How to handle a very delicate family matter

Ruby - posted on 03/18/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My hubby and I have been married 15 years. His parents divorced when he was 7, his father passed away a few years back and he was an awesome man. The problem is hubby's mother and sister. The day my hubby proposed to me she cried and begged him not to marry me. She did everything in her power to stop the wedding (there was no reason for her to do so other than she is very selfish and wants her three adult children to live with her). When our eldest daughter was born, she begged him to divorce me, move home and let her take care of our daughter while he was at work. Sister in law is just as bad; she dislikes me because her mommy does not. Needless to say, there has always been bad feelings between us. Even with their evilness, I have put up with them for my hubby and daughter AND to try to protect our neices / nephews.



My SIL lives with MIL and her children are terrors. Her oldest child (2yrs older than mine) has always had anger issues and is very violent. He beats up his siblings every day and his cousins every time they are together. (My younger two have not been hurt by him since we will not allow him around them unsupervised and my older daughter has not been around him much the past few years.) A few years back he started assaulting the adults in the family as well - MIL, SIL, me, BIL and broke BIL exes leg...



SIL's ex abuses her oldest two chidlren (younger children have different daddy's). She neglects them because of her drinking and pot smoking. BIL's ex abuses their two children (again, we call CPS on them when necessary).



Needless to say, anytime they needed anything for the kids we alwasy made sure the kids had what they needed. Looking back, I guess we were enablers but we truly thought we were doing the best. We tried to convince MIL and SIL that our nephews need anger management because it is not normal to physically assault others. They minimized our concerns.



We have 'disowned' the family a few years back due to the fact my MIL boyfriend sexually assaulted our daughter. She did break up with him however she and SIL deny that anything happened. We were very angry that they called us bad parents for seeking counseling for her and said we were hurting our daugher.



We then made the mistake of reconciling with the family without any changes made on their part. This past winter, my oldest nephew sexually assaulted our oldest daughter.



SIL at first admitted what her son did was wrong but he didn't know anybetter (he is an older teen). We knew they would do nothing about it so we called CPS and the police. This time our concerns were taken seriously by CPS since the victim was willing to speak.



SIL said we betrayed her and she disowned us. I really could not care less. MIL is throwing a hissy because we said unless she opens her mouth to the CPS worker or detective we are done for good with her as well. She says she cannot control her daughter and that she is an adult. We say since most of the violence occured in her house, she is responsible for allowing her daughter to neglect, mistreat and abuse her chidren and it was her responsiblity to protect her grandchidlren. She also says she wants to support all her children and grandchildren through this.



Now, i will say that my MIL is not violent herself and is very distraught at her daughters lifestyle BUT she has been assaulted to by her grandson. They have lived there almost 10 years with her. She says it is unfair of us to expect her to go to the law and rat out her family.



So, I guess my question is, are we right in holding our MIL accountable for allowing this behavior in her house? Are we right in stating that unless she cooperated with the investigation into our daughter being molested we are through with her since she knows it did occur?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Karen - posted on 03/19/2012

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First, I am so sorry for your daughter's situation. I am a former social worker/ rape counselor. I am also an adult survivor of sexual abuse. Please understand this is a SERIOUS and dangerous situation for your children. From your description, in my professional opinion, I would NEVER allow unsupervised contact with any member of that part of the family. In fact, those involved would have NO contact. Those who are in denial and failed to protect are detrimental to her future recovery and safety. Believe me as a victim of multiple family members, at multiple ages, Protect her. Unfortunately, this situation may require very difficult choices. You may have to make permanent choices. You may be forced to choose between your daughter's well being and your husband's family. It is not a matter if if, but WHEN it will happen again.



I am happy to hear she is involved in counseling. My experience has been the sooner after an assault a person gets help, there are better outcomes in counseling. The longer a victim is without assistance, the unhealthy responses to the victimization become incorporated into a personality and remain there. The person is more likely to become a victims again.



I also belive, once a perpetrater has victimized, this is one crime, a person can not be rehabilitated. Many statistics are with me on this.



It is time for your daughter to have safety and peace. It is time to heal.

Tina - posted on 03/24/2012

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You are ABSOLUTELY in the right for holding your position!! Don't back down for anything. That side of the famly sounds like P-O-I-S-O-N with a capital "P". Absolutely is your MIL accountable for permittting such heinous behavior to go on and continue in her house. Absolutey cut the ties if she does not cooperate or if she lies. My daughter was molested by her adopted uncle when he was around 16 and my mother did not believe her. So I said, :Well, mother..... until you open your eyes and can see what your sone has done to my daughter, you will not be seeing any of us again. It's your choice. Goodbye." and I hung up on her. YOU have to have the upper hand here. You absolutely MUST protect your daughter from further harm. Don't let anyone sway you position. From one Mom who has been through it to another Mom who also has, please just hold your position. Your daughter's health and safety come first. Good luck to you and may God Bless You infinitely!

[deleted account]

Yes, you are right. Personally, I'd be 100% done w/ all of them no matter what MIL does or does not agree to say. You can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your family and these people would NOT be my family. It sucks that those kids are growing up thinking that it is ok to behave like this and do these things, but protecting your own kids is really all you can do now. Hopefully w/ the police and CPS involved your nieces and nephews will be able to get the help, guidance, and protection that their parents were not willing or able to get for them.



I would've been done permanently w/ them years ago, but since you can't go back in time.... cut all ties now. Do it FOR your kids cuz what kind of grandma would not stand up for her sexually assaulted grandchild? None of those relatives should ever be near any of your kids again.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/22/2012

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YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You need to ask your self was if right for that boy to do what he did. No it wasn't. Should he be held accountable. Yes he should. I've always told my children. I love you but if you do something wrong you will admit to it and pay the price and I will stand by you. But I will not act like you've done nothing wrong when you have. That would make me a bad parent and person. You need to hold him accountable and support your daughter. Don't listen to what MIL says. She is being selfish and inconsiderate. It sounds like she needs some help herself. And if it was me I wouldn't let my children no where around her or the rest of that family until they got some. And I wouldn't have anything to do with them either.

Michelle - posted on 03/20/2012

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Ok my advise to you is 1) Do what ever you have to, to protect your family. 2) Unfortunately your Mother in Law is indanger of being a victim of Elder Abuse because of the situation with your sister in law, I don't know if in your country you have a government body to report Elder Abuse to but I would do that. Also your Mother in Law may be reluctant to speak out because the Sister in Law lives with her and is being intimidated. Is that a possiblity? Maybe also the Nephew was also sexually assaulted by the Mother in Law's ex boyfriend or by someone because Teens who do this are usually victims when they were younger. Your Mother in Laws house sounds very toxic

26 Comments

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Carol - posted on 03/24/2012

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Note that forgiveness doesn't mean allowing these people back into your lives. It just means you do not wish them ill and you give up revenge (but not justice).

Pamela - posted on 03/21/2012

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None of us has the right to judge others, rather we do have the responsibility to report such things as abuse when we are a witness to such.



You have done your part when it comes to reporting. I encourage you to now MOVE ON TO FORGIVENESS!!! Forgive all of your husband's family members for whatever wrongs you perceive have been done to you or others including your own family.



Forgive yourself for any errors that you made, knowingly or unconsciously in this situation and move on. It may take time to forget, and maybe you won't forget at all, but when you can bring up the past and it no longer hurts and you have no negative reaction to it then you have truly forgiven all concerned.

Diane - posted on 03/20/2012

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DONT EVER SEE.SPEAK TO THEM AGAIN! if a neighbor or teacher assaulted your children, you wouldnt hesitate to press charges or least get them out of your and your childrens lives!



if your husband has a problem with this, then you may need to rethink his dedication to you and your kids...let alone his values!



good luck. im sorry you and your kids are going though this.

Leonie - posted on 03/20/2012

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Ruby You are 100% doing the right thing. It's fantastic that you and hubby as well your children that need it are getting counseling. Just because people are family doesn't mean they have the right to treat or abuse others and it just be accepted. My own grandmother has enabled one of my aunts terrible behaviours for years. This aunt has been labelled as having Sociopathic and psychopathic behaviours. In the last 2 years we have as a whole family stop seeing this aunt and grandmother because it became so toxic. It's hard, damn hard but overall we are all happier. Your right too that it is up to your MIL to take some kind of control here, it's her daughter and grandchildren that are living under her roof. All the best to you and your family :)

Veronica - posted on 03/20/2012

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Absolutely! I come from a quite disfunctional family myself. My husbands family the only family that we really have a bond with. I have the same issues within. My own family and only speak with certain family members with MAJOR Boundaries in place. I do not go to their home, have in depth conversations or time spent with them in our part. Although, their children are a different story. They visit weekly, and we have dinner with our nieces with our own children. Needless to say, I believe that as adults we know right and wrong. We each are accountable for our actions therefore, it is impariative that we live by the values we expect of others and respond to other inappropriate actions in the way you have mentioned. If you allow your family to act this way, it is your doing and you will reap what you sow... And at that point you can only blame yourself. So, be strong, stand up for your daughter, your family and your values. You will empower yourself, your family and teach others; especially your daughter, the importance of boundaries and respect.

User - posted on 03/20/2012

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I am the one who posted eventhough I know have my last name included, somehow when I created my account and then joined it to my facebook, I could not log in under my orginal name of just Ruby...



With that being said, I definately appreciate everyones feedback.



There are a few points to clarify since my post was a little confusing:

1) it is sad but my oldest daughter was the victim in both instances of sexual abuse The first episode of abuse occured with the MIL boyfriend when she was 3. She has been in therapy off and on over the years as she needs it.

2) my daughter was molested by my nephew in MY house on Christmas. This was the first time we saw the nephew in over a year.

3) My hubby and I DO take some responsibilty that our nephew molested our daughter. I will say that YES we did know that he was violent - we were paying attention for that kind of behavior we had NO clue that he would be sexually violent and were not looking for those behaviours. It being a holiday and my hubbys siblings all have multiple ex spouses and significant others there was a lot of people coming and going and i was keeping my 1 year old twins out of the ruckus while supervising my eldest daughter.

4) The CPS worker and detective explained to us that while we never expected physical violence to escalate to sexual violence, our nephew is showing classic behaviors of one who will be labeled as a sociopatha/physcopath and that he likely will never be rehabilitated because of his ubringing. Even before this explanation from them, we had already decided to never see SIL and nephew again.

5) After this incident was reported, we spoke to SIL baby daddy to her youngest 2, to let him know what happened to our child so he could protect his children and found out that the nephew molested his younger siblings in my MIL/SIL house. CPS was notified previously but chalked it up to the baby dadddy trying to get back at the SIL. The younger siblings are very young 3 and 5.

6) I am not defending myself in anyway, a few of you are right, my hubby and I let our daughter down. The only explanation I have is the family is so crazy and the MIL is so manipulative and is probably a sociopath herself, unless you ever get entagled with such people, it is really hard to explain why we tried to reconcile with the family. Even now after we told MIL that we don't want her in our life, she still tries to communicate with how upset she is that we are taking her grandkids from her and that it is my fault and that they need love and she would never hurt them. She also prays that I have a change of heart.... but she will not stand up to her daughter or grandson because they too need love. I was not raised in this kind of environment and was completely lacking in skills to deal with them. My hubby has and still has a hard time understanding why his family is so vile - he takes after his Dad and is a wonderful husband and daddy.



My hubby and I to are now in counseling because he and I are dealing with tremendous guilt for what happened to our daughter. We have to make peace with the fact that we were trying to do right by all the chidren in the family as we were both raised that you take care of family. My family was more 'normal' and he being the oldest was 'caretaker' of MIL and his siblings after his parents divorce. The one thing I have concluded is that MIL is very responsible for her adult childrens and most of her grandchildrens behaviors especially since all (except my hubby and our kids) live at her home and that I have to learn new skill (with therapy) of how not be sucked back into her web for the sake of my three daughters.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/20/2012

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Jennifer, I certainly hope that, if you are ever in a similar situation, you receive more empathy from others than you've shown Ruby

Tabitha - posted on 03/20/2012

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A tad bit judgmental this morning Jennifer? I understand how it happened the 2nd time. You don't want to believe that someone in your family knew about it and did nothing, you're trying to put your family back together and the abuser is out of the picture for good. If she had been abused in her own home and the abuser was kicked out and gone forever, is she expected to stay gone from her own home? No. Should she have reconciled with them? No. There's no reconciling with someone like that. But blaming her for the sexual assault is wrong. The blame lies with the person that assaulted her and his mother. After all, she raised him to be that way.

Jennifer - posted on 03/20/2012

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Parents are first and foremost responsible for caring for their children. The first time your daughter was sexually assaulted you were correct in disowning the family. The WHOLE family. You are 100% responsible for the second assault on your daughter. The woman is obviously not capable of caring for your child and yet you still left your daughter in her care. There is no excuse for that. Plus how do you think your daughter felt in having to return to the same environment again after having been assaulted....whether or not the original abuser was present, she still had to be around the people who should have proteceted her and didn't. Yeah you had a very long story about how awful those people are. That being said, you as a parent should have seen all that you wished us to see. They are horrible, stay away from them, and don't try and blame the poor incompetent woman for the most recent assault on your child. That one is on you.

Beth - posted on 03/20/2012

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You are right! Protect your children, sounds as though your MIL and SIL needed counseling long ago. Stick to your guns! what happened is unforgivable!

Terrie - posted on 03/19/2012

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Yes you are right in holding her accountable. Howeveras much as it may hurt everyone she really does not need to see any of the family again accept for maybe a day visit and on your property or in the presense of cps. That is my thoughts. I am just sorry for your husbands sake. It must be very hard on him.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/19/2012

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Oh my...definitely hold them accountable. 2 of your children have been sexually assaulted by 2 different people in that house??? I would never be bringing my kids around them again. Unreal. I wish you the best of luck, and stick to your guns and get awesome legal counsel. I am so sorry for your daughters having gone through that, and you are right to protect them. That is your job. No one should stand in your way of being a mother.

Krista - posted on 03/19/2012

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I think you should write them all out of your lives, and good riddance to bad rubbish. They are toxic individuals and you owe it to your children and to yourself to stay FAR away from such horrible people.



And yes, you are 100% right. If she had any ethics at all, she'd be devastated about such a horrible thing happening in her home, and would do everything in her power to help get to the bottom of it.



F**k her with a rusty pitchfork, I say.

Karen - posted on 03/19/2012

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You should never have left your daughter with any of those children without supervision. You knew from past experience that he was violent. I would have nothing to do with any of them anymore.

Karen

Birgit - posted on 03/19/2012

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Don't even question what you are doing. You stood up and have taken steps to protect your daughter. If your MIL can't see that, that's her problem. I am disgusted even reading her response to this. What did she expect you to do? And being a survivor of abuse and sexual abuse, I can say that I wish in my situation, someone had done what you did for your daughter. If it were me, I wouldn't have contact with any of them. It isn't unfair for you to expect her to rat out her family. It's following the law. She obviously is negligent. She allowed this to happen with her boyfriend and now she has allowed it to happen with her grandson, your SIL's son. Obviously she fails to protect vulnerabe children in her care. I wouldn't trust her within 2 feet of my kids. No, you aren't in the wrong. I would be through with her no matter if she cooperated or not. And by the way, I am a social worker, so if as a worker, I had a family who failed to separate themselves from the abuser, especially if this is the second incident where she was in a position to prevent it, red flags would go up for me on your ability as a parent to protect your child. No, you are doing what's right. 110% and don't let family or anyone else guilt you into thinking otherwise.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/19/2012

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You're doing what you have to for your family, and in this case, you are definitely in the right.



If MIL and SIL cannot understand that it is their ultimate responsibility for those children, then they will be lost for life. At least CPS is finally getting involved, and hopefully can get them some help.



You and your part of the family just need to heal and move on. And healing will not include hanging out with the rest of the blood family.

Tabitha - posted on 03/19/2012

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I say move on without them. Blood can only hold you together thru so much, violence, sexual abuse, sexual assault? Cut them all out. If the MIL wants to visit your children, she can come to your house alone. Tell her not to talk about anyone else from that household while she's with your children. Don't leave them unsupervised, you don't want her trying to influence them. If she doesn't want to adhere to those rules, turn your back and never look back.

Grace - posted on 03/19/2012

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She knew what was happening. She knows what he is. She is his victim and has lived in fear of him for years and needs counseling. I say hold her reasonable she is the adult

Helen - posted on 03/18/2012

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you are doing the right thing well done huni for all you have done and tried to do u desereve a medal for it but some people are past help or dont want help disown them and concerntrate on you your hubby and your kids no one can say you didnt try good luck for the future x

[deleted account]

Put your concerns to rest. You are 100000% doing the right thing, In fact, you have done far more than I would have in your shoes. I commend you for trying but clearly that household is not just toxic but downright dangerous. Two daughters have suffered sexual assault in that arena. You can't risk anything else for the sake of holding a family together. Sometimes a leg has to be cut off there is gangrene. Consider this family the putrid limb that threatens your real family's life.

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