I guess I survived the dreaded visit with the in laws. If survived only means I am still living and breathing. I feel icky and ashamed, and confused by my creepy brother in law.
I’m not sure I acted as the new and improved me. Not as the me that stands up for myself and those around me.
I was dreading the visit with a creepy brother in law. He has always given me the creeps. He has an infantile sense of humor, loves practical jokes at the costs of others. He is consistently disrespectful to everyone, but especially women. The first time I met him, nearly 20 years, he grabbed my butt a few times and make sexy looks and comments to me while I was there with my then boyfriend, his brother in law. This is my hubby’s sister’s husband. He also took many photos and videos of me and the other girls there, aiming and focusing in on body parts as we walked around unknowingly. He has untied his own wife’s bikini top in front of family gatherings on multiple occasions. Makes me sick, but she just laughs and giggles, and seems to appreciate his attention.
Well, I’m pretty sure he is up to his old tricks. We were celebrating a few birthdays, cousins of different ages, from out of state gathered at Grandma’s (Hubby’s parents). As kiddos were blowing out candles, Mr. Creepy was taking photos – supposedly of the kids and such, but I am nearly positive he snapped one focused on my cleavage. He was standing next to me, slightly behind me, and all of sudden the flash was on me, and I saw the camera was not pointed at my face, but down my blouse. At that moment, my 5 year old was blowing out a candle on his cake – so I did nothing, said nothing. Then I saw him go around the table and focus his camera on my other sis-in-law’s (not his wife’s) behind as she walked out of the room. Again, I felt icky, but said and did nothing, and continued with the party, smiling with the children, but now with a guarded sense of hypervigilance to remain out of his camera’s view. I felt naked and reduced to an object – no longer a person, no longer his sister in law, but a toy to satisfy his need for cheap thrills. Was I supposed to call him on it and make his actions obvious to the children?
Once the “Happy Birthdays” were done, I told Hubby what I thought was happening. Hubby was angry a little, frustrated, said sorry to me, but otherwise did nothing. We were all eating birthday cake. Were we supposed to sneak away and accuse him of being creepy? I know he’d either deny it or laugh it off as no big deal.
I was already planning to leave, knowing my tolerance would be up for that atmosphere, but this incident soured the remaining time. And then when I went out to the front porch, I see this creep with his 12 year old daughter on his lap, slapping her butt. I felt nauseous and wanted to run, and well, basically I did run. I drove home and the spent the evening alone (Hubby stayed overnight there with the kids) barely sleeping, watching TV and eating junk food, punishing myself for not speaking up.
So I messaged the other sis-in-law, the one he took a photo of, just to let her know. No response from her yet. I’m not sure how big of a deal to make here, but I’m not going to be quiet and tolerate assholish behavior.
The thing I hate the most here, is feeling like a confused child. Just like when my abusive father grabbed me in plain sight, but no one seemed to notice. I looked around to see if anyone saw or reacted, and then doubt myself, maybe the camera wasn’t aimed down my blouse. Maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe I was hoping he’d find me attractive so I need to confirm it. And then of course, back to my dear old friends – shame and guilt.
Hubby’s sister seems to think her husband’s antics are cute or fun or something, she always laughs it off, like “oh well, that’s just how he is”. She told me he took their daughter out and bought her a skimpy bikini that she would have never approved, but she felt she could not take it away after they spent the day shopping and her daughter loved it. I wanted to tell her that yes, yes she could say no to them, and should if it made her uncomfortable – but I didn’t say that.
Why is it always up to me to do the right thing?! Why am I the moral compass of my entire world? I want someone else to take the lead for once.
How much trouble am I supposed to stir up in people I see once every few years? Should I get involved or just grin and bear it? Am I over reacting at his creepy behavior? Is he just an immature asshole and I tend to see signs of abuse every where? Or is it that I am expertly able to recognize them?
Ick, ick, ick. Not sure what to do.