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My sister

(34 Posts)
Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 11:07:33

My youngest sister has been in a relationship for 10 years and they have a beautiful 4yo dd.
Her fiancé to put it bluntly is a twat.
He has ruined virtually every special occasion for her.
On her birthday last year he told her friends he didn't love her, calls her a 'dog shit whore', a couple of days ago he stayed up drinking a full bottle of whiskey and when she woke up he told her he was leaving her and that her last boyfriend told him that she 'was the filthiest fuck he'd ever had'
He had hit her before and he had said disgusting things to her in front of their dd. It's horrible and their dd doesn't seem to even notice now as its 'normal' for her.
He behaves in this manner fairly regularly (every couple of months), walks out on her, goes to his mums for a couple of days then calls my dsis crying and telling her he loves her and he's sorry.
I must point out that dsis is not scared of him at all.
He works occasionally but goes mad if my dsis uses any money that he's earned, he told her he doesn't want to work at all.
He takes ad's and has threatened suicide before. It's not only when drunk he behaves in this way.
When they are not falling out he lies in bed most of the day and she brings him his meals and then takes away the dirty plates. He never does anything with their dd, the only time he puts effort in is when she tells him she's had enough, then he is 'super fiancé and 'super dad' for a couple of weeks, he then reverts back to normal.
I have asked my sister why she stays with him and she told me it was because he wouldn't cheat on her. I have tried to show her the signs of emotional abuse and she agreed he ticks all the boxes but won't tell him to go.
I have tried explaining the effect it will have on their dd and she will probably end up in a similar relationship and she agrees but still won't end it.
She says she is just too soft and when he gets upset she feels too sorry for him.
It's getting to the point now where I'm getting annoyed with her for not putting her child before him. I feel like being very blunt with her and telling her I'm sickened that his feelings come before her dd.
She is not staying because she's frightened (I could understand that).
To avoid drip feeding, he hates her going out with or without him, he is 13 years older than her and nothing to look at whereas my dsis gets a lot of male attention but has never even flirted with anyone whilst in his company and doesn't really flirt when he's not there.
Should I just leave them to it? If it wasn't for my gorgeous and very clever little niece I would have probably done that by now.
Sorry for the rant but she's just taken him back after his latest outburst and she was telling me (and others) before she took him back that it was definitely over, now she is embarrassed she has taken him back so avoids speaking to me and the rest of our family.

woowoo22 Fri 02-Jan-15 11:17:23

Sounds like she might be scared but doesn't want to admit it.

Are the police or SS involved?

Windywinston Fri 02-Jan-15 11:19:20

Are you absolutely sure she's not scared of him?

If sympathy and understanding hasn't worked so far, I'd be tempted to go down the tough love route. She needs to be made perfectly aware, and not in wishy-washy "poor you" tones, that she is subjecting her DD to domestic abuse. She is as much responsible for the abuse her DD is experiencing as her partner is. He might be the one doling it out, but she's enabling him and refusing to protect her DD.

It's hard to balance keeping them close with trying to encourage her to do the right thing. Is she aware that if SS were made aware of their situation she could lose her daughter? I'm not saying you should threaten her with this, but with her comments like " I'm too soft on him" she doesn't seem to actually have a grasp of how serious her situation is.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 11:24:08

No she really isn't scared of him at all, I know it could look that way but believe me she isn't. The police have only been called once and that was a couple of years ago, no ss involvement.
I don't know if he's just chipped away at her self respect for years and now she always puts him first, he only needs to cry and she feels sorry him. If he gets aggressive, even verbally, she throws him out immediately and the cycle begins again. She has confidence in her looks and runs a small business, she knows financially she'll be ok without him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 02-Jan-15 11:25:23

It's not possible to help someone who doesn't want to be helped. Coercive Control - soon to be outlawed on the statute books - is a very complex and difficult problem, largely because the victim is so manipulated and brainwashed

There is a page on the Womens Aid website that offers advice on Things Not to Say and Do that you might find useful.

However, it is possible to help children if you believe they are in harm's way. Your sister - although emotionally/physically abused and coerced - has choices. He child doesn't. NSPCC and Child Protection should be contacted if/when you know that his behaviour is bad.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 11:26:00

Windy, you make a lot of sense, I think it IS time for the tough love approach but just wanted reassuring really that I wouldn't be making things worse.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 11:27:25

Thanks Cog I'll take a look at the website.

Windywinston Fri 02-Jan-15 11:43:18

I've seen the Freedom Program recommended here a lot and heard good things about it. Could you suggest it to her so that she can take a look? It might help.

I would steer clear or issuing threats or ultimatums at this stage, you'd probably just drive her away. But it's possible to make it clear that you in no way support her decisions, and believe her to be making terrible choices for her DD, make her see that she's responsible for protecting her DD (or not as the case appears to be), whilst also saying you'll always be there for her.

One thing I would say is that you need to emotionally separate yourself from this a bit. It's a really tough situation for you to be in, I've been there (though thankfully no DC) and you need to be prepared for the fact that she might never leave. Hopefully she will, but if she doesn't, you need to be able to live your life and be happy. As Cog says, it's not possible to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

livegoldrings Fri 02-Jan-15 11:43:41

Did your sister have a difficult childhood? This often leads to someone with a kind, gentle personality developing a doormat mentality. She is probably the sort of person who loves to care for others, but she has taken it to a really unhealthy level. She probably needs some help from a therapist to overcome this.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 11:58:41

We had a similar childhood, we are actually alike in a lot of ways and I have put up with shit myself to avoid seeing the other person upset, the difference is I wouldnt allow my son to see this sort of behaviour.
Our dm put up with crap from our df purely for financial reasons but I saw more of that than my dsis did, as she is the 'baby' of the family she was shielded from a lot of what was happening and if asked about it now she doesn't remember it being as horrible as I remember it. I think that's part of Why it bothers me so much, I know how it feels to see your parents behaving in that way, I remember asking my mum to divorce my dad as a teenager but she needed the money so stayed. We both have a very close relationship with our mum and rarely see our dad although my sister sees more of him than any of us.

Gfplux Fri 02-Jan-15 12:01:08

Your post makes me so sad. Slavery ended a long time ago but abuse still continues.
I believe the story is deeper than you know or can imagine. She is hiding something, as surely no one would stay with this animal.

livegoldrings Fri 02-Jan-15 12:09:08

I do think these childhood problems would be enough to cause her to fall into these destructive adult behaviours. Sometimes being younger when things go wrong is worse as the young child can form mistaken conclusions about what is going on.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 12:12:41

I know, I just don't understand why she stays, she is really 'soft' and hates upsetting anyone and he is extremely manipulative and does the 'bad cop good cop' routine until he finds a chink in her armour, she told me he did exactly as I predicted but still took him back.
I think she is scared of being alone and she always minimises his behaviour, when she's reminded of things he's done in the past she'll say "I forgot about that", every time he makes promises to change I think she believes, this time he will.
I've told her to write it all down so she can see in black and white how awful he is and she says she will but still she doesn't end the relationship for good. I've said her dd will probably be in exactly the same relationship when she's older because that's what she's learning relationships look like and how would she feel if that was to happen. She just says 'I know'.
She then posts on Facebook how wonderful her 'd'f is, bought her flowers or some other present, I really do feel like screaming at her but know it will do no good.

TheCowThatLaughs Fri 02-Jan-15 12:20:54

She could be scared that he will harm himself if she leaves him?
Also, police being called "only once" isn't normal! What were they called for?

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 12:26:25

Maybe her childhood did affect her, it definitely affected me.
I had a similar relationship to my parents and she is in a similar one now.
I hope the cycle can be broken for my dniece's sake.

springydaffs Fri 02-Jan-15 12:31:32

Forget your sister, the child needs to be protected. This is a child protection issue and SS need to be involved. Your sister and your relationship with your sister comes second to the child being safe - safe = not in a home with parents in an abusive relationship. YOu need to make that call asap.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 12:32:26

The police were called when she was pregnant and he tried to pull her out of bed by her ankles whilst drunk. The police informed her midwife who mentioned social services to her and that has scared her from phoning them again, although I know she 'toughened up' with him since then. After the incident with the police he threatened suicide and took some pills (he was fine), she made him go to the doctors and he was put on ad's.
She says she doesn't love him but feels sorry for him, we've all said he doesn't have any sympathy for you or your dd, the only person he cares about is himself.

Iggly Fri 02-Jan-15 12:34:28

Of course she is scared, scared of something surely.

My mum sounds similar. Similar relationship with her husband but claims she's staying for the children etc etc.

However she clearlt is scared because she doesn't do what she really wants. It got to the stage where she doesn't even have her own set of keys for her own fucking house.

Men like this grind down their partners. It is a combination of emotional and physical abuse.

TheCowThatLaughs Fri 02-Jan-15 12:34:48

I may be wrong about this, but she's unlikely to have called the police at the first violent incident, so there could be more you don't know about maybe.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 12:36:31

My dm has just spoken to her about allowing him back again. She says she can't help it, when he cries she hasn't got it in her to kick him out. She knows she should, I think when I speak to her I may have to mention social services to her as it is cruel to let a child grow up in that environment. I just don't want her to feel isolated as that is what he wants.

springydaffs Fri 02-Jan-15 12:38:00

Plenty of people had shit parenting but don't go on to visit it on our kids. We may have put up with it because we had a skewed idea of relationships but the wake-up call is what it is doing to our kids. If your sister puts her own addiction to this man before her child, knowing full well how damaging it is for her child, then the decision has to be taken out of her hands for the child's sake. It is no different to a parent putting any addiction before the welfare of their children.

SS will give your sister a choice: get rid of the man or the child is taken away from the home. And that's as it should be, for the child's sake.

glammanana Fri 02-Jan-15 12:38:30

The Police being called at all would give me the courage to send him packing with a short sharpe kick up the backside,and as to Facebook ?? your sister is trying to convince herself all is well as well as trying to convince others.
Tough love is by far the best course to take as only she can make the decission to leave him and she will one day trust me,she is just not ready to do it at the moment but when she does just make sure you and your family are there to support her & her DD,do you not have any brothers or BIL who could have a quiet word with him and put your concerns to him.

antimatter Fri 02-Jan-15 12:38:48

She is only scared of upsetting him.
You are upset, your DM and perhaps her DD too.
Point this to her.

Justwanttomoveon Fri 02-Jan-15 12:42:49

He is so pathetic, he is enabled by his own family as well, they tell my dsis to look after him better, but his own mother can't stand having him at hers for more than a day or two so it seems they want my dsis to stay with him so they don't have to put up with him.
I know you think she is scared of him but really she isn't, I know her so well, we are almost telepathic on occasion, it really is that she can't stand hurting him. She says if he was to not cry she wouldn't take him back but he knows this so always turns on the waterworks, she has no respect for him at all. Clearly she has little for herself either as she wouldn't put up with this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 02-Jan-15 12:45:31

You and your DM are going to get nowhere if you ramp up the pressure. It can even play into his hands... manipulative men love it when the rest of the family is against them. Makes them the romantic lead in the story ... you and me against a world that doesn't understand our love (cue violins)

What your sister doesn't have is self-esteem and confidence. Men like this crush the spirit of their victims and create unhealthy dependency at the same time. It's a toxic combination and no amount of rational argument will counteract it.

So boost her confidence. Be her confidante. Resist the temptation to pass judgement or make threats. Be a visible presence even if they make you unwelcome. Above all be there for when that phone call comes through and then clobber the bastard with the full works... SS, police, etc.

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