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Friday, December 14, 2012

Brain dump

A week ago we had to call the cops on our BIL. I'd written this post, and then never posted it. I felt like I'd gotten all the shit I needed to off my chest. But every time something happens, some hurtful thing is said to Britt, every time I miss my niece & nephew, I just get sad all over again... and then I get fucking pissed off. And then I sigh & hope that everyone involved gets the help they need, take responsibility for the shit they personally did & then can move on with life. Myself included.


The past few days have been ones I hope I never have to repeat. Ever, with anyone. We were over at Britt's sister's house & would have been heading home when her husband got home, but he was falling over drunk &; trying to take their 2 year old out for a dirt bike ride. Things escalated, Britt & I were standing by, trying to get Triston into bed & away from the impending fight.

Shit hit the fan & Britt's sister steered everything outside because by this time, Triston knew something was wrong & was screaming & crying & terrified. I grabbed him out of his mom's arms and passed him off to Britt & went outside to break things up.

I had to put my brother in law in a choke hold to get him to let go of Britt's sister the first time, then had to pin his arms behind his back because he lunged after her again. She was sobbing & ran into the house, later saying that it was the first time in her life she'd been scared of the one person she'd always counted on to protect her, to keep her safe. 

I stayed outside with the brother in law & his nice, but useless, friend, who kept looking at my brother in law like he's sprouted a second & third head. But I guess to a friend who'd never seen my brother in law's drunken assholeness before, perhaps he'd done just that.

I talked to my BIL for a bit, trying to talk him down. Trying to get him to chill. I thought it  was working, then he'd get angry again & then relax again & cry, then get angry... over and over. At one point, he was so angry he was hitting the side of the house. Then he punched the windows on the french doors they have, leading from the living room to outside. At this point Britt yelled that if he didn't calm down & stop breaking things, she was going to have to call the police. He broke more windows, and so she called the cops. 

By the time they arrived, he'd cycled through two or three more angry-calm-angry cycles, punched his truck, kicked things around the yard & cried some more. I heard gravel crunching & realized the police had arrived. Both his friend & I tried to tell the BIL to stay calm and to not be an asshole to the police. That so didn't happen.

I went inside to get the SIL at the request of the police. She had been trying to get Triston into bed, but he was still upset. Britt & her sister went outside & I stayed in & read the kiddo a bedtime story. I'd picked out Lady & the Tramp, as that was my favorite movie as a little kid. Then I tucked him in & went back into the living room to check on the baby, who'd begun to cry again. 

Britt & her sister came in while I was feeding the baby & the BIL went off to jail for domestic abuse & malicious actions (or something like that. For breaking the windows.)

He has a court date on the 12th. I'm going to babysit so that the SIL can go to the hearing. She wants him home. He's totally different when he drinks, like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. 


His court date's come & gone. The no contact order is still in place, although the judge did hear the SIL's testimony & took it into consideration for how long he extended the no contact order. He only extended it through the end of December instead of the usual six month minimum.

I ended up not going to babysit, which I'd suspected would happen, as the BIL wants Britt & I no where near his kids. He told the SIL that we'd never see them again. It's a low thing to use someone's family against them. But I know he's angry & still unwilling to take responsibility for his part in this shit storm. I know that it's easier to blame others than take responsibility for your actions. I know all this, but it still sucks.

The SIL is angry, the BIL is angry & the BIL's family is angry. Britt's been accused of trying to brainwash her sister, steal her sister & the kids away from the BIL & his family, etc, etc. I know these guys are all angry & afraid, and that sometimes fear leads to more anger, but it sucks having Britt on the receiving end of so much vitriol. Neither of us want the BIL gone. We love him & when he's not drinking, he's a good dad & husband. He's a good guy with a bad addiction. I'm not sure where he got the idea that we want to destroy his family. That accusation came out of left field, and probably was the most stinging.

And the SIL... the farther she gets from the event, the more she convinces herself that nothing really happened, the window was broken by accident when the BIL stumbled, and that Britt was overreacting and trying to be a "hero" but is nothing but an instigator of problems. She has a habit of posting things on facebook to no once specifically, but she know's they'll read it. It's very passive aggressive & hurtful, but when I've talked to her about it in the past, she thinks it's a perfectly acceptable way to communicate her issues with people. She posted something nasty this morning, aimed at Britt, and that's what set me off again today. I had been feeling pretty good, pretty done with all the emotions & grief, but apparently not.

How do you help someone understand that you didn't want to do something, but felt like shit had hit the fan hard enough that it was necessary? Britt told me that she didn't want to call the police. That she knew the consequences of her doing so would quite possibly make her sister hate her. But she called them anyways, because she was afraid for everyone's safety, including the BIL's. She felt that things had finally gotten far enough out of hand that outside help was needed. Neither she nor I are particularly fond of the Lynden Police, so calling them was a last resort.

I know that the SIL is going through an extremely difficult time. I'm trying really hard not to blame her, get mad at her, whatever, but it's HARD. I want to drive to her house and make her talk face to face, instead of nasty notes online, but I don't think that that would be something that would create a positive outcome right now.

Britt's trying to decide if she should address the nasty comment her sister made or let it go. She doesn't want to fight with anyone, but she doesn't want the relationship between her & her sister to collapse either. I am so grateful that Britt worked as an advocate for the local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services for a few years. Her training from them is invaluable in many situations, but especially in this one. It gives her insight & wisdom that I don't have, but wish I did, when it comes to dealing with these kinds of reactions. Not that is makes it easy for her, but at least she understands why people are doing what they're doing.

I was ready to just say fuck 'em all & tell them to piss off, and move on with life, but Britt's right in saying that that's not a very good response to a situation like this. Sigh. I love/hate it when she's right. But I'm so sick of the shit her family pulls. We are both so ready to move away from here. We love her family, but it will be nice to have some distance.

So now we walk the invisible line of trying to not let the SIL & her grief & anger easily cut us out of her life, and still give her enough space to breathe & process everything, and in the end make up her own mind. Make her own choices.

I'm scared that the BIL won't get the help he needs & that he & this SIL won't get the marital counseling that the SIL was so adamant they needed. I'm scared that should this happen again, one of the kids is going to get seriously hurt or that the BIL is going to end up with his truck wrapped around a tree. The BIL won't let his kids ride in the car of anyone but him or the SIL, yet he thinks it's ok to drive them around while he's drinking. I don't get it. It makes me angry, and sad and kind of helpless feeling... which tends to make me angry. I hate feeling helpless.

I love all of them so much. I want them to be happy and healthy and prosperous. I want them to work out their shit so that they can be good parents and good spouses. I want them to be safe.

My dad does a lot of counseling and I remember when I was young him telling me that, "Hurting people hurt people", whether they mean to or not. I am trying really hard to keep this in the front of my mind and trying to not stay angry. I know I'll get angry, but I don't want to stay that way. I don't want to hate any of my sweety's family, especially not her sister.

There is also a tiny part of me that is terrified that the BIL or SIL will get angry enough that they'll try to press assault charges against me for restraining the BIL when he was going after Britt's sister. If I would get convicted of any kind of assault, I will have to kiss my nursing career goodbye. And start all my schooling over again from scratch. I'm so close to getting into a program. All of my goals & future plans rest on my getting through school, getting a good job & being able to pay off my debt. I know that just touching someone can get you charged with 4th degree assault. I'm pretty sure doing what I did to the BIL would qualify.

I also find myself wishing that I'd just held the BIL for a little longer in the choke hold, just until he passed out. Then there would have been no window broken, no cops called (probably) and that would have been that. But I know that that probably would have ended badly as well. What do you do when you're in a situation where all of the possible courses of action suck? Choose the least sucky course of action I suppose. And how do help the person you love most in the world feel better when she knows she made the right decision, but still feels like shit because she had to call the cops?

And through all of this, nothing has shocked me more than the pervasive belief by the BIL, his friends and family that it is the responsibility of friends and family to "take care of things" and never to call the police. Ever. The BIL & SIL have both said that if a different friend of the BIL had been there, he would have just tied the BIL to a chair until he chilled out.

What I want to know is why it's deemed ok to ever get so out of control that you need to be restrained or "dealt with" ? Why is this acceptable??? I am completely at a loss to understand this aspect of their subculture.

My coffee is cold now and I have a bedroom to get cleaned & organized. So I'm going to go listen to some good music, throw myself into cleaning & hopefully feel better. But first I need to re-heat my coffee.


  1. OMG I'm so sorry this happened! I don't think it's ever okay to get this out of control but WE cannot control others, unfortunately. Just like the shootings that have been happening, especially the Connecticut shooting, MY GOD, what is this world coming to? Hang in there!

  2. Want to come down and hang out tonight or Saturday? The living room is a mess, because Kat's crashing on our sofa, but we've got a new TV setup and it's perfect for a great movie night and to just unwind. Plus, it sounds like you guys need a break. Call or text me.

    And I'm pretty sure that (from your description - obviously I wasn't there) what you did could be presented as self-defense. It's easy to bring assault charges. It's a lot harder to make them stick if you have a good lawyer, or even a half-decent lawyer. Goodness knows I've had to sit witness on enough assault cases from the hospital that ended up being dismissed.

  3. There is no easy answer, no quick fix to these sorts of emotions and issues. But I wish there was. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make this all go away, make everything ok for you and for Britt and her family too.

    You were both right in what you did. I know it doesn't help much when you're hurting, when you're scared and pissed off about the consequences of your actions, but the right thing is rarely ever easy. It rarely ever works out beautifully and painlessly; if it did everyone would do it all the time and these messes wouldn't exist.

    What he did is NOT OK. Getting so out of control that someone needs to tie you to a chair is NOT OK. It is NEVER ok to lay hands on your spouse in a hurtful manner, especially in front of children, I don't give a flying fuck what state you're in. As someone who was in a physically abusive relationship for a while, I am exceedingly twitchy about these sorts of things. Dude needs to get his shit together and sorry to say, but Sister needs to as well. This sort of thing doesn't just go away when you sweep it under the rug, ignore it or call in the 'right friend' - it escalates until someone ends up seriously hurt or dead. Everyone needs to pull their head out of their ass (not you two, your heads are firmly in place) and get the help they need; if not for themselves than at the very least for the poor children involved. No child should ever have to live through that sort of waking nightmare and no parent should be so selfish or blind to allow that to happen.

    As a former alcoholic coming from a family chock full of alcoholics I can tell you it's not an easy thing to correct. It takes willpower, courage and a lot of really strong love for those around you and yourself to make it through to the other side. You have to want it. My dad gave it up when I was a kid, because my mom flat out told him she'd take my brother and I and leave - he'd never see us again. He changed because he loved us. I pulled myself out of that abyss because I saw what it was doing to me, I didn't like the person I had become, I didn't like needing to down a handle of rum a night just to sleep. I changed because I love myself and I wanted to be a better me. If he doesn't want it, for himself and his family, he won't change. I know that's a shitty thing to say, but he won't. He'll continue on this course until he's sucked the life out of everyone around him. He needs to love those around him enough to find the strength to admit defeat and crawl out of that hole, stumbles and all - and I really hope that he does.

    I know this hasn't been an incredibly useful reply, this whole post was so full of triggers for me it made my head spin and so I'm not thinking as clearly as I normally do. But, I want you both to know that I'm here for you and I very definitely understand. From my space so far away from you, I'm sending you (and britt's family too) so much strength and love. xox


Out with it!