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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Sister-in-Law woes

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  • #1098760 Reply
    Not Mary’s Little Lamb
    Guest

    Hello,

    A family situation has gotten me down. Names are changed for obvious reasons. My brother, Tim, started dating an old girlfriend, Mary, two years ago. Mary lies and misleads Tim on important issues. She lied about being divorced when they started dating, lied about her child custody agreement, and lied about being arrested for domestic violence toward her second husband. Early on, when Mary’s statements felt suspect to me, I did a quick internet search on Mary. Her past is ugly. While married to husband #1, a lover filed restraining order against Mary after she attacked him. She made two attempts to run over an ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend with a car. Prior to dating Tim, Mary was beat up by a drug dealer lover while married to husband #2. She also attempted suicide.

    I gave this information to Tim who begged me not to disclose to our family so he could process it. I remained silent about Mary and they continued to date and married a week ago. I am sad about his choice. Mary does not bring out the best in Tim. Over the last two years, I have watched him support her lies, tell his own lies, and make poor decisions. I see my relationship with Tim slipping away and am ambivalent about its demise. I simply don’t want to be around Mary and this new version of Tim. Tim wants me to believe Mary has changed and embrace her. What should I do?

    #1098761 Reply
    ron
    Guest

    Really nothing you can do. He’s an adult. He made his choice. You gave him the facts and he doesn’t care. Wise to keep your distance, while letting him know that you will be there to help HIM if necessary. Say nothing to the rest of your family. It’s none of their business and Tim’s story to tell, when and if he ever wants to share part of it with the rest of the family.

    #1098764 Reply
    Oracle
    Guest

    Maybe this the real Tim. You gave him facts and he choose to ignore them. Hard to believe he already did not know at least some of this already. Maybe he will come to his senses or maybe not. Do you really want to be anywhere near drug dealers? I would keep my distance. Nothing good will happen with Mary around. There is a saying that water seeks its own level. Tim is the one who decides who he wants to be.

    #1098765 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    Please do your best to keep in touch with Tim, just so he knows he has options. Domestic violence, especially against men, is easily dismissed by everyone around him.

    You don’t have to invite them over but a “thinking of you” text every so often will keep that line open.

    #1098767 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Someone not being able to leave their abuser does NOT indicate a “water finding its own level” situation for heavens sake. Good people get involved with malignant narcissists / abusers and find it difficult to leave because they’re being abused and manipulated and because their abuser can be really sweet and loving, and often because they’re vulnerable people. LW, you should make sure you’re educated about the cycle of abuse and what to do if a loved one is being abused and trying to isolate them from family and friends, which is what’s probably happening here. A professional online or at a shelter or something could probably help you with a game plan to keep lines of communication open with your brother.

    #1098769 Reply
    Oracle
    Guest

    “The new version of Tim”. I worry for the safety of the LW. It’s the story of the parent who complains that their child got “into the wrong crowd” when their child is part of the problem. The LW complains about Tim’s choices and behavior. No where does she say Tim is being abused – though he may be. Or this may be the real Tim drug dealers and all. I would keep in touch by email. Mary has already tried to kill (twice). This is the kind of situation where people end up dead.

    #1098771 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    She’s a documented domestic abuser. The drug dealer stuff is a red herring but also concerning. No kidding this is the kind of situation where people end up dead. And it’s not because Tim is some kind of shady person, it’s because he’s living with a freaking domestic abuser and attempted murderer.

    #1098772 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    The LW wouldn’t see him being abused, and he wouldn’t tell her.

    #1098773 Reply
    Not Mary’s Little Lamb
    Guest

    Hello again,

    Thank-you for your responses. They gave me clarity and some things to think about. Tim is a good person with a bad habit of rescuing ladies. He threw Mary a lifeline and she grabbed it. That is on him. I am not aware of physical violence toward Tim, but she is manipulating him. I worry for him and believe his marriage will end badly. Criticizing or stating the obvious about Mary pushes Tim away. I am not good at pretending to like someone, so I felt stuck.

    #1098791 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    Well, better get some acting classes. Or at least practice your poker face in the bathroom mirror. Keep him as close to you as you can. Stop badmouthing her, especially to anyone who will tell Tim. Always just offer your support and give advice ONLY if he asks you for it. Good luck.

    #1098793 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    You don’t have to criticize her to get your message through. I’m sure there are better guides and suggestions out there but as I said, just a “thinking of you” is easy and nonconfrontational.

    If he complains about his situation all you say is “Mmmm, that sounds tough what are you going to do about it?” or “Yeah, that sucks” – just an acknowledgement and agreement.

    If you attack Mary, you are attacking him – because he chose her and he chose to SAVE her. Which means he’s under the delusion that he can make her a better person (“If I love her enough she’ll change”).

    #1098992 Reply
    Hazel
    Participant

    Whatever you do, do stay in touch with Tim. He sounds like his sympathies could definitely lead him into a situation where he would find it hard to get out, and Mary sounds like she could easily turn violent or even just isolate him from friends and family. Don’t let her do that.Even if it means having to plaster a smile on your face from time to time.(sometimes being super-polite to a person you loathe but must be around can be bearable, you don’t have to ever be best buddies with her, just keep it super-civil so she has no excuse to tell Tim he can’t see you.) It’s extra hard for men to get help in a domestic abuse situation. You know what he may be up against so make sure he knows you are there for him whatever happens.

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