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Is this EA or an accepted way of life?

(15 Posts)
matana Thu 27-Feb-14 14:11:11

Started another thread recently after I emailed my sister about BIL's behaviour (towards myself and dh mostly, but it got me thinking) but now doubting myself.

He's at points been kind, generous, funny, charming, helpful, even lovable. He earned loads of money when he had a regular income, dsis gave up work, had their dd, and basically enjoyed his money, not having to worry about much. He gave her an allowance. But these are some of the things I've seen and heard during their 12+ years together:

- Jokingly telling dsis she always wears jeans/ should make more effort with her appearance.

- Sulking and ignoring dsis after arguments, sometimes for days

- Never apologising (for anything, ever) and never seeming to care about the impact of his actions or words on others)

- 'Jokey' remarks that other family members have found offensive such as remarking on other people's appearance or pronunciation

- he hasn't spoken to his own brother or sister properly for many years. He no longer speaks to my other dsis and bil and myself and dh can no longer stand to be acquainted with him

- Refused to commit to dsis for many years. When dniece was born referred to dsis jokingly as 'the housekeeper' as her surname was different. Then finally asked her to marry him, taking her away, alone, to America without even their dd in attendance nor telling anyone else it was happening. We were all informed it had happened by text.

- Telling dsis how he's the breadwinner, he's 'traditional' in terms of gender roles and at varying points telling her to go out and get a job because she sits around doing nothing (which is actually true) and then saying no don't worry now we don't need you to

Basically I've noticed dsis rarely seems to have her own thoughts and opinions on things, she sounds like his clone - totally different from when we grew up together. She always fights his corner no matter what and even if she at first speaks out against him several days later she will say "he only did or said that because you did or said x, y or z". Ultimately we have had enough of his constant jibes and have told her so. We are consequently no longer speaking. We used to be so close.

EirikurNoromaour Thu 27-Feb-14 14:20:15

Yep, definitely abusive.

chateauferret Thu 27-Feb-14 14:20:20

He sounds like a horrible twat to me. Whether you class it as EA is perhaps academic: a twat is a twat is a twat.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:22:07

Horrible man.

What do you intend to do?

matana Thu 27-Feb-14 14:23:07

Lol chateau I agree which is presumably why we no longer speak. But as my dsis seems content to share her life with a twat I wonder whether she would share it with an abuser when it's pointed out to her....? The trouble is he can be so nice when things are going his way. They're currently not.

matana Thu 27-Feb-14 14:25:19

I am trying but failing to open her eyes Lweji. She is angry with me for pointing out what a dick he is and I may now have lost her completely.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 27-Feb-14 14:26:07

Abusers can be plausible to those in the outside world and he has likely groomed her from the early stages of her relationship. He is abusive no two ways about it.

It seems that your sister has become conditioned to accepting her ill treatment of herself. She is likely to be on some level very afraid of him. He has managed to drive a wedge between you and she and actually has now got her where he wanted her to be all the way along.

There is no easy way forward if she continues to put him first over her own self.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:28:24

I suppose all you can do is tell her that your door and arms are open should she need to and that you won't blame her or tell her I told you so.
It's not easy to be in an actual abusive relationship and the dynamics can be complex. Maybe you should read about it?

matana Thu 27-Feb-14 14:36:38

I know a bit about it and when I see it written down I think "yes, no two ways about it". But my dsis has always seemed very comfortable with not working and being supported by him. She has never wanted for anything. She even shouts back at him sometimes though is always the one to try to make amends. They even had a firey relationship at first and it seemed like it was 50/50 as to who was the aggressor. He's so engaging too though and has gone out of his way to invite family over, be nice to them etc. It only seems to be when he's unhappy about something that he reverts to type and other people begin keeping their distance. Could he just be depressed?

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:38:40

No, he couldn't.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:39:22

You may know how to recognise an abuser, but have you read about the psychology of the women who are in relationships with them?

matana Thu 27-Feb-14 14:40:53

No I haven't. Are you able to share any links?

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:52:21

Not an expert by any means, but you can look into codependency

And why women stay in abusive relationships.

She may not even recognise it as abuse. We see it here often in this board. It's often when it reaches the physical stage that women call it abuse, but the signs and other forms of abuse have often been there before.

Instead of telling her about him, why don't you ask questions? Ask her about her feelings, about what she thinks she can do. It should come from her.

WhateverTrevor83 Thu 27-Feb-14 14:53:12

Not sure it's abusive necessarily (imo, and only based on post so don't all tell me off grin ) but he certainly sounds like a bit of a twat.

HelenHen Thu 27-Feb-14 17:57:11

I'm not sure it sounds abusive either... That's not really enough info! I've known plenty of husbands like that who certainly weren't abusive. Either way if your sister doesn't want out you can either fall out with her or just support her and wait for s potential fallout. I don't understand the need to quickly paint people as abusers or as victims here. Sometimes it's clearcut, sometimes it's not!

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