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I've made it worse

(9 Posts)
Blarblarblar Sat 11-Jul-15 13:23:03

My sister's husband is emotionally abusive, manipulative and increasingly controlling.
I spoke to her today and after she told me about the most recent incident I tried to tell her his behaviour was not normal and not her fault. She can be very argumentative herself and believes that she makes it all worse because of this or that. We ended up having a fight Brussels the need to defend/justify his behaviour. I'm so annoyed at myself and now she's upset with me. This is obviously not helping her. Im so worried about her.
How can I help her, I can't make her leave him but how can I help her see that it's not her. He followed the same pattern all the time behaves in a disgusting bullying manner for a number of days she tries to placate him, grovel etc then it leads to an almighty crescendo when she finally loses it and in the end she is still grovelling because she lost her temper. He eventually forgives her and so it begins again. Everyone thinks he's so amazing, he cooks, cleans etc but honestly is just another stick to verbally beat her with because he does it and claims she's lazy/let herself go etc. She works full time in her dream job but it's tough and she's learning to cope with that and two unconsciously he used to go about her not working and being lazy but now that he can't say that he finds other flaws. I've actually sent her links that I've seen on other threads but she has told me that she also does some of behaviours described to him.
Can I do anything?

ChopinLiszt Sat 11-Jul-15 13:32:39

Coming from abuse myself - there is absolutely nothing you can do if she doesn't want to engage. If you push it, she will back away and close up. The best thing you can do is stay quiet and be there for her - just let her come to you and be non-judgemental when she does.

Blarblarblar Sat 11-Jul-15 13:47:08

It's been years sometimes with very long periods of calm. She's amazing talented, funny smart. A wonderful person it's so hard to watch her waste her life away in this way always waiting for the next thing that will set him off.
ThanksChopin I will try, its my usual tak. I'll apologise.

BrowersBlues Sat 11-Jul-15 15:08:30

There is not much you can do I am afraid. I would not let the row fester because she does need you. Do tell her that you are not happy about how she is being treated and remind her that you are always there for her. It might sink in one day.

Send her links to articles about emotional abuse and perhaps she will read them.

It must be awful for you because if my sisters were going through this I would feel like shaking them and would undoubtedly say all the wrong things. I went through what your sister is going through and my sisters tried to talk to me. Needless to say it fell on deaf ears. It was only when I nearly got killed that I woke up to the reality of the situation.

I don't have much advice unfortunately but just be there for her.

Blarblarblar Sat 11-Jul-15 15:56:22

Thank you brwers I'm so glad you got away, it's hard to watch, frustrating. She is so busy worrying about him all the time that she is at times very difficult to love and support. She has become quite hard and judgemental and I know that's not just her protection but his voice coming through her mouth. We aren't as close as we used to be for the above reasons and I feel bad for that. Still speak almost daily and I will continue, I tell her all the time how amazing she is and that I love her as do the rest of the family I hope eventually she leaves him. I hope the children don't need to live in it until they are infected by him and his poisonous attitude.

BrowersBlues Sat 11-Jul-15 17:34:14

She is very lucky to have you as a sister. She is definitely putting up a shield and in her life she has to in order to block out the reality of her situation. When I look back on those days I don't even recognise myself. It is extremely frustating.

At one stage my brothers were going to come to where we live to beat seven shades out of my EXH. I obviously called it off but sometimes I wonder. People like your brother in law are bastards.

She worries about him all the time because she is terrified he will kick off so she is permanently trying to keep the peace. She doesn't know whether she is coming or going and that is pure hell. She is also trying to keep him content so that the children don't bear the brunt of it.

Keep doing what you are doing, she is so lucky to have you and your family.

Blarblarblar Sat 11-Jul-15 19:09:04

Thank you browers I don't feel like a good sister at the moment I feel so powerless but the truth is I am. I wasn't good today when I challenged her the way I did. I'll apologise and carry on it just means she won't tell me what's going on for a while. He will be creepy nice for the next couple weeks now while she works toward forgetting and minimising how he behaved. I feel as your brothers do and would love to just go a kick seven shades of shit out of him but that won't help ( I can have a dream though).
She has places to go people who support her when she leaves, I have to think when because looking at his face for the next 50 years would be repulsive. He will be awful if she leaves has already told her you won't get the kids or the house etc. I'll phone her now and tell her I'm sorry.

BrowersBlues Sat 11-Jul-15 20:22:48

That is so good of you, you are an amazing sister and you are doing the best that you can.

BrowersBlues Mon 13-Jul-15 19:10:33

OP you could maybe signpost your sister to the Freedom Programme recommended by Women' Aid. She can do the course online at a cost of £10.00 at the link bbelow. It costs £10.00.

I haven't done it but intend to even though I am years out of an abusive relationship. It could help me prevent it ever happening again. I hear other MNs saying that it is worthwhile.

You could perhaps drop it into the conversation. She might not leave her abusive husband but it might sow a tiny seed.

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