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To think there is nothing we can do about this until we are asked for our opinion?

(10 Posts)
NapQueen Tue 08-Nov-16 08:31:58

SIL (dh's sister) had a brief marriage which resulted in a lovely child who is now 5. When she and her now ex separated she confided in us how controlling he was. She hid it incredibly well.

Typical things he would do were to go to work and take both the pushchair and the stroller so sil couldn't go far with a small baby. He would question every little thing like a haircut or nails done and demand to know "who she was doing it for" as doing it for herself wasn't enough apparently. He banned her from attending her works Christmas party as partners weren't invited. It goes on.

Thankfully she was pretty savvy to it, sorted herself a "run fund" and left when her child was almost 2.

She's been in a relationship since which has now ended.

She is now dating ex dh again. We are worried, dh and I, and MIL, and concerned that she's forgotten what it was like.

Aibu to feel that it's wrong if us to say anything to her unless she asks us for an opinion? We only see her once a month or so so it's not like we even have much of an opportunity to get into deep conversations with her

reallyanotherone Tue 08-Nov-16 08:35:22

I'd be tempted to phone her, she's an adult and you know it's none of your business, but if she ever needs you you're there with a spare room. All she needs to do is call.

Then wait for the call.

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 08-Nov-16 08:43:53

One of my siblings is in a relationship with a controlling person. I have said to them that they are an adult and I respect them and their choice but if and when they need to get away (for an hour or permanently), I'm always here. It's awful watching someone you care about repeating mistakes, but there's a limit to what you can do. Can't say 'get away from that horrible control freak', without coming over as trying to control her as well.

Call/speak to her. See if she brings it up herself. Any bet 'he's had counselling' and 'realised what he lost' etc. I'm sure she's sensible enough to take it very slowly and look out for red flags.

Arfarfanarf Tue 08-Nov-16 08:47:18

I would ask her about it.
I know it's her choice. I know an unasked for opinion is interfering but when someone you love is choosing to dive back into an abusive relationship i know i couldnt in good conscience stay silent. i would still ask her are you sure about this? What will you do if he starts doing x, y and z again...

She'll tell you he's changed.
She'll tell you he understands what he did was wrong and he's promised it will be different this time.
She'll tell you she owes it to her daughter.

Just tell her you are always here for her.

Maudlinmaud Tue 08-Nov-16 08:50:20

The advice here is spot on.
In my experience these types of people don't change. He may play nice until he has his feet under the table again but then the inevitable happens.

ChicRock Tue 08-Nov-16 09:00:59

Keep her very very close. Keep in touch as much as you can.

Her DH will now know that her family knows what he's like and some of the reasons for their split.

And I can pretty much guarantee, once his feet are under the table again, his next move will be to try and alienate her family and any friends - basically he'll be looking to destroy her support network.

Dontfencemein Tue 08-Nov-16 09:12:38

What other posters are saying.

Be there for her. Don't say anything that will make her feel foolish, embarrassed or ashamed about going back to him. She will feel humiliated enough when or if the abuse starts again and needs to know that she hasn't burned her bridges with the people who care for her and her child.

Lemon12345 Tue 08-Nov-16 09:35:50

I agree with PP, especially the post regarding keeping in touch with her. I know it will be difficult and at some point everyone will be telling you to step away and if it gets to the point of being too damaging for you and yours then fair enough... but try to keep in touch even if she is pushing you out. It's more likely it's coming from him though silly SIL.
Maybe things will be different this time, we can all be hopeful. But I seriously doubt that and I'd keep an eye on the poor kid. The kid doesn't have a choice, but will still be witness to everything and that alone is damaging never mind if the controlling dad starts on the kid too.

blankmind Tue 08-Nov-16 10:17:35

Refer her to the relationships board, there are so many women there who are or have been in her position and can describe abusive behaviour and all its cycles.
Buy a copy of Lundy Bancroft's 'Why Does He Do That' and keep it at yours, then if she mentions something, you can say 'Oh what a co-incidence, I was just reading about that, look at this' It may open her eyes.

Bottom line is she won't realise how abusive he is until she has a wake-up moment, but it would be good if you could be a safe port in the storm she's about to be in, if you think you can do that for her. Go easy though, don't put your own relationship on a rocky footing because you're spending too much time trying to "save" someone else. flowers

NapQueen Tue 08-Nov-16 11:17:05

Thanks for the advice. I do worry about her child in all of this and the confusion it will inevitably cause them

He hasn't got a great track record, with four kids prior to my niece with three other women. However when they started their relationship sil was adamant these other women were "nuts and he is a great dad".

I'll make sure lines of communication are open and be there for her without overbearing.

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