How do we deal with an abusive brother-in-law after my sister decides to take him back?
November 26, 2008 1:28 PM Subscribe
My brother-in-law's domestic abuse is tearing my family apart and I really don't know what to do or how to handle the situation anymore. I need some advice.
posted by csimpkins to Human Relations (54 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I come from a relatively small family. It's my mom, two sisters and me. My sisters and I are all married (them with kids) and all live separately.
A couple months ago, one of my sisters (Sister A) was choked by her husband in front of the kids. She left, and returned a short time later with my other sister (Sister B) to get the children out of there. He wound up assaulting her as well and breaking her phone when she tried to call for help. They left, the cops got involved, charges were pressed, restraining orders were issued and he went to jail for a day. After about a week apart, Sister A decided to let him back into the house and her life on the condition that he attends anger management classes and counseling.
This wasn't the first incident. He has a history of violent and abusive behavior over the 15+ years they've known eachother and have been together. He's an alcoholic and drug addict and continued drinking when they got back together. Nobody in my family has ever liked him, even though we've always been friendly and accepting. Until now.
Both myself and Sister B have adamantly avoided being around him since the incident, which also means we've missed one of their kid's birthday parties.
Christmas has always been a special time of year for my mother. It's when her Mom died and it's one of the rare occasions where we get together as a family - just us.
I really thought Sister A's husband would have the common sense / decency to excuse himself from showing up when nobody wants him there. But now it's turning into a 'thing'. Sister A told my mom that she doesn't know how to tell her kids that "daddy can't come to Christmas". And Sister B hung up on my mother when she made a plea to put it aside for a day so we can all be together. Personally, very reluctantly willing to go if he's going to be there, though I'm really not even sure how to handle it and afraid of what I might do to make it even worse.
And while I'm afraid it might be too late to do anything to save Christmas, this is something that I can't see an end to... unless she leaves him. But as long as she chooses to try and make it work, it's something the rest of us are going to be forced to deal with one way or another.
My mom has been crying about the whole thing for a month now. Tensions between everyone are through the roof. I can't help but feel like his abuse has extended beyond my sister and he's now abusing my entire family by virtue of his mere existence in our lives. To top it all off, my poor mother is in the midst of possibly being diagnosed with breast cancer. Everyone is so upset and angry about everything right now, I really don't know what to do.