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.

HansieMom Wed 08-Jan-14 22:53:49

Okay, no room in kitchen. So sit around dining room table? FIL is on other end of room with TV.

Does anyone address the issue of him talking over SIL?

Meerka Wed 08-Jan-14 20:42:22

yank ... what would happen if your DH walked over, took the remote control and then turned the television off?

explosion? How much would you have to loose?

MostlyCake Wed 08-Jan-14 20:38:24

I think visiting and staying in a hotel us a good idea. Can you arrange things to do with MIL only each day during judge Judy and leave him to it?

If she won't leave him there's nothing you can do about it, might be better to accept he's a grumpy old fool who isn't going to have any relationship with his grandkids and focus on making sure your kids know granny loves them?

YankNCock Wed 08-Jan-14 20:12:59

Hansie, don't you think we'd have done that if it were possible? Their living room and dining room is all one large long room. Kitchen is small galley style with nowhere to sit. Upstairs is just small bedrooms no seating, and the stairs are so awkwardly angled I couldn't put up a baby gate for toddler. If BIL and his wife and kids come as well, that would make 5 adults and 4 children crammed upstairs in a small bedroom to have a conversation while FIL takes up practically the whole ground floor. Seems a bit silly.

HansieMom Sat 04-Jan-14 15:37:46

Here is a thought. Go visit and sit with MIL in another room. Maybe you could play games at kitchen table.

BabyMummy29 Fri 03-Jan-14 17:33:26

It's a very tricky one - we have tried to tell SiL about how horrible FiL is to MiL but she just says "That's how they work" so it makes it seem as if we are the only ones making a fuss about it.

OH and I are both of the type who can't sit and let something like this fester just because "That's what he's like" and we should all tiptoe around him.

Not visiting again for a VERY long time. Hope you can sort something out.

YankNCock Fri 03-Jan-14 14:56:51

MIL has been putting up with this for over 40 years now. She's pretty shy, doesn't really have any friends, both siblings live overseas and she doesn't speak to them much, so I think she is quite isolated. We're really not close enough to offer much support, can't even get her on the phone for a private conversation as he always has it right by him and would interrogate her if she actually tried to leave the room and have a conversation with someone.

DH and I had a talk last night, and he's asked that if anything is said to FIL, he is the one to do it. He doesn't want me being labelled as the problem --though I think no matter what FIL will think I put him up to it and blame me, but I really don't care.

DH wants to talk to his brother first, and try to forewarn his mum. I've been looking at stuff about 'dry drunk syndrome' and it doesn't give any helpful tips for dealing with one, just says they should get back to AA meetings. He was in AA for years and years, but of course now doesn't think he's got a problem of any sort, it's just everyone else who is stupid or wrong or irritating.

DH initially said he would confront him in person, basically go in, and when FIL ignores us in favour of the telly, just say we are leaving and never coming back there and stomp out. I think DH wants the bomb to explode, because he has absolutely no hope of his dad changing.

I think he should ring him, sooner rather than later, and explain that his behaviour upset us so much that we won't be going back to the house again. He is welcome to come see us (which will never happen), and we'll still go down south and take his mum out somewhere, but we're not driving 200 miles to sit there being ignored.

DH says if we say anything, MIL will never hear the end of him bitching about us and FIL will make her life more hellish. And if we did ever go there again, the first time he'll make a big point of turning of the telly but then just sitting there staring at us to make a point, or ignore us another way (crosswords or something).

Fuck, I don't know what the right move is. For the kids I am sure it is to just never see him again, but I'm not sure DH can handle us essentially leaving his mum to suffer. I think DH is probably right, he's not going to change, he would rather make everyone miserable than ever admit he is in the wrong.

thegirliesmam Fri 03-Jan-14 11:47:33

i have the exact issue with my FIL, he hasnt seen his 3 dgd since June and makes no attempt nor hint that he is willing to stick his dented male pride to one side (following my partner firmly letting him know his nit pick bullying towards my toddlers is unaccpetable and is going to which he exploded and scared my kids...leading to me telling him that i didnt give a fuff who he is and that he is in his own house he is not behaving like that in front of my fuffing children).

his tv programme of choice is top gear or any film be it a classic or total dross, that will consume him until he falls asleep on the sofa for his nap (beacsue his head is "hurting") funnily enough at the same time on a saturday when his grandkids visit but means that my dd's are shepherded around the house in minimal noie to not wake the arsehole.

that is only a percentage of a percentage of his fantastic personable demeanour...i feel your pain. My MiL says he wont change so best not to rock the boat. I on the other hand am as stubborn as an ox and see no reason why i should back down first at the expense of my kids enjoying themselves when with their grandmother.

no one should make you feel (or potentially your kids feel, they are clever little buggers) like they are an intrusion and in the way. if he is too ridiculous to see their worth, hes not worthy of them. Dont go back.

rainbowfeet Fri 03-Jan-14 10:43:57

I feel the same about my step dad.. He seems to have changed as a person, used to be funny & chilled & loving..(nothing medically wrong).. He doesn't make me or my dc's welcome when we stay.. Which is hard because I miss my mum & would like to visit more. Last visit he sat out in the conservatory with the door closed & the only interaction was to torment dc's!! hmm
I hope he isn't so cold towards my mum when it's just the 2 of them!

StanleyLambchop Fri 03-Jan-14 10:35:49

Sorry, forgot to say that we lived locally to my parents so there was no issue with travelling, I agree that does make it more difficult in terms of wanting to put the effort in to visit if you have a long journey .

StanleyLambchop Fri 03-Jan-14 10:34:13

My Dad was like this a bit. He was not mean to my children , he would say hello when they arrived, ask them a few questions about what they were doing, then he would make his excuses and go to the other room to watch sport. It was not meant as a mean snub, there was just a 75 year age gap between him and my youngest, which he found difficult to bridge. However, the children were just used to it, and accepted that was what he was like. They were devastated when he died earlier this year. Is your FIL perhaps struggling to find common ground with such young children? I am not defending your FIL but I think the older generation lived in a different world and some have forgotten what being a child is like.

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 ?

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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...?

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?

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.

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!

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