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My wife-beating father is getting married again

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My wife-beating father is getting married again

Postby ElsaD » Sat May 25, 2019 12:05 pm

Hi, I hope this isn't too off-topic, but this forum seemed the most appropriate place to ask this. I'm having a really tough moral dilemma and no idea what the right thing to do is.

I'm not a domestic violence victim myself, but my mother was. Years ago my father almost killed her and only didn't succeed because one of my brothers happened to walk into the room just in time. My father has always had a violent streak. He put one of his ex-girlfriends in hospital once (she's now deaf in one ear), beat my brothers, and has threatened my mother several times during their marriage. Nevertheless, they were married a considerable time and have only been divorced for two years now.

Some crucial background info:
- My dad's violent streak only crops up sporadically (he can go whole decades without a single incident), but when it does, it REALLY DOES. The almost fatal incident with my mom was nine years ago and he's had no outburst since, save for one or two idle threats. We (= my brothers, my mother and I) strongly suspect that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
- No charges were pressed at the time and no-one in the family knows about it. My mother very much does not want this to ever come to light; she just wants to move on with her life in peace. To illustrate just how much she doesn't want this thing to come out: she was actually afraid to see a therapist about it just on the off-chance that the one she would choose would happen to feel obligated to break therapist-client confidentiality and report it to the police. Kind of a far-fetched scenario, but that's how afraid she is of anyone finding out.
- Had it been up to me I would have broken off all contact with my dad after it happened, but since my parents didn't get divorced for another seven years afterwards, I've had to develop a way for myself to keep dealing with my father. After all, I was and still am very close with my mom and they were a package deal whether I liked it or not. That's why even now I'm still in touch with my dad, although our relationship consists of politeness and superficial chit-chat.

Now, my father has gotten engaged again. To a very, very nice lady.
Here's my problem: do I say something to her or not? If something happens to this woman I don't want to be the one who could have prevented it.

However, there's something to be said for not saying anything, because if I did:
- It would kill my mom
- My mom would kill me
- There's a very good chance that his new fiancé won't believe me anyway and may chalk my story up to a jealous daughter who doesn't want her father to replace her mother.
- My mom would KILL me!
- Not just my dad would be furious with me (which I don't care all that much about), but so would the whole rest of his family, for telling such 'lies'.
- Did I mention that my mom would be devastated?

Now, all these arguments would mean nothing if this woman were in danger.
But that's just it: is she?
I have no way of adequately assessing this. When my dad is happy, he's perfectly charming and capable of wrapping anyone around his finger. Even my husband is fooled and struggles to believe me whenever I say anything negative about my dad. That's the problem with people with NPD: you have to be on the receiving end of their crap to believe it (and even then you're not always savvy). Otherwise you'd just never know, because their so, so very good at hiding what they are.
Also, there hasn't been an incident in nine years and there very well may not be another one ever. I just don't know.

So, do I talk to this woman and subsequently start a complete riot on all sides, or do I say nothing and possibly risk her safety?

At the moment I'm rather attracted to the idea of just wishing her all the best, giving her my number and telling her she's welcome to call me anytime about anything. Although that may only be helpful if she can see an outburst coming. And she won't. They come (seemingly) out of nowhere.
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Re: My wife-beating father is getting married again

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Sun May 26, 2019 6:33 pm

He may have a dissociative disorder--do you think he even remembers or believes that he was ever violent? Something must trigger the violence, but it sounds like that would be very difficult to figure out. Has he ever been in a relationship with a long-term girlfriend/wife when he wasn't violent at some point? Because if not, then she is definitely at risk, even if it took decades for something to happen.

I don't think I could live with myself in this situation if something happened to her. Can you have some kind of private meeting with her (lunch or coffee or something), and say that you have been wrestling with something difficult, and decided that you had to say something to her even if she doesn't believe you. And then give her this post to read, and sit there while she reads it.

I don't think someone could read it and not believe that it's true--it's very specific and gives all your reasons for telling or not telling. She can still choose not to believe you, but then you have done all you could. She can ask you questions right then, or if she wants to think about it, you can give her your number and tell her you're available for questions if she has them.

My main concern would be whether this would trigger your father to become violent with YOU. Why is your mother so afraid of anyone finding out now that she is divorced? Maybe it matters less to her now that she doesn't live with him.
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Re: My wife-beating father is getting married again

Postby Terry E. » Mon May 27, 2019 5:04 am

ElsaD wrote:
At the moment I'm rather attracted to the idea of just wishing her all the best, giving her my number and telling her she's welcome to call me anytime about anything. Although that may only be helpful if she can see an outburst coming. And she won't. They come (seemingly) out of nowhere.




The more I read it (and I read it all ) the more I came to exactly the conclusion you arrived at.

The old shoot the messenger. My wife's grandmother warned my wife's mother about her father and she hated her for it. She was trying to break up her one chance at true happiness with the love of her life.

She not only condemned herself to 60 years of unhappiness (he died when she was 65 but until she died at 95 she had to look after he son who developed -lots of problems and watch her other son, go through four marriages and a small fortune (insurance claim, one wife inheritance, one inheritance from 4th wife's husband and then her mother) to wind up, bum out of trousers.

Watch for signs and be there for support. In this stuff they don't just shoot the messenger they burn them at the stake.
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Re: My wife-beating father is getting married again

Postby avatar123 » Mon May 27, 2019 6:24 pm

Just to add an alternate viewpoint, I would give her just the facts and make her aware of them, then wish her well and don't try to make up her mind for her. Tell her you won't bring it up again unless she wants to talk about it, but you thought out of fairness, that she should know. You could accept her response, whatever it is.

I think she would interpet that as concern for her well-being, and not an attempt to destroy her happiness. Maybe she would then talk to your dad and make sure he understands it won't' be tolerated, or that he get help. Or maybe she already has. But it would be her choice and not yours.

Putting myself in that position, I would want to know before making such a big decision. Also from your perspective, you would know that she is making an informed decision, that is hers to make, but that you have done your part in informing her.

There's not really much more that you could do. As Terry says, if you argue against the relationship, that will be construed as making trouble. So you'd want to avoid that. They are adults, they can decide for themselves, for better or for worse.
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