My husband has three brothers, and his parents passed away a number of years ago. We rarely see his brothers because they all live far away. This Christmas, one of the brothers is flying in from out of the country, and my husband now wants to invite the other two as well. The problem is that over the years, the oldest brother has had a number of incidents involving verbal abuse with family members, including one with me in which he threatened me with physical violence. He has also had anger management issues in which he became physically abusive toward people and had to pay damages or has lost jobs due to his temper. The most concerning of his issues has been several accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior toward girls in their early teens.
This one is a game-changer for me because we have a 14-year-old daughter. Though there were several accusations made against him, one of which was investigated to the point that his computer and hard drives were removed from his house, none have ever materialized into formal charges. However, he has had to change jobs many times, and two girls he adopted left him abruptly when they were 15 years old. They chose to live with another family and refused to speak to him or his wife afterward. Soon after that, he was at our house and made several remarks about how he would make efforts to walk in on the girls, who were 14 at the time, in various states of undress because he enjoyed seeing them like that. It was then that I decided that I didn’t want him around my family anymore. My daughter was very young then, and I was worried that as she became a teenager, she would be a possible target.
I was completely on board with the other two brothers but refused to allow the oldest to come. They would be staying at a hotel, but I still did not feel safe with him around my daughter. I felt that with him coming to the house every day for 10 days, with him near her all the time, there might be some unguarded moment where something could happen. My husband is very hurt by this and doesn’t understand my decision. It’s causing a lot of strife between us, as well as between him and his brothers. I feel my first job is to protect my child, but no one else seems to understand my concerns and treats me like I am crazy whenever I talk about this. Because he has never been officially charged and convicted, I am treated like I am blowing everything out of proportion. I am constantly asked what could possibly happen and asked to detail the scenario. When I do, I am given ways in which they would prevent that from happening. It is the situation I cannot see that scares me. Am I overreacting?
—Out of the House