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How to legally ask PILS to back off and leave me alone?(6 Posts)
There's a massive backstory to this but in brief, I don't get along with my PILs and they can't accept my decision to cut contact with them.
I no longer see them and that means they don't see our DS, who has just turned four. We haven't seen them since DS was 21 months old, at Christmas 2010.
DH sees them rarely. He is in the armed forces and works away in the week, home at weekends, although in 2012 he was out of the country for the majority of the year as well.
We moved house partly because they were stalking me. They would park outside and stare at the house, they were phoning constantly, they would turn up several times a day, followed me to the shops, kerb crawled after me in their car as I walked home one day, wrote letters, told lies about me to the rest of the family, held some of our belongings hostage in an effort to force me to do as they said/do as I was told/go and visit them and eventually took turns to rant at me on the telephone until I suffered a panic attack and felt very ill.
I replied to three of their letters and they probably still have my replies. I was very angry and emotional when I wrote them and I did spell out exactly why I was upset and what I thought of them. I didn't swear, and I didn't say anything that wasn't true, but I realised I was behaving as badly as they were and that replying was encouraging them so I eventually stopped reading their letters and sent them back unopened.
I turned into a nervous wreck during this time, started to keep all the downstairs curtains and blinds closed to stop them seeing in, would sneak in and out of the house to try to avoid them, if DH was away I would spend days living at my parents house with DS just to feel that we were away from prying eyes, I bought an attack alarm because I was scared I might bump into them in town or at the supermarket and eventually we moved house.
This was 23 months ago and it was shortly after that, about 20 months ago, that they sent the last letter and I returned it unopened.
They turned their focus to DH then, at first trying to get him to take their side (and I believe they hoped we would split up) and then to try and convince him to make me speak to them or make him feel guilty.
The most recent messages were sent on Saturday 30th March and Monday 1st April. The ones on Saturday were asking if I would speak to them as it had been a long time and asking DH to tell me they were sorry. I don't believe that they are, based on things that other members of the family have mentioned to me.
The ones yesterday came in the space of 20 minutes, the first saying they were both very upset at not seeing DS and asking DH to contact them. The second saying that MIL's brother was seeing his grandchildren over easter and so that made them feel worse about not seeing DS. And the third threatening to ride around the streets in the area we live, looking for our cars so they could find our house and speak to me.
It's the third one that has bothered me. It's taken me a long time to feel safe in my own home and confident about going out without expecting to find them sitting in their car outside the house. They've set me right back and I had to shut all the front blinds and curtains and keep checking the door was locked. I'm terrified whenever someone knocks on the door and feel sick when the phone rings.
My friends have suggested a restraining order but as it's been so long since they contacted me and I have no proof of their earlier behaviour (threw out the letters or returned them unopened, nobody else saw them outside the old house or following me in the street, no saved messages on the phone) I don't know if that will be taken into account.
DH would not support me getting one and has deleted the messages from his own phone. He doesn't know I had already forwarded them to mine so I could at least show something saying they were threatening to track us down by looking for our cars.
I wondered if those three messages would be enough to have a legal letter sent to them warning them off.
My friend sent a copy of some advice about stalking and harassment and it said that contacting third parties to try to reach me could count, so the messages asking DH to speak to me on their behalf could perhaps be seen as malicious etc. And saying they feel like riding around the streets looking for us might also be enough to have something put on paper even if it's not a restraining order?
Does anyone know if that's true, and would a solicitor write such a letter, given that DH still maintains some contact with them and wouldn't want me to make things official?
Can I ask them not to pressure DH by text and ask him to speak to me, and can I tell them not to look for our cars or our house or approach me and DS in the street/public? Would a letter like that be possible and if I did send one and they continued with their texts or tracked us down, would having a letter sent by a solicitor which they ignored make it easier to get a restraining order against them?
So sorry if this is garbled. I just feel very stressed and panicked once again and it's set me back as I was just starting to relax a little and stop worrying quite so much about opening my front door. I haven't really known any peace of mind where they are concerned since the end of 2009 and I still have nightmares about being face to face with them that leave me feeling very ill.
It certainly sounds as if you need to get some advice,if your DH won't support you in this it will be difficult.
Does he not see his parents and take your DC with him when he's at home?
Why don't you get on with them?
He sees then occasionally but he never takes DS with him.
It's always been an up and down relationship, in the beginning we did mostly get along though and I would try and let things go to keep the peace.
DH once said to me that he grew up being told that he was never allowed to upset her or refuse anything she wanted because she would have a mental breakdown and it would be his fault. She's always been controlling and manipulative and FIL supports this as it's easier for him than it is to stand up to her. When it comes to her children, if she doesn't immediately get her own way she will cry and then FIL will shout, and they can keep it up for weeks if necessary, taking it in turns to beat someone down and get their own way.
Most of their wider family have drifted away, no real falling out but just distant relationships. DH has two brothers and a sister, one brother is married and his wife also has a strained relationship with MIL, as did BIL's ex-girlfriend before he met his wife. They split up because of MIL and the girlfriend wrote a similar letter to the ones I wrote by the sound of it. Basically saying "you have to stop this before you drive everyone away." BIL and SIL have now emigrated and SIL admitted to me that a big part of the decision was to put distance between her and MIL.
DH's unmarried brother is an alcoholic and drug user and his sister seems to be bearing the brunt of everything since BIL and SIL emigrated a year ago and since we have not been seeing MIL.
In 2007 when we lost our first two children MIL was very cruel. She would ask questions like "does it still hurt to give birth if your baby is already dead" and if our premature daughter was born with all of her face or with bits missing. She would tell stories about how when she had her show when pregnant with DH she thought it meant bits of him and come off and he would be born without a finger or something.
She threw a massive tantrum on the day before our sons funeral because she thought DH did not sound happy to speak to her on the phone and accused him of being mardy and hurting her feelings. I could hear the conversation and he said nothing wrong, he did sound unhappy but that was because our son was dead and we were in bits. I saw some photo's taken of us at around that time and they were awful, we looked stricken and ill, you could see just by looking at us that something terrible had happened. Our son was buried six weeks after he died and the photos were taken a couple of weeks after his funeral. Anyone with any sense or compassion could see how unhappy we were, but she couldn't understand even a little bit how we might be feeling the night before his funeral and took offence because DH's tone of voice was not right for speaking to her.
On the first anniversary of his birth, we had also lost our daughter just six weeks before. SIL was due to have a c-section the following day and MIL chose that first anniversary to ring up and say how excited she was to be having her fourth grandchild, which would also be her first granddaughter. BIL and SIL have three other children, all boys, and eventually I reminded MIL what day it was and that our daughter was her first born granddaughter. She went quiet and said "Well, I forgot about them" and then tried to justify forgetting them by saying they were dead and didn't count as proper grandchildren.
It was all very upsetting. Then she would complain about me to DH and other family members because I was upset and she said I wasn't making her feel welcome in our house and tell lies about me to the rest of the family. DS being born in 2009 was something of a catalyst for both of us, that was when her cruel comments really picked up and at a time when I was feeling especially vulnerable, terrified that DS would die like his brother and sister, MIL was twisting the knife with a barrage of nasty comments, lies and weird behaviour.
So I started to see less of them when I was alone with DS, preferring to see them when DH was with us so she couldn't lie about me later or say anything too awful.
And that was when the harassment and stalking and abuse started and eventually drove me to having a panic attack. At Christmas 2010 they disowned us because we spent 2 hours visiting his sister four days after Christmas and they felt that if we had time to spare we should have spent it with them. Then they behaved as though nothing had happened and insisted the conversation never happened. Instead, two months later they tried to force me to go to their house to get back some belongings of ours and they were so intimidating I called the police. It was at that point they allowed us to have our things back and I stopped seeing them.
DH would like everything to go back to how it used to be, and it's taken a long time to make him realise that how things used to be was also pretty bad. They would expect us to be at their beck and call all the time and would make our lives a misery if we failed them in some way. Failing them could be something as simple as being out when they rang.
I can't go back to that. It's taken being out of it for this long to make me realise how terrible it was to be a part of it. I'm not subjecting DS to it either, it's not normal. And there's so much more, I wouldn't know where to start to tell you and it would just go on and on.
This woman sounds appalling. I can see why emigrating might appeal. But I don't think formal legal stuff will have much effect, unfortunately.
I don't think you could go down a legal route with this, although make a log of every contact, don't send things back, keep them.
Thank you all.
I will keep anything they might send now, and I will note any phone calls or messages.
I know it would be difficult if not impossible to do anything without DH's backing.
I was just hoping that an 'official' letter from a solicitor warning them off might scare them into backing off a bit, even if it had no real legal weight to it.
I don't know if a solicitor would do that or not though.
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