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

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

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

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

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

notactuallyme Mon 18-Feb-13 21:02:31

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

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

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

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

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

notactuallyme Mon 18-Feb-13 21:18:23

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

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 18-Feb-13 21:36:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waybuloo that is very good news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Brilliant news

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

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

Reading up on ASD first would probably be sensible.

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