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Brother in abusive relationship?

(6 Posts)
packofshunts Tue 11-Apr-17 18:53:35

Last week I posted a thread saying how pissed off I was with DB as he no longer seemed to put any effort into our relationship or with DM. That any contact or rare visits were always on his/SiL terms and he never put himself out. No reasons given - just gradual but increasing detachment.

However I have just been reading through another thread where a DM is at wits end with DiL and her apparent controlling behaviour.

Suddenly loads of alarm bells are going off in my head and rather than seeing DB as a lazy arse who for whatever reason doesn't want a relationship with his own family; I am now thinking that actually he is in an EA marriage and either doesn't see it/doesn't know how to get out.

So, from my viewpoint, here is what I see:
They met at uni and quickly moved 200 miles away to live in same city as her family. When they met SiL had just come out of a physically abusive relationship and kind of saw DB as her saviour.
Over the next 15 years he lost ALL contact with pre-SiL friends, even his best man.
He visits us/DM maybe twice a year; always on their terms. Hasn't seen any other family members for at least 10 years, although they are always at events organised by SiL's family.
We are never invited to theirs. Never rings, rarely returns calls or texts.

As far as I know he has none of his own friends where they live.

SiL constantly undermines DB when we do see them and I see how he is constantly walking on egg shells to avoid a scene. He always appears 'flat' like the spark has gone but says he's fine when asked.
The worst though is when she has a drink, she is literally vile to him - picking on him, making fun of him, generally verbally abusive. No shame in doing this in front of an audience. He will just get up and take himself off to bed rather than confronting her.

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? I do know that their
DCs are his life and suspect she may make threats about his relationship with them. I haven't seen any signs of physical abuse but who knows? I don't see him enough to observe.
I feel absolutely floored that I've only just realised what could be happening.

Have no clue what to do. Our once open and close relationship has deteriorated simply because we have been shut out of his life and the control SiL exerts over him. They live so far away it's not even as if I can get him on his own to chat.
My fear is also that if I were to say something to him, he would totally fly off the handle and deny any problems - possibly then destroying our relationship permanently.

Apologies that this is rambling and disjointed, needed to get my thoughts down quickly

Does anyone have any advice on the first small steps I could take to broach the subject?

packofshunts Tue 11-Apr-17 19:48:11


SandyY2K Tue 11-Apr-17 20:24:07

It's possible he is in an abusive relationship with or without realising it but with you being so far away and not that close as siblings, I'm not sure what you can do.

Can you possibly try and call him on his mobile phone and try to build your relationship up little by little, so he may eventually get to a place of opening up a little to you.

packofshunts Tue 11-Apr-17 21:07:08

Part of me has been so cross at him for making no effort I don't know where to begin helping him

QuiteLikely5 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:14:22

Are you the family favourite? Does your DM do things for you/your kids that she wouldn't do him/his kids?

There may well be underlying resentments

Is her family abusive? This increases the chances that she is

packofshunts Tue 11-Apr-17 21:21:10

I'm not sure if I'm the family favourite. Our DM does do a lot for me but that's only because she lives nearby. She would do more for DB if 1) he was closer and 2) if he let her!

I think there may be other issues but he and I were always close and as far as I can see no particular incident has caused this situation.

I don't know about her family being abusive but they are all larger than life, say it as it is etc. However I think her DM had some kind of breakdown years ago and to quote SiL is "totally bonkers"

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