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Poor DB in OZ, SIL doesnt want to be there. (Long)

(56 Posts)
ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 11:09:57

Have just had a distressing call with my DB.
He and SIL and kids moved to Oz a couple of years ago from Ireland.
He had been unemployed for 5 yrs, and got a fantastic offer, so they moved.
There have been ups and downs in their relationship over the years, (she had quite bad pnd after 2 of the kids.)
She left him a couple of times and went home to her parents. A lot of this was while she was ill, though I am sure my DB is not that easy to live with either.
Anyway, they are on a 457 visa, and he wants to apply for permanent residency. On his own, he doesnt have enough points, (he is 45, she is 43) but with her qualifications, he has been advised by a migration agent that they stand a much better chance.
She has refused to apply with him. She is now saying that she needs to go back to Ireland. She has accused him of tricking her to get her to go to OZ. She wont believe him that PR just means they can stay forever if they want to, not that they have to stay forever. Aything he tries to explain with regards to situation in Ireland vs Oz she says he is lying.

He is trying to do whats best for the family.That they will have more options if they get PR. She has said she needs to go back to look after herself.
They have plenty of money, have cleared the debt they had before they left, and are saving. They have a good standard of living. He is well qualified but there are no jobs for him in Ireland in his area.
They would have no home to go back to.

She said they can live with her parents. Her parents dont like him, partly because of some of the insane stuff she said when they were having problems. She has actually told me that she said a lot of things that werent true because she was so angry with him. So I know this is not all me being biased.

One of their children is disabled, they get a hell of a lot more services in Oz than they would get in Ireland. Obviously they pay for it, but those services are being withdrawn or are already unavailable in Ireland.

I am sure it is very hard for her, being away from home, but surely you do the best you can for your kids, for your family. None of her immediate family have been over to visit. I have been a couple of times. She seems to have a good social circle. She seems to have a good network set up. Obviosuly thats not the same as family though.

He thinks she is getting sick again. He is afraid to say anything about it to her though.

He has suggested she go home for a holiday. He said he would organise a live in helper for the kids for while she was away. She refused.
He suggested they move out of the tiny town they are currently living in, to somewhere with a bit more going on. She refused.
He has told me they dont ever go out without the kids, because whatever he suggests, she refuses.

If she is getting sick, I am sure its related to being so far away from home. But if they go home, he will be unemployed and they will have no where to live. I cant see how that can be better.

I dont know what to suggest to him. I don't have any answers but have told him I am on the end of the phone for him.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 10-Jun-13 11:51:46

Sounds like an awful situation to be in for everyone. Does your SIL have the right to leave Oz without your DB's permission as things stand? And would that change if he got PR? Would he prevent your SIL from coming home in the event the marriage failed? This sounds like an impossible situation for both of them because whoever compromises is doing so at a severe personal cost. However, I do think dismissing the SIL's views on things as her 'being ill' as opposed to her having a valid opinion i.e. she's tried oz, doesn't like it, and wants to leave is unreasonable. She does sound very unhapy with the situation. You don't have to be ill to be unhappy living so far away from family. And I don't think anyone should have to 'do the best you can for your kids/family' at huge personal cost causing that person to be utterly miserable. Your SIL counts in this just as much as everyone else.

Ultimately, I don't think your DB will get what he wants here, if she is so unhappy, and doesn't trust what he says to be true.

DontmindifIdo Mon 10-Jun-13 12:09:26

OK, so Ireland isn't an option now, but would say, England or elsewhere in Europe be an option work wise? Realistically, if she won't apply then they can't stay there long term, if she's missing family, being so far away means popping home isn't an option (whereas, if he got a job in say, London or Paris, she could have a weekend back with her family once a month).

She's given it a go, and hates it. A depressed miserable mum is not what's best for the DCs, the quality of life for all the family can't be sacrificed because your DB thinks this should be the best for them, it's clearly not.

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 12:22:02

No, she doesnt have the right to leave without his permission, but he wouldn't stop her. God, that would be hell for everyone of he was that stupid. (And I think if they had PR she would get that right) He would be miserable without the kids if she did leave, (and she wouldnt go without them) though so he wouldnt stay either.

And of course I know that being ill doesnt mean she not unhappy, and being unhappy doesnt mean she is ill. I just mean that her being so unhappy might have triggered her depression again.
He's worried that her "thinking she is being tricked" and accusing him of lying is a sign of it all starting again.

She thinks everything will be fine, they will manage, if they go home.
When he tried to explain in black and white re the finances, she told him he could get a job in the middle east and send the money home.

She is a good mother, he is a good father. I cant speak of their relationship obviosuly, but it must be a struggle.
She is miserable there, he thinks they will be back to where they started off if they go home.
Its awful.

defineme Mon 10-Jun-13 12:30:18

Tbh it sounds like their marriage is over. Unless this is temporary, her mental health is suffering, and they're fine when she's fine, b ut it doesn't sound like it. It sounds like she's never been happy.

I think he should be planning on that basis. I appreciate he wants to stay with his kids and in Australia, but how will that happen? Is he prepared to fight for custody and care for them on his own-in the unlikely case that he gets it? Is he prepared to live in another country from them? Can he use Ireland as a base and fly out to do consultancy to other places?

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 12:42:14

It it falls apart any further than it is, I am not sure what he would do re custody. When she left him in the past, he didng have a problem with her taking the kids as she went to her parents, so they were all being looked after, and he visited every weekend. But if she went home to Ireland weekend visits wouldn't be an option. I think he would go too. But not til the end of his contract, because it would cost so much to get out of it.

The pattern has been: she gets depressed, things go tits up and then she gets better again and their relationship improves. But the last time it was PND, which eventually got better. If this is reactive depression, because of being so miserable, then I doubt she will get better unless the situation changes. (Disclaimer, dont know anything about depression, but am sure its a nightmare for the person who is ill)

I suspect they will all come back. He will have to look at options in Europe, wont he.

I wish I knew what to say to him.

DontmindifIdo Mon 10-Jun-13 13:07:14

If he has a wife who is prone to depression, then he can't realistically expect they can live so far away from any support network for her. Unfortunately, some people can't just up sticks and cope self sufficiently anywhere in the world.

He's going to have to compromise on looking for jobs in Europe with a promise of regular trips to Ireland/having PIL visit regularly.

WhataSook Mon 10-Jun-13 13:59:29

that is a horrible situation for all...I know when I had DD in the UK and my family were all very far away I felt depressed and thought if I could only get home everything will be better. Which is how your SIL sounds, and the fact that if they get PR your DB might chose to stay anyway.

Is there anyway her family can go and visit? Could they maybe pay for them to go over? Or go half way (Thailand, Malayasia?) or the whole family go home for a visit to Ireland? If she knows that yes it's a long way (and I know it is!!) but it's doable that might make her feel better?

Does she skype family?

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 14:31:05

Hoestly, he wants PR because he thinks the lifestyle for all of them will be better, but my poor SIL doesnt want to think about it. And clearly if she is miserable, then all the money and sunshine in the world wont make any difference. Her sister has just announced her pregnancy too, so that probably doesnt help.
At the moment, he thinks she is being unreasonable, and I suppose she thinks he is, and they are both kind of right. sad
I dont think her parents would consider travelling. They are elderly. Mine are younger and wont travel to London to me.

They are all meant to be coming back to Ireland for Christmas. I would not be surprised if she didnt go back.

If only it wasnt so far away. To be honest when I was there earlier this year, she did seem really settled, but I wasn't there for long enough to really see. I hope they can work something out...

DontmindifIdo Mon 10-Jun-13 18:42:32

Lifestyle isn't just weather and material goods, a miserable mother without family able to take up some of the strain would be horrible for the DCs, regardless of stuff and sunshine.

It does sound like the best advice you can give him is to look for jobs in Europe. Most major cities will have English international schools, so he shouldn't just limit himself to looking in Ireland or UK if his industry is hard to get jobs in, then offer regular trips to Ireland (not just say regular, say something like "at least one/two weekend/s a month").

Otherwise, by the sound of it she'll just leave him. If he wants to save his marriage and live in the same time zone as his DCs then his Oz dream has to be shelved.

WhataSook Mon 10-Jun-13 20:12:57

I agree Dont about miserable mother, but I'd stetch to say miserable father is just as bad. And I'm not sure sending him to the ME is any solution (perhaps for her but maybe not for the whole family?).

Could you DB stay in Aus while she goes home until she knows for certain that she doesn't want to go back? Have I read your OP right in that your DB is the one being sponsored? Because I thought then that he was able to apply once he'd been in Aus for a certain period?

Living so far away from family and friends isn't for everyone, it's very hard and can wear you down. I can tell you honestly now that if I thought I would be stuck in the UK forever and never be able to move home I'd be feeling mightly depressed also! Luckily my DH agrees with me so when I'm feeling a bit down I have a moan to him, we discuss our plans regarding leaving and it cheers me up no end! Even though we aren't planning the move for a while, knowing it's there is great (smile)

Maybe you could speak to your DB about putting things in motion (so clear evidence, i.e. plane tickets etc) to move home after they receive PR and then if it's still tough in Ireland and they want to go back they can.

I have depression, and when dh was offered a job that meant moving a long way away from my support network (friends rather than family, but the same applies) we had to think long and hard about whether I would be able to manage.

I was lucky, and did cope, and have built up a new support network, but if your SIL hasn't managed to do that, she could be feeling absolutely alone and desperate - even though she has a husband and family with her.

I wish I could offer you an easy answer, but I don't think there is one. If your SIL is depressed at the moment, she may not be able to see the advantages of staying in Australia -even those for her child.

The only thing I would suggest is that your brother tries to persuade her to have some therapy. I do think that reactive depression can be combatted without changing the situation that is causing it - for example, someone may become reactive lay depressed after losing a limb in an accident. The limb cannot be replaced, but the person can change they way they react to their loss.

One other thought occurs. Could someone from your SIL's family come out and stay for a while - give her a taste of home, and some practical support and comfort?

cjel Mon 10-Jun-13 20:55:45

I don't want to doubt what your db is telling you, but if she is so unhappy and has told him she doesn't want something and he dismisses her views as her being ill and in need of help for not agreeing with him then he sound like a controlling nightmare. she may have been happy when you visited as its lovely to see family, but he really needs to understand that his wifes mental health must come before his materialistic ideals of how he wants life to be. there must be jobs he can get between ireland and australia? which would mean his wife didn't feel like a player in his dream?

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 21:49:06

Thanks for all your views.

But cjel where did controlling come from?
He is not dismissing her views at all. He is worried as to what will become of all of them if they leave to go back to Ireland to a country in the middle of a recession, where there are few jobs, and where they no longer have a home. He has not mentioned anything to her about being ill again.
He has supported her through a fair bit, through a lot of family interference, and they both decided to move to Australia because of the opportunity offered. Obviously she doesnt feel that way any longer.

I don't know for sure that SIL is depressed. DB has mentioned that he is worried it has started again. I am just wondering if he is right because of all the trickery/lies statements, and because I know now that she is unhappy.

She has told him that she does not want to stay. But this is only in the last few weeks. (They have been out there 18 months as a family, and he was out there 6 months on his own. He is on a 4 yr contract) After they were told that he didnt have enough points to secure PR on his own.
And as far has poor SIL is concerned, she just wants to go back. Which is her right. Just that he doesn't want to. And he is upset. Because whatever way this works out, one of them will not be happy. Because there is no way to compromise on this.

She didnt tell me any of this when I was over, but then she might have not wanted to confide in me as I am the sister, although we get along very well..
I am a bit of a nomad and have moved around a lot myself, so I have a tendency to assume everyone is like myself. I suspect he is a bit like me too.

Its good to read of other experences, of people who didn't settle after emigration/migtration. It helps me to understand her feelings a bit.
Ive been looking through some of the other threads too with some other expats who are struruggling.
I will talk to him again with some of your suggestions.
Thank you again.

cjel Mon 10-Jun-13 22:14:51

As i said i can't be sure from hearing one side, it was just what i picked up from op - you don't think he can be that easy to live with. she refuses, she is now saying, she accuses him of lying. she may have been saying all along she would only try it, she may have never said she would sign so is not now refusing( quite a harsh word for her choosing not to?) perhaps he has said yes we will come back if you don't like it, we won't get pr etc etc. He may have said things hoping she would change her mind and now she hasn't he is disappointed and she is feeling trapped?.hearing only one side is hard but something in the tone of your op set off some alarm bells for me - sorry don't want to offend.

SconeInSixtySeconds Mon 10-Jun-13 22:33:13

I have been (and in some ways I still am) in exactly this position. I really didn't settle in Australia, was hideously homesick, cried more days than I didn't, it was gruesome.

We too were on a 457. My husbands contract was coming to the end of his two years, so I told him that the dc and I were going home, that we would look forward to seeing him ina few weeks etc.

Except he hasn't yet come home. And he has applied for pr because he thinks it is worth it.

But Aussie pr isn't forever. It only lasts forever if you never leave Australia (even for a holiday) or then take citizenship. It actually lasts for 5 years if you spend the first 2 years after it is granted in Australia.

Dh says he is still coming home. I hope that is true, but I have told him that I will not visit Australia while he holds pr.

On a 457 the Aussies are expecting you to leave. That is the whole point. She could go now with no say so from him. The Hague convention kicks in when you have pr as the children are classed as residents of Australia.

You say that she is sad. Perhaps depressed. Perhaps she just doesn't like it there? Perhaps she aches to see her family regularly? To eat potato bread and drink red lemonade?

There are a lot of people who go over there for a couple of years and come home. It doesn't make her deluded.

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 22:37:39

Ciei Not offended. The OP was just me being upset because he was upset, having just got off the phone.
And yes, I know my brother, I dont think he is a saint. But he is a good man, and I really dont think he is controlling. I have seen a lot of him bending over backwards to accommodate SIL. But again, I appreciate, what I see outside is not necessarily what goes on inside closed doors.
To be honest, I talk to her as much as him, as I am very fond of her, and my understanding was they were both on the same page. Up to now.
But like I said, I am the sister, so she might not have been as upfront because of that.
"Refusing, thats what he said. "refuses point blank" were the words he used.
He told me they are just getting back on their feet. Their home was in negative equity in Ireland, sold at a loss, and they have now paid off the remainder of what was owed. The credit card debts are gone. They now have savings. And all of that is likely to go backwards if he does what she wants. And I suspect he will, because he has always done so in the past. And he is upset, which he has a right to be.
As does she.
There are no winners here.

Maybe he will be able to get a job in the UK and commute, I dont know.
Anway, I just wanted some perspective, and I apreciate all the comments. They do help, and it will make it easier to talk to him.

cjel Mon 10-Jun-13 22:49:50

oh dear it does sound awful, your poor db has managed to do what he wants for his family by making them financially much better, but for some reason its not making your sil happy, i can understand both sides, could you point out to db that 'refusing point blank' is her right and that by insisting he is being just as stubborn,smile hope you can help by talking to him again, its times like this that aus seems so far away doesn't it.

ShamelessHussey Mon 10-Jun-13 23:11:09

God Scone, thats really sad.
How long have you been apart?
You are probably feeling what my SIL is feeling.
I dont think for a minute that she is deluded. I know she misses her family. Its a afriggig long way away. She had just found out her sister was pregant after trying for a very long time when I was there, and I know that it was a bit bitter sweet for her, becauae they were so far away.

I hope you guys can manage to sort it out.

SconeInSixtySeconds Tue 11-Jun-13 07:15:20

I came home at Christmas. We saw him at Easter when I took the dc over there for 2 weeks. He is coming for a holiday in mid July.

It is totally shit. I didn't sign up for forever over there. I agreed to two years. It isn't me causing the problem.

The irony is that the dc say to me that they never ever want to move ever again. Dd says she wishes we had never gone. They never look at this grey weather and say they wish we were still here. And they are my priority.

DontmindifIdo Tue 11-Jun-13 09:08:31

Op, it doesn't have to be "stay forever" or "return to Ireland with no home, no job and poverty" that your db seems to view, he managed to get the job in oz while living in Ireland, he can apply for jobs in Europe while living there, could he ask for 6 months to try to move with a job lined up first, then if he can't do it by say Christmas they'll move back without work lined up?

WallaceWindsock Tue 11-Jun-13 09:26:54

OP I am prone to depression similar to your SIL and DP and I also separated when I had severe PND. I recently was pg, 200 miles from family and although I had a support network I felt so isolated and so so desperate I was beginning to think I only had one way out. My family were quite dismissive of this saying that I couldn't move when heavily pg, needed to have the baby first etc. I couldn't see a way out. Luckily DP listened and understood my illness and with his help I hired a van at 36 weeks pregnant, and moved me and toddler DD the 200 miles to my parents house. Stayed there for a few weeks, found a house to rent, moved in and went into labour that night. I cut it v v fine!!

I needed to do this. My MH has dramatically improved, I am coping brilliantly, no signs of depression ATM and my anxiety is under control. Your SIL, may be feeling equally desperate. I don't think your DB or you quite grasp how utterly hopeless it feels to be away from the family or home environment which you crave and need. Flippantly talking about how she may be ill, and feeling frustrated that she doesn't understand the financial implications of what she is asking wont be registering. She is rightly focussing on how utterly desperate she knows she is. That is all that should be featuring for DB right now, how vital it is that he gets her the support she needs to get better. If that means her going home, with her husband for support then IMO that's what he needs to do. DP moved heaven and earth to enable my move, he understood how important it was and at the end of the day if we were left with no money and struggled for a few years we would cope because we are a family and get through things together.

He needs to take what she is saying seriously. He needs to do whatever it takes to help her get better, to make her feel supported. He is her husband. Yes they've had problems but it sounds as though they are down to her illness rather than an incompatibility.

Of course it might be that she isn't getting ill again, however it does sound as though it is. Hard as it is for him, she is feeling far worse.

WallaceWindsock Tue 11-Jun-13 09:36:21

Just read your last few posts OP and you talk about her "refusing point blank". That should be ringing alarm bells for him about how unwell she may be and how important it is he listens to her. If he is frustrated with her she will feel more isolated and may spiral more.

Obv he is your brother and you feel his side keenly in this. I think, as I frequently find, people don't tend to understand depression until they've had it. When I was a teenager and suffering badly with depression I remember watching the titanic and one line jumping out at me. "I feel as though I am standing in the middle of a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lungs, and no-one even looks up". She needs him to sit and listen to her, to take her seriously and to "bend over backwards". If you watched your husband sink and sink to a point where you feared he would give up on his life wouldn't you forget about finances, jobs etc and do whatever you had to to get him help? Yes is it exhausting supporting someone who has depression. In our relationship DP has also suffered with it so we almost have taken it in turns to support each other! With us though that ensures we do support each other because we understand how the other one is feeling.

It's hard but from the perspective of having been there I think he needs to make the move.

Does she know how much worse Ireland has gotten in the last 2 years? She may be looking back with rose tinted glasses but honestly, it's horrendous. The towns are dead and empty, everyone who can leave has left. The only ones left are those of us tied down due to debt and commitments.

2 years ago there was still some hope, now there's nothing.

And if her child has SN she's in for a shock, what services there were are closely being chipped away. Ds1 hasn't seen an OT since last September and isn't likely to for months. Childrens allowance is being cut yearly and will be cut again this year. Electricity and fuel has gone through the roof. Those of us still here are drowning in debt and misery.

It would be a massive mistake to come back, your brother should stay in Australia, how he's going to convince your sil I don't know though sad

cjel Tue 11-Jun-13 10:40:41

Just want to say that depression is quite often internalised anger. It may be that she is not 'ill' just not being listened to and feeling very out of control. decisions have been made around her and now she is being made to feel bad by not putting her own needs down to satisfy his. I wouldn't say that the depression is leading her decision. I would argue that her life situation has made her depressed and he is underestimating the control he has over her.
It also doesn't matter about the economy in any country, if she is not being listened to and feels she has not got control over what happens to her being rich, poor, broke or not she is living a life she doesn't want, and that is the worst feeling in the world

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