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.
How to help SIL?(20 Posts)
To cut a long story short, my SIL has kicked DB out after he she found flirty messages on his phone from a girl he met on a night out a couple of weeks ago. They have been married for 6 months and have an 8 month old DD together. There have been some major trust issues for a while now and it has got to the point that she cannot trust him anymore.
I love my DB to pieces but he has been a dick and I fully support SIL in her actions and would have done exactly the same in her situation. She has major anxiety and he has played on this, almost to make her jealous I think. I have hardly spoken to DB since this happened a week ago, because to be honest I don't know what to say to him - he is torn up about it but as far as I am concerned it is all of his own doing. I have spoken to SIL a few times and she is also in bits, so I have offered to visit her tonight.
I need some advice on how to get through to her that really she needs to see her GP. Her anxiety is through the roof, she is making herself sick, and she cannot be separated from her DD (but still can't be in the same room as my DB). Which means my DB has not seen his DD for over a week. Whilst no one is expecting him to start having DD overnight whilst she is still so young, he does need to see her and more importantly my SIL needs a break. But she is so on edge at the moment that I am worried that if I suggest she sees a GP, she might think that I am 'taking sides' and think this is all caused by her anxiety.
I should add that there is a very strong chance that DB and SIL will get back together - they love each other a lot, there has been a breakdown of trust that they both want to rebuild, but in the mean time I want to support my SIL to become better. I am so so worried about her.
Maybe you could write to her explaining how you feel, as you have here. But she needs space and time and she needs to be able to decide what happens next and timescales.
Honestly, I think you should stay out of it more than you are doing. You risk looking as though you are interfering on one side or the other, which could affect your relationship with your DB and your SIL, as well as your niece.
Your brother sounds like a complete knob tbh. If he were my brother he would be feeling the full force of my disgust at his behaviour and told in no uncertain terms to sort himself out. He should be apologising to everybody and showing some humility.
You don't get her to do anything. Your brother not being able to see his daughter for over a week is none of your business. Poor woman - she'll see right through you and that bridge will be burnt too.
Your brother will have to cope without seeing his DD for a little longer and it might knock some sense in him, he might appreciate how lucky he is with his wife after missing them both for a while.
I don't think you should suggest she lets your brother do anything at all, but could you offer to look after dn at her house for an hour or so to give her a rest? I would stick firmly with helping her and the baby only and keep out of what's happening between them, unless she wants to talk to you about it of course.
I am not interfering - I am concerned for her health. I couldn't give a shit about my brother right now, he deserves everything he has coming to him. He loves his daughter and is a good dad and I do think he deserves to see her but that is beside the point. SIL is one of my best friends and she needs help - she is not well and is putting her health at risk. My brother is completely irrelevant right now - the reason I haven't blown up at him is because he's already had that from our parents and I'm trying not to do anything that will damage my relationship with him.
I don't think it is interfering to be concerned about someone that I care so deeply about. I want her to be well and right now she is not.
Happy thank you - I agree that actually it is probably for the best that my DB doesn't see his DD right now and hopefully it will knock some sense into him. I am doing everything I can to help her and the baby - I will offer to watch DN for a bit so she gets a break but this is what I mean, she absolutely will not leave the baby with anyone right now. Not our family, not her own family. I get that it's completely normal to not want to be apart from her baby, I am concerned about the effect it is having on her health. She does need a break and she does need to see her GP (which she will not do because she won't take the baby with her but won't be apart from her either).
I am keeping out of what is going on between them - I don't know the ins and outs and the only bits I do know is what SIL has told me herself, because she does want to talk about it with me.
Well you can't make her go to the GP, or get her to leave her baby. Unless there's a safeguarding issue I'd say your primary role is to just listen to her and spend time with her if she wants you to.
Don't try to push any opinions on her, just be there for support and help with the house and your niece.
If you suggest you db has contact, even it it truly is for her sanity, she will think your working for him and possibly block you out.
You can only continue to be there for her as you have been. Perhaps you could offer to come along to the doctor with her and sit outside with dn. Alternatively could you suggest she gets out for a haircut or massage and go along with her and baby to help out. I think you need to go along with her desire to keep baby close, but go with her to sit with dn, where possible.
Perhaps suggest she asks the health visitor to come round. It might be easier than going out
I would offer to go to the GP with her. Poor woman sounds in an awful state. Your db does sound an awful twat though. Surely you wouldn't be actively supporting her to get back with him? Sounds a high risk of him doing it again.
I think if you could see her and offer to stay for a couple of hours while she gets some rest .... even on the sofa while you're in the room that might help.
Maybe ask if she'd like you to cook or do some shopping for her as well.
Why are you so insistent that your SIL 'needs a break' when many single mothers go considerably longer than a week without a break from their baby dcs?
If you've been pushing to look after your dn to give SIL "a break", she may suspect you have a hidden agenda to give your db access to the child, either temporarily or permanently, and if you keep pushing you'll only be adding to her anxiety.
Your db sounds a most unpleasant piece of work; 6 months married and he's'chatted up another woman and has used it to make his dw jealous? Despicable behavour.
Tell your db that if he wants to see his dd he'll have to go through the courts, and tell your SIL that you'll hold her hand and be a listening ear until she can file for divorce in 6 months time.
Does she have any family of her own? They may be better placed for giving her a break. Inevitably, she's going to associate you with your brother so she will be wary of leaving her child with you.
I don't think that now is the right time to push for anything. She just needs a lot of support and sympathy right now. Cleaning, laundry, ironing, shopping, cooking, cups of tea and a listening ear are the most useful things for her in the short term.
It sounds like your brother has actually been cruel in regards to her mental health and she may get better once he's out of her life so she may not need medical intervention, just time and to be with people who buoy her up.
I know your motives are good but nagging her about seeing her GP is buying into the construct that your brother has created.
Long term, she may need professional support but it's too soon to say. Give her some time and space.
OP can I just say that I am glad you and your parents are letting DB what a dick he has been. When my H did this to me, his parents and sister didn't offer me or my 4 young children any support. Nothing.
When something like this happens you can't help question yourself and whether you did anything wrong. SIL needs no judgement, no pushing for doctors and definitely not health visitor. She just needs someone to listen while she rants and questions, obsessed and crys. Someone to make her a cuppa and some toast and to help her get all her anger out and agree with her ranting but obviouslyou gently discourage any revenge or other unhealthy ideas. It's a process and pushing any external support won't help. Knowing you are there for her and her daughter will help a lot. Stick with it. I agree with PP that your brother can definitely wait to see his daughter.
Cries* sorry and others have said offering shopping as she may not want to face the world yet.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.