Raging with PILs (and to some extent DH!) long, compicated, power, control, inheritence :-(

(39 Posts)
MiddleOfChaos Mon 11-May-15 21:30:00

I don't want to reveal too much but PILs are basically treating my DH as a puppet on a string and dangling inheritance as the carrot. He is involved in work with them, has been all his life, has little other skills and experience to move elsewhere. They will not allow him to pursue what he wants, but convince him to stay in a branch of the family business (in pretty much abstract poverty) with the promise that very soon it will be his, they will pass it over and he can develop it as he likes. For years now my dh has had his business plans and strategy for how he would do this and it is really, really impressive and inspiring but without the ownership or power to make any changes thy remain ideas until this promised day of ownership. 1 year ago he left and tried to pursue other things, it went badly for him being outside of his normal trade and hugely damaged his confidence. His parents promised him they would hand over his branch of the business (4 children who work in this) to him if he returned. Now we are back to square one - carrot dangling, DH's confidence so low that he is convinced this is the only way he can contribute to our family longer term, and Pils showing no inclination other than empty promises to allow him any freedom.
I am not upset about whether we own it or not - I am half of the opinion it is a curse rather than a blessing, but I am furious with m Pils and their treatment of my DH. If they just said No we want to hold onto this then DH could walk and find another career path - it'd be hard but he'd have no choice; Equally they could stick to their promise and say here you go make it work with your ideas and we'd go with that. But the position we are in is one where we have no control or power in decision making but DH does all the work for extremely little reward (i.e. free (he gets some of the profits and run as they want it to be run its makes no profit!!)). He s now only holding on as they keep saying and promising they will give him full control.
I cannot understand how they can treat their son like this - it is leading him to hove anxiety, huge amounts of stress and impacting every part of him. I am trying to support him and try to accommodate them but I just want us as far away as possible as I feel they like the power too much and will never relinquish control but the promise of doing so is enough to keep DH so that is what they do. MIL even said that she knew DH would 'fail' to find a job outside the industry. Truth was just as he was on the cusp of succeeding they reeled him back in again and at that time I supported it as I genuinely thought he'd be happy.
We've just had another conversation with them, same promises, same lack of action and I am left absolutely raging at them

Roseformeplease Mon 11-May-15 21:35:02

If he is their employee (and not any owner, or shareholder in the company) then they have to pay him, at the least, minimum wage. Can you use this as leverage against them? Also, even stacking shelves or sweeping floors has got to be better for your family and his self-esteem.

They sound like bullies who need to be stood up to. If he can't do this, can you, or can you get some legal help?

CrapBag Mon 11-May-15 21:36:22

What does your DH truly want to do? Does he want to have the business eventually and is he prepared to wait for it? If the answer is no then he needs to break away completely and tell them to stuff themselves with their empty promises of nothing.

How sad the reeled him back in as he was about to make a success of the other job. Sounds like they knew what they were doing good and were worried about losing their free worker.

CalleighDoodle Mon 11-May-15 21:36:25

Th ey dont sound like nice people.

Have a meeti ng to discuss the date that this prom ise will happen.

MiddleOfChaos Mon 11-May-15 21:39:31

He's none of those things employment wise! It is very complicated and legal - but he is self employed putting all his efforts into this but under their 'rule'. WE cannot afford the capital for him to start up on his own, but I do have a good job so if he wanted to go off and do something else I could support our family (just!). They just seem to build him up and let him fall, and if I'm honest I don't think they even realise they are doing it half the time!!
I confronted them tonight - but they didn't say anything. I said this was the cruellest position - being left hanging in no-mans land, but nothing, nothing at all was said in response. I ended up walking out!!

UmBongo Mon 11-May-15 21:44:06

Sorry to hear you are in this situation, family businesses can be bloody. Does your DH get on with his siblings? Are they in the same situation? It sounds like your MiL has not noticed that her children are now grown men/women.

Could all four siblings have a meeting and request to be put on proper wages if the business can afford this?

Does DH have any interests outside his work? Could any of those develop into something he could do for money? Or just for some self esteem and time out of the family businesss. Building something? Painting something? Mending stuff? Accounting or computing for others?

Sorry I can't think of anything else, and good luck.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 11-May-15 21:44:32

I doubt he is really self employed if he has no say over what he does in his job - that indicates employment (and all the rights that go with it). I would be advising him to walk away and take any job away from this bullying. He needs to distance himself from these vile people.

MiddleOfChaos Mon 11-May-15 21:49:07

Thanks - No he doesn't get on with his other siblings largely driven by this bloody family business, which is largely why he ended up in the 'branch' of the business which reflected where he wanted to go with his career and sat with his ethics. I think we need to walk but he is so down and anxious now I have to be so careful how I put it to him.
I even spoke to his parents about how this was all making him feel and told them they needed to give him some certainty one way or another - I thought tonights conversation was the outcome of that but it was just starting the same circle again.

TheChandler Mon 11-May-15 21:50:43

Trying to see it from the other side's point of view. Would your DH really be capable of doing more of the running of what is obviously a very successful business (if it employs 4 of their children) and do the PIL perhaps have good reason for treating him in this way?

Its up to him really. Most people manage to support themselves without working in a family business, so why your DH shouldn't be capable and as an adult, blame the way his entire life has turned out on his parents, is a little bit unbelievable really. Yes, it can be scary to go out into the wider world and learn how to deal with all the shitty things that holding down a job involve, especially if you haven't done it before, but it can't be all his parents fault, can it?

I am assuming they also want to protect the other childrens' interests, without overly favouring your DH too?

GobbolinoCat Mon 11-May-15 21:52:49

awful and degrading to treat own child like this.

walk, its ok he failed once, he can try again. he cant stay like this.

SkivingAgain Mon 11-May-15 21:55:23

My DH was in a similar, but not as difficult, situation working in his family's business. Something happened that made it crystal clear that he would never be allowed to take over the business so he looked for another job. He didn't get the first one he applied for and that knocked his confidence but then he did get a job with another firm in the same line of business - they thought he was great and treated him well. Since then he's changed employer and gone from strength to strength. Leaving the family business was the best thing he ever did.

I think that it was difficult for family to let him get involved as it challenged how they'd run the business for years. Sadly, since he left the business went downhill and closed completely.

Grapejuicerocks Mon 11-May-15 21:58:43

It sounds like it's ultimate on time. Give them a date to prepare the legal documents, or off you go. Hope you can get dp on board with this.

NotJustaPotforSoup Mon 11-May-15 22:04:53

If they just said No we want to hold onto this then DH could walk and find another career path

Why wait for the "no"? Watch the actions, don't listen to the words. Time for him to act as if they are saying no, because that's really what they are doing. He needs to plough his own field. If he tells them and they make the same noises about the existing situation, then he needs to say that he'll only stay if things are drawn up formally.

I know it's hard when it's family, but he needs to stand on his own 2 feet now he has his own family.

NotJustaPotforSoup Mon 11-May-15 22:06:31

And something I always ponder on these type of threads - is he seeking any external viewpoint about this?

MiddleOfChaos Mon 11-May-15 22:10:13

What do you mean notjusta? Is he getting legal advice? No not yet

hettie Mon 11-May-15 22:10:48

Can he not find a role in another organisation in a similar area. The family business can't be so niche that other organisations don't do it... I know he's been knocked in confidence but it might be the best all round

NotJustaPotforSoup Mon 11-May-15 22:12:56

No, I mean that you are posting on here for advice for him. What is he doing to sort it out?

BarbarianMum Mon 11-May-15 22:18:29

The thing is, would you trust people like this to keep their promises? I wouldn't. I think that there is a very real danger that he will work for them for years and end up with nothing.

MiddleOfChaos Mon 11-May-15 22:20:22

No dh doesn't know I'm posting here, but maybe yes for me I'm trying to find the best path to support him, but without knowing the best direction I'm finding it difficult!

MsPerfect Mon 11-May-15 23:30:06

When you say he has very little other skills, that really can't be true. He just needs to learn how to quantify them so they can be put into a CV.

He must have organisational skills, any management experience? Telephone skills? Excel? Communication skills?

I think a lot of people who have no self confidence aren't great at realising what's good about themselves. Particularly when it's soft skills like communication.

Obviously it's hard for us to comment as we don't know what he does at the moment, but can you find a job online in the same field elsewhere and see if he has the skills requested in the job advert? Then approach him gently, say you're concerned about his stress levels in the current situation, and show him the advert and say you totally think he could do it. Big him up, tell him you think he's awesome, list his skills you know he has. Build his confidence.

Most people don't get the first job they interview for. Your DH shouldn't take it badly if he gets rejected. It could be that he was perfect but they filled the role internally! Every interview is practice for the next one too.

MiddleOfChaos Tue 12-May-15 08:11:05

Oh I do agree with you MsPerfect, he's inceedibly skilled and exceptionally hard working. He was just getting recognised for this before gokng back into family business but he couldn't see it. Years of parents controlling amd manipulation has left him thinking he is only just good enough for them and anyone else would laugh at him. I'm really cross this morning after replaying the conversation of last night. I need to help him see his other options and we need to be as far away from his family as possible, they are toxic!

CatOfTheWoods Tue 12-May-15 08:21:53

Apart from anything else, I'd worry that his siblings will have it worked out so that he has no power or control after the inheritance either. Even straightforward inheritance situations can go horribly wrong and cause family feuds, and this doesn't sound straightforward. So this could go on for ever.

Could you talk to him about ideas for other careers, where could he use his skills, things he might want to retrain in (maybe while working at a p-t job to help with finances). I think you need to bolster his confidence and get him thinking about possibilities. I don't think jumping ship and trying to start a business of his own is a good idea because if it goes wrong it could be a financial disaster, but thinking about what he'd love to do, looking at options, etc might lead him to a new area or a new way of using his experience.

CatOfTheWoods Tue 12-May-15 08:24:00

Also, if you can afford it, look into the legal situation. They don't sound very nice people and it does sound as if they are underpaying him. If he can show he's not self-employed (which he's not, legally, as he doesn't have freedom about what he does) they may owe him a huge amount of back pay. Which would be handy.

apintofbest Tue 12-May-15 08:39:07

Would it help if you sat down together and wrote to his parents, outlining why it's not really working, pointing out that he has a family to support and the finances just aren't adding up, and the situation is affecting his health adversely. Outline what he would like to see happen, more responsibility, more say in how things work and a proper salary.

Let them know that if these things do not happen within a particular time frame - say one month, he will be leaving permanently, and will have nothing more to do with the family business.

He could spend the month looking for another job, and will hopefully have found one so that when they don't deliver he can leave.

I think your main role in this is exactly as Cat says above - bolster his confidence and be there as a sounding board.

123Jump Tue 12-May-15 08:54:15

OP,is there any contract, paperwork or anything that states he will be getting some of the business? They sound like the kind of people who could just sell up when they retire or leave it all to a different child...

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