My brother is having an affair, he has denied it repeatedly for the last year, and has been gaslighting my sister-in-law by telling her she’s imagining it and she’s crazy and she’s not as accomplished as OW, who he consults on his career and business because she’s so smart and my SIL isn’t (according to him).
He has convinced everyone he’s the victim and that my SIL left “for no reason” and that he was abandoned, while I know he’s been sleeping at the OW’s house since my SIL left, all the while sending rage texts and threatening to make her pay for moving out with the children.
Through all of this I supported my SIL and have continued supporting her after she moved out. However, now my family is angry with me for not supporting my brother and says that my behavior and my SIL’s abandonment will push him to start a relationship with another woman instead of working on reconciliation. My brother actually told me that I haven’t checked on him during his “abandonment.” The reason I didn’t is I was so livid reading his texts to my SIL calling her names and gaslighting her.
I’m so conflicted. On the one hand I know this is my family, on the other hand there is a victim and a villain. And the victim is being forced to face more abuse by all the people not believing her story, and I have essentially been asked to pick sides, if I want to be part of my family then I have to support my brother in his campaign of terror.
What do I do?
Wants to do the right thing
Dear Wants to Do the Right Thing,
Do the right thing. Support your SIL. Your family can go take a flying leap.
I wonder where your brother’s gargantuan sense of entitlement came from? Given that his fuck-ups are everyone else’s fault and never his.
my family is angry with me for not supporting my brother
How exactly are you supposed to be supporting him? Crafting his dating profiles?
He cheated on his wife. She left him. It’s a consequence.
Protecting someone from the consequences of their behavior isn’t “support” — it’s enabling.
And this isn’t just any kind of a bad behavior — it’s abuse. He’s harming innocent people — his wife and children.
I’m sure your parents are to some degree mortified that their son is a fuckwit, but they have no right to enlist you in their crazy.
Hold your ground.
“I don’t support my brother’s choice to cheat on SIL and gaslight everyone about it.”
That’s a boundary. You enforce it and you let go of how it goes over. (Generally, not well.) If this continues to be a source of tension, you declare the subject a no-fly zone.
“Mom, Dad, I’m not going to discuss (FW brother) with you. We’ll have to agree to disagree about his conduct.”
and says that my behavior and my SIL’s abandonment will push him to start a relationship with another woman instead of working on reconciliation.
Wow. You and SIL have superpowers! Your suckitude drives him to cheat!
“Start a relationship? Mom, Dad, he’s BEEN in a relationship with the OW. That’s why SIL left.”
Funny how it’s everyone else’s responsibility to save him and his marriage, but not his responsibility to keep his dick in his pants.
It’s only the unwavering support of his shit decisions that will keep him on the straight and narrow. (Timid forest creature, much?) If he fails? It’s YOUR fault. How deliciously blameshifty.
Also, he cheated. He’s not owed reconciliation. It’s not as if you’re screwing up some deserved and expected outcome. He has no right to that outcome.
You may want to explore your brother’s God-given entitlement and your family’s misogyny in therapy.
My brother actually told me that I haven’t checked on him during his “abandonment.”
Were you supposed to fluff the pillows over at OW’s place?
I’m so conflicted.
Don’t be. You seemed to have a pretty solid moral compass that your brother is the asshole here.
On the one hand I know this is my family
I’m sorry. We can love people and they can be utterly, totally, and completely wrong about some things. Like other FW family members. Politics. Marshmallows on sweet potato casserole. To have a family is to navigate landmines.
on the other hand there is a victim and a villain. And the victim is being forced to face more abuse by all the people not believing her story
Right. So even though it’s difficult, and your family is going to give you shit, side with your SIL and the kids. Be true to your values, and don’t give your brother a pass because you share DNA.
You believe your SIL because you saw the evidence of your brother’s abuse. This isn’t some made up grudge match.
I imagine you’ve told your family that you’ve seen the texts, and like your SIL, they’d rather believe your brother over you.
That’s comfortable for them. It’s probably mortifying and scary to have a FW son. If they can get you to eat the shit sandwich, then they can live with their denial about the abuse.
FW is a flaming cauldron of narcissism. You, on the other hand, have a conscience and are far more easily guilted and manipulated. So they’re erring on the side of making you eat the shit sandwich over the side of making their son be held accountable for his actions.
You can pass over the shit sandwich buffet.
I have essentially been asked to pick sides, if I want to be part of my family then I have to support my brother in his campaign of terror.
What do we say about the pick-me dance here? There is no winning move. The only move is to not play.
Don’t play the “pick sides” game. You’ve stated your position, now shut up and let them deal.
If they try to blameshift to you? Return to sender.
“Mom, Dad, the state of FW Brother’s marriage is not my fault. I’m not going to discuss this further.”
Look, I don’t know how many siblings you have, but you seem like the sane kid. Fuckwit children tend to be FWs in other aspects of their life, especially on the caregiving front. Call their bluff. Let them side with cheater bro and side dish ho. See how merry the holidays are without dutiful, caring you.
I really doubt they want you to sever your relationship with them over this. They’re falling into familiar habits of their own FOO probably. Let the little terrorist have his way. It’ll pass!
Don’t support your brother.
The sun will rise in the east and set in the west.
The devil may be in the details but freedom is in doing right. Harder done than said when it’s your own blood because blood is thicker than water. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Your folks are doing your brother more harm than good by condoning his choices and behaviors. However, don’t get drawn into the temptation to do the same. This is your opportunity to stand tall, strong and separately aside from the fray. It takes alot more character, conscience and courage to be YOU than them. The world needs a whole lot more like you. Great work!
That’s an interesting phrase. The actual meaning of “blood is thicker than water” is the opposite of what it’s always interpreted to be. The full saying is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” – in other words, the relationships forged in battle (the original context) or in life outside the family are stronger than the ones we are forced into by birth. And it seems to apply quite well in this instance: her bond with her SIL is (rightfully) stronger and more healthy than any sort of obligation to her FW brother.
Very cool sleepyhead! I did not know that. We find the same things interesting.
I have a lovely (ex) brother-in-law that supported me. It was so needed . He was angry for me and told the FW . It helped me have strength to move ahead. Please keep doing what your doing. It’s the right thing.
I had a long conversation with my brother-in-law after dday. He seemed sympathic to my hurt & said his brother was having a midlife crisis. What evs. A few weeks later on the day when ex was moving out I desperately asked said brother-in-law to come over just to have a calming presence in the house & he said he couldn’t because his whole family had hair cuts that day! I’d known him from high school & was part of the family (mistakenly thought me) for over 25 yrs. I still cry thinking about the hopelessness I felt at that moment. My life was caving in but 5 individuals were going to look spiffy later in the day. Never spoke to him again & really felt used after I had confided in him all my post dday angst.
I also received care and love from my two sister-in-law’s and briefly from my former brother-in-law, and it was much appreciated. They were unaware of the cheating my ex-wife was doing, but during the separation process they sent loving texts, and the few times I actually bumped into them they were very caring and supportive. I don’t doubt that they maintained good relationships with my ex-wife, because she is their sister, but their relationship with her didn’t matter to me. They were thoughtful and kind to me during the process, and I found that very comforting. I don’t talk with any of them any longer, but I still view them in a very positive light due to their kindness while everything was raw.
Wants to do the right thing,
I have no advice to you, but your love for your SIL is much appreciated by all of us chumps.
This is wonderful. Mine had two sisters, and one of them is living abroad. So I never saw her. But we lived with the other sister for years. I always supported her despite how horrible her relationship with the family. I thought she was misunderstood. I often asked my ex to be kinder to her. I thought we had a connection. But she managed to stay quiet after all I went through. Not a word of support. She even told his brother he needs time to decide what he wants to do! I am so glad I am away from these people now.
That’s so crappy. My Chester’s mum blocked me on FB as soon as he announced he was leaving?! Never heard a single word from his friends or siblings, despite believing we had positive relations. I really liked them all as well. Sigh, what can you do!
I suspect you’ll hear unanimous agreement with CL’s advice. By supporting SIL and children, you ARE supporting family, including “blood” family. Disengage from conversation with cheater apologists and use the energy to help with children through their parents’ likely divorce.
Thank you for pointing out that SIL’s children ARE the letter writer’s family, and in supporting them she’s supporting family. The ones in the right.
My two older children have no contact with their father, and have therefore lost nearly all contact with his side of the family. I don’t know how many people believe the bs, and how many are just afraid to reach out. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that the kids shouldn’t have to suffer such a loss, and should have family who believe them over their father (a lot of it isn’t about the cheating). I agree the writer should maintain contact with those kids – when you have a family like that, the sane members are unexpected diamonds.
I’d do exactly what you’re doing if I were in your position. You can’t support abuse! My former MIL and FIL have been supportive of me through all the crap their son put me through and it’s a good feeling. They still love him but acknowledge what he did was wrong and admit they’re ashamed and embarrassed of him. I’m sure your sister in law appreciates you more than you’ll ever know.
“Wrong like marshmallows on sweet potato casserole” – a greater truth never spoken 😂
Thanks for yet another needed pep talk, CL. I’ve got a different sort of FOO problem (see a brother who stopped talking to me after I told him I was divorcing, tho reached out to check on my poor, sad STBX) but your wisdom still applies.
Yeah, after I told my brother all the reasons why I left and divorced the XAss, he just shrugged and continued to be FB friends. But then again this particular brother is a misogynistic, racist, co-dependent, and is a massive passive-aggressive asshole to his idiot flamboyant narcissistic wife – so there you go…
Oh yeah – I left out the part where, after the divorce convo w my bro, I find out he’s employed by a bonafide hate group. Can’t make this stuff up. So sorry, Skunk.
My brother visited FW for free chiropractic treatment. SMH bc guess he couldn’t go to ANYONE ELSE. Sometimes I think it’s just about money. Is FW of use to your brother?
My SIL supported me, and continues to do so. It was extremely helpful to me in navigating everything. It wasn’t that she didn’t care about her brother, but she didn’t condone his actions. She and I remain friends to this day.
Isn’t it wonderful when people behave like adults with a moral compass?
Wouldn’t we all want a SIL like Wants to do the right thing?!?!
Seems like such a small thing to reach out and support someone whose life just imploded. But it is so rare and painful that so few do.
I hope that Wants to do the right thing will read this and know that her support can be lifesaving at this moment. The pain and the gaslighting and fear of the future is beyond what most can even imagine. Your support can be the difference in her survival. Let her know she’s not crazy and that she doesn’t deserve this.
I believe that one can manage the family stance and be a supportive friend at the same time. Even better if you can follow Chump Lady’s advice and stand firm on those boundaries with your family.
Don’t let anyone twist what you know is reality. There will be a special place in heaven for people like you.
I agree, Rebecca, that it is no small thing. These allies help us cut through the gaslighting and FOG; validate our experiences, emotions and values; help us feel loved and grounded as we attempt to knit together a coherent narrative about who we are and what happened.
For me, it felt like a giant sinkhole opened up in my world. It has been an ongoing struggle for me to bridge the chasm of before/after dday; to fill in the Swiss cheese that discovering my ex’s secret double life suddenly made of my memories and reality; to learn that people I genuinely trusted/loved/respected didn’t reciprocate — and not internalize that. When we’ve been betrayed by many, every single word/gesture of support and belief counts. We learn that closure from an FW is an oxymoron. Instead, these connections with people who actually cared helped me feel a sense of closure and external validation.
YES! Every word of what you said, both Rebecca and bread&roses.
He’s sleeping at his girlfriends. Unless SIL is in danger or has a second home she might want to move back in the home with children and file immediately. More than likely he’ll exit sooner than later. Why should SIL and children be inconvenienced?
It seems like you already know that the right thing you want to do is to support SIL and her kids.
You wrote that your family “is angry with me for not supporting my brother and says that my behavior and my SIL’s abandonment will push him to start a relationship with another woman instead of working on reconciliation.” Have you told them that your brother is already sleeping over at OW’s house, even though SIL and the kids moved out? Are they aware that instead of reconciliation, your brother is sending her nasty texts?
Looking at this sentence, “if I want to be part of my family then I have to support my brother in his campaign of terror,”
three thoughts come to mind. First, have you shared his campaign of terror with them, second, have you asked them if they want to stay connected to their grandchildren, and third, do you really want to be part of this family?
SIL must be grateful for your support, and her kids probably need some of that support, too. Maybe you family could use some help understanding that if they want your brother to work on reconciliation and keep the kids as part of the extended family, the right thing to do is to support SIL, who is the one being rejected.
There are three big holidays coming up. Please consider how you usually spend them and if possible, keep SIL and the kids invited. My separation started in mid-November, and it was awful trying to figure out where and how to spend the holidays that year with my tweenager. The usual invitations for two events were not forthcoming (we usually spent them with his best friends), and I was not up to hosting over a dozen people for Christmas, especially since my ex froze all my credit cards days before Thanksgiving, as I discovered at the grocery store check-out. If you can host and include SIL and kids, it would be a blessing.
“The usual invitations for two events were not forthcoming (we usually spent them with his best friends), and I was not up to hosting over a dozen people for Christmas, especially since my ex froze all my credit cards days before Thanksgiving, as I discovered at the grocery store check-out.” These words made my heart ache. The now complicated holidays, the usual invitations disappeared, being too exhausted to host your own gathering, and so on. If the cheaters only knew how far and wide their destruction ran… Then again, would they care?
“If you can host and include SIL and kids, it would be a blessing.” Yes.
Wants to do the right thing, you’re a hero to chumps. Keep on doing the right thing. I wish my SIL had been like you; would’ve helped immeasurably, especially because she was one of the only people I felt I could turn to in the isolation I was experiencing g during “reconciliation” (living in a rural area, far from family, with an abusive FW… in a pandemic). I was wrong. Side note: Your brother sounds like a bonified FW, in which case ‘reconciliation’ is a euphemism for ‘continued abuse.’ “What’s best” for her/her kids — and frankly, your entire family — is for her to LACGAL, as every chump here will testify. It’s really hard to break the cycle of abuse, and your SIL might still confound you by giving your brother more chances; however, it’s so important to have sane, caring people on your side — vs. gaslighting and pressuring you to accept abuse, like your parents are. Play the long game and keep supporting her/her kids, and hopefully she’ll get out.
Sorry your family is making it so hard. Love CL’s advice about boundaries and FOO.
When the tragic Gabby Petito case was in full bloom, I was discussing the reaction of the murderer’s , Brian Laundry, parents, with one of my sons.
It was unconscionable and exasperating how they wouldn’t talk to Gabby’s distraught family wanting to know the whereabouts of their daughter, or share any info they might have gotten from Brian with the authorities and even harder to imagine they were never mandated to do so!
My son and I both agreed, beyond any doubt, that if he did harm to another, or I did, we could still share love, but could not and would not protect each other from the consequences of those actions. We would turn each other in.
Doing the right thing is never up for debate and the rules don’t change because it’s your brother, your son, daughter, parents or Uncle Fred.
“Thou shall not cover up crimes and injustices of a family member”
I think it was commandment number 11, but after Moses smashed them for the Idol worships of the Chosen ones, I believe they inadvertently didn’t pick up the crumbled stones that bore #11.
Doing the right thing is always going to be the right choice.
Stand your ground and keep supporting your SIL.
It upsets me to think about how many chumps out there have everyone turn on them, hurting them so deeply they don’t want to live anymore. How many suicides are caused by that?
SUPPORT THE CHUMP, not your cheating lying brother and his cheating lying Ho. You know that’s the right decision and we have your back on that.
Proud of you for being able to make it under such uncomfortable familial pressure.
“Doing the right thing is never up for debate and the rules don’t change because it’s your brother, etc…”
How many suicides…I have felt so alone in the fallout of my X’s affair…absolutely felt abandoned by most – not all, but most – of my community (all “Christians”)…it confounds me…my mind cannot make sense of it.
Thanks for your words here, Chumpsaurus.
When the chips were down many of us had to do the ‘Lone Wolf’ to survive. The lack of support compounds the pain. But it totally shows you the character of those around you in a way nothing else can.
It sounds like your brother is the golden child of the family. That never ends well because they feel so entitled all of their lives. They think their shit doesn’t stink.
Thank you for being a support to a person in agony.
Abandonment????? Are you serious???? Abandonment means that she left for no reason. He obviously gave her a reason through his choice of cheating. He is using abandonment to have the sadz for image management. FW brother is an entitled asshole.
You family is angry? Well tough. That sounds like an ultimatum which is actually a choice. Choose what you feel comfortable with and what is right. Establish boundaries with your family. They don’t like boundaries, well too bad. Boundaries are what you put up and they can respect them or not but don’t let your boundaries be broken.
They don’t like your decision then they should not have asked you to “pick sides”. You have to do what you feel is right for you. If supporting a cheater is not the right choice for you then don’t support the cheater. Your SIL is being abused and he is continuing his sad sausage narrative. Just think of the kids involved. Who is the sane parent here? Sounds like SIL answered the question “is this relationship acceptable to you?”. You have to make that decision as well. Is the relationship of being pressured or guilted into something acceptable to you when your moral compass is telling you something else? No one has the right to cross or break your boundaries and that includes family.
No one can “make” someone cheat. Cheating is a choice (or a bunch of choices). Your FW brother made decisions but you do not have to support his choices.
My STBX made his choices and his family supported him (of course he never told them about Schmoopie). They will find out about her soon enough. I think they may be surprised to find him with a 32 years younger side piece.
If my parents sided with a lying abuser even their own son, I’d give to them with both barrels. Yeah it’s their son but they can certainly call him out on bad behavior. If the son takes issue, so what? If he threatens to cut off family, again so what? Pandering and walking on egg shells so not to upset dysfunctional asswipes is not only tiresome it creates bigger monsters.
Blood may be thicker than water, but blood poisoning will kill you. And dysfunctional family = blood poisoning.
If you want a side to pick, pick the side of TRUTH, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, SANITY, HEALTHY. As was said, your SIL and the children are your family, and they need an ally. Your family’s position is abusing your SIL AND THE CHILDREN!!!
I wish I had a single family member, blood or in-law, like you.
It’s painful that they have all put you in the position of having to choose sides and take care of their feelings so they can Feel Better. That is NOT love, by the way. That is very sick family stuff. Pressuring you to enable and condone what your brother and his OW did and join them in their conspiracy against your SIL (this also means harming those children!!!!) is super messed up.
This is where a very good therapist comes in to help you. PLEASE seek one out. I’ve had a great therapist for many years, and she is just as necessary for my health as my MD and my OB/GYN.
In my own blood family, I am the lone individual in recovery in a sea of alcoholism, violence, codependency, and all the other dysfunctional crap in the shopping cart. I’ve been the little boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes for 37 years.
The most exhausting thing in the world is pretending (Anne Morrow Lindbergh). There is NO benefit to pretending. Only the illusion of benefits.
Your brother’s conduct is a result of what’s gone on in your family. YAY for you for standing up, calling it out, and standing up for your SIL and the children.
I don’t want fake OK. I want genuine OK.
It sounds like that’s what you want too. And you can have that. It’s hard to let family fly around and be mad when you buck the family system, but it’s a very sick system that needs bucking and YOU will be light years better off for it.
“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh
INTEGRITY is more powerful, valuable, comfortable, solid, and reliable than any blood could ever hope to be.
Without it, you have nothing.
Enmeshed family/ closed system = all members have to feel/think/act the same = dysfunctional
You throw a wrench in the family system when you don’t comply. Plan and prepare to be sacrificed and ready yourself for the flaming poison arrows. It’s what happens when you challenge the FOO status quo.
I have found it to be painful and uncomfortable, but ultimately extremely worthwhile.
Perfectly said, Velvet!
Your brother is an adult. If he wanted to be a good partner, value his relationship with SIL, and focus on his home family’s well being (speaking of the importance of family), he would do that.
He isn’t doing that. Ergo, he doesn’t want it. This one’s simple math.
If you had so much power over him, as they suggest, he’d be doing exactly what you want him to do right now. Funny, he seems to be doing whatever he wants no matter what you think. Hm.
I come from family roots where the concept of valuing family is used to manipulate, too. If they really thought family should put family first, they would expect him to put SIL and the children first and would never expect you to tolerate him doing less. The issue at hand with your family isn’t how they value family, it’s how they wield and leverage power.
You’re an adult, too. SIL and the children are your family, too. By standing strong with them when they are being mistreated, you’re valuing family in all the right ways.
Of course everyone else is frustrated with you. You’re not following their orders. “How dare you speak truth to power?!? Fall in line! Do what you’re told! Be our puppet!”
I’ve had to let go of all of my early notions of family over the course of my life because they were a facade. It’s so tough — devastating even — to let it go. But it was (and is) necessary for me, because to travel in their circles is to live in constant pain and dysfunction, and YOLO. I don’t want my life to be shaped like that. I get this one life. I can’t spend it feeling that terrible and hurting that many good people in the name of “family first”.
Sometimes you can love someone a lot more from far away than you can up close. You might love tigers, but it wouldn’t be good for you to walk up to one in the wild and give it a hug. Same rule applies with mean family. I still love them, but when I’m not constantly embroiled in their BS, I love them more and can tolerate them better at weddings and funerals. (Tongue in cheek, but also completely accurate.)
If your brother wants to be treated like a respectable adult, he can start acting like one. If he wants to be treated like a whiny, triangulating, self-centered, manipulative, dishonest, immature, deceptive, abusive, terrible parent and husband (and brother), he’s off to an excellent start. If your other family members want your respect, they, too, can act respectable. Welcome to adulting, Family.
Ostracization is hard to take. That’s why abusers use it to control us. The need for belonging is primal. The sense of losing belonging is brutal. But belonging to a club of abusers gets you nothing but abuse, so you may have to accept it if you don’t want to join them in being an abuser. Finding places you DO belong — like here, and with your SIL — can help to ease the pain.
This comment is so wise it should be awarded a PhD.
I, too, belong to a family in which “the issue” was not “how they value family,” but “how they wield and leverage power.” Funny how often “value family” meant I was supposed to “look the other way” or “humor them” when someone was behaving badly, either to me or others.
And yes, indeed, the “need for belonging is primal,” which discourages one from setting a boundary when doing so places one at odds with the rest, who don’t like having their comfortable setup disturbed and collectively express their disapproval or disappointment. But yes, “belonging to a club of abusers gets you nothing but abuse,” so you have to set self-protective boundaries that honor your own values.
Wow, thanks, Adelante! Everything I spew is cobbled-together advice from others that spent 30 years settling in. 😂 I pay it forward where I can. Sad we have these things in common, but glad we have mutual support to help us stay strong. ❤️
Absolutely Ami! Letter writer’s parents are expecting her to put “family first” when clearly their son failed to do so. He wasn’t putting his wife first, or his children first. He was putting his genitals first. Nope, she is putting the sane parent first and the nieces first (still her family).
Agree, agree, Amiisfree.
Traitor Ex’s FOO are experts at using the “family” club to control the players on the chess board. I really upset the apple cart when I showed up as it enraged me and I didn’t play along, which they didn’t know how to respond to. I have always been their Family Villain.
I thought Traitor Ex was on my side. He likely never was and snapped right back into place with them where he left off when he left me and Little Hammer. There has always been a sense that he never individuated and left home, and he is now 58. I was just one more person his parents and sister thought they would control. My crime is that I resisted.
His parents are from Germany and are of the WW2 generation. I blew the biggest hole in enemy lines when I found a local therapist, also from Germany, who is part of their generation. She was able to expertly parse what was German culturally and what was dysfunctional. It nuked their claims that I didn’t understand their concept of “family” because I was not German. This woman is still my therapist. She saw Traitor Ex with his parents for a bit when we first started seeing her. Her word for Traitor Ex’s mother is “conniving”.
Counseling with her is some
of the best money I ever spent.
What’s really great is that therapist is now a source of truth that counteracts the lies about his family that Traitor Ex tries to sell to Little Hammer. She and I go to therapy every other week where we keep the truth on the table in full view.
Yes, this! So many good points here. It needs to be an article in every self-help book and magazine ever.
Blood is thicker than water but love is thicker than both. You have a good heart and know what to do.
I can imagine what it was like having a sibling like this growing up.
I didn’t get the family dynamics on my ex’s side until we separated, and my ex chose to make it long-distance. They thought that distance was a lovely way to fix the marriage and that our problems were rooted in my upbringing. They spent hours together combing through our relationship without me present. He convinced them that I was crazy and that the portion of backstory I told them was a fabrication. All that began going down in the first month.
In that confusion, I decided to move on from our mutual therapist. I found a faith-based local coach (truly a good one) who helped me sort my own issues on multiple fronts. Some months after I finished with her, I decided to take reconciliation off the table.
He had decided that all types of counselors were bunk and that his family knew best. I ended contact with his family at that point. I just couldn’t function anymore with that family. I had given it a year. A wise friend also pointed out that my ex had already painted the picture he wanted them to have, so it was best to leave things as they were and move on. If he wanted them to know the truth, he would have told them.
My ex kicked off the divorce, and I had to agree. It was disordered and messy. The legal stuff took over two years when it should have been a matter of months. His attorney overshared with mine and got spooked by how much negative stuff there was on his side and actively worked with my attorney to get it done. We settled out of court.
Being older, I doubt that I’ll date again, but family dynamics are a huge red flag for me now. Both of my adult kids are far more aware now than I ever was at that age.
And I concur with the wrongness of marshmallows on sweet potatoes, lol! 🤣
(And yet another awesome CL response on this post.)👍
What a great SIL you are. XAss’es sister would drunk dial me and pretend to be sympathetic and want to help. In reality she was trying to get information out of me to be passed over the XAss to be used against me. A few times I was pretty sure he was listening in on the convo’s too. Really pissed (them) off when I just hung up on her instead of played the game.
What’s better than wanting to do the right thing? Doing the right thing! Stand by your nieces/nephews and sister -in-law. It may make all the difference in their trauma recovery. My kids were suicidal after they caught FW cheating on Christmas and he threatened them if they told me. He left soon after, screaming at the kids that he hated every minute of their lives. Our youngest was 10. Not one of their father’s family — their own grandparents and aunts gave one shit. They never called, wrote, visited. They completely turned their backs on us. 26 years of being their dutiful and loving daughter in law and they never spoke to me again. My kids despise all of those horrid people. Cowards. Evil. Don’t be them.
“My kids were suicidal after they caught FW cheating on Christmas and he threatened them if they told me. He left soon after, screaming at the kids that he hated every minute of their lives.”
I chose my SIL, withstood the loyalty thing with a hell no. Not sorry, she needs you to be the moral high ground.
If you ever listen to Dr. Laura, she usually reveals that the sibling has always been a difficult mess up and the parents always cater to the F up. The nice kids usually are ignored and told to get in line. The parents know that the nice kid wont cut them off and can be bullied, while the screw up to have a relationship with them they need to kiss his butt. Hear this scenario all the time on her show. So yeah you gotta choose. Sorry your brother is such a jerk!
Dear Wants to Do the Right Thing,
Your family has failed the test. They did not choose to do the right thing, they chose the path of the least emotional resistance in the short term. You however are that child in the famous story that cried out that “the King has no clothes!” It is not loyalty they want, it is enablers.
Most of us chumps wish we had a sister-in-law like you. In my case the in-laws just ignored me or openly rebuffed my attempts to connect. Despite their conservative Christian ethic, they chose to ignore their sister walking around naked and proclaimed it the finest suit available.
Chump Lady gives good advice when she suggests making the subject off limits with your family. That makes it their time to chose to do the right thing.
By supporting your SIL, you’re supporting their children. Plain and simple. Children are powerless in these situations, and if this asshole is gaslighting his wife now, it’s most likely a pattern that they’ve witnessed over and over again where his entitled jerk self gaslights everyone, including the children. He’s been treating his wife like shit, and children SEE that. No doubt they are confused, hurt, and angry, but they aren’t blind. They need as many people as possible to validate what their mother is experiencing because they are experiencing it too! Be the sane aunt. Your parents criticize you for choosing sides, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. Don’t be them.
Dear Doing the Right Thing: I agree with the other voices here, but am adding that his behavior does not bode well at all for when your parents need care. Chances are that you will be pressed into service in that realm, but your brother will still be the Golden Boy.
I watched this dynamic play out with my mom, who cared for my grandmother, and my FW uncle (yes, he was a cheater) who, when my grandmother broke her hip, demanded that her farm and belongings be sold. IMMEDIATELY. She hadn’t even died, and we (mom, grand-daughters) were hoping for her recovery…at least enough to return to her home. BTW, my grandmother was in a nursing facility for over a year. My uncle visited her TWICE, for about a half hour each time. (One time I was there, and he was trying to get her to agree to a second mortgage on her property, which she refused to do. He was mad.)
Turns out that he owed my grandmother a significant amount of money ($300K), and he didn’t want my mom finding out.
When my grandmother died, my mom offered to buy out his interest in her property for $500K (ignoring his debt). He refused, believing my grandmother’s estate to be worth millions. So he forced it to auction, where everything sold – house, land, equipment, furnishings, etc – for a grand total of $580K, 30% of which went to the auction company. He and my mom split the rest. He was furious, and, like any narcissist, blamed the auctioneer, my mom, his attorney…and then started suing everybody. Thankfully, my mom was out of THAT particular loop, and painfully did her own version of divorcing her brother via NC.
It was tough. But my mom had her daughters and her own grandkids. She did just fine. I miss her.
I had one SIL that was a gleeful apologist for her brother. I haven’t missed her a day since going no contact. My advice is not to bother trying to elicit support from fw family members. But I do hate the ones who stood silent when they actually knew he was effing around with his office ho. I did have a couple nieces and an outlaw SIL that got it and even though they were warned to stay out, they secretly helped.
Yea!!!!! A sane family member who is doing what is morally and ethically right! I love you from afar and wish you were in my corner. But, you are! Keep rocking it!
There were 5 children born to my parents. Each of us was raised by the same type of crazy at different periods of our lives, and the crazy modified over the years. My parents had siblings, all raised in their family crazy. Everyone turned out different. FOO crazy is the hardest thing you ever have to recover from because it feels NORMAL to you. Believe me, everyone I have ever met is to some degree abnormal, and what is ok in your FOO is not ok in mine and visa-versa.
I cannot say what is right or wrong with my siblings as a trained psychotherapist might diagnose, I can only say what is right or wrong for me. Examining my beliefs and evaluating them with what to keep and what to throw away was extremely difficult. But WORTH IT. I am still related, but I was able to detach emotionally from people I share DNA with. Some of them were too crazy for me, and I refuse to carry their burdens anymore. Mine are heavy enough. I am not responsible for the problems of others. I try to fix myself, and myself ONLY. Get there, and I guarantee you it will be more peaceful.
After going through this process, largely to fix my picker and recover from 2 cheaters, I lost my father and a brother to death, and my mother has dementia. You will lose your family eventually. I have lost a sister because I have boundaries now, and she will not respect them, or me. She still wants me to ignore and clean up her messes. I refuse. So, we don’t speak. It hurts more than accepting death. But you have to maintain your own sanity, or you will be no good to yourself, or anyone else you love. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do.
You can close a door but leave a window open with your family. You can remain friends with your ex-SIL. Your brother may be a lost cause. That is just reality. My advice is stick with what’s real.
Some good comments that align with my own experience.
Boundaries with the chaotic and unstable.
Today a reading on Detachment:
Care more for my own serenity than the burden of falsely held responsibilities.
I wish my former SIL had even sent me an email saying she was thinking of me! Keep doing what you’re doing.
FW’s parents are delusional. They lie to themselves, they’ll soon be blaming their former daughter in law and bad mouthing her to the OW.
Unfortunately, I doubt they are ‘mortified’ that their son is a Fuckwit, I’m sure they think he’s a prince, and it’s all the wife’s fault.
There should be more people like you.
Everyone in ex-FW’s family was supportive and welcoming. Many of them still keep in touch. I cannot describe how important that was in early days when as a Chump I was still questioning whether I was the problem, or I was unworthy. Even family members that are known for cutting people out welcomed me and were super supportive. That was the first time (Thanksgiving) that I truly felt I was a good person and didn’t deserve to be Chumped. All of FW’s lovebombing (aka attempts to avoid consequences) meant nothing. But the support of family that didn’t owe me anything? That was a life line. Treating SiL kindly will mean more to her than you will ever know. Do the right thing. You will not regret it.
I received birthday and Christmas greetings from my SILs who had a history of talking about people, but not directly to people. I’ve realized that the family has accepted cheaters and cheating behavior, mistaking it for minding their own business. I don’t plan on sending or responding to the Hallmark messages anymore. I know that my quiet exit after 30 years fit their value system.
Never support cheaters they are adults and they had a choice to speak to they’re spouse like an adult to access marital counseling or file for divorce.
It took me decades to see my sibling as a narcissist. Now I’m so glad she’s not around. Ugh.
What a crappy situation! Well, your parents managed to at least raise one good kid. I’ve found that maintaining strong boundaries with toxic family members matters, alot. Even with family members who aren’t toxic, per se, but have very different social and cultural beliefs, boundaries are key to a healthy relationships. There’s just some topics that we’ve all agreed to not discuss, period.
Bottom line: your parents are demanding your silence on, and compliance with, absolutely abhorrent behavior. Anytime people are tying to silence you (unless you’re Kanye West or whatever spewing anti-Semite tropes), you should see a giant red flag. Boundaries required.
You ask “What do I do?” Exactly what your heart is telling you to do, and if you parents can’t handle it, take a break from them. A commentor hear made the poignant point that your brother’s children are your blood family. By supporting them you’re honoring family. It’s a shame your parents can’t see that.
You don’t have to be confrontation with your brother or anyone else in your family. I would just say, “Clearly we disagree about what he has done to his wife and kids. This is a subject I won’t talk about again.” You can be civil to your brother–for the sake of his kids, just as you can be civil to your own X for the same reason.
Remember the kids will almost certainly have a relationship with their father. So it doesn’t help if you cut yourself off from that connection when his kids can’t and won’t.
If the parents cut you off for a while over this, that’s likely to backfire on them because of course, your FW brother doesn’t give a rat’s patootie for what they needed and want. Stay connected as best you can and take a long view.
To everyone here who has urged LW to stay in her brother’s children’s lives, YES.
My fiancé’s narc father alienated his entire extended family. Narc dad is now in prison. Extended family cut off all contact (understandably so) but now fiancé has no extended family.
Dear Wants To Do The Right Thing:
Stand your ground. Keep doing what you’re doing. Continue to support your SIL and educate her on the mentally and emotionally abusive tactics used by people like your brother so she doesn’t think she is going crazy.
As for your family, they suck! If they insist on believing your brother’s lies, and adhering to the “blood is thicker than water“ mantra, but you still want to keep them in your life, then I suppose the subject of your brother needs to be one of those “we just won’t talk about it“ topics. Like politics and religion.
I have a kind sis in law too. She always checks on me and my daughter (her niece!). All the FW family told me they love their son but I’m their daughter and always will be. It’s the one nice thing that came from my horror show. The brother in this case is just acting like every other lying cheater – he feels like the victim and he’s impression managing. Boring! I’d be tempted to send your family a link to this blog.
One of the big surprises for me with my journey (CL published my letter last month) was that my previously lovely, friendly and welcoming in-laws dumped me like toxic waste as soon as the d-papers were served (I filed). I literally never heard a word from them again, not a phone call or letter (it was pre-internet at that time). Even a call to say “We’re sorry this is happening and we hope you’ll be fine” would have been so welcome as I tackled this whole mess on my own, and with my family 1000’s of miles away. I expected that they would support their son (XFW) but not by totally and utterly cutting me out when I truly believe they knew what I had endured.
“We’re sorry this is happening and we hope you’ll be fine”
Perhaps add a “Hey, we miss you” and/or “It’s not the same without you.” Something…anything to give the chumps a sense that they mattered.
While I’m at it, if any in-laws are lurking here, please don’t say the following to chumps:
“You need to get over it already.”
“It’s been TWO MONTHS!”
“Stop being bitter.”
“This happens all the time.”
“Well, I’m sure it takes two. And we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.”
“I’m sure he/she had they reasons.”
“You’ll meet someone else.”
“I love you both!”
“Maybe you two can hug it out.”
“The AP is actually REALLY NICE!”🤬
That last one should honestly be grounds for capital punishment. or its sister comment “you would like her under different circumstances”
My dad did side with the family when my oldest brother cheated on his wife in the early 60s. She came to our house after leaving him, was of course devastated. (they had two little girls age 2 and 3)
He showed up hours later (this was a 4 hour drive). My dad was pretty enraged. He told my brother that he would either get his family back together and take proper care of them, or he would go to court with his daughter in law, and make sure she got every penny he earned until they were grown. He said a lot more but that stands out. I know because I was a 13 year old in my bedroom and I could hear them.
Anyway, he must have believed my dad because he straightened up, there is no evidence he ever strayed again, and he became a very successful man and gave his family a good life. She died in 2006 at which point they had been married 50 years. He is why I believe there are unicorns, but I also believe they are few and far between.
Wow, amazing dad. But I wouldn’t risk a second change unless there was accountability to more than the chump; a family-of-origin holding the cheater accountable is a good sign.
It’s curious that FW in my case waited until father died to cheat. I’m not sure how I feel about exFIL. I understand that he had been overbearing with everyone in his family and used his intelligence, stature and verbal skills to control others. But he didn’t cheat and didn’t drink and I suspect he would have ginsued FW if he’d known about the affair. ExFIL was also very lonely after his own separation and always treated me like I was the best thing that ever happened to his son.
So on the one hand, I think the affair might have been an Oedipal thing– less extroverted son with larger than life, domineering dad that no one could win an argument against or out-think. On the other hand, if the timing had been different, it would have been fun being a fly on the wall and seeing FW try his lame DARVO spin on his dad– sort of like having a great attack dog lawyer on your side who’s flawed as a person. But it’s still satisfying to know who would have won closing arguments.
Want to do the right thing:
People who act in integrity give courage and hope to everyone around them, and especially your SIL and your neices/nephews, who really need it during this horrible time, and to whom your love may be a lifeline.
My advice to you is go get you a little tazer and take it with you to family Thanksgiving dinner. If anyone attacks you for not supporting family, zap them in the gonads. Test that support theory! If after they finish writhing around on the ground they leap up with words of support for you, you’ll know they practice what they preach. If they don’t practice what they preach, they are not worth the effort anyway. Second bit of advice is eat desert first…so that when relatives start crashing to the floor you’ve already had the best part.
Because sulking side pieces, kibble-deprived FWs and fanatical Perelistas may be trolling and lurking on the site scouring for evidence of bitter bunnyism, it may be necessary to point out the obvious that the above isn’t being taken literally as incitement to taze cheater-apologists lol.
Something you might need to be ready for. Some relative might sidle up to you and whisper “You are so right to support your SIL” and then scurry away.
Crises can expose the weaknesses in families that might have formerly been glossed over. Typically the fault lines were always there but may not have been flushed out yet. When my middle child developed a chronic illness and developmental delays as a toddler, it blew my extended family and FW’s extended family apart in one big dysfunctional shitstorm.
Thankfully I wasn’t raised by spacklers. I never knew my father’s toxic family since he’d dumped them before I was born. And my mother always kept her brother’s family at arm’s length because she recognized they were entitled “born on third base” jerks. Both my parents were pretty meh about it all and were philosophical about the circumstances, accidents and influences that make people toxic. My mother got along with her brother and kept up appearances for his sake while he was alive but only took his family in small doses at the usual holiday events. Just in case I didn’t quite get the principle, it was illustrated for me at my uncle’s over-the-top memorial. Each of my cousins and a few of their cronies took turns making not-so-subtle cracks about my son’s condition. I figure they were trying to get in as much damage as they could to make up for all the years my parents shrugged them off. They never heard from me or my kids again. My mother said, “Now you know you’re not missing anything.”
But FW, having been raised to be a FW, had no philosophical armature to deal with his family’s reaction to our son’s illness. When his mother made cruel remarks about my son’s condition, refused to spend time with her “defective” grandson and then went on a campaign to isolate us from FW’s extended family and friends circle by blaming Freudian maternal Voodoo for “causing” my son’s illness, FW had an operatic breakdown.
Having been raised to spackle, FW had always spackled his mother’s assholery so had the luxury of being “surprised” when she too it even further which set him up for shock. He’d maintained a relationship with her despite the fact she’d spackled over his being raped by a family friend as a kid. He’d “forgiven” her bad behavior towards every woman he’d dated before me and to me for years. I think she assume that, if an ultimatum was put to FW, he’d choose her over his own family. She was only half wrong since he split the difference. He went NC with his mother and anyone who defended her actions but then quickly launched into an affair with an office doorknob who was a dead ringer for his toxic mommy. The resemblance was pretty amazing. He lost one stumpy-necked, empathy-impaired, blackmailing spackler with a penchant for internalized misogyny and immediately found an exact copy.
Betraying me was also a way of groveling for amnesty from his mother– “See, mommy, I punished that bad lady just like you wanted me to! Who’s a good boy??” It was like he hoped she’d telepathically sense his concessionary punishment of me and break the standoff by at least agreeing to see her grandkids. He didn’t recognize that narcissists don’t “do” disability and blaming me for causing my son’s disability with my “negative thoughts” had just been to give herself an excuse to avoid the “bummer” of contact with a disabled child while still pretending to “care” about the child. That was another way of groveling for amnesty: during the affair, FW began to attack my parenting just as his mother had done… while he himself neglected his kids in preference for binge drinking and bonking strange. She expected him to come crawling back and agree to maintain ties but without his family in tow. I would say he “half” did this. Who’s a good boy???
The moral of the story for me is that spackling spacklers will eventually end up doing terrible things to you because they expect you to eat the same shit sandwiches they always ate and spackle it in your turn. Hey, FW had been “big enough” to forgive his mother for letting him be raped. Why couldn’t I forgive a bit of backstabbing, exposure to STDs, bilking of family assets, neglect of kids and gaslighting? My parents showed that the buck stopped with them. Meanwhile FW became “the buck.” Even in going NC with his dysfunctional mum, he remained completely enmeshed.
There’s a great final line in a poem by Russian poet Yvgeni Yevtushenko that goes, “Never lie to the young. They may not forgive in you what you forgave.” The poem is about how older generations spackled over horrors under Stalin and then were held to account as collaborators in atrocity by subsequent generations. But the same thing easily applies to abusive families. Keep an eye on what people forgive in others.
And CL, I know you don’t have a lot of info to go on here (from this letter), but you were kind;) enough to not mention that often narcissists of a feather flock together, i.e., the little FW narc cheater apple may have fallen from the tree…and Right Thing OP may be the black sheep of the family.
Shared DNA is overrated.
Lola Granola, I have an aunt who’s so unlike the rest of the family that I have trouble believing I’m related to her. I’ve entertained a theory that, well, maybe she had a different father. Realistically, I doubt that because I have trouble believing my grandmother was unfaithful, so, Idk. Maybe she takes after a distant ancestor.
My youngest brother is very controlling & a misogynist and quite different from my older brothers. I supported my brother during his divorce & later with his break up with GF (not an AP, whom I really liked) based on the stories he told our family. Later on, I realized the holes in his stories & opened my eyes to his treatment of subsequent relationships. I finally told my parents he’s a misogynist jerk, but he’s my mom’s golden-child man-baby & he sucks her in with bs stories of all these women mistreating him. My ex did the same with his mother! Even if mom really knows most will protect their “babies”. I’m not around my brother much & he keeps away from me knowing that I’m onto him. I wish I could go back and support my xSIL & his xGF, but they don’t want anything to do with any of us now, understandably 🙁
I have 2 ex SILs. One, who I thought was a true friend, I never heard from at all, ever again. In fact, found texts from her on his phone inviting him and the AP to her new cabin in the woods. Second SIL, came to my house one afternoon and tried to convince me that the best thing was for me and 2 ASD children to leave our home and “move on” and allow STBX to get on with his life (pretty sure he was planning on moving AP in when I left). But what she didn’t know was I had access to all of his texts and emails and knew that STBX, AP, and SIL had met for drinks the night before to plan her visit with me. If I had a SIL who had supported me and my kids, I would have felt so grateful and blessed. Instead, they stuck with their brother and colluded in the abuse. I’ve never agreed with the saying that blood is thicker than water…if any family member is toxic and causes trauma, abuse or pain….they aren’t my family.
The only useful comment I have here is that 100% correct. And my sympathy to the letter writer, the SIL, and most of all, to the children.
Oops, typo. That was “Chump Lady is 100% correct.”
What? Marshmallows don’t go on sweet potatoes?
I had the exact same situation as the OP. My SIL was extremely supportive of me and told her parents (my in-laws) about the cheating because, of course, FW had them convinced otherwise. I know his parents and sister(s) still love and maintain contact with FW, but they know what he did and they think he’s a fool for doing it. I still maintain contact with all my in-laws to an extent. It’s much less now than during the initial blowup and immediate aftermath, but that’s ok.
My in-laws dropped me during the discard. The ex had been preparing the ground with friends and his family for some time. The ex MIL (a spiteful woman) disliked the exgfOW intensely. It must have been fun when the reveal finally took place, if it ever did. I spent my father’s penultimate weekend alive with that woman and her family, to celebrate her 80th birthday, because I didn’t want to let her down. During that week, and with every one of them knowing that my father was dying in hospital, I was bullied and excluded, the ex playing leader of the pack. On my father’s death, two weeks later, I received not even a brief text from any of them saying ‘we are sorry’. Image management – they sent cards to my mother. And when I did reach out to them, the exFIL wrote a letter on behalf of the family criticising my mother and me for not sending them Christmas cards that year. I accept that they did send me a card, from a mental health charity (ex had told them that I was ‘crazy’ which had caused the marriage to break down), with no personal message inside, saying ‘from’ and their full names. This was 6 months after my father’s death, 4 months after I was dumped after 26 years, and 1 month after I had discovered the long-standing affair. I do not make allowances for people of bad character any more. I am glad that they are no longer in my life. I do not wish them well. They have to live with themselves and the way they behaved. Decent people would feel ashamed but they are not decent people. They projected their shame on to me. May it ultimately eat them alive. Their bad character helps to inspire me to achieve more, do better, for myself.
I have kept in touch with my ex SIL, formerly married to the ex’s brother, and who was dumped for another woman 20 years ago (the OW was never admitted – she was said to be his landlady!). We understand each other. She has often said that my kindness and love to her during her break up and divorce and afterwards helped her to get through it.
My personality tends towards people-pleasing, and I particularly try to please those who I fear will bully me (having a history of being bullied at home and at school). That’s an alert nowadays, to be aware and to grey rock those people or go no contact if I can. If I feel myself drawn to p,ease, it’s generally because I’m scared of an attack.
To the OP, keep supporting your SIL because that’s the right thing to do. Your family of origin can support each other in their delusion. They shouldn’t need you to chip in too, if they are so sure that they are right.
Thanks so much for this! Today I have woken up feeling extremely sad about how this situation is going and the estrangement from my family and it has been great encouragement reading all these messages from other chumps confirming I am doing the right thing. My brother is a master at impression management and so he’s managed to convince everyone that I’m the crazy one. My conscience is clear, I will not support abuse. Let the chips fall where they will.
I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Your parents and brother are idiots, and the former’s in for a huge shock when they’re alone in their old age. Narcissists don’t do caretaking.
This really hits home, my brother cheated on my SIL. The last( ?) OW had been cheated on herself and were crying all over town about it when it happened to her but when she and my brother started working together she had no problem with it.
The OW soon got pregnant with her third child and what was to be believed to be his third also if it not had been revealed on facebook that the married neighbor were to have her fifth child with him as the father so his third child was born before the child with OW. ( He tried to make her husband adopt the child..)
It was a real crapshow for my SIL and her two boys who were devastated that about it and also lost their rooms in the house to OWs children.
My father is a cheater and I had hoped that the pain my brother and I saw him cause my mother would make us both aware about what happens when you choose to cheat but no..
I have cut contact with both brother and father and choose to instead support SIL in whatever way I can.
And karma does come sometimes- when my father got ill his OW left ..
As others have said….this brother is the “hero” of this family and the golden child, and their entitlement is generally supported by all.
This family sounds emotionally sick and I applaud this SIL for actually caring.
I like what Chumplady said…may want to consider therapy. This is not healthy behavior on the families part and actually has a name. It’s called mob mentality. I hope you separate from them and stand your ground. Your nieces and nephews will always remember you.
My Ex’s family is a bunch of abusive drug addicts and alcohols who could care two wits about anything. They are all dying of their addictive diseases. I’m sure FW is next.
Divorced now and never intend on talking to any of them again. The new woman can take care of these old sickos.
What your brother is doing is WRONG. End of story. I would just keep repeating this to everyone and anyone who questions you. He can spin any story he want and your parents can swallow that B.S. if they want too, but you know the truth so stand up for it. All support should go to the SIL and the kids. Your brother is much more arrogant than sorry so that should tell you everything you need to know. Support you SIL and the kids, because that is who has been harmed here, not your cheating brother.
100% agree with every one of Chump Lady’s words. No surprises there lol.
It’s the BEST way to go, if you’re forced to “side” with someone, go with the person who shares YOUR values as opposed to the cheating, lying, arseholes that don’t.
Seems like a no brainer to me.
Sure it might hurt for a while if you lose some people.
The knowledge that YOU are surrounded by the best of the bunch, along with your children, who look to adults as models of adulting behaviour (Lord help us all here!). HEY THE KIDS ARE WATCHING THIS and learning.
Why have ANY perverse people around just because you share a few DNA strands?
Aha when parents of FWs have no moral, ethical or sensible grounds to coercively control you into submission then they rely on GUILTING and SHAMING you. LOL!!!
You know they have NOTHING left when they diminish themselves to that level, as parents of ADULTS.
1st cheating exH mother tried all sorts with me lol… gosh even those decades ago I could see straight through the outright bullshit. She regaled stories of “all her friends” and herself staying in marriages after their Hs cheated… (and I’m connecting the dots, having aha experiences left, right & centre thinking OH that’s why he thought he could get away with it!).
She said this PROUDLY “So we are GOOD WOMEN to stay”.
I said “You’re all MARTYRS who showed your children to do and BE nothing better”.
Gotta help my kids now, remember those ones?
They’re the kids with a MORAL COMPASS!