Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
concerned family member may be a child molestor(606 Posts)
OK, this may be long. It also maybe triggering re child molestation.
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.
Thanks for updating. Sounds like great progress for you and dh.
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).
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.
Well done for staying strong o p
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Please don't think that your life is going to be shit from now on! I know it is total shit right now 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.
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!
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
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.
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.
very unlikely not very likely, doh- I read that 3 times too
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?
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!
I think you need to find some support for you...now! 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.
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.
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
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.
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.