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concerned family member may be a child molestor

(606 Posts)
fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 15:37:42

OK, this may be long. It also maybe triggering re child molestation.

The background:
My mil is very unbalanced, manipulative and unstable. My dh agrees with this. He credits her behaviour as causing his deep seated anxiety issues, previous depression, self esteem issues etc. She hates me as I have removed dh from her control. Fil enables her, admits she is v difficult person he doesn't want to spend time with (works abroad). But he will defend her to the hilt/ tell people to put up with her unreasonable behaviour etc.

Has not worked at all for 7ish years, has worked in nursery and playgroup settings before then. Totally unable to form or maintain relationships with adults. Preoccupied/ obsessed with young children. Dh and bil covered in unexplained scars, healed fractures. Both have virtual no memories of their childhood. The ones they do have are generally very odd or disturbing.
After telling my dh to leave me and move back home so she could raise our dd and then only child we agreed to never see her without fil, which means we saw them rarely. Fine by both of us husband much happier when we have little contact.

After dd2 I was readmitted to hospital. 1.5 years had passed since incident above. Mil has been on best behaviour, seemingly changed. Dh could not take time off to care for DC when I was in hospital; would have lost his job and we would have lost everything. My df had a heart attack at same time, so my DM unavailable. The only person who could help was mil. Very very unhappy I agree she can come. Seems fine. Dd1 v clingy, but new baby +mummy in hospital seems to explain it.

I am discharged to convalase at home. Mil stays to help, I am happier as it means I can supervise, until well enough to send her home. Dd1 seems to be under going potty training regression. I feel uncomfortable with mil in house decide to do more. Put Dd1 in nappies again to make things easier (Dd1 is 2). Dd1 has always been very private about toileting- doesn't like being changed in big public changing rooms etc. We respect this. Dd1 seems unhappy about mil changing her. Me and dhsay I will do changes from now on, explain nicer for mil and Dd1 and help me get back in routine so she can go home!
Over next 2 days mil changes Dd1 every time I'm out of room, even when specifically asked not to. At this point just think she is being exasperating and making some kind of point/ power play.

Then I walk in on her and Dd1 mid change. Dd1 seems very uncomfortable. Mil visibly annoyed I've come in and seems on edge. She has nappy cream all over her fingers. It all seems wrong. There is nappy cream on Dd1 but inside her labia,not over normal areas.
I remove both dds and take them upstairs to play. I am freaked out is this something innocentthat imI'm misinterpreting or has something horrible just happened? Dh comes home, after DC asleep I tell him what I saw, how upset I am and that I want mil to leave in morning.
Dh agrees mil can leave but very upset I could even think this about his mother. Thinks I have misunderstood what is happening. I admit this is possible but that risk of being wrong is too great.

We agree that mil will never be alone with DC again. She leaves.
Over next few months we see her with fil 3 times for very brief periods. She is never unsupervised and over this period dh finds out she has lied to his face and cost us 1000's in a bid to make us financially dependent on them. He agrees this shows how evil and selfish she is.

Fast forward to this month. Dh wants to see extended family and his childhood home. We agree to visit il's and he promises to support me in not allowing Dd1 and DC to be alone with mil no matter what.

We go and dh becomes frightened child in face of il bullying. Undermines me in stopping his mum being alone with Dd1 who is the only DC mil seems to be interested in.

Then mil starts trying to take Dd1 to potty. Alone, in distant parts of the house when there is a bathroom next door, when she has just been and when mil has been told not to. I end up literally chasing her around the place.
Eventually I go change younger Dc ready for departure. I return Dd1 and mil have disappeared. Dh has not noticed.
Find them in most distant bathroom, there is a weird atmosphere. Dd1 on potty. Mil getting out nappy cream. I look at her, she says oh, disapointedly and leaves. I help Dd1 finish pulling trousers up. She asks for cream, which we don't use. I say no and she says mil said it would be nice.

We go home. I lay down the law to dh in the car about his failure to support. He is contrite agrees he has let me down and undermined me. But he is not convinced it is nesscessary to keep mil from being alone, that he is upset I could be worried about his mum like this and am overreacting because of her emoitional abuse of her him as a child and her dislike of me.

So mumsnet, help me out. I am I completely overreacting or is my concern legitimate. And if so what should I do? There is nothing I could go ton the police with ifyswim, just a feeling of unrest and wrongness and weird behaviour.

Dh is over distressed and refusing to discuss, though he says he is thinking. I feel sick with worry whenever I think about it. Dd1 seems fine, thank god.

differentnameforthis Thu 14-Feb-13 10:59:29

I did indeed read all the pages, yes. I wasn't aware we had to 'let it die'

Just because it has been said, does that mean I cannot post my opinion too?

I still stand by what I said, she can't protect her dds unless she cuts contact. She doesn't want to do that, you of all people should know that cutting contact has to be swift, GS, not drawn out for the benefit of others.

fandomfanny Thu 14-Feb-13 11:03:22

greensleeves- I won't say it's good to hear from someone who has been through something similar, because obviously it's terrible that you've had to, but it is comforting. Esepcially that you think I am handling it ok,

That is the long term goal that I have to focus on. I'm fully expecting in about 12 months, when she realises that I'm not going to be swayed, she will become sick (she has history for manufacturing illness) and that the eventual hysterics will enable DH to see that cutting contact is the only real solution. I do have a back up plan of emigrating- various personal reasons mean this would be quite easy for us to do and Mil cannot fly so we'd be totally safe. So if DH is ultimately unable to go through the emotional ructions of officially cutting contact, emigrating have the same result but without him having to officially say anything ifyswim.

It's the staying calm that's the thing. I think a lot of the posters baying for blood feel that I'm some sort of monster because I'm keeping it together, not lashing out and planning things ifyswim. The thing is the likelihood is that Mil has done something awful and the fact is that she is an awful horrible person. But I can't change what has happened- nothing I do, as much as I wish it, can change that. So I have to focus on what will keep my dd's safe and give dd1 the emotional strength, tools and support to deal with any fall out/ memories.

One of the reasons I wanted to update the thread was to help keep me focused in a strange way, to be reminded that it is as serious as I think.

freepile- I understand what you are saying about the police and if they would take any action I would report. But as you have seen up thread I've been advised that the police would investigate but that there is not enough information for any action to be taken. I've also had PM's concurring with this. I won't put my dd through that for no outcome- it will not result in a conviction so there would be no protection for anyone else and knowing Mil she would feel emboldened by this. Mil is the kind of person whose local church refused to let her help out at a soup kitchen any more as she was so annoying/ awkward/ manipulative. (She stopped going to church after this). She has no relatives apart from Fil, Bil and us and very few friends. Her neighbours are elderly and childless. I do not think that anyone would let her help. She is horrible to be honest and if they weren't related to her no-one would have anything to do with her. Obviously I would rather she was jailed but seeing as that is not going to happen I have to prioritise my children.

differentname- obviously I won't enjoy it! Of course I'll be stressed and anxious. I'm not going to be any less stressed and anxious if I don't go however as I will be worrying about what completely barmy thing she's going to do/ whether she will try and turn up etc. I am not going to the wedding because I think it will be fun for goodness sake! I'm going because it will support dd's and dh in a relationship in their only genuinely nice relative on his side of the family and because it is a known quantity in terms of mil's actions, so safer than provoking her into hysterics at this stage while dh's resolve is still being strengthened.
As far as DH- yes in the sense that he does not believe that any abuse has taken place he is a risk as he cannot protect my children fully while that is the case. Leaving him and exposing DC's to more risk because of this would be stupid and the only thing it would achieve is exposing the children to more danger. Will he take my children to MIL now while we are together- no, not under any circumstances. Would he take my children to MIL if we separated? Probably, because the contact precautions are something he is doing for me rather than something he believes in and why would he continue to do something for me if we split up?
However posters up thread were actually saying that dh was a risk because he was an abuser himself because he had been a victim as a child. A horrible thing to say and something that isn't true.

differentnameforthis Thu 14-Feb-13 11:20:29

I have also cut contact with a parent, 20yrs ago, op. And I don't look back. Your dh is not going to do it, because he doesn't want to. You are fighting a losing battle.

I do not think he will go on to abuse them, and I do think that is rather a horrible thing to say. But who knows how he will think in an emergency if you are sick. I do feel for you, it is a shit situation to be in. But by drawing out cutting contact like this, nothing will be achieved. I am pleased your dh is getting counselling, but one whiff of this will just give her more ammo to beat him with. He turns into a frightened child around her, he will believe ANYTHING she says. And as he already seems to be doing, he WILL take her word over yours.

differentnameforthis Thu 14-Feb-13 11:24:41

And I never implied that you think it would be fun to be at the wedding. But it should be fun, shouldn't it? Watching your dds run around in their new posh little outfits, getting doted on by all and sundry because they are so cute, watching them dance etc. But all the time your eyes will be on her. And your dc on deadlock, right at your side the whole time.

Helltotheno Thu 14-Feb-13 11:45:59

OP I feel so so sorry for you, having read your op. I agree with you that you're in a situation where it's very difficult for you to do anything other than what you're doing. Your concerns about your DH are very real and very legitimate, and you are right to say that if there was a split, your DC's welfare would be taken completely out of your control. One of the things that's said a lot by separated women on the Relationships board is how much they hate the fact that while their DC are away from them, they have no control over what's being done/said and how awful that is. There's no point in minimising this concern of the OP's: it's real in this case.

I have to say though, my overriding feelings on reading your thread are extreme annoyance with your fil, who is an enabler and is being cut slack here he doesn't deserve, and to some extent with your DH, who even if it's difficult for him to accept, should have enough evidence from his own childhood and from your account of what's happened with your DD, to support you 100%, no questions asked, in any decision re Mil, up to and including cutting her off.

I am worried for you yourself because, what with the above and your own family, you just don't seem to have solid, unequivocal support around you, and have to bear all this alone. There is no doubt in my mind though, that you're following the only path you can. I'm rooting for you. I hope things change for the better.

fandomfanny Thu 14-Feb-13 11:57:21

differentname- Well done you. And you're right of course that DH at the moment doesn't want to do this. I don't think he will never want to do this though- at the moment he is not ready to do so as it will mean admitting how terrible his childhood was and that ultimately there is nothing wrong with him and everything wrong with them. Hence the therapy, and the fact that he sees therapy as appropriate suggests that it might work.
He is frightened of her, the best way I can describe it is he shuts down. He often has no recollection of anything that has happened when they visit. It is like only his body is there and he has gone somewhere else. It has taken him a very long time to not feel worthless because she says he is worthless.
I would say that it is not that he believes his mother over me. I was on very strong pain killers at the time of the op incident and he thinks that they blurred my perception- that everything is a symptom of her controlling narcissism, rather than the behaviour of a paedophile. As far as emergency child care I have actually been admitted to hospital again since- dh took leave and my mum helped and we have saved up an emergency childcare fund to cover disasters. He has also changed jobs to mean he is able to be more flexible and a situation like that in the op would not arise again. So I have concrete reason to trust that he will take my wishes seriously if I am incapacitated.
If you are right and he will never cut contact we will emigrate. Because short of getting him to agree to no contact I do not have a way to stop her seeing my dd's apart from emigrating. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do?

hillyhilly Thu 14-Feb-13 12:02:04

Fandom, I remember your original thread and think you are handling an incredibly difficult situation, very well. Ignore the unsupportive posters, you clearly have the interests of your dds and your dh at heart.
Fwiw, though I'm sure she's last person you wanted to spend your time with, sticking to your mil like glue gives her the very clear message that she's not going to get away with anything because you are onto her.
It's a horrible situation and I think that you are to be congratulated for still going to the wedding.

fandomfanny Thu 14-Feb-13 12:26:04

hello and hilly- thanks
I am extremely annoyed with fil- if he was a decent parent he would have left her and saved his children, when he realised the kind of person she is, instead of choosing to work away and leave them with her alone for months at a time. Trust me I am angry at him, but he's not really my concern, ifyswim. He's not a danger apart from his enabling of mil and the emotional blackmail he may use on dh.
As for dh I am annoyed with him that he is unable to do the right thing. But he is trying. If he was ignoring it/ not prepared to discuss it/ avoiding therapy/ undermining me about it this would be a different thread, but as it is he is co-operating, supportive about the measures I have put in place- does not question it. In fact he didn't even notice he'd not spoken to his mother apart from when she picked up the house phone on christmas day for months. I wish he could take the final step.
I do feel very alone. I don't have solid support and I know that my family would not ultimately support me in this. Dh needs my support, so can't support me.

Greensleeves Thu 14-Feb-13 19:13:05

I hope you are taking care of yourself too fandom. Do you have someone supporting and caring for your emotional needs, is your mum supportive? You're an amazing mother - you really are xx

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 14-Feb-13 22:26:28

Fandom Keep those measures in place, because one day, your DH will confront that past, even if he doesnt want too, once he has then removing her will be alot easier.

differentnameforthis Thu 14-Feb-13 23:21:36

I think you need to find some support for! And I don't mean on a website. I don't see this improving, even in the long term, because his mother has way too much power over him. He would rather believe her than you because otherwise it is too painful. Regardless of the painkillers you were on at the time (that is just his excuse that he gives himself not to go along with you) he is believing her over you by not doing anything wrt her behaviour. He knows how destructive she is, he lives with that everyday, but he won't see it, he is fooling himself & you, sorry!

I wasn't looking for you to give me a well done for cutting contact, I was trying to show you it is easier just done, just like that, no messing around.

I do understand why you took this route, but I really do think you are putting too much on your dh to change. And in a year, damage can be done. Your dh is unpredictable, he will do anything to prove that she is not a danger to his girls, because he has to prove it to himself.

I know no amount of me going on will change your mind, I just want you to be prepared for the fallout. If it were just you & your dh, I would probably not have commented on this thread, but there are children involved. Have you even thought of the possibility that what you saw wasn't even the first & second time? That your dd regressed/was clingy/doesn't like her changing her nappy because of what happened? She already shows signs of distress & subjecting her to her abuser is just going to add to that! Subjecting a child to their abuser, even if nothing is happening tells that child that you think nothing is wrong. That isn't the message I would even want my kids to have.

differentnameforthis Thu 14-Feb-13 23:28:23

His therapy is going to (as you all hope) help him remember & come to terms with his past. What if he remembers & then tries to take steps to remedy/put right his memories? Denies them & tries to prove it didn't happen, i.e takes your girls to her house?

Don't say that he won't do it, because a lot of men do stuff that their wives never thought possible. (You only have to look at Relationships to know that! Even more so when they are confronted by things they don't want to deal with)

What if you are out & she rocks up? She totally overwhelms him & he lets her in? He shuts down around her, she is bound to be able to wheedle her way in!

Don't say she won't travel, narcissistic people are unpredictable & will do anything to self serve. And once she gets wind of your plans, she will do exactly that!

fandomfanny Fri 15-Feb-13 02:14:24

greensleeves- hah! no my mum is not supportive. Very old school attitudes my mum sadly. I have never been able to rely on her for emotional support.

gregbishop- the measures are here to stay! We talked about it a little tonight and I think he's hoping she'll drop dead and then he won't have to deal with it!

differentname- she has a health condition that means she cannot fly.
The thing is what do you suggest I do? I think the things you are suggesting are very likely to the order of impossible. Even if I am wrong though I can't make him cut contact. I can't keep the girls safe if I left him. So other than making sure I'm worried about these things, and trust me I do worry about all those things why are you mentioning them?

My point about cutting contact is that clearly you were able to do, great for you. My dh is not able to do so and the fact that you could and not look back does not mean anything because you are two different people. He needs time to process and feel like he is entitled to not have to see them. That doesn't mean that he has anything to prove. The fact that he is not able to believe that his mother is a child molester doesn't mean he feels that she was a good parent. He does not, as you will see up thread, he thinks she was an emotionally abusive narcissist. Hardly the feelings of someone hell bent on proving his mother innocent at all costs! Yes he doesn't want to think she is a paedophile- she is his mother. Not everyone has your strength or clarity of judgement in order to do the right thing for themselves. A trip to the stately homes threads shows just how difficult some people find it to do the right thing by themselves, even in the face of extreme provocation.

You really think that he's going to decide to take my children hundreds of miles, without discussing it with me, so booking time of work, packing clothes, etc without me knowing, to see someone he didn't even notice he hadn't spoken to for months, to prove a point, a point he knows he could never prove to me, knowing that if he did so I would divorce him and he would loose the wife he loves and the family that gives him a meaning and purpose in life? Really?

There is maybe 15 hours a month at most that I am not in the house when DH and the children are at home. You think that Mil, who has no driving licence, and various health conditions that mean she cannot easily travel alone, if at all, is going to rock up to the house, on one of these unscheduled days and times? I mean she might, but its fairly unlikely, isn't it. And if she did, DH knows to immediately contact me and call me back. To take her and DC's to a public place, preferably wherever I am. Even if we went no contact she could do that at anytime, in fact would be more likely to do so.

I have thought of the possibility that it was not the first or second time. There was a 12 hr period where I was in hospital and mil had sole charge of my daughter. It was one of the things I discussed with the NSPCC. However given that I can't stop MIL from seeing dd at this point the only thing I can do is make sure DD knows when I discuss this with her when older that I was attempting to keep her as safe as I could and be prepared to deal with any anger/ emotions around that. Again other than reminding me that my life is basically shit from now on and that there is nothing I can do that will ever make my family ok again, that I will always be worrying and firefighting issues around this, what are you hoping to achieve here pointing this out to me?

fandomfanny Fri 15-Feb-13 02:17:38

very unlikely not very likely, doh- I read that 3 times too

differentnameforthis Fri 15-Feb-13 03:49:41

I am not looking to upset you, op...and I think I am doing. For that, I am sorry. I don't know.. I guess, truthfully, that I think your head is all over the place & I am trying to help (perhaps not though) you see that what you are doing might not work. I appreciate that I am reminding you how, as you say, "shit your life is" and I am sorry! I will stop.

I hope you can get some support, and can I just say that I do think, in time, your family will be OK again. You do sound strong and despite what has been thrown at you here (and yes, I agree I did that too) you have kept calm & rational.

Good Luck op, I mean that sincerely.

fandomfanny Fri 15-Feb-13 12:53:06

It's frustrating more than anything differentname, because I've asked people to focus on emotional support or practical help rather than making me feel bad. I know the plan might not work, but unless you have an alternate that is legal and will keep my children safe what else can I do?
Thank you for the good wishes! I will update again if/ when I feel I need support.

MyDarlingClementine Fri 15-Feb-13 14:29:45

Hi Fandom,

Been reading your posts with great interest, this

"My mil is very unbalanced, manipulative and unstable. My dh agrees with this. He credits her behaviour as causing his deep seated anxiety issues, previous depression, self esteem issues etc. She hates me as I have removed dh from her control. Fil enables her, admits she is v difficult person he doesn't want to spend time with (works abroad). But he will defend her to the hilt/ tell people to put up with her unreasonable behaviour etc. "

Could be me describing my dh and family even down to PIL who spends most of his time away from her abroad. Even when you said that she talked to counsellor about him having problems, my MIl also did this and tried to talk to DH therapist saying was it x y or z.

my DH also cannot remember alot of his childhood and is not a great talker. Him and his DS were bed wetters until about 10.

He knows what his DM is like however but I can tell he still wants to please her....

Anyway, as others have said you have done well, and good luck with your DH. x

fandomfanny Fri 15-Feb-13 16:48:36

That's it exactly clementine- he wants to please her even though he knows what she is like and even though he knows nothing will ever be good enough.
It's so frustrating to see someone who should love and cherish your loved ones hurting them isn't it?
Not a great talker is a good summation of my husband- his family also make out like this is some kind of terrible problem, but the truth is that he is least able to talk when he is anxious/ uncomfortable, so around them.
I think I will PM you some of the barmy horrible things she has done- I think you have to have a relative like this to really understand the affect it has!

Greensleeves Fri 15-Feb-13 22:09:40

Please don't think that your life is going to be shit from now on! I know it is total shit right now sad but if you keep focused on your plan, your dh does his part and you do eventually get her out of your lives, things WILL get better and there will come a time where your can really relax and enjoy life and not have this black cloud hanging over you. I've had no contact with my evil relatives for six years now and life is SO much happier for us. You can find my threads about it all from back then if you want, MN was my only support and I was in a terrible state. I thought I would never feel normal. But I do.

Your daughters are still very very young. By protecting them now you are saving them years of misery (and I mean the relationship itself, the emotional blackmail and tension etc, let alone the possible abuse). One day you'll look back at this time and feel proud that you did the right thing when nobody else had the bollocks.

Greensleeves Fri 15-Feb-13 22:12:40

I actually believed my mother was going to try and kill either me or the children, at the time. Her behaviour was so extreme and frightening, nothing felt real. I think I was i shock, for an infeasibly long time. I actually feel sick thinking back to how terrified I was of her.

Now she's a memory and I'm not scared of anyone!

differentnameforthis Sat 16-Feb-13 04:38:43

Actually I can relate to the needing to please her thing. For years that is what I wanted to do, like you failed to please (even though you didn't) as a child, you need to not fail again as an adult. You get stuck in the need of wanting her approval too.

beeny Sat 16-Feb-13 06:20:34

You sound like a very strong and clever woman.I prosecute a lot of child sex offenders in court and represent them most of them are cunning beyond belief.Take care.

Dear Fan, I have mulled over this long and hard. I am so very sorry I doubted your story. I should have checked the dates etc. This is my reason, but not an excuse, for having been nasty to you. As you said these things can be triggering. again not an excuse. I am aware my previous contributions were unkind and unhelpful. I wish I could withdraw them. Mea culpa. I also understand that in the light of my confrontational post I have no right to contribute to this this. thread. please accept my apologies. I do know how very hard your position is. x

fandomfanny Sun 24-Feb-13 22:02:52

madame- that is really very gracious of you, I am sorry if you've found this thread triggering or upsetting. I really appreciate your apology. I haven't ignored it; I only checked the thread as I wanted to update.

Further updates- DH decided he did not want to contact them about the hotel room as it would cause world war three- not that he disagreed about the course of action, more that he would rather put off the fight with them and it is their loss not ours if they went ahead.
So Mil emailed and emailed and emailed. And eventually fil called at her instruction, DH told him it didn't work for us, and Fil moaned a bit but DH stayed strong and that was that.

Then Mil of course emailed DH a long guilt tripy email about how lonely she is/ wants our children/ ruining the wedding/ blah blah creepy blah. DH did not even read this email- he knew it would be manipulative so asked me to read it and delete- I think that shows good progress.
He was aware of his limitations in dealing with them, he didn't allow himself to be subjected to or swayed by emotional manipulation and we ended up with the outcome we wanted and the only person hurt is her.

The email from mil left me boiling with rage- it's strange I don't really let myself feel angry with her, contemptuous yes, but anger seems a bit of a luxury. I have to stay calm and collected and smart about her ifyswim. So I was shocked by how angry I am at her moaning that she didn't have a real relationship with the girls and lots of other cringe worthy things. Not just because it was creepy, but because it was so selfish and narcissistic and myopic.

Everytime I think about it I find my blood boiling- it's odd.

riskit4abiskit Sun 24-Feb-13 22:10:40

OP I think you are very brave and strong and anyone would be proud to have you as their mum! Best wishes to all your family.

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