Post # 1
Alright. This is a bit sad but, I am posting b/c I would like some good ‘ol bee advice.
This last winter My Fiance and his family found out that his sister is in an abusive relationship. They have been married for about five years, but she has been really really good at hiding it. Since my Fiance is the only ‘man’ in the family (there has been a few deaths, so he is the ‘heir’) and is very protective of his little sister he went bizerk and confronted sister’s husband (not in person, over the phone b/c they would of had a fist fight to the death). Ever since this episode Fiance and sister’s husband have not made up. They “de-friended” each other on facebook and on x-box. Sister’s husband is looking for an apology (why? He thinks Fiance shouldn’t have confronted him!) and Fiance refuses to give him one (who is the abuser here!!??). Fiance doesn’t want sister’s husband to come to the wedding b/c he will act like a baby, want to talk about the fight, and just mope around if Fiance does not apologize. Fiance wants to enjoy our wedding, the reception, and not try to ‘mend’ anything with sister’s husband during our union. The problem is, sister will not go to our wedding if her husband doesn’t go. Fiance and sister are really close, and Fiance and I will be sad if sister does not come. We sent out the invites three days ago and only put her name on them. In hindsight, Fiance and I think we might have made the problem worse. We are thinking about sending sister’s husband a separate invite just so that there is no tension, hatred, or weirdness and if he comes, he comes and we are going to have to deal with it. Do you all think we should send him an invitation (even though it will arrive a few days after hers)?
We know it is her choice to come to the wedding and it is also her choice to end an abusive relationship. She told her mother the other day that she feels that she “needs to choose between her husband and her family”. She is clearly going through a lot of pressure b/c everyone just found out about this abuse. Any advice?
Post # 3
Wow this is so tough. Unfortunately, it is up to her to leave the abusive relationship and no one is going to be able to force her to do so. I think that you should only invite him if you can be sure that there isn’t going to be drama between him and other people at the wedding because of their rocky relationship. You don’t want to deal with that on your wedding day and I doubt that his wife wants to deal with it right now either.
Post # 4
One of the main strategies abusers have for maintaining control over their partners is by isolating them from any family and friends who could help them leave. Your Fiance and his family need to be especially proactive about letting his sister know that they are always there for her, that she is valuable, that she deserves better, and that they will love her no matter what. If you don’t invite him, what the abusive guy is going to try to do is use that to separate her from her family. He’ll tell her “see, they don’t really want you there, or else they would have invited me.” This guy will tell her that she has to choose between him and her family- which is the absolute last thing you want because if she loses contact with her family she’ll have a much harder time getting the resources and help she needs to leave him. So basically, if you really think that he is an abuser, then I saw you should invite him if only to keep the relationship with the sister strong. Her life could be at stake.
Post # 5
Maybe you and your Fiance could see a counselor that specializes in domestic violence cases? S/he could help you through the process from the outisde… and maybe give some insight into how an abuser and his/her partner thinks.
What a difficult situation – so sorry to hear that your FI’s family is going through this!
Post # 6
I would not send an invite to anyone who will cause a problem like that. There is no excuse at all for domestic violence (which also includes verbal/emotional abuse even if there is no physical violence) for that to take place. Your or your fiance needs to call the police asap to stop this and if that doesn’t work, then sneak her out of the house to a battered women’s shelter so that is she is protected from this. Once an abuser starts down their path, they don’t get off that track ever, and she could easily wind up dead or in the hospital at some point if no action is taken. If you or she doesn’t contact the police, no one else will. A counselor won’t be able to stop anything because they don’t have the legal capacity to do so, nor do abusers ever admit to their actions because their victims are always “at fault” in their minds and very few abusers are you able to spot by picking them out of a lineup because most are model citizens whom everyone around them thinks walks on water and “would never dream of doing such a thing” and that is why they are so dangerous because they no one believes they really exist.
Post # 7
I like Mr. Bee’s suggestion. If you don’t know where to start, you could contact these people for some advice: http://www.ndvh.org/ I’m sure they get family members calling for guidance all the time.
Post # 8
I think I would invite him, and give her all of your love and support and make sure she knows that you love her and will always be there for her. Not inviting him could make things a lot worse for her. My father was very abusive towards me and my mom, and he frequently banned us from attending events without him, because he liked to exert control and attempt to isolate us from our friends and family.
Also, I know he’s a total jerk and your FI’s sister deserves better, but it’s pretty rude to invite someone and not their husband, no matter what the situation.
Post # 9
There are exceptions that can be made when inviting a couple depending on the circumstances and if one spouse is a danger to anyone around them, the exception can and should be made to not invite that single person. It is definitely not rude if it is for the reasoning of ensuring someone’s safety.
Post # 10
I am a social worker, and work on a team for child welfare that deals specifically with domestic violence and I must agree with Greenleafmountain on this one! He will use this as an opportunity to alienate her from the family further, and may be a perfect opportunity for him to utilize this and to CONVINCE her that he is right. There is a fantastic book I recommend to a lot of the families I work with, called “No visible wounds” and it deals specifically with the emotional/mental games that abusers play. I think, in this case, you need to send another invitation, or have Fiance call and try to talk to him (without apologizing) before the invitation gets to his sister… to avoid things getting really bad if it arrives a few days before his… because those few days, and the anger that may come out of that invitation could be lethal for his sister. unfortunately, you can’t make her leave, and until she is ready, she won’t… and anyone trying to force her will only help her husband in his trek to make her life worse, but using the force as “proof” that her family doesn’t want what’s “best” for her, that he is “best” and knows her, and her wants, better than anyone else. Good luck! If you need any help, please feel free to PM me, I deal with this on a DAILY basis at work, and it’s never easy for any family to deal with!
Post # 11
I think for just this instance, you should invite them both. I think that not inviting him will create a huge feud. If he is in fact an abusive partner, he may take the “not being invited” anger out on his sister. Also, like what GREENLEAFMOUNTAIN mentioned, he is going to use it to tear sister and family apart. Most likely, he’ll threaten her if she goes with out him. Then your brother wont have his sister at your wedding. If she ends up going to the wedding without him, I’d hate to hear what would happen to her when she got home.
Post # 12
honestly i would invite him, not for his sake but for FH sister’s sake. shes already got alot of stress going on obviously with a douche for a hubby – making her life harder by not inviting her hubby isnt helping matters.
bottom line, while FH might not like it, its her decision to leave him or not. if she chooses to stay, the most he can do is be supportive of her and show that when the time comes he is there for her no matter what.
i have been in a similar situation and the worst thing you can do is add to the tension between the FH sister and her hubby. if yall are lucky maybe he wont show. but if you keep making a stink about it, he might show up ANYWAY and make a scene.
let her know you are in her corner and there for her, give her the resorces that are listed above, or avalon (a group i used to volunteer with) is also good – she needs options and resources, not judging and added stress.
good luck – *sending happy peaceful vibes your way*
Post # 13
@Ember78: Fiance considered calling the police when he first found out about a particular physical incident that occurred. There are cons and pros if he reports it without his sister’s approval: Cons: She will not follow through with the report and press charges against her husband. Pros: There will be a paper trail of the abuse. So, incase something happened in the future (divorce or God forbid something else) the judge and others will know this guy’s abusive history. Fiance talked with sister about filing and she said she will not. So, Fiance does not want to force her to or go behind her back and, thus, loose her trust.
@Mrbee: great suggestion. I will need to find someone in the area.
@greenleafmountain: I totally agree with you about the isolation. I do not want her to feel isolated.
@cecullaton: We heard that the invitations have already arrived. Fiance will not speak to sister’s husband. I am thinking I need to call her myself and let her know that he is invited to, sorry for the wording on the card, and that I hope both can come.
Thanks everyone for the advice! I am more confident on doing what is right (or the lesser of two evils).
Post # 14
Even if she does not want to file charges herself, the police need to know what is going on asap. Abuse never stops and it only escalates and gets worse. If no action is taken, it will get to the point where your fiance doesn’t have a sister anymore because she may wind up dead at her husband’s hands. Then you will wonder why you didn’t call earlier and take measures to prevent it. What is more important: his sister’s life or his sister’s trust?
Post # 15
I say deal with helping get him in therapy and her out of there and THEN worry about who to invite to the wedding…obviously you don’t invite someone who might try to hit your fiance!
But seriously…they both need SERIOUS psychological help. Intervention, then wedding.
Post # 16
I want to say, sorry if I was abrupt. I’ve dealt with these issues in my family. If the wedding turns into a stressor for them…it will lead to more abuse.
Best thing to do is get them apart while they both get psychological treatment, in my opinion.
Good luck, and I’m so sorry you are dealing with this while planning your wedding!