Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Narcissist FIL - please help

(64 Posts)
XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 21:17:08

DH posted on this board about his FIL - you can read the back story here but in a tiny pistachio shell FIL exploded in a monstrous rage when DS was born this time last year - he objected to our giving DS both of our last names and sent a series of truly awful poisonous emails (eg: he told DH he was "thinking of ways to crush" him but could not because he "loved him too much"). DH got some great advice from you all then thanks The thread ends before DH finally told FIL not to contact us again after the difficulties continued. Lovely SIL also was cut off by FIL when she supposedly took our side by continuing to see us and DS.

No contact was great as far as I was concerned, though it seemed really tragic that FIL was not seeing his first and only grandchild as a result of his own idiotic actions. But it really destroyed DH, who naturally wants to see the best in his father especially now he is a father himself, and he made the first overtures because he wanted to be the bigger person, make the first move etc. He said he also wanted to be able to say to DS when he is older that he truly made every effort to keep in touch with FIL. They are now back in contact, but of course there has been no apology or even any acknowledgement of all the shit he spewed in our direction this time last year - as far as I can tell DH wants to let sleeping dogs lie and has never brought up what happened last year.

It's all massively against my better judgement because our lives were so much better when this man was not in our lives, but I will never stand in the way of DH having a relationship with FIL - but I'm just waiting for him to hurt DH again and the cycle will repeat.

Although I can't do anything about DH I'm still very wary about DS having anything to do with him. He's now met DS once with DH which apparently went fine. However he's supposed to come round again to give DS his first birthday present and I have absolutely no intention of seeing him given he has not apologized for the monstrous things he said to DH (let alone the stuff about me!) or acknowledged that he said any of those things let alone having done anything wrong. I told DH I will just go out while he is here, but he thinks that will just perpetuate the cycle and I should just grin and bear it and talk about the weather, or more likely, ignore him and talk entirely to 1 year old DS. There's also a chance that I won't be able to resist bringing it all up and then all hell really would break loose.

This issue has come up again and again and now its a week away DH is all but begging me to be here in the house when his FIL is here. He says he wants to present a united front and needs the support and it will just cause more drama if I absent myself that morning and any booking of pedicures or going into the office to catch up on work etc will be a transparent ruse not to see FIL.

As far as I'm concerned I owe this man nothing at all and have no interest in allowing him to swan in here as if nothing ever happened and tiptoeing around what happened. I actually think that as he has cut people off left right and centre, it's the only thing he'll understand - that actually I don't want to be around him as a result of his actions. Actions have consequences.

Oh wise women with more experience of dealing with narcissism than I - what do I do?

Warbride Wed 05-Dec-12 21:27:20

Hi I was in the same situation as you for exactly the same reasons.

I haven't spoken to my fil for 3 years. Originally I would not allow him to have contact with our dd but decided to relent on the condition Dh was with her when fil saw her. I however have nothing to do with him.

If you don't want to see him, your Dh should respect your wishes.

RobotLover68 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:34:53

As the child of a couple of narcissists I would be devestated if my DH left me to it. It has taken 5 years of counselling to get myself to a good place and 17 years before that of him waiting patiently for me to see the light. His unwavering support has encouraged me to go on working on myself so that I can finally distance myself from them. Whilst I know it's hard for you to see the man you love suffer, he is like an alcoholic and will wean himself off his father when he is ready. This may also never happen. It is very hard for others to understand the hold these parents have over us.

Good luck OP - I hope it works out for the best and your DH finds some peace one day

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 21:35:39

Warbride I am so sorry to hear that - was it also because of a name issue? Please me more - did your DH want you there originally and you stood strong? Did it cause more drama, as my DH seems to think will happen?

DH says he respects my wishes, he is just trying to set out his reasons why he wants me there and then I can decide. I'm just not sure what will work best to minimize narcissistic drama - arm's length and letting sleeping dogs lie, or total non contact.

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 21:37:05

Oh Robot sad What kind of support does your DH provide when your parents are actually present? Does he say anything, do anything that helps or doesn't help?

Warbride Wed 05-Dec-12 21:44:24

It was for all sorts of reasons. Things happening over a number of years. Fil is very jealous of me, accused me of taking his son off him. Many many rows over the years, with fil not speaking to us for up to 18 months at a time. Not even to see how his granddaughter is growing up.

Dh had tried to persuade me to let it lie but after years of abuse (verbal) I stood strong and refused. Life is so much nicer without fil in it and Dh and I argue much less. Fil was 90 percent to blame for some of the worst rows between us. Dh and dd see him roughly once a week for a few hours. I never see him. Dh dd go to his place. He does not come to our house. It works for us and Dh respects my wishes because he knows what I have had to put up with over the years.

HilaryClinton Wed 05-Dec-12 21:47:01

Is he still living in France. I hope that my largesse would extend to an hour a year, wallowing in my generosity to the Mad-One

RobotLover68 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:50:43

He's just there OP - he doesn't antagonise and we just get through the visits as best we can as they are few and far between (thank goodness!) please don't feel I am judging you OP but I would be a mess if he wasn't there for me. I'm due a visit in a few weeks and I can only stay calm because I know he won't leave my side. This may make me sound weak to others but its the only way I've been able to cope with any visits. The rest of the time I keep him at arms length and tell him nothing about my life.

My DH knows I'm already getting stressed as I've started briefing him on not being tricked into revealing any details of our life. I know it all sounds really odd but it's my way of getting through. Then my duty will be done for another few months.

I'm really sorry if it's not what you want to hear, but your DH won't stand up to his father until he's ready - I hope you understand I'm trying to give you perspective on how he feels however weird it sounds to you and others.

HollyBerryBush Wed 05-Dec-12 22:00:07

Your Dh has expressed the ned for you to be there. As a partner itis your duty to stand by your partner in his hour of need. As he says a united front. You really should nt need to ask what is right in this situation

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 22:12:40

Hilary he is apparently moving back to the UK - so potentially there could be a lot more visits in our future. If I could rely on it being an hour a year then maybe the decision would be easier but I do fear that what I do now will set the tone for future visits. If I manage to bite my tongue now, I might have to continue doing so again and again because if I managed to do it last time then why not this time, why are you perpetuating the drama just when we all managed to paper over the rift etc etc.

Warbride we are in exactly the same position about 90% of all fights between us have been over contact with FIL. I just wish he was out of our lives entirely. I want to get to where you are now somehow but for DH's pleading, which are a bit similar to Robot's.

Robot I want to hug you and tell you you don't need to put up with this total bullshit - you are worth being decently treated by your own parents and if they can't do it then they don't deserve the chance. My own mother has some tendencies in this direction but has never ever gone this far so luckily it's relatively easy to stand up to her now I have a DS of my own.

I'm afraid FIL will just see us dancing to his tune with no consequences to his actions. He gets to behave like a shit and still do as he pleases, playing at being the pater familias while everyone is frantically sweeping under the carpets...

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 22:19:56

Holly he and DS have already seen FIL once without me. It went fine apparently but this issue didn't arise as I was at work - but he didn't need my support then (in fact he didn't even tell me when it was happening).

I suspect that my presence this time is to signal that I am willing to let bygones be bygones and make nice. I think it will just open us (and more worryingly, DS) up to his bullying again in the future.

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 22:20:28

But I do see your point about supporting my partner which is why I am so conflicted.

Corygal Wed 05-Dec-12 22:29:23

I know it's infuriating, but do the right thing - support your poor wounded DH. He needs all the help he can get.

You all need a civilised solution, so you get to wear the big shoes on this one - be nice, but then don't let yr FIL weasel his way in any further.

Tell your DH what you've told us - I'll be saintly, but on condition the old brute doesn't start thinking he can pop in etc - he's limited to official occasions eg birthdays etc. at most. Being civilised cuts both ways, and yr DH must get this.

Finallygotaroundtoit Wed 05-Dec-12 22:32:25

There is a difference between 'presenting a united front' and being guilted into doing something that you clearly don't want to do.

I think your DH is being unfair on you ( and a bit manipulative - sadly he had a good teacher ). He wants to see his DF, you don't. I think he should respect your wishes,

deste Wed 05-Dec-12 22:36:47

I also think you need to support your DH. Make it clear to your DH that If your FIL says anything you can't promise to not say anything back.

forgetmenots Wed 05-Dec-12 22:38:07

Nope, sorry I think you're entitled to see who you want. You can support your DH and support his decision to see FIL without having to be present. That was the stance I took with my DH and MIL when things became unbearable as I was not going to start interfering directly in his relationship with his mother, that was something he had to work out for himself (he now has no contact either). But I had to politely say 'no, I'm sorry, I don't want to be around this person anymore DH.' I think that's fair enough. Be there for him regardless of what happens next and listen to him. But don't go unless you're prepared to have a relationship with FIL.

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 22:48:17

I'm totting up the responses - interesting there's really no consensus at all, I thought I was going to get pilloried for even considering not being there. I keep pressing F5 to see the balance of responses.

DH is still at work - I think I will make some peppermint hot choc for when he gets in and if he's up to it, talk through his feelings some more.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Wed 05-Dec-12 22:53:15

It's really difficult for children of those sorts of parents to stand up for themselves. DH has a very emotionally manipulative mother and I think he appreciates me being there when she visits because a) he knows I'll back him up and b) she tends to be on her best behaviour when I'm around.

CleopatrasAsp Wed 05-Dec-12 23:23:17

I am totally against doing things that make you feel uncomfortable and I agree with you that FIL needs to learn that actions have consequences otherwise he will continue in the same vein in perpetuity.

You are already supporting your DH by letting him take DS to see the poisonous old goat. Personally, I wouldn't even be keen on that as I believe dysfunction bleeds from generation to generation until you put a stop to it. I think that the whole thing will end in tears again as people like this never change and continually push boundaries until you have to no option but to cut them off completely. When that happens you can support you DH by just being there for him, you don't have to actively encourage a relationship between him and FIL, just don't get in the way and be there to pick up the pieces when it inevitably all goes to pot.

squeakytoy Wed 05-Dec-12 23:30:20

I would say support your DH and show a united front. The important relationship here is that of you and your husband.

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 23:45:30

I'm really interested by the division of opinion and the strength of feeling on both sides.

DH is home so will bring it up gently and see if I can draw out what support he feels he needs - whether only my physical presence will do or whether being there for him before and afterwards is enough.

kiwigirl42 Thu 06-Dec-12 00:37:20

I wouldn't want him in my house. Can you meet him in a pub or something so you can leave as soon as you want. (My mum is similar tendencies so you have my sympathies)

My FIL has similar tendencies. I have him in the house, deal with him and all that but I am 'allowed' try to bloody stop me to call him on behaviours and pull him up on stuff that is unacceptable. I will support DH but will not lie, even by omission, about the acceptability of his behaviour. Would this work?

ThePoorMansBeckySharp Thu 06-Dec-12 02:32:29

I wouldn't be there.

He has said awful things to you and not apologised. By seeing him, you are tacitly accepting his actions. It's not a meater of supporting your DH, he should be supporting YOU in taking stand against his father's behaviour.

ThePoorMansBeckySharp Thu 06-Dec-12 02:32:47

matter, not meater!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now