Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
I am in an impossible situation(37 Posts)
I have no idea how to solve this.
I have a sister who was dating this guy, all moved v quick, engaged within a month. She then discovered he had a drink problem and asked him to leave. He didn't take this well, smashed up her house and all her possessions, did some other unspeakable things and ended up with a court appearance resulting in a fine and restraining order.
Fast forward 2 months and she is back with him. My DH and I are shocked, but it is not for us to decide who she chooses to be with and we have not said anything to her. However, my Mum is having a family BBQ at the end of the month and wants us all to be there (inc my brother). She has already welcomed this guy into her home (they are both actually living there at the moment, as sis had to leave her house due to the damage this man caused). He has no job, doesn't drive and basically hangs about my Mum's house all day.
I told Mum we would find it difficult to be there (as would my brother, who we spoke to already and he said he feels the same) and she was upset, telling me I was "splitting up the family". I said I would explain our reasons to my sis, but Mum wants to stop me doing this, in the hope that we'll all change our minds before the BBQ and it won't be necessary.
It's not just the BBQ, we are having a do for my youngest in 2 weeks' time and I am going to have to explain to sis that, whilst she is very welcome, we wouldn't feel comfortable having this guy in our home. Aside from anything else, I personally believe he is dangerous.
I can see where my Mum is coming from and I know she is just worried that her kids will end up alienated, but I think this is too serious to compromise on right now. Don't get me wrong, I don't want this to go on forever. I just cannot even bear to look at this guy right now, let alone extend hospitality to him in my own home.
Anyone been in a similar situation?
It's difficult but, tbh, if you start to force your sister into a corner by trying to get him excluded from social situations then you will simply isolate her.
I would go. See how he behaves. Make her see him in a normal family context rather than letting her see him as a 'bad boy' and them as star crossed lovers.
I should think your mother can hardly sleep at night with worry about her daughter. I think I would go to the BBQ to show support to your mother and sister.
Going to BBQ isn't showing friendliness to him.
did some other unspeakable things
This is something that worries me.
If it was some kind of actual abuse towards my sister, I'm not sure I could be in the same room either.
I'd want to rip his f*cking head off and would not be able to be civil to him so it would definitely be best if I wasn't there.
Well you have two choices really, you either accept that this idiot is around for the foreseeable and take the moral high ground for the sake of your Mum and sister or don't accept it and inevitably run the risk of creating more tension.
It's as easy and as difficult as that
You're not "splitting up the family", he is.
Quite honestly, in your position I just wouldn't go and I'd tell anyone who would listen why I felt I couldn't be there. Your sister needs support obviously but she also needs to understand that continuing her relationship with this madman has consequences for all of you.
Not going may not be terribly helpful to anyone but I couldn't be there and pretend it's all "happy families" just to please a mother who's colluding in your sister's very, very dangerous situation.
This is an awkward one but actually do you really want that twat to cause anymore aggro to anyone else? I guess you think no so do not let him stop you seeing your sister or from going to family occasions. Don't let him have that over you. Be polite but civil. Don't say anything else bad about him to your sister or that may well push her closer to him.
"smashed up her house and all her possessions, *did some other unspeakable things*"
I'm reading into the "other unspeakable things" as he beat her up and raped her. Or he set fire to her dog or something.
Whatever he's done, he needs to be in prison, not just bloody fined. Honestly, I couldn't be within a couple of miles of him, and most certainly would not turn up to a family BBQ and have to pretend that it's all just some lover's tiff that took place and everything is normal when it so obviously isn't.
What kind of dysfunctional mother would give this appalling shit bloody house-room? I just don't get it.
Being there and 'playing happy families' are not the same thing.
The mother might be keeping her daughter safe on her territory. I doubt the mother wants him there. Perhaps for now the mother feels helpless and this is the only thing she can do. Probably goes against every thing she wants to do to him.
Sometimes people find it makes sense to them to keep their loved ones as close to them as they can and to keep an eye out on the 'enemy'.
Attending the BBQ doesn't mean you all pretend things are hunkdory. You can show he cannot break this family.
Thanks. other unspeakable things - no, not sexual abuse but seriously twisted criminal damage, animal cruelty, death threats. Vile graffiti all over cherished family photographs. I mean, IMHO the man is sick. As much as I don't like him, to me his unsafe, hence I don't want him in my home, spending time with my kids. I think my mother is out of her mind to let him stay there, but my sis is not the strongest of people and I think my Mum has always wanted to "look after her" (she is over 30 BTW). She thinks I'm being judgemental and unforgiving, but this all happened so recently and I would never usually invite a convicted criminal and abuser into my home, so why should I make the exception for my sister? Apparently he is "trying really hard", "barely drinking at all" etc. etc. Which is all very well while he is basically under house arrest (can't drive, no public transport where Mum lives and he has no money anyway). But I've never heard of anyone with an addiction giving up drinking overnight and without help. It is so upsetting, my sis is a beautiful, kind, gentle girl who deserves so much better.
I would go to the family BBQ to support your sister. Not her stupid decision to get back with him but just supporting her as a person you care about. She must have no self-esteem and isolating her will be counter-productive. That said, you don't have to be nice to the evil bastard in the slightest. I think he needs to know that you, your brother & the rest of the family have got your eye on him. I'd take the same approach to having him in your home. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Any man who is capable of animal cruelty is dangerous and I wouldn't want to be around him either. However, I think you need to support your sister and go to any family events you are all invited to. Your sister needs your support and she will see eventually what an arsehole this guy is. In my experience OTHER people telling me that I'm making a mistake falls on deaf ears, I have to make my own decisions when it involves affairs of the heart, no matter how obvious the mistake I am making is.
I would go to the BBQ but not invite him into my own home. I wouldn't want to go to the BBQ but would to see how things lie.
I was in a similar situation about 18mths ago. I absolutely detest the guy my sister is with.
After an evening of drink all 5ft of me squared up to him and told him what I thought and no matter what he would never come between me and sis. He was left with a v clear idea of my feelings and more then a little rattled.
They are still together, in neutral ground we tolerate each other very occasionally but I won't have him at my house. Mom n Dad are taking the killing him with kindness line .... Better to keep communication open and that she can talk to them.
Personally I would go to bbq, he shouldn't come between you n sis or stop you going to your parents. He is probably hoping you won't go and let him have an easy ride of it. I would say no to going to yours though, explain your reasons to sis and then her attendance is up to her. Keep taking though and remind her you love her x
Yes, I've been in a similar situation - although on a different level.
My BIL has been to prison for ABH against his two young sons. They were children he had before he met my DSis.
He married my DSis and now they also have two young boys. He punched my Dsis and I am sure that he is violent towards my DNephews but I have no proof. She kicked him out after he hit her when she was PG with DS2 but then let him back in a year later after having had nothing to do with him. He had apparently had 'counseling' and anger management.
SS are still keeping an eye on the boys so are still involved (luckily).
Because of him we now have little to do with DSis. I cannot accept that she took this man back and put her own DSs at risk of harm. When we do have family gatherings he will (very occasionally) come along and I will be polite, but we generally avoid any meeting with him at all costs.
So on that basis, I would probably go along to the BBQ but have nothing to do with him apart from social situations like that. He will know what you think of him so will be under no illusions that you like him.
Agree with several other PPs. I would go to the bbq as support for my sister but i wouldn't have him in my home.
There is no way I would attend or take my child to a place or allow a violent, sick sadistic bastard like this was into my house and childs do.
The courts decided it was bad enough for a restraining order. Just because your sister and your mum deem him OK to be around doesn't mean you should.
If you go how do you then explain that he is not welcome to yours? You can't because your mum will just turn around and say you are not fair and now your sister and her cannot come. It is a cycle that will spin until you give in an allow him to attend.
Tell them especially your sister that you love them and are always there for them if they want you but you will not be attending and this man will never be entering your house. If he proves himself over a year or so. That he has quit drinking (barely drinking is BS as it means he still is and still will) and there is no more of his behaviour then I would consider meeting away from your house.
One of the 'features' of abusive relationships is isolating your sister from her support network.
So he kind of wins if you don't go.
At all costs maintaining her support network is priority.
I would go. A polite curt nod in his general direction would be the most he would get from me.
He would not be invited to my house, ever. DSis will have to take that on the chin and decide for herself whether she comes or not, but she comes alone.
I would make an effort to phone her frequently though, chit chat, have a laugh, keeps it light, pleasant and constant. She will be able to tell you whatever she needs to if the lines are kept open.
If you choose to go. ... leave your children with a babysitter. Don't let him near your kids. Things could turn ugly very quickly.
Without going into too much detail I'm in a similar scenario and its something I really struggle with. The abuser in our case has on occasion openly abused our family member in front of us , and there has been many incidents of violence.
I'm not sure where the line is between supporting my family member and enabling abuse. We too have been in similar social situations where we've ended up tolerating him so as not to isolate our family member. I personally think this was a mistake and not something ill be doing ever again . I feel it sends a message to the abuser along the lines of , we know you abuse our relative but we're ok with it. I also suspect playing happy family's contributes to my relatives minimization
Bitter is right when she says your sisters choices have consequences for everyone. I have totally supported my relative for a very long time , if I went into details people would be horrified , but frankly I've had enough.She is free to make whatever choices she wants , and so am I. I have stated that I'm not willing to spend time with an abuser and that Its not fair that I am affected by her choices. This means she now must keep him away and that I am not available to talk endlessly about this for hours anymore . Unfortunately the only solution for us is to simply take a step back for our own mental health. It's horrible.
These would be my mantras:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Killing with kindness
And tonnes of passive aggressive, no nonsense bossiness.
I would go to the BBQ, without the DCs. No way on earth would he be welcome to my house.
I would also blank him at the BBQ.
Actually - no, I wouldn't go. What a twat.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.