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.
BIL problems. Hugely, massively long: thank you.(33 Posts)
Hello, may I please ask for your collective wisdom and advice? I’ll try to be as brief as possible, but so as not to drip feed, this will necessarily be very long. Please bear with me and thank you in advance.
Background: DH is the oldest of three brothers. They lost their father as children and had an extremely chaotic upbringing where they were not taught any life skills. However, despite this, DH and youngest brother are now fully functioning adults with careers, homes, long term partners and children.
Middle BIL is not. He lives in squalor because he cannot clean and refuses to learn. He has a very poor diet because he cannot cook and refuses to learn. He is financially incontinent. He is sporadically self-employed as he is incapable of holding down a job long term. He blames their mother for all his problems, saying that she is toxic (she may very well be Narc.) but will not go NC as she subsidises him financially in addition to benefits. He has been an in-patient at psychiatric hospital and has medication, and for many years has been involved in an extremely fundamentalist evangelical church. This has led to numerous disastrous, short lived relationships.
He and my ex-SIL have a sixteen year old daughter, our niece. She was unplanned, but they married. When niece was a baby, SIL and niece left BIL as one day, SIL had asked him to keep an eye on niece whilst she was in the bath; BIL left niece unattended and wandered off to smoke a cigarette in her room. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for SIL after numerous incidents (see second paragraph!)
Ex-SIL and niece however maintained contact with BIL until a couple of months ago. Niece told BIL that she identifies as lesbian, which is absolutely unacceptable according to the teachings of his church.
For many years, Niece and SIL were not in contact with us anyway because BIL is a master of divide and conquer, and had told SIL and DH and I separately that following their break up we each wanted nothing to do with the other. This isn’t the case and SIL and I, and particularly DD1 and niece now get on extremely well indeed.
SIL’s relationship with BIL has always been tense and he would ask after SIL and I were reunited that I act as a mediator between them. This I did willingly.
So, two months ago I got a communication asking me again to ring SIL on his behalf. When I did, she told me how he had rejected “The” (BILs words) daughter for her “sin”. Niece was devastated and went NC.
I sent BIL an email saying that I had rung SIL, and she had told me that Niece had gone NC with BIL and why, how very sorry I was to hear this and that I hoped that things would work out.
His attitude turned on a knife edge, he sent me very sneery, goady and smug emails including one saying that he wanted nothing more to do with niece and of course, since they are so close neither of my DDs!
I hit the roof. I rang him and as soon as he heard something he didn’t like, he slammed the phone down and refused to answer again. I told him that this had nothing to do with DDs, but that meant by extension he wanted nothing more to do with me or more importantly their father, his brother.
I challenged his homophobia (I detest prejudice and will always challenge it) and all I get in return are rambling about how god says it’s wrong, I’m deluded, I’m accusing him of homophobia (I’ve been very, very careful not to actually call him homophobic) I’m controlling, hate-filled – you get the idea. He’s very angry and prone to be a martyr. This whole situation, of course is due to his mother’s toxicity, he says. He has dragged both his brothers into the argument and has been playing them off against the other
MIL asked DH if we could go and see her in December (she, and the two brothers live overseas) but due to the season and short notice it was financially impossible so could we see her at Easter? No. She demanded that DH go, she’s paying for his ticket but can’t be expected to pay for all four of us.
I’m still getting emails from BIL, but on DH’s advice I’m now ignoring. They’re becoming more frequent though, and I’m getting concerned that BIL is going to divide and conquer, telling all and sundry that “Waaaaah, Solidur is meeeeean, she’s horrible and is ignoring meeeeee!” I couldn’t care less about myself, but I do not want DH to suffer any backlash.
I’m so tempted to just reply “Dear BIL, thank you for your emails dated the sixteenth and twenty-first. I’d like to reassure you that I’ve received and read them. Thank you! Solidur”
Please advise me. Thank you so much for getting this far!
Honestly, if it were me I would just go no contact with the lot of them, including MIL. Concentrate on your own family and leave them to concentrate on themselves.
If I've got this correctly, he has said he wants to sever contact with your DN and SIL plus your family? I'm not being flippant but surely that's good? He sounds like a massive pita.
As for DH's mother demanding visits and dishing out tickets etc, the answer in, no, as we said we will visit, as we said, at Easter. DH needs to be at home with his family around Christmas time.
And as for others believing 'D'bil, surely he has enough form for people to take his nonsense with a pinch of salt? I personally would maybe send the email then ignore all future provocations. He's trying to get attention and doing quite well.
Felicity, yes, I would be more than happy to go NC with BIL. MIL is difficult, but by virtue of being eldest, DH seems to manage to reign her in somewhat. She's a widow in her eighties who has already lost touch with one son, don't you know? Seriously, Middle won't speak to her or have contact with her but accepts cash via Youngest.
The December visit isn't actually at Christmas, Matilda it's between Christmas and the New Year; DH has banked enough holiday days to have a long enough uninterrupted break to suck it up, fly over and keep her happy. He would like to see youngest brother and his family too, my nephew's birthday is at that time. She wants to pay for it so...
It's primarily youngest brother's relationship with DH I'm most concerned about. He's always been very protective of Middle BIL and whilst Youngest and DH have a good relationship, there were ructions (now resolved) and Middle BIL will gleefully shit stir between Youngest and DH.
I don't want DH to go over and be confronted with "Oh, why is Solidur ignoring Middle? Poor Middle!"
I asked DH what he thought of sending the neutral, bland response to shut down Middle earlier, but he hasn't had the chance to get back to me yet.
And yes, Middle is a massive PITA!
Block all his narcissistic e-mail rants from your e-mail address as of now.
You do not need him or his toxic mother in your lives.
Do not reply to him at all; any contact from you will be seen by him as a reward thus allowing him to bother you even more. Radio silence from you is necessary.
These people always want the last word and are itching for a fight. Do not be a part of his games, if you disengage completely it will be in your best interests.
Leave them to it!
don't respond to emails, in fact I would mark his address as spam and have nothing more to do with it.
Just support your DH as best you can, be cordial, take the high road.
Thank you, Attilla that's what DH says. Don't engage the crazy!
Believe me, I've composed vicious replies in my head and left them there because as you say, Middle wants to play the martyr.
I think the best thing is for DH and Youngest to forge still closer links and not allow middle to shit stir, but I've seen what he is capable of and I'm wary.
Also thank you, Nilby
I'm pretty sure DH is going to agree with you too!
YY "Don't engage the crazy".
I don't really see the problem here - just block his email address and go NC. Keep up with niece and SIL by all means.
BIL can find all the comfort and support he needs from his "church". I'd have left him to it years ago.
Why on earth did you engage with all this bollocks by phoning your ex-SIL at his request? Presumably she'd blocked the bigoted fucker and wanted another way to get at her.
It's up to your DH if he wastes his holiday being summoned by his mother, and up to him if he wants to have a relationship with the youngest brother that excludes the middle brother.
So he has no contact with your DDs - why would you want him to given the kind of views he's expressed?
He wants attention and upset and you're giving him both in spades. Ignore, block, and support your niece through this unnecessarily hurtful rejection.
he wanted nothing more to do with niece and of course, since they are so close neither of my DDs! I hit the roof
Why? You have the right, do you, to say who your brother in law must be friends with? If he won't see your daughters, he can't see you and his brother. His loss.
I challenged his homophobia
Why? Does everyone have to believe what you believe? They don't. They just don't. You need to take that on board.
I don't know about 'controlling, hate filled' - sounds as if this family would try the patience of a saint - but you are certainly keen on sticking your nose in where it doesn't belong.
Why not step back a bit? Try 'not caring' about his behaviour or what he says to other people.
Or as you say above 'don't engage the crazy'. You don't have any power over him and you'll save yourself a lot of irritation if you stop trying to act as if you have.
I really wouldn't want him having a relationship with my DD's!
Hi, BeCool and thanks.
The problem is I'm concerned that Middle will relentlessly shit stir between Youngest and DH if I freeze him out. I'm more than happy with my relationship with Youngest, his DP and my nephew, but DH has not forgiven Middle for dragging our DDs into the row because they dared to continue their relationship with their cousin (Niece) and I actually feel quite sorry for Youngest too because now he's stuck in the middle.
I'm concerned that Middle will relentlessly shit stir between Youngest and DH if I freeze him out.
So what if he does? DH and Youngest can agree not to take any notice of him if they want to.
DH has not forgiven Middle for dragging our DDs into the row because they dared to continue their relationship with their cousin
How have they been dragged in? Why do they care if an uncle in another country doesn't want to see them? How will they even know? Are they of an age that their cousin might tell them her dad has rejected her? If yes, they're old enough to understand that some people believe things that aren't true and make bad decisions as a result.
That all said, if DH hasn't forgiven Middle, that's his business isn't it?
Thank you, tribpot, you've hit the nail on the head! He was using me as messenger, but no more. I'm fully supportive of Niece.
Hi, thank you Humble - I "hit the roof" because by saying he wanted nothing more to do with DDs, he was automatically saying that he wanted nothing more to do with their father - his brother.
I accept that I do not have the right to dictate other's beliefs but it broke my heart that he was so - cold - to niece, and she instantly became "the" daughter not "my" daughter.
When I say "challenged" what I actually did was gently suggest that it wasn't the end of the world if Niece identified as lesbian and he might just say, "we disagree, but I still love you" instead of ranting and sending her pages of deeply homophobic literature.
I know he has no power over me or me over him and I'd be delighted to step back if I wasn't afraid he'd then shit stir between DH and Youngest.
However! That's for DH and Youngest to sort out, no?
I think you need to get your beak out and concentrate on your own family. Ignore the lot of them, and certainly don't get involved mediating between anyone. With people like this you can't ever win so there's no point trying.
Thank you, tribpot
Niece is 16, DDs are 15 and 11. What I'm (very badly!) trying to say is this:
Middle rejected Niece. He then said, effectively "If you continue a relationship with Niece, whom I have rejected, I reject you too!" That was what infuriated DH and I. You can say that to an adult and accept their choice, but it's less fair to ask that of a child and a teenager, I feel.
DDs had previously had a good relationship with Middle.
Thank you, Manatee
I'd love to keep my beak out, but Middle continues to contact me. I'm ignoring them on DH's advice.
I don't know why, to get a reaction? I'm certainly not mediating between him and SIL since he rejected Niece.
I can't do anything except continue to ignore, support Niece and SIL and keep things ticking over with Youngest and his lovely family.
I just feel sick when I get another email from Middle, they're so goady and sneery.
"Hi, thank you Humble - I "hit the roof" because by saying he wanted nothing more to do with DDs, he was automatically saying that he wanted nothing more to do with their father - his brother"
This is precisely what narcissistic people do. My BIL did the self same behaviour.
Nothing good will at all come of you doing anything here; it is best to let this lot get on with it.
Is your DH from the culture where the eldest son has special role in family?
So if his emails are nasty, just ignore them. Delete them without reading them.
No-one is forcing you to respond. They may be provoking you, but you always have a choice about whether to react or not.
He then said, effectively "If you continue a relationship with Niece, whom I have rejected, I reject you too!"
Send him a thank you card?
But seriously it is up to your DH & Youngest to maintain their relationship. If Youngest is going to be influenced by Middle's anger, spite, ignorance and stupidity, what right or responsibility have you got to put yourself into that relationship and try to 'fix' it?
Why are you taking all the responsibility for everyone, including the mentally unwell in this complex dysfunctional family dynamic?
Also you aren't freezing him out, you are just removing yourself from being the facilitator with his own XP and child, whom he doesn't want anything to do with anyway. Leave him to have his own family relationships (or not) on his own. You aren't responsible for this person or for Youngest.
You can and should now block nasty BILs e-mails from your inbox; this is easy to do. Never read these either. All these actions on his part are those of a narcissistic person; this is precisely the sort of stuff they pull.
Do not respond at all to this nasty person; any response from you will be seen by him as a reward and he will bother you even more.
If you block him or direct his emails to SPAM you won't even know if he is emailing you.
OP - why are you giving this toxic person so much power over you and your family? So he doesn't want anything to do with his daughter or ex-wife, or his neices (your dds) or his own brothers, or his own mother, or now you - who cares? Ffs, stop acting as go-between for his XW and his dd - nothing to do with you any more. His loss. They are obviously and rightly NC with him.
His own brothers - well, he can try to come between eldest and youngest, but they can also do their utmost to counter that.
I don't understand how this one person has so much power. ignore, , block, concentrate on the rest of the family .
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.