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Trying To Help Someone From A Dysfunctional Family

I had my little baby girl 6 months ago, where I was left as a single Mum, we broke up the day I went into labour...

My ex comes from a dysfunctional family but cannot see it, and I don't know how to help him, if at all possible. Suggestions are definitely welcome as to whether I should just walk away and hope that one day he realises their issues for himself. I have been going crazy the past 5 years dealing with his lack of trust, commitment issues etc, but now finally see why. 

Paul my ex was introduced to his Mums new partner at age of 2, of which his mother had two more kids with which are now his brothers. During this period, his mother married and her partner was an alcoholic who physically abused their mother. 

From the age of 8 - 10 Paul was molested and his brothers by his Mums new partner.

Paul only met his Dad at aged 16 as his Mum did not know who he was. His father played a role in his life for a short period, then decided he didn't want anything to do with him, this cut him pretty deep.

Paul also suffered during an incident where he was held at gunpoint and tortured.

The only normality Paul has ever had is me and his daughter Lily. Unfortunately he thinks that I am the reason for his depression and cannot see that his upbringing is the reason. It's easier to blame me than accept it is his family holding him back.

Sorry this is in bits, I'm just typing as I remember things, but I really would like help on what to do from here. I've been told to walk away but I know that if he could just leave his family behind we could play happy families....

He is the oldest brother, the only one with a good job, bought a house etc but struggling greatly to keep it, but he is the "hero" of the family who they all look up to. They all scab money off him, and walk all over him and let him down and I am usually the one there to pick up the pieces. I get no or little thanks and even though we currently aren't together, he still comes running to me when they let him down. I have told him I can't be that person anymore, it is too tiring and I want all my energy for my daughter as being a single Mum isn't easy. 

I would not have been involved with Paul the past 5 years if I knew what his family was like to start with, hence the commitment issues and breaking up every month for five years! But he kept his familyf rom me and I only met them finally when I was 4 months pregnant. I was never invited to family things and had to wait in the car even when Paul visited them, yes even when I was pregnant. 

They let him down ALL the time, promise things they never intend on following through with. I realise now that they are all sick and don't realise it, but sadly obviously so is Paul as he sticks up for them and doesn't understand why I think they are doing anything wrong. I used to think he stuck up for them solely as they are his family but I think perhaps he doesn't realise they are wrong. I have been brought up in a loving, supportive environment and want that for my daughter. It scares me that Pauls traits will rub off on Lily, which is why more than anything I want him to see the light and SOON. 

His brothers AND his Mum are reliant on marijuana 24/7 and smoke excessively throughout the day. They go without clothes, food or any other possessions purely to feed their addictions. They take money from Paul for these habits also, making our baby go without. He never puts us first. 

Seeing as his family have not dealt with the molestation themselves, and they have drug problems, I worry that Lily will be exposed to these people if he ever gets joint custody, I will do anything I can to make sure I get sole custody as I believe people that don't deal with these issues are likely to reoffend. Paul often seeks counselling and medication but soon as he "starts feeling good" he stops. He blames all his depression on the gunpoint incident, where I think this is just icing on the cake, not the root of the problems. 

Coming from a "naive world" as they call it, I don't know where to start, or should I just let him be? My worry is that when he sticks to his counselling, he will not speak of his real problems, only our relationship problems and the gunpoint incident and not deal with the real problem of the dysfunctional family. He feels responsible for what they have been through and will never turn his back on them. 

Oh and additionally his grandmother molested his mother growing up and she is STILL part of the family. So that scares me in itself they would keep someone like that in the family and think it is ok. His Mum hates me because I am successful and his brothers resent me for having the happy upbringing they weren't lucky enough to have. His Mum also gets mad at Paul for telling me info partners are meant to share in my world, trying to keep her families wrong doings secret. Am I wasting my time, it's probably impossible to get four people seeing the light isn't it? What should I do for my daughters safety???

I think that is all for now, I could go on there are so many pieces to this puzzle but that explains some of it. 

Oh and they have an armed robber in the family who is now in jail. They left him alone with my property when we were moving house, I did not know who he was or what he had done, and he stole my camera with all my pregnancy photos on it. The family didn't tell me he was on bail, I only found out when I reported him to the police. So it just goes on and on ... Even then Paul still stood up for him saying it might not have been him, we aren't sure?? BUT he was the only one alone and has nearly 20 counts for things he has done wrong. You just wouldn't leave someone like that around prized possessions and in my case, someone like that wouldn't still be part of the family! 

Just blows me away the million things that happen in this family and they stay in the family and no one gets help!
innocentbystander1 innocentbystander1 26-30, F 3 Responses Aug 15, 2010

Your Response


Sweetie, you are only banging your head against the wall so it will quit telling you the truth. You know what to do. You are strong enough & will succeed. It is the easiest to just keep asking why, hoping you can change someone who isn't ready to change. Its not really helping him at all, it is just hurting you. Having a child with someone does not make them a good parent or partner. It is difficult to summon up the courage without being a new, single mom... there are many insecurities then... body image, fear of inadequacies of being a parent, and it is sort of a thankless job, so it will be hard. You will be able to raise a smart, confident woman by showing her you are one. <br />
Things could always be better & things can always be worse... I don't care how weak you think you are... you can do what needs to be done. You will probably come to a realization that it wasn't as hardas you originally thought. Letting him figure out the things you see so clearly is the only way he can better himself. Good luck to you & your beautiful baby.

Your ex has some serious issues. Saddly when abuse is all someone knows they cling to their toxic and abusive family. Things will never change for him until he admits they are the problem and cuts off contact. His older brother and any other siblings that are abused need to do the same thing. Its out of your hands so focus on your daughter and don't feel bad about not trying to sort out that mess of a family. <br />
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Definately keep your daughter away from them. It disturbs me that molestation is forgiven in that family. No wonder most of them smoke weed, probably their way of "coping". Knowing all that, the courts would never grant your ex custody. Not saying he shouldn't be in his daughters life, but he sounds too unstable for an unsupervised visit. You never know if he'd leave her alone with his mother or grandmother.<br />
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Be strong. I've never been a single mom, or a mom at all, but I can only imagine how stressful that would be.

I would love for anyone to comment because I am going absolutely insane. I have spent every waking hour up until now I am ready to ive up, trying to help him with every day tasks, getting on top of finances etc to take the stress off so he can focus on the important things and getting his depression, anxiety and PTSD better. All I do and he doesn't seem appreciative, yet the family can walk all over him and he still sticks up for them over me and my daughter. Any "normal" family would be so happy for him to have found someone so loving, successful, with such a good heart and good family, not resent me for having the life they wish they had :( PLLEEASSSEEEE just anyone please respond, I feel so alone like I am banging my head against a wall. So hard being a single Mum with no support :(