Advanced search

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.

Do abusers know they are abusers.

(24 Posts)
reddotmum Sat 17-Sep-16 09:05:21

My brother is in. Relationship with a woman he met online 8 years ago. They never married but live together and have to gorgeous little girls together. Although they attend family events she keeps herself to herself and we don't know her that well. I like her a lot and am
Willing to give her the benefit of the doubt but my siblings interpret her behaviour as snobby and rude.
Anyway my DB has recently been telling me some things about their relationship. Like she has been checking his phone and ringing his work to make sure he's there. Like making it difficult for him to go out with friends or to work do's. she will snap at him very nastily one minute and be loving the next. Be nasty one minute then remorseful.

I think this is abusive and I wonder does she realise she's being abisive. He says that's just her and he can live with it. However he's my baby brother and he deserves better.

Should I have a word with her?

ShebaShimmyShake Sat 17-Sep-16 09:30:05

No. They sincerely believe they are good and it's your fault for making them angry or not accepting what they say or do or not obeying them when they quite plainly know best. They're often really lovely for much of the time, especially when you're being pleasing to them. They often do not see themselves as manipulative.They are rarely sheer liquid evil with no redeeming features.

Hence why so many people are so reluctant to leave them or believe they are abusive and feel guilty for giving that impression.

If they were pantomime villains they'd be easy to leave.

FritzDonovan Sat 17-Sep-16 09:37:55

There are two sides to every story. Instead of jumping in and labelling her an abuser, see if you can find out why she behaves this way. Depression, bipolar, past experiences... For all you know your DB could have cheated on her in the past, he's hardly likely to admit this to you. Although, if you've spoken to him and he's happy with her, it's not really any of your business.

Lweji Sat 17-Sep-16 09:38:11

I don't think so, unless they are actual sadists who enjoy pain.

I think they are, for the most part, incredibly selfish and self delusional.

My ex actually condemned a TV character that was physically abusive. I pointed out to him that he behaved similarly.
He still blames me rather than himself when his child told him to his face that he didn't want to speak to him anymore.

In your brother's case she could be controlling or she could have reasons to be suspicious that you don't know about.

Have a word with her, but you'll either get a nasty surprise or, in all likelihood, she will think you're meddling.

Keep talking to him. It doesn't seem to be a healthy relationship, either way.

OreoCat Sat 17-Sep-16 09:56:03

Oh good advice fritz, next time a woman comes on here saying her male partner is calling work to make sure she's there and checking her phone, ill advise her that there is 2 sides to every story and that maybe she has done something to make him act that way.

Or is it just men that must have done something to make a woman act like that? she couldn't possibly just be abusive, she's a woman!!

category12 Sat 17-Sep-16 10:00:21

I don't think they do - I think maybe they don't really think of other people as people, but more like backdrops to their own drama. I don't think they consciously go out to abuse (maybe some do) but it's more what they grew up seeing and ways they've learned to get them what they want.

0dfod Sat 17-Sep-16 10:10:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

helixsize5 Sat 17-Sep-16 10:24:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

helixsize5 Sat 17-Sep-16 10:25:54

Sorry this was supposed to be a separate post.

I'm having a bad day. Will get deleted.

SoleBizzz Sat 17-Sep-16 10:36:54

My therapist said my Dads abuse waas deliberate.

TheOnlyColditz Sat 17-Sep-16 10:37:36

Abusive partners are quite often not bad people, they are people with bad relationship skills. Unfortunately because of this, these redeeming features, there is no point in telling them they are being abusive because they are "good people and good people aren't abusive".

Of course a bad person can be an abusive partner but bad morals, bad behaviour and bad relationship skills don't always go hand in hand. There are men in prison for repeated common assault who would never dream of abusing their wives and children. There are men at desks all over the world who would no more fight in a pub than sprout wings and fly, who nevertheless terrorise their wife and children on a daily basis. There are nurses that bug their husband's phones, charity workers that daily destroy their children's self esteem and army medics who beat their dogs.

Abuse is so pervasive because it's not a pre calculated attempt to be bad, it's a thoughtless reversion to type. It's what feels normal.

FritzDonovan Sat 17-Sep-16 11:20:07

Don't be an arse Oreo, that was uncalled for. I'm not excusing any type of behaviour, just pointing out its best to get as many facts as possible before jumping in and labelling someone who you don't know that well. Say what you like on the topic, but don't assume to put words in my mouth.

Northernparent68 Sat 17-Sep-16 12:55:15

I think abusers go into some sort of disassociative state, but I'd be really interested to hear a psychologist's opinion

reddotmum Sat 17-Sep-16 15:02:10

Thank you ladies for all your replies. I took Sil out for lunch today. We need to get my brother a 40th present so I asked her to come help me. She is lovely. I really feel for her. She is at home with their little girls and I think she started off feeling that DB was out earning all the cash so she should do all at home. She said she feels cut off from everyone and that he regularly tells her he will be late home as he has to work. (He works in Marketing in a hotel group so not unreasonable to believe) or he goes in late she said the fact it happens at short notice makes her suspicious although she has no proof of any wrong doing. We talked about the rest of the family and how we are so closed she doesn't feel accepted and that she felt she couldn't get out of coming with me today.

I think they need some time on their own to be boyfriend girlfriend so I offered to take the girls for the weekend. I would have jumped at the chance of this when mine were wee but she seemed a little offended.

My eldest brother is hosting a charity ball soon and I suggested we might have a girlie shopping day before then to scout out dresses. I know I could do with some opinions as I'm a slouchy girl normally but she was a bit non committed and said she will probably get something last minute. She said she hates shopping.

My Oh reckons I should but out and leave them
Too it. I probably should but he's my little bro and if he's telling me these things I know he's not totally happy. She feels a bit like she doesn't want to be happy or have any help. Any suggestions? Or do I but out???

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 17-Sep-16 15:52:09

Should you have a word with her? No. God no.

What would you say?

"Hello, SIL, my DB has been telling me all about what a cowbag you are. I have some lovely tips on how to be a nice person. Here's a laminated list. By the way, I think you might be an abuser and I'm going to fix you."

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 17-Sep-16 15:57:04


But still. Butt out. Absolutely butt out.

She felt coerced into going out with you. She felt you were judging her by offering to take the DC for a weekend. She was right. You had decided her relationship needed fixing, you decided the cure and offered it.

I love my SIL but a day of girlie shopping is my idea of hell.

Butt out. She is making it quite clear she wants you to butt out. So butt out.

Your brother did not ask you to butt in. He had a whinge and a moan to you. If you start getting forcing your way into his relationship every time he has a moan at you then he will stop telling you things. Butt out.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 17-Sep-16 15:58:24

Are you having problems in your own life? In my experience, people get over invested in other people's relationships when they are avoiding a problem of their own.

OreoCat Sat 17-Sep-16 16:24:45

I wasn't putting words in your mouth, I was just wondering aloud, would you have said that if it was a woman? I don't think so.

OreoCat Sat 17-Sep-16 16:29:43

But, I digress.

OP, it is horrible when you see people you love in certain situations, but I think getting involved might inflame the situation.

I would simply be there for your brother and listen to him and sympathise when needed. He might be less likely to confide in you if he ever does want to leave in the future if you go in all guns blazing now.

EarthboundMisfit Sat 17-Sep-16 18:19:34

In my personal experience, no, he didn't realise.

FritzDonovan Sun 18-Sep-16 04:17:13

No problem Oreo, you are entitled to think what you like. However, in this case you are wrong. I would have still commented in the same way if it was a woman. Your original post was directed at me personally and was sarcastic. It did not read as 'wondering aloud ' in my opinion. Let's agree to disagree.

Bumpk1n Sun 18-Sep-16 04:44:44

My parents are emotionally abusive. They are always right. They think they know better as they have more life experience. They think they always know better. They think they are guiding me, in fact it's control and manipulation

maggiethemagpie Sun 18-Sep-16 10:50:48

I don't believe they do know. There is a lot of denial going on. After all, who would want to admit they are an abuser.

My friend has just left an abusive relationship, and the level of denial of her ex is/was astounding. After one violent episode when she left him, he even said he couldn't remember what had happened. Although he was clearly denying what had gone on to her, i think he was also denying it to himself.

After the last episode in which the police were called and he was given an restraining order, he is now telling mutual friends that she's blackened his name and everyone will think he's a wife-beater. Er.. that's because you are mate! But no, he thinks she's just made it all up to get at him. Complete, utter denial.

The thing with denying reality is, it doesn't make it go away, it just comes back and knocks on the door a little harder next time. So I hope one day he'll open his eyes. Takes a lot for these kind of people to admit they are the problem though.

Kr1stina Sun 18-Sep-16 11:25:02

i like her a lot and am Willing to give her the benefit of the doubt but my siblings interpret her behaviour as snobby and rude. Anyway my DB has recently been telling me some things about their relationship. Like she has been checking his phone and ringing his work to make sure he's there. Like making it difficult for him to go out with friends or to work do's. she will snap at him very nastily one minute and be loving the next. Be nasty one minute then remorseful

If she was my sister I woudl be worried about her. She's given up her work to bring up their children, but they are not married so she's taking all the financial risk.he still has his full time wages, pension and savings and she's entitled to none of it . She and their kids are very vulnerable .

He works lots of evenings and then goes out with his friends and to work events as well. Does he look aftre the kids so she can go out as a many evening a week as he does ?

He sounds quite selfish .

She's checking his phone so she obviously thinks he's cheating . Whether or not she has good reason for this - no one know except the couple concerned .

Her partner family think she's a snob and don't welcome her .

i don't see any of this as evidence that she's abusive. I do see a lot of other things that concern me

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now