- May 15, 2019 at 10:56 am #843438
Some moods NEED to be killed, too.May 15, 2019 at 12:10 pm #843447
Just stop giving them explanations. When it comes up say “I’ve already explained this” and change the subject or move on. They’ll eventually understand. You are doing everything right and are a decent human being. Some people think that we must have a relationship with family just because they’re family and we should forgive them everything and justify them just because they are family. That’s not true. You can distance yourself or end any relationship you want, even if they’re family.May 15, 2019 at 12:11 pm #843448
Unfortunately it isn’t uncommon for a family to rally around an abuser rather than accept what the abuser has done. I agree that, at this point, simply extracting yourself from these conversations is your best bet. Getting into theological arguments about forgiveness will not help. It’s fair to say “we’ve discussed this so many times and neither of us is changing our position. I’m done talking about this. If you insist on having this discussion it’s time for me to leave/hang up”. Then, if the person won’t let it go, you do just that. You leave. Who cares if it “ruins” Sunday dinner or whatever, they’ve already ruined it by trying to control your relationship with your criminal brother. Set your boundary and stick to it. Also, you may benefit from some sessions with a counselor to help put some scripts and strategies together, figure out what kind of boundaries you want to set, and understand the motivations of your family. One who specializes in trauma or family therapy may be a good resourceMay 15, 2019 at 12:41 pm #843452
I think that what’s happening is that, since this is the first time he’s been violent, everyone is choosing to believe this is an outlier. A few of my family members have even said, “I mean, you know ____. This just isn’t him.” But a) it doesn’t matter if it’s just the one time, once is too much, b) he’s not doing any work to make sure it’s just going to be the once, and c) he has poor impulse control, a bad temper, and few coping mechanisms, and I’ve seen him behave inappropriately at least a dozen times over the years. Maybe none of those actions have been on the level of choking his spouse, but it’s clearly a set of warning signs that this person needs to seek help and get better. It’s hard because I’m not trying to paint my brother in a terrible light, I’m not trying to hurt him or make anyone in my family think he’s evil. But to me, it seems clear that everything is not okay and this is not about “forgiveness.”May 15, 2019 at 1:04 pm #843455
Ok, but this didn’t happen once, it happened TWICE. And he had time to reflect on what he had done and did it again.
Also there must have been telling signs that he was abusive before. Abuse is not only physical.
I feel you, OP because the same thing happened in my family when my cousin had a violent fight with his girlfriend in front of their two-month-old son. She kicked him out and called the cops on him. Their relationship ended that day. Some members of my family didn’t believe her because he had scratches in his face, but maybe she was defending herself. Others, like me, absolutely knew he could be violent and physically agressive, even if he had never been before. This is not a one time thing and he should be feeling remorseful and taking steps to make everything better.May 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm #843457
I suspect that this isn’t the first time this happened, but rather the first time it got THAT bad…May 15, 2019 at 4:33 pm #843470
Biblical forgiveness is in fact required if you are true follower of Jesus. However, nowhere does it require that I continue to have a relationship with the abuser. Forgiveness is about releasing that person from myself so that I don’t carry around anger and judgement. So using the Wallet thief example I forgive the thief but still report them to the law so they suffer the appropriate consequences and never speak to them again and never allow them to enter my mind or heart again. There are several very good books about biblical forgiveness that your family needs to read. Their form of forgiveness is not biblical and is very unhealthy. I will pray for your family.May 15, 2019 at 4:48 pm #843471
Your SIL should report this to the police. There needs to be a record of what happened. The odds are that sooner or later he will do the same to his girlfriend. Ask your family what they will do if he does the same or worse to his girlfriend. Tell them that since he shows no remorse and is getting no help he is most likely going to repeat what he has already done. What will they do if the girlfriend ends up dead. Your brother will be in the news for murder. Will they just expect society to forgive him and let him go. I think that often families pretend that nothing serious has happened so that no one will know they have this serious situation. If they think about how everyone will know if they do nothing then maybe they will take this more seriously. Tell them they should be warning the girlfriend that he is dangerous. If she ends up dead they will have to live with the fact that they did nothing to protect her. Does Jesus really expect them to ignore violence.
You could also try telling them that you are appalled that they would assume forgiveness means pretending a crime didn’t happen. Ask if they think your brother will go to heaven if he assaults women. What about if he kills a woman.May 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm #843479
Oh – this is the first time that you all know about. Your sil has probably suffered a long string of indignities from your brother – some physical, perhaps some controlling or emotional.
I’m sure he’s done stuff like shove her, grab her forcefully, or block her from leaving the room.
This may be the worst he’s acted abusively towards her, but I’m sure it’s not the only. And, seeing as he’s not remorseful or repentant at all, or changing his problem behavior like his drinking, it’s probably not going to be the last time.
I’m kinda worried for his new girlfriend.May 16, 2019 at 1:55 am #843492
You could also tell them to focus their reconciliation efforts on your brother, so he can be kinder towards his wife, forgive her for whatever sins he thinks she may have committed and apologize for his actions.
Tell them that is more important than you reconciling with your brother.
And will help their grandchildren as they are also part of your family.
Even if they are religious, it is still weird that they are focused on you rather than their wayward son.May 16, 2019 at 5:49 am #843495
Highly doubt this is the first time he’s been violent. I suspect he’d start with throwing things and destroying things, pushing her or holding her against walls or furniture.
JB you’re doing everything right. Your family, especially your parents, are trying to reconcile the little baby boy that they raised with this picture of a violent man. If he didn’t grow up in a violent home, it’s hard to imagine that someone becomes violent. But they do. People who can’t be wrong, who must be in control of a situation, who can’t empathize – people can lash out violently when they feel threatened that someone’s going to take away their power or dominion.
Stick by your SIL. Tell your family that forgiveness comes after contrition and a fucking apology. The fact that your brother has shown little to no remorse for his actions – well why should she forgive him?May 17, 2019 at 7:31 am #843550
Thank you for your decency. Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing. I’m so glad your SIL had you and your wife to turn to.