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More like a what would you do.....

(7 Posts)
verbatim Sat 10-Oct-09 23:42:27

My sister and BIL have been married like since the beginning of time (or at least it seems that way).

I don't really know how to say this - but I am starting to suspect that their relationship is abusive. Although not in a traditional sense. I suspect my sister is the abuser. Her husband has always been really shy, quiet and considerate. However, over the past year his behaviour has changed. He has become really withdrawn and won't ever give an opinion that is different from hers. Today I saw him and he stood in the kitchen the whole time I was there - not participating in conversation, just waiting upon her. A couple of times I have heard her shout at him. Once for breaking a plate and once when I called her up she screamed at him to get out of bed and she was really aggressive. She is also unafraid to put him down in front of other people.

When we were children she was always aggressive and had to have her way about everything and at times in my life I have found her frightening.

I know this is a strange post - up until now I have not interfered with their relationship but now I am starting to wonder if I should do something. I am not that close to my BIL but I am starting to worry about him. Am I reading into things too much? Would you do anything?

TrickOrNinks Sat 10-Oct-09 23:59:50

My sister is an aggressive person, I know what you mean. I've come close to talking to various people about it wrt her two young children.

Do they have kids?

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Sun 11-Oct-09 00:12:51

My sister has also always been aggressive - my mum calls it 'highly strung.'
In fact I've recently started to wonder if she's BPD (borderline personality disorder).
She cut me off completely several years ago, but every so often I hear about the fallout from her latest shenannigans.
You don't say what you're thinking of doing - talking to him or her?

verbatim Sun 11-Oct-09 21:29:24

I was thinking of talking to her about it. The last time I confronted her about her behaviour was 4 years ago. It was before I got married - we didn't speak for 6 months. My mum then convinced me to make up with her. It was a nightmare. On the day of my wedding she behaved so badly. All DHs friends were talking about her for months afterwards. She got what she wanted - the centre of attention again.

I guess this is what is holding me back from just doing it. For the past year we have been getting on well and I know how she does hold a grudge, and I don't want my children to not see their cousins.

I also know she will go for the sympathy vote "oh, everyone is so horrible" and my mum will tell me it is my fault. My mum always panders to her bad behaviour and makes excuses for it. It is infuriating.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Mon 12-Oct-09 08:13:36

I don't know what to advise I'm afraid.

I also have bad wedding day memories - she didn't kick off, but, as chief bridesmaid, went shopping with her mate and my cousin (the other bridesmaid) in the morning.
I got dressed and did my make up by myself, and when she did turn up half an hour before were due to leave she winged and moaned that my mum hadn't ironed her dress!
Then made a few snide comments to me at the reception.

She does sound a similar 'type,' and it may be worth looking into BPD for more insight into this sort of behaviour. Some of the characteristics, such as self-harm or suicidal behaviour, are extreme and they don't apply in every case, but I'm sure people can fall into this carmtegory without necessarily displaying all of the traits.

And, yes, she does get pandered to - for years we've all tiptoed around her and anyone who doesn't do what she expects (ie me) is cut off.
It deeply shocked me for a long time, but I think I've now found an explanation as to why she'd freeze her own sister (and niece and nephews) out of her whole life.
Good luck - you have my sympathies.

Tombliboobs Mon 12-Oct-09 08:23:16

TBH, I don't think there is anything you can do. As you say, you are not close to her DH and have a very rocky relationship with your Dsis. Hopefully he has family that if he felt the need he could turn to.

I don't think you have enough information or are in the right place to do anything.

Greatfun Mon 12-Oct-09 13:11:43

What would you say to her though? If she is abusing him you could make it worse for him by approaching her as she may think he has spoken to you. Also, it doesnt sound like you have much to go on. He could have something else going on in his life that has changed his behaviour. The only thing I would do is if the opportunity ever arises is to to say aomething like "you seem very quiet, is everything alright?" next time you see him. Seems unlikely that he will say anything if he is not close to you though. A bot riskey, but is there a friend or relative of his you could talk to? Or maybe next time she shouts at him in front of you maybe say something back along the lines of don't speak to him like that. My DH can be very rude to his parents (long story). I used to tackle him in private about it but now I tell him straight in front of anyone who is there not to speak like that. Soon shuts him up.

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