Help needed with brother in law's behaviour with grieving nieces

(7 Posts)
Auntyof6 Fri 04-May-18 12:12:51

Hi all - I'm a newbie and so not sure if this is in the right place, but I really need some help.

Sadly, my sister passed away three weeks ago. She was 45 and had breast cancer. She also had 4 daughters aged 19, 16 and 11 year old twins.

I am very close to the girls and I always promised my sis I would look after them as much as I could.

My problem is the girl's father - my brother in law. He has always had a short temper. He is rude, curt, obnoxious and as a result has no friends. When my sister was in her final days in the hospice, he even lost it at the staff until eventually, the manager had had enough and complained to my family about him. He is just a vile and permanently angry person.

My problem now is that the girls are texting me daily to tell me that he is shouting at one or all of them and often has reduced the youngest to tears. It is always something trivial - this week it was because one of the twins had left her trainers at school.

Now I know that people will say that he is grieving - we all are. But he has ALWAYS had a foul temper and now he seems to have ramped it up even further. His rages seem to be daily - even at the 11 year old with diabetes as she often forgets to test or leaves her kit at school.

The 16 year old suffers from anxiety and has started taking herself out of the house to see friends or get on her bike, just to escape the atmosphere. He has had a go at her about that and accused of her "opting out" - and that "she can't expect the atmosphere at home to be for her benefit". The latter comment was a text to me after I suggested she needed calm.

He doesn't see that he has a vile temper, he just laughs it off and describes himself as a "grumpy git".

I am in pieces - the girls have just lost their mum, the youngest at 11 years of age, yet he continues to rage at them daily and then they text me sobbing. I am especially worried that he is damaging the 11 year olds who are so incredibly vulnerable right now.

What can I do??? They are in the East Midlands and I'm in Birmingham. I just want to drive over there, scoop them all up and bring them to live with me where they can laugh, cry, dance and just be themselves.


OP’s posts: |
JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 04-May-18 17:08:34

So sorry for your loss. Grieving for your DSister must be so hard, even without this added stress.

Are you able to invite them over for weekends or school holidays?

Auntyof6 Fri 04-May-18 20:13:45

The twins are 11 and too young to get on the train themselves from Leicester. Their older siblings have part time jobs on the weekend.

I'm going over tomorrow to help the girls put a playlist together for their mum's funeral. I'm dreading it sad I'm finding it harder to bite my lip. And as he's always been jealous of my relationship with my sister I wouldn't put it past him to make it harder for me to see them if I say anything.

I've told the girls I'll take them camping and down to Brighton for the weekend over the summer but he's bitching at me for not asking him first.

Are there any tactics I can use to simply calm him down?!!

OP’s posts: |
JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 04-May-18 20:41:36

Could you try and persuade him that you are wanting to give him a break and meet you halfway between the 2 citiesso that you can have the DN for some weekends? How do you think he’d react if you said you were thinking of him?

Auntyof6 Fri 04-May-18 21:05:33

He'd know that was BS because I've pulled him up for his behaviour before.

My flat is tiny too - only a one bed.

I'll think of something to spend time with them, but it doesn't fix the issue of his daily rants at them.

OP’s posts: |
squishy Sun 06-May-18 17:51:19

I’m so sorry to read about your sister. I don’t know if you have any other family who can help you tackle this (or if you know any of his family who would help support you).

My mum died after a long battle with cancer when I was 12; I’m an only child, so didn’t have the sibling support but my dad was such a rock, I don’t know how I’d have got through it if it wasn’t for him.

It sounds like abusive behaviour (obvs I don’t know all the facts and I could be going down the wrong line!). There’s a charity called gingerbread which supports grieving families - he could get support, so could they. I would have thought that counselling could be organised through school for the younger 2 (my friends daughters have recently had this after their dad died). Broadens the support network and adds someone else who can have a word with him.

If you can; I’d (as kindly as you can) say you want to talk to him about his daughters’ emotional well-being. Try to keep it as emotion free as possible and don’t use ‘you always’ type language.

They’re so lucky to have an aunt like you - my mum’s sisters were nothing but complete cows to me after she died!

Auntyof6 Tue 08-May-18 20:43:13


Thanks for the lovely message and I'm so sorry you lost your mum at such a young age.

The girls are all having counselling which is great. He should be but I'm not sure if he goes. I have gotten to the stage where though I don't wish him any ill will, I also don't care about him either. His behaviour (for 20 years) has been appalling.

It's the age old problem isn't it that the help and support is there but you need to admit you need help and ask for it? He won't.

I'm going to monitor the situation and start to take notes. I work for a local authority and I have had several colleagues and management remind me of my responsibilities regarding 'Safeguarding' . I can also try and get his grown children from his first marriage involved, but I'm led to believe they also suffered at his hands and don't like to confront him.

I'll see how things pan out.

I am so sorry your aunts didn't step up. On top of everything else, I love spending time with those kids - they're great company, very polite and completely barking too - just as kids should be!. What a shame you couldn't enjoy that connection sad

Thanks so much again - really has helped getting some resoponses

Take care

OP’s posts: |

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