To just be utterly rude to my FIL from now on, after this latest visit?

(61 Posts)
YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 17:53:49

We live about 200 miles away from the inlaws and have just been down for a visit. It took us 6.5 hours to get down there, in the car with a 4yo and a 1yo.

Is it so unreasonable to think FIL could shut off the fucking telly for a half hour or so and interact with his grandchildren? Seriously, Judge Judy repeats that he's got RECORDED, are more important to him.

This was the worst its ever been. Previous visits he would occasionally turn on a children's channel as an excuse for having it on, but this time, other than about 20 seconds of Cartoon Network, he didn't even try to keep up the pretence.

Conversations couldn't be had because he kept inching up the volume every time my SIL spoke (he doesn't like her). He virtually ignored my 4 year old and spent about 5 minutes in total over the 24 hours with the 1 yo.

I was so sad to see DS1 looking at FIL hopefully as he made some funny faces at DS2, but he just totally blanked DS1. I can't remember what happened last time we visited, but I do recall DH saying 'well, he'll go off DS1 now' and he certainly has.

I'm still fuming and it's 4 days later. FIL just rung, and of course 1yo is yelling in the background and I couldn't hear anything properly, so I was a bit terse.

I wish I'd said something, but I've fallen into the family pattern of tiptoeing around him to avoid causing trouble for MIL. But some part of me thinks I cannot keep this up.

HavantGuard Thu 02-Jan-14 19:53:02

Don't go anymore. I'm sorry for your MIL who will miss out but you need to protect your DC from feeling rejected.

PoshPaula Thu 02-Jan-14 19:56:13

I wouldn't go. Yes, there are reasons why people behave as they do. But there is also such a thing as taking some responsibility for one's own behaviour. I presume it isn't your children's fault that he's a bitter selfish old man? Just don't go. That is clearly what he would prefer. Of course, you're able to make it clear that he is welcome to visit you.

psynl Thu 02-Jan-14 20:10:09

I just have to know why it took 6.5 hours to travel 200 miles?
(This is my Mrs's account so forgive the OT question)

psynl Thu 02-Jan-14 20:11:55

also, sounds like a bit of a dick imo.

Joysmum Thu 02-Jan-14 20:15:49

When I called my dad yesterday to wish him a happy new year I repeated something 3 times as he had admitted he watching 15 to 1. I finished the call abruptly saying I'd talk to him again when he wasn't so busy. He goes the same thing when we visit too, moans he can't hear the telly when I'd rather hoped we'd all talk. My visits have become less frequent.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 02-Jan-14 20:19:04

What a charmer. He'd make your MIL's life miserable if she went out without him? Tell her to LTB!

What would happen if you tried to arrange an outing? Instead of being in his house/space where he can control the TV? Say you all go out to the park or the zoo or wherever - would he come? Would MIL be allowed angry to come?

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 20:51:40

He barely leaves the house, just taking mil for the weekly shop and the occasional appointment, and when he can avoid moving out of his chair, he does. They would never take the train. Too uncomfortable for her with arthritis, and his mobility is so bad now he'd never cope with it. Plus he'd fret about getting to toilet on train, and he has a stair lift at home so couldn't get to toilet at our house easily. They could stay at a local hotel with rooms for disabled, I suppose, but it's never going to happen. And that's OK, I get it, it's just easier for us to come to them, despite us needing to get a dogsitter and drag half our house with us.

Drive took ages due to traffic jams on m6 m42, terrible weather too. If we didn't stop at all and good traffic , it would normally take about 3.5 hours, but with kids we usually stop for 40 minutes or so. This time we stopped for about 10, it was awful, but kids were really good. Going from near Manchester to London.

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 20:54:47

Havant, that is exactly our dilemma. Mil will never leave, she's been dependent on him for so many years, extremely old fashioned, just suffers in silence.

Mellowandfruitful Thu 02-Jan-14 20:58:07

But would she come out somewhere for part of the day with you? I mean as in you get there, FIL is glued going to tv, you say cheerily 'We thought we'd go down to the [local café, shopping centre, soft play, whatever] for a bit and then we can come back and all have a chat'. Then take MIL with you for a couple of hours, be social, then return for 20 mins to TV Heaven and then go. The kids will be tired if you do the going out bit first and more able to cope with the glazed tv watching.

Catsize Thu 02-Jan-14 21:05:04

I would hate this too. YANBU.

Mim78 Thu 02-Jan-14 21:59:39

Sounds like MIL should LTB!

I would want to avoid exposing DCs to this too. But do feel sorry for your MIL.

handcream Thu 02-Jan-14 22:06:50

Its funny the older generation often talk about the young people on their various X boxes yet they are also often glued to their own devices and dont seem to realise what they are doing but certainly if I spent time travelling somewhere and someone just watched TV as though I wasnt there I wouldnt be keen to go again.

An ex boyfriend had a father who when he came to visit my place (once!)brought his own TV so he didnt have to use mine!

Joysmum Thu 02-Jan-14 22:07:15

My grandad is the same. The older he gets, the more his world shrank and then small things became so important. He'd kick visitors out because he had to get ready for diner in 2 hours time. He'd hate any change in routine. My dad moans about him but can't see he's going the same way.

HavantGuard Thu 02-Jan-14 22:08:18

Could you stay in a hotel nearby with a lot of stairs and do trips out in the area, giving him the option to stay home 'as it might bore him', to places that you know he will reject most of?

ilikemysleep Thu 02-Jan-14 22:16:08

My dad is like this too. We manage because we have very low expectations. He isn't actively deliberately mean or nasty, just totally socially ignorant and uninterested. Its only since my son was diagnosed that we have realised that he clearly has undiagnosed aspergers syndrome. My son is rather like him and it is massively ironic that my Dad likes my aspie son least of all the grandkids because he has (occasional) meltdowns that my dad finds absolutely intolerable. He has absolutely no insight at all into his own behaviour.

We haven't told him (Dad) tat we are certain he is autistic, there is no point as he would never 'take it on', and he didn't beleive our son's diagnosis for a long time, initially ascribing his behaviour to 'sibling jealousy' (DS1 is the least jealous person I know) and then to gluten intolerance (DS isn't gluten intolerant, but this shows my Dad's level of clulessness and arrogance).

Any chance your FIL could be aspergers? It won't change his behaviour of course, but it might make it easier to bear. Just the way you talked about him forming an unchangeable opinion of someone based on a single event, rings an aspie bell...?

YankNCock Fri 03-Jan-14 00:27:26

ilikemysleep, DH wondered aloud tonight if FIL has some sort of personality disorder. This last visit was dickishness to a new level.

FIL is a recovered alcoholic, more than 30 years sober, but in controlling the drinking he seems to have developed a need to control everything and everyone around him.

I agree MIL should LTB, but it's just not going to happen. The best case scenario I can imagine is that he ends up in a nursing home because MIL can't look after him at home and she will be 'free', although he will call her a million times a day to try to control everything she does.

He likes to ring us for stupid reasons...I used to think maybe he just wanted someone to have a chat to, but it's basically because he believes no one could possibly survive without his interference in their lives. Today he rang to ask if my cough was better (err, it was already better when we were there) and a general 'everyone alright?'. I so very nearly said 'If you actually cared how we were, we were sitting in your living room 4 days ago, that would have been the time to ask'.

This sounds like I'm being bitchy, but he just loves to call, ask one question, doesn't listen to/isn't interested in the reply, then hangs up. I barely ever answer my landline because he's almost the only person that calls it.

YankNCock Fri 03-Jan-14 00:37:47

I think I've actually figured it out, FIL is a classic 'Dry Drunk'.

ComposHat Fri 03-Jan-14 02:37:06

Is this a generational thing? Men of my father's generation (born in the late 40s early 50s) didn't seem to interact with us as kids much, my dad never really took us anywhere or do much hands on parenting such as pickups/dropoffs from activities. Going round to friends' houses it was much the same their dad would be morosely slumped in front of the TV and would make a non committal grunt as you walked in.

Chottie Fri 03-Jan-14 07:11:06

CompoHat Please don't think that it is a generational thing. My DP and all our friends DPs were born in the late 40s / early 50s and they are all hands on with both DC and GC.

I think it is a Yank FiL thing smile

livinginthechickendrumsticks Fri 03-Jan-14 07:21:50

It sounds like he is very set in his ways and that you guys turning up disrupts his routine of cup if tea at 100 and a couple of sessions of Judge Judy. He's not interested in your kids, just his daily mundane schedule. I personally would leave them to it or since it is your DH's family take a different approach. Do they live near somewhere nice? If so, I would book a B&B or hotel, go to see them, then do it on your terms. Stay in the hotel, have nice days out and pop in to see them for an hour a day. I bet they resent having you there, disrupting their routines too (sorry to sound nasty) and I bet they would welcome this.

nennypops Fri 03-Jan-14 07:29:43

No, it really isn't generational. To make a massive - but more accurate - generalisation, men born in the early 50s were hippies and flower children in the 60s, and women brought up at that time expected to be on at least an equal footing with them. Therefore in general that's the generation which began the trend for hands-on fatherhood, and there was certainly every expectation that men would interact fully with their children.

JassyRadlett Fri 03-Jan-14 07:44:53

Agree with Chottie, my dad and his peers certainly don't fit this mould and my own dad just spent 24 hours on a plane so he could spend Christmas playing trains with my toddler DS.

Yank, your FIL sounds absolutely insufferable but I can see the difficulty with continuing to support your MIL. Argh.

HavantGuard Fri 03-Jan-14 08:32:24

It's not generational.

I had one grandfather who barely registered my presence, kept his eyes fixed on the TV (that was always on) and a fag in his hand and probably said about 30 words in total to me in the 12 years I had contact with him. My other grandfather would be down on the floor joining in games, would play snap or noughts and crosses for an hour at a time and never made me feel like it was anything but a pleasure to spend time with me. My lovely Grandad was more than 10 years older than the arsehole one. Even my FIL, who is not a child friendly person and has little time for things that don't interest him and was never a 'hands on' father, spares a smile and the odd kind word for his grandchildren when he pulls his head out of the newspaper for a few seconds.

mydoorisalwaysopen Fri 03-Jan-14 08:49:08

they are only in their 60's!! I'd be encouraging MIL to LTB.

glammanana Fri 03-Jan-14 09:26:31

I'm agreeing I don't think it is a generation thing with him,my lovely OH is a very hands on Grandpa interested in everything they do from them being first born up to now when the older ones are in their first jobs to the younger one's football training and my OH will be hitting 70 soon but is a youthful looking 50ish,I think this FIL has had his own way for far too long but feel that he will never change and I feel so so sorry for you MIL at being in just her 60's and having to put up with this way of life,I am out most days with girlfriends and DD and alot of the time I just leave a "ding meal" for OH if I decide I don't want to cook etc,but I guess your FIL would not allow this would he ?

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