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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.

Greensleeves Sun 24-Feb-13 22:14:49

I think I can understand the anger, your dh has show that he can stand up for what is right, and after this your relationship with MIL and FIL will definitely never be the same again. You're in a safer and more powerful position. So maybe it safe to actually experience all the anger now without having to worry about how you will cope with having to deal with her at the same time? I felt like that when we finally cut the strings with my mother.

Well done thanks

mamadoc Mon 25-Feb-13 00:05:30

I've just spent far too long reading this thread!

I wanted to post because a few posts back you said that one reason for updating is to remind yourself of the seriousness. If some of your family are not supportive, DH and FIL are excusing her it must be easy to doubt yourself.

IMHO she IS a paedophile. OK it might not stand up in a court of law but I have dealings with them through my job and she exhibits many of the signs. Abnormal level of interest in young children, seeking out situations where she can be in contact with children, compulsive attempts to get them alone and into situations where she can act.

You are right to take this very, very seriously.
You are right to take all the steps you are doing.

The end game has to be to cut all contact even if that means emigrating.
I just worry about how all your efforts could go to waste if she somehow manages to get around you to groom them when they are older. These people are very, very clever and manipulative.

Some of the most affecting posts on the thread are from people who shared their personal stories of being abused by family members; how easily it can happen and how devastating the consequences.

Keep strong and keep pushing on towards a MIL free future for your girls- imagine what a relief it would be to not have to worry any more.

giraffesCantFlipPancakes Mon 25-Feb-13 00:37:41

Well done for staying strong o p

EldritchCleavage Mon 25-Feb-13 00:50:25

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

Yep, sounds very familiar. And to my mind, is in itself an indicator of some kind of abuse by her. The disassociation is a survival strategy, and often a deeply ingrained one. But the more help your DH gets and the longer he spends out of regular contact with his mother, the less he is likely to (need to) disassociate. And the less he does it, the more he is going to realise what she is truly like.

Thanks for updating and I wish you well with it all. Channel that rage: it will help you stay ruthlessly focussed on keeping the children safe.

BerylStreep Mon 25-Feb-13 09:03:27

Perhaps the anger is there because it is no longer being overshadowed by fear. Well done to you both for standing up to her (and the enabling FIL).

Good luck.

BonzoDooDah Fri 01-Mar-13 19:30:30

Thanks for updating. Sounds like great progress for you and dh.

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