Dear Fiona: Why has my twin sister sided with my abusive ex over me?
“My twin and I were once close, but as we grew older, it became apparent our relationship was strained. I married her husband’s college roommate, something she and her husband encouraged, and it seemed like a match made in heaven – until the abuse started.
“I endured emotional, physical and mental abuse at the hands of my ex-husband. I found videos that he secretly took of our family and friends naked in our bathrooms – my twin was one of his victims. The divorce was extremely nasty, stressful, and taxing for me – but my twin told me that my divorce was ‘very difficult’ for her, as it disrupted her and her husband’s group of friends.
“What bothers me the most is that she still hangs out with my ex-husband – a lot – she knows what he did to her, yet she still spends time with him. She and her husband have taken my ex-husband’s side, and I just don’t understand how this could happen; it doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would she choose my perverted, abusive ex-husband over me, her twin?”
“I can’t answer that question definitively, but I do have some questions for you to think about. Could it be that your brother-in-law – your sister’s husband – is cut from the same cloth as your ex, his close friend? Could it be that your sister is controlled by a husband that, unlike you, she has been unable to walk away from? Or could it be that your ex-husband has a hold over your brother-in-law in some way, and that he is unable to stand up to his former roommate?
“It seems extraordinary to me that your sister could accept being a victim of this man, and still allow him to be an integral part of her life. Your voyeuristic ex-husband has broken the law by videoing people naked. You have done the right thing in walking away from a man who can treat you so badly – but it takes a lot of courage to do that. I am so pleased to hear that you have obtained a divorce and managed to move on from that part of your life, even if he is still close to your sister.
“If she is also being abused, then perhaps she isn’t yet able to make a move to separate herself from those who, it would seem, are controlling her. It is very sad for you that someone you were once so close to is now estranged from you. You need to continue to build on the life you have made for yourself, and if it means doing so without your sister, then sadly, that’s how it must be.
“It may well be that, at some point in the future, your sister needs your help to step away from what is happening in her life. Instead of feeling sad and angry that she seems to have take this man’s side, please consider the possibility that she is being forced to. Why else would she remain in close contact with someone who, by photographing her naked in the bathroom, has broken the law and turned her into the victim of his perversion?
“Make sure she understands you still care for her and miss her, but also make it clear that you do not accept her relationship with your ex willingly.”
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