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My sister has just got engaged to a man who we know to be emotionally abusive to her :(

(15 Posts)
redhappy Fri 16-Sep-11 23:09:16

I'm home alone, in shock. I really thought she was going to get away.

It came up on my facebook newsfeed that they'd got engaged. I just logged off, didn't comment. Rang my mum straight away and asked if she'd looked at facebook. She sounded so sad, just a massive sigh and "yes, I know".

What can we do? We can't do anything, I know. But I feel so helpless. I thought I'd be the lone voice in my family going 'come one this is a BAD idea, we should do something!' and everyone else would say 'it's great! she's happy!'

Mum is going to ring me in the morning to talk. I think I'm as much in shock by how sad she sounded as my sister's news.

Sister's partner has posted a pic of her hand wearing the ring. It's a fucking eye!!! A big fat Big Brother eye! He will have his eye on her at all times now.

God, I'm so upset. I was also in an abusive relationship. I had children with the man, and managed to get away this year. She came home for a few months confided in me and a few others what was going. Ended the relationship. Then she had to rush home for work, and of course he persuaded her to stay...

Please someone tell me she'll be ok, or that there's something we can do to help her. What is the right thing to do? Say nothing and be there to pick up the peices? But what if she never leaves?!

SaggyHairyArse Fri 16-Sep-11 23:13:22

Oh dear, what a difficult time for your family sad

You could possibly try talking to her but, I guess, that would mean risking her choosing him over you/the family?

Or the other alternative is just being there when she does need you.

redhappy Fri 16-Sep-11 23:35:27

Yeah, They live quite a long way away from us (surprise surprise) so it would be very easy to cut herself off from us if we say anything she doesn't like.

I'm just sooo sick of all these abusive men and the way they treat the women I love. So many of my friends who are in relationships are desperate to get out and don't know how. I totally remember that feeling of course, it wasn't so long ago I was there myself, I know how hard it is.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Fri 16-Sep-11 23:53:41

That's so sad for you, redhappy

You're right, there's nothing you can say to her.


Your actions have already spoken for you: you were in an abusive relationship, and you got out. Your sister knows this (yes?). So she HAS a model of a different way to live; she has you as a model that it is possible to leave an abusive twat.

Some day, this will probably come in very handy for her. And you will be a great source of strength and comfort to her, even just by example.

Bogeyface Sat 17-Sep-11 00:03:47

itsme is right, you will be her example

Right now she is thinking that their relationship is "different". He isnt the man your ex was, he means it when he says he will change, that it really is her fault that he is the way he is.....

but, one day she will realise that their relationship isnt different, that he is the man your ex was and that it really isnt her fault. And on that day she will remember what you did and she will leave.

You cant stop her from making her own mistakes and you cant make them for her. The best thing you can do is be there for her when she realises that she has made a mistake. Even if she does cut off from you then still be there for her when she comes back, because you know she will.

Its so hard having to stand back and let someone make the same mistake you did, but you really cant stop her. And if you slag him off then you are playing into his hands because you will be proving that you dont really love her and that she should cut you off...blah blah.

She is falling into the same trap that you did because she hasnt learned the lessons you have. Remember how you ended up with your ex, well she is there now. Give her time, and she will remember that you left and you are happier and she will know that you are there for her.

redhappy Sat 17-Sep-11 00:04:21

She does know, yes. I think she confided in me more than anyone else.

She showed me some emails he'd sent. He is gaslighting her. Really black and white case of it, I desxcribed it to her, told her the term so she could look it up herself, she was still saying 'maybe I did do it' and I had say 'you know you didnt do that, mum was with you at the time, that did not happen' and she just got really flustered. But she did agree it didn't happen, and admitted it was making her confused.

They are sposed to be moving here soon (our hometown). I knew he wouldn't. But I expected she would move here without him, not that he would find a new way to trap her.

I really hoped, if they did both move here, spending time with me and my friends she would get the strength to end it. A friend of mine teaces the Freedom Program, I was telling my sister about it and she asked for my friends number. But she didn't make the call in the end.

Hopefully things will be clearer in the mornignonce I've spoken to our mum.

redhappy Sat 17-Sep-11 00:12:22

Yes, being very careful to keep my mouth shout and not say a word about him! Very difficult I must say!

To be honest, I don't think any of her friends here will be pleased for her. They have spoken to me and said the same things about him, he hasn't convinced anyone here. I just have tis really bad feeling when everyone's reaction to the news isn't as heartfelt and genuine as they'd like, they will probably decide not to move here, then she'll be totally isolated again. And I mean literally totally sad

cecilyparsley Sat 17-Sep-11 01:19:30

Red perhaps if you just keep on good terms with her, try not to be judgmental but always be there for her, encourage her to think for herself and to keep some sort of escape route open in her life.

FabbyChic Sat 17-Sep-11 01:24:10

All you can do is have an open door policy, if she needs you you will be there. Unfortunately you cannot make peoples lifes decisions for them, but may need to be there for her when things go tits up.

I'd not give the man the time of day, and tell her that he is not welcome in your company, but she always is.

SansaLannister Sat 17-Sep-11 01:28:55

I could write out what would be my actual response, in such a situation, but it wouldn't be prudent.

So yes, be a shoulder to cry and hope she doesn't wind up dead or in a real situation.

cecilyparsley Sat 17-Sep-11 01:37:16

Also, you mentioned that you were in an abusive relationship and were able to leave, what sorts of things were or would have been helpful to you, what kind of advice would you have listened to?
I'm just thinking that in many ways you may know the best ways to help her because you understand the situation from the inside.

To repeat what others have said, you already provide a good role model, you were strong and you left.
If you can do it so can she.

HairyGrotter Sat 17-Sep-11 07:49:00

My sister is married to an EA and FA, it's heartbreaking but it's her choice. My sister knows that I am always here for her, she has had 2 children by him, he threatens her that he will take the house and the kids if she ever leaves, she does not accept she is being EA'ed.

It's horrible to watch, but hopefully they will, when the time comes, take strength from those around them to leave.

HereIGo Sat 17-Sep-11 14:54:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notherdaynotherdollar Sat 17-Sep-11 15:30:09

she knows he is awful yet wants to marry him

more fool her then! she obviously has support from her family so isnt alone in that respect. You just have to wait until she comes to her senses.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 17-Sep-11 15:47:53

If your mother and your sister's friends all feel the same, can you stage an intervention? Get together and all tell her how you feel and why? Even if it doesn't stop her going ahead, it might make her more aware and she might get out sooner than she would otherwise.
People who are vulnerable to EA generally have low self-esteeem and are prone to doubt their own judgement. If the people whose judgment she trusts are unanimous in warning her against this man, who knows, she might listen.

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