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.

Toxic FIL (long please bear with me)

(18 Posts)
startingmylifeagain Wed 24-Feb-16 16:54:28

I have a lot of resentment and dislike towards FIL and I hate the way DH is still afraid of him on a subconscious level.

FIL is an alcoholic who decided it was a good idea to start beating and kicking both his sons from an early age (DH says his earliest memory is being punched in the back because he broke a cup). He and his brother were pushed around on a daily basis whilst FIL drank.

Physical abuse is one thing. Mental and emotional abuse is another. FIL was a fan of all three.
DH was told constantly that he was ugly, unloveable, and stupid. He was told that he was a failure as a son. He was told that FIL was ashamed of him. He was told that he was a "destroyer" eg.clumsy and broke things a lot through nervousness, and that he was "cackhanded" and stupid.
FIL once shoved him against a wall and DH ran up to him, crying, and tried to cuddle him and said "stop, dad" and was rewarded with a drunken punch in the mouth.

DH's little sister was born and when she was 6 she was sexually abused by one of FIL's friends whilst he was passed out drunk upstairs and his little daughter was downstairs alone with his friends.
After FIL cheated on DH's mum, they divorced and DH went to live with his mum. He moved out when he was 17 and met me a short while later.

We've been married several years now and I love my husband so much. He has been through a horrible childhood and has some demons as a result but is a remarkably sane and loving husband despite his upbringing.
He once told me he hated his dad (especially for letting his sister being sexually abused as a child) but he also loves him and has never stopped hoping he will reciprocate that love.
FIL isn't bothered. We live in the same town as FIL and his new wife. Every time we bump into them FIL is cold and abrupt. He constantly talks about himself. Never asks how we are or how his son is.
He's racist and unpleasant to be around. The rare times he's been in our house he makes racist comments about news items or uses foul language. I've told him to stop but he doesn't.
He still openly sneers at DH and calls him clumsy, cackhanded etc.
DH says he's no longer afraid of his father but when they're together his shoulders hunch, he stares at his feet and he stammers and stutters. It's obvious to me that he is subconsciously afraid and he is totally regressing back to that frightened 10-year old.

My question is, I have so much resentment towards FIL. I've been crying writing this. I hate him for what he's done to my DH.

I want to confront him but what good would it do? I once bumped into FIL at the local pub and he bought me a pint. Over drinks he slurred that he knew he'd "been a shit father" and he wouldn't blame DH if he never forgave him.

Me and DH are very happy and very in love. But it seems that I have the main issue with his dad. I don't want him in our house or even our lives.
It's not my decision though,right?

Sorry for the bloody essay.

anonacfr Wed 24-Feb-16 17:03:57

You poor thing.

I thought my FIL was bad but this is something else.

What does your DH want to do? Reading this I would think he would be better off no contact but it sounds like he 'needs' his dad.
It's a very tough situation that has to be addressed if you are planning on children.
Don't have him in your house though. You don't need to put yourself through it.

pocketsaviour Wed 24-Feb-16 17:22:12

First of all, yes you can take the unilateral decision to not let him over the threshold.

You can also decide not to have him in your life.

Your DH ultimately needs to be the one to decide not to have him in his life.

Any chance of you moving away?

startingmylifeagain Wed 24-Feb-16 17:31:26

Thanks for the replies.
DH doesn't want to go NC. I have struggled to understand why but have accepted that he still loves his dad and also doesn't want to make things awkward for the rest of the family.
If he decided he wanted to go NC then I would 100% support him.

We don't want to move away as we love our home and our town. We are happy here and have great jobs, dear friends.
It is a rare thing that we bump into his dad, (I'd say on average we see him about once every 2 months) but each time we do, I'm overcome with rage and resentment towards him, I also despise the racist comments he seems to enjoy spewing.

schlong Wed 24-Feb-16 19:48:24

I'm presuming you have no dc yet? If/when you do then your poor dh will have to go completely NC with this hideous abuser.

startingmylifeagain Thu 25-Feb-16 08:56:18

We have no children but are TTC.
If/when we have children FIL will have extremely limited or no access to them

DorynownotFloundering Thu 25-Feb-16 09:03:52

Would your DH go to counselling with you? If he had his fears validated and as given tools to deal with his confusion he may be able to go NC which it sounds like he needs.
Given you see little of FIL I would quietly go NC by just not arranging anything or being busy when family do's are being planned, no drama or big announcement just let the bastard slip out of your lives.

Cheesybaps Thu 25-Feb-16 09:29:24

flowers Where is DH's Mum in this picture?

Whatdoidohelp Thu 25-Feb-16 09:33:14

The issue is that your dh seems to have some desperation to hang on to the very limited relationship they have.

What happens when you have children? Does your dh agree that he will have very limited interaction with them? Won't that just create more problems?

I think your dh needs counselling and help to go NC. His disgusting excuse for a father has ruined his life and you need to make sure he doesn't have any access to do the same to grandchildren.

tribpot Thu 25-Feb-16 09:37:04

Your DH does need counselling to address the problems his childhood has left him with. Seeking the approval of an abuser and an addict is not healthy. Putting the need for the appearance of family harmony above his own emotional needs is not healthy either.

That said, I can't see how it would make things awkward in the family to cut this guy off. You can't be seeing him very often, surely? Are there family occasions when your DH and his siblings are expected to trot out and act happy with the guy who punched and kicked them and/or was an accessory to their sexual abuse? Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I would tell your DH you don't want his father in your house. That you can't make him stop seeing his father out of it but you won't have him there. I would strong encourage him to seek out counselling - there is some information here.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 25-Feb-16 09:37:22

Your DH has certainly many of the characteristics associated with adult children of alcoholics. Many are extremely loyal to a parent even though that loyalty is not at all warranted. He also has a lot of fear, obligation and guilt towards his dad.

Ultimately you need to be in no contact at all with FIL; certainly do not let your children when you have them see him.

I was also wondering where your DH's mother is, do they have a relationship these days?.

Would your DH be willing to read "Adult children of Alcoholics" written by Janet G Woititz. It may be a good starting point for him.

Would he also be willing to attend Al-anon meetings; those could also help your DH as well.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 25-Feb-16 09:38:49

Would he read this book if you got it for him.
He certainly needs some counselling/therapy.
With his background he should be able to get this via his GP.

He doesn't actually LOVE his father. How can he after everything he has put him through?
It's FOG he is in (Fear Obligation Guilt).
Get him to google it and read up on it because that is where he is.
Any person who was brought up in a 'normal' home will never understand why your DH wants to remain in contact with his father.
I know I wouldn't but then I've never been where your DH is right now.

Google, read up, and get some counselling.
That's where I would start with him.

PragmaticWench Thu 25-Feb-16 09:43:35

The Freedom Programme is often suggested on here for people who have been in an abusive relationship, of any kind. It might be worth looking into for your DH?

PragmaticWench Thu 25-Feb-16 09:44:49

I say that because you're not going to change your FIL's behaviour.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 25-Feb-16 09:45:25

The Freedom Programme is run by Womens Aid and is usually for Women who have been in abusive relationships.
It could be a good starting point to talk to them and see if there is an equivalent for men?

schlong Thu 25-Feb-16 09:52:01

OP when you conceive and go on to have your dc please do not under any circs let this violent neglectful fucker have ANY access to them.

Your dh doesn't love his f. He feels indebted obliged and guilty. That's how unloved unwanted offspring feel towards their toxic parents. That burden of pain and guilt must not be passed on to the next generation. You've got the right idea. Help your dh to get it too.

Your fil should've gone to prison for beating up his children and enabling his dd's sexual abuse. I hope she's NC with him.

startingmylifeagain Thu 25-Feb-16 10:03:59

Thanks all.

I'm new on the subject of FOG and am going to read up about it, also the Freedom programme.
You're right, DH still feels a measure of fear coupled with obligation to "be a son" and still "see" his dad, despite the bad memories and psychological scars. He also feels guilt when he talks badly of his dad (even though FIL deserves it 100fold).....is this the FOG cycle? Am I understanding it right?

DH's mum is living alone in another town and is embittered and suffers with depression. She also despises her ex for the cheating, violence, enabling her daughter to be abused.

DH's sister has had counselling and has apparently come to terms with it, although she won't report it to the police and she rarely sees her dad.
He hardly sees any of his kids and tells anyone who listens (through a can of Stella) what a"shit father" he's been. Self self self.

startingmylifeagain Thu 25-Feb-16 17:31:20

Am doing some research into getting DH to look at the Freedom programme.

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