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#64618 - 02/26/03 08:19 AM Seeing her again???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
My husband had sex with his sister twice when she was 17 and he was 13. 23 years later, he came forward about it. Knowing some of the surrounding details and circumstances, and given the age and maturity difference, I feel that my husband was victimized by her. I feel that at that time she used this to control not only what he did, but what he feels. She still does the same thing today. She is involved in our lives and even before I learned about this her involvement has not been pleasant. So my question is, how do I deal with seeing her or talking to her again after what I know. She doesn't know that he came forward about this, and if she did it wouldn't be good. She likes to have the world revolve around her and she would jump at the chance to play victim...after all he did come into her room. This would only reinforce the feelings of shame and guilt my husband has been (not) dealing with for the past 23 years. If she didn't play victim, she would just deny that it ever happened. I, of course, would like to draw boundaries and eliminate as much as possible her involvement in our lives. I am sure my husband does not feel the same way, as he is still inconviencing our family to make her happy so that she doesn't have a tantrum (btw, she's 41). I've seen her have tantrums for not getting her way and its not pleasant. Just an example...my husband's b-day. I was pregnant and being put out on bedrest. For my husband's b-day I had invited my parents and his dad & gf for dinner. Sister found out and went on a tyrade. Even called my husband screaming at him about being left out. He was upset and angry with me for not inviting her. This was supposed to be a nice, quiet, surprise, sit down dinner for 6. (What a surprise it was when it turned into a 3 ring circus). My husband insisted that I call and invite her so I did. Now I had to get more food for 3 more guests. Sit-down wasn't an option anymore, as I only had service and seating for 8. So then I had to waddle (literally) back to the store for paper plates, etc. all the while having contractions because I was supposed to be relaxing due to preterm labor (she knew about that too). My point is that she's difficult enough to deal with on a good day, she's continuing to manipulate my husband, and now that I know about this, its not going to be any easier to deal with her. Any advice???


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#64619 - 02/26/03 11:16 AM Re: Seeing her again???
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
what does your hubby say? i mean before you confront her, i would certainly hope you and he were on agreement on it. nothing would piss me off more that having my wife go behind my back after i entrusted her with my lifelong secrete. he opened up to you by even admitting this, and yes you may have issues with her now, but do you think he will trust you with anything more if you betray him now? your primary duty is to him. we all have people we cant stand in the world, but for his sake you need to keep your contempt to yourself. i cant stand my wife's step-father, but when we go, i am polite and just steer clear as much as i can, for her sake, not his. i owe her that much. i put up with the two-faced spiteful bastard because it is her family, and she deserves to see them if she wants to. if may take him time, but if your husband confided in you, he is clearly coming to terms with things. give him time and space, and keep talking to him. in time he may become angry enough to confront her, or he may never do that. it has to be up to him.

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#64620 - 02/26/03 11:38 AM Re: Seeing her again???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Confronting her about "the thing" is just not an option and I would never betray my husband like that. I just struggle with even being in the same room as her. Even before I knew about "the thing", I had valid reasons for drawing boundaries as her relationship with him and with me impacted our marriage negatively. This just further complicates it as it blurs my motives. I know this sounds wierd, but I feel vulnerable in a sense.


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#64621 - 02/26/03 12:06 PM Re: Seeing her again???
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
sandy, if it sounds like i'm being harsh, i dont mean it that way. i think the effort you are making to understand and do the right things is really great.

look, you have every right to feel whatever you feel. after spending a lifetime feeling what others wanted me to, or what i thought they wanted me to, i would never tell anyone to not feel something.

you have your right to feel what you want. i would urge you to share them with your husband, and explain you want as little to do with her as you can. he should respect your feelings. it is really a matter of coming to an understanding between you two. negotiating and walking in one another's shoes are important to make marriage work. for years, i didnt do my part, and at points marriage has been really hard on me. i have had to work very hard to overcome that, and to open up. it sounds like you two could use a little work there as well. be honest and open, that is all anyone can ask from you.

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#64622 - 02/26/03 07:40 PM Re: Seeing her again???
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Sandy
the important people here are -
1- you
2- your husband

Your sister in law comes way down the list.
I would put on the happy face, however much it kills you, and carry on as before.
But as your husband and you get through this pain ( and you will ) just withdraw from her, your husband will probably have gained the strength to do the same as he gets better.

It's too much hassle to deal with her as well now unless you are forced to do it.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#64623 - 02/28/03 02:53 PM Re: Seeing her again???
MrEdd Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 317
Loc: Texas
What Lloydy said

_________________________
Some Things are not problems to be solved, rather, they are facts which must be coped with over time.

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#64624 - 02/28/03 03:40 PM Re: Seeing her again???
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi SandyW,

It is not difficult to have an idea of your feelings about this woman who betrayed your beloved husband. Like Llyody said, your love will get you through this.

There is a part of me that is very legalistic. The first thought that comes to my mind is what are the laws in the State where this occurred?

In Wisconsin a four year difference in age carries very specific penalties. We rate the difference as two years equals criminal behavior and the necessity to regisiter as a sex offender for the rest of the persons life. Four years add prison time. Six years difference carries very harsh penalties and much longer prison terms. Beyond six years I am not informed of the consequences.

The point is that his sister is the one who had the responsibility to be in charge of the situation. So if she ever says he instigated something, we would not accept that legally unless he was big enough or had some power that it would be considered that he raped her. Rather a messy situation. Wisconsin has very strict laws on this. The State in which it occurred may not. Here they would both we minors and had not reached the age of consent (18). What would be the point here is the difference in ages.

That is not very helpful I know. But it does give you the ability to stop her blaming your husband in any way. Apparently they both became very uncomfortable with it and stopped after the two times. I think that does say something for them both--something good.

Might she and he be so ashamed of it that they are forever trying to avoid talking about it--like the Emperor has no clothes on thing?

You will be wise to talk to his therapist together about what is right or possibly harmful.

Ken Singer has an article on confrontation in our web site. Under professional articles. I don't quite know how to get you the link without losing this message. I will cut and paste it to another message when I get it figured out.

Take care SandyW,

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#64625 - 03/01/03 12:53 PM Re: Seeing her again???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
I believe that her silence is a way to manipulate him. When he was 10 and she 14, she called their family's social worker and had them come and take him from the house. (The mother was at work or something???) He was put in a group home. The mother did not come to claim him. There he met a man that masturbated in front of him and asked for other things. Finally, his father (who did not live with the rest of the family) came to get him out of the group home. He lived there for a while and then the sister came to live with him and the father when the mother moved out of state with the remaining 5 children. So you see, even if he did initiate the specific incidents of sex, by going to her room, I think there was a very strong undercurrent of manipulation. He believes that she was sleeing durig theincidents and is not aware of them. Irrational? Yes. Especially given that over a year ago, I had a conversation with her about his struggle with alcohol and I had remarked that there was something from his childhood that I now he was keeping from me and that I thought this was the source of his problem. Her response was "I know everything..." in a ha ha type of voice. I didn't know how to respond so I let it go. Legally, unless there is no statute of limitations, I don't think she'd be able to stirr up much trouble...this was 23 years ago. I think this would do more damage mentally to him because (1) if she denied it, it would reinforce in his mind that he was the one at fault, i.e., he raped her. (2) she would otherwise blame and rationalize it with you were the one who was obviosly aroused. He's struggling to see himself as a victim here as it is. So, confronting her is out of the question. My struggle is how do I avoid her (I truly wish to not have continued contact with her) without hurting my husband? Is it appropriate? We don't see her much anyway (2-3 times a year). However, when she feels left out she demands inclusion (to which I am no longer inclinded to entertain). This will cause friction when I don't give into her tantrums and demands. I previously did so just to keep peace.


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#64626 - 03/01/03 05:45 PM Re: Seeing her again???
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Sandy
try to think back to when you were 13, how much more grown up did a 17 yo appear to you then ?
Four years isn't much as an adult but to a kid it's huge.

Boys will get aroused by the 'crack of dawn' at that age, I can remember shuffling about trying to hide the bulge in my trousers at the most inopertune moments. So the slightest temptation will be enough to have made him respond.
In my book - he's a victim, she's a perpetrator.

In her defence it might have been her curiosity getting the better of her, possible she had been exposed to abuse herself, of whatever level.
But it's still not any reason to continue the cycle with her brother.
It's all to common but there are any number of girls who experiment at that age, and boys as well, but they do it with boyfriends and girlfriends.
By any stretch of the imagination we know that sex in the family is wrong - unless we've been taught otherwise.

You husband has a ton of work to do before he gets his head around all this, and you have as well, but you're doing the right things so far. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I've seen it; it's there I promise.

The added problem is your sister in law, and you might well be right in that she's manipulating him through her silence.
She also NEEDS his silence to protect herself.
She's possibly in a state of denial, she still can't accept that what happened was her responsibility so she's bending her perception of it until it fits in with her accepted view of it.
And she's the only person who can do anything to change that view, you wont change it for her.

Move on with your husband, help him heal. Prove to him that you're on his side and he'll see the truth. Together you can tell her to take a hike, if she throws a fit, so what ?

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#64627 - 03/02/03 02:01 PM Re: Seeing her again???
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Sandy W

Check your private messages (click on "my profile")
Ken


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