Q:

It saddens me he is like this

Hi I have concerns for my niece. Her parents have split up after 11 years of marriage. My brother's wife left due to years of my brother's bad behaviour, mood swings, bullying, and mind games. 

He has been like this for all his life and didn't treat me very well as a kid either. 

He is very angry with his ex leaving and is taking it out on his daughter to get back at his wife. (He has her every second weekend and after school for a couple of hours). 

It's not physical violence but it is mental abuse. He downs his wife in front of his daughter, says terrible things to make my niece think her mum doesn't love her. 

He twists everything to make everyone on the outside feel sorry for him. 

No one knows what he does to his daughter but his wife and me. 

I have tried to tell my Mum but I truly think she believes his lies over mine. 

What would be your best advice for me to get help for my brother, as I'm worried my niece is going to grow up thinking it is ok to be treated like this and that his anger will blow into something worse. And it saddens me he is like this. Many thanks .


A:

Hi, thank you for writing in with the concerns that you have for your niece and your brother.

You are right to be worried about your niece growing up with the wrong impression on what is a good relationship.

As you say, your brother's behaviour is not new to you as you saw it growing up.

Unfortunately this abusive and violent behaviour, he has got from somewhere in his childhood. He has never been challenged about it and he has never had the opportunity to get help for it.
It has impacted on his marriage, on his relationship with you and has the effect that Mum will not address it. I believe your Mum knows the cause of your brother's abusive and violent behaviour, and may inadvertently be passively in collusion with your brother.

This is NOT OK!

Your brother needs help from this disease called family violence, as the impact of his behaviour has already taken hold on everyone.

This behaviour of your brother's is the same if not worse than physical violence. Physical violence is external and can be seen and treated. Your brother's behaviour is internal and insidious. It has only come through a generation later when you see your brother take it out on your niece that same way that he may have been to you.

This is NOT OK! Never has been but no one has known what to do about it.

Your brother, your sister in law, your niece, your Mum and you all need help. Your brother should not have care or custody of your niece until he has sought and got help for his problem.

Your sister in law and you need to make the hard decision and stop the visits to him till he gets help.

One option would be to contact Women's Refuge and talk over the situation with them. They have lots of experience and information.

Another option is to report him to the Police Family Violence Coordinator in your region, they are specialist Police officers who understand about non-physical violence.

You can get contact details for Women's Refuge and any other helping services by phoning our information line on 0800 456 450.

You might also want to consider getting a lawyer to represent you and your niece as you go through the process of protecting her from his behaviour.

There is help for your brother and he needs to know that it is ok to ask for help. He needs to man up and ring 0800 456 450 and get the contact details for the local stopping violence programme and get on there and get the help that he seriously needs.

He can also make contact with me on this website and I will support him as he gets the help and I may know another man in his area that has been through the same thing that will be able to support him.

Please let your brother know that I know what he is going through. I didn't know any other way except to be physically, mentally, verbally, psychologically abusive and violent.

It was only when I went to the stopping violence programme that I came to realise that my disease came from my upbringing and the way that I was taught at home, at school and at church, this was where I got all my beliefs on what it meant to be a man.

This set me on a path of destruction cos I didn't know any better.

I know better now.

It took me 12 months to get the tools, skills and new learning about family violence and it will take me the rest of life to be a safe man.

Please try and get your brother to make contact with me.

Vic

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