AIBU to wish I’d never been told a huge secret?

(163 Posts)
Careve Sun 05-Dec-21 00:58:52

A few yrs ago, my SIL (DH sister), confided to me that their brother had sexually assaulted her as a child and again as an adult.
She told their parents but wasn’t believed (or they buried their heads in the sand) that it never happened.
SIL has had counselling most of her life because of what her own brother did to her.
My DH doesn’t know, SIL begged me not to tell him as my DH would want to kill his own brother and be fuming with his parents and they’d be a big family bust up.

So far, I’ve kept this a secret from DH, however,
his parents always go on about this (perverted) brother, about how much he’s achieved and how he’s buying a big new house. I’m screaming inside that he’s disgusting and should have gone to prison and that my in laws should have believed and protected their own daughter!

Sometimes, my DH will say something negative (a throwaway comment) about someone in my family and I feel like saying ‘yeah, we’ll at least my brother isn’t a monster’ but I can’t as I’m sworn to secrecy.

It feels like either I keep things a secret (as SIL wishes) or I tell DH and the whole family implodes.

OP’s posts: |
MorrisZapp Sun 05-Dec-21 01:05:30

She shouldn't have told you that, it's totally unfair. Has she had counselling? She needs love and support, but not from you in secret. My sil unloaded some stuff onto me, of a similar magnitude re breaking up the family. I was really touched at the time that she trusted me enough to confide in me. But soon I felt pretty pissed off to be honest, as I was put in a potentially really tricky position.

You can't win this one, just try to persuade her to confide elsewhere next time.

Careve Sun 05-Dec-21 01:08:35

MorrisZapp

She shouldn't have told you that, it's totally unfair. Has she had counselling? She needs love and support, but not from you in secret. My sil unloaded some stuff onto me, of a similar magnitude re breaking up the family. I was really touched at the time that she trusted me enough to confide in me. But soon I felt pretty pissed off to be honest, as I was put in a potentially really tricky position.

You can't win this one, just try to persuade her to confide elsewhere next time.

I agree that I was the wrong person to confide in.
We are good friends and she’s quite ill so doesn’t really have anyone else to talk to. Just difficult being around the brother now, I feel like punching him.

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Kshhuxnxk Sun 05-Dec-21 01:13:26

Honestly I would just tell him. If you have kids you are never I assume having him anywhere near them. At this point you are going to have to say why. That then brings up a whole host of other issues because you've kept it a secret.

Careve Sun 05-Dec-21 01:15:53

Kshhuxnxk

Honestly I would just tell him. If you have kids you are never I assume having him anywhere near them. At this point you are going to have to say why. That then brings up a whole host of other issues because you've kept it a secret.

No kids. His parents are very old and frail and my SIL is very ill as well so not sure they’d cope with it all out in the open. If I wish I’d never been told this, I can bet my DH would never want to be told this.

OP’s posts: |
ShineySparkleyChrissmassy Sun 05-Dec-21 01:16:18

I'm thinking did she tell you so you can keep yourself safe? I realise it puts you in a tricky situation but under the circumstances I'd have wanted to know and been glad she said something. In general I don't think it's fair to expect you to have secrets from your DH. Its your closest relationship. I never tell anyone anything that I'd hate their DP to find out and I'll keep others secrets where possible, but only upto a point. I'm not willing to have something eating away at my relationship just to spare someone else's feelings. In this case, if it was me I'd do my best to keep this secret, because I'd acknowledge that she could have chosen not to tell you, which could have resulted in you being put at risk unnecessarily.

Careve Sun 05-Dec-21 01:20:18

ShineySparkleyChrissmassy

I'm thinking did she tell you so you can keep yourself safe? I realise it puts you in a tricky situation but under the circumstances I'd have wanted to know and been glad she said something. In general I don't think it's fair to expect you to have secrets from your DH. Its your closest relationship. I never tell anyone anything that I'd hate their DP to find out and I'll keep others secrets where possible, but only upto a point. I'm not willing to have something eating away at my relationship just to spare someone else's feelings. In this case, if it was me I'd do my best to keep this secret, because I'd acknowledge that she could have chosen not to tell you, which could have resulted in you being put at risk unnecessarily.

I think she told me as I was pregnant at the time. Unfortunately I miscarried.
She has girls and never lets them be alone with the brother.
I’ve kept it a secret from DH because maybe ‘ignorance is bliss’.
We only see the brother about once a year.
His parents irritate me knowing they’ve buried their heads in the sand for nearly 40 yrs…

OP’s posts: |

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Molly333 Sun 05-Dec-21 01:22:29

A very tough one but my concern is could he be doing it or thinking about doing it to other vulnerable kids and is currently walking around scott free . I think that justifies talking

FiveShelties Sun 05-Dec-21 01:25:34

I don't think it is your secret to tell. Your sil trusts you and you have no idea what would happen to her if you break that trust.

PixieLaLa Sun 05-Dec-21 01:26:26

Oh how awful, I feel like it’s one of those situations where your dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t so personally I would tell your DH

AvocadoTrees Sun 05-Dec-21 01:36:45

It’s completely inappropriate for someone to tell you a secret IF keeping it from your partner will have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. For that alone, I would tell your SIL that you are going to tell your DH.

If it was a secret that didn’t impact you or your relationship with your partner I’d say you should keep it secret, but it’s wrong to keep this type of secret from your partner because it’s about his own family, and it’s wrong that you can’t let your DH know why you are upset with his parents and his brother.

You are part of the secret in the family now, and your Dh is not. Wrong, and bad for your relationship with him.

If your SIL had told you she’d been abused by someone outside the family - yes, keep that secret. But keeping it from your DH when it’s his brother and parents who are complicit, and not giving him the opportunity to support her, is so so wrong.

NameChange776543 Sun 05-Dec-21 01:37:18

Tell your husband flowers

julieca Sun 05-Dec-21 01:45:43

No dont tell your DP. It is not your secret to tell. If you were going to tell your DP, you should have said that when she first said she wanted to tell you a secret.
In terms of protecting other children, I suspect nothing would happen unless she would be prepared to speak to SS or the police. If you, or your DP if you told him contacted the police or SS and told them, they would contact your SIL. If she said it didn't happen and you were being malicious, the case would be closed with no further investigation. But you could ring the NSPCC and talk to them about this further.

julieca Sun 05-Dec-21 01:47:06

And if you tell your DP, you are blowing your DPs family apart. And SIL will probably not to speak to you again either.
I am not for keeping families together no matter what, but the decisions to blow the family apart is not yours to make.

fabricfanatic Sun 05-Dec-21 02:00:17

I would really struggle to keep a secret that huge from my husband. But equally, I wouldn't feel right telling someone else's huge secret, especially something this sensitive.

I think I'd want to distance myself from his parents and brother, but you can't do that without your husband wanting to know why. If his parents will be dead soon, I might manage to hold out for that long, but once they're gone, I'd probably find an excuse to stop seeing your BIL.

Pyewackect Sun 05-Dec-21 02:03:58

Kshhuxnxk

Honestly I would just tell him. If you have kids you are never I assume having him anywhere near them. At this point you are going to have to say why. That then brings up a whole host of other issues because you've kept it a secret.

Nobody will thank you for it and you would be betraying a confidence . I would just keep schtum.

CherryBlossomAutumn Sun 05-Dec-21 02:15:09

This is very difficult.

Any potential child protection issue, we all have a responsibility to inform and bring out into the open.

However all you know is your SIL, and this will have a massive impact on her also.

But not bringing it out, means he could potentially be doing this to others now. I would anonymously phone childline, and also speak to SIL again, and at the very least put in an anonymous report to social services. Or she as an adult survivor could consult a professional organisation.

I think the current child protection issue is the absolute priority. Her family may never know, that is really totally her call I think and not your business to tell.

CherryBlossomAutumn Sun 05-Dec-21 02:18:46

For what it’s worth, I carry secrets from three family and in law members of child abuse. I sometimes feel the horrible weight of it.

However I would never tell the rest of the family, but I would have gone to the authorities.

I would have reported this to social services in some way, or asked the victims too, if the perpetrators were still alive. They are all dead now.

BootsScootsAndToots Sun 05-Dec-21 02:22:10

One night when my DM had had a bit to much to drink she told me her older brother abused her, and her younger siblings. She swore me to secrecy not to tell anyone, especially my DF.

DF obviously knew my uncle was a piece a shit deep down as he never used to leave us alone with him, which when I was younger seemed weird.

This uncle is now dying and I genuinely couldn't give a toss. My DM seems to be sad about it. She's forgiven him and wants it forgotten.

My GP knew as well and like utter bastards also pretended it didn't happen.

Esspee Sun 05-Dec-21 02:32:44

I would have to share the information with my husband. It is unfair that your sister in law burdened you with her secret. Tell him.

User57327259 Sun 05-Dec-21 02:34:02

OP I dont know if you have children but how are you going to explain being wary if this BIL is around your or anyone's children?
It is a huge burden that you have been told this but otoh if you keep the secret you are being complicit in child abuse. I think it has to come out.

Laserbird16 Sun 05-Dec-21 02:45:51

Awful and I can absolutely see why you are struggling with the weight of this.

Your SIL wasn't listened to when she disclosed to her parents which must have been devastating. I think you need to keep her trust now and if she felt brave enough to tell you she may be getting ready to tell your DH. Can you respect her wishes for now but, if an appropriate time to talk about it comes up, could you let her know you would like your DH to know?

I think she's trying to keep your future children safe and that is something your DH will need to be aware of. I would struggle not to punch BIL in the face on sight but at least you would have an understandable reason to avoid him.

GeorgiaGirl52 Sun 05-Dec-21 02:53:25

You say your SIL is very ill, and also that she protects her daughters from her brother.
What happens if she dies and the brother wants custody of the girls?
No one knows the truth except you and yours is uncorroborated hearsay. If her parents wouldn't protect her, would they protect their granddaughters?
You should tell your DH and also encourage your sister to talk to a lawyer. She could at least dictate a legal deposition detailing the event and the reasons she never wants her brother to have any contact with her daughters. This could be done without her elderly parents knowing or being distressed.

sillysmiles Sun 05-Dec-21 03:09:15

You can't tell your DH - no good will come from that.

ImustLearn2Cook Sun 05-Dec-21 03:18:48

This is such a hard position to be in. While it is not your secret to tell and your sil deserves to be able to choose who she confides in and shares such a traumatic experience with, you also deserve not to be put in a position of hiding something from your husband especially if it makes you uncomfortable.

Before confiding in you did your sil ask if you would be ok with keeping a secret from your husband? If you made no such promise then I think it is up to you to decide if you talk to your husband about what your sil confided in you.

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