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Abusive BIL - so why do *I* feel guilty?

(14 Posts)
Evabeaversprotege Sun 11-Jan-15 09:39:17

I'm trying not to out myself or put too many details.

Suffice to say there's a long back story (posted before under name change) I have supported my sister 100% and SS are involved with the family now.

We had a family event last night, he's never usually at these things so it threw me to see him.

I couldn't bring myself to speak to him (I can't be hypocritical) but it made me cross to see other family members (who all know the background) going over & speaking to him.

When I mentioned it to another sister she said sis 1 has chosen to stay with him & try & rebuild their lives & we should support her in that.
However, much as I love sis 1, I can't forgive & forget the things BIL has done to her & their children.

Today I feel guilty for not passing myself with him, but I hate his guts & would feel like I had let myself down if I had've acknowledged him.

AIBU to have made no effort?

I know he noticed & will have mentioned it to sis - at a previous party he hit her afterwards because I apparently ignored him (I don't recall this but if I did it wouldn't have been intentional) last night it was.

I feel bad incase I have made things difficult for her today, but another part of me just doesn't care as she had a chance to leave, a bed with women's aid but said she couldn't leave.

(I know not all women go the first time or even the first 100 times, so I'm trying to be there for her if she needs me, just not him)

ApocalypseThen Sun 11-Jan-15 09:45:05

I don't think that smoothing this all over us the right thing to do. She shouldn't believe that she has the support and endorsement of family if she returns to him. It sounds like she's going to have to make up her own mind to leave, and sadly it sounds like something quite dreadful will have to happen to persuade her. The best you can do is help when that day comes.

Evabeaversprotege Sun 11-Jan-15 09:50:42

Apocalypse, he thinks none of us know the story.

It's typical of my family "I'll tell you but don't let on you know"

i don't know what it will take for her to leave. One of ss stipulations is that he's not to be left alone with the children.

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 11-Jan-15 10:04:19

She shouldn't believe that she has the support and endorsement of family if she returns to him

I disagree with this. Do this and you will make her think that she cannot come to you if everything falls apart.

Domestic abuse is complicated. You can be there for her, support her, regardless, and hope that she is ready to leave sooner rather than later.

When my ex began the abuse, I didn't tell my family, as I remembered how unsupportive they were of my older sister when her dh abused her. The words "she made her bed..." still ring in my ears. In some ways, the verbal abuse hurt more because when you have someone telling you how shit you are, and your family turns their back on you because they don't agree with your decisions, then you feel like the abuser must be right. You MUST be shit. Not worth it. After all, your family has written you off.

To someone who is in a healthy relationship, this doesn't seem logical. To someone who is constantly being undermined, emotionally messed with, continually told they are worthless and treated badly... it makes a kind of weird sense. Oh, I'm really NOT worth it.

Make sure she knows that you want her to be safe, that you think that she would be safer OUT of the relationship, but tell her that you will be there for her no matter what. Picking fights with her dh will only make things worse for her in the long run. You don't need to be chummy with him. Avoid him if possible. It IS a difficult situation, and it will be hard to navigate. Just do the best you can, and be there for her.

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 11-Jan-15 10:05:15

That does NOT mean that you cannot report things to the police if something happens, by the way. Safety overrides hurt feelings every time.

MagratsHair Sun 11-Jan-15 10:07:39

I think its easy to feel very very frustrated when somebody you love & care about stays in a situation that's causing her harm. Particularly as your sis had things put in place (the bed with WA) & still didn't go. As someone not in that situation its difficult for us to not understand how hard it is to make the change & to actually leave. We are not the ones who have been abused & who have been changed mentally by that abuse. We can still see clearly.

You do not have to be civil to him though. If she asks you to speak to him next time then you are in a position but I totally understand your anger & why you would wish to communicate to him that you don't like him. Perhaps because your family are supporting her decision to stay its reinforcing his idea that the way he treats her is acceptable?

ApocalypseThen Sun 11-Jan-15 10:07:45

I didn't mean in a you-made-your-own-bed way, more in a I-love-you-and-I'm-here-for-you-but-I-can't-support-this way.

EssexMummy123 Sun 11-Jan-15 10:12:24

Personally i would have confronted him at said family event. I hope social services remove the children, it is beyond horrible for children to grow up in a domestic violence situation.

Could you point her in the direction of the freedom program?

WooWooOwl Sun 11-Jan-15 10:13:09

It's fine for you not to talk to him just as it's fine for your other family to see things differently and treat him as normal. Neither of you are obliged to deal with it in a certain way, and support for your sister can come in more than one way.

Ultimately nothing you or your family do or don't do will make a difference to whether she stays or leaves, it's something that she is going to have to work out for herself.

Evabeaversprotege Sun 11-Jan-15 10:15:47

I don't know if it's so much the family are supporting her decision to stay with him, it's more of a - we're not supposed to know anything & if we don't speak to him he'll take it out on her - kind of way, if that makes sense?

I will be here for her & for my nephews (who have bore the brunt of his temper)

I'm never usually in his company so it's bern easy to maintain my support of/for her, but last night threw me.

They are attending family counselling through ss so perhaps this event was attended to show solidarity? I don't know, I'm just musing I guess.

Part of me is also angry with sis, she will stay with him until something serious happens a child, whether they're on ss radar or not.

Evabeaversprotege Sun 11-Jan-15 10:21:02

Yes woo, I am aware enough to see that unfortunately. It's a case of these family members hating him but being nice to his face to pass themselves, I can't.

Essex, family event (for another branch of family) was neither the time or place.

Confrontation will not take place as I love my sister & as per fucking usual I'm meant to pretend I don't know about ss involvement. He is in a good job, of high standing in the community & every time you see him he has a dc with him which fools people into thinking he's a god father.

Realistically the child is probably hiding bruises & scared stiff.

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 11-Jan-15 10:25:48

If they are attending family counselling through ss, then I assume they are on ss radar. Honestly, I'm surprised though, as counselling is not usually advised in abusive situations. I was advised to make sure the dcs were not alone with stbx, but at that point I had separated from him. But I was also told if I had stayed with him, it would not have looked good to ss that I was willing to stay in an abusive relationship with the dcs.

Evabeaversprotege Sun 11-Jan-15 10:34:50

Alice, that's what I don't understand at all.

First of all ss said that to sis, then her HV said sis is an excellent mother. Part of me can't get my head around the fact that a good mother wouldn't stay with a man who hit her children.

Anyway, he apparently has went to the doctor & is on medication for mental health & sis thinks this will make all ok again.

All I can do is be there when he starts again, isn't it?

fishinabarrell Sun 11-Jan-15 10:41:30

She's putting her relationship before her children and they will be removed from her care if anything else happens. It would worry me more that if she knows that she will hide more abuse and he will know top and use it against her to silence hee.

Yanbu op, not at all. You can't atop him abusing, he will find any reason all you can do is support her.

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