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.

TaraLott Thu 02-Jan-14 17:56:34

Depends, maybe he's losing his marbles?

Honestly? I wouldn't go again. I would explain exactly why too.

phantomnamechanger Thu 02-Jan-14 17:59:20

do they come to you? would MIL come on her own? I do find the behaviour odd but them my nana is the same - TV on all the time in her flat and when we go, after a quick hello, all she talks about is whos on the TV, explaining the rules of a quiz show or something about the host or main star. That's her routine.

grovel Thu 02-Jan-14 18:00:16

I just would not go. Both you and FiL would be happier. Find a way of seeing MiL outside her home.

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:01:08

No, according to DH he's actually mellowed over the years, temper not as explosive, less often giving people the silent treatment, etc.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 02-Jan-14 18:01:16

What happened before could be very relevant.

Losthearts Thu 02-Jan-14 18:01:55

What does your OH think?

Bloodyteenagers Thu 02-Jan-14 18:03:22

I wouldn't go any more. But then I don't go and see people who I don't like anyway, regardless of who they are.
If they came to visit, the TV would loose its plug.

ArtexTheHallWithBoughsOfMonkey Thu 02-Jan-14 18:03:52

Ah fuckit. Don't visit again. I find it unbearable when people have the telly constantly blaring during visits. SO RUDE.

Topaz25 Thu 02-Jan-14 18:05:52

YANBU. You certainly shouldn't have to make so much effort just to be ignored. Can they come and see you or could you go out to a cafe with MIL next time?

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:06:50

They don't come to us, ever. FIL has had both hips replaced, MIL doesn't drive and has terrible arthritis. We moved up here nearly 6 years ago and they've never visited. I don't begrudge them not coming, though if they really wanted to, they could make it happen, just once, to see where we live.

They are like a completely different generation, it's like they are in their 80s or 90s rather than 60s. MIL stands up to him a bit more than she used to (according to DH), but mostly its just a like walking into a passive-aggressive shitstorm.

Only1scoop Thu 02-Jan-14 18:09:22

Blimey all that huge journey with two tinies all for that....I'd be hitting the gin hmm

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:10:00

It wasn't anything terrible, just DS1 being a normal 4yo. He's generally polite and not spoiled. It was some minor tantrum which was dealt with appropriately by me, I can't even remember what it was about, just that FIL seemed to ignore DS1 following that.

DeWe Thu 02-Jan-14 18:15:34

Why did your dh say "he'll go off ds1 now"

Is it because he doesn't mind them tiny, but doesn't like them when older? Or is it something he's done? It then depends on what was done, and what happened.

drivingmisslazy Thu 02-Jan-14 18:16:40

This sounds just like my dad he is terrible for this, I live miles away and usually only visit twice a year, my mum gives 100% attention to the kids but my dad will keep the telly on and hardly engage with the kids, he has been like this for years and was even like it when I was a child, it makes me so sad. DD would stand in front the telly to get his attention and he would shush her out the way, I said she is only doing it for attention and he would say I am watching this, usually some programme about a motorbike being stripped down. If it wasn't for my mum I wouldn't bother going.

So YANBU

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:17:15

I feel awful for MIL, the visits aren't long enough for her, but we just can't take being there very long. We quit staying with them because we just couldn't stand it, were staying with a friend about 40 minutes away but now can't because she got a cat (DH allergic).

This time we were down for 4 nights but stayed at PILs for just 1. We got hotels the other nights, one of which was only about 10 minutes from their house. We saw friends on the other days, which makes the entire trip more worth it. I think I would have exploded if we'd only been down to see the PILs.

If we start taking MIL out separately, FIL will make her life more hellish, that's DH's opinion, but something he's considering as well as he was highly fucked off too.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 02-Jan-14 18:18:01

I have to say I am always surprised when people dont want to see where their children live.

Unless he has some signs of dementia or is losing his marbles, i would find this very rude and not bother with the 200 mile journey again as he clearly cannot be bothered to even give his own gc a second of his time!

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:22:56

DeWe, FIL's normal pattern with most people, including children, is that once you've done one thing he doesn't like, he forms a bad opinion of you that can never be undone. It doesn't matter that DS1 is 4 fucking years old.

DH can't remember exactly what it was either, just that it was something very trivial and normal for a 4yo to do.

Fairylea Thu 02-Jan-14 18:26:40

I get palpitations just at the thought of driving more than an hour or so with ds 18 months in the car. You're brave!

There's no way I'd go again. What for? He doesn't appreciate the visit. What a waste of time for all involved.

But then I'm quite hard line when it comes to family. Both dh and I are virtually no contact with all of ours.

YankNCock Thu 02-Jan-14 18:27:01

Elf, me too. My parents and their partners have flown from the USA on more than one occasion.

I think I find this so galling because my parents would dearly love to see their grandsons as often as FIL does. My dad was here for a month last autumn and it was wonderful, now they're back to having a grandfather that ignores them.

BabyMummy29 Thu 02-Jan-14 18:28:51

I feel for you. We had an awful time at PiL and OH has vowed never to go back, We don't have small children but from our arrival I couldn't wait to leave.

Sounds awful. But, it wouldn't stop me visiting, he sounds old and demotivated. He's had two hip replacement surgeries. I would just accept that he's like that and just carry on for MIL.

Chottie Thu 02-Jan-14 19:46:46

Couldn't ILs come down on the train if they can't / won't drive? I was surprised to read they are only in their 60s, from what you wrote I thought they were in their 80s.

It's really sad to read how your FiLs ignores your DC, you sound a lovely caring DiL who really wants your DC to have a relationship with both there GP.

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 ?

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.

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 .

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!

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 stop...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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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?

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