FIL might be a pedophile - WWYD? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 73 Old 05-09-2007, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have recently become suspect that my father in law may be a pedophile - or at least may be interested in my son "in that way". At first I thought it was weird that he showed so much interest in my son and ignored his other grandchildren (girls). He brings my son gifts, makes extended efforts to see him, is very physical with him, (hugs, kisses, touch my belly button, etc. etc.). It sounds "normal" in some ways, but if you knew him and how he is around all people (including his wife and his own grown children) and how he is with my son, it is just waaaaay too creepy and totally innapropriate.

All of the "checklist" items are there - he tries to make alone time with my son, (which I DON'T let happen), he creates opportunities (out of character and not appropriate to the time/place) to be touchy-feely with my son...it's hard to describe everything, but there are way too many warning signs that I cannot ignore.

I want to protect my son, but I don't feel I can "report" my FIL as I have no "evidence" of anything actually happening. But I don't want it to have to get to that. My husband says he really doesn't believe it's possible, but agrees that he'll "watch for it", but he's very "put your head in the sand". DH has told me recently that I'm imagining it. I am not. I am sure of that 100% I just don't trust that he'll ensure there is no alone time between my DS and his dad, (in fact, he was at his parents with DS before I suspected anything and I found out the two - DS and FIL - had gone for a "walk" together ). My son was 2 at the time. I was mad at the time b/c his dad is so careless etc. I didn't trust him to keep DS off the road, etc. I won't allow them to go for walks together now for other reasons! (This man is such a loser - I wouldn't let my children spend 5 seconds alone with him anywhere regardless of the pedophile suspicion - drinks all day, used to abuse his kids and wife, just a total *ss!).

Honestly, to protect my children (I now have 2 boys, 3yrs and 6 weeks) I want to completely separate any contact they have with my in laws. My MIL seems to "feed" the situation, always asking my DS to stay over (he WILL NEVER STAY THERE) or to go for walks with my FIL. She always calls us to arrange visits for them too - they never did that before, and brings my FIL. (History, FIL hit her once, he is a total jerk and she is probably scared of him so she helps faciliate the visits - just my opinion).

My dilemma is that DH just won't "buy" it enough for him to cut ties with his family. I am so stressed whenever they come over (they call every weekend asking to come over now - FIL always comes, he never ever came before, now he always offers to bring my MIL) and when we go there, (they invite us there every weekend now) I am so worried about keeping an eye on DS and feeling sick by the hugging, kissing, "playing horsey" or "touch my belly" etc. and trying to get my son away from the sicko. I just want to say that DS (both of them) will have no contact with my FIL, but I can't count on DH to ensure this happens.

I was thinking of saying that DS's will have no contact with FIL and that they can come, but without FIL, or we'll go there only when FIL is not there, but they will all want to know why (he "loves" his grandson sooo much, he'll want to see him, and unfortunately b/c of all the attention DS really likes FIL too...and they know that). I am not sure I want the whole family knowing I suspect FIL is a pedophile since I have no "evidence"; it will absolutely cause a huge rif in the family. I am also concerned that if I voice my concerns to FIL or MIL, FIL will just be more discreet and hide it, or they'll lie about whether he'll be home. MIL will deny it absolutely regardless of what she knows, (she's more "head in the sand" than my DH), and DH will tell his mom why if I say no contact. He is very trusting of his family - his mom at least - and very close to her and his brothers.

Any suggestions I haven't thought of?
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#2 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:17 AM
 
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The only thing I can think of you haven't mentioned is physically moving your family far away so visits are less frequent and more easily monitored.
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#3 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:23 AM
 
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First I always trust my gut instinct on these kind of situations. For me personally I know that because I was inapproiately touched by my grandfather on many occasions growing up that I am also more paranoid of older men in general.

Is there no history of abuse with your DH?Any of his siblings? I know my grandfather got worse too when the dementia started to set in as well. I'm not saying that excuses it btw....

Is your son scared of him, looks for ways not to be around him, cries etc? To me that would be a huge red flag...I am sorry that you are having to go through this anxiety and stress of having to deal with this...
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#4 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:23 AM
 
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i am so sorry that you're having to deal with this.

trust your instincts, and i hope that you can facilitate your husband in removing his head from the sands of denial.

have you read 'protecting the gift' by gavin debecker? i highly recommend this book.
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#5 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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There are no ifs, ands, or buts in my book when it comes to suspected abuse. If you think there's potential for abuse, you have to lay down the law that your son will NEVER go to his grandparents' home and that grandma only is allowed in yours. You'll let GP see GS once in a while in neutral territory -- at a restaurant, park, somewhere with both parents around to supervise. I don't care what excuse you give -- GP is a bad example, GP hit GM and you're not comfortable with his potential violence (if he says he loves GS, well, he should love GM too!), drunkenness is a problem (only if you're sure he won't sober up for GS, etc.
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#6 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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I'm so sorry!!! I was also going to recommend "protecting the gift" i'm reading it now.... trust your gut!
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#7 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Mammas.

I have Protecting the Gift and will re-read it; it's been a few years.

There is no "known" history in DH's family, DH actually says his dad was always careful about making sure they never saw him naked. DH has 3 brothers, DH says he would know if there was any abuse in his family as "they would have told him". I reminded him that only 5% of victims tell anyone, (I saw this stat on line) and wasn't it odd that his oldest brother has nothing to do with his dad? (He says it's for another reason, which is possible).

Arrrggg... I don't want to be dealing with this. I want to enjoy my new baby and my preschooler and watch them grow up and feel safe...it is sooo hard with it being a family member. Especially because I don't "know" anything for sure, (well, I think I do, but nothing I can conclusively use to explain to DH and MIL why there can't be a relationship with my children there).

DS is hesitant around FIL, (I think he senses my dislike) but he really likes him. I think it's b/c he hasn't hurt him and is trying so hard to win him over.

Should I just let my feelings be known and so what if FIL and MIL hate me, and the rest of the family thinks I'm nuts? It is a pretty big accusation.

Edited to add:
Dov'sMom - great suggestions. That would work - I could just say to MIL/FIL that I am not comfortable with the relationship they are establishing, I don't want DS to have FIL as a role model, I don't want him grabbing DS for hugs, sit on his lap etc. anymore. I could say that only MIL can come to our home. The supervised visits could also work, and i could be strict about FIL not touching DS in any way. That could achieve the same thing, without having to actually accuse FIL of being a child molester. I don't care if they think I'm being too strict or if they think I don't "like" FIL; I just want to be careful about the really big accusations and the implications on everyone.

Part of my frustration is that FIL doesn't speak english very well and he and MIL are always jabbering on in their native tongue; God only knows what they are saying. FIL was trying to get DS to take off his shirt to try on a new t shirt he bought him, I took DS away from FIL, and took the shirt and put it over DS's existing shirt and said, "there, it fits" to end the thing. FIL and MIL jabbered on for about 10 minutes. I can imagine what they were saying!
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#8 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:00 AM
 
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If you suspect even a little bit that he could be a pedophile, PLEASE continue to keep him away from your DS as much as you can!

No way I would ever let someone like that come anywhere near my child. It's good that he is not allowed to be alone with your DS, and I would watch him like a hawk when he is around him. Good luck.

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#9 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:11 AM
 
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Trust your instincts.

Just say no. This is not a situtation that you should feel bad for not bending on. Your DH doesn't have to agree with you. I would make it clear to him that your FIL is just NOT going to have contact anymore. End of story.

Your DH KNOWS. He doesn't want to, but he does. Because nobody says about their Mom or Dad, "oh, I'll keep an eye on them being a pedophile." If someone told me that my Dad was I'd hit the friggin' roof or think that that person had lost their marbles. It doesn't make sense - if it doesn't make sense, it cannot be correct. He already suspects his father, and him putting his child in harm's way is unacceptable.

Stand your ground, do not feel bad. Be confident in your decisions. Your DH knows that his Dad is a pervert and he may not feed your son to his Daddy to pretend that he doesn't.
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#10 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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Also, even if FIL never abused anyone else, ever, that doesn't mean he won't abuse your son. Some sex offenders start early and offend throughout the lifespan, but others start later in life. Many have multiple victims, but some have just one. In late middle age and old age there's also the possibility of personality changes brought on by cardiovascular problems like mini-strokes or heart attacks. Also, retirement and being around the family all day brings on more opportunities to succumb to an inner inclination. It's certainly not unheard of for a man to never harm his kids but abuse his grandkids.

I agree with those who said just say no and stand your ground. This is worth fighting over.
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#11 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Natural Mommy*J View Post

No way I would ever let someone like that come anywhere near my child. It's good that he is not allowed to be alone with your DS, and I would watch him like a hawk when he is around him. Good luck.

Forget watching him like a hawk around your ds. Don't let him around him. Period. No way, no how would I allow anyone to be around my ds even supervised if I had suspicions like that. I wouldn't care who it offended, either.
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#12 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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ITA with pps about ending or strictly limiting contact, neutral ground etc., but did want to offer an alternative explanation in the hope that it might make you at least feel a little better that there may be a more innocent explanation.

Some men are super-cautious around little girls out of fears of being suspected. He may be pouring alll his love and affection onto your son bc he is afraid of being at all affectionate with little girls.

Of course though, be as cautious as you need to me, which sounds to me like *very* cautious.
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#13 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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You may want to look up "covert incest" or "emotional incest" too. Just to make yourself feel better about your decision. You have a valid point - knowing that the "pervy uncle's" problem has a name sometimes helps.
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#14 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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I agree with those who said just say no and stand your ground. This is worth fighting over.
Worth repeating.
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#15 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:49 AM
 
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Trust your instincts. And I second reading...Protecting the Gift.
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#16 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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My "father" is a pedophile, and is in prison thank god!!! One thing I've learned through that is to TRUST YOUR GUT!!! I am sooooooo very sorry you are going through this! Personally I would have a private discussion with your MIL, as she may be suspecting this also but not saying anything out of pure fear. again trust your gut, those red flags came out for a reason.

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#17 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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i'd make sure all visits not personally supervised by me were on "neutral territory".
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#18 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 08:03 AM
 
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WOAH! An even maybe Pedophile & my kid = NO contact, NO way...I don't give a flip if it IS supervised...no way, no how! Anyone offended in the family can bite me!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#19 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 09:02 AM
 
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Go you for being aware and addressing this.

I wanted to comment on the idea that our society promotes that we have to be fair or not to make accusations. It is true that the -legal- system has to operate this way. But there is no obligation to "be fair" on an individual, social level. You don't need any proof and you don't need to wait until something happens. You are completely within your rights to protect your son -even if- it were to turn out to be baseless.

I kind of echo people's thoughts that this seems to have gone far enough that I would want to severely limit, if not sever, contact. I might consult a therapist on how best to communicate that, and to work through my own feelings first so that I was ready to draw the line and keep it drawn.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#20 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 09:53 AM
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I am going to echo everyone else.

The only, and I do mean only, responsibility you have, is to keep DS safe. You don't have to protect anyone's feelings, you don't have to answer anyone's questions. You just have to protect your child.
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#21 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 09:57 AM
 
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Devil's Advocate here. I get the impression that your fil is not from the US? I also get the impression that your son is his only grandson? Maybe there is nothing more going on than obsession over the boy who will carry on the family name. Is fil from a culture that favours boys over girls?

Just something to think about.
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#22 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 10:15 AM
 
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Trust your instincts. They are screaming at you. If you don't feel you can trust dh not to let FIL come around, then you can't let those situations happen, ever. You are the mama bear. Trust yourself and don't let anyone talk you out of it by saying you're crazy or too suspicious or whatever.

You said in your OP that FIL is exhibiting "the red flag warning signs" so now it is up to you to stop.all.contact.immediately between him and your son. It only takes a few minutes to abuse someone and especially if dh is not concerned about it, you're going to have to be present all the time if you decide to let fil keep coming around. Honestly, it doesn't sound like you have anyone you can trust in this situation, except yourself. Everyone else will keep letting the status quo be.

There's no reason he would be touching him inappropriately, finding excuses to be alone and whatnot just because he's excited to have a grandson. Nationality and ethnicity aside, abusers are abusers and they are going to do the same sorts of things.

If it were me and I had the means to do so, I'd move hide and hair to try to get geographically as far away from him as possible. I know your dh's head is "in the sand" but yours isn't. How much does dh respect you-enough to listen to you even when he doesn't agree? I would just hate to be in your shoes feeling like something was going to happen if you ever for one moment let down your guard. That is not a nice way to feel.

I'm sorry mama.
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#23 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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You are in a really tough situation; having to deal with your fears and the fact that they are directed toward a family member. With family it's very easy for people to think that something could never happen, and much easier to face reality and deal with the situation when it's a family friend etc. in question. It's hard to remove contact when it is a family member too, there's so much emotional baggage and social circumstances that make this kind of dynamic more challenging.

DH has a brother in his mid 30's, he's lived on the streets, doesn't work and moved back in with his parents with promises of getting his life in order right around the time our eldest was born. DH and his younger brother are like fire and water, they are complete opposites and DH has always had very little contact with him. When our DD was about 10 months old we had a family gathering at our house, lots of people, kids etc., the house was full. I was at the stove and asked DH where DD1 one was and he immediatly responded with "Where's my brother" and took off like a bulldozer. He found DD in another room (with said uncle), they were just sitting there playing with toys, innocent enough, but DH scooped her up and removed her from him. Nothing out of sorts was happening, but DH and I talked about his intial reaction later and his gut just told him that they shouldn't be alone. There was no history of sexual abuse or predatory behavior, DH's insticnts just shot through the roof.

My reaction: I had not had much contact with BIL at all, because of the lack of relationsip between he and DH so I did not know him. He definitly fits the mold of someone who is not willing take responsibility for his life or actions and tries to be quite the manipulator. He is a bit creepy, gave me that "I don't trust this person at all" feeling from the get go. DH's intial reaction was enough for me to go into a panic over it though. With nothing to go off of but gut feelings we opted to go for the "never will he be alone with her approach". Not a big deal since we only saw him less then 5 times a year as bil avoided most family gatherings and we had no relationship with him outside of a few family functions.

This didn't work for me for very long, we went to my IL's for a family function with this in mind, and it worked fine, but I did not feel right about it. We made no issue of him, and just ensured that DD was not around him. DH and I talked about it later that evening and I felt really uncomfortable with it, mainly because I felt as if we were giving DD a false sense of security about bil. If we acted as if we had no concerns, then she could build trust in him simply by default of his being present. We changed our ruling to no contact.

This worked unnoticed until DD was 3 and her younger sister was born. DD started going on outings with my dad and his wife alone and MIL wanted to do the same. She wanted to take DD to her house (where BIL still lived) and do all those wonderful things that gma's like to do with their granddaughters. We were backed into a corner and had to tell her. I asked DH to do it, just he and her. DH is pretty direct and to the point and told her he didn't trust BIL and that we didn't want to build a false sense of trust in DD by being around him. She was not allowed around him, and thus, not allowed in MIL's house as long as he was there. All based on our unfounded concern and mistrust of him, nothing more then a 'creepy vibe'. MIL was sad, but the subject never came up again. To her credit she never asked to bring either of our girls to her home. She would babysit our eldest at our home, or take her out to some neutral territory just the two of them.

Now for the follow-up. It has come to light more recently that during one of BIL's kicked out of his parents house and living on the street phases (before DD1 was born) that he lived with someone in exchane for watching their kids. Those people made accusations of sexual abuse against him, but it did not get to a legal capacity. We know no details other then that. I am so happy that we both listened to our instincts, even though we have nothing more then these things to back our feelings up. FWIW, BIL has since left his parents house (went missing and then not welcomed back). We sat down with MIL and had a long talk and in light of BIL's presence no longer being a threat we told her she could take the girls (now 6 and almost 3) to her house.

Just because they are family doesn't mean they have to be trusted (statistics can back that up), and even though there may be no know history, doesn't mean it hasn't happened. The situation is so very uncomfortable and as I said before, can be difficult to maneuver through. I am in the 'trust your instincts camp', not even knowing all the details. Sorry my post is so long, but I really wanted to give you our experience and share the things that came to light after we went through the questioning without proof phase. You may never know. You and DH will go through pain in trying to deal with your fears and work out a solution that you are comfortable with to feel your DS is protected. That pain won't compare to the pain one might feel if they waited to be prooved right.

Edited to add:
BIL is much like his father, and DH much like his mother (they divorced when both kids were little). DH has also written off his dad for other reasons. Our girls have no contact with him mainly because DH feels he has nothing positive to offer to them at all. Even getting to know him as a their gpa, family etc. is not worth it to DH. He has many reasons, but I have to trust his instincts there. They have two loving gpa's (DH's step dad who he doesn't consider step and my dad). Long story there, but it can be done.
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#24 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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You mean, Grandpa is asking to have his belly button touched by a little boy?

Or he wants to touch your son's bellly button???

Either way, it creeps me out.

My pediatrition told me "In my experience, Mom is right 99% of the time when it comes to intuition"
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#25 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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I too have a creepy creepy FIL and an extremely passive MIL and a DH with his head in the sand. In DH's defense, they are his parents and I think it would be hard to really acknowledge how creepy and inappropriate they are...

We have been living far away and will be moving within closer proximity soon. I don't feel it is fair for my family not to know my son because of fear of freaky GP.
In my case I don't think confronting/discussing it would do a darn thing and I don't think so in your case either. This kind of behavior thrives on denial.

I plan to keep DS very safe and only allow them to see him supervised by me. If their feelings are hurt too bad. I plan to make continual excuses...although my SIL tried this with them for years and now they won't speak to her (here's hoping ) I am lucky in that my DH sees enough that he agrees that DS should NEVER be left alone with them (more because they don't supervise etc.)

I think I can relate to how scary and bizarre it is to be protecting your child from their family. I NEVER thought I would be in such a situation.

Sounds like you are doing a good job, just keep it up and hang in there!
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#26 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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Forget watching him like a hawk around your ds. Don't let him around him. Period. No way, no how would I allow anyone to be around my ds even supervised if I had suspicions like that. I wouldn't care who it offended, either.

I said that because she said she didn't know for sure, but still, what do you do, wait for him to do something in front of you? You're absolutely right.

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#27 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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Trust your gut!!!
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#28 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:25 PM
 
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I got molested by my grandfather, and I think you should keep your child away from this guy if you feel strange about him.
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#29 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Devil's Advocate here. I get the impression that your fil is not from the US? I also get the impression that your son is his only grandson? Maybe there is nothing more going on than obsession over the boy who will carry on the family name. Is fil from a culture that favours boys over girls?

Just something to think about.
I was thinking the same thing!
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#30 of 73 Old 05-10-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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My grandfather was a pedophile until the day he died. He molested my mom for seven years until she finally ran away at 16 and got married. My mom told her mother ( my gma) and she never did a damn thing about it. She also told her own brothers who refused to believe her and one of them even told her to shut up. Aside from molesting my mom, he molested me, my older sister, one of my older brothers, my twin brother and a little girl that my gma used to babysit all the time, and these are just the ones that we know about, and aside from my mom telling my gma, none of us ever admitted what had happened until we were adults.
My parents swore up and down that they never remember leaving me alone with my gpa, but I have very vivid memories of being alone with him. We lived in separate states so when we visited we stayed in their house, or they stayed in ours. He had very easy access to us kids at night after all the adults were asleep. One PP mentioned moving far away, that will work if you forbid all contact and never have any visits, but this will not work if anyone still plans on having any contact with FIL.
Incest is the biggest, most hideous elephant in the living room that ever was. it does not surprise me that your DH refuses to deal with it. No one wants to think about how their father or family member could be a pedophile. And the fact that they don't know of any victims means nothing more than no one has told.
Please, for the sake of your DC's think very long and hard about this. I am 35 and live with the ramifications of being a molest victim on an almost daily basis. I do fairly well, but it is something I will deal with until the day I die and I will carry very traumatic memories until I am dead. Being molested shatters your soul, you can always, with a lot of time and help, glue the pieces back together, but there will always be small pieces missing and it will never be the same as before. Your IL's may be angry and confused if you decide to cut ties, but at least your DC's will be whole and safe. Show these messages to your DH if you need to, but please do not make the same mistake my parents did and assume you can keep your sons safe. I wish you strength and clarity in your thoughts over this.

Namaste,

Michelle

M : proud mama to B (16) : and G (8) and : x 2 :
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