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My abusive BIL & the eggshells

(24 Posts)
OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 14:47:35

I've posted before under a different name.
Just returned from sister's house.
She's been with BIL for 15 years, married for 12.
BIL is addicted to skunk, narcissist, control freak, emotionally abusive to DS & their DC. Not phys violent as far as I'm aware.
BIL becoming more & more abusive & verbally aggressive to DS & the DC over last year.
Today is my sister's birthday. We stayed over & I got up with my DC & her DC at 7am. Sister joined us same time. BIL got up at 845, burst into lounge, shouted at sis for waking him up, called her a 'fucking bitch' (kids saw it all-they're all 6 & under) then he stormed off.
Me & Sis went for drive. She was tearful & totally minimising his behaviour. We got back & he was ignoring her.
I asked him if he was going to apologise. He told me to get lost. He didn't apologise. He and sis went off for 20 mins. Sis came back in tears. She said everything is fine. It clearly isn't.
I think he's vile. I've 'held it down' til now but today I told him I thought his behaviour was disgusting. He's a man-child and he is treating my sister like crap. And meant to be a role model for the kids.
Any advice or thoughts?
It's heartbreaking to see how he is being & how this impacts on the kids.

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 14:48:40

Forgot to add my sis & DC are constantly on eggshells. It's awful to see. The atmosphere on their house is awful.

CharlotteCollins Sat 18-Jun-16 15:01:09

That sounds awful: it must be horrible to witness it all and have your sister unable to see what's going on.

I think the best you can do is be there for her, tell her clearly why his behaviour is wrong, but respect her boundaries (unlike him). So if she doesn't want to talk about it, don't press the issue, just let her know you're always there.

A gift of "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft, kept at your house for her to read when she wants might be helpful.

Otoh, challenging him about his behaviour is unfortunately unlikely to be any help. And might prompt him to try to isolate DSis from you. So, tough as it sounds, I would avoid that.

Very very difficult situation, though. Your sister is lucky to have a close family friend who cares. It might take her years to break free, though. sad

CharlotteCollins Sat 18-Jun-16 15:04:26

Duh. family friend member, I guess was the clumsy expression I was looking for

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 18-Jun-16 15:20:07

His behaviour is disgusting but telling him so won't suddenly turn him into something he's not. And could risk him stepping up his abuse of his family and isolating them all from you.

All you can do is let your sister know that if she wants to leave you'll support her in every way possible. And if she can't leave or doesn't want to, you'll be a listening ear for as long as she needs one.

It can take a long time to extricate oneself from this kind of abuse and several/many attempts to leave. Staying doesn't mean everything is OK, just that leaving is a more frightening prospect. Lots of things can tip the balance. Having someone outside saying "This is not right. Not for you and especially not for your children" could make all the difference.

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 15:26:34

Thanks Charlotte & Bitter for the replies
I have always known he likes to get his own way, but the anger & abuse & control aspect has been so upsetting the last two times. I can see that my sister is not who she once was & that my nieces are afraid of him.
Today I couldn't just stand there and watch him go batshit on my sister on her birthday.
But I get that this could make him worse. Fuck, it's so shit.

Hissy Sat 18-Jun-16 15:59:54

My ex was abusive, these weak insignificant pricks don't scare me anymore.

I would tell dsis to take the kids l off out somewhere while I absolutely read him the riot act for swearing in front of my kids... THEN I'd tell him what he was doing and bring him right up to speed with the law on abuse.

He's a bully. They only thrive when they are allowed to. Stand up to them and they crumble.

I would then suggest to dear sis that she leaves him, and gets urgent support from WA. Hopefully she will come to this conclusion herself. Can she come and stay with you for a few days/week? Just ringer her head together?

The fact that he has sworn at your sis in the hearing of your kids brings it out into the open.

Hissy Sat 18-Jun-16 16:00:24

Where is your sister now?

Hissy Sat 18-Jun-16 16:02:21

God bless you for being there.

My sister and my mum rang WA for support for themselves when they knew I was being abused.

They then engineered all sorts of ways for me to stay in the relationship.

I have VERY little to do with my sister, although I am kind of mending bridges. My mum tho? Nothing. Total no contact for the lack of support and active hurting of my ds.

CharlotteCollins Sat 18-Jun-16 17:39:56

Hissy, your approach sounds tempting, but given she is minimising his behaviour, isn't she more likely to listen to his take on the confrontation than her sister's?


I get the wanting to do something, though. To sweep in and rescue. So frustrating to be able to do nothing. But rescuing an adult who doesn't want to be rescued is likely to backfire.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 18-Jun-16 17:49:10

You can't do anything unless she decides she wants to make a change. Grim. I've been there. Am still there with one family member. You can't force her to see the truth.

If you want to push things and you think your nieces are in danger, you could record his behaviour around the nieces then contact social services. Of course, your DSis will then hate you and cut you off, after lying through her teeth to SS...

I do refer openly to the fact that my family member's partner is abusive. I don't pretend otherwise. "No, I don't think VictimPerson is coming, I expect AbuserPerson has had a massive strop on about it for days until VictimPerson caved for an easy life."

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 19:20:19

It's really frustrating
Hissy, you have no idea how much I want to do what you suggest.
TBH he did look terrified when I asked him slowly & repeatedly if he was going to apologise to my sister.
He made an attempt later to clear the air brush everything under the carpet that's got a fuck load of crap under it already and I told him his behaviour was disgusting especially because it was my sister's birthday.
He doesn't like it when he's challenged. Ooohhhhh no.

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 19:21:56

Hope your family member finds a way forward & away from the abuse.

wherethewildthingis Sat 18-Jun-16 19:57:48

Can I go slighty against the grain and say that while recognising how very hard it is to leave an abusive relationship, at the moment these children are being abused. They will already be hugely damaged, the longer your sister takes to leave, the more damaged they will be. I think you need to be upfront with your sister, tell her everything ypu think. Tell her you will support her in any way she needs to end it, but she does need to end it, for the safety of the children. Difficult though it is- she has a choice, the kids don't. Someone needs to speak up for them.

sneepy Sat 18-Jun-16 20:37:15

I'm sort of hesitant to post this but. I have a friend whose H is verbally abusive. Her daughter emailed childline after one of his tirades and the police came round. They now have a social worker and my friend has some support.

My point is if the children are being yelled at social services may take an interest and your sister may get some help.

ricketytickety Sat 18-Jun-16 20:42:35

The way to get her thinking about it is to get her to understand how fearful her children are. She won't leave for herself. Ask her what she thinks is acceptable for the children to experience? Maybe you can drop in some conversations about other women and children's experience rather than directly commenting on her life to sow the seed.

Offer her a way out too - have you a room she can live in with the children if need be?

And if you suspect abuse then nspcc is a good start because it is totally anonymous. If ss visit you could say it might have been a neighbour because of the shouting.

It will take her years after leaving to realise he is abusive, so you're not going to get far trying to convince her of this. But you will get somewhere talking about her children's needs.

Hissy Sat 18-Jun-16 21:04:50

I agree with wildthings, an adult being abused by her partner is one thing, her children, and now the op children means that the shit stops now.

My ex would cross the line once or twice, like waking me up because he'd seen something on telly and he needed to tell me how much of a whore I was at 2am or something, or bitching about me rearranging the only friend in the world because she'd burnt her hand and couldn't see me Monday so we made it Tuesday. He hated the fact that I had her in my life.

When I did stand up to him he was terrified and backed down. They're bullies out of weakness, not strength. Remember this and tell she show your sister.

You have to tell her that thus is harming her children, has upset yours and now she can't allow this anymore. she does not have to live like this.

Her children should not have to live like this.

She does have to want to leave, it's true, but you can help her get there.

Blu Sat 18-Jun-16 21:12:36

Can you find her one of the checklists which identify Emotional Abuse? tell her about the Freedom Programme, and let her see that EA is definitely classed as abuse?

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 21:15:12

Thanks all for your posts
This is the horrible irony:
My sister & I grew up in a house with parents who shouted, argued, bickered & fought through our childhood (age 3-11 approx? My dad left when we were 11)
Hearing them (him) shouting last night took me back a few decades & I felt like a child again. Their kids see & hear it all the time, I know it.
I don't live nearby & have told my sister they can come & stay anytime. She is the queen of minimising.
She told me today her kids (age 3&6) have only seen him behave like he did this morn 4-5 times. That is bullshit
Even I have seen him do it in front of them that many times....
Yeah, I agree it's child abuse. The years of shouting messed me up & I think my sister too-why is she allowing her kids to be doing the same?
I'm going to speak to her in a couple of days & raise my concerns.
It is really really sad.

Handsoffmysweets Sat 18-Jun-16 21:28:54

Hissy is spot on in everything she says. Your sister is an adult and if she wants to carry on in an abusive relationship then that's up to her. Her poor children however, don't have that choice. By continuing to live with the abuser, your sister is standing by and allowing her children to be abused. Harsh but true I'm afraid. As another poster said, you must be careful not to isolate her. Like most of us who have been in abusive relationships, we see the light eventually, but children should make you see it a darn sight quicker. Is she frightened of life without him OP? Could it be finances, being homeless, that sort of thing that's keeping her there?

Handsoffmysweets Sat 18-Jun-16 21:31:03

X-post OP. This is really unfair on her children and the minimising just makes my blood boil. Those children are suffering because of their mothers choice to stay with this pig. Are SS involved at all? Have the children ever expressed anything at nursery/school?

SandyY2K Sat 18-Jun-16 21:46:18

How horrible. I think I would have done the as you OP.

I would contact children's social care and report the abuse on your nieces. You say it's gotten worse over the last year,.so I'd raise a SG (safeguarding) alert.

If it was my sister I'd tell her to seek help via WA or I will report the abuse to social services. I won't see my nieces being subject to and witnessing that abuse.

It's awful seeing someone you love being treated like this. Has your sister thought of the effect this is having on her DDs? That they will see this as normal behaviour?

For the sake of the kids please please do your best to get her out of this abusive marriage.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 18-Jun-16 21:46:51

I have re read your OP.

Does he keep the skunk in the house? Drive while wasted?

You could dob him in to the police. Social Services would get involved, your DSis's minimisation won't work against police finding skunk in a house with small children. SS will make her get rid of him to keep the children.

OldMrsBrightside Sat 18-Jun-16 22:05:27

Thanks again for all your posts.
They are well off, live in a 'nice' part of the country & women in their circle don't leave their husbands....
I think my sister thinks she'll lose her lifestyle/friends/kids won't like her/big house/posh kitchen blah blah blah.
She is afraid. So she puts up & shuts up.
With the skunk, he smokes to 'be normal ' & yes, is always smoking it.
Not going to elaborate beyond this at the moment.
I'm going to have a proper chat with my sister before I even think about SS but really appreciate all your advice & thoughts
My sister should come on here.
I know I'm the only person she'll confide in (even if she does minimise). Don't know if any friends have suspicions
He is charming, generous & clever.

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