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My sister is broken hearted. Wise words needed...

(18 Posts)
CauliflowerBalti Tue 26-Jan-16 14:09:00

8 years ago, my sister had an affair with a married man. She also fell pregnant. Let's call the father Dick. His wife found out, everything got very ugly, it turned out Dick felt he should stay with his wife. His wife agreed that they would try again for the sake of their 2 daughters, but Dick mustn't see my sister or his child with her - also a little girl - ever again.

Dick stuck to this for maybe 3 years. He had nothing to do with my sister or their daughter together. Then something changed. He wanted to see his daughter. My sister agreed, access was arranged, slowly, slowly introducing Dick into my niece's life. And slowly, slowly, my sister resumed her relationship with Dick, and eventually he left his wife to be with her. On the face of it, it was a decent resolution to a pretty fucked up start to things. My sister and Dick were in an above-board relationship, living separately but with the aim of combining households.

Except that Dick is, well, a dick. Clue's in the name. He treats my sister appallingly. He criticises her home, her job, the food she prepares for him and her appearance. He calls her a skank. He lies to her about where he is going, disappears on lads holidays without telling her, sends suggestive messages to work colleagues. He is outrageously controlling, and won't let her talk to/see any of her male friends. He contacts her male friends through Facebook asking if my sister is a 'good girl'. She has never been unfaithful to him. This is by the by. He is a vile, vile human being.

He and my sister have just broken up for the umpteenth time. This time might be different. His daughters - now in their late teens/early twenties - hate my sister. Understandably. She seismically altered the course of their childhood and blew their family apart. To start with, they welcomed my niece, their half-sister, and she loved going to see them, but now they bully her and laugh at her and call her names. She's 7. To start with, they pretended to get along with my sister, now they send her truly vile, abusive text messages and set up fake Facebook profiles in her name. They refuse to be in Dick's house when my sister is there. If they have to be, they sit in their room and demand that Dick takes all their meals and drinks upstairs to them. Dick does nothing to stop any of this. He lets them speak to my sister however they like, she isn't allowed to respond, and now she can't go to his house as the daughters have decreed it isn't allowed.

Like I said, Dick is a dick. His daughters are never going to love my sister, but he is teaching them nothing by letting them behave like spoiled little shits. They're pretty much adults now. His job is to teach them how to be good human beings. He is failing dismally. But then he's a pretty crap human being himself.

ANYWAY. My sister has said that this isn't acceptable, that the relationship can't go on like this, so he has ended it.

And here's where I need help. She is heartbroken. Bereft. She loves him, she doesn't want all of the pain they have caused to be for nothing, she doesn't want to be on her own. I don't know what words to say. In my eyes, this is no loss. It is, in fact, brilliant news. He's a horrible horrible man. But that really isn't constructive. That doesn't make her feel any better.

And I really want to make her feel better. Her self-esteem is shot to pieces and it's his fault. She is beautiful and funny and kind. She won't be on her own. But he's told her so many times no-one else would have her, she's a skank, a slut... He's a very intelligent, articulate, charming man. He's broken her.

Help me make it better. What are the words?

Sunnybitch Tue 26-Jan-16 14:23:35

Tell her that her daughter deserves better! How would she feel if her daughter came home with a piece of shit, sorry excuse for a man like him? She deserves a mum who is happy and confident and whos footsteps she can follow in...not a quivering wreck who's afraid to speak.
op's sister you are well rid of the scumbag and even more importantly, your daughter will get her happy, carefree mummy back

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Tue 26-Jan-16 14:24:05

There are no words that'll make her feel better. You could suggest she gets some counselling.

Concentrate all your energy on your poor niece, spend some time with her, take her out, spoil her, inject some fun into her life. I feel truly sorry for any kid living in this fucked up scenario.

Lotsofponies Tue 26-Jan-16 14:29:49

Affairs cause nothing but pain. Your sister played an part in starting this cycle of pain. She now has it within her power to end it. She can't change the past but she can have a better future, as can her little girl. I guess all you can do is be there to listen and support her, and remind her that both she and her daughter deserve better. Eventually she will see the light.

CauliflowerBalti Tue 26-Jan-16 14:35:26

I think counselling would help her. She has such low self-esteem, I think she genuinely believes she's lucky to have him, that she doesn't deserve better, that it doesn't get better than this.

It breaks my heart because she's wasted so many years on him. And tears. I am tempted to contact him and tell him to stay the fuck away from her, just STAY AWAY and let this be the last round. She doesn't get chance to pick herself up and dust herself down, it's a constant merry-go-round of emotional turmoil.

DrGoogle, she knows this isn't healthy for her daughter. She's beating herself up about that too. Basically, she's just beating herself up. It's horrible to watch.

DaffyDuck88 Tue 26-Jan-16 14:42:28

Agree with previous post - definitely get her into counselling and fast! She has to come to her own conclusions, reach rock bottom or whatever. And however sincere and genuine your motives are (& I don't doubt them) to tell this guy to back off it sounds as though he would just see it as a challenge to his control over her. Do some research into local counsellors asap and help her to get strong and finally see him for what he is the sooner the better.
Best of luck to her and your niece.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 26-Jan-16 15:09:44

All the words of wisdom your dsis needs are contained in this book

Please do buy it for her as it may give her pause for thought if she contemplates continuing her relationship with the controlling twunt who has had her in thrall to him for far too long.

IamlovedbyG Tue 26-Jan-16 15:15:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Closeenough Tue 26-Jan-16 15:25:54

You can ask her whether she wants her daughter growing up like her half-sisters or not.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Tue 26-Jan-16 15:27:38

Whatever you do, don't contact this man. I would also be very careful of what you say about him to your sister. Unless your sister gets some professional help, they may well end up together again (and of course, splitting up again) at some point in the future.

In terms of practicalities, you can advise your sister on how to minimise contact with him - maintenance payments via the CMS, you could offer to be there for contact handovers so she doesn't need to see him, etc.

But otherwise, there's really not much you can do for her.

She needs to own the choices she's made, recognise that much of the misery she's wallowing in now is a direct result of those choices, counselling will help her figure out why she made those choices and then it's up to her to choose differently in future.

Robotgirl Tue 26-Jan-16 18:18:38

He sounds like an absolute cunt.
Your sister sounds lovely. And it sounds like her self esteem has been destroyed.
Counselling will hopefully help her. This is all going to mess with her daughter's head loads. Poor thing.

Humble314 Tue 26-Jan-16 18:22:12

Oh your poor sister, it must be torture to watch.

It sounds like her self-esteem is in the gutter. Can you get her a few books that aim to raise the readers self-esteem.

Purplecan4 Tue 26-Jan-16 18:29:19

Omfg this man can offer absolutely nothing at all to your sister. Apart from control and abuse.

She is a single mum to a 7yo. Perfectly reasonable for her to go dating - thousands of people in same/similar position.

Whilst she doesn't have to "advertise" the fact that she was in a relationship with a married man, it's probably best not to lie about it (to a new partner) either. She can say that she made a huge mistake getting involved with a married man who (presumably) sweet talked her.

And tell her the pain she caused isn't for nothing. Dicks poor, poor wife is finally free and will be better off in the long term.

Humble314 Tue 26-Jan-16 18:43:39

That's what I have said when I've been internet dating. I wasted 8 years with an abusive man and I have said that I made a big mistake, my self-esteem was much lower at the time but that it's repaired now.

I agree with the ''why does he do that?'' book as it sounds like Dick is abusive as well as a cheater.

Also, ''a woman in your own right'' by Anne Dickson

And, for a more light hearted read, and don't be put of by the title "why men love bitches''. It's really about holding on to your OWN identity at the start of a relationship. Remembering to prioritise your own needs, or, certainly, not to ignore them for a man you hardly know. I found it a good read. Didn't like the ''dumb fox'' chapter but apart from that, it is a good read.

Id imagine Dick is a Dick to his other family too.

lunar1 Tue 26-Jan-16 19:13:52

I'd concentrate on your poor niece, she could end up in the same pattern as her half sisters. I have no idea how you can help your sister, she will do it in her own time.

CauliflowerBalti Tue 26-Jan-16 20:51:22

Thank you all. I'll take a look at those books. I think she'll be very receptive to them. I hadn't considered the angle of my niece learning from and growing up to be like her half-sisters. I can't imagine my sister would let this happen, but then I don't imagine Dick set out to raise such entitled little madams.

forumdonkey Tue 26-Jan-16 21:18:24

Agree you should spend time having fun and raising your nieces self esteem but don't forget to do that for your Dsis too. Tell her what you've told us She is beautiful and funny and kind. She won't be on her own but she won't be on her own because she will have her family supporting her -rather than another relationship with another man. Talk to her and find out what days and times she finds the darkest and hardest and try to be there for her if you can, even if its only a whatsapp in the evenings.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 26-Jan-16 21:24:34

I would imagine that Dick set out to raise dc in his own image. which he appears to have achieved and is no doubt proud of.

Your dsis's dc is in grave danger of being used as a scapegoat and whipping girl on which her damnabledf and horrible half-sibs can vent their ire. Personally, I wouldn't let her near them again or vice versa.

The pain your dsis has, and is, experiencing won't have been in vain if she learns from it and stops believing that 'love' can cause leopards to change their spots.

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