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.