adores, or possibly see's them once a year, as opposed to almost weekly.
He knows there's something wrong, and recently got quite upset when we mentioned one of his cousins in passing.
As difficult, baffling and downright frustrating as her behavior is, I know my sister is working through something and distance is the best thing we can give her right now.
To complicate things, our father lives with me now. he has mobility issues and can't live alone, my mother has moved out of the state. My sister flatly refused to look after my father, and refuses to help physically or financially. My father can be a difficult man, but he is my father.
Recently my sister has started visiting my father, only coming when we're all out.
My Father will loudly describe the lovely visit he's had from his daughter and her children to my son, who understandably becomes upset. He's doing this to upset me, and claims he didn't mean to upset anyone and will child the child for getting upset over nothing (I did say he could be a difficult man).
I'd love to remove my son from this environment, but financially that's not a realistic option.
We are at a loss as to how to explain this behavior to our son. He's afraid to go on a family day out, because the last two times we took him out she called over, so he's afraid of missing her. However if we don't go out she won't call.
How to I explain her inexpiable behavior to my son?
I'd rather not paint anyone in this scenario as "the bad guy", I would like my son to have a good relationship with his cousins when he's older.