I need an outsiders perspective on this FIL issue

Is it possible that your FIL was embarrassed about the original break-up and made up the abuse story to justify it?  This way he's not at fault for the break-up, and he doesn't have to answer the tough questions that close relatives can't resist asking.

He even said afterwards that he hadn't given you the straight story.

The girlfriend may be completely innocent and feel hurt that her BF's family can't stand her.


FC_ said:

Is it possible that your FIL was embarrassed about the original break-up and made up the abuse story to justify it?  This way he's not at fault for the break-up, and he doesn't have to answer the tough questions that close relatives can't resist asking.

He even said afterwards that he hadn't given you the straight story.

The girlfriend may be completely innocent and feel hurt that her BF's family can't stand her.

This does not seem plausible to me. FIL would have to be really off the wall to make up something like that.


I still think there are two sides and I'm not quite sure I am convinced this is a true abusive relationship.  They broke up, FIL was mad and exaggerated her "wrong".  Happens all the time.  I think this is a case of OP and her spouse not liking this woman or thinking she's wrong for FIL. And maybe she is wrong for him and maybe she's a raging b&*%$ but as long as FIL wants to be with her and you don't truly suspect serious emotional control or physical danger to your FIL, back off, invite the woman to special events you want him at and let it be. People get to choose who they want to be with.


shoshannah said:
I don't know, Tom. I would not want the person who abuses my loved one in my house—no matter how much my loved one loves his abuser. I want to set an example. I stay far away from known abusive people, even if I am not the one being abused. Not even theoretical for me. I have a cousin married to someone who smacks her around and has put her in the hospital a few times. He never did anything to me or my kids. No way would I ever want to be in the same room with him. He is not invited. I don't care if he's my cousin's legal spouse. I do not let people like that into my life. Period.

That's up to you, and I can't say you're wrong. My first wife was abusive to me and our kids, and my family had all of us in their homes. It was only after I had initiated the divorce that I learned of people's discomforts with her. And I did not hear their warnings. Sometimes, a person just isn't ready to see things clearly. I'm not saying our way was better, just that it can be the least sucky way to deal with things, depending on the situation.

If they had forbidden my ex from entering their homes, the relationship between my kids and their extended family wouldn't be as good.


What a tough situation! My heart goes out to you. Kudos on keeping an open mind and thinking deeply about how to handle the situation.

We faced a similar circumstance when a family member became involved with an abusive partner. He was a young adult and she hit him badly enough to cause bloodshed. He called the police and filed a restraining order -- she filed a counter order, which she then dropped (and later admitted she had fabricated to make him drop his case). After all this, he got back together with her twice. 

It was *extremely* hard to go anywhere near her or allow her in our house while all of this was going on. But the alternative was, as someone said, playing into her hands. In the end we limited her visits and never left her alone with anyone, especially the kids. But we let her visit because we were not willing to cut ties with our beloved family member. 

In the end, he was able to find the strength to leave her, but having his family's support every step of the way, and not being isolated, helped him find that strength. 

ETA: @Tom_reingold, you know I respect you but I think your words are unnecessarily harsh here. I think it's absolutely healthy to "indict and convict her for things she does in her personal life which is not your life" when these things affect the life of someone the OP loves. Another example: a friend of mine was an abused spouse. You can damn well bet I "indict and convict" his ex-wife, nor would I allow her in my home. This statement also comes off sanctimonious and wrong-headed to me: "You asked for advice for how to deal, and we are finding fault in you. That may be hard to take or even understand, but to tell you that you're wrong, if you're able to hear it, is the most generous thing we can do for you." I, for one, am finding no fault in the OP whatsoever. 

 


I agree to some degree that it is not wrong to indict and convict the person who has behaved abominably... The problem I see with that approach, however, is you by extension punish the loved one who has not figured out how to cut ties. It is tough to be around someone who is behaving so badly, but I think on the whole I would prefer to extend the invitation in such a way that your FIL doesn't end up being cut off from his family. Maybe your spouse and his siblings could see the wisdom and compassion of supporting their father, who is going through a very rough time. I know how hard it can be to break away from an abusive partner... He needs his family's support, not what he must perceive as their censure. I know it is hard to tolerate. But I think I would try nonetheless. He is not getting younger.


Fair points, @deborahg and @peggyc. I'm not sure how to put it. But basically, when there is an intimate relationship, even when you know a lot, you don't know everything. You might know enough to know you need to keep a person out of your house, but you don't know that the best thing would be for your beloved to leave the abusive person. I still may not have said that well.

As for my sanctimonious tone, that is a fair criticism, too. But notice that maplewood accepted it and seemed to find it helpful.


deborahg said:

What a tough situation! My heart goes out to you. Kudos on keeping an open mind and thinking deeply about how to handle the situation.

We faced a similar circumstance when a family member became involved with an abusive partner. He was a young adult and she hit him badly enough to cause bloodshed. He called the police and filed a restraining order -- she filed a counter order, which she then dropped (and later admitted she had fabricated to make him drop his case). After all this, he got back together with her twice. 

It was *extremely* hard to go anywhere near her or allow her in our house while all of this was going on. But the alternative was, as someone said, playing into her hands. In the end we limited her visits and never left her alone with anyone, especially the kids. But we let her visit because we were not willing to cut ties with our beloved family member. 

In the end, he was able to find the strength to leave her, but having his family's support every step of the way, and not being isolated, helped him find that strength. 

ETA: @Tom_reingold, you know I respect you but I think your words are unnecessarily harsh here. I think it's absolutely healthy to "indict and convict her for things she does in her personal life which is not your life" when these things affect the life of someone the OP loves. Another example: a friend of mine was an abused spouse. You can damn well bet I "indict and convict" his ex-wife, nor would I allow her in my home. This statement also comes off sanctimonious and wrong-headed to me: "You asked for advice for how to deal, and we are finding fault in you. That may be hard to take or even understand, but to tell you that you're wrong, if you're able to hear it, is the most generous thing we can do for you." I, for one, am finding no fault in the OP whatsoever. 

 

Thanks! Yes it is a tough situation. What bothers or hurts me the most is that even my parents who live in another country, do everything possible to visit the grandson when they can. My mom is coming from out of the country to be with ds for birthday, and to me for FIL not be 'allowed' to come to a baby's birthday party because the SO is not invited, being about 2 hours away, is really painful. How could you chose a woman who has physically hit you and emotionally abused you, to a point where you had to flee your house and hire a lawyer to try to get a restraining order is unbelievable. And then to expect us to be nonchalant about the past situation is just another layer to the cake. I read somewhere that it takes the abused victim about 7 times to finally break it off with abuser. 

Some of you have asked if maybe my FIL exaggerated, well I doubt it. He called and just told us that he was literally in court waiting to get some sort of restraining order that he never fully placed. She would have lost her job. So she left the house.. anyways..

I'm trying to see in all in perspective and I grew up with only one close grandmother, the others were definitely not very close and I guess I turned out decent. 


it's entirely possible that with or without this woman, FIL wouldn't be the kind of man to be that involved with his grandchildren. My mother and father practically raise their own and couldn't be without them for more than a week- it would kill them. Their other grandparents see them maybe once every two years for a few days. Yes, they live far away but they make little effort. It's enough for them to talk with them once a month and on holidays and see them a few days every year or two. Just different mentalities, different people. Personally, I could never understand it.  But your FIL may not be what you think he should be, with or without her. And if it is so important to you that he be with your son, invite his girlfriend, be polite and let your FIL spend time th your son.


Is your FIL retired? If so, maybe you can arrange for him to spend time with your son during the day, when his SO is at work. Think of other work-arounds like this.


Not sure where that seven times thing came from, but it's nonsense. And you do sound very angry at your FIL and supportive of the ban of the girlfriend. Is the only advice you want how to get him to break up with her? Because I don't think anyone can give you that. 

I'm sorry, I know the situation sucks, and I do feel sympathy for all concerned, but I suspect you are not going about this the right or constructive way. Just my reading of what has been said so far, and maybe I'm wrong.


PeggyC said:

Not sure where that seven times thing came from, but it's nonsense. And you do sound very angry at your FIL and supportive of the ban of the girlfriend. Is the only advice you want how to get him to break up with her? Because I don't think anyone can give you that. 

I'm sorry, I know the situation sucks, and I do feel sympathy for all concerned, but I suspect you are not going about this the right or constructive way. Just my reading of what has been said so far, and maybe I'm wrong.

It's not nonsense, check stats about domestic violence relationships. Brother in law called national domestic violence hotline and they offered advice and mentioned this stat so it's not nonsense. I definitely don't want 'advice on how to break them up because I know that is not my concern and if you read closely as to what I'm saying then you would see that. Of course I am angry, but mostly was just wanting to hear if anyone had experience with a similar situation and I am grateful that many people put their wise two cents in. I am no grateful for judge-y type posts that are criticising me for asking such a thing. 


conandrob240 said:

it's entirely possible that with or without this woman, FIL wouldn't be the kind of man to be that involved with his grandchildren. My mother and father practically raise their own and couldn't be without them for more than a week- it would kill them. Their other grandparents see them maybe once every two years for a few days. Yes, they live far away but they make little effort. It's enough for them to talk with them once a month and on holidays and see them a few days every year or two. Just different mentalities, different people. Personally, I could never understand it.  But your FIL may not be what you think he should be, with or without her. And if it is so important to you that he be with your son, invite his girlfriend, be polite and let your FIL spend time th your son.

I totally agree with this, I also had only one close grandmother, the others were very distant so I see your point in this. I think that sons bday may not be the occasion to see this woman for first time after everything. 


shoshannah said:

Is your FIL retired? If so, maybe you can arrange for him to spend time with your son during the day, when his SO is at work. Think of other work-arounds like this.

Yes, he is semi retired and this would probably work out during the week, but unfortunately my husband works during week. I guess worst case scenario this will have to make do in order to have a semi relationship with FIL & grandson. We will have to work around this. 


mxg86 said:
conandrob240 said:

it's entirely possible that with or without this woman, FIL wouldn't be the kind of man to be that involved with his grandchildren. My mother and father practically raise their own and couldn't be without them for more than a week- it would kill them. Their other grandparents see them maybe once every two years for a few days. Yes, they live far away but they make little effort. It's enough for them to talk with them once a month and on holidays and see them a few days every year or two. Just different mentalities, different people. Personally, I could never understand it.  But your FIL may not be what you think he should be, with or without her. And if it is so important to you that he be with your son, invite his girlfriend, be polite and let your FIL spend time th your son.

I totally agree with this, I also had only one close grandmother, the others were very distant so I see your point in this. I think that sons bday may not be the occasion to see this woman for first time after everything. 

Why? Are you going to bring everything up? It seems a great time to me because it's about a kid. You can be polite and everyone will be on best behavior. 

The bottom line is you are sticking your feet in on inviting this woman to your sons party. You asked for advice and 90% of people here say you are being somewhat unreasonable and should just invite her.  


No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.  And we have no control on how others (including our parents - assuming they are not mentally impaired) choose to live and with whom and how they spend their money no matter how stupid or reckless it seems to be.  Shunning the woman brings another element to the problem. Sorry for OP's husband that the situation has caused such worry.   Hope some day husband is able to have calm, private talks with his dad and be a listener, not a judge.

There has to be a way out of the current stalemate but it seems to be up to OP and husband to find it.

If this was my dad, I would be just as upset but hopeful I could find a way to make things better for everyone's sake, especially father and son. Good luck.


mxg86 said:
shoshannah said:

Is your FIL retired? If so, maybe you can arrange for him to spend time with your son during the day, when his SO is at work. Think of other work-arounds like this.

Yes, he is semi retired and this would probably work out during the week, but unfortunately my husband works during week. I guess worst case scenario this will have to make do in order to have a semi relationship with FIL & grandson. We will have to work around this. 

What does your husband working during the week have to do with your son and FIL spending time together during the week? Its a decent solution to minimize time spent with the SO if that is such a huge concern.


conandrob240 said:
mxg86 said:
shoshannah said:

Is your FIL retired? If so, maybe you can arrange for him to spend time with your son during the day, when his SO is at work. Think of other work-arounds like this.

Yes, he is semi retired and this would probably work out during the week, but unfortunately my husband works during week. I guess worst case scenario this will have to make do in order to have a semi relationship with FIL & grandson. We will have to work around this. 

What does your husband working during the week have to do with your son and FIL spending time together during the week? Its a decent solution to minimize time spent with the SO if that is such a huge concern.

It has to do with the fact that husband wants to be in on moments shared with son and grandpa. He doesn't get to see his dad at all so it would be nice. In a normal and healthy relationship obviously we would be fine spending time with SO, but she 'bans' him on spending time with other people on his own. He is 'forbidden' to spend time with friends, family, co workers if she is not there. That to me screams sick, unhealthy relationship. And yes, I did ask advice but mostly I asked if some people had been in a similar scenario in their families, and those people have replied and i greatly appreciate it. If you have not, then I would just reply I have not been in this situation, so tbh your opinion just doesn't count that much because you clearly have not dealt with this situation. I am just getting a bit tired of people judging me for not inviting FIL's SO to my son's bday because I don't want to be upset, neither does husband at someone who physically gave FIL black eye several times (BIL actually witnessed this). Regardless of circumstances, we may try to patch things up but have decided that birthday is no occasion to do so. 


mlj said:

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.  And we have no control on how others (including our parents - assuming they are not mentally impaired) choose to live and with whom and how they spend their money no matter how stupid or reckless it seems to be.  Shunning the woman brings another element to the problem. Sorry for OP's husband that the situation has caused such worry.   Hope some day husband is able to have calm, private talks with his dad and be a listener, not a judge.

There has to be a way out of the current stalemate but it seems to be up to OP and husband to find it.

If this was my dad, I would be just as upset but hopeful I could find a way to make things better for everyone's sake, especially father and son. Good luck.

Thanks! I hope so too. 



It has to do with the fact that husband wants to be in on moments shared with son and grandpa. He doesn't get to see his dad at all so it would be nice. In a normal and healthy relationship obviously we would be fine spending time with SO, but she 'bans' him on spending time with other people on his own. He is 'forbidden' to spend time with friends, family, co workers if she is not there. That to me screams sick, unhealthy relationship. And yes, I did ask advice but mostly I asked if some people had been in a similar scenario in their families, and those people have replied and i greatly appreciate it. If you have not, then I would just reply I have not been in this situation, so tbh your opinion just doesn't count that much because you clearly have not dealt with this situation. I am just getting a bit tired of people judging me for not inviting FIL's SO to my son's bday because I don't want to be upset, neither does husband at someone who physically gave FIL black eye several times (BIL actually witnessed this). Regardless of circumstances, we may try to patch things up but have decided that birthday is no occasion to do so. 

WOW a black eye ?  I am sorry but WOW is all I can say.  I just cannot understand a woman wanting to have this much control and hurt someone physically like that.  You are the one who has to decide what to do.  I think all you can do is to let FIL know you are there for him if he needs you, invite him and if he doesn't come just carry on with your life.  Push comes to shove, I wouldn't want her there either. The sight of her would sicken me.  I didn't know the actual physical extent of her damage.   Do what your gut tells you to do.  That is usually the right answer.  Also, it never hurts to ask on MOL just to get opinions and ideas that might ease the "pain" of this situation.  You never know, something someone says might help in some way.  Good Luck ~  Hope your son has a wonderful birthday party with lots of silly fun and lots of birthday gifts LOL ~    


If she gave him a black eye and your BIL witnessed that, he should have called the police.


Your original question was centered around whether to include the SO in your son's birthday party invite so that the child's grandfather could/would attend.  Your reports of "abuse" at that point weren't very clear.  In fact, you said that your FIL said himself that he exaggerated the reports.  Then, you went on to describe how you didn't like this woman for reasons that seemed superficial (she's sort of "blah").  Based on that, the responses you got were overwhelmingly to include the child's grandfather and his SO.  You didn't like that response nor did you ever intend to invite the SO.

Now, the story has changed to significant and witnessed abuse to the point of multiple black eyes inflicted by a woman onto a man.  That would have to be one hell of a punch/hit to produce a black eye from a woman to a man (assuming she's not a boxer and he's not fragile).  If this is the case that she is this dangerous and violent, I'd be telling this story to the police and might even be considering looking into a restraining order for FIL. 


conandrob240 said:

Your original question was centered around whether to include the SO in your son's birthday party invite so that the child's grandfather could/would attend.  Your reports of "abuse" at that point weren't very clear.  In fact, you said that your FIL said himself that he exaggerated the reports.  Then, you went on to describe how you didn't like this woman for reasons that seemed superficial (she's sort of "blah").  Based on that, the responses you got were overwhelmingly to include the child's grandfather and his SO.  You didn't like that response nor did you ever intend to invite the SO.

Now, the story has changed to significant and witnessed abuse to the point of multiple black eyes inflicted by a woman onto a man.  That would have to be one hell of a punch/hit to produce a black eye from a woman to a man (assuming she's not a boxer and he's not fragile).  If this is the case that she is this dangerous and violent, I'd be telling this story to the police and might even be considering looking into a restraining order for FIL. 

My original question did state that SO had abused him both physically and emotionally. I did state that he said that he had exaggerated accounts, which I don't buy. He went to police to start the process of filing restraining order, but backed out of it because she was at risk for losing her job if she has a restraining order against her. He didn't want to do that for some reason, then they got back together so he kind of denied everything (like a victim of domestic violence would). I didn't go into detail because I figured if I said victim of domestic abuse, that would suffice an explanation I guess I held back. BIL witnessed the black eye and questioned his father about it, he admitted it had been her. FIL is in late 60s, pretty fragile, SO is almost a foot taller than him, so yes I would say that she is capable, very capable of doing that to him. He has health issues as well so I don't see that it would be hard to give him a black eye. The story has NOT changed at all, just wanted to hear about other people's experiences with domestic violence in family situations and thanks to everyone that has written words of encouragement or shared your story, it has been helpful. I do agree that she is dangerous, but now FIL is back with her and is kind of in her web of manipulation, the police won't do anything about it and we don't want to go there because it would be crossing line and losing FIL for good I imagine. 


ellenlynn said:
.  I think all you can do is to let FIL know you are there for him if he needs you, invite him and if he doesn't come just carry on with your life.  Push comes to shove, I wouldn't want her there either. The sight of her would sicken me.  I didn't know the actual physical extent of her damage.   Do what your gut tells you to do.  That is usually the right answer.  Also, it never hurts to ask on MOL just to get opinions and ideas that might ease the "pain" of this situation.  You never know, something someone says might help in some way.  Good Luck ~  Hope your son has a wonderful birthday party with lots of silly fun and lots of birthday gifts LOL ~    

Yes thanks ellenlynn. I agree this is what we are coming to terms with, just being there for him but putting boundaries (like her not being welcome to our home, son's life, etc) but trying to keep a relationship with him. It is difficult but I guess it's better than just losing him. Thanks!


"Regardless of circumstances, we may try to patch things up but have decided that birthday is no occasion to do so." I totally agree with this. Regardless of how this plays out, a birthday party is about the child. If family members are uncomfortable with the SO or if there's going to be any drama added to the event if FIL/SO attend, I say address this another time and leave them off the guest list.  


In the original post it was written to seem as though the first time the abuse was brought to light was a month ago, and that it was based on the FIL's word only.  I'm not saying the OP is being deceptive, but due to the poorly way it was written I can understand why someone would be suspicious of a story that appears to be changing.


deborahg said:

"Regardless of circumstances, we may try to patch things up but have decided that birthday is no occasion to do so." I totally agree with this. Regardless of how this plays out, a birthday party is about the child. If family members are uncomfortable with the SO or if there's going to be any drama added to the event if FIL/SO attend, I say address this another time and leave them off the guest list.  

Agree. Have a family party that FIL and SO can attend. Let the kids' party be about the kids. 

In general, arrange for FIL to visit your son during the week when SO is at work, say, every other week. Have your husband call his father twice a week during the day, when SO is at work to keep the lines of communication open. Arrange for FIL and SO to come over together once every six weeks or so, just to keep an eye on things.


it's a toddler and already stated few friends attending bc new to the area so by definition the party is really mostly for the family. 


I apologize if you found my comment judgmental; that was not my intention. And I have since looked up the "seven times" statistic and found it apparently is held to be true by some organizations, although it was not the case for me or several other people I know who have gotten out of abusive relationships. 


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