My grandson married two years ago and now has a young son.
He grew up in an environment marked by infidelity on the part of both parents, and subsequently his stepfather, resulting in upheavals to his early life. Despite this, he has grown to be a lovely young man and is determined to be a better partner and parent than the ones he grew up with.
However, he recently confided to a brother-in-law that he has concealed CCTV cameras at home which he uses to ‘spy’ on his wife when he is away. The brother-in-law was shocked and he has confided in me.
The thing is we both know why my grandson has grown up to be so untrusting, but we feel this is entirely unacceptable.
If I discuss it with him he’ll know I found out from his brother-in-law; the brother-in-law for his part is willing to talk to him about it but quite flummoxed as to how to approach the subject. We would both welcome your advice.
— P, via email
This must be dealt with as a matter of priority. The wife is being abused – her right to privacy has been grotesquely violated and it must stop, immediately. Her husband is clearly aware that his actions are completely wrong; that’s probably why he’s made this confession.
I’m not quite as certain as you that your grandson will be upset if he realises his brother-in-law has confided in you. Assuming he is an intelligent individual, it must have occurred to him that presenting someone with such a toxic secret means that they, in turn, might need to share the weight of it.
But I agree that, for the time being at least, this is something best kept simple and handled on a one-to-one basis. So it’s excellent news that the brother-in-law is willing to step up to the plate.
The priority, of course, is to get your grandson to remove these cameras without delay. I suggest he is invited to consider what would happen if his wife were to discover them (which, inevitably, she will). It would almost certainly terminate the marriage.
If your grandson is reluctant to comply, the brother-in-law is entitled to apply pressure. He should warn that if your grandson doesn’t get rid of this equipment by a specific deadline – say, within 24 hours – he will inform the wife of its existence.
But even if he complies – and I think he will – we’re left with a moral dilemma. There are now three men (including him) who know what he’s been up to, but his wife – the victim – remains in blissful ignorance. That leaves me feeling extremely uncomfortable.
So let me summarise what may be the best strategy. It’s a three-step plan, and it will need your and his brother-in-law’s support every step of the way.
1) Get rid of these damn cameras. 2) Your grandson should seek help from a therapist to help him analyse and understand his behaviour. 3) (This part will be challenging.) Subject to whatever professional advice he receives of course, he tells his wife what he has been doing. This is risky and will be painful for both of them – but it might be an essential stage in the healing process. And I honestly don’t think he has a choice.
Good luck, P.
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