I Believe My Wife Is In Denial - Not Sure How To Proceed

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by culturanta, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    As many of you know in 2015 DS perpetrated domestic violence on my wife at our home. I witnessed it, and ultimately found this board to help me cope with the aftermath. I must stress here that to the best of my knowledge DS never apologized to my wife for his actions. The incident was never discussed after it happened. It has still not been discussed.

    He was carted off to the hospital afterward but not arrested. There was therapy, but never a session where the incident was processed and feelings aired. He stopped talking to us shortly thereafter. He has not been alone in our home with us since this occurred. We began seeing him again last spring, but always in a large group of other relatives.

    I must also stress that my wife is quite aware of how upsetting this experience was for me. Strangely enough even though she is the one who was attacked, she gives no indication that she finds it unacceptable, that she wants him held accountable. To the contrary, her position is that she loves him, forgives him and wants the whole episode swept under the rug.

    Today my wife announced that he was coming over Sunday for an extended visit alone. She invited him over without discussing it with me. In her mind, the situation is ancient history. She thinks I need to just move on. She doesn't understand or honor that I still feel very unsafe with DS, especially in a setting where there aren't other people around. We had a discussion about this whole situation this evening and she became very angry. She doesn't see the need to "ask my permission" to have DS over. She now wants me to "hash this out" with DS so I will be comfortable around him. She doesn't get that with his history of violence this is a conversation that can't happen outside of a therapist's office, and without some planning ahead.

    He does not take criticism well and broaching this subject with him would probably be a horrible scene for everyone. Not that I am going to pander to my wife in this way. While I cannot control what she does with her safety, I can definitely control my own, and I intend to.

    DS has been doing somewhat better lately but because I have no evidence to the contrary, I believe he is still capable of violence. I have no desire to put myself at risk of harm by inviting him over, alone. Seeing him in public or in a party setting with other people around is different. He is much more likely to act out when alone.

    I don't know what to do about this. I am disturbed by my wife's nonchalance about her son's violence toward her. I am more disturbed that she made these plans without discussing them with me. I will not participate in a dysfunctional family system that is broken beyond repair, because my wife doesn't think there is a problem. That leaves me very few choices unfortunately. I will need to either make other plans for myself when he is around (thereby kicking me out of my own home, which isn't fair) or I will need to accept that I am not safe or respected here and leave.

    I could use some advice and virtual hugs. Feeling hopeless right now.
     
  2. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel


    This is indeed a very difficult situation you find yourself in. I hate to be cliche it it brings to mind the movie Prince of Tides; All for the key reason that if you do not deal with crisis it eventually creates dysfunction.

    Unfortunately your wife does not share your concern for her own safety. I do find that odd considering she is the one who was attacked.

    I ask you not to act on any decision while you are so emotionally charged with this situation.

    I would consider that you not be present when DS is over. I know that seams like you are kicking yourself out of your own house, but it is the emotially safe place for you to be. See what the fall out is from the visit.

    Question
    How long a visit are we talking about here.


    We can not control how others act we can only control how we react.

    Big hugs to you I know how frustrating this must be.
     
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  3. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Thanks LBL,

    The visit will encompass a weekend afternoon.
     
  4. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I Ann glad it is not a whole weekend!
     
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Is it possible for you and your wife to have a session in therapy to air your feelings before Sunday? Denial where our children are concerned is extremely powerful. For you to attempt to communicate into that space is likely not going to be positive for you, hence a therapist to provide the safe place and some guidelines and perhaps information and support for both of you.

    It's unfortunate that your feelings were not acknowledged and taken into consideration. I agree with LBL that it may be best for you to not be there.
     
  6. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    We may need to enter couple’s therapy to survive all of this as it is a huge mess and a very sensitive one at that. In the end it really has nothing to do with DS. Rather this is about my fit into her previously existing family with her children. There is much I have not shared here. To say it is unhealthy is a very obvious understatement. To fit in with them, I have to be unhealthy too.

    I will not discuss anything with DS outside of a therapist’s office, unfortunately I do not trust that my wife will not betray my confidence to him, and simply tell him herself that I have issues with him because of what happened a few years ago.

    To be honest part of me feels that saying anything at all is simply me playing out my codependency and al anon traits. This is a situation that has nothing to do with me. This child has been very sick for his entire life and he is still sick. Nothing I say or do will change that. And my wife’s choices, both past present and future, are also out of my control. All i can do is participate or not.

    My wife knows my boundaries and did as she pleased anyway. I tend to agree that the only reasonably healthy thing I can do is simply let them have their visit, and do my own thing without them on that day.
     
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  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I think you are planning on handling the visit in the best way you can, especially with short notice.

    Maybe you can tell your wife that you are willing to work on this issue in the future, but you want the help of a professional to help sort things out, maybe privately first, then with her, and then with her son added to the visit.

    Maybe, tell her it is important to you that things are handled appropriately so that it can be a healthy relationship for all involved. You may never have the warm fuzzier for this child...but you can learn to set boundaries and be polite to each other.
     
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It sounds as if you're enmeshed in a broken family system......with your strong boundaries from Al Anon, it seems you can rise above the issues and recognize the dysfunction......a lonely place for you I imagine......I'm sorry.

    My bio family is a severely broken system and with no one wanting to seek help or change, it left me few options. I hope you can work it out with your wife. I just wanted to say that I understand how difficult it is and I'm sorry you find yourself in it.
     
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  9. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Following along, Culturanta,
    Sounds like you have a handle on the situation and what you need to do... Agree it is best to not be present.
    Granted, the whole situation is not easy ! We understand and you are not alone.
    Virtual hugs. Take care of yourself.
     
  10. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    And I didn't mean that you tell her you dont have warm fuzzies...

    I have a step daughter who is now 51... And I have been married for 33 years.

    It's taken a long time... Her parents were divorced, and her mom was remarried when her dad and I started a relationship. I have always felt out of place. After a few years, I told my husband that he had to buy birthday and holiday gifts. I could just never be good enough, spend enough, do enough. It was always a competition between her mom, her mother in law and me.

    Good luck.
     
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Cultura

    You are beyond insightful and wise and I am sure you will do what is best. It is very difficult to see or act clearly when our emotions/love are in the picture.

    I agree not being there for this visit is the best thing to do and move forward with your wife in therapy. She needs to understand where you are coming from; that you are in no way trying to prevent her from being with her son.

    I think as a mother myself that we tend to feel we sometimes need to "protect" our children (young adult or whatever) from their step parent because we feel they (the step parent) just doesn't understand. It's VERY complex!! We don't always know where concern/anger/criticism is coming from. I say this from personal experience as my husband was a step parent to my older son when he was young and man it was tough and my son was an angel!!
     
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  12. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    i agree with all of the above. I imagine you are feeling perplexed, upset , but most importantly very hurt by your wife's lack of consideration to your feelings and boundaries. I think you have set the boundaries with the son for your's and his relationship. I think in reading between the lines here the issue is now more of one in the marriage and how and where you fit in. I am so sorry. These situations are so hard to navigate through. My husband and I did not see eye to eye on our son and unfortunately it took the marriage down. We both became so entrenched in our positions. That is my fear for you that your wife is going to do what she wants regardless of your needs. Please seek counseling for the two of you and if she doesn't want to go go yourself. For this coming Sunday give them the afternoon together alone for your own peace of mind. Can you find something really really fun to do, or do something with your other kids? Hugs to you my friend. Keep up the strength but always, always protect yourself first. This drama has a way of making us question our every move, our mores and values. You are a wonderful person. Don't second guess yourself.
     
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  13. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Thank you all so much for the kind and amazing replies. WiserNow, you are correct, at this point the situation between DS and myself is settled in that I have my boundaries around his behavior (whether he is aware of them or not) and I'll be sticking to them. The issue is within my marriage and my wife's choices as they pertain to her child. Wife and I did talk more last night before bed, after we had each calmed down, and she seemed to understand why I was upset with her. We were able to reach an understanding that our positions are not mutually exclusive, and I was very clear with her that I was not at all trying to restrict her relationship with DS. That was positive, but it doesn't seem to address the fact that I am uncomfortable with how her kids have been raised (not my business!), that I disagree with her decisions about their welfare and upkeep (not my business!) and that I don't know what it says about HER that she is willing to rug-sweep a potentially fatal assault from DS (not sure if that's my business or not)!

    Perhaps on Sunday I should grab an Al-Anon meeting and allow my wife to have a day with her kid.
     
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  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Culturanta, you are wise and smart and loving and in my opinion doing the right thing. When I married hub, I had three kids and hub decided to step back. It was hard for him. Bart was not at his best or most respectful and I am sure hub wanted to choke him at times when he got cocky and disrespectful.

    In the end it worked out best for my marriage, in the long term, for hub to stay out of it. I learned a lot. He did too.

    You dont want stepson to hurt your wife or you. You can protect yourself, but you know how it goes...you cant force another person, even a beloved one, to protect himself/herself. But she may eventually want to protect herself. Time and experience changes us

    Lots of love and light.
     
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  15. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    I think that is your business. Her child assaulted her. I don't think you are being over-protective in the least to expect her to visit with her son in public. I know she would like to forget "the incident" but you haven't.

    I hope their visit goes without incident.

    I will say that each and every time Ferb has been headed toward violence (which for him is violence toward himself now - when younger it was toward me) no one else has been present. Except Candy. She has been present. I rarely ever leave her alone with him because I do not trust him not to hurt her.

    I think talking this over with a counselor and the two of you may be very helpful.
     
  16. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Thanks Pigless and all. He is due here in an hour. I plan to spend my time mostly in the basement, where I keep my laptop, getting ready for my upcoming work week. I will stop up to say hello and have lunch.

    I don't want to make a big production out of excluding myself but also want to establish a boundary.

    Wife and I went over this ad nauseum and she says next time she'll check in with me before inviting him over.
     
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  17. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    So update, DS came over, we had a nice lunch and I spent about half of his visit in the basement, and was upstairs hanging out with them (mostly him) the other half.

    Absolutely no issues, the visit with DS was very positive. He left a few minutes ago to go hang out with a friend. He's got more friends now than I have ever known him to have, and my wife agrees that he is more socially capable and successful than ever before. This is very good news.

    He had to cut off contact with his ex-girlfriend, he didn't give too many details but we were given to understand she was not respecting his boundaries. He isn't upset about it at all. He seems happy and stable. He's even been doing quite a bit of work on his schooling and we can see the results in the parent dashboard. He has set a goal for himself of graduating on time in June. If he continues on his current trajectory he should be able to achieve that goal.

    As I have said before I think things have evolved to the point where another physical attack on my wife by DS is highly unlikely. He visits and when he reaches his limit he politely excuses himself and leaves. If he has an escape route he will not attack. Thank goodness!
     
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  18. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    What a great outcome for all of you.
     
  19. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Excellent news, culturanta.