I've caused a family rift, just by trying to help.

(48 Posts)
WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:17:55

This is such an awkward situation. My DH insists we spend a lot of time down my MIL's house. My MIL has a son of 49 who still lives with her. He's never had a real girl friend and is besoted with me. He's always saying inapropriate things of a sexual nature and if I walk passed him, he tries to feel my backside. It is totally cringeworthy! I tell him all the time it's not on, but he doesn't listen. I think he may have some kind of Autism. He suffers from depression and flies off the handle at all kinds of things. Everyone tip toes around him and tries not to upset him.
My MIL has been feeling really down recently. I think she's got severe depression. She was crying to me a few days ago saying she couldn't cope etc. She never shows this to her sons. She's always bright and cheerful around them as she doesn't want them to worry.
The other day, I could tell she was feeling down, and her son who lives at home was going on at her about his worries, as he does. When he came out of the room, I had a quiet word with him and just said, "your mum is feeling really low at the moment, can you try to keep the conversation a bit more positive? He says "Oh, o.k, I didn't realise". Then he goes streight to tell her that I'd said not to talk to her! Then she gets seriously pissed off with me. confused I can't believe that he'd run and tell mummy! It makes me so angary to think of all the things I've kept quiet for him, as not to cause any problems within the family. I was so angary that I told my DH what he's been like with me. He said he had his suspissions, as he'd noticed how he follows me around.
Now my DH is saying that he never wants us to go to his mums house again! He doesn't want to see his brother. I did want there to be a bit of a cooling off, and for the visits not to be so frequent, but I didn't want it to be perminent.
Our daughter loves her Grandma and he house has been her 2nd home since she was born. He also loves her wheezle of an uncle. She'd be destraught at not seeing them again, and they would be, at not seing her.
I do regret telling my DH about my brother in law, but what's done is done.
Where should we go from here??? How can I persuade my DH to want to go back to his mums?

BubblegumPie Mon 18-Feb-13 20:21:02

These things tend to blow over in time anyway, just don't worry about it and when you do start seeing them again, make it clear to BIL that you won't tolerate his sexual harassment.

SarkyPants Mon 18-Feb-13 20:22:41

Listen to your DH and invite your MIL to your house.
I'm shocked that you didn't tell your DH earlier tbh.

HecateWhoopass Mon 18-Feb-13 20:23:05

What makes you believe he has autism?

I think it's a good thing that this is out in the open. Not telling people what he was doing helped nobody. It just kept you in an unacceptable situation.

You have a daughter. you do not want to find in ten years time that her uncle is feeling her up too. You have to ensure that he stops.

You can't always avoid conflict and this is one of those situations where you shouldn't try.

Failing to ensure that something like this is sorted is the wrong thing to do. Peace at any cost is not right.

Your husband needs to have some frank conversations with his mum about his brother.

It would be the wrong thing to do to try to brush this under the carpet.

Adversecamber Mon 18-Feb-13 20:24:23

Your DH needs to speak to his family about his brothers behaviour. He is obviously very angry and also protective.

Is there any way his Mum can come to your house at the moment minus brother? if the brother cannot apologise and behave then I think you can't go. Just once would have been too much for me.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:24:40

I hope so. It's our daughters birthday in just over a week. They need to be at the party, or my DD will be devestated.

piprabbit Mon 18-Feb-13 20:25:46

Leave it for a while - and then suggest a visit for Mother's Day (which is only a few weeks off) if your DH doesn't seem keen to visit sooner than that.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 18-Feb-13 20:28:20

Why the armchair autism diagnosis?

Why not only see them at your house when your dh is around?

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 18-Feb-13 20:29:09

What is a wheezle?

I can't understand why you would want to go there. What does your DH do when his brother grabs your arse? It's a disgusting way to behave and by tolerating it you are sending a terrible message to your daughter.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:32:33

I suspect Autism, from what his mum tells me about his childhood. He sat for a whole nursary session with his eyes closed and fingers in his ears, he hated change and was very anxious. He's still like that now, although he has his own small buisness. He hates being out of work and still wears his uniform around the house and when a job comes in, he panicks like mad. He's also obsessed with statistics and measures the rain fall every day. I know he might not have autism, but I do think he has some kind of difficulty with accepting things.

DontmindifIdo Mon 18-Feb-13 20:34:36

I think your DH is right, do you want your DD think it's ok for her uncle to touch her mother like that? He is touching you inappropriately, showing your DD that woman should be passive to this stuff is a seriously crap lesson to teach her.

This is your DH's family, if he wants to cut ties (even if only for a short time) with your BIL that should be his choice. Invite your MIL to you.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:37:25

A wheezle is what normal people would call a weezle. grin

He only does and says these things when we are on our own. My MIL has a huge 7 bedroom house, and my DH is often bussy doing the dishes or playing on the computor. I can't be at his side all the time. I have my dd to look after and things to do while I'm there.

HecateWhoopass Mon 18-Feb-13 20:38:25

If he functions in the world enough to run a business - he is capable of understanding that you do not intimately touch people!

My children do have autism. Diagnosed. I don't shy away from teaching them what is and is not acceptable. you fail them if you don't try.

Whether he has autism or not he has no right to behave the way he does. It's not an excuse to allow behaviours to go unchallenged. It's not a reason to play let's pretend there's not a problem here.

It needs dealing with.

Perhaps he needs support. Your mother in law certainly sounds like she's hanging on by her fingernails and happy families may be easier in the short term but how much more can she stand before she snaps?

Get together as a family and deal with the issues.

HecateWhoopass Mon 18-Feb-13 20:39:26


Come on. He knows exactly what he is doing. Waits for you to be alone before touching you?

That is NOT autistic behaviour. that is predatory behaviour.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 18-Feb-13 20:39:45

Please stop before I get cross and focus on what is the problem. Inappropriate behaviour from a relative. Just don't ever be alone with him.

GingerbreadGretel Mon 18-Feb-13 20:41:42

Or weasel even?

Hecate offers good advice as to many others.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:44:01

True. I don't know a huge amount about Autism, but a friend of mine has a son who has Asburgers and from being with him and from what my friend tells me, they do sound simillar.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:48:14

O.k, he's a weasel then. That does look better.

I am taking all your advice and I won't put myself in that situation ever again. It will be easier now my DH knows. We won't stay the night, and I'll stay with him the whole time. If this doesn't work, then MIL will have to come to us.

marmalade32 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:49:17

You need to focus on the main problem, which isn't the family arguements but is the fact that your BIL has been touching you and being inappropriate. You have to think of your daughter. What if she gets a bit older and he starts doing it to her ? If your MIL won't accept that he's doing it then tough ! What's more important ?
And I really don't see what criticising the OPs spelling will add to the discussion.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 18-Feb-13 20:49:28

Well there you are then.

He's autistic so that makes him feel you up when you are alone.

No wonder your husband is narked.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:50:53

I know that MIL will think I've told my DH about my BIL just because I was angary with him. (This is kind of true) but she'll see it as me being nasty and trying to cause problems for him. It's all about him in that family.

HecateWhoopass Mon 18-Feb-13 20:52:35

Doesn't matter.

it does not matter even if he DID have autism.

The issues still need dealing with.

and just so you understand a bit more, autism is a neurological condition that affects, well, many things. The way you interact with people, the way you understand people, how you experience the physical world.

info here on the triad of impairments

info here about autism

and here

Nothing about having autism makes you predatory or uncaring. You may need support depending on your needs to understand appropriate behaviours. You may need help to understand how others feel at times. But there's nothing about autism that means you want to feel up your sister in law.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 18-Feb-13 20:55:33

Wish I had as much patience as Hec.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 20:56:34

I know it's not an excuse. My daughter has severe learning dificulties, but she can be naughty like all children.
I guess i'm just trying to paint a picture of him and what he's like.

HecateWhoopass Mon 18-Feb-13 21:00:58

Doesn't matter though.

the issue is what matters and it needs sorting out. The only point at which it may matter is in deciding how best to sort it out. What approach to take. But not sorting it is not the right thing to do.

Don't bury your head in the sand and let him carry on because it's easier right now.

And it's really unhelpful to all concerned to try to excuse or ignore or accept the unacceptable on the grounds that he may possibly have autism based on very little understanding of what autism actually is and a story from your mother in law about the time he stuck his fingers in his ears at nursery!

MusicalEndorphins Mon 18-Feb-13 21:01:39

Would you say that your bil is a burden on your MIL? Why, at his age, does he live at home?
It is good you told your husband finally, I hope he has a talk with his brother and also his mother is it comes back negatively on you.
You have tried to keep the peace far to long, and nobody has the right to sexually harass you, regardless of how odd they may be.

Okay. I am a bit hmm at your willingness to diagnose your inlaws (bil autism, mil severe depression) but to fail to then recognise the effects those conditions may have on someone. My ds (asd) would definitely tell me that his dad or granny had said not to bother mw with problems. That's because he would see it as a fact. And a reason not to reply to my asking how he was. Autism can cause people to make in appropriate comments. Touching up - no.
I'm not sure what to suggest op. Steer clear of amateur diagnosis, and deal with facts? There's no shame in wanting to avoid someone grabbing your arse. That's about the beginning and end of your business though.

MusicalEndorphins Mon 18-Feb-13 21:03:16

If it comes back, not is. And I wanted to say, don't be too worried about opening the can of worm, because it needed to be done. You MIL deserves some peace too.

WaybulooTheBelt Mon 18-Feb-13 21:07:48

True, I won't try to diognose anyone any more. I'll just deal with the facts.

Waybuloo - apologies if my post sounded harsh. It wasn't meant to be sneery, but helpful. Tone is quite hard in a few words on a board.

The fact is that this man thinks it is OK to be sexually inappropriate with female family members who do not want him to. I wouldn't want him around my DD, never mind myself. He is sexually harassing you FGS.

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 18-Feb-13 23:27:50

You're really keen on diagnosing people; autism, severe depression, asburgers (is that similar to Aspergers syndrome or some sort of burger loving disorder? wink I'm kidding obv)

His behaviour towards you has been completely out of order and it's good that your husband finally knows about it, I read about your dd though and instantly worried about him groping her as she got older, do you think that's something that could be a risk in the future?

Don't feel bad about causing a rift the way it happened, you clearly had good intentions. Give it time for things to all cool down, in the mean time would your mil be willing to come to your house to visit instead?

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:28:03

Im assuming you told the man to leave you the hell alone and that you're not interested?
if he's autistic and it does sound very spectrummy , he can still be explained to even if it doesn't come naturaly

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:33:33

hecate . having autism doesn't make one predatory or uncaring but if someone has no theory of mind, then they're not going to understand as easily that them enjoying something, does not mean the other person enjoys it. also empathy disorders CAN be comorbid.
if the guy has never had a dx or any. intervention or help as a child, then he may have boundary issues. That doesn't mean stand there and not mention it when he behaves inappropriately , or leave it till it gets to the stage you're frightened.

HecateWhoopass Tue 19-Feb-13 08:38:18

erm. Did the whole of my paragraph that began with that sentence not go on to say that someone may well need support to understand appropriate behaviours?

Goldmandra Tue 19-Feb-13 08:46:28

If his behaviour is linked to Autism it may be that he doesn't realise that his actions are unwelcome. The fact that he is waiting until you are alone may be the result of being told a rule like 'we keep that sort of behaviour private' or some similar instruction. That isn't the same as being aware of your feelings.

You and/or your DH need to explain to him clearly, calmly and with the full knowledge of your MIL that his behaviour is unwelcome and unacceptable and that he must not touch you (or any other woman) again without your (or their) permission.

If he carries on this is about more than Autism. I wonder how he has made it to this age without the problem occurring before or has it?

Moistenedbint Tue 19-Feb-13 09:03:31

I am a bit hmm at your willingness to diagnose your inlaws (bil autism, mil severe depression) but to fail to then recognise the effects those conditions may have on someone

As far as I can see, the OP didn't assuredly state any diagnosis.... She merely stated that she suspected her BIL had autism. Big difference..

And as for those denigrating her spelling... Grow up.

Hopeforever Tue 19-Feb-13 09:03:45

Looking at the whole picture there are many issues, some you can change, others you can't but maybe others can.

Your relationship with your MIL and BIL and the. With your DH and DD. this takes tie , love and understanding.

Your MILs depression is a vital thing. She has confided that she is struggling, she is looking after her adult son who has some inappropriate behaviours and very set ways. She is running a big house. What help could be provided for her?

Your BIL seems to rely on his mother and while this is OK short term, it may be too much for her long term and there is the chance she will not out live him.

If he does has Aspergers, would it be better if he sought a diagnosis, or would this be too difficult? There may be other medical factors at work here that could be helped.

The best person to help your MIL though this would possibly be your DH, he needs to keep a good relationship with her.

Although it is hard, you might need to apologise to your MIL and reach out to her, maybe in a letter. I don't think you did anything wrong, but if she is depressed, she might not be thinking as clearly as possible.

Good Luck, you are obviously a caring person and your family will benefit from your care

Moistenedbint Tue 19-Feb-13 09:04:59

having autism doesn't make one predatory or uncaring but if someone has no theory of mind, then they're not going to understand as easily that them enjoying something <~~~ This!!

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 19-Feb-13 09:26:14

I'm assuming that was directed at me bint? I clearly said in my post that I was kidding, or is having a sense of humour not allowed?

WaybulooTheBelt Tue 19-Feb-13 09:33:46

I have spoken to MIL this morning on the phone. I've told her about her son and the reason I was so angry with him. She was horrified but said she suspected that he liked me as he'd always want to be near me.
She made him speak to me and he said it wouldn't happen again. (I'll have to make sure it doesn't). He sounded like a naughty child, who'd been sent to the head teacher.
She was very relieved to hear from me and said that her family is everything to her and she really couldn't cope without us.
Now that she knows, it'll be a lot easier for me to avoid being alone with him. She'll know not to send him up to our house to drop something off when my DH's at work etc.
I'm glad that I've told her. I'm hoping things will be a lot better now.

Goldmandra Tue 19-Feb-13 09:46:41

Waybuloo that is very good news.

Keeping communication open and frank is probably the best way to manage this situation.

Do you think it would help for you and your DH to read up about Autism and Asperger's Syndrome? If it does best describe your BIL it might help everyone to understand and help him better.

It sounds to me like he may need some sort of supported living in the future when your MIL is too old to look after him. Obviously this depends on how much she is doing for him and whether he could take over any of it if circumstances changed. Getting him a diagnosis could be a route to getting him this support. Given his feelings for you I don't think moving in with your family would be an option.

If he is happy to go down the route of being assessed his and his family's understanding of Autism and thoughts on whether it describes him will be an important part of the assessment. This is not armchair diagnosis and it's perfectly appropriate for you all to consider and discuss it.

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 19-Feb-13 10:00:59

Be prepared though, getting an asd diagnosis on later years can be very difficult. It was hard enough getting my son diagnosed and he was 5 at the time. You may have to do a lot of fighting with professionals to get an assessment.

rodandtheemu Tue 19-Feb-13 10:19:16

waybuloo good news on getting things sorted. Thankfully there were some supportive posts before the oracles started!

MusicalEndorphins Tue 19-Feb-13 23:27:00


WaybulooTheBelt Wed 20-Feb-13 10:00:35

Thanks everyone. smile My MIL has actually said that she would like him to have an assessment, so that would be good.

Hopeforever Wed 20-Feb-13 18:42:59

Brilliant news

Goldmandra Wed 20-Feb-13 19:57:59

That would probably be a very positive step Waybuloo but she should be prepared to have to push quite hard. As Catching says it isn't an easy process and people are often told inaccurately that xxxx won't get a diagnosis for the most ridiculous reasons like that fact that xxxx has made eye contact or interacts with people.

Reading up on ASD first would probably be sensible.

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