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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.

FairiesWearPoppies Wed 07-Nov-12 15:44:03

Oh my love. Firstly cut contact with mil. You may have no concrete evidence but you can still speak to the police if you wish although it is unlikely you can ever go back once you h e done this. Speak to our dh again about your concerns.

Here for hand holding if you need and I'm glad dd on.

FairiesWearPoppies Wed 07-Nov-12 15:44:31

*your dh, not ours. Sorry blush

FerrisBueller1972 Wed 07-Nov-12 15:48:48

Personally I would go with my gut instinct and refuse to leave her alone with your MIL. Police I would not go to as you have no concrete evidence to give them.

Awful feeling that it is I totally understand it, I have the same feeling about my Father.

FairiesWearPoppies Wed 07-Nov-12 15:52:17

Can you speak to mil about it? Explain your feelings and why she can't be with dd alone etc.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 15:52:40

Thanks for wading through it, its so long!
After the first incident I was adamant she would never be alone with them. I think my worry is that after this visit I'm not sure how to get dh on board with that as he was unable to be supportive in practise.

raskolnikov Wed 07-Nov-12 15:56:08

What a horrible situation to be in Fan - trust your instincts on this, if she makes you feel uneasy (and that behaviour is certainly suspect) then make sure your children are never alone with her - if your DH can't support you in this, then the visits will have to be minimal and you'll have to watch her like a hawk and keep your kids glued to your side! Or the visits have to stop altogether.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 15:57:12

Ha! Speaking to mil is impossible. She will lie, cry, run away, deny. She is only tangentially connected to reality at the best of times. Put it this way, she once arranged to sell our car without telling us. We only found out when she had to arrange collection! Then she refused to discuss or apologise. No point talking to her and dh would agree.

FairiesWearPoppies Wed 07-Nov-12 15:59:42

How is dd around her in general- taking out potty situations - would she be upset if contact was stopped? (I know she is only young) I would just lay on line if it was my family. Tell dh he can have whatever relationship he wants with her but you and the dc will have a different one.

ProcrastinatingPanda Wed 07-Nov-12 16:02:09

What a horrible situation. I think you've done everything right and should follow your instincts with this. If it was me I'd personally cut contact with mil, but if that's not possible or there's the risk that your dh may disagree and take dd1 there without you and fail to protect her then could you arrange future visits in a public place like a park?

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 16:02:46

She is very attentive of Dd1 but in a controlling way, telling her how to play etc. At the moment Dd1 likes her,but I would say she has a better relationship with all other grandparents, including fil who is a very hands off grandad.

gobbymare Wed 07-Nov-12 16:02:48

I would not let my child near her, no matter what my hubby had said.

My exp`s father was in court about 30 years ago for suspected child abuse on his 2 daughters, he was found not guilty but one of them does not talk to him and has not done since the case. No smoke without fire i say.
I found him very touchy feely from day dot (before i even knew about the court case) and refused my daughter to ever be left alone with him, her dad agreed and was slightly upset about it but understood.

The risks are to great to ignore your instinct.

Instinct is nearly always right, trust it.

ShamyFarrahCooper Wed 07-Nov-12 16:03:32

This woman is toxic. She may not be physically doing anything untoward to your daughter but she will mentally inflict wounds on her as she has your DH.

All the running off with your dd1 could be to make dd1 dependent on her like your DH was.

YOu really have to sit with your DH and see if he can bring himself to cut her off completely. I can't see her changing her behaviour so all you can do is change yours.

AlphaBeta82 Wed 07-Nov-12 16:04:56

Trust your instincts fan, as a child I was sexually abused by grandparents, parents and many others looked passed a number of potential indicators and thought 'something wasn't right' but were too embarrassed to raise it and dismissed their thoughts as silly. If you are genuinely worried do not let anything stop you from protecting your children, I am living proof of the consequences of parents who made that mistake!

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 16:05:44

I don't think dh would take DC without me, however cutting contact with mil would mean no contact with fil too which he would find devastating. I needed to be sure I wasn't over reacting before going nuclear ifyswim.

ProcrastinatingPanda Wed 07-Nov-12 16:06:05

gobby but what could she do if her dh disagreed and just took dd to the mil's? He is her father, I'm not sure what she could do to stop him apart from ask him not to IYSWIM.

YouOldSlag Wed 07-Nov-12 16:06:22

Right. Your MIL is obviously beyond reasoning, so make an executive decision. In your shoes I actually would stop her from seeing the DCs at all as she obviously goes completely against your wishes and keeps trying to get your DD alone. in my eyes, this would freak me out.

Your DH needs to have let the scales drop from his eyes. It's a grey area as to whether this is abuse of your child but what it definitely IS is inappropriate.

Your DD is already confused by this as she is asking you for cream now when you don't use it. It's also messing with the toileting routine and will confuse her.

Do not allow this toxic woman to bully you. Stand firm and simply don't budge. You are not mad or wrong to think these things,I would be the same in your shoes.

thumper1806 Wed 07-Nov-12 16:06:51

I would make an off the cuff comment about how she enjoys changing nappies. If there's nothing sinister in what she's doingm then you haven't outright accused her.But if there is something sinister, she might think twice if she's in your company again.

Are there any of your other in-laws who have young children that she shows/has shown an interest in? It might be that there are a few of you who think the same way, but it's so difficult to discuss without making accusations.

I think you should go with your gut instict, and at least until your DD is old enough to go to the toilet herself, you should limit/cut contact.

YouOldSlag Wed 07-Nov-12 16:07:16

If DH doesn't agree, then add conditions such as she can meet us in the park or meet us in a cafe.

hildebrandisgettinghappier Wed 07-Nov-12 16:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 16:09:37

Shaky that's been my take since me and dh met. As dh has been unready to cut contact I've been trying to manage it and keep the dcs and dh safe from her crazy behaviour. This has increased my desire to cut all contact a great deal.

TheArmadillo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:10:20

Given as you can't trust your dh to back you up and your MIL will go to such lengths to be alone with your dd1 I would refuse to let your MIL see your dc even with close supervision. The fact that she still managed to get hold of your dd1 despite your efforts mean that she is not safe even supervised.

I would also encourage your dh to sort out his childhood issues - through books to start with if he is not ready for counselling, toxic parents is a good one to start with (Susan Forward) and then there are others from there.

I know this will be terribly hard for your dh, I come from an abusive background though not sexual abuse, but you are the one here who can see straight and you must step in to protect your children where he can't as yet.

TheArmadillo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:11:48

FIL is an adult who can decide to visit you if he wants without MIL. Don't underestimate how complicit in this he is by letting her behaviour go unchecked and forcing it on to others/getting them to participate.

Pudgy2011 Wed 07-Nov-12 16:11:57

Oh what a horrible thing to deal with. But I'm sorry, I wouldn't let her near my children and most definitely not unsupervised.

I also wouldn't be pandering to her behaviour, the reason bullies get away with it for so long is because people don't stand up to them.

Like the others have said, trust your instincts and keep your kids close. I think it is entirely too disturbing that she wants to always put nappy cream on your children and in distant parts of the house. Regardless of what else is going on, that would be enough for me to kick up a mighty stink.

fuzzpig Wed 07-Nov-12 16:13:27

I think you should listen to your instincts TBH sad

hildebrandisgettinghappier Wed 07-Nov-12 16:13:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dahlen Wed 07-Nov-12 16:18:04

Trust your instincts. There's a lot in that post that has alarm bells ringing. The danger of your MIL being totally innocent and you being wrong is that your DC miss out on a relationship with a woman who has already shown manipulative and controlling traits. The danger of your MIL being an abuser and you wrongly allowing contact is that your DD could really, really suffer. I know which option I'd choose.

FWIW, I think ALL contact with your MIL should stop. I get the impression that despite the manufactured guilt your DH would feel from doing so, he'd be far more emotionally healthy for doing so.

YouOldSlag Wed 07-Nov-12 16:19:32

Well put Dahlen

AllOverIt Wed 07-Nov-12 16:31:35

Go with your instincts. Alarm bells would be ringing for me too sad

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 16:34:38

I'm not worried about fil, I agree he is complicit in her behaviour, its dh I'm worried about finding it devastating. Though I agree I think he would be secretly releaved about no contact with mil.
So no one thinks I'm completely over reacting. And the consensus is to cut contact?

TheArmadillo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:35:43

you've tried with close supervision, it didn't work. I think you now have to cut contact.

gobbymare Wed 07-Nov-12 16:36:47

Personally Panda, If I was in this situation and my partner went against my wishes on something that was/is potentially so serious then he would see the door or take notice of what i felt/saw. I would make it clear to him what is exactly at stake here.
Children always come first before inlaws and patners and husbands, altho he is the dad, he also has to put his childs needs first and if it was me and he hadn`t made that much of an effort to watching our child after i had explained how i felt then they wouldn`t be going no matter how much of a stink it would cause.

AlienRefluxovermypoppy Wed 07-Nov-12 16:41:21

Cut contact, until at least your dd is going to the toilet on her own, even then, I would want nothing more to do with her, she sounds toxic and weird to say the least, our instincts are rarely wrong, and she has gone against your wishes to get your child alone to change nappies,?!It's just weird, if not sinister.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:45:05

Can you talk to a GP in confidence? I ask because if push comes to shove you want it on record that you raised this concern and you have evidence to back up a demand that your husband is never to take the children to the grandparents house and specifically spend time with his mother. I would want to talk to someone "in authority" who can make notes, in the guise maybe of asking if it's unusual behaviour or if you are over-reacting. The only thing is, it might raise all sorts of red flags and social services to do with YOU when there's no problem at all.

I would ask on Mumsnet for doctors to tell you what they would do in this situation.

2cats2many Wed 07-Nov-12 16:46:43

God, how awful. I got goosebumps reading your post OP. Definitely trust your instincts and protect your daughter.

RyleDup Wed 07-Nov-12 16:55:13

Strange behaviour. Although theres nothing concrete I would certainly trust your instincts on this. Talking to your gp wouldn't be a bad idea. Was your dh known to SSD as a child? He may not remember but he could certainly request records to see. I'd also look into getting his medical records, even if he can't remember anything, this may shine some light on the situation. Your husband would probably benefit from some counselling, partly to help look back into his childhood, but also to teach him not to fall into past bullying patterns with his family, which in turn renders him helpless at protecting his children.

fromparistoberlin Wed 07-Nov-12 16:55:13

she sounds awful, and your DH has clearly blocked out most of his childhood

I would avoid her like the plague

so sorry

ProcrastinatingPanda Wed 07-Nov-12 16:55:21

But gobby if that were to happen and your OH still disagreed with you then you'd have even less control of where he took the dc IYSWIM. I had to go through solicitors, and eventually it went infront of a judge in court when I tried to stop my ex taking my DS to see my own mother (she was very abusive, although not sexual, and her husband was in and out of jail for serious crimes) who I had cut out of DS's life for his own protection. I had to have lots of evidence and witness statements too and during this my ex still took my DS to see her every fortnight and caused a fair bit of damage. Eventually the judge ruled that my ex had to follow what I said and not allow my mother near my son when he had contact, but if it was his mother I was arguing against I think it would be a different outcome.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 16:56:42

Dh would never take the girls there without me if I put my foot down, even if, god forbid, we split up or I died. He is just very upset by the nature of my concerns and what it means for his relationship with his patents. He had asked me to talk to my mum for an outside opinion, but I think my mum might have actually murdered my mil.
I think I will show him the thread later.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:02:45

Rule, I know that ssd investigated due to bil's unusual injuries and healed broken bones after a routine xray when 10. Il's are wealthy, middle class and pillars of community. Nothing happened as bil had no memory of the injuries.
Dh's abiding memory of his childhood is of needing to protect bil sad from is right that he has blocked it and he will still do this now if she does something particularly awful.

AlienRefluxovermypoppy Wed 07-Nov-12 17:02:56

Yes, show him the thread, and I think ryledup makes some excellent points regarding him.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 17:04:04

No one should be touching your child's genitals without your permission.

Simple as that imo and she's clearly not someone you can trust in any way.

If your DH wants to keep seeing her and his father, or just his father then that's up to him but you cannot allow this woman to be anywhere near your children, she's demonstrated that beyond all doubt.

So sorry you are stuck in the middle like this.

Pozzled Wed 07-Nov-12 17:04:33

Huge alarm bells ringing. I think you have to cut all contact. Your DH will obviously find it hard at first, but it sounds like it would be better for him in the long term.

And from what you've said I'm absolutely certain that cutting contact will be best for your DDs.

Read back what you've written- MIL took DD1 to a potty in a distant part of the house (when explicitly asked not to) and was getting ready to put nappy cream on, completely unnecessarily, because 'it would be nice'.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 17:06:18

Plus I think your DH probably would benefit from some therapy or sounds like these issues go very very deep but just because he is sadly in denial (my mother was till her mid thirties - she forgot everything till then) it doesn't mean your children should be compromised or sacrificed to the cause of protecting him, or her. iyswim x

ProcrastinatingPanda Wed 07-Nov-12 17:07:00

Hopefully OP, but that what I thought about my ex. He ferociously supported me cutting contact to protect DS but that all changed when we split up.

Brycie Wed 07-Nov-12 17:07:26

If this was a man you were talking about you would have no doubts at all. Think of it that way.

Iceaddict Wed 07-Nov-12 17:07:44

Second everyone who says keep kids away. There's no smoke without fire and if you're not happy about something then follow your instincts. Tough luck if you end up being wrong and she's innocent. Your kids are to precious to take a chance

Anniegetyourgun Wed 07-Nov-12 17:08:20

I don't see how it can be anything other than sinister. Maybe what she's doing isn't exactly what you fear, but it's bloody peculiar behaviour any road, and it clearly is causing DD1 some confusion at the very least and potentially behavioural problems (even, heaven forbid, physical damage). I am very very sorry for your DH, it must be so difficult for him, but protecting his DC has to come first, last and in the middle.

People have this image in mind of someone who "does things like that" and it's always seen to be a man. But they'd be wrong.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:08:48

He has had some counselling. But an experience when 18 put him off. His mother told him the counsellor had said there was something wrong with him and that he was clearly unable to function. hmm He never went back, but did access some more counselling recently where he explored the idea his mum was toxic, but then the counsellor moved and he didn't like the new one. He's not a talker (understatement) so doesn't find counselling very natural.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 07-Nov-12 17:14:48

The counsellor didn't tell him there was something wrong, his mother said it, eh?

Has he perhaps considered that she may not have been entirely truthful?

Itchywoolyjumper Wed 07-Nov-12 17:16:09

I'm an other one who thinks having a chat to your GP would be a really good idea. If its all a misunderstanding no harm will have been done. Your MIL's behaviour is pretty inappropriate at best and talking to your GP give you some ideas as to how to protect your DCs from her influence.
Trust your instinct.

Pagwatch Wed 07-Nov-12 17:18:50

Why was his counsellor allowed to discuss him - at 18 years old - with his mother?

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:19:58

You know annie when I suggested that he was shocked! She really is a piece of work

TheArmadillo Wed 07-Nov-12 17:20:33

I was told that I was 'unable to cope with life' and that I didn't function like other people. Occasionally to give it more weight it would be 'x said...' It was to keep me dependent on them so they could keep complete control of my life. I believed it for a long time. It would also make him reluctant to engage with further counsellors.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:24:58

Pagwatch the counsellor wasn't- mil told him counsellor said there was something wrong with him, that he should just tell her what was the matter and do as he was told. He believed her.

ladyWordy Wed 07-Nov-12 17:26:36

You're not over-reacting fandom.

The thing is, children can't protect themselves, so you have to do it. Even at the expense of your relationship with your DH (or anyone!) I see it this way: adults can fend for themselves, and children cannot…it's that simple.

Besides which, you've described your MIL as unbalanced, manipulative and unstable…obsessed with young children….and her own children have unexplained scarring and disturbing memories. She has also lied and attempted to defraud you. And that's before we get to over-riding your 'no' – always a very bad sign - and the unexplained, unnecessary behaviour around toileting.

If she was a stranger you wouldn't let her near your DC. So there is no way you are fussing about nothing here, and if DH is upset, he will have to deal with it - as I'm sure he will.

Be strong, we're here for hand-holding if you need it. brew

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:26:46

Thearmadillio that exactly what she does. So sorry its happened to you I know how deeply its affected dh

ArtVandelay Wed 07-Nov-12 17:26:56

Well if that's not sexual abuse, what the Hell is? You poor thing and your poor DD. I second the GP and call NSPCC for advice. What a revolting woman, well done for not punching her (yet). It's pretty telling that you parent tell your own mum so far, but I think you should.

Itchywoolyjumper Wed 07-Nov-12 17:27:33

Your poor DH sad

ArtVandelay Wed 07-Nov-12 17:27:43

Daren't not parent.

Itchywoolyjumper Wed 07-Nov-12 17:32:00

Go with Art's suggestion of calling the NSPCC, its a very good idea.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 17:34:16

What I'm worried about is that I feel I have let Dd1 down, that I should have cut all contact immediately, that ss and my mum will think I have failed to protect her and blame me.
I knew it seemed wrong, but with nothing concrete cutting contact seemed a huge step.

ArtVandelay Wed 07-Nov-12 17:48:15

It's true that you might have to answer some uncomfortable questions but you have not buried your head in the sand and you have done your best in the face of real family and social pressure. Cut the contact now and I don't see a problem. And talk to your mum, she will support you in the way your DH can't because he's still a bit controlled by the toxic family dynamic. It's not an everyday situation, its impossible to say with certainty how any of us would react in such horribly bizarre circumstances. Don't be scared, but do talk to mum, GP, NSPCC etc.

PrincessSymbian Wed 07-Nov-12 17:50:02

I think you were trying to manage the situation in the best way you could and if your dh had of been fully on board then your dd would not have ended up alone with your m-I-l. It feels to me like your dh is reluctant to face up to the reality if his mothers behaviour.

StrawberriesTasteLikeLipsDo Wed 07-Nov-12 17:55:00

You are misconstruing anything. Please never see that woman again. She has assaulted your daughter. I can et why your DH may not want to / be able to see it. You are acting correctly. Im not sure if police could help? I would be freaking out.

StrawberriesTasteLikeLipsDo Wed 07-Nov-12 17:56:13

And you've let no one down, you tried your best in the face of a situation most would find hard

Itchywoolyjumper Wed 07-Nov-12 18:03:16

You haven't let anyone down, this is not your fault, this is your MIL's fault. It sounds like you are the first person to call her for what she is and you did it with little support from anyone else. I'm so sorry this is happening to your family but you are helping to stop it.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 18:07:47

I would think he probably cannot find it easy to face up to what has happened to him during his life at her hands.

It sounds like serious, systematic abuse. Poor sod.

ErikNorseman Wed 07-Nov-12 18:15:07

She engineered a situation whereby she had the opportunity and the intention to put her fingers inside a child's vagina unnecessarily. That IS sexual abuse, whatever her intentions might have been.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 07-Nov-12 18:25:39

Trust your instincts they sound v justified. Your other half sounds understandably mortified and upset. We are all engineered to love our parents no matter what so its hard to face the prospect they are not.

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 18:31:16

Erik, I can't be sure that was the intention - she might have just been inexpertly applying cream as my dh thinks.
Dh has read the thread. He thinks everyone is assuming the worst and was indignant that I have implied he was physically abused as he has no memory of that although he admits that he has little memory of huge sections of his childhood and the scars/ healed breaks is true, and that he was emotionally abused and manipulated. But you're all only assuming the worse because of the unproven physical abuse hmm
He doesn't think we should cut contact but limit it to our house. I do not think this is enough and think if he can read all this and still think that he is more in denial than I thought.
Obviously its his mum and I have sympathy, but I have to protect the girls.

RyleDup Wed 07-Nov-12 18:35:50

It sounds as though he has blocked a lot of things out, which is a pretty normal reaction. My dh is the same, at the hands of an abusive step parent he remembers virtually nothing about his childhood.

TheArmadillo Wed 07-Nov-12 18:40:55

I think there are several things you can suggest to your dh here

1) that he contact the NSPCC and get advice from them on the situation as impartial advisors (though agree beforehand what is the pertinant information).

2) that you take a break from his parents for a while (3months? 6months?) while he has counselling and make no major decisions about them till the end of that period.

YouOldSlag Wed 07-Nov-12 18:42:18

In your shoes OP I would want to cut contact, but if you DH insists, I would make it short visits in public places.

However, I see no possible benefit to your MIL being in their lives at all. Or yours.

I don't think the cream was "inexpertly appplied", I think it was hugely inappropriate behaviour and totally unnecessary. Massive alarm bells.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 18:45:57

You clearly have huge and imo justified misgivings about his mum.

He's clearly got a huge struggle to deal with what may or may not have happened to him in his life.

That's NORMAL - remembering stuff, or accepting that your folks are unpleasant or damaged people is really, really traumatic and difficult.

I think he's doing better than a lot of people in a similar position would be so kudos to him for being fairly reasonable.

BUT it's not enough - you're right. Your children ARE at risk imo, if not of sexual abuse (though I would consider it this, if it happened like you've described - sorry) then of being confused and bewildered by your mIL, who is acting expressly against your wishes and undermining you consistently.

This is wrong in itself and damaging. Add to that the fact you're not happy having them around her, and the children will pick up that all is not well and it will have implications in that sense.

As far as I can see, and this will sound unkind - I'm sorry, but the main problem you have got is your DH being unable/unwilling to let you act in the best interests of your children, because he himself is still under her spell. sad

I'm really, really sorry to say that. It's not like I can imagine he would EVER want them to be hurt or damaged in any way or to upset you. But he needs to seek further counselling or proper therapy - which may be almost impossibly hard - and he needs to step back and let yOU make the trational decisions from a POV of someone who has not been abused (in any sense) yourself.

Best of luck to all of you - it's a really horrid situation, but it can be managed and any damage minimised if you are both willing to concede that you're on the same page, essentially x

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 18:46:57

Armadillo - two good suggestions there, and Ryledup, I agree - it'd almost be odd if he instantly accepted how his childhood was. It's a long term process.

Why did she leave her job 7 years ago? I might be inclined to give police or social services a call if you are brave enough. They might have a few snippets to add to your concerns and they all might add up to something?

Horrid situation - poor you, poor dh and poor dd. avoid avoid avoid.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 18:49:01

Sorry for typos - 'rational'. And OP, you sound very humble about all this and not in any way like you have your own prejudices or axe to grind.

I think you sound a good person to make the decisions in this situation.

So sorry for you, your DCs and DH. sad. I would go with your gut instinct. Either way there is something not right with this woman and you have to protect your children. I have to say, alarm bells massively ringing with the potty training and cream. I hope your DD1 is ok. DH needs to see a counsellor. I know I am repeating what others have said, but you need as much support and reassurance you are doing the right thing as you can get.

hildebrandisgettinghappier Wed 07-Nov-12 19:02:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

botandhothered Wed 07-Nov-12 19:02:06

You say she always worked with children up until 7 yrs ago. Was the reason for stopping work discussed? Or was it just that she was of retirement age?

Is it possible that she was sacked? Is there any way you could contact her last workplace to discuss the resons for her leaving? Ie pose as a future employer?
Is it possible that she has done this kind of thing before, would your FiL cover it up, if he felt she had been wrongly accused for example?

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 19:04:29

Poocatcher,very sure she left job for legitimate reasons
Eds, dh has been coming to terms with his childhood since we met, so am in no way expecting him to acknowledge this over night. However he appears to completely refute the idea that his mother would do this to our daughter. In my heart I think he is wrong.
He thinks armadillo's excellent suggestions aren't worth it, insists my mum will think its nothing and so will nspcc.
I think I will have to talk to mum. If she says no contact dh will go along with it. If I cannot get him to agree to no contact, will inst on counselling, revisiting decision after 3 months of counselling. No invitations to be issued during this time, and visiting in public places. Me with sole responsibility for supervising dd1 when with them. If i am undermined or s attempts to get dd1 alone again contact will cease.

botandhothered Wed 07-Nov-12 19:05:11

Sorry procatcher, didn't see your post, but seems you are thinking the same thing I am!

fandomfanny Wed 07-Nov-12 19:06:32

What I want is to say no contact I'm putting my foot down, I think I might be being too understanding of how upsetting this must be for dh

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 19:07:50

Fandom I think you have the makings of a good plan there. I really, really hope it works out - it must be hard feeling like there is conflict between you and DH over this, which is such a serious issue (I was going to say potentially serious, but I think it's already gone way beyond what would be acceptable).

Good luck, sincerely. We are here if you get stuck along the line x

BMW6 Wed 07-Nov-12 19:09:20

If she isn;t sexually abusing your daughter she is certainly acting as if she is. Why else be so furtive and underhand taking her as far away as possible??.
Please put your DD first before all other people and considerations, ring NSPCC or speak to GP but do not let this happen again, whatever the cost to others.
I am sorry for your DH but his needs are not foremost.
Wishing you good luck, and moral support.

Adversecamber Wed 07-Nov-12 19:22:23

Tell your DH that there is nothing worse than being left with or being around an adult that you are scared will abuse you when you are a child. My Mother did nothing to stop me being physically abused by my stepfather even though I told her some stuff.

I also have some memory blanks from my childhood. He may not know how but he will have suffered at her hands. The huge blanks in your mind are your way of protecting youself from memories that just cannot be dealt with

I would insist on no contact at all.

Gay40 Wed 07-Nov-12 19:24:29

I am sorry for your DH too, but you have to put the children first. It is his choice to deal with his own counselling and issues, but you can't put your children at risk.
I can't stress enough how important it is to follow your gut instinct on these things.

ImperialBlether Wed 07-Nov-12 19:39:59

What an awful situation.

Something that crossed my mind is that you should put it in writing and lodge it with a solicitor that if something happened to you and your husband, the children wouldn't go to stay with his parents. And yes, I know your mum is around but you need to formally state this.

Pozzled Wed 07-Nov-12 19:40:07

It's understandable that your DH would find it really hard to accept that there's a problem here. It's an awful thing to have to think about your own mother. However, if he is unable to face up to it then I think you will need to put your foot down very firmly.

As others have said, you need to protect your DCs (both of them) from the possibility of abuse. Personally, I think the only safe way is no contact, but if you do have contact, keep both DDs with you.

For OP's DH- I am not basing opinion on what may have happened in your childhood, just on the bare facts about what's happened with your daughter:
* Changing nappies and taking to potty when explicitly asked not to
* Applying cream in inappropriate places
* Applying cream when unnecessary (no soreness) and telling the child it is nice to use it
* Taking child to a distant/more private bathroom when there's a more convenient one
* Taking child to bathroom/potty when they've just been.

These facts alone are a big concern, let alone more subjective issues like your daughter not wanting to be changed by her.

I'm not an expert, but I work with children and I'd report something like this to the child protection officer at work straight away.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 19:40:13

I can see this is a very difficult line to walk and I know it is easy with the distance from the situation to say choose the dc over your husband. That is really what I think you should do though.

Victims of abuse go on to become abusers themselves precisely in this way; being desperate to avoid confronting the truth about what happened to them at the hands of their abuser and a fear of still being abused. FIL is a secondary abuser through his enabling actions towards the primary abuser (MIL), potentially DH could become someone you also need to protect DC from if his past abuse leads him to protect the abuser over other victims as he is doing now. It is sad but it is difficult to raise children with someone who is still in the denial phase of dealing with child abuse from a still present family member. You need to be careful and wary of him and recognise that a choice may have to be made to sacrifice him in order to not play Russian roulette with your children's wellbeing.

I agree that your conclusion, based on the things you have written here, is correct and that she has already actually sexually abused your daughter. sad You cannot trust an abuse victim who has not dealt with and is nowhere near ready to deal with his own abuse, who has not separated mentally or otherwise from his abuser, to make the decisions about what is safe. He will be extremely motivated, potentially, to put the dc at risk of harm in order to prove you wrong and save himself confronting what may well have happened to him.

I do feel very sorry for you all, it is really terrible but I think you should stick with your instincts, what is the risk/reward balance?

sugarandspite Wed 07-Nov-12 19:41:49

One tiny suggestion OP - that you and your DH sit down and discuss it with your mum together. Maybe even get him to lead the description of the incidents with you just adding details / facts if necessary.

This may help avoid him discounting her advice because 'she only thinks that because of the way you described it'

fuzzywuzzy Wed 07-Nov-12 19:45:39

I've applied sudocream 'inexpertly' it was in patches on dd's bottom down her leg, up her stomach, in my hair, in dd's mouth and hands (where she made a grab at it etc).

Where it wasn't however was in side her labia/vagina.

You're husband is an adult, he can make his own decisions, take care of himself. His choice what he wants to do/who he sees.

Your DD's are very young and vulnerable, they can't protect themselves. You absolutely have to.

Cut ties with this woman completely. Tell your husband he can't possibly want to risk your childs safety and welbeing on the off chance you are wrong in what you know you saw, how your child started behaving, how your MIL behaves towards your daughter, your husbands own very clear description of systematic abuse as a child-even if he can't remember most of it and what your instinct is screaming.
Your FIL isn't nice at all, he knows what that woman did to his sons, he knows what she is capable of and yet enables her by staying silently by her side.

Go to your GP, speak to NSPCC as suggested below. And go with your instincts on this one.

AllThatGlistens Wed 07-Nov-12 19:57:29

Please, please, please trust your instincts. Your DH is understandably not wanting to 'believe' your fears and his instinct will be to defend his mother but you absolutely must protect your children.

I would cease all contact immediately, no hesitations whatsoever. Your children's welfare simply must come first.

It must be incredibly difficult to see your DH so upset by this but your duty is to protect your little ones from a woman who is at best unstable to say the least.

Please, stay strong and resolute for their sakes.

KirstyJC Wed 07-Nov-12 19:57:31

If she worked with young children for so long, why wouldn't she be able to apply cream properly? She would have had years of practice with helping potty-training kids, so why do it 'inexpertly' with your DD?

Some good advice here I think, hope your DH gets on board with it.

Also, I think you can apply to get a background check on people who are close to your children, mainly used by single parents wanting to check on new partners - but maybe it would be worth looking into whether there is anything known about her? You might find out something that would convince your DH?

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 07-Nov-12 19:58:46

If she has worked in nurseries etc, there is no way that she would have applied cream "inexpertly" as it is part and partial of the job. It gives me the shivers to think she may have done this before, because let's face she would have ample opportunity.

OP, like PP poster said, I do think you have a makings of a plan there. I think it's a good idea to talk to your mum - is there any chance your mum/close friend could be around if mil is around, for back up and extra pair of hands and eyes because your mil sounds very determined to get DD alone and your DH seems to be a bit paralysed/regresses around her.

AllThatGlistens Wed 07-Nov-12 20:01:45

I agree with talking things over with your mum to get another perspective, so to speak, but I definitely wouldn't be letting her have any contact with the DC, she's already proven she refuses to listen to requests not to be alone with the little one, why on earth would anyone risk it??

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Wed 07-Nov-12 20:07:50

BTW, I do agree that ceasing complete contact is for the best for the safety and well being of your DCs and your sanity and peace of mind, but families can be complicated things, can't they? I think you will eventually end up ceasing contact, I hope it's sooner than later.

carlywurly Wed 07-Nov-12 20:25:24

Agree with PopMusic - there would be nothing inexpert about a nursery nurse applying nappy cream.

The whole thing is utterly vile, she would have had countless opportunities to do this with small, vulnerable toddlers. It's a shame there isn't enough evidence to involve the police, I would definitely take advice from the NSPCC.

I really feel for you - it is very hard for your DH, and he must have had a horrible upbringing but ultimately your need to protect your dc's is paramount over anything or anyone else.

YellowTulips Wed 07-Nov-12 20:34:35

I am really sorry you are in this position.

However the reality is that a significant proportion of child abuse happens because adults find it very difficult/embarrassing to challenge behavioural red flags.

The fact is that your MIL's behaviour is not normal. For someone supposedly experienced in childcare to see the need to apply nappy cream to a potty trained child is a red flag, especially given the furtive nature in which this was done.

This does not mean your MIL has abused your daughter or is an abuser. It does however mean that you have legitimate concerns about her behaviour.

The reality is it is very unlikely you can prove your suspicions (and given the implications for your daughter you wouldn't want to).

Therefore as a responsible parent all you can do is put your daughter first. As a minimum that means absolutely no unsupervised contact with MIL even for 5 mins.

I understand this must be awful for your partner, but for my part I would ask him:

As terrible as you feel about making the decision to cut or limit your daughters contact with your mother now, think about how you would feel if in 10 years time you got a visit from social services because your daughter had rung childline to disclose she had been abused for years by your mother and you were faced with acknowledging that despite the red flags you have had pointed out to you now, you had done nothing - and by taking no action had effectively enabled the abuse? Could you answer if your daughter asked you - didn't you suspect? Why did you let me be alone with her?

Does that not make your course of action obvious?

forgetmenots Wed 07-Nov-12 20:35:22

Putting everything else to one side - the fact that you are even on here contemplating this as what's happening should be enough for you to stop contact. I know that is so much easier said than done, but other posters are right - the risks are just too high.
I babysat for cousins when I was a teenager and I can assure you I'd have been far less expert at applying nappy cream than someone who was a mother of two and had worked in childcare. Dots of cream along the nappy 'line' where there's been rubbing - of course. Cream of any description on or inside the labia of a child - not a chance in hell. If you aren't comfortable, and you clearly aren't, then you know what you need to do. I wish you, DH and your DCs all the best, this isn't easy.

Even if it's not abuse, there are massive boundery issues here. Who the hell does she think she is, completely ignoring what you want to happen with your dd?

That said, I don't like the sound of it and I'm not a "pervert around every corner" sort.

Regarding your DH, I feel terribly sorry for him. BUT he is a father now and in order to be a good one he needs to make the right decisions for his children. IMO that means cutting MIL off. If she is not dangerous, she is toxic and that can have a terrible effect on children (your DH is a case in point).

Is he seeing a counsellor? Sorry if I've missed that. If he isn't, he really should be. If only to help him come to terms with the fact that this woman should NOT be a part of those children's lives.

OP, I'm afraid that the boat is going to need some serious rocking. You cannot ignore your instincts on this. You need to prioritise your children. You need to think about what's more important: their safety or your DH's weird and creepy family's feelings?

forgetmenots Wed 07-Nov-12 20:36:34

yellowtulips sorry, x-post, but I wholeheartedly agree with you.

OxfordBags Wed 07-Nov-12 21:54:43

Fandom, I think you were right when you said you were being too protective of your Dh in this situation. You have clearly, as a good and loving wife, wanted to protect, help and heal your DH around the issue of his hideous mother and upbringing and because it's a longterm pattern, you are automatically thinking about how all this stuff with DD1, etc., will affect him BUT how it affects him must now come second to how it will affect DD1. Not criticising you (the situation is appalling and I think you sound like you've handled it well), just encouraging what I see as a good train of thought you had. He can fend for himself; you must be the tiger momma defender for your DDs.

He cannot and will not be their protector, due to his own abuse at MIL's hand and his need to minimise and block it all out and you cannot let him be the last word on the matter. He is not capable of being in a mental and emotional place where he can make the final decisions on this stuff. He has to choose if his Dc matter more than his own mental comfort.
There comes a time when an adult's self-protection becomes an indulgence that sacrifices the health, happiness and rights of those closest to them. This is what has happened now. He needs extensive and intensive therapy and all contact with your MIL must stop NOW.

Your DH is in denial. Deeply, deeply in denial, even with the amount he will admit to and address. It's only natural that he wants to minimise any realisations of having a terrible childhood and twisted, abusive mother but by making his children put themselves in this woman's way in order to keep himself comfortable through denial, he is risking - has already risked - becoming complicit in her abusing them.

Just the odd things you write about his reactions show how panicked and irrational he is about confronting the truth of the matter; not wanting to see that the stuff about the counsellor came from his mother, not the counsellor, and then saying that your mother and SS, etc., would think it was nothing. If they would think it was nothing, why be scared to tell them? And how come scores of completely neutral people reading about his mother all agree that she is scarily, dangerously odd and abusive and should not be around your children? How is explaining all that away?

However nice and loving he is, he is sacrificing the safety and innocence of his children, and his wife's happiness to keep up the façade to himself that his childhood wasn't so bad or odd and that his other isn't a monster. Unexplained scars and breakage healing, virtually no memories except from protecting his brother? Such classic signs of long-term and intense abuse that I struggle to comprehend how he can't see it, even with all his denial.

I'm not trying to scaremonger but female sex abusers are far more common than people believe or want to believe. One of the reasons why they also get away with it is that carry out 'smaller-scale' acts of abuse veiled as routine caring typical for women to to do that can be missed or explained away as paranoia in the accuser, ie doing 'stuff' when changing nappies, dressing, giving baths, etc. Again, I'm not saying that she has abused your DD, but the obsession with nappy cream and changing is sinister in the extreme. If this was a man behaving like this, viewing it as perverted and dangerous would be a much clearer thing, IMO. The sex of the person doing it doesn't alter its weirdness.

Marley3 Wed 07-Nov-12 22:52:43

The fact that this odd behavior has happened twice would be enough for me to stop visits. I can understand that after the first time you were unsure but as it seems to have happened again and your mil was so determined to be alone with dd1 I would trust your instincts. I no it must be hard but your dd1's well being and safety will obviously always come first. Try not to worry to much about offending anyone or causing rifts, think of it as looking after your dd1 at what ever the cost. If you mil was a bit more reasonable I would suggest talking to her but this doesn't seem to be the case. Good luck.

HoolioHallio Wed 07-Nov-12 23:10:15

I agree whole heartedly with stopping contact. but I am also uneasy at the suggestion that this will be enough to protect your children. Your MIL is deeply manipulative has already engineered situations when she is alone with your child - and that is despite you already being on 'alert'
You really should ring the NSPCC for advice. I would actually go a step further and suggest ringing the police - there are specialist units which deal with potential abuse. My instincts are screaming that your children are at significant risk from this woman - I know it's a leap to be able to take action. Good luck OP.

NellyJob Wed 07-Nov-12 23:30:47

sorry but picking up on that phrase from Hoolio's last but one sentence - 'at significant risk' - if you and your husband do not cut off all contact at once, then you are putting your children at 'significant risk of harm' and that doesn't go down well with SSD, who WILL get involved if you contact your GP/nspcc - think about it OP.

Rowanhart Thu 08-Nov-12 00:22:48

Please trust your instincts here. Cut all contact.

If this is as full and frank account as it appears on terms of behaviour towards daughter there is something seriously wrong here

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Thu 08-Nov-12 00:55:00

I've read through most of this thread and I find your situation horrifying OP. I think your mil is sexually abusing your daughter. I think she has done it already and I think she will do it again as long as she gets the chance. I would be terrified and would cut off all contact.

And if my husband didn't support me and wanted to be an ostrich about it, that would make him an enabler, and I would leave him. Honestly.

You are their mother. I've got two daughters as well - a decade older than yours. And the thing about being a mother is that the buck stops with you.

Please protect your children, don't tolerate this, don't wish you'd done more after the event. Your mil sounds horrific - creepy, weird, very very frightening.

I second the advice to talk to the GP, they deal with abuse a lot and will be best placed to advise you. And I would have zero tolerance to dh's excuses and enabling behaviour. So sorry for you sad

Mayisout Thu 08-Nov-12 02:30:07

If your DH and BIL were the only children then DD1 is the first girl MIL may have developed an interest in. So DH and his DB might not have been sexually abused by his DM, but strange he can't remember his childhood!

There is something very wrong with her behaviour and it is very sad for all concerned as this isn't to just go away, even sad for MIL as goodness knows how she ended up with this damaged behaviour.

I think the GP could be useful. Gp will have probably come across abusers or suspected abusers in families before and can advise on way forward.

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 08-Nov-12 05:08:59

What a horrible situation to find yourself in famdon, please don't let her around your children.
My Dh and I have been married over 25 years, he said he had no memories of being a small child (I lived by him and would say remember when... and he would never remember anything) He cut his mother off many years ago and for some reason over the last 4 or 5 years has said he remember every minor detail of everything he's done/been through as a child, he hasn't volunteered much except to say he was hit "a lot" I know he visited the OR a lot, they knew his name when he's walk in.
So either he lied and didn't want to tell what he'd been though or his memories are coming clearer as he gets older.
Your Dh may not remember, or like my Dh may be either stuffing the memories down and not wanting them to be remembered, or they may come in time. Either way he needs to deal with them and know what happened to him and his brother as children.
He also needs to put his children first, they are more important than his mothers feelings, they are to young to protect themselves and it is his and your responsibility to make sure nothing happens to them.

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 08-Nov-12 05:10:07

He visited the A&E a lot not the OR.

Proudnscary Thu 08-Nov-12 06:39:39

Agree with others, you have to cut contact completely.

Supervised contact is too risky - as has been proven. You are really going to give it one more go, really? You are going to let a woman who you think put her fingers up your daughter's vagina anywhere near her?

It is hard for you to see the wood for the trees as you are in the middle of this frightening emotional quagmire and your husband is so afraid and in deep denial, but we can and it is abundantly clear what you must do.

If you don't keep this woman away from your daughters you are complicit in whatever she does to them.

I don't say this to be harsh or hurtful, you are clearly loving, concerned parents - but the absolute bottom line is that it is your job to protect your dds .

Putting the suspicion of sexual abuse aside, you have more than enough reason to freeze this poisonous, damaging woman out of your lives.

EdsRedeemingQualities Thu 08-Nov-12 07:37:47

Also I didn't mention that regression in potty/toilet training is very often listed among the red flags for a child who is being sexually abused.

just one more point to consider. So sorry - but I agree with those saying that it sounds vERY much like sexual abuse.

Salbertina Thu 08-Nov-12 07:53:54

Gosh Op, truly sympathize but there arent many times when there's unanimous verdict on MN yet this is one of them. Reason for that as I'm sure you realize. Maybe point out to dh?

Good luck but pls do something- at least cut all contact to give yr dh some breathing space and then take action but pls do not allow ANY contact, trust your instincts.

ChasedByBees Thu 08-Nov-12 08:15:10

She sounds so sinister. I would cut contact based on what you've said about your MIL and DD. If i completely ignored what you've said about your MIL's behaviour and your MIL with your DH, I Would absolutely say the same.

Quodlibet Thu 08-Nov-12 08:54:21

At the risk of analysing someone based on a second hand report on the Internet, from what you say, OP, it sounds as if he has a compulsion to change your daughter's nappies. It sounds like this compulsion (whether is it sexual or to do with power) is something that she cannot control in herself, as she is prepared to ride roughshod over your explicit wishes and take bigger and bigger risks to do it. You sound rightly very uncomfortable with her doing this. TBH I can't see how you can have your DD in her presence - she is going to keep finding ways to break the rules you set down and lead you into madder and more bizarre situations where you are chasing her around the house because she cannot control what she is doing. A person like that is not safe to have around for your child or your sanity.

forgetmenots Thu 08-Nov-12 09:14:09

How are you and your DH today, OP? Will he read the rest of the thread?

fiventhree Thu 08-Nov-12 09:19:48

My sister cut contact with her MiL for a few years, and her MiL was definitely not abusive.

However, she managed, like your own MiL, to weave herslef closely into their lives and at the same time do everything that she wanted.

She ignored by sisters requests and wishes went over her head to just about anyone to achieve getting what she wanted, and finally even made whispered pacts with the children along the lines of 'dont tell mummy I have given you this, but..."

Your MiL is showing the same signs. She wants what she wants. She means to have it. She may be compulsive.

So that alone in my view is likely down the line to lead to a major fall out.

I just thought I would add that to what others are saying, because you can see here that however you look at this problem and whatever you believe, it looks very troubling.

TBH, it does look sexually abusive.

dysfunctionalme Thu 08-Nov-12 09:38:54

Awful situation to be in.

I think you have no choice here but to keep your dc away from this crazy woman. Whatever it entails, you need to do it.

I agree with the posters who suggest contacting NSPCC for advice, and a family lawyer to ensure your dc cannot go to inlaws in the (unlikely) event of your death.

Abuse workers will understand family dynamics and be able to help you through getting your dh on side.

MaryPoppinsBag Thu 08-Nov-12 09:45:34

Please protect your daughters and cut contact.

Are you going to wait until your daughter can speak and tell you or are you going to act now? What happens if your daughter acts it out at nursery/ preschool? You will have to act when staff bring it up with you.

Your MIL behaviour is just so wrong and it is sexual abuse.

I make sure my DS's know that nobody should touch their penis or bottom except for me or a doctor and only if they are sore / having problems down there. I was sexually abuse aged 8 by my male cousin, and I am very vigilant and need my boys to know from and early age what is appropriate.

How can you teach your daughters this when you and your DH have allowed it to happen?

Can you speak to your own mother about it ?

ImNotCute Thu 08-Nov-12 09:49:01

This is such a difficult situation, I really feel for you.

It does sound very odd and you should absolutely trust your instincts. The absolutely most important thing is to protect your dds from any possible harm. Compared to that any problems caused by a breakdown in relationship with the PILs are a minor concern, although I appreciate it's v difficult, especially for your dh.

Thinking of you.

diamondsshoulddoit Thu 08-Nov-12 12:41:42

I thing you need to try and take a step back and view this as if a friend was telling you ? What would you be thinking she should do?
I think the only way you could see PILs for your own sanity is in public places and where only you can take DD's to toilet etc. I also think you should ring NSPCC too for advice. Reading this thread has too made my skin crawl. It doesn't sound right and obviously your DH doesn't want to think about his mother in that way but at the same time probably knows that it's not normal behaviour.
My own MIL showed such bizarre behaviour (non sexual) but weird things like washing their hair with soap, rinsing it so soap ran into their eyes, not giving them a drink all afternoon, not wiping pooey bottom with anything but nappy and then feigning innocence (she'd had 4 kids and reckons to everything about everything!) there's so much more but in the end I'd had enough and stopped visiting them and so far 2 years, they haven't visited. Calmest 2 years of our lives! If there had been anything sexual though, I would have contacted somebody who deals with this sort of thing. If it feels wrong to you, then you must protect your daughters.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Thu 08-Nov-12 14:07:32

OP, have you disappeared?

It must be horrifying to have so many people tell you what they are telling you. I apologise for adding to the chorus.

But MaryPoppins makes another important point. If your dd starts acting out in an environment like a nursery, or with a friend, then there will be suspicion of sexual abuse. The spotlight will fall on YOU and your husband. You know where this might go, don't you?

Good luck with cutting this damaged individual out of your daughter's life.

quietlysuggests Thu 08-Nov-12 15:00:24

Would you access some PLAY THERAPY for your daughter?

You wont allow any further harm to occur I am sure, and if you were not keen on the going down the route of asking for SS opinion, then I would either
a) act as though harm has occurred - give her the emotional space to say if she has been hurt, explore her feelings with regard to granny, revisit any past trauma etc
b) discuss with GP to see if there is any local avenues for you - a GP who is experienced in this way, a loca play therapist your GP knows etc etc

I have worked for many years in this area.
Most sexually abused children will tell a story that begins like your story above.
Most times an adult blurs boundaries, disobeys the protector parent, separates the weak target (the child) from the strong obstacle (the parent) it is to fulfill a need. A sexual kicks need? Perhaps. Dos she imagine she is a strict nanny, a caring parent, an experienced medic, who knows wha reality she is living in? But its not even as important as you KNOWING she is up to no good.

Have your dear daughter checked out, emotionally and physically, then draw a line under it.
If ever in your MIL's presence in the future threaten your MIL, shout scream, insist on public meetings only, tell your daughter that MIL is NOT to bring her to the toilet, tell your dd that MIL is nasty and does not like children so she must not ever go with her (yes really) and tell your husband that he does not have to DO anything to help you preotect your dd (he isn't really able to, as a consequence of his childhood) but if he does ANYTHING to put them in MIL's path that you will go to police.

Good luck.

Jojoba1986 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:36:20

How about suggesting to DH that he rings NSPCC? Write down a bullet point list of your concerns & have him discuss them. If they think there's nothing to worry about then you can relax. I suspect that they will be a bit concerned about all that's been going on & maybe he needs to hear that from the experts! Worth a try, right? smile

fandomfanny Thu 08-Nov-12 23:56:43

Thank you everyone. Its obviously been pretty overwhelming that so many people agree I should be concerned.
I am fairly confident that Dd1 is currently OK- mil was only with her for Max 30 seconds this visit, the previous incident was around 6months ago and she exhibited no odd behaviour afterwards other than slight potty regression, which was age appropiate. I will obviously keep an eye on her and any signs of distress I will access help immediately. This latest was a week or so ago (vague because I don't want to be identified, not that I don't remember). Since then she has shown no signs of distress, regression etc.
Moving forward dh agrees that DC cannot be alone with ils- for my sanity. He cannot accept that she has done this. He thinks it is about her being controlling and inappropriate. But as quietly says it didn't really matter at is going on in their head. They live 3 hours away and mil does not travel.
I think it is possible to manage policing mil for very short visits in public places or our own home, as mentioned in op we had had a few of these with no problems. So I have agreed with my dh that this sort contact could take place on a 3 monthly basis, but at the first attempt to undermine me/ isolate Dd1 DC would be removed immediately with no explanations and all contact will cease.
I think that our family would not have survived if I had forced my dh to cut contact with his parents. Obviousl if that is at it takes to protect the DC then that is what will happen.
This last visit I was trying to polite, I was a guest in eir hone, she is my dh's mother. i was not sure about whether i was over-reacting. I now know im not over-reacting, I will not be polite again. I will not care about offending them, and she will not have access to my daughter. I will walk away if I am concerned or unhappy.
Obviously this is not ideal and I will have to be completely alert and on my guard. I am fairly sure that she will attempt to get Dd1 alone. Dh has agreed that this will mean no further contact.
As some one said up thread, if dh and I split I would be unable to stop him from taking dcs to mil. Dh clearly not ready to go no contact. So, best case is to stay together, contact under extremely defined circumstances, supporting dh to understand what is in e girls best interests, softly and slowly, while defending my DC like a rabid polar bear. And if they're so offended by my behaviour they no longer want to see me, so much the better, because dh would not take dcs without me if we were together.
Oh and when we wrote our will a note was added to say mil to never have custody even if everyone else was dead! Before all this happened!
So, I have listened to all your advice and am doing my best in a real world messy way.

comethasmybrokentelly Fri 09-Nov-12 00:13:16

OP I have not commented yet. Your thread really upset me. I am late 40s ; your thread reminded me how I used to see women in my mothers' generation vigorously rubbing cream into every crevice under a baby's nappy. It always made me feel deeply uncomfortable.
I always vowed never to put cream on my kids bums or private parts, just did not see the need. None of them ever got nappy rash.

I recall one woman who was obsessed with nappy changing of her grand kids - used to hoist up their legs on her lap in public and do all that slapping on of cream - even older toddlers. Shudder. Your mil sounds in a league of her own.
I hope you are ok x

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 07:00:10

A couple of things that concern me with that;

1. I think going forward with that plan you need to be very wary of dh who has already demonstrated that he will undermine you in order to protect himself from accepting his mother is abusive. This is not necessarily something he has full control over and I'm not sure you should allow him to be in a position of trust in any way. He does not agree with you and he does not want to accept what is happening and the consequences of doing so will likely destroy absolutely everything about him as he knows himself now. He needs it not to be true and his motivation, which he may not have control over, will be to prove it isn't true because your concerns will eat away at his denial.

2. If you do not have some kind of official investigation/contact now when you have expressed concerns, if (although I would like to say when) dh puts the dds at risk and MIL does her weird things, then you will need to split up and you will have only your claim which will be viewed with raised eyebrows because you didn't contact anyone at the time. It will be harder for you to be taken seriously as the view may be that you can't have been seriously concerned if you failed to contact anyone official so it could be investigated.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 07:01:40

I suppose I think this plan is a good way to kill your marriage, it is covering up what I think is almost certainly abuse and keeping it within the family.

kissyfur Fri 09-Nov-12 07:23:06

Sorry OP but I think continuing any sort of contact with this woman is just wrong! You need to protect your DCs and keep them away from her at all costs.

alligatorsoup Fri 09-Nov-12 07:39:44

Personally I would not let my DC anywhere near this woman. Trust your instincts like others have said. Her behaviour is extremely disturbing.

Proudnscary Fri 09-Nov-12 09:15:08

Your plan is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Listen to us.

If she is as compulsive and devious as you say she will engineer a way to get what she wants.

How sure are you that's she touched your dd inappropriately/sexually?

50%? 40%? 25%? 10%?

Let's go for 10%.

That's a one in ten chance your mother in law sexually abused your daughter.

That's a risk you want to take yes?

Now put aside whether she will have the opportunity to do anything on future.

Do you want this woman to lay eyes on your daughter again if there is a one in 10 chance she has abused her?

And as I said up thread this person is poison in many other ways - you seem pretty sure she physically absurd your husband when he was a child.

What would you say to a friend or another poster?

Proudnscary Fri 09-Nov-12 09:15:54

Abused not absurd

TheArmadillo Fri 09-Nov-12 09:22:27

I think as long as you stick to public places or your own house and your dh does back you up then no harm should happen. As you said it is a real world solution. But if he backs down when faced with them, then he needs to be clear that you will then stop contact completely for you and the dds.

I do think though your dh, if not ready for counselling, needs to maybe read a book such as toxic parents (by susan forward) to deal wtih his upbringing/parents. She has also done a 'toxic inlaws' one for spouses/partners which maybe worth a read for you.

I would tell your mum or a close friend because you need support in dealing with this and supporting your dh.

quietlysuggests Fri 09-Nov-12 09:25:53

You are right there, I have just remembered that when they used to use the old towellig nappies, before diposables, babies used to get nappy rash really easily and really badly. The ammonia wan't pulled away from the skin as it is now. So perhaps in MIL's head she is back in a time when she was the strict mother, certanly she feels she has rights to the child, even if just to replay practices from her past.

Proudnscary Fri 09-Nov-12 09:31:48

But Armadillo if her husband 'backs down' that could be one more time dd is abused.

A risk anyone should take? No.

In the 'real world' people cut contact with toxic parents all the time

ImNotCute Fri 09-Nov-12 09:33:03

You're in a very tough situation here. I have no personal experience but your plan sounds an ok way to me to manage what is a very messy situation, as you say.

The only thing is I would be worried you need to be so very vigilant to carry it out, in a year or two if there have been no further incidents it would be easy to drift back into being less vigilant, especially with your dh not fully acknowledging the risk.

Regarding the possibility of a future split between yourself and dh- there must be some way of getting your concerns officially noted now in case documentation were ever needed at a later date? Hopefully you won't ever need it to refer back to but if you needed it something you could show?

Good luck op.

plutocrap Fri 09-Nov-12 09:53:51

What about future Facebook contact by GM , with her "sadly estranged DGD" (who doesn't know any better)? That could happen, independent of these measures and undermining you again, remotely.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 10:09:25

I'm not sure this is a real world solution or one that will allow the marriage to survive which is what that is being used to mean in this context I think. By managing it within the family in this way you must be absolutely convinced that you will know about where your dds are ALL the time and that if there is outside investigation at any point that you will be able to justify that decision to not take official action and to keep things within the family.

This keeping things within the family thing is absolutely how child abuse is nurtured not confronted and so if you really intend to go forward with this plan please seek some outside monitoring/investigation such as from social services who will independently investigate and mediate the relationships as a condition of not cutting contact.

If you want to prevent the dds being put at risk of abuse (of any kind) you will not be able to trust your dh at all for the reasons I've stated before and that lack of trust will be destructive to your relationship, much more than being honest in confronting your, I think, very real concerns. To have a chance of keeping your dds safe in this arrangement you will need to treat dh as the enemy, you will have to become hyper vigilant and suspicious, not only of her but of him and his entire family and you must not let dds out of your sight. If you don't then I am very convinced that they will not be kept safe.

You are fortunate in some ways in that you have discovered (and stopped) at least one incident of abuse whilst it was in progress (really I fail to see how it could be explained any other way), there may have been more that you don't know about, you need to act as though it was a discovered incident of abuse because this woman is abusive and unhealthy in many ways and there is no benefit at all to maintaining or fostering a relationship between her and dds anyway and it is much better to be safe than sorry. you absolutely cannot use your children to test the level of harm someone known to be harmful is doing by the time you see anything in their behaviour they will already be very damaged.

I really think you need to test DH and not MIL. Which does he choose - his dc or his mother? He really does need to be made to choose, I understand that is extremely hard I made the choice to cut contact with my father and limit with my mother recently for much less than this and it is very hard, but you only get one chance to get this right, if you know there is a risk and you do the wrong thing and you lose dh anyway then you won't forgive yourself.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 09-Nov-12 10:13:48

If you speak to your GP and NSPCC for advice you would eliminate the risk of your chidlren being taken to their grandmother in the event you split with your dh, as it is on record. He can't then say you were making it up.

You need to speak to your GP. It wont trigger anything, just go to your GP ask for professional advice. Please for the sake of your children.

Your husband is in denial and is not protecting his chidlren as he's too busy coping with his own past and triyng to maintain the denial that his chidlhood was very abusive, just by the small things he does remember.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 09-Nov-12 10:13:56

I don't think there are any 'generational' excuses for what the mil has done. She sounds very twisted and I've re-read the OP a few times and get the shivers about her working in nurseries and play groups sad

Agree with Offred. I think you are hushing up abuse and keeping it in the family. The fact that you dd is 'fine' reassures you. You don't want to think she's been abused and I don't blame you. It's a horrendous thought and obviously it has huge capacity to destroy your marriage because your husband won't accept it even if you do.

I can understand why you don't want to upset your dh but you really should cut all contact.

If you won't, at least get some 'official' advice. Get your concerns logged, now. This is the minimum you should do. You may need to demonstrate you had concerns at a later date. You need to strengthen your position. Your strategy is to avoid it until it happens again

Your dh isn't really supporting you, is he? He is humouring you. He needs help to deal with his childhood so he can process what happened to him and his own feelings. Without this he can't really help you our protect adequately his own children.

What would happen if you went into hospital again for any reason OP?

Would mil be falling over herself with offers to help with childcare? Would your dh cave in and take up the offer? Would she use the opportunity to abuse your child(ren)?

Yes, yes and yes, I suspect.

You need to deal with this more robustly, you really do. Although you say dc will never be alone with mil again you seem to be still in denial or at least in doubt that there's been abuse. Unpalatable as it may be, you - as the mother - should err on the side of assuming its happened if there is any evidence. Child abusers manipulate their victims and those around them. No one wants to believe it. This is the clever 'trick' that allows child abuse to happen. And to continue.

And there IS evidence that abuse has happened OP. you have virtually witnessed it. Dd1 training regression/aversion to mil changing, saying mil said 'cream would be nice', mil snatching any opportunity to toilet dd1 as privately as possible, against specific instructions. Couple this to your dh lack of childhood memories, denial and your mil general weirdness re small children...

Honestly, what more do you need to take this seriously?

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 10:15:21

Sorry I mean insist on ss involvement as a condition of not cutting contact, I don't think i made that point clear. It means you will not need to be the one who is responsible for managing this concern anymore and will reduce the level of suspicion necessary to have about dh and protect you a bit.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Fri 09-Nov-12 10:18:52

X-posted with Offred's last post which makes similar points to mine only makes them better!

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 10:20:12

Really honestly I totally understand how you feel, I don't think dh is "bad" I just think it is not fair on dh as well as dds to actually expect he will be capable of keeping them safe. He is motivated subconsciously to protect his denial, you at being caught up in that a little the "it is such a horrible thing to accuse a relative of we need to be sure" - you can never be sure, you can only make a choice over what you believe where abuse of any kind is concerned. If MIL was amazing in every other way you would be potentially losing that relationship but she is not, she is scary and abusive.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 10:23:47

And please don't think what I'm saying is "if you don't do xyz you are a child abuser/covering over abuse" it is a terribly difficult situation and a terribly difficult one to manage for you, I have literally been thinking about you with such sadness all night, it is very hard to advise too and I don't want you to feel attacked, it isn't my intention so I hope you don't take that from what I say.

fandom I understand that you are trying to do the right thing but really, your DH needs some help and fast.

You realise in your post that you're saying you MUST stay together so that he can't take the dc to MIL? I realise you don't to split up but you're basically saying you don't have that option should you want to in the future.

That is not ok. Not at all. If he can't realise that she is a dangerous abuser then that needs to be addressed. You have NO WAY of guaranteeing that she won't get her paws on your dd. You could fall down the stairs and be laid up (a bit dramatic, yes but it is a possibility).

I hope that if she does abuse her again (I'm assuming she did previously) both you and dh can live with the fact that it could have been prevented by cutting contact. I know I couldn't.

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 09-Nov-12 10:33:57


I remember visiting my Nan at her house as a child. My Uncle lived with her.

I could never understand why my Mum would not let us out of her sight and why if we strayed she shouted us back.

When I was old enough to understand, I was told that the Uncle had touched my cousin. I then understood my Mother's protectiveness over us. She was like a bear protecting her cubs.

That is what you will be like. The difference is my sister and I hadn't been abused by that man. But your daughter has been abused by you MIL.
How will you explain it to her? And how will she feel that you still allowed her abuser access to her?

My Auntie protected my cousin by cutting contact.

fuzzpig Fri 09-Nov-12 10:38:16

How will you explain it to her? And how will she feel that you still allowed her abuser access to her?

Indeed. I was abused by my teenaged uncle, and when I finally told aged 13 - long after it had stopped - my parents said they had suspected something before. What?!? They had a feeling something was going on, and they still kept letting him babysit me in my room while the adults stayed downstairs? Every single bloody time they visited us?

I can't get my head round it, and I will never forget it.

EldritchCleavage Fri 09-Nov-12 13:13:59

I think the no-contact thing with MIL is an absolute no-brainer. There are strong grounds to suspect that she is sexually abusing your daughter. Even if she were not, her behaviour generally is inappropriate, damaging and weird.

The hard part is your DH. How he feels about this seems to be centre stage, when actually the degree of risk to your daughter should be. He does not appear to be prepared to put the children's safety before all else. When it comes to it, he will enable their continued abuse to avoid confronting his mother, and his past.

And the idea that with vigilance you can protect your DD from more abuse is naive in the extreme. You're already fatally compromised in this, by discomfort about dealing with this openly, wanting to stay in with FIL, not pushing DH further than he's comfortable with. You're not going to confront MIL or tell FIL, realistically. So how will you stop something happening that you don't like? What if other people are around when this happens? Prepared to speak openly then? When you want to pick up DDs and go home, I'm willing to bet DH will not step up and support you.

My parents did not protect me from an abuser. Partly naivete, partly denial, partly I don't know what. The rage and hurt is terrible and despite our otherwise good relationship it never entirely goes away. You really do not want to be in that position with your DDs.

Please let DH see his MIL alone from now on. And please please speak to SS about her. Let the cat out of the bag. This fucking screwed up in-law family dynamic needs some professional input.

fandomfanny Fri 09-Nov-12 15:35:25

Spoke to nspcc. The advisor agreed that I was not overreacting, but thought that our proposed plan moving forward was appropriate. I specifically asked if I was under reacting, if they felt I was placing DC in danger, the said no. I asked if I should report to police/ ss, they said I could, but that there was not in their experience enough for this to be actionable.
They were fantastic, I was on the phone for over an hour.
She will be confronted about any attempted inapproiate behaviour, as well as DC being removed. I will not be relying on dh to support me in this, its my job and you are right that he is unable to behave appropriately in these circumstances. Any risk that there was this visit was because of me relying on dh.
Dh will not be trying to prove his mum is safe - he hasn't made any attempt over the last few months.
I know it sounds like I am trying to ignore this, but I am not. I am giving my dh time to come to terms with this. There are months for him to think about this before we would see them again. Months during which he will be having counselling.
Thank you all for your help/ opinions- I called the nspcc because so many of you felt the plan was dangerous. The professionals think this is an appropriate way to proceed.

CinnabarRed Fri 09-Nov-12 15:39:09

If I were you, I'd take a great deal of reassurance from the fact that the NSPCC think your plans are appropriate. I really hope it all works out for you.

fandomfanny Fri 09-Nov-12 15:43:08

Cinnabar, I am very reassured I was prepared to do whatever they thought appropriate, even at the expense of my marriage if need be.

forgetmenots Fri 09-Nov-12 16:07:54

Well done fandom, you have done the right thing and I think you are right to take control of this situation. I really feel for your DH. But I am so pleased to hear you've called the nspcc and they have shared your concerns as well as talking through next steps. Maybe when DH hears te NSPCC agree and not just a few of us on mumsnet he might be a bit more ready to accept it? But you've done well in the meantime. Good for you.

happygolurky Fri 09-Nov-12 16:51:36

OK I really feel for you but I think you are prioratising your husband over your children.

My mum was abused as a child and let me go and stay with the abuser. Thank god nothing happened to me - but it still boggles my mind how she thought that was a good plan. She thought her mum would protect me (like she protected her - NOT)

I can forgive my mother as she is a victim and is not seeing things clearly. Like your husband in your situation.

You are not a victim.

There is no need for your DD to have a relationship with deranged old bag.

I also have another family member (lucky me!) who behaves inappropriely towards children. My mum watched me like a hawk but I still remember him squirrelling me off to a secluded part of the house and I have very hazy memories of this : ( I do remember him grabbing my bum in woolies as we chatted whilst out xmas shopping. If your MIL is a pervert she WILL find a way to get your DD alone / abuse her creepily in public. Even if she doesn't Your DD will pick up on your awkwardness, and then when shes older will ask. Then you will have to tell her what you have done.

Please cut contact

OP I just don't understand this.

In your situation there would be no part of me that would allow contact to continue. Even a hint of 'what if' would be enough to make me cut her out.

You say you would end your marriage to protect your children. That's not necessary. All you have to do is stop taking your children there.

I'm baffled.

Bigwheel Fri 09-Nov-12 17:04:43

Sounds like you have done all the right things under very differcult circumstances op. for what it's worth I think your doing the right thing and your dc are very lucky to have you.

fandomfanny Fri 09-Nov-12 17:12:28

Waltermitty, the children will never go there again. There will be contact in public place/ our home of brief duration and great infrequency. The nspcc thinks this is OK. Dh accepts this.
If I insisted on no contact anywhere it would at this point end my marriage. I would then be powerless to prevent dh choosing to do what he wants with dcs- nspcc did not feel there was sufficient evidence for ss to intervene and we've all seen on these boards the kinds of decisions courts make about contact.
The nspcc think the plan is safe and appropiate. They are the experts and i am following theiradvice.

happygolurky Fri 09-Nov-12 17:24:55

OP I do really feel for you - its beyond awful to have someone like this in your family who everyone knows is behaving very inappropriately but no one has quite enough evidence to call out on what they are doing. I wonder how many other people have the same problem. I probably sounded a bit harsh before but I think I was projecting, so sorry. Good luck (and watch her like hawk).

Fandom sorry I thought the visits would still be at her home.

I think you're absolutely right to make sure it is in public or your home. However, I think it beyond sad that you have to consider something like that when thinking about your marriage.

I don't think your DH is a bad person but I sincerely hope he wakes up one day to what his mother is. Good luck with everything.

YouOldSlag Fri 09-Nov-12 17:28:23

FWIW Fandom I think you've found the only solution you can work with. You've reached a compromise with your DH to keep him onside as much as is possible whilst at the same time putting distance between MIL and your DC.

During the hiatus in contact, it will hopefully give your DH some clear space to think clearly without his MIL influencing him. You also have the backing of the NSPCC to use as back up to your DH- he is blinded, poor soul. Sounds like he had a terrible upbringing reading between the lines.

HoolioHallio Fri 09-Nov-12 17:29:31

You have told the NSPCC about 2 allegations of possible sexual abuse by a close family member and they advsied you that it wasn't necessary to involve the police? I'm sorry Op but I really would question that advice and would go so far as to suggest going into your local NSPCC office and see if you get the same advice from someone else.

"cutting contact with mil would mean no contact with fil too which he would find devastating"
Well, since FIL enables her and presumably abdicated all responsibility towards his sons by working abroad and leaving them to her mercy - I find it rather difficult to feel any sympathy for your FIL. He is complicit in her behaviour, since " he will defend her to the hilt/ tell people to put up with her unreasonable behaviour etc.".

forgetmenots Fri 09-Nov-12 17:29:46

As I said fandom I think you've done well so far. Very difficult indeed.

I think (without necessarily continuing it on MN) your next step must be to think about what your DH is saying. He is placing his parents above his marriage and his children. This is no doubt because of the dysfunctional relationships set up in his childhood. I feel so sorry for him, my DH has had trouble dealing with his parental issues. But if he is actually saying he would leave you and your children over going NC with his parents, surely you have this to mull over as a separate issue?

I would get also get something legal in writing about your ILs contact with your children in the case of divorce - that's a horrible cloud to hang over any marriage.

fandomfanny Fri 09-Nov-12 17:39:32

I sincerely hope he wakes up too. It is awful to be thinking like this about my family. The saddest thing is he is a most devoted dad and wonderful husband. This is one of only a handful of disagreements we've ever had.
Oh and thank you happygolurky and everyone else who shared personal experiences. I am so sorry you have a story to share ifyswim.

fandomfanny Fri 09-Nov-12 17:41:30

Whereyouleftit, by he I meant my dh, not fil. I agree completely with your assessment of him

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 17:42:10

For what it is worth OP, I think nspcc have given advice that would equally be echoed by ss if you where to contact them. It is evident that you are capable of prioritising and safeguard your children. I really think the solution is reasonable and enough for your children's safety. Through being vigilant you will know if this needs to be readdressed in the future.

I think in time your dh will come to realise that his mother is responsible for the abuse of him as a child, I would really try and get him to recognise this and in doing so eventually the relationship with his mother will change. In time I think it may be worth suggesting your dh has some counselling.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 19:09:16

I don't think the nspcc have followed their own protocol here, which is where a person believes or suspects a child is being seriously harmed or is at risk of serious harm then they should always refer to LA.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 19:09:30

Have not followed!

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 19:10:05

Oops, sorry ignore the correction!

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 20:51:34

But OP can ensure with her measures that the children are not being or at risk of serious harm. There is nothing to suggest the children are at risk with the current measures.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:00:10

I think that is debatable. I don't think you can ever ensure that a victim of abuse is safe from abuse when they still have contact with the abuser.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:03:29

The reason there will still be contact is not because it is safe either, the contact is in order to not challenge dh.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 21:11:21

But the real issue is that for the interest of the children supervised contact is in their best interest in this instance with a parent capable of ensuring they are safe. I think if OP continues with this arrangement without deviation then she can ensure they are safe from abuse, otherwise you are assuming she is unfit to protect her children and I think in a case of child protection that would not be the judgement here and rightfully so.

The reason there will still be contact is not because it is safe either, the contact is in order to not challenge dh.

This is the part I don't like. And the fact that OP has said she can't leave him anyway because she then can't protect her children.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 21:16:23

That is not the reason for contact, I think that has been misconstrued. The reason for maintaing a normal family life is what the children need just now and why can't OP provide that. There is nothing to suggest she can't.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:18:33

No contact is what is in the interests of the children (and op and dh) contact is only continuing because dh is unable to confront his own past and because op is worried she will not be able to supervise contact if they split up.

I don't think she is necessarily able to protect the children no, not in this situation where MIL is being helped to abuse by the actions of FIL and DH and abuse (all of it) is not being challenged. What will happen if MIL/FIL starts putting pressure on dh for secret visits?

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:20:27

It isn't a slight on the op, I don't think anybody would be able to protect the children in that situation. It is exceptionally risky.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 21:23:40

But that can happen if OP separates from her husband, no contact is not safeguard in this situation. If OP says no contact and OP and dh separate then she has no control over secret visits, unless there is a supervised contact order, which I doubt would happen in this instance.why tear the family apart and in long run place the children at even more risk to then have the state take power over ops parenting abilities. It is in the children's interest to have their mother take control of and ensure their safety anything else would be draconian and over the top.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:33:13

That is just a fallacy though. She cannot ensure he doesn't make secret visits whether they live together or not, specifying no contact may not end their marriage, specifying that contact can occur with conditions which dh may well not be able to handle may end the marriage anyway, whatever happens all these are good reasons to not try and keep things within the family. Reporting to outside organisations promptly will protect the op and the children more. At some point dh needs to choose between the Children and his parents anyway, they may split up anyway, and for the children to be safe in this arrangement she will need to destroy any trust she has in him.

MajesticWhine Fri 09-Nov-12 21:39:29

OP, I think your plan is appropriate, but I would be concerned if MIL has access to any other children, eg other grandchildren, babysitting for friends. Or might she contrive to get such access in the absence of a chance to get your DD on her own?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 09-Nov-12 21:43:35

Exactly what im saying she can't ensure secret visits wont happen if they are together not. So why take Way their stability.

Outside agencies may not insist on anything different anyway, infant I'm pretty sure of that.

They could separate anyway you are right, but you are looking at this from the perspective of two grown ups snd not two children, who have an otherwise stable lives with their parents.

This has not been kept with in the family, OP has taken advice from the leaders in child safeguarding, the nspcc.

OP does not need to destroy any trust she has in her husband, she needs to be realistic about placing her trust in his ability on two or three occasions a year, pretty insignificant when she can and is capable of doing so herself on these very limited occasions.

The reality is why tear the children's stability apart on the risk factor which is minimal.

This is not a fallacy, this is protecting the children's best interest and safeguarding them.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:53:33

I agree that outside agencies may not insist on anything different. That wouldn't be the point in their involvement. It would be the knowledge that they had been contacted and were involved/informed and the protection having involved/informed them would offer if at any stage the op and her husband were not together and he was insisted MIL was not a risk. Any court would take the approach of "if she had serious concerns she wouldn't have attempted to manage it herself" and they would adopt a watch and wait approach. I am not saying the family should be split up but that as a victim of abuse who had not dealt with his abuse dh may not be safe with the children himself as he may secretly take the children to see MIL. He may use the trust placed in him as a partner to enable continued belief in his mother, exploiting this situation of continuing contact to feed his denial in various ways.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 21:57:53

I don't think insisting on no contact or contact only with ss involvement is the same as splitting the relationship up either and the two shouldn't be conflated. He will have to choose at some point, undoubtedly the abuse/his mother will already be putting pressure on him to choose her over his children and avoiding challenging that may make things worse rather than better. The choice is very clearly, for me as an outsider, between the children's safety and dh. MIL is not the only risk to them; FIL and DH are also.

Offred Fri 09-Nov-12 22:00:30

And although I wasn't sexually abused by a family member part of the really difficult thing for me was recognising that my children are not safe around my father and that because my mother won't protect them they aren't safe around her either and that if I don't recognise those things then they aren't safe around me.

sashh Sat 10-Nov-12 04:49:56

Go with your instincts. Do not let this woman near your children.

Your DP is reverting to the scared little boy he was when he goes back home. He needs councelling, he also needs to be away from his parents.

I'd also go to the police. Say you are not sure but you want a record of what happened in case anything happens in the future.

Fuckitthatlldo Sat 10-Nov-12 09:23:36

So sorry this is happening OP - it is every mothers nightmare.

You have no choice but to go with your gut and err on the side of caution. The potential risk is simply too great. As for your plan, I think it's fine as long as it all goes to plan. The problem is, can you guarantee one hundred percent that it always will?

I think you have received some good advice on this thread. However, I think I should point out that the NSPCC are absolutely correct when they say that there is not enough evidence of abuse to warrant action on the part of police or social services.

I work in domestic abuse service provision. Part of our job is to adhere to a strict child protection policy and I liase with social services regularly. Now obviously, things can vary greatly between different areas and different workers (I'm afraid that even with vital services such as these there is something of a post code lottery involved), but I am routinely shocked at what I view to be ss lackadaisical attitude towards children at risk of sexual abuse.

I know of one ten year old girl who has made repeated disclosures to professionals of past sexual abuse by her mothers partner. Anyone meeting the child can see she is clearly damaged. Her mother refuses to believe it and insists there has been some mistake. Social services recently closed the family's case as there was no concrete evidence abuse had occurred and there had been no new disclosures in the past year. That little girl is still living with the man whom she says abused her and the mother who disbelieves her. It seems social services are powerless and/or unwilling to do anything to protect her. As a worker there has been nothing that I can do except re-refer the case to social services. On which point they tell me that unless I have any new evidence or disclosures to report, that the case is closed and to stop contacting them.

Every time I see that girls haunted little face I want to cry.

kissyfur Sat 10-Nov-12 09:42:35

That's so sad fuckitthatilldo heartbreaking

Proudnscary Sat 10-Nov-12 09:47:26

I'm afraid I agree with all of those who say you are prioritising your husband over your children.

NSPCC are experts and are right you don't have enough for police or SS involvement but that's irrelevant when it comes to what you can do.

Your access plan is NOT workable and is fraught with risk.

Apart from anything else:

You will have wholly unsatisfactory visits with your in laws where there will be high tension and emotion. Your MIL will probably engineer guilt trippy high drama.

Your daughters will pick up on this and it will be confusing and unpleasant - quite possibly traumatic for them.

You will be unhappy and tense. Your husband will be a total mess.

What do you do as they get older? What do you tell them? How will these arrangements work?

You do know that when even very, very young children are abused they recall feelings or moments or have flashbacks? Your dd might have very deep seated, confused, frightened feelings when she is around your MIL.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 10:31:19

Let me be clear in that I am not saying i think ss or police would actually do anything different. I think the nspcc should not be advising on what ss/police would do, their procedure is clear that the things should be reported. I'm saying there is value in reporting.

I don't think it is as clear as choosing dh over dc, it is an attempt to save everything as it currently is which I think is not sustainable and which may end up costing a lot. It is being presented as risk free when it, in my view, absolutely is not. Dh is still in the grip of his abuser, he does not have full control over his choices where she is concerned that means you cannot trust him full stop not just when he is around her.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 10:38:37

And let's not forget that abusers, when the abuse is challenged/confronted or the power is taken away, escalate in order to try and take the power back. In this case if dd1 is the new focus then MIL is very likely to try and get to her through dh/FIL, this may result in a lot of manipulation of dh/FIL and possibly even people outside the family against the op which may not even be discovered until it is too late.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 10:39:31

It isn't always conscious behaviour either.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 10:43:37

Getting things out in the open, redirecting the "accusations" so they are coming from an outside body means the op can at least try and escape becoming the "bad wife who is trying to separate both dh and MIL from their daughter/gdaughter". If someone else did become involved the power struggle could become between MIL/them. It would therefore be crucial to get dh to agree to contacting them, maybe even contact them himself so it wasn't the op "to blame".

Op, I think you have made the best of an awful situation.
If you were to push for no contact then you think it might break up the marriage. You would have less control over possible contact with mil.
I do think that your DH must go back to counselling though. He has got to realise that him not facing up to potential previous abuse he is putting his own children at risk.
I also think you need to talk to your children, when you think they will understand, that no-one should be touching them in certain areas and that they never, keep secrets from Mummy.
I hope you manage to keep your dds safe from this vile woman.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 10-Nov-12 10:46:16

I think it sounds as though "The Plan" will do for now, but will need to be adapted as circumstances change. Keeping the old witch at arm's length, watching the child like a pair of hawks, is not a sustainable policy over a lifetime, but for now, as things are, reasonable. Although OP's DH has a problem getting his head round the possibility (most of us believe strong probability) that the abuse is sexual, he is at least in no doubt that she is abusive in some ways and cannot be trusted alone with DD. Pushing the issue now, insisting on no contact at all before he is ready to accept it's best, is likely to be counter-productive. So I say, applaud the OP for the steps she has taken already, and stand by to offer advice and encouragement when she needs more.

I'd like to say I understand where some of the more... I won't say hysterical because that makes them sound crazy, they're nothing of the sort... shall we say the more concerned posters are coming from, but as I luckily don't have experience of childhood sexual abuse I'll never totally understand (I did have a dodgy uncle, and my nan had a friend/neighbour who was unnaturally keen to have little girls come and sit on his lap, but my parents were wide awake to any of those goings-on, watched us like paranoid, er, watching things, and taught us, age-appropriately, to be healthily suspicious). However, I do hope the OP reads all these posts and takes them on board, even though she may not judge that at this time she should do exactly what they advocate. They know how horrible it can be and how sneaky abusers can be, because they've been there, and it fucks you up, there's no doubt about it.

I do hope that one day, preferably soon, this horrible woman will be out of her sons' and grandchildren's lives for good.

can you take your dc to doctor for a medical? to check for abuse?

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 10-Nov-12 10:55:16

I think although your plan is not ideal it sounds the best way to manage this awful situation.
Getting the authorities involved at this stage will lead to the op loosing control (which she has now).

I don't doubt the op will be watching the witch like a hawk and nothing will happen again.

Op did you tell your mum? Just the will comment made me think if (god forbid) something awful happened then someone needs to know the situation

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 10:57:36

It is winding me up all the suggestions that there would be less control over access to MIL if they split up, it isn't true. There is less control over access to MIL as far as DH is concerned whether they split up or stay together if it isn't reported. In a lot of ways it would be much less likely if they split up than if they stayed together even without reporting. DV is quite a good current example to use, a victim is entitled to all kinds of legal protection in divorce/access disputes if "there has been dv", you only get it if it has been reported, of a certain type etc, if you have been beaten black and blue and raped repeatedly for 40 years and never reported it, you don't get the help. I've been through family court and declared a risk of sexual abuse to my children, I had reported it to the police, they had not found anything, he still got supervised access because I was not convinced. I it was a GP, they have no right to access so the court would more easily make an order for no contact and it could more easily be monitored than if the relationship is still together because monitoring yourself actually just means completely destroying any trust you have in dh and watching him like a hawk too,

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 11:01:56

And the whole point IS that the op would have less control, also not be the focus of the accusations from dh and MIL that she is accusing MIL of something terrible with no cause. Going forward with this plan MIL could well start saying to dh - "if she was really worried why hasn't she done anything about it? If you thought something so terrible of her mother wouldn't you insist on dd not ever visiting her? She's just trying to cut me off from my GC and you want to watch she doesn't do it to you."

Proudnscary Sat 10-Nov-12 11:02:53

So OP tells her mother about suspicions about MIL. What will her mum say? Possibly: 'Jesus Christ don't let her anywhere near my granddaughters if you have the smallest suspicion she could hurt them'.

How does OP proceed with the plan if her own mother is horrified that she is finding ways for the MIL to see them? What if it drives a wedge between them and more relationships are damaged?

I'm not saying she shouldn't tell her mum I'm saying there is all this pain and anguish and stress involving so many people - all to enable this dreadful woman to see these children?!

And actually the bottom line is it's all about dh's (understandable) inability to accept and cope with the truth about his mother.

Whatnowffs Sat 10-Nov-12 11:11:06

You are worried that a GP is inappropriately touching your child and you are allowing her to see her again? Fuck that, even in company i couldnt allow this woman near my child, what woudl be going on in her mind. It all sounds horrible and if my DH was insisting on contact i'd be taking my child and leaving - all of them! yuck

I've been thinking about the worry that should you split you couldn't control when dh takes your children to be abused by her.

This is preventable, as Offred says, by speaking out now and getting something on record.

Then, if you do split, you insist on supervising access between your dh and dd's. You get social services/solicitors/HVs and anyone else you need to back you up.

He can't be trusted not to endanger your children. Therefore he is a risk. And as much as I feel sorry for what he went through, he has the option now to get help and work through it. But the only person who can really help your children is you.

Whatnowffs Sat 10-Nov-12 11:33:09

There has been a big scandal because of that vile Saville man's abuse of young girls was allowed to continue because the people who should have stood up for the victims didn't step up. No one would disagree with me when i say that anyone who kept suspicious to themselves are complicit, i sure.

You have suspicions of child abuse - you have a responsibility to ensure that it doesn't happen again. You say there are other grand-children. How can you just stand by and do nothing about it????? There is a place for peadophiles and that is in prison, not being protected by their families because they are worried that revealing it might cause upset. This is what is happening here - you have your suspicions, your DH doesn't really support you in protecting your child so you COMPROMISE shock

So what if the NCPCC say that there isn't enough evidence, if an enquiry is started maybe other members of this woman's family will come forward.

Sadly, it sounds like another pervert and abuser is going to get away scot free.

Whatnowffs Sat 10-Nov-12 11:34:50

may come forward

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 10-Nov-12 11:55:33

Yep, proudnscary I take your point but my worry is there's 1 person protecting the child. If something (god forbid) happened, who knows how this manipulative witch could instigate weekends or summer holidays at hers.

There's only so much SS can do, there's only so much they can prove. Without co-operation of the other half, and thankfully ds is too little to speak or understand. I've seen the bomb SS can drop when handling delicate family situations like this. NSPCC are professionals they advised it, and probably know more details then we do. So I think OP is absolutely right to follow their advise. In all honesty this threads going a bit in circles now

fandomfanny Sat 10-Nov-12 12:42:34

I'm not exposing my DC to the stress of ss or police if they won't take action when the nspcc said it wasn't in their interest to do so. There is no other family, mil and fil only children, no close friends so unless the police decided to try and track down the records of a playgroup that has been closed for 7 years and whose paperwork has been destroyed then there is no-one else to come forward. The only other grandchildren are my children and there is very little chance of any other GC than my own. If bil does have children I will tell him and his partner of my concerns.

I'm not staying with my dh because I'm afraid to divorce him but because I love him. I want to find away for us to stay together as a family, and I do think total no contact would force us apart so its important to consider what at would mean for the no contact situation. He would see his parents and while he would try and respect my wishes about supervision he simply would not be able too. It is all well and good saying that I could force the ss, courts and police to agree to supervised contact, but there are women on this topic with far more evidence than I who have failed to do so.
To those of you concerned my dh would attempt to see mil behind my back he simply would not- he has no desire to see her and sees her as the price of seeing his father. His objection to total no contact is it would mean t loss of his entire birth family, he never knew his Gp's, no cousins, aunts uncles, just his parents and his brother. He is not convinced that this is nesscessary to protect our children and the nspcc agree with him.

So total no contact would mean I could not protect my children and destroy my family. To me that is clearly not in heir best interests. Whatever I do she is going to escape jail - my priority has to be ensuring my dcs have the happiest and safest outcomes. The nspcc actually suggested the plan which was identical to the compromise dh and I had agreed on.

Before all of this he had agreed to a note in our wills specifying his mothers was not to have acesss to dc beyond supervised visitation. I will be adding a letter detailing my specific concerns in the light of my new developments.

Outside of this situation i cannot imagine us seperating, there would have to be a whole change of personality. Possible but highly unlikely.

The nspcc have no concerns about my Dd1's current wellbeing. She is in a childcare setting where they have no concerns.

The nspcc are experts and think I'm dealing with this appropriately. This is obviously a topic that will and should provoke strong feelings. I have listened and considered everything posted. I am going to follow the experts advise. Thanks everyone again.

Gay40 Sat 10-Nov-12 12:43:19

No man/woman would ever take priority over my child's safety. Family sensitivities are secondary to the emotional damage of abuse at whatever level.
Manipulative people like your MIL are exceptionally skilled at engineering situations in which everyone else seems highly unreasonable. Look at what she's done to her own sons - they crumple in front of her.
Prisons are full of people who have a raft of reasonable explanations for their vile behaviour.
Your DH needs some serious and prolonged counselling and the children need no contact with his parents until he comes to his bloody senses. I say parents because your FIL is complicit in his wife's behaviour.
I don't think anyone is screaming leave the bastard. But we know only too well how these people (ILs) operate - through manipulation, guilt and empotional blackmail. And before long your DH will be arranging secret visits for them.
No contact. No contact. No contact. Repeat.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 12:57:37

I'm a woman on this thread who made a report to the police (no evidence just accusation and no actual accusation of abuse just concern) which was investigated and nothing came of it who still successfully insisted on supervised contact. This was the parent and not the GP, you do not need as much "evidence" to get an order for no contact with a GP because they don't have access rights. I think a lot of what is said about family court comes from people who don't report in the first place and so make it harder for the court to take concerns seriously also I get you are trying to keep everything if you can but I don't think this is the way to do it.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 12:58:43

Nspcc did not say don't report, they said you could but it is unlikely they would actually do anything.

fandomfanny Sat 10-Nov-12 13:05:34

Actually offered they said the police and ss would not have enough information to act and that the process would in all likelihood be distressing to my daughter with no benefit and that they would not advise me to contact them.
I'm pleased that you were able to get the supervised contact you desired. However on the off chance that my dh undergoes a total personality transplant I'm not going to do something that would distress my daughter against the advice of a child protection charity.

Proudnscary Sat 10-Nov-12 13:13:57

Personally I have not urged or suggested you tell SS or police.

I believe it is your duty to protect your dds by cutting contact.

But if you want to hide behind 'what the experts have advised' then go ahead.

I would never make this choice. It is fraught with so much danger and damage - and confusion for your kids. I also think you are more likely to split with your dh if you proceed with this plan. Because there will be so much tension and stress around these times of access and you will come to resent him for it and see him as weak, someone who can't effectively protect his children. Because he's not is he? If it wasn't for you acting like a prison officer around his mother, he'd have let her be around them loads.

Why don't you read back your OP? Because when I read it I felt physically sick. In fact the details have been ingrained in my head which is why I keep returning to this thread to help you to see sense.

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 13:16:10

against the advice of a child protection charity
it is up to us to protect our own children - I suppose you know who runs that charity right? who are the trustees?

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 13:19:53

Sorry, I am about to commit the cardinal sin of chipping in to a thread very late. But I've been following from the beginning and I just wanted to say this.

I have to agree with Offred and the others who are saying no contact is the way to go. Your whole plan seems to be geared towards accommodating your husband's denial rather than prioritising protecting your DCs.

Your DH really needs to sort it out. He's a father now. How he feels about his mother is not as important as your DCs' safety. And how he feels about his mother really should have no influence on the steps you take to protect your DCs.

There is simply no way i could let my child be anywhere near someone i suspected of abusing her. Your MIL sounds unhinged, toxic and criminally dangerous. Why the fuck would you bother trying to foster a relationship with someone like her if it wasn't for your DH's inability to face reality?

You're in a terribly hard position and your DH has obviously suffered severe childhood trauma; you both have my sympathy. But if I were you I would be feeling resentful of him. Because his failure to acknowledge what is staring you all in the face means that you feel like your only option is to keep exposing your DCs to risk (however small) in the form of future contact with an abuser.

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 13:23:29

In fact I'm very angry on your behalf that you seem to have zero support from your DH about cutting all contact.

They're his children too. Why is seeing his horrendous mother more important than guaranteeing his DC's safety?

Why is it falling on just you to figure this out?

HoolioHallio Sat 10-Nov-12 13:25:53

I'm sorry OP. But I'm going to risk the wrath of MN and put my neck on the line here.
I believe that you are failing to protect your children. I really do. Your OP horrified me and I am not projecting. But you have very strong suspicions about this womans behaviour based on what you have seen with your own eyes. Abusers are 'clever', manipulative people. You will not be able to 'police' your child forever. Imagine a scenario when your daughter is 9 or 10 years old, at a 'family' gathering in a restaurant. Your MIL engineers the seating arrangements so that you are pinned next to the window and can't easily get out. Your daughter wants to go to the toilet, leaves the table and your MIL follows her. HOW will you deal with that ? Without sending yourself into a blind panic and causing stress to your other children ? How is that going to be normal for you?
I won't comment anymore because this thread has affected me so badly.
But I don't think you are doing enough to protect your children. I'm sorry.

Viviennemary Sat 10-Nov-12 13:30:16

I haven't read this whole thread. But if you have doubts then absolutely no contact whatsoever is the way to go. If you have doubts and don't do this then you are absolutely failing in protecting your children. I agree totally with HoolioHallio.

fandomfanny Sat 10-Nov-12 13:31:14

OK, so first the consensus is to contact nspcc and follow their advice. I do so. They independently suggest a plan identical to the compromise dh and I have worked out. Now I should disregard their advice because most of y disagree.
Obviously I resent dh for putting me in e production of having to compromise, but the nspcc had reassured me a great deal as when I asked them what to do the compromise is what reccomended. The plan is conditional on him accessing furer therapy about his childhood and reassessment before and after each visit. Mostly I feel pity for him about this to be honest and I cannot think that witnessing his "weakness" two or three times a year for 1-2hours will destroy my respect for him.

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 13:32:35

Ask yourself this OP: what course of action would you take if you didn't have to take your DH's feelings into account?

Would you still have the same plan? Or in an ideal world would you and your DCs never have to be around this poisonous individual again?

If your answer is the latter, then I'm afraid your husband's denial is a huge, huge issue. And I'd be very angry if i were you.

Proudnscary Sat 10-Nov-12 13:38:49

This in a nutshell is whatever all of urging you to go no contact are saying:

Your whole plan seems to be geared towards accommodating your husband's denial rather than prioritising protecting your DCs

I think you are in shock and in denial and I hope you will come to your senses.

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 13:44:17

I could almost understand your DH wanting to keep in touch with his parents if you guys didn't have DCs. The abuser/victim dynamic is very complex and I know things aren't black and white.

But I just cannot get my head around him not doing everything in his power to protect your DCs from the same abuse he suffered as a child.

I think the fact that he would prefer to maintain contact with his own and his children's abuser shows how much this very, very fucked up dynamic has become normalised to a certain extent. The desire to minimise this and sweep it under the carpet rather than confront it comes across in all your posts.

Those of us who read your OP were horrified. Like another poster, some of the things you described in your OP are burnt into my brain and deeply disturbed me.

To us all, your MIL poses a significant risk to your DCs, your FIL is an enabler and has colluded with her abuse for decades. And now your DH, however unwittingly, is following in his father's footsteps.

I don't know how you can stand to be around it all. If it was me, I wouldn't want a bar of any of it. Fuck what your DH thinks.

fandomfanny Sat 10-Nov-12 13:44:32

Hoolio, this actually happened during e last visit, family meal at a restaurant, trying to engineer seating etc. I called her out, told her to move, that I wanted dcs seated by me and that I had to have access to get up and take them to the toilet. I refused to sit down til she got up. She didn't make a fuss that's not her style, but I would not have compromised.
Fil complained I ignored him. She still tried to take Dd1 to potty. I removed Dd1 from her and asked to her to sit down. The meal was not ruined and no-one commented.
If mil follows her I will too. I have no problem with my il's thinking I'm weird, rude or difficult.
It would also mean the end of all contact if mil did any of e things in your sceanario under the plan and i am hopeful at it will not take my dh 7 years of therapy to see the need go cut contact.

Proudnscary Sat 10-Nov-12 13:45:57

Oh and re 'I cannot think that witnessing his "weakness" two or three times a year for 1-2hours will destroy my respect for him'

This says to be clear as day that you have not thought this out.

You really think you can condense the fallout around these visits to '1 or 2 hours, 2 or 3 times a year'? That the build up to the visits, the arrangements - emails, phone calls, discussions between the two of you, the tension, the stress, the worry beforehand will be contained to these small units of time? No way, it will take up half your year or more if you are serious considering contact every 3 months or so.

And re resentment/erosion of respect - it will dawn on you one day that his fear of his mother has stopped him protecting his dds. That if you were not around he would rather risk their well being than face up to what she is capable of.

BeauNeidel Sat 10-Nov-12 13:47:20

OP, please please please for the sake of your children don't allow them to meet MIL again. Listen to what Hoolio and others have said.

Tell your husband FIL is allowed to visit at your home, or somewhere neutral. MIL is not. He can continue to see his mother if wishes, but the children not.

This is so upsetting. You have seen MIL inappropriately touching your child, but won't cut contact because of DH? Ask him how he would feel if a friend of his was asking his advice about this. I guarantee he would tell them to cut contact.

Well did you tell the NSPCC that you wanted to make visiting safe?

What I mean is, if you phoned them and said you didn't want to cut contact and they advised you accordingly then that's different to them independently telling you to allow her to visit your dd's.

Your pity for your dh is getting in the way of your doing the right thing. And I promise you, as a decent human being, if your children suffer again even slightly at her hands because you've had to spare dh's feelings, you will hate yourself and hate him and you will NEVER forgive yourself.

fandomfanny Sat 10-Nov-12 14:12:42

Waltermitty I told them I had no idea what to do, should I cut all contact without my dh's support? They said no, to look at getting dh therapy to deal with his issues and to severely restrict contact . I asked if they thought this would expose DC to risk, said no, they were confident in my ability to protect dcs.
Obviously I want to cut all contact that is my ultimate goal. I am hoping to transition my dh to support the goal. The dcs are in no immediate danger. Dh needs time to accept this reality. If nspcc are confident I can keep the DC safe while he does this that seems to me e best overall option.
I am 100% confident that I can keep her from my Dd1 within e conditions of contact me and dh have agreed.

BeauNeidel Sat 10-Nov-12 14:12:55

*DH I mean can see his mother.

What about what your children will feel when they are older? That to keep the peace, their parents forced them to sit through meetings with a person that tried (and will almost certainly was able to) abuse them?

Please, please stop this now. Your children are small now and generally with you. What if MIL whisperings make your lovely DD want to visit her without telling, when she is say, 10? And things happen that are beyond our control? I'm wildly extrapolating here, but you already have had to chase her all over the house to stop her touching your daughter.

HyvaPaiva Sat 10-Nov-12 14:32:15

Your DH is more concerned about losing his birth family than protecting his daughters from sexual abuse and you pity him. OP, I really felt for you in the first post, your MIL is a toxic abuser in many respects, but this is a worrying 'condition' to your protection of your children. That protection should be unconditional and yet it isn't: you're depending on your husband's feelings. You 'witnessing his weakness' won't destroy your respect for him. However, your DD's respect for you might be lost in the future. I'm really sickened. I'm sorry to say it and I hope you find the courage and strength to ACTUALLY protect your children rather than 'compromise'. Comprise isn't protection. I genuinely am sorry to say it because you are going through hell but YOU can stop this entirely. Just stop contact. I hope your children stay safe and happy and I wish you all the best.

pippop1 Sat 10-Nov-12 14:55:17

You need to be brave OP. Really brave. You know what you need to do.

SoleSource Sat 10-Nov-12 14:57:09

I would always tell the parent that the child might be sore and needs cream applied. Never apply without permission etc including taking a child to the toilet.

Your gut instinct is screaming at you. Report her, you have a duty to protect others too.

I feel for all of you sad

CinnabarRed Sat 10-Nov-12 15:15:20

I completely disagree with the rest of the posters here. I don't think you're prioritising you (poor, suffering) DH over your DCs - I think you're playing the long game so as to give your DH the maximum possible time to access therapy and come to the right conclusion.

You said upthread that it will be months before you see your PILs again. You've given concrete examples of the lengths you've already gone to to stop MIL taking your DD to potty. You've sought and actioned advice from the NSPCC. You've given your DH a clear ultimatum about therapy or else.

OP should be congratulated, not castigated.

Does your call to the NSPCC get logged and retained, if not, The one additional thing I would consider doing is getting your suspicions documented somewhere just in case. The suggestion to ask your GP to examine your DD seemed a sensible possibility. Talking to your HV might be another.

Pozzled Sat 10-Nov-12 15:19:01

OP, I wanted to give you some support, I guess that you probably feel under attack here, even though everyone here really does want the best thing for your DDs- to keep them safe.

For my part, I believe that you are trying to do the best you can in an incredibly difficult situation. I can see why cutting all contact seems impossible now, but I do think you should give yourself and your DH time with this-you don't need to make a decision now, you only posted a few days ago and you've had a lot to think about.

Can you agree with your DH that there will be no contact for at least the next 3 or 4 months? That you won't even talk about it until then? And when that time is up, if you still think you should allow contact, I think you should bring someone else along like your mum, and agree that you will each stay with one of the DDs, and not leave them. One thing that I noticed in your latest post was that you're certain you can protect DD1- but your other DD will be at risk as well, don't make the mistake of thinking it's only DD1.

I really hope that you will take the decision to cut all contact, but if you don't please please make sure that your DDs only ever have the most superficial contact with MIL.

Fuckitthatlldo Sat 10-Nov-12 15:42:31

Gosh this is a sobering thread. It has brought home to me just how completely children are at the mercy of the adults around them.

It has also brought home to me just how self protective we humans are in the face of adversity.

I've read so many threads, and seen so many situations first hand, in which there is suspected or known abuse of children going on. And adults who protect their children absolutely, regardless of the personal consequences to themselves, are exceedingly rare.

Over and over again the needs of adults come first. The need to protect and keep together adult relationships. The need for the adult not to believe the abuser could be doing something so terrible. The need to keep things 'normal' and to not be gossiped about. The need to not have to move, to not have to face any social awkwardness, to not have to struggle for money, to just not have to deal with the bloody devastation.

We kid ourselves that these things are in our childrens best interests too. Because that's a whole lot easier than admitting to ourselves that even in the direst of circumstances we are still ultimately self serving, and would rather risk sacrificing our kids than turning our own worlds upside down.

I'm not judging you OP. I can see that you're struggling to keep all the balls in the air, and to find a way in which you can protect your daughters as best you can whilst still catering to your own needs and concerns. It's a very human reaction.

But child abuse rips families apart. Your MIL has thrown a neutron bomb right into the centre of your family. The consequences will ripple out further you can ever imagine. They may span generations. You cannot contain this or make it ok by keeping her dirty little secret for her and putting all your faith in vigilance.

This dirty little secret will fester unless you out it.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 10-Nov-12 15:45:41

Yes yes, CinnabarRed and Pozzled. This is a liveable compromise for now.

For the very limited occasions under the strictly controlled circumstances in which they will see the mad MIL for the next few months, they can stop her doing anything untoward. Things will change, it's guaranteed. DD will grow and become fully toilet trained, and hopefully DH will start to access therapy or at least feel a little stronger in himself and may agree to go no contact. If he doesn't, if there's any doubt that he is fully committed to protecting his daughter, then and only then are all bets off. Worrying about what may happen if she's still trying it on in 8 years' time is not a reason to insist on cutting contact NOW NOW NOW. They're not even seeing the nasty creature for the next few months. Remember how alcoholics take it: one day at a time. They don't allow themselves to even think about a lifetime without touching the stuff ever again, because it would likely panic them into reaching for another bottle. One day at a time works. Today I will not be drinking. This week I will not be seeing my parents. No need to panic.

Kundry Sat 10-Nov-12 16:01:52

If you asked your GP or HV about this, they would have to report this to Child Safeguarding, rather than simply give advice or log it as some have suggested further up the thread. This is absolutely right as these things should be taken seriously and not left to inexperienced amateurs who while well meaning, may destroy evidence accidentally, not take things seriously, over or under react as they haven't had the appropriate training. A GP would not (and if they do shouldn't be) examine a child for abuse as this is highly specialist and cases have been lost at this stage due well meaning but inexperienced professionals - so your child would automatically have to see a specialist paediatrician and Social Services would be involved. The OP needs to know she won't be just getting some advice or logging a concern, other agencies will automatically be involved.

Given the evidence you have (and I completely and totally believe you about what has happened) I suspect the NSPCC advice is correct about your plan being good but statutory agencies not being able to take a lot of action. You do need to bear in mind whether you and your DH could cope with having an investigation which is likely to lead nowhere but be very intrusive and the effect it would have on your relationship.

I can see that given how difficult it is for your DH, you might choose to stick with your practically no contact plan with total supervision. It's a hard decision which only she can make, knowing what is best for her individual family. I wish you well OP, you sound an amazing mum and partner.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 10-Nov-12 16:10:58

Very well said kundry

Gay40 Sat 10-Nov-12 19:09:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 19:20:40

I think you tell DH that he can see his parents but the children cannot unless he backs you up. In the light of JS and how he groomed a nation I can appreciate how difficult this is for your DH who may be a victim himself. But your duty is to your daughter who does not have a voice.

Whatnowffs Sat 10-Nov-12 20:01:08

HOW can you let this woman be near your child after describing how desperate she is to get her on her own! This tells me that every time she sees your child she is having the most repugnant thoughts. Yes, if you are vigilant you will be able to prevent her from actually doing anything but the thought of anyone even thinking those sort of thoughts about my child, if i were you OP the police would have become involved now and i would be in prison. MIL - she would be dead! The fact that you are going to continue to allow this woman near your child makes me feel sick.

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 20:36:18

You basically caught your MIL in the act of sexually abusing your daughter.

That it happened once us abhorrent. But the VERY next time you saw her, it nearly happened again. If you'd have come into the room a minute later that would've been a second incident of abuse.

So that's nearly twice now that this has happened. It shouldn't have happened at all. But once really should have been enough to make you cut all contact and never look back.

The whole family sound so fucked up. I don't know how you can bear to be anywhere near them. You don't need those kind of people in your life. Neither does your DH. And especially not your DCs.

The only person who gains anything by any sort of future contact is the MIL. Why reward her for sexually abusing your DD?

Whatsmyproblem Sat 10-Nov-12 20:39:21

And at the moment your plan is to put DH through counselling and hope that the penny drops for him.

What if it doesn't? What if he's too damaged and his denial too entrenched? What will you do then? You need to think very seruioiusly about a contingency plan for the entirely likely possibility that DH will never be able to back you up on this.

Brycie Sat 10-Nov-12 20:39:56

Kundry: that's good advice, I suggested going to the GP but with no idea where it might lead.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 10-Nov-12 20:43:08

the details have been ingrained in my head which is why I keep returning to this thread to help you to see sense.

They are ingrained in mine too, Proudnscary.

This especially:

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 actually find that completely nauseating, and the idea that there was a later encounter, with mil and this little girl in a 'distant bathroom' and there was a 'weird atmosphere' gives me the absolute shivers.

Why on earth can't dh just see his parents on his own???

In your position, OP, you say you wouldn't care what your ils thought, so why not just insist that your dc don't see them any more? What your dh does is his own business and his feelings shouldn't make you compromise your daughters. If he took their safety as seriously as he should you wouldn't feel in such a dilemma. No contact would be a no-brainer.

I really feel for you in this awful situation but I agree with other posters that you are not doing enough to protect your child. If what you have described had happened to either of mine, I would not be able to be in the same room as that individual, ever again, let alone let my children near them.

dampfireworksinthegarden Sat 10-Nov-12 21:45:36

i'm sorry, Op, but i have read all of this thread, and have to agree with hoolio. There CANNOT be any compromise here - your DCs MUST NOT have ANY contact with that woman. at all. ever.
abusers are clever and manipulative. i know from bitter, childhood expereince.
remember, when they are grown up, you will have to account to your DCs for YOUR behaviour.
I'm sorry, OP. i can see what a difficult situation you are in. but, fwiw, that's my opinion.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 23:01:41

The last post I'll add is yes, involvement from an outside agency would be difficult and intrusive but it would only be unmasking the harm that has already been caused and it will be much less traumatic now while the Children are young than later on, if it even is traumatic. The reason things are not hellish now is because the actual problem is being buried, if it were exposed it would be hellish but also healing. I don't think trauma is what we should be afraid of for our children but the suppressing of trauma when trauma is appropriate.

Offred Sat 10-Nov-12 23:02:38

Keeping it buried allows those around the victim to escape the hell and focuses the entire burden on the victim.

stargirl1701 Sat 10-Nov-12 23:14:34

Trust your instincts.

Bobyan Sat 10-Nov-12 23:33:53

I really don't understand, I'm trying to but I don't.

The idea of my DC's Grandmother sexually penetrating them and me ALLOWING her to have the chance to do it again and then me ALLOWING her to ever see them again is beyond me.

She'd never see them again and if my "D"H didn't back me, he wouldn't either. I don't give a fuck if your DH needs therapy / counselling / time to come to terms with his childhood. He now has a choice your poor daughter doesn't.

Your MIL is a paedophile and at best by not cutting contact your going to allow her to continue to be unbalanced, manipulative and unstable around your children and the second your not looking molest them.

Has it ever occurred to you her toileting regression after the first instance was because your MIL physically hurt her? sad

cfc Sat 10-Nov-12 23:34:03

Have read this thread from start to finish.

OP I am incredibly sympathetic to your plight - esp having to deal with your husband's apparent blindness to what has gone on, in one case, in front of your very eyes. I also understand how a ton of people on the internet, albeit a ton of massively intelligent and informed women, telling you to cut contact is easier said than done.

I wonder if you went ahead and told your DH that no contact is the way forward and fuck your MIL's feelings, you'll tell her why on the phone - no more tip toeing, politeness, Britishness of 'oh what if I'm wrong'...would he really step away from your family?

If you are sure he would when it came to the crunch, then I find myself agreeing with the measured response of CinnabarRed (again!). Play the game as you see fit - hypervigilance is key. We have told you that you are right to follow your gut - you are following it now with your contact plan with the family of in laws. You know what you are dealing with now and are well armed.

I know that your DD will never be 100% safe from your MIL unless she never ever sees her again, but I also understand that this isn't a black and white situation and all things considered the plan you have in place is making the best of this awful situation - that is if you are so so sure that your DH will choose his mother over his family should you put a contact ban in place.

I don't think i've spoken particularily eloquently there (am BF my noob) - I hope I've managed to put across what I wanted without belittling the opinions of the legion who consider it a no-brainer to cut contact and be damned the consequences...

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 23:35:35

I thought about this this evening and think if you genuinely thought it was abuse OP why are you even asking? The risk of her being anywhere near your child would make every inch of you protect your child.

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 23:39:49

In addition where will it end? Another emergency babysit? Not being able to pop to the shops just in case your DH allows her in and he isn't vigilant? I think you have to deal with this now, with honesty and strength. Grey areas give paedophiles their advantage.

cfc Sat 10-Nov-12 23:40:43

Sorry, pressed enter too soon - meant to add that they could be right and if it were FIL we were talking about I suspect the responses wouild be much more vocal and I'd be amongst them calling for SSD and/or police involvement.

She has to have form. She just has to.

Feckbox Sun 11-Nov-12 00:30:03

Sneaking a child off to a distant corner of the house to change its nappy AGAINST THE MOTHER's EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS.


SundaeGirl Sun 11-Nov-12 01:26:42

Please lay off the OP. Her mil isn't expected to see her DC for months so her DC aren't in danger today - this gives her DH a bit of time to catch up with the seriousness of what's happened. Then the OP can lay down the law about no contact.

Mayisout Sun 11-Nov-12 02:45:02

I think you've done well OP.

Hope DH can sort out his feelings regarding his childhood without too much fall out.

It's good that MIL is now in the sights of the care services.

This isn't an instantly fixable problem but a life long issue, best of luck.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 03:00:07

Typed a big response, it was too much, will summarise :

If your DH would leave if you insisted on no contact, then he is unable to protect your DD's, is enabling his mother, and this makes him complicit in any further abuse.

You are protecting your DH at the expense of your DD's. Why?

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 07:53:24

I wasn't saying you must insist on no contact, not having any contact would be the only way to ensure safety but that while dh is in denial achieving that might be tough. I was saying if you feel you cannot insist on and enforce no contact then be realistic about the abuser; do not view the expected visits as the only time the dds are at risk, do not trust dh even when he is not with her/you are not on a planned visit, recognise that conditioning those around to allow/enable the abuse is part of it and DH and FIL are very much part of that, that DH, because he is so motivated not to challenge his own denial is capable of sacrificing his own dds to protect it (hence insisting on contact) and therefore cannot be trusted at all and if there is contact make it conditional on the incident being reported to ss with a view to stepping away from being the focus of blame and therefore the focus of any efforts to make you look crazy/bad in order to gain access to dd.

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 08:00:07

Fuckitthatlldo's post is spot on:

*I've read so many threads, and seen so many situations first hand, in which there is suspected or known abuse of children going on. And adults who protect their children absolutely, regardless of the personal consequences to themselves, are exceedingly rare.

Over and over again the needs of adults come first. The need to protect and keep together adult relationships. The need for the adult not to believe the abuser could be doing something so terrible. The need to keep things 'normal' and to not be gossiped about. The need to not have to move, to not have to face any social awkwardness, to not have to struggle for money, to just not have to deal with the bloody devastation.

We kid ourselves that these things are in our childrens best interests too. Because that's a whole lot easier than admitting to ourselves that even in the direst of circumstances we are still ultimately self serving, and would rather risk sacrificing our kids than turning our own worlds upside down.*

I cannot understand any posters advocating this crazy plan for access.

Facilitating a suspected abuser to see her victim?? Really?


WHY can't dh see his mother on his own? Why should everyone pander to this very dangerous woman? A woman who has taken 60 second windows to get dd alone and...well we know the rest. Even if she doesn't have any further opportunity to be alone with her OP will know she wants to! That she quite likely is having unsavoury thoughts towards her daughter!!

I feel very very sorry for OP who is in a dreadful situation. I know she is doing her level best to keep people happy and protect her daughters but she's got it arse over tit - and then some.

But posters saying 'leave off the OP' are spectacularly missing the point.

Myself and others are being harsh/direct because we are trying desperately to get through to someone whose head is scrambled.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 08:00:12

Whether you stay together or not if he chooses MIL over his dc (and he has done) you have to choose between him and dc in your mind, based on his actions so far you need to now see him (and FIL) as secondary abusers/enablers until any time when they may actually recognise the reality. The dds will not be safe unless you do this whatever plan you implement and it is this part that will destroy the marriage - that you aren't able to trust him, whether or not you do. You can't effect change by making him go to counselling either. If he really isn't ready to deal with his childhood he is a significant risk to the dds.

cfc Sun 11-Nov-12 08:21:14

God OP - I have to say again how much I feel for you and what you find yourself facing, alone, it would appear.

I have just read Proud's post and I do agree with her also. I empathise with your stance and your plan and your belief that you can not open this horrific can of worms and spill it all over the place - it is true that abuse thrives with such attitudes in place, but that isn't saying anything against you OP, it's human nature and English nature to not want to hang draw and uarter someone unless faced with hard facts and evidence. In this case, you have enough, don't you see.

If someone asked you why you weren;t seeing ILs any longer, and you told them the truth, the shame isn't yours - it's hers and it is the truth as far as you are aware - the strict defence of defamation is truth.

It's good that MIL is now in the sights of the care services

Is she?! confused

Mayisout Sun 11-Nov-12 15:58:06

I think that the advice from the NSPCC is surely what the OP should be following and she is.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 16:10:15

Why? The NSPCC is a charity. They are not in any way official, the advice they give is not meant to be an authority which is why they have a protocol which says where there is suspicion or belief of significant harm the adviser should consult a supervisor and those concerns should be passed to the local authority. The NSPCC should not ever be second guessing the authorities and advising against contacting them, no charities should and this is a thing that would worry me whether it was the NSPCC or women's aid, CAB etc, they should only offer advice on their own service and signposting and support for the person to make their own choice within limits. I think it is exceedingly worrying if the NSPCC has actually advised not officially reporting and incident of sexual abuse of a toddler. I have never really thought much of the NSPCC though.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 16:21:31
Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 16:21:51

Or even advice...

Mayisout Sun 11-Nov-12 16:33:00

The fall out on OP and DCs and DH of separating and banning him from contact and ILs from contact will have huge effects on the emotional well-being of the DCs, also on the OP, her distress will of course have another huge impact on the DCs.

Also, will police see this as sexual abuse? Perhaps I have missed something in the previous pages but what I read of putting nappy cream on would not flag up sexual abuse to most people.

Sexual abuse, if it was allowed to happen is a horrendous thing but breaking up a family isn't a walk in the park for all involved either, I am talking about OPs family, not ILs.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 16:52:20

Well infant the nspcc can have lead and advice over the authorities, they have similar powers, they just don't exercise them in such way.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 16:58:16

There is no evidence insisting on no contact or contact with ss/police report would lead to dh leaving. It is a worry only. I very much disagree that dh choosing to split up the family rather than keep his dc safe from an abuser (even if you discount the sexual abuse) would be worse for the family. Every adult would know where they stood, reporting would enable official safeguarding even if no action was actually taken now. The not reporting/insisting may even come back to bite the op later, MIL will know she is under suspicion now, she will adjust behaviour, she may scapegoat op and try to manipulate the end of the marriage anyway and op will not be able to trust him while he is in denial about the risk/his harm.

However that post was mainly to highlight how the advice given to the op is contradicted by the NSPCC's own guidance on what to do, and why I think that means it should not be blindly followed.

The incident, I think we all know, was an incident of the MIL putting fingers inside the toddler - her hands were covered in cream, the only place there was cream was inside the child's labia, the MIL worked in a nursery as recently as 7 years ago, she knows how to apply nappy cream. There really is as little doubt as there could ever be about this; dh's lack of memory and her obsession with taking dd1 to the toilet is more supporting evidence. There is no other real explanation for it really is there. The point is not that any institution would do any particular thing differently to the op but that there would be some protection there for the op/dds later on when this is all confronted.

The main thing being that recovering from abuse and many years of denial is not an easy or short process. DH will be dealing with this for most of the rest of his life, he may be a total mess for ten years plus over it. It is not going away. It will have to be confronted at some point, having chosen to cover it up now it makes it much harder to do anything later as MIL/FIL/DH are being shown you will cover it, this is able to be manipulated to benefit MIL. Time is of the essence, unmasking will become increasingly difficult as the dds age.

MaryPoppinsBag Sun 11-Nov-12 17:02:05

The NSPCC does have powers to investigate child abuse, along with Social Services and the Police. No one else does though.

(learnt on Child Protection Course)

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:08:34

I'm aware they have powers to investigate child abuse. They are a however still a third sector organisation. The advice given to the op on this occasion conflicts with their own protocol and I would, as I mentioned, be suspicious of any third sector organisation which tells you not to make an official complaint and gives advice on what the official body "will" say.

Mayisout Sun 11-Nov-12 17:25:25

I meant OP splitting up family and leavig DH and trying to get an order to stop contact with him and his family would be distressing for all involved, DCs v much.

I don't think I disagree with what you are saying Offred, just that OP and DH will need time to adjust to this situation. And so what you advocate might be how things pan out but initially OP has enough to deal with.

There are not paedophiles round every corner but they are in every town and they will have DCs, GCs and nieces, nephews and neighbours. DPs can just do the best possible in the circumstances.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:26:22

I k

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:28:08

I know may and it's why I've never said it is a bad plan as such, just that whatever you do in this situation it is absolutely vital you understand the reality of the actual risk, particularly from dh and you try to consider a long term effect of a plan as well as the short term ones.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:32:07

Ultimately I'm not saying the officials would be infallible or even helpful necessarily and I know there is no magic solution here and also that ultimately op is being made entirely responsible for this by the circumstances which is a terrible, horrible burden any one person is unlikely to be able to navigate absolutely perfectly.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 17:32:45

There powers are more than investigating, it does not matter if they are third sector organisation they are still considered the leaders of child protection, even over above the State.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:35:36

No, they aren't troll, they have an influential role. I am not questioning that. In no way do they replace ss or the police. They are similar to woman's aid in that they have recognised authority but a particular function to work with the state not replace the state.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 17:36:52

That is to what I said actually they do have powers which they can assert and this can be over and above, I never said to replace at all. They most certainly are considered the leaders in child protection.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:41:08

There is no such thing as a third sector organisation which has powers "over and above the state" that would be unconstitutional. NSPCC has state recognised powers to investigate child abuse and are considered child abuse specialists of credibility. Either way, it is a fairly irrelevant counter argument to my one about the quality of the individual advice given on this occasion.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 17:46:18

They have powers to apply the courts so that can be over and above social services if an occasion where to arise. There powers do not stop at investigations child abuse, they can in effect take children into care actually.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 17:48:34

However this discussion is not helpfull and is derailing. I think you are over investing in this situation and I'm sorry for your own experiences but they are not the ops experiences. OP has with expert advice made a decision and she has sensibly weighted up the proportion of risk and what is right for the children. I think you should stop lambasting her now.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 17:51:17

I'm not over investing and you aren't aware of my experiences which are different to the op's situation. I don't think I have been lambasting the op at any stage. I have not ever criticised her even one single time.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sun 11-Nov-12 18:25:51

Personally I think Offred has given lots of helpful advice and showed a pretty caring attitude towards the OP. I think what you have said is harsh Troll. She isn't lambasting, just showing concern and lots of other people have given similar advice.

I too think OP is sticking her head in the sand and doing that incredibly destructive thing of keeping abuse within the family sad

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 18:47:52

I think it could be ok in the short term this plan but only if MIL doesn't escalate and try to manipulate dh to undermine the op. I don't think the op really recognises there is a real risk of this happening. It poses some risks in the medium term therefore and I think in the long term it leaves the marriage vulnerable and the op open to alienation attempts/mental health accusations. It is so important not to underestimate the crazy lengths MIL may go to such as contacting the OP's doctor, manipulating DH, contacting ss herself and using her child protection experience to make outlandish accusations against her. All of which ultimately put the dds at risk of harm.

Troll that's out of order, OP has not been 'lambasted' by Offred and I think it's uncalled for to accuse her of over-investing because she doesn't agree with you.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 18:59:52

I'm notbsayingbshebis overinvested because she has disagreed with me I'm saying because OP has made clear this is her desission and in my opinion there has been some very explicit and very emotive descriptions by offred of what OP has said happened to her daughter.

SpiralDancer Sun 11-Nov-12 19:05:20

There is a lot of very good advise here on this thread and a huge amount of support for the op to tap into.

I have a thought to add and that is if it was myself in the op's position I would inform the police but not to press charges, I feel to have it on file with a case ref number could be important if things needed to be taken further at some point in the future.

Another thought is this the op's dh may now that the possibility of his mother being a child abuser coming to light, he may start to remember aspects of his childhood that he may have repressed. I would be inclined to a) ensure safety of my child and b) give my other half/father time to process this issue. It is highly likely to trigger something in him. Op I empathise with how you feel towards him, he's your husband. I really hope that you gain his compleat support and also that he remembers his childhood.
I feel that joint therapy to start with and hopefully leading to personal counselling for him if indeed there are issues pertaining to his childhood/parents that he has not processed.

Op you need to talk to any friends and family around you, get some support and feedback if you can, it will help to gain seeing a way through this, be prepared for others reactions (as you can see from this thread there are many ways in which people react to an issue, that's great, it helps to gain insight and understanding, people here have spent time to post their thoughts, they are thinking of your situation and from what I can see have been honest and supportive from individuals point of view). I hope that you can get this from those irl that you can reach out too, the mums at toddler groups, gp, family, friends or even the neighbour down the road. Much luck to you and hope your dd stays safe.
Just a penny's worth

stargirl1701 Sun 11-Nov-12 19:09:44

Vicarinatutu would know but I don't think you can choose whether or not to press charges. It is up to the CPS.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 19:11:09

That is very good advice and put very sensitively spiral, but the difficulty is that OP will not be able to have any controle over pressing charges if she where to go to the police. However saying that many incidents of child abuse of this nature often does not result in charges due to the very difficult nature of evidence.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 19:18:36

Want to add my support for the OP's position, I think she is absolutely doing the right thing. Good luck OP.

lisad123 Sun 11-Nov-12 19:24:48

Only read posts from OP and some of the advice posts on here.
OP is right, she needs to protect her dd, and this may mean that she doesn't put her dd1 though a very private medical exam, which SS and police may well ask for.
I think your in a terrible situation, no person ever wants to think that a family member can be a child abuser sad
You are doing your best for every family member, and have made it clear to dh what your boundaries are, and he knows.

fandomfanny Sun 11-Nov-12 19:50:22

well to be honest I agree with the enthusiastic troll. Some people have been projecting their fears and experiences on to this thread.
Frankly saying that my 2 year old must have repressed memories of abuse so I must go to police/ ss when you have never met my child is ridiculous. There are plenty of reasons to go to the police, deciding that my child must have memories and be traumatised by what has happened without having met her simply undermines the argument.

Going on about my husband being a risk to the children and saying that I am naive about the risk he poses and that he will bring them to mil without my knowledge so I must go to the police is equally ridiculous. I know my husband I know 100% he would not do this. There is more chance of the sun turning green quite frankly. I have repeatedly said this. But unless I agree with you that he will do this I am being naive and have to be told over and over he will. You don't know him. I do. Just because he is not able to turn around and cut contact with a parent he loves very much immediately and on my say so does not mean he's going to go out of his way to put them in harms way.

I am not sure how supportive Gay40's lovely script calling me naive and stupid was supposed to be? It certainly didn't feel supportive. It felt like bully to be honest. And obviously some people feel very strongly I am doing the wrong thing. But all over mumsnet there are mothers with children in immediate danger- laladispey for instance, who have been treated with more sympathy and compassion than many posters have shown on this thread.

I have read everything posted. Every statement calling me stupid, every potential future scenario, all of which I had already thought about and considered and in most instances discussed with the nspcc.

I really do appreciate everyone posting, even the things that have been deeply upsetting. However am I going to take the advice of some strangers on the internet, some of whom are very obviously projecting, and some of whom either haven't read or don't believe my response, over the advice of the experts? Am I going to expose my dd to ss/ the police because someone on the internet who has never met her says she must be traumatised? No.

I'm going to bow out of the thread now, thank you all for your help and opinions.

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 20:00:04

Good luck OP

From a 'stranger on the net' hmm

HoolioHallio Sun 11-Nov-12 20:09:42

I hope to God your children remain safe OP. I really do.

But if you ever need help again, please remember that these 'strangers on the internet' who have tried to help, who have been so affected by what your child has been subjected to will CONTINUE to be here for whatever help you may need in the future.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:30:00

Agree with you OP- there have been some really odd responses on here. You have been given expert advice and it's good advice. Good luck and I hope you and your husband find a way through this together. You sound really balanced and switched on - keep hold of that.

That's not fair Smithson. Nobody has been odd.

People have been understandably concerned for OP's DD.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 20:39:52

I'm not projecting at all. As I said up thread, my experience is completely different to this situation. If I was projecting I would warn that I may be, as I have literally just done on another thread.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:41:47

Sorry but i think there have been some very odd posts. Just my opinion. She's been called stupid, that her head is scrambled, that she is complicit in some way. I think that that is odd, when she has clear advice from professional people who know what they are talking about. She also seems very switched on to me, so i find the descriptions of her as having a "scrambled head" a bit strange.

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 20:45:18

The only thing that's been odd is the amount of people that think it's a good idea for OP's possibly sexually abusive MIL to see the granddaughter she might have abused. And that those people think that is an appropriate and viable way forward. It isn't. Of that I am 100% sure.

Well, to be fair, I think people are concerned that she can't see things clearly given that she's worried about her DH.

I don't know. I feel like OP has gripped onto NSPCC advice because she doesn't want to look at the alternative. And I'm not saying that to be insulting or cruel.

But as a stranger who doesn't have a vested interest, it's easier for me to say I wouldn't let that woman anywhere near my child. But I don't have a DH whom I love, giving me pause for thought IYSWIM.

I don't think anyone has been intentionally malicious. Just very worried about a little girl caught in the middle of all this.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 20:49:37

I actually don't believe you op that there is no risk from dh (and I have never said he will just that you need to plan for that risk), if there is no risk as long as you are with him but a risk if you split up all it will take is his mother convincing him you are against him and separating him from you for the risk to occur and you may not notice this happening.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:50:33

Well the professional people with experience in child protection risk assessed the situation with her and they agreed together that they could contain the risk and that this was the best way forward for her and her family. She hasn't just randomly made stuff up out of the blue- she has accessed the right, expert support to consider her options. You might be a 100% sure what you would do in her situation and that is, of course, your right- but I totally agree with her that she should base her decisions around her knowledge of her own family and the professionals that she has consulted. Seems a very considered plan to me.

Yes it's considered. As long as NOTHING happens out of the ordinary. Seems a big risk to take with your child's safety does it not?

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 21:01:41

She is confident she can protect her children within the context of a restaurant or which ever public place the family meet. She is confident that she has the personal strength the remove the children immediately at the first sign of any weird behaviour. Her husband agrees she can protect the children in this context. The child protection advisers agree that she can protect her children in this context. She is doing this to support her husband to find his way through huge personal loss and conflict. So no i don't think it is a big risk to take with her child's safety. I think she feels confident of this and i agree with her.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 21:15:30

But that individual advice is against NSPCC protocol and I'm suspicious of them second guessing how authorities would react and advising against informing authorities, that is way against what NSPCC states should happen in my interpretation of their own practice advice where an emphasis is placed on reporting and I think it is also outside the boundaries of a third sector organisation's remit even if they do have statutory powers themselves. It does happen, no organisation is infallible.

I don't think the plan itself is necessarily bad I just don't think it will have the desired outcome and it depends an awful lot on the op personally. I'm concerned it will not encourage dh to seek help, that it can be used by MIL to gain access to dds and to separate dh and op secretly and that the op hasn't grasped that her husband may not be in control of his thoughts/behaviour because he hasn't tackled his abuse. I'm sure her assessment that he would never take dds to MIL is correct but it is not necessarily him who would have control over that. Victims don't always have control over their thoughts or behaviour- his past history worries me. The counsellor thing especially.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 21:17:07

The contact with the NSPCC may help protect her in the long term though if the call was recorded.

Gay40 Sun 11-Nov-12 21:18:08

Good luck. You are going to need it. Bow out all you doesn't really take away from the fact that you are not preventing a paedophile from accessing your child. Even supervised. I wouldn't want anyone who had abused my child even looking at her again.
Bully? Get yourself a priority love - it shouldn't be your husband.

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 21:18:43

Mmm hmmm...and all this prison-guard-style policing and stress and anxiety surrounding MIL getting nowhere near OP's daughter on these highly fraught visits because there is such a fear/risk of abuse is why again?

Oh yes because a woman who has very likely abused (not necessarily sexually) her son (re-read the OP) should definitely have rights to see her granddaughter? Or because the husband is not ready - if ever- to face the truth about his mother.

Protecting children totally and wholly is paramount. .

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 21:19:48

That was to smithson

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 21:20:55

Well done OP and good luck it is probably sensible to bow out. I wish you all the very best.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 21:22:49

huge assumptions about stuff we don't know about and its not really my thing to do that. So i going to stick with my take on what she has said which seems a carefully considered plan to me. Again, if you are still listening, good luck OP. Over and out y'all.

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 21:27:13

As I said - re read OP's original post and subsequent posts. I'm not making any assumptions. None. I'm going only on her posts.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 21:28:00

was talking to offred actually.

Smithson6 Sun 11-Nov-12 21:30:36

and proud- that is your call to feel like that - I think she has thought it through and is doing the right thing. not much else to say really. night.

Offred Sun 11-Nov-12 21:36:10

What have I assumed?

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sun 11-Nov-12 21:36:33

I dunno if IABU, but I think dismissively calling people who put time and thought into posting on here, 'strangers on the net' after YOU have asked for help (*so mumsnet, help me out*) is bloody rude.

I have learned myself that if you ask for advice on here, you don't always get the responses you want. They can be very unsettling and upsetting. But I have found it helpful to reassess my own views, and I think there is a lot of wisdom on MN, especially if you look at the majority view.

You do things your way, OP. You know what is right for your family. Lots of us think you could do more to protect your children and can't understand how you could breathe the same air as someone you think may have sexually abused your daughter, but we are all different, aren't we?

Proudnscary Sun 11-Nov-12 22:27:29

Well said tired

have been lurking. have no idea why op posted in the first place. only a complete ninny would convolute their family in such a way. dont believe for a second the nspcc person on that phone call agreed to limited contact plan and suggested not informing primary agenies. worried mil abusing dd? id have faced her down and told dh to get a grip if he complained. not wibbled on about creating safe areas of contact. they are all colluding in this including op.

BerylStreep Sun 11-Nov-12 22:59:59

OP, Apologies, I have only read the first couple of pages. I wanted to post, and I will read the rest of the thread.

Your MIL seems extremely inappropriate, and I think it is significant that you say she worked in play groups / nurseries in the past, along with the fact that age has difficulties in maintaining adult relationships.

Sexual abusers will seek out whatever opportunities they can to abuse - and it sounds like her choice of job could well be evidence of this.

If she has all this experience with young children, the excuse that she was 'inexpertly applying cream' just does not add up.

Why does she have difficulties maintaining adult relationships? Is it because other adults have had suspicions about her abusive behaviour and have either called her on it or she believes they may be about to do so, so she creates a diversion?

I think you should be speaking to social services. At the very least, it will put your concerns on record, and protect you and your DH. What if your twisted MIL turned the tables on you and DH and accused you both of molesting your DD. Would you be able to account if her hymen has been broken or there are other songs of sexual abuse? There may be other concerns from parents or nursery staff on record, and this will add to those.

Does your mil have access to any other children? Does she help out with any neighbours or family friends, any other grandchildren?

I think we are so conditioned to look out for male paedophiles, standing at school railings in their dirty macs (and sadly this is far from the truth), that we sometimes do our best to dismiss the idea that there are female sexual offenders also.

BerylStreep Sun 11-Nov-12 23:01:21

signs, not songs

Ra88 Sun 11-Nov-12 23:09:48

Cut her out . Why would he be putting cream on your dd if she is not sore etc .. Very strange it seems !

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sun 11-Nov-12 23:32:27

Beryl your advice is good but if you read the whole thread you would see that it has all been given 100x over by other posters, who frustratingly the OP now dismisses as 'strangers on the internet' whose opinions about how to proceed are irrelevant because they don't personally know her family. She did ASK for those opinions, but never mind that, eh?

The OP has decided that the best way to proceed is to maintain contact with the mil and try to avoid her being alone with the kids. Also claiming complete confidence in her dh's ability to protect the children. Never mind that he became 'a frightened child in the face of il bullying' and that even after what looks like serial examples of abuse 'he is not convinced it is nesscessary to keep mil from being alone [with the children].' Lots of people think wtf, but OP has left the thread, apparently because she doesn't like 'wtf'.

FWIW, I think your assessment is correct, that this woman is dangerous, probably a serial abuser whose past career in nurseries and playgroups is sinister rather than motivated by a normal affection for, and enjoyment of the company of small children.

I think this thread is a massive eye opener and very depressing in that it shows how abuse is perpetuated in action: parents unwilling to rock the boat, unwilling to face up to the intolerable, unwilling to unite against an abuser who is a close family member, the power of denial.

And it's also a good example of how pointless it feels giving advice on MN at times - when, having requested advice an OP is determined to ignore a vocal consensus just because it is unpalatable. sad

SundaeGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 00:14:04

Oh fgs.

OP, you're doing fine. There's loads of projection on this thread. I can't believe after all you've been through that there are people shrieking at you over the internet for following the advice you received from NSPCC. ( oh wait, and calling you a liar. Nice, Mme defarge, really nice - why would she make it up?)

I hope you are able to find some actual real life support of the more supportive kind.

Gay40 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:29:47

Sundae, it's not projection. It's classic "Everything will be OK as long as we don't rock the boat and upset folk." Predator heaven.

SundaeGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 00:45:57

Hmmmm. I wonder if NSPCC are quite well placed to deal with this? I'm sure they would defer to an internet forum if only they knew it was you guys.

Sounds to me like the OP has rocked the boat quite hard. Mil not allowed near for the next few months, then only in public places, DH going through counselling. Basically, the whole thing will be revisited at a time in the future now she's bought herself some time.

The OPcame on here looking for help dealing with this abuse and desperately worried about her daughter. You should be ashamed of yourself implying she's creating predator heaven when she's trying to protect her child.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 00:46:36

If you are saying I am projecting then I'd like you to explain why you think that exactly because I haven't actually got anything to be projecting over. It is a very manipulative thing to suggest because it basically allows all advice to be completely dismissed and can't easily be defended other than by sharing extremely private info about personal lives.

How can anybody even know that all the posters on this thread are posting bad advice in order to avoid anxiety over their own situations? Really? Come on, how can you even know multiple posters' personal experiences?

My personal history is of peer group sexual abuse from high school, bullying, childhood physical, emotional and psychological abuse of a relatively minor variety compared to some, some sexual abuse within abusive relationships, rapes, family court over access to dcs, police report about worries over child porn which was investigated but came to nothing but was still taken seriously in court despite police not taking action and the accusation being against the father for behaviour which didn't directly affect the children. It isn't anything I could project over, I haven't had an anxiety over this thread. I dont feel anxious about how i handled some similar things i experienced, i'm studying law, i believe in using the system to help yourself and I have always managed to do this myself from welfare rights to domestic abuse. I've never reported a rape and I understand the choice to not report something and the confusion of being a victim of abuse too, I get it isn't that simple, I've never experienced anything as bad as this and so I've never on this thread said "blah blah you are totally wrong and complicit" but there are certain things in the plan that worry me, they might sound mad to some people but male victims of female child abusers are the greatest documented risk to their own children. I'm not just pulling things out of thin air.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 00:48:02

And I agree she has rocked the boat quite hard but as I keep repeating this may only serve to place her as the focus of a crazy campaign to discredit her and separate dh from her.

BerylStreep Mon 12-Nov-12 00:54:49

Ok, have just read the full thread.

I am really struggling with this. Not only have you witnessed possible (probable) sexual abuse whilst it was happening, you intervened in a second episode at her house, and then there was a third attempt at a public restaurant, where she tried to take your DD to the toilet and you had to robustly intervene.

This woman will go to any lengths to get her repulsive paws on your DD.

I honestly don't understand the rationale of enabling a relationship to form between this woman and your DC. As your DC grow older, she will have more opportunity to use that relationship to access them (and abuse them) without your consent. In your first post you described how she tried to manipulate your DH to leave you so she could raise your DC on her own. What makes you think she won't try that again?

I really feel sorry for your DH, that he has had such an awful childhood, but if he is saying that no contact will jeopardise your marriage, then I think the decision is made. There is no way on this earth that someone like your MIL would be having any contact with my DC.

But then I have completely cut contact with my Dad, because he is a selfish narc who blows hot and cold as he feels like it, and I'm not prepared to expose my DC to that confusion. You can be sure as hell what my decision would have been if there had been the slightest hint of anything untoward with my DC.

I must also add that I find it dismissive in the extreme to dismiss people's views on this matter as projecting. Other people are seeing this situation as it is, from an objective position. With respect, I'm not sure that you recognise that.

BerylStreep Mon 12-Nov-12 00:59:48

Tired, have caught up now!

BerylStreep Mon 12-Nov-12 01:17:16

It has just brought to mind the experiences of a friend of mine. She was sexually abused by her BIL - her older sister's husband. The whole family were aware of 'concerns' but they thought they could protect her with vigilance.

They couldn't.

Years later, when she was giving evidence in court, she told the court how he abused her in crowded rooms - in the kitchen, in the living room, all while other members of her family were there, and they didn't wouldn't see it at the time and weren't able to protect her.

She was the first to stand up and report him. Once that silence was broken, scores of other people came forward - babysitters, nieces, nephews, and he had travelled all over the country as a lorry driver and abused children along the way. sad

Anyhow, off to bed.

joanbyers Mon 12-Nov-12 01:46:01

If the MIL is reported to the police, might the police not already have a record of previous such complaints, even if they didn't come to anything? Equally, isn't there a duty to report her to the police so that in future, not only to protect the DD here, but also for any other children she might come into contact with in the future.

With any kind of abuse, a police history will help so much, should you need them in the future.

EldritchCleavage Mon 12-Nov-12 02:07:49

I'd like to say I understand where some of the more... I won't say hysterical because that makes them sound crazy, they're nothing of the sort... shall we say the more concerned posters are coming from, but as I luckily don't have experience of childhood sexual abuse I'll never totally understand

That's a rather horrid post masquerading as sympathy.

OP, I'm sorry that the thread has become rather shrill, on both sides of the argument. I wish you and your DH all the best with this awful situation. I note what you did and said to MIL in the restaurant: I think this kind of forthrightness is the way to go in all your contact with her.

MadAboutHotChoc Mon 12-Nov-12 07:21:05

This woman has not only beaten up your DH and his brother when they were small but also has stuck her fingers up your DC's vagina....and you are still want to maintain face to face contact with her?!

That is an extremely fucked up situation.

I feel for your DCs sad

goralka Mon 12-Nov-12 08:14:48

I'd like to say I understand where some of the more... I won't say hysterical because that makes them sound crazy, they're nothing of the sort... shall we say the more concerned posters are coming from, but as I luckily don't have experience of childhood sexual abuse I'll never totally understand
not sure who originally wrote that but it is the epitome of cuntery
agree with madabouthotchoc 100 per cent

Gay40 Mon 12-Nov-12 08:52:36

I don't think it's hysterical at all. I've close family who work in the field with both perpetrators and victims of child abuse, and you would be amazed at how devious and manipulative paedophiles are. Yes, it has happened under controlled and supervised situations. Yes, it has happened in crowded rooms and family dinners and contact centres.
They all say the ONLY sure fire way of guaranteeing it doesn't happen again is no contact. Anything else is a risk.
I'll say it again - no one is trying to break up the marriage. But the DH in this situation cannot keep his daughters safe from his mother because he doesn't think there's a problem.

CinnabarRed Mon 12-Nov-12 09:23:42

This woman has not only beaten up your DH and his brother when they were small but also has stuck her fingers up your DC's vagina....and you are still want to maintain face to face contact with her?!

Of course the OP doesn't want to maintain contact. She's made it more than clear that if she had her way then the MIL would be gone from their lives. But she - the one who actually knows all the individuals concerned - has judged it to be impossible to achieve at this point in time.

So she's bought herself some time to get her DH's head to the right place. She's made it clear that this is a dealbreaker for her, but given that her family isn't even going to be seeing MIL for months to come, I agree with her that the deal doesn't have to be broken right now.

Previous posters have talked about survivors being abused in plain sight because family members didn't want to see. The difference here is that the OP is already vigilant to the threat from MIL and, if she and her DDs ever do end up in MIL's presence again (by no means certain as her DH may well come round in therapy) then she will be more than alert to the risks. She has already proved herself capable of standing up to MIL.

It's not fair to accuse her of lying about the NSPCC advice.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 12-Nov-12 09:29:25

I said it. I am really sorry, EldritchCleavage and goralka, I totally did not mean it to be horrid. I meant it at face value. I will never truly know what it's like to be abused as a child so I can only give, as it were, an outsider's view of the situation. I am coming from the point of view of an observer, not an expert. Furthermore I don't think anyone here was wrong as such. I just think that being really forceful about "must cut all contact now" was likely to be counter-productive at the stage OP and her DH were at. And indeed, now she has flounced.

I did think a couple of times whether to use the word "hysterical" and plumped for dismissing it up front rather than avoiding using it. However I see it does look like a sneaky bastardy introduction of the concept and I apologise again.

I'm getting royally pissed off at some of these posts.

Just because people are concerned about the welfare of OP's DD, doesn't mean they're hysterical.

Just because people KNOW what they're talking about, doesn't mean they're projecting.

The "strangers on the internet" dig is ridiculous. There are all manner of posters on here. Police officers, social workers etc. so some of these "strangers" know a great deal more about this stuff than you want to think.

Why did you post asking the advice of "strangers on the internet" in the first place? Or did you only want people to tell you what a stellar job you're doing, not letting an abuser take your daughter to the bathroom in a restaurant?

EVERYONE here has sympathised with OP. But have also pointed out the potential flaws in this plan to protect her DH and her marriage so the personal insults are getting a bit wearing to read.

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 09:43:18

I think we have to remember the 'culture of silence' is the advantage that paedophiles rely upon, there's really no excuse for putting your children at risk and the OP's DH sounds complicit.,

Whatnowffs Mon 12-Nov-12 09:50:29

I agree with you 100% Posie, now tht the OP has gone i will say what i really think and that is, it seems to me she is more inerested in protecting her DH and subesquently her MIL than her own children. This ia child protection issue. I went on a child protection course and the advice was, if you are suspicious of any sort of abuse - REPORT! Maybe MNHQ have done something? I hope so, those poor girls.

Smithson6 Mon 12-Nov-12 10:27:55

Oh for goodness sake. The OP has accessed advice and support from a leading child protection charity which provides a professional advice service for families dealing with suspected or actual abuse. What on earth do you think some media people who host a website are going to do instead? What a ridiculous thing to say.

MadAboutHotChoc Mon 12-Nov-12 10:33:41

Sadly the NSPCC is growing more like the RSPCA.

The RSPCA has lost the respect and support of several animal welfare organisations/people and I have heard stories about the NSPCC which suggest that they are going the same way.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 11:10:33

I don't think it is appropriate to now attack the op because she has gone. If it needs saying it should be able to be said to her face and not behind her back walter. I know everyone's upset.

I've stated the reasons I am concerned about the advice the op was given by NSPCC; it doesn't follow their protocols, she says they advised what officials would do and against reporting to them which would immediately make me think I was getting dud advice from a third sector organisation. There is something not right about it and I'm not accusing the op of lying, but that advice is not consistent with the NSPCC's own guidance or remit. I know reputable organisations and also the state give crappy advice fairly frequently. Yes, I also know they have statutory powers but they cannot override the state, they aren't above law. No third sector organisation should ever advise you not to report something, that is always bad advice, they may advise on what may happen if something is reported but shouldn't tell you not to.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 11:11:14

Sorry not Walter, whatnowffs!

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 12-Nov-12 11:31:36

What a horrendous situation for your dd to be in.

I'm not going to say what I think you should do regarding contact as several posters have already done so,and you already appear to have a plan and are determined to follow it.

However can I please urge you to also follow a plan that you can do along side yours.

Make a appointment with a solisiter and talk to him/ her about your concerns ask them to start a file for you detailing the day,time of your attendance the plan you have that you spoke to nspcc and that your dh has agreed to the plan and understands contact with his mother is banned and at this time he agrees.

You do not need him with you or to tell him to do this.

Start a diary and put in it as much as you can remember about things that have already happened and detail any subsequent interactions with mil inc but not limited to conduct towards dd basically every interaction.

Also inc in it dates/ times who else was present as well as dates times and content of discussions with dh regarding agreements you have made or requests made regarding safeguarding your dc's.including any future ones.
Do this on a paper diary not a computer and write it in pen.

And talk to someone that not only do you trust but has a reputable caricter and if push came to shove would be willing to get involved if needed actually ask them this before telling.

The reasons for the above are if in the future either 6 weeks 6 months 16 years the 2 things you are concerned about happening do ( mil repeating it or dh and you parting company) these are things that will help you and dd if there is either police involvement or you need to get court assistance with keeping mil away from dc's, you will have real time details of convos and contact with concerns plus your mothers support and a none related trustworthy person who would be willing to say " yes on such and such a time we had this conversation this helps evidence that you haven't just got ' nasty' as part of a divorce power play and could very well help a judge in either family court or criminal protect your dc's when it is beyond your control.

It can also help protect you from being accused of failing to protect your dd or at least show that you have tried should you ever have to do so.

With the utmost respect to your relationship as its obvious you love dh and this is in no wayan insult to him but you do need to consider that you may know more about a person than any other person but you will still not know what they will do if there entire life and comfort zone changes, if you for what ever reason part company it is impossible for anybody at all even you to predict how he will behave or what behaviours he will exhibit.

When separation or divorce happens both parties behave in unexpected ways, if they didn't we wouldn't have such huge services designed to resolve disagreements and they wouldn't have massive waiting lists. If deep down he can't believe it of his mother it is almost certain that dd being taken to visit places mil will be will become an issue that you will encounter.

You are quite correct that the likelihood of you being able to prevent this if dh is no longer trying to keep hold of you is slim so you have a duty to place yourself in the best possible position to protect dd and increase your ability to prevent mil having opportunity no matter what your circumstances are sadly the only persons vigilance you can rely on with certainty is your own do as much as you can to make sure that you won't be taken out of the equasion .

In an ideal world you could get an agreement drawn up by a solisiter and signed by you and dh confirming the risk and both your agreement to keeping mil away from dd, whilst not being compleatly legally binding it would show joint intent that would help if needed in family court,

But only you can know if dh would be willing to agree to such a thing, is he more likely to do so now whilst its still raw and he's on your side? If not then at least the other things may help more than nothing.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 12-Nov-12 12:37:39

I know you apologised for your post Annie, but I think it was offensive too. Not fair to make the assumption that those urging the OP to cut contact are child abuse sufferers, as you imply. Suffering abuse doesn't make someone incapable of being clear-eyed about this case.

I have no experience of child abuse, either personally or professionally and I have said I think the OP should cut all contact. I'm just a mum. I don't get why anyone would think family politics could trump protecting their child.

How can a choice between managing and eliminating risk be controversial?

If someone had done this to my daughter I would want to throttle them, not to sit down for a family lunch, carefully placing myself where they couldn't carry my child off to abuse them when I wasn't looking.

This thread is absolutely mind-boggling.

Smithson6 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:03:14

yes it is mind boggling.

Someone asking for support and being faced with posts detailing made-up conversations between her and her children where they accuse her of being complicit in their abuse is mind bogglingly offensive.

Calling the OP stupid, naive, speculating about what her husband may or not do in the future- particularly when she has said that she has been through all these scenarios with her adviser- is also mind boggling unhelpful.

Not understanding that she and her adviser are trying to manage the risk in the short AND the long term and just insisting she is in denial despite her explaining how well she has researched her options WITH PROFESSIONAL HELP - also mind boggling.

Hoping that MNHQ has done something? I mean what exactly do you imagine that they are going to do? and for what purpose?

Im not surprised she is gone and I feel really sad that she has had to read the posts here.

Everyone is allowed an opinion but some of you have been really offensive.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 12-Nov-12 13:36:21

Smithson that's bollocks, sorry.

OP has got masses of support, not that that IS what she asked for:

So mumsnet, help me out. I am I completely overreacting or is my concern legitimate. And if so what should I do?

That looks like one of the most explicit requests for advice I have seen on here.

Some people have been a bit strident, but it's an emotive subject and arguably child protection is everyone's business. It's been pointed out that the OP's advice from the NSPCC isn't consistent with their protocols.

If you think posts are offensive get MNHQ to take them down.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:00

And fwiw, isn't dismissing people who have invested time and effort into trying to give the advice YOU have asked for as 'strangers on the internet' a bit offensive as well?

Fact is most people on here think no contact is the way forward. That's the consensus of the advice. OP can take it or leave it, sure, but why bother asking for advice if you don't want to listen, and you think it's valueless anyway?

OP is arguing that she knows her husband and family and trusts him to protect the children, but she said herself he caves in instantly to bullying from the in-laws and still doesn't understand why MIL shouldn't be left alone with the children. That rings alarm bells with a lot of people on here, quite rightly. Because if that's the case, managing the risk isn't really all that safe, is it?

Mayisout Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:11

I agree smithson well put.

Well, you can all pat yourself on the backs because sure as hell no one else is going to post on here about suspicious behaviour by a family member after this browbeating of the OP.

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 14:10:46

But what did the OP expect? What was she looking for from posts? We're all in a heightened sensitivity mode re child abuse (thank goodness). Did she expect to post that she was going to allow minimal contact and everyone would pat her on the back?

It's child abuse not "shall we have sprouts for roast when I don't like them?" OP.

With child abuse you either report it to the authorities or you are colluding with the abuser, there really is no middle ground.

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:27

What if her MIL helps at a church/play group? Or does so in the future or has in the past?

LondonNinja Mon 12-Nov-12 14:21:44

If, OP, you think that this woman is abusing your child, REPORT HER. She has form if she has beaten her own kids. TBH, that in itself would be enough (for me) to ensure she had/has NO solo contact with any kids. What kind of granny is she, that beat up your DD's daddy, that has to be in their lives...? (Oh, and if she's abused him physically or otherwise, there is a danger he may revert to dissociating from the whole thing to cope, so don't rely on him for support or action – not criticising him but it's a possibility.)

As PosieParker says, there is no middle ground.

LondonNinja Mon 12-Nov-12 14:24:57

Oh, and you say DD1 seems OK. Well, IF she is being abused, she probably won't realise her trusted grandmother (because who else would you let take a child to the loo but a trusted person?!) is a child abusing pervert until she is much older and the can of worms is nice and big...

Please, if you are 'sick with worry', DO something.

CinnabarRed Mon 12-Nov-12 14:26:13

Fact is most people on here think no contact is the way forward. That's the consensus of the advice.

Actually, it seems to me that every single person thinks no contact is the way forward, including the OP. But she doesn't think that's achievable with her DH being in his current frame of mind. Cutting away the rancour, on both sides, I think the only difference between the sides is that some (the majority) think she's misguided in her assessment, and some (including me, not that that's worth much) think she's the only one here able to judge her DH's position. I don't think it boils down to more than that.

I'm just trying to take some of the heat out, just in case the OP is still reading.

Sockreturningpixie, I really like your advice about getting matters formally documented with a solicitor.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 12-Nov-12 14:32:55

I was trying so hard not to belittle the experiences of people who said on this thread they had suffered child abuse (not to imply that everyone with a certain point of view must have been abused), but sadly ended up having the opposite effect. I'm not a child protection professional either, nor worked in the childcare sector, so any comments I make have to be taken with that in mind. I am not belittling people who do have those experiences/training by not agreeing with them. That's what I was trying to get at.

If you would like me to have the post deleted I will. You may however prefer it to stand now several people have commented on it, so that the objections make sense. I did not mean to cause offence to anyone. Not that I've never waded into a thread with naily boots, because I have, and no doubt will again, but this is not the right thread for it IMO. So I will butt out quietly, from this one alone, if it will help.

Proudnscary Mon 12-Nov-12 14:34:43

I'm going to say this one more time then I'll give up.

Why for the love of God would OP or ANYONE facilitate and enable a relationship with someone they know to be manipulative, deceitful, hurtful, 'unbalanced' , 'unstable', 'obsessed with young children' - let alone someone they suspect of sexually abusing their child?

OP's h is so traumatised by his childhood he has blocked it out - and literally bears the scars.

Those who believe it is a good idea to go forward with Prison Guard Plan... to watch this foul woman like a hawk on several occassions a year are frankly insane.

If OP does not cut contact completely, she is enabling abuse. There are always opportunities to abuse - children are abused in the same room as other adults don't you all know that?


I'm now seriously wondering if the OP is true.

Maybe I'm just hoping it's not.

LondonNinja Mon 12-Nov-12 14:37:05

^^ WSS


Haven't gad time to read through the whole thread but honestly, trust your instincts and get rid! My dad was similar, turned out to be a real dangerous weirdo. don't wait til your dd is old enough to tell you herself. Your instincts are usually right, believe in them and don't feel guilty. She sounds like a horrid person even without the suspected abuse anyway! Poor you.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:47

OP needs to get this on record somehow.

Because if the marriage breaks down, the fact that OP has continued to allow the MIL to have contact with the children will count against her in court. They will say you are lying. I've been in court being cross examined at a fact finding hearing, they are brutal.

The only reason I won, was because doctors, teachers and then friends were witnesses the latter via emails which were time stamped and dated.

Maybe it might be worth printing out this thread and keeping it safe as a record just in case.

Yes this is very emotive, because very young chidlren are involved and it is obvious to us from your description that your eldest has suffered abuse at the hands of your MIL.

It is very emotive that we can't help.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 12-Nov-12 14:45:16

to clarify, its if in future if the marriage breaks down and OP wants to prevent contact with MIL.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 14:52:43

I tried to say that too fuzzy. I don't agree with the assertion that this needs to be managed in the family and not reported so that dh won't be able to take the dds to see MIL. There is nothing stopping him whether together or not, if the marriage breaks up and there has been no report and MIL uses the time to manipulate anyone who will listen about the op's accusations being a sign of her instability as a person then this plan will be key in undermining everything; the marriage, the care of the children and how much the court is able to protect them.

gosh smithson. you seem very, er, invested in the OP.

gosh smithson. you seem very, er, invested in the OP.

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

drizzlecake Mon 12-Nov-12 15:11:11


'rude and sneery' errrr, black pots and kettles come to mind!

Whatnowffs Mon 12-Nov-12 15:12:07

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Whatnowffs Mon 12-Nov-12 15:12:43

I would imagine MNHQ are aware of this thread though sad

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 12-Nov-12 15:16:58


I strongly suspect she's trying her hardest to deal with the fall out to this in her own home and quite possibly is very upset by everything

Perhaps she's acting on some advice or perhaps she's obtaining some more from Rl professionals or shock horror she may be trying to formulate an action plan.

Whatnowffs Mon 12-Nov-12 15:26:11

I'd like to apologise to the OP for my post at 15.12, totally out of order on my part - no excuse, its not really anything to do wiht the thread so i wont say what it was because it will be deleted, OP has posting history. I apologise again, very very sorry

yes. rather than earnestly soliciting advice here then turning and saying why would she be advised by a bunch of internet strangers. shame she didnt think of that before posting and having wasted decent caring peoples time to throw it in their face. lets remember the OP i a grown up. any child of hers is not. dont conflate the two.

Proudnscary Mon 12-Nov-12 15:33:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 12-Nov-12 15:55:13

I don't think it's bullshit. I don't think anyone would be sick enough to make up the scenarios described.

Just because we can't identify with the OP doesn't mean she's a fraud.

I can understand why people think the OP's attitude and approach is simply impossible to understand. She is hugely deserving of pity though, not being accused of being fake. Some people really do live in families that are this fucked up.

SundaeGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 19:46:49

'But what did the OP expect? What was she looking for from posts? We're all in a heightened sensitivity mode re child abuse (thank goodness). Did she expect to post that she was going to allow minimal contact and everyone would pat her on the back? '

Well, maybe she thought she wouldn't get shrieking sure-of-themselves harpies. Could you not have been a bit kinder? Allowed her a bit of time to come to? Many of you really have demonstrated some pretty unpleasant traits here.

And as far as the 'pat her on the back' stuff goes, then, frankly I think an arm around the shoulders and a brew is exactly what she could have done with from us. And then, yeah, pointing her in the direction of professionals (LIKE THE NSPCC).

The OP KNOWS HER CHILDREN COME FIRST. She is not complicit with an abuser or any such crap. The general tentative process of unpicking her DH's whole world has begun - can MN really not cope with the idea that that might move slower than they demand?

SundaeGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 19:51:33

'Sadly the NSPCC is growing more like the RSPCA.

The RSPCA has lost the respect and support of several animal welfare organisations/people and I have heard stories about the NSPCC which suggest that they are going the same way. '

^^What?! I cannot believe the arrogance of people claiming to know better than the NSPCC. You're getting way above yourself here. NSPCC are exactly the right people to be dealing with this. MN can offer support and concern and shoulder to cry on but actually, this sort of stuff requires delicate, experienced handling. And however well-versed anyone on here claims to be, there's no way of checking the credentials of anyone giving advice - it's just not appropriate.

^^What?! I cannot believe the arrogance of people claiming to know better than the NSPCC. You're getting way above yourself here

She hasn't claimed to know better. She's just said she hasn't heard all wonderful things about them. They're not the be all and end all in child protection you know.

MadAboutHotChoc Mon 12-Nov-12 20:46:14

Thank you Walter. Unfortunately I heard these less than wonderful stories from friends who work in child protection (i,e the real experts).

Have been thinking about this thread all day and I am still appalled and saddened that those who rightly say no contact is best for the DCs are being called harpies, hysterical etc.

Op has left so I wont be adding any more to this thread.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 12-Nov-12 20:49:19

Well I can tell you they are talking you friends are talking rubbish.

Darnley Mon 12-Nov-12 20:58:45

Am not going to comment on the original thread, but just thought I would point out that every referral made to the nspcc gets passed on to the duty team in social services to be dealt with by them. Nspcc rarely, if ever, get involved in the front end of child protection, other than taking the initial information.
They do a lot of the therapeutic interventions with families in the aftermath of a child protection investigation.
I speak as a children's social worker of over 20 years experience.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 12-Nov-12 21:16:21

The OP asked for advice and in the beginning got it. Unfortunately she did fall prey to posters who (IMHO) did then harangue her for not taking their advice immediately. She may cease all contact in the future. In the meantime, by the sounds of things, she is doing what she thinks is best for her family in the short and long term.

Like it or not, we are all strangers on the Internet. To start thinking otherwise is to become over invested in another stranger on the internet's life. As for "what did OP expect", no doubt she is far too concerned about her own family to worry about how MNetters will be equating her situation with the national mood regarding paedophiles. And rightfully so.

She has sought RL help from the NSPCC and is following that advice. I wish her all the best.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 12-Nov-12 21:23:43

I don't want to doubt you experience however I find it very hard to believe every single call gets referred on. Many are anonymous or just not traceable surely or insignificant and then what do duty teams do with these referals?

Snazzyfeelingfestive Mon 12-Nov-12 21:30:56

I also think sockreturningpixie 's advice about documenting all this safely with a solicitor is a very good idea, and if you're reading this still/again OP, I'd urge you to do it. You need some record for further down the line that you had these concerns at this time, and that has to be verifiable from outside your family group or your marriage, for it ever to be of any help to you or your daughter.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 12-Nov-12 21:44:58

That's exactly why. So it's a independent person.

Darnley Tue 13-Nov-12 05:05:06

The nspcc will pass the referral on even if it is anonymous, as the duty team may be able to identify the family from other sources. Once a referral is received, then it's dealt with in the same way as any other referral. The nspcc referrals don't get special treatment. If the duty manager feels the situation as reported warrants a closer look then that is what happens. This may be a visit, or just some phone calls.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 13-Nov-12 07:31:33

How do they know what duty team to pass it on to?

Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 07:37:48

Phone numbers have area codes troll.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 13-Nov-12 07:46:10

I still find it slightly hard to believe that all calls are traceable especially as many people use mobiles.

However I'm going to find this out for my self.

Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 08:12:56

Obviously not all calls are traceable and not all calls would require a referral, for example calls for advice about how to handle splitting up where there are no concerns about a child's welfare. Calls where there are concerns about a child's welfare are meant to be passed on to ss. The NSPCC say that in all their literature although one of my concerns about them is they don't make people aware that they pass on your concerns whether you like it or not and so capitalise on the trust people place in them as a third sector organisation.

CinnabarRed Tue 13-Nov-12 08:15:54

Have been thinking about this thread all day and I am still appalled and saddened that those who rightly say no contact is best for the DCs are being called harpies, hysterical etc.

I don't blame you, it would get to me too.

But to be fair I'm getting a little sick of those of us on the other side of the fence being called insane, complicit, apologists for child abuse.

I've reread this thread, and not one person has said or even implied that the OP is over-reacting or has somehow misinterpretted what she saw.

Not one person has said that contact with the MIL is "fine".

Not one person has said that the OP's plan is anything more than a short term solution to buy her time to arrive at the right long term answer i.e. no contact.

Not one person has told the OP that her back-stop ultimatum to her DH (which is therapy to get himself to a position where he can see what his MIL is and cut contact - not many people have picked up on her comments that failure on her DH's to access therapy to resolve his issues is a dealbreaker for her) is wrong.

What I have said is that, IMO, the OP's plan is the least awful alternative for now. I think it's pragmatic and wins time. Especially as there are no plans for the OP's DDs to be in the MIL's presence.

I may be wrong, of course. But in the meantime I respect the opinions of those of you who say that there is no place for pragmatism here. I disagree, but I do at least respect your opinions. I would be grateful if you would do the same for me.

this thread is typical MNGone Wrong.
too much hysteria. too much involvement, too much scaremongering and bad attitudes.

hope at least the op got somethign out of it.

ProcrastinatingPanda Tue 13-Nov-12 08:23:54

Too much hysteria...?

The OP found her mil with her fingers up her daughters vagina...

yes, she was alledgedly changing her nappy. I am not saying trhe MIL was in the right but the OP asked for advice and other people getting hysterical about a stranger is just nuts

ProcrastinatingPanda Tue 13-Nov-12 08:30:55

No the daughter doesn't use nappies anymore.

Smithson6 Tue 13-Nov-12 08:33:09

YY to Cinnabars comments but would also add what someone said upthread - that this thread could well put off anyone else in a similar situation asking for advice & support and that is a real shame.

So this thread, in that context is also doing its own special little bit in keeping people in this situation isolated and alone.

The OP hasnt "flounced"- how inappropriate a word is that in the context of this discussion- she has disengaged because she was being treated with open hostility.

Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 08:45:58

I'm not saying there's no place for pragmatism, I did pick up on that and part of my reasoning is that I don't think you can force someone into therapy, if you do I don't think they will necessarily achieve much in it unless they want to be there. I think it is pretty much the same ultimatum as no contact but with more risks to the dds and still a risk to the marriage and dh - as you can't know he is in therapy or what he talks about if he does go/any progress he is making, therapy before you are ready can just turn you against therapy, no contact or reporting to ss/police if contact continues isn't the same as forcing him to confront his past as his need for denial can be taking into account much more kindly "I know you/we can't deal with this..." I think this way is less pragmatic and riskier and fails to grasp that people need to come to this in their own time and if/when they do it may take more than a decade to start feeling better.

Can you stop calling people hysterical please?

It implies a certain lack of reasoning and the people who are concerned have damn good reason.

Nobody thinks her DD is in any immediate danger. But it's a little hard to stomach reading a plan that involves covering for an anise because there are adults who are old enough to look after themselves.

sheeplikessleep Tue 13-Nov-12 08:52:49

If I caught my MIL in the situations you described OP, there's no way I could even be the same room as her, let alone let my children in her company.

Please encourage your DH to seek counselling, even go to counselling together. An objective outsider might help your DH to deal with his past, and only through doing that will he be able to deal with this current awful situation. I think you need to focus on your DH seeking counselling to enable him to process everything.

LaCiccolina Tue 13-Nov-12 08:57:50

Please please listen to ur instincts. Reading this brings back some very painful stuff regarding an uncle. Entirely similar in description. I was 3. It stopped as we stopped staying there. I don't remember why. Just we did. I think had I got older it would have gone further. I consider myself lucky.

Don't ignore. U have instincts for a reason. Please. It is worth the fights and recriminations that no doubt will ensue. Im sorry its happened. U could be off a bit but the shades of grey here truly are worth it.


Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 09:06:05

But I've also been, I don't know, concerned I suppose is the best word I can think of by some of the harsher responses. I'm concerned about what smithson says but also the interpreting of the advice the op got from NSPCC (which is different to their protocol) as the advice of the NSPCC.

LondonNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 09:08:03

If someone is already worried sick (OP's words), and the issue is this serious and criminal (digital rape), then there is no pussyfooting to be done. If people are scared to ask advice about abuse because they fail to recognise the gravity of a situation, shame on them. To even ask this about a family member, one must surely harbour severe doubts? This is reminding me of a large corporation that's currently navel-gazing instead of focusing on the crimes committed.

Child abuse merits a strong reaction. It's not a recipe for chocolate cake we are discussing. And as for the husband, he has his issues and needs help because of his mother but this little girl needs help now, or guaranteed, she'll need therapy in years to come. I hope the OP is OK and I hope her DD is being kept from her toxic grandma.

The word hysterical in the context of child abuse makes me sick. Its connotations are deeply insulting. It – the issue of child abuse – makes me extremely angry, not hysterical, and that is an appropriate reaction.

but this is a forum. give the advice, be a shoulder, move on. don't harange the op, would you harange a real life friend this much?

LondonNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 09:21:26

Haven't harangued anyone, thanks.

And yes, if a friend was pussyfooting about someone molesting their child, I'd find it very difficult to, er, move on. I can't bear the apathy of people around something so awful as child abuse. This is now winding me up (the navel-gazing crap, not the OP, to whom I have nothing but concern).

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 13-Nov-12 09:23:48

But offred that is not what was by implied by Darnley who posted that all calls made nspcc where pass on to the duty team. I queried that as there is not just one duty team there are many different referral and assessment teams, duty teams, child protection teams in each town city and county across the U.K and many are structured differently so the duty team. That is what I was questioning. The implied knowledge that the nspcc will be passing this one any way is just incorrect.

CinnabarRed Tue 13-Nov-12 09:29:13

I can't bear the apathy of people around something so awful as child abuse

It's not apathy. That's the point I'm struggling to get across. Neither is it deliberately averting our gaze. It's patently obvious that the poor OP is staring into the abyss without flinching, poor woman.

It's a differing opinion on what the best solution is in the short term.

Offred, thanks for your considered response re the appropriateness of therapy for the DH. My (hopefully considered) reply is that only the OP can judge whether her DH is ready for therapy or not.

Can you stop calling people hysterical please?. I'm not sure if that was aimed at me, but I haven't called anyone hysterical. And I'm not planning to. Because I don't think you are.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 13-Nov-12 09:37:29

I do agree on that although I hold a differing option, I'm not sure there is much hysteria, my main concern is that there are some inaccurate assumptions being made that should be highlighted.

I do agree with much of the other options being expressed, but I truly believe that further involvement and investigation just now will not be helpful of beneficial and rightly or wrongly will not produce a different outcome, so I think the stress caused and risk must be in proportions and I strongly believe the op is capable of managing this.

LondonNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 09:43:10

CinnabarRed, I'm not sure what the OP thinks, as the poor woman hasn't posted in a while. But I think she most definitely is flinching (and, frankly, strangers or not, we all should be).

The apathy comment, FWIW, was not aimed at you.

CinnabarRed Tue 13-Nov-12 09:47:48

Maybe flinching. But not looking away. Not ignoring.

Sorry if I was over-sensitive about the apathy comment. It's just that I truly don't think anyone on this thread is expressing anything close to apathy. Sadly, one only needs to read the news to see that in RL far too many people are apathetic.

LondonNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 09:57:55

No worries, CinnabarRed.

Methinks it's actually useful for the OP – I hope – and any others reading who are perhaps unsure about this woman (the MIL)'s behaviour, to see the strength of feeling here. It's validating OP's concerns: she's not being silly or over-sensitive or unduly suspicious in the slightest.

OP, I hope you are OK. Please, if you wish, let us know.

Proudnscary Tue 13-Nov-12 12:28:12

I just wanted to say sorry to OP for voicing my suspicions about the validity of her posts. It was wrong of me to say that (long since deleted).

I stand by absolutely everthing else I said - I think she's making a huge mistake as I have told her in a PM - but I wish her the very, very best in what is a dreadful situation.

Gay40 Tue 13-Nov-12 13:56:10

The mistake is in underestimating the MIL. I feel very sorry for the OP, it's a dreadful position to be in, but there are no compromises with a child's safety. Many people think they can manage the risk. They can't - especially with an undermining partner.

villagegossip Tue 13-Nov-12 14:29:51

OP, if you are still reading this, please please put your dc's 1st. I am someone who was abused by my uncle and Grandmother enabled years of it - I know only too well how little opportunity they need sad

Your dh may feel that you can keep them safe with minimal contact but it is a huge risk to take. He may well be in denial of his own abuse, but you must really put your foot down and voice your concerns to him again.

My dm had her suspicions but my dad wouldn't believe it of them and wanted to brush it under the carpet and for family visits to remain the same. This ensured it continued for years in snatched opportunities and it still affects me today.

I struggle to understand why my dm didn't do more to protect me and have not had any relationship with my dad for years because of it.

Please, think very carefully - do what you have to do.

Proudnscary Tue 13-Nov-12 14:32:31

I'm so sorry villagegossip sad

And I agree with you 100%

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 13-Nov-12 19:42:55

I confess I haven't read all of the thread, so ignore me if his has already been brought up, but.... does she have access to any other children? Does your BIL have children? It may be worth talking to him (or your DH talking to him, or you talking to your SIL).

If she does have access to other children, I would be thinking about reporting it.

Rowanhart Tue 13-Nov-12 20:40:00

Rather than arguing with OP why not offer wider support and advice in regards to her decision?

I can see why you want to continue with this plan of action. It is important for you to protect your family as a whole from the pain and distress an allegation, would bring, particularly as you believe your child is not at risk now. It is not an easy position to be in.

However, could I suggest one other thing? Wait until the next time she tries to do something inappropriate with DD such as take her to the bathroom (which she will) and confront her on her behaviour immediately, saying how inappropriate you find her insistence you take her to the toilet when you've repeatedly asked her not too. I'd also add how concerned you were by the application of nappy cream.

Do it calmly and matter of fact, but enough for your company to hear. I think that it is the silence around the topic which is one of the biggest issues here. If she asks what you are suggesting just keep saying you found it uncomfortable given you'd asked her several times not to, but do not use the abuse word as she will use this to make herself a martyr.

I think it will have the desired effect of a) completely stopping her behaviour; 2) ensuring others know and 3) She will cut contact with you and your children as she has been caught.

Cluffyfunt Tue 13-Nov-12 21:52:39

I can't see what your DC gain from continuing a relationship with your inlaws.

I can see that it might be unpalatable/scary for your DH to cut contact.

Why don't you tell DH to see them alone if he wants to?

At least your little girl would be safe.

If your little girl has the misfortune to remember any of these incidents I believe that she would find it devastating that you facilitated contact with her GM.

Please dont bank on her not remembering.
I have memories where I couldn't have been more than 18mths old.
I would give anything to not remember and it has torn me apart since having my own DC.
My memories are like a smashed mirror -disjointed and all over the place.

I no longer see my DM.
I did have a good relationship with her but the more I remember, the harder it is to love her and other things.

I wish you, your DH and your DC well and I'm sorry if what I've said has upset you more.

LondonNinja Wed 14-Nov-12 15:30:51

So depressing that there are still posts encouraging the OP to let the child have contact with a woman suspected of child abuse.

Please, please, please, please don't give her an opportunity to do whatever the hell she is doing with the un-needed, unwanted nappy cream and your daughter's body.


IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 16:18:29

London, whose encouraging the op to let the child have contact?

LondonNinja Wed 14-Nov-12 16:24:38

Oh, I don't want to start a war here by naming names... But it really makes me sad that something that is as serious as this is being treated 'carefully' so as not to offend the rest of the (adult) family when it should be shouted about.

The priority is the child and not anyone else, IMHO. Sorry if I'm offending anyone who thinks otherwise, but I don't see this – child abuse – as a situation with any grey areas.

On the whole, this thread is filled with great advice, and sadly too much of it is from those who know all too well of which they speak...

Rowanhart Wed 14-Nov-12 16:42:59

I do t think anyone is encouraging contact.

There's a difference between that and offering ways of ensuring safe contact should she be in a position where contact is happening.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 16:55:52

There is no such thing as safe contact or as safe no contact. There is risk to dd, to dh, to the op. The goal of achieving safety is unachievable in my mind.

CinnabarRed Wed 14-Nov-12 16:55:57

The priority is the child and not anyone else, IMHO. Sorry if I'm offending anyone who thinks otherwise

I don't think anyone at all thinks otherwise. Not one person.

CinnabarRed Wed 14-Nov-12 16:57:19

There is no such thing as safe contact or as safe no contact. There is risk to dd, to dh, to the op. The goal of achieving safety is unachievable in my mind.

Oh Offred, maybe you're right. God, it's awful.

If only that awful woman would drop dead.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 16:58:11

I disagree cinnabar, I think quite a few people think saving the marriage is a priority and sparing the dh's feelings some others.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 17:00:03

I think those things are concerns. I do really think there is no safe plan, perhaps keeping dd safe is achievable but none of the plans are safe.

offering ways of ensuring safe contact should she be in a position where contact is happening

This is the bit people like me just can't understand. Should she be in a position where contact is happening implies that it is out of her control. But it's not. She doesn't have to ever let that woman set eyes on her innocent children, ever again.

The contact if they split argument is a red herring too IMO. Because if she was worried about that, SS/Police/Courts etc could help to ensure that DH wouldn't have unsupervised access if he couldn't be trusted not to expose the children to an abuser.

She says she fully trusts DH to respect her wishes anyway. So she should know that he would never do that, no?

Rowanhart Wed 14-Nov-12 17:03:25

I don't think anyone thinks that.

But the OP has spelt out her choice. My first response to her was urging her to cut all contact. That's not her choice. Me jumping up and down and telling her I think she is wrong isn't going to help.

So I'm offering added advice to try and make her choice safer. And hoping that it will force MIL into cutting contact and expose her for what she is.

CinnabarRed Wed 14-Nov-12 17:19:55

Offred, I may have this wrong, but I think that the people concerned for saving the OP's marriage are only concerned in the context that, if they separate, then the DH might take the DDs to visit MIL without even the protection of the OP. At least that's my interpretation.

I do also take waltermitty's point that if OP involves outside agencies then the DH shouldn't be given unsupervised contact. I do hope that's right, but some of the stories on here of abusive XPs/XHs being given unsupervised contact would make me feel very anxious about relying on it, in OP's position. What if they split and he was given unsupervised contact? It would be unbearable.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 18:05:25

Cinnabar - perhaps although on a lot of other relationships threads there is a massive emphasis on "staying together" at terrible costs so I wouldn't be sure.

The trouble with other relationships threads where there are horror stories about family court is we can't know what happened in court or in the relationship or what the decision was or why. I have seen threads where the op was complaining about their ex getting access, about them having been given supervised access but them not realising that supervised access is never going to be forever and at some point if the parent proves themselves they will be able to have unsupervised access. That isn't a "horror story". It is up to the resident parent to assert the children's needs on their behalf from then on in. For that parent to make use of processes that will protect the children. Some people may end up with an order for unsupervised access because they haven't demonstrated the risk well enough to and that comes down to things such as managing the situation within the family.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 18:08:31

That's why I think, horrible as it is, there is always going to be a risk in each choice, the op will always have a terrible burden of managing that risk. What is absolutely crucial to the safety of the Children is accurate risk assessment and appropriate action.

Rowan - that's all I was doing and I kept getting shouted down about the NSPCC. The thing is I don't believe the op has accurately assessed the risk posed by dh or the full extent of the risk posed by FIL or MIL.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 14-Nov-12 18:25:28

I think the problem with the posts about the nspcc offred is that some of the posts no only yours where just plain and simply inaccurate and personally I thought it important to point those inaccuracies out as it is relevant to the accuracy of what OP was advices. I don't wish to go back over that but I think it's important to respect that.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 18:45:51

I don't agree though troll, they weren't inaccurate, if you are going to accuse me of it i'd like you to specify exactly what was inaccurate. You consistently misconstrued my posts about the NSPCC - which were simply that the advice the op was given was not consistent with either the NSPCC's own guidance or the remit of a third sector organisation working jointly with the state and so I would be sceptical about blindly following it as authoritative. Those are not really all that subjective as statements and perhaps you'd care to go back down to the links I posted to the NSPCC's own literature on it and have a look?

The NSPCC are not the last word in child protection which is the dangerous claim that is being made repeatedly about them, they are a charity with some statutory powers. They have credibility, they do not have authority above the state.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 19:03:19

The op is compleatly correct in being concerned about what would happen if they split.

Sadly allegations of abuse of any type in the absence of an actual criminal conviction are very differcult to get treated as they should be in contact stuff.unless the other parent is honest about the abuse.

If they part company and he remains adiment mil did nothing and didn't abuse him either and it goes as far as court he is more likely than not to end up with unsupervised contact. In the absence of the op being able to prove he also believed it to be an issue at the time.

Him getting unsupervised contact would in all likelihood turn into a green light for him to take dc's there because " well the court didnt agree with you so it can't be true" or "I got unsupervised so don't think you can tell me what to do"

It's a sad fact that if you split and all is not rosey stuff often becomes a my time your time or a controling/ annoying each other battle of wills thing.

I've seen it happen even with actual convictions.( rare I know but not unheard of)

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:08:01

Of course he would get unsupervised contact, he isn't a risk to the children, that's not the risk I'm talking about. The risk is that failing to inform the authorities about your concerns about MIL NOW when you are concerned and when you have no reason to make it up means you would not have to rely on informing them AFTER the split when everything would be dependent on how seriously that risk was taken by the system and when it would be viewed sceptically by the system because of the two questions "why did you not report it at the time if you were concerned?" And "why are you choosing to bring it up now?"

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:28

And I think this plan carries a high risk of leading to a split because he is being placed in a position of trust that he may not be capable of fulfilling.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 21:13:28

I was aiming that at the poster who said them splitting was a red herring not you.

I agree with your view on the potential issues hence why I advised her to document with a solisiter preferabley if possible including a letter from her dh.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:16:21

Don't you think courts have to sift through a huge amount of claims such as this everyday? People involved in lawmaking/administration tend to believe in the system and I think there will be a tendency to listen with incredulity to someone who claims to have failed to report an interrupted sexual assault on their toddler because they wanted to manage it in the family to try and keep the family stable for the children and then tries to rely on that claim to restrict the other parent's access arrangement? They will at least be sceptical about the truth of that.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:17:23

I said them splitting was a red herring, I've been saying that all along.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:22:41

And documenting with a solicitor would not be likely to help. People will find it hard to understand why someone wouldn't complain to the police etc about something so serious. The court would understand that the split happened because one party accused MIL of sexual abuse and the other party wouldn't have it, what they would need to be convinced of is what the truth is and they may find it hard to believe that someone who really believed their child was being targeted for sexual abuse would fail to actually report it.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 21:24:43

In the context of an access case where the children's act sets out a right for the child to have contact with both parents which in practice is a right for both parents to claim contact with the child. You would need to prove the mil was a risk and dh was going to take dds to see her.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 22:05:43

I thought you said them splitting up was likely rather than not relevant.

Are you aware how important things like diarys and third party disclosure inc via a solicitor can be when it comes to historical allegations?

It can be extreamly helpful and at the very least will prevent her dh from claiming its the first he's heard about it.

It's helpful when it comes to all types of abuse that at the time do not get reported.

As much as I agree that it should be reported if it won't be at least evidence suspect behaviour and the context.especially as there is no immediate risk to the child.

As things stand at the moment the op did not directly witness anything that is likely to get a conviction she has a suspicion no matter how valid and I personally would never let my kids within 100 yards of mil again but she is dealing with another adult who has pr and thinks she's mistaken,that wouldn't phase me but it would phase loads of people

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 22:09:36

No I said this plan I think makes splitting up more rather than less likely because of the burden it places on dh and that the dc are not safe whether there is contact or not whether they split up or not, it is all a case of risk assessment/management.

I doubt dh would lie about why they split up, he's trying to protect his denial not his mother as such isn't he?

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 22:11:24

I get it, I get that it's hard, I haven't criticised the plan just the risk assessment and the lack of reporting which may make trouble later I think.

Gay40 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:11:43

Fact: the only safe contact with a paedophile is No Contact (or through a ouija board according to my professional friend). Everything else can be debated round the houses til the cows come home and to no avail.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 22:19:38

If he admits to splitting up because he didn't believe someone who was trying to protect his child it's not going to put him in a great light is it?

Not only will he need to protect his denial but he will have to defend his lack of belief in his dc's abuse. Thats a fairly big reason to lie about it because if he tells the truth he comes across as a shit dad.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 22:34:28

They wouldn't split up for that reason though, they'd split up if he believed it wasn't true and couldn't be married to someone who could think that or who would make that up.

Offred Wed 14-Nov-12 22:35:17

Only comes across as a shit dad if the abuse is believed.

LondonNinja Wed 14-Nov-12 22:46:41

The risk, as I see it, is that a court may see a 'new' accusation of abuse (or suspected abuse) as spiteful/fictional. Worse, possibly, the lack of saying anything at the timemay be seen as negligent...

LondonNinja Wed 14-Nov-12 22:47:51

time may

Sorry - on silly phone thing

piprabbit Wed 14-Nov-12 23:17:28

The OP says that her family will not be seeing MIL for the next three months or so. In that time, her DH is planning to access counselling. Meanwhile the OP is wrestling with a situation which threatens to destroy her family unless she tackles it with a calm, coherent strategy.

It seems unfair to try and push her into making instant decisions when she doesn't need to. I'm sure that she would be ready to take action more swiftly if the situation changes and the risk to her DCs becomes more immediate.

I do think she should log her concerns with an independent person, such as a solicitor or her GP. And I would hope that she spends the next three months working to help her DH understand why there must be no future contact under any circumstances.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 14-Nov-12 23:37:54

London I'm not sure she would be considered she removed her dc's from risk and is preventing them from being in danger and has sought professional advice.

Isetan Thu 15-Nov-12 06:54:20

This isn't about your MIL.  This about your husbands inability to confront and come to terms with the abuse he suffered as a child and his ability to deal with it as an adult. Secondly, it's about your desire or need to parent your scared husband.  As much as you empathise and sympathise with what happend to your husband as a child, your children are at risk from his denial as an adult.

"Your" compromise (take ownership of this, they're not the NSPCCs children" is about you prioritising him and your marriage.

What are the safety protocols of your compromise? What would happen, god forbid, if you weren't around to police it?  A note attached to your  will doesn't cut it OP, not against an experienced manipulative abuser and her co-dependent (your husband).  Does your GP, your family, SS, the police know of your 
concerns? Anonymous chats with the NSPCC, again, don't cut it.

This is a child protection issue, your children. Your vigilance about protecting your children's needs is compromised while your focus is on your husbands wants.  Get the books recommended up thread and seek out counseling for yourself, unfortunately some of the dysfunctional traits of his upbringing have already transferred to your marriage. 

Losing contact with his father, not being able to stop him letting his mother having unsupervised contact if you were to divorce are all excuses and part of the denial which inhibits you in cutting contact now rather than in the theoretical future where  he faces his demons.  Get your concerns on record now .

For all of his marvelous traits as a husband and father he fails on the basic task of being a parent, protecting his children from harm.  By all means support him in seeking much needed professional help, but don't participate in this dysfunction because your not protecting him, your doing the opposite, your letting his inability to deal with his issues put his children at risk.

I'm not having a go Op, but I grew up in a home where physical and sexual abuse was prevalent.  I witnessed a fair amount of the abuse, god only knows what other horrors my siblings endured.  Cutting contact based on what you know and saw should be a given, I shudder to think of the traumas that your husband experienced but can't or won't talk about.

His trauma suffered as a child and how he relates to both his parents as an adult are at the root of why he allows the unthinkable, what's your reason?

Isetan Thu 15-Nov-12 06:59:41

Dysfunction should be challenged not accommodated.  Please op, do what you know at your core is right.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 07:15:42

She hasn't removed her dds from risk sock and she hasn't broached the question o what risk does dh pose as a male victim of a female abuser, the advice she got from the NSPCC was not consistent with their protocols and so if the call was anonymous and not recorded/nothing was reported/referred then how will she prove that?

LondonNinja Thu 15-Nov-12 08:20:03

Sock, I don't think it's enough to leave the MIL be (she's a dangerous, manipulative freak,frankly).

What Isetan says is spot on. I'm afraid prioritising this dysfunctional marriage and 'containing' the abuse is inadequate.

LondonNinja Thu 15-Nov-12 08:28:52

Yes, exactly Offred. I think there is a danger of people in future saying 'what mum would tolerate that if it was really going on?'

I believe you OP, just to be clear.

LondonNinja Thu 15-Nov-12 09:20:41

OP, I've re-read your original post. It's extremely shocking. Get angry. Get furious on your DD's behalf. It'll give you the drive you need to see the wood from the trees. Fast-forward 15 years or 20 or 30 and picture a woman who secretly wonders why her loving mum saw fit to let grandma carry on despite knowing what she did. And she will recall you interrupting them and it happening again... And when I say 'carry on' I mean 'go unpunished' - it deeply harms an abused person when others fail to react to the severity of the situation. It's called secondary abuse. It's a terrible situation you are in but it could get worse years down the line. Your MIL is vile.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 15-Nov-12 09:50:03

. fire, at what point have I said leave the mil be? That is a gross misrepresentation of anything I have said.

She has removed the immediate risk to the dc's as she has made sure they will have no contact with mil for at least 3 months. If mil can not get near them they are not at risk from her,

Unless you are now ramping this up even more and saying you think dad is going to start sexually abusing them? The only risk from him is that he will take them to visit mil however the op has already said if they are together she can make sure this does not happen for at least 3 months.

If they part company she cannot do this straight away with out risking serious emotion harm to the kids as well as behaviour that could backfire massively and lead to him having more unsupervised contact and increasing the risk that he will take them to see mil. This is reduced massively if she was able to show evidence to a family court that her dh also had a intention to prevent mil having contact unsupervised due to the situation.

Given his inability to adequately supervise her due to the dynamics of there relationship and his current need to find a innocent reason for the strange nappy cream use and interest in toileting supervision, its not a hard leap to make that the supervision should not come from him, again that could be addressed in court.

The op is not colluding she is not covering up she is preventing contact with mil whilst she attempts to decide how best to move forward at the same time as trying to increase her husbands ability to understand what happened to him and protect his own children.

These steps are all actions and could help her if she was ever required to address the issue in court.its not doing nothing it's just not doing what you would prefer her to do.

Out of interest would you care to actually confirm what risk dh poses as a male victim of a female abuser is it different to any other victim or is it just limited to the risk that he may facilitate contact with mil?

And out of interest how do you reckon ss or the police will respond to an allegation of mil being over interested in taking a grandchild to the loo and having cream on her fingers combined with a strange atmosphere, and an allegation of historical abuse towards dh despite him not saying he was, no evidence of there being any? An investigation of a suspicion of odd behaviour because let's not forget that's all it is the op did not see anything concrete can cause more issues as if there is a lack of evidence to proceed people tend to behave like they have been found innocent as do family members.

Fwiw I think based on the info given that yes mil is a abuser I think the op prevented and interrupted attempted sexual abuse and I think mil should be locked up. If I was the op I would have created as much drama a possible so everyone knew what was happening and called the police I would have also thrown out my husband if he didn't instantly support that and then I would very promptly move away from the reach of family court to prevent any contact order. I would never allow my children to be in the company of anyone who I even thought was a risk. But clearly the op does not have the resources I do nor does she have the support or the experiences, and my husband would never have been a consideration for me given that I never really liked him that much anyway and I had no delusions about keeping my family together.

LondonNinja Thu 15-Nov-12 10:04:36

I said the bit about 'leaving the MIL be' so I'll address that: I'm not having a go at you and sorry if you feel I was misrepresenting you. My overriding feeling is that this awful woman is being tolerated (contained, avoided, call it whatever) to keep the peace when the more serious issue, the immediate issue, is to alert SS or police as to what she is suspected of doing. She has form; her son bears the scars (mental and physical). Perhaps OP's DH cannot take action - it's his DM we're talking about after all, and abusers rely on the conflicted love that exists between them and their victim despite what they do - so, at some level perhaps he would want someone to be his advocate, to spare him doing it. I don't know, I'm just trying to think of all angles...

She is a twisted, vile, manipulative thing. I cannot bear that innocent people - the child(ren), her son, her DIL etc are the ones who have to plan around her. She should be the one removed from their lives.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 10:15:46

Male victims of female abusers have a statistically higher chance of becoming an abuser themselves.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 10:20:06

The police would investigate ss may not, neither may take any action at all, that's not the point of reporting the reporting would be to support the op in her position.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 15-Nov-12 10:27:21

Offred any chance you could link to a study that supports that, I would be very interested in reading any recent ones.

ArtfulAardvark Thu 15-Nov-12 10:42:58

Personally I think the Fan has done the right thing, she has a gut feeling but no proof that something is wrong and has taken steps to ensure her mother in law will not be alone with her child as advised by the NSPCC.

I think it is promising for her husbands recovery too that he agreed to rule mother in law out via their will.

I also think the she has done the right thing in stepping away from this thread!

EldritchCleavage Thu 15-Nov-12 12:28:54

she has a gut feeling but no proof that something is wrong

No. OP's evidence is not conclusive proof but it is persuasive evidence that the MIL has abused her DD. And this is not a situation where one needs or ought to wait for conclusive proof before acting.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 15-Nov-12 12:57:45

The op has acted, just not the way some people think she should.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 13:26:22
Smithson6 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:33:11

The husband has not reported that he was a victim of sexual abuse though has he? Making assumption after assumption is just not helpful.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 14:39:43

No, but he hasn't reported he has been abused at all. I'm not assuming he has. I'm assessing risks. There is a risk he has been abused, a risk that abuse was sexual in part at least. Saying he has not disclosed therefore there is no risk is not wise. He is not demonstrating to be a risk himself, he may not be a risk himself but it is necessary to be aware of all the risks, the full situation, before you make a choice over what things you think matter in your case and what don't. I think the dh is in denial about the mil but I think op may be a little bit in denial about dh; specifically over whether he is a risk, in what way that might be and also how he might come to terms with what she believes is in his past, how long that might take, what might be involved and that he may never confront it.

Smithson6 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:48:29

He is going to access therapy with a view to figuring out his relationship with his parents. He may recover memories of abuse, he may not. If he recovers memories they may be trustworthy, they may be not. Therapy has a legacy of being a bit dicky on occasion regarding new memories of abuse in adults here. Either way, what you are describing is not a risk assessment, it is making assumptions which are not based in any evidence. And you are talking about people's lives.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 15:28:54

Except that I haven't actually made any assumptions. I have said I don't think the op has fully considered basically the other side of the coin - that her dh might be a risk and if so how or that therapy doesn't necessarily offer any solution or may make things worse. I haven't said "she hasn't thought of xyz" or "he is blah blah" or "therapy won't do anything to help" or made any other assumption.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 15:29:55

You are ignoring the significance of the subjective terms I am using.

Smithson6 Thu 15-Nov-12 15:45:24

except that she has considered it. She said that she had talked through all the scenarios with her adviser. They are not going to base a risk assessment on the assumption that her partner HAD been abused as a child and was therefore himself more likely to abuse their children and therefore himself a high risk are they? When they don't know that? That is a whole string of assumptions right there.

She has thought it through properly but like someone said upthread- she just not doing what you want her to do.

fandomfanny Thu 15-Nov-12 15:57:42

Oh gods i know i'm going to regret this.
You have made it pefectly clear that there is nothing i can do to convince you i have fully considered and assessed this. Frankly i am disgusted at you asserting that he poses a risk to his children as an abuser because he may have been abused as a child.
The study you cite is 11 years old. It deals with a population who are all in need of forensic psychologist support. Even then it is not 100% of those who are sure they were abused by a female perp who went on to abuse others. For you to extrapolate from that that my dh poses a significant risk to my children as a potential abuser says far more about you than him.
You've assumed a lot of thinngs, things about me, my dh and what I may have thought about or not. You've then used those assumptions to decide what I should do and when told you are wrong in your assumptions you have said that you don't believe me.
I think you should really think about how it would feel to a male victim of child sexual abuse by an adult female to read your contributions to this thread. Can they never have a family in your eyes? Your attitude is a huge part of the reason I walked away from this thread. What point is there engaging if one of the most vocal posters does not believe what I am telling them? You are ignoring how offensive it is to present your opinions, based on assumptions, as facts about me and my dh. You are ignoring what I have said. Your advice, which as I understand it, is to leave my husband and let him have only supervised contact as he poses a risk, in your assessment, of abusing my children, is advice I will not be following because you are wrong. There is nothing you could say that would convince me that your over the internet risk assessment of him is more accurate than the one I have conducted.

Everyone else: I'm still reading i really have no idea why. I'm afraid that I remain convinced I am doing the right thing by my daughter. I contacted the nspcc again, spoke to someone else and got the same basic advice. I thank you all for your contributions, especially those who've shared personal stories on and off thread. I'm afraid I don't think this thread will be a useful place to get support with the ongoing issues around the plan, my daughter etc, so its unlikely there will be further updates. Best wishes to everyone.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 16:09:21

I haven't presented them as facts at any stage. I have used subjective language to convey subjectivity deliberately, at no stage have I presented anything as a fact or made any assumption. People are reading that into my posts. Suggesting something for consideration is not in any way the same as assuming something is happening. Someone asked me to cite a reference for a claim about a statistically increased risk.

fandomfanny Thu 15-Nov-12 16:19:27

Your post of Sunday 11/11 at 21:49 you said "I actually don't believe you op that there is no risk from dh"
i'm afraid that is presenting your views as fact and others above have pointed out the assumptions littering your thinking, not least your assumption that you know better than me about the risk he poses and my ability to assess that risk.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 16:21:50

I have never advised to leave your husband either. You are utterly misinterpreting. I have never even said the plan is bad or been part of the you must insist on forcing dh to agree to no contact crowd. I'm simply saying i think there needs to be some objectivity and less emotion in the handling of this for everyone's protection and that issues of no contact/planned restricted contact are not the issue because there is a risk whatever you do, it is about considering all the possible risks and thinking about how they may or may not relate to the situation and then making a plan. That strikes me as extremely difficult for you, as it would be for anyone, in your position.

Smithson6 Thu 15-Nov-12 16:22:16

that was a lovely apology for causing the OP such distress Offred.

Fandom, good luck and I'm sorry you've had to read some of this stuff.

Over and out.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 16:28:16

How is me saying I don't believe that there is no risk me saying any specific risk I have speculated about on here, and there are many and not exhaustive, is something your dh is personally at risk of doing/being.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 16:31:16

Nope I said I don't believe he is no risk, I don't think it is possible for him or FIL in the current situation to pose no risk especially when they have both demonstrated that they do pose a risk before (not any specific risk I have speculated about and there are loads and I've also said it is ridiculous to suggest he would get supervised access because it doesn't sound as though he himself poses a direct risk to dds).

fandomfanny Thu 15-Nov-12 16:36:17

Then I'm afraid you are guilty of assumption again ofred, you have no idea about my ability to be objective. And telling me that I cannot have objectively assessed the risk over and over is distinctly unhelpful I'm afraid. I have told you that I have assessed those risks, that I have taken professional advice doing so. If you were concerned about m ability to think rationally and objectively you could have asked, instead of asserting you were right over and over. There is clearly no way you can believe that I've thought through this calmly, rationally and objectively.
I'm shocked that you don't consider that when you said you thought I was in denial about the risk my dh posed you were therefore asserting that you considered him likely to be a child abuser and when asked point blank if you thought he posed a risk as an individual, you didn't think your answer that male victims of female perpetrators are statistically more likely to be abusers, would be interpreted as saying you thought he was a specific risk.

EldritchCleavage Thu 15-Nov-12 16:41:22

Fandom, take care. I wish you and your DDs all the best.

CinnabarRed Thu 15-Nov-12 16:42:53

Fandom - very best wishes to you, your DH and your DDs. I hope you come to a better place very soon.

Offred Thu 15-Nov-12 16:45:54

I'm not the one making assumptions here. I'm sorry that the debate at the end of the thread has been construed in this way. I was assuming you had left the thread, perhaps stupidly.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 15-Nov-12 17:06:33

Oh dear god. Even that study openly admits its source of participants and that its not representative of the general population.

Convicted sex offenders may often come out with attempts to mitigate there behaviour not only to others but to themselves a study that relys on self reported childhood sexual abuse by convicted sex offenders without any previous self reporting prior to there own conviction is seriously flawed.

It also disregards the many real victims of childhood sexual abuse who do not go on to abuse in any way.

There is a reason why that study is not relied on much.