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to want to throttle FIL.(45 Posts)
This will be long. Best grab a brew if you feel like reading
DP's father is, basically, a bit mental and very very difficult. He brought DP up alone which is admirable but the issues he has always had have created major problems. Can only think of giving you a bulletpoint list rather than a long-winded essay.
1. FIL is a bitter, quite nasty man with a huge victim complex. The world is out to get him. Lots of failed ventures (never his fault). Has been sacked from many jobs and had 2 or 3 tribunals (which he's lost).
2. He is estranged from all his 7 siblings. Sees and talks to no-one but DP.
3. He expected DP to move back home after uni and fight all his imaginary battles with him. Instead DP met me and we've been together ever since (11 years).
4. FIL hates me. In fact, he hates all women. He got thrown off his teaching course because he refused to be mentored by a young successful female teacher . He was insufferably rude to me the few time I went home with DP at the start of our relationship. I don't bother with him anymore.
5. He sets DP imaginary deadlines and then spits the dummy when DP fails to meet them. For example, DP sent him a Father's Day card. It arrived the next day instead of on the day. DP wouldn't speak to him. It was an insult apparently.
6. FIL hates my family and hates DP spending time with my family. I can only guess because I have a
relatively normal, happy family who love DP and who think the world of DD and see her as much as they can.
7. He has ruined holidays and birthdays by sending bitter, hateful emails to DP about what a bad son he is.
8. When DD was born DP rang his father only to have his father put the phone down on him . DP then sent an email. All the reply did was insult DD's name .
Consequently DP gave up. DP was really heartbroken. About a year ago they got back in touch and DP has been taking DD back to visit him every few months. He didn't meet his only granddaughter till she was 2 and a half.
So now. It was DP's birthday on Saturday. His cards arrived on Friday. I put them on the hall shelf as we do with all post. FIL rings at 9am Saturday morning and asks if DP got his card. DP wanders to the hall and opens it. FIL goes mad that he hasn't already done this and is doing it on the phone .
Last night DP received another hateful, poisonous email accusing him of being a bad son. For the card and also because we're spending this Christmas with my family in Ireland (last one was 3 years ago when DD was 2 months old). He slagged me off a bit too for good measure.
What can I do to help DP? Quite honestly I think he'd be better off without this man in his life. I worry about his possible influence on DD. If I'm brutally honest, I have had thoughts in the past that DP's life would be easier if FIL just dropped dead some day. I know that's a horrible thing to think.
If anyone has made it to the end of this, thank you
Any advice would be desperately received.
Wow, I was all set to tell you off for describing him as "a bit mental" but he sounds vile. I would cut someone out of my life for less than this, so the only advice I can think of is to do that.
Sounds like you need the Susan Forward Toxic Parents book for DH to read. There is also one about toxic in laws.
I think all you can do is support your DP in realising that he doesn't owe this man anything and doesn't have to be manipulated by him. You can't make him see it, though, you can only boost his self esteem and show him how a healthy dynamic should be in a family. Try not to slag off his Dad too much, he knows what he is, it's just so bloody hard to divorce yourself from a parent even if they're an arsehole. We're programmed to love them regardless.
It's always dodgy to diagnose over the interwebs but sounds like a personality disorder. Possibly narcissistic. Your poor DP. Think he has to cut off contact and would he consider a couple of sessions with a counsellor? Can be helpful to hear that his dad's behaviour is unacceptable and not his fault from someone not involved. Either way you can't continue to let this abusive (because this is emotional abuse, no argument) man ruin every special occasion for your family, and keep poisoning your partner's happy memories and self confidence. And he will turn on your daughter before long, don't even doubt it.
Seconding the book suggestion too.
Thanks for not shouting at me Ken - was fuming as I was writing this.
Katisha - will order the Toxic Parents one now. Thank you.
Chickens - you're bang on. In the past I have been guilty of slagging him off to DP and this has just caused fights between us. I''m not going to allow FIL to affect our relationship like that.
suze - I agree that it's abuse. It may be sporadic but it's definitely emotional abuse. And NPD has crossed my mind on many occasions.
I might show DP this thread later. He really doesn't know what to do.
He sounds dreadful. The Toxic Parents book as entioned above would be a very good read for your DP. I really recommend you buying it for him.
How did your dp feel during the last period when contact was cut off? Did he feel a sense of relief? Your FIL sounds horrendous - no wonder his wife got the hell out of there (or was he widowed - I am so sorry). I don't suppose that there is a cat in hells chance of getting him to the GP because it doesn't sound like he is playing with the full deck (depression? MH issues?). Of course he just could be a nasty piece of work. If your dp doesn't want to cut contact, are you able to change the angle you see FIL from? What I mean is, might you be able to make a bit of a joke of the whole thing, eg oh no, here goes bonkers FIL again (eyes rolling, caper about in bonkers fashion). Difficult when the emails are so vicious but it might help to make him laugh a bit and privately thank goodness that he has such a fab dp in you.
I would show DP this thread actually. I think if he sees everything written down, it may help him really 'see' just how badly FIL is treating him and his family. I think there's a toxic parents thread in Stately Homes as well, that may be helpful?
It's being going on far too long and has far too negative an impact on DP and our family to just laugh it off Pixie.
There is a snowball's chance in hell of getting him to go to the GP. The man is incapable of following even a normal conversation. When DP rings him I hear DP say hello then he's silent for 5 or 10 minutes as he can't get a word in while FIL rants and raves.
I have to say that the period he wasn't in our lives was peaceful and calm compared to when he is. I think DP would (reluctantly) agree.
MIL left when DP was a toddler. She was very young and quite vulnerable and they got married (wrongly) because she was pregnant. FIL was awarded custody. DP now has a good (if not traditional mother/son) relationship with him Mum.
Playing devils advocate, it sounds like FIL hates himself, hates his life and has succeeded in driving everyone away who was ever close to him. Apart from DP. So now FIL vents his frustration on DP. We all use our nearest and dearest as punchbags every now and then but the difference is that relationships are made up of good times and bad times: there should be more good times than bad times so that people forgive each other. Your problem is that there seems to be no good time to counter the volley of abuse you're getting. You can either remain patient or try to get the man help (which he will refuse and then accuse you of very bad things). OR you can just cut the man out of your life. If you did that, how would you feel if you received a call saying that he'd died and only been discovered 6 weeks later?
as I said, I'm playing devil's advocate. My own view would be to say what the hell and change your phone number. But that's easier said than done and the man is DP's father after all.
My FIL is a very diluted version of what you describe. It's been very hard for me to see him be so ignorant towards his son. I've slagged his dad off, been furious with him actually. But I've changed tack. Now DD is here, I've let his dad fuck things up all by himself. No calls or contact whilst I was pregnant (despite this being a last chance, ICSI pregnancy following m/c and five years of infertility). Stupid comments over DD's name ("I've had to write it down. I don't get it". It's not an unusual name.) He's seen his DGD twice in 15 weeks. DH pushed for this contact. He turned up with £30 and some baby wipes.
He speaks to none of his family either. SIL dances around trying to get the family together for various occasions but it's a farce. He's ignorant and selfish. BUT I continue to support DH's desire to have contact with him. I support him when his dad fucks it up. The more he sees of my dad and the longer he is a father himself, the more he sees how unacceptable his own father's behaviour is. I think it's all you can do.
Really good luck with this. He sounds horrendous.
Wow Margaret your FIL sounds incredibly similar. Shit isn't it?
I agree with you about becoming a father. DP is such an amazing father. He utterly adores DD and values our wee family above anything else. I do think this makes him see how bizarre his Dad's behaviour is.
Congratulations on your new wee DD btw
I am SO sorry Bunny I didn't at all mean to belittle it by suggesting you would be able to laugh it off. I can quite see that it is a heartbreakingly ghastly situation. I was just wondering if the advice that I see so often on MN about not being able to change them but being able to change yr reaction to them might be useful. But I quite see it is not - it has gone on far too long for that.
Your FIL really does sound like he has mental health problems but, since he won't get help and he is having such a terrible effect on your family, I'd say you need to cut him out. I am thrilled to hear that your dp has found a good relationship with his mother - at least he has one parent he can be close to.
It must be horrible for you to see your DH treated so badly OP. I used to have someone like this in my life and tbh the only solution to protect me and my family was to cut contact. People like that don't change and he's going to carry on being nasty and poisonous for as long as your DH allows him.
I don't say this lightly, but having been in a similar position my advice to your DH would be to cut all ties.
Don't apologise Pixie. I wasn't offended . Thank you for your advice.
I suppose ultimately he's a lonely man and I should feel a shred of empathy for him. But I truly truly don't.
I've seen him do too much damage. And the frequents insults about me and my family don't exactly help!
Tailtwister I really think you're right about him doing this forever. People like him don't change. For a start, he doesn't think he's in the wrong (another charming character trait: a complete inability to accept culpability).
If I'm honest, I agree with you. But I understand how hard it is for DP to consider cutting him out. As Chickens said, he's his Dad - he's programmed to love him regardless of behaviour.
Gosh how awful for your family - I sympathise. This man sounds very miserable in his entire life. I would find it very hard to deal with this.
You might get a more useful response in Relationships particularly as it's quite sensitive subject matter?
He sounds dreadful. Regarding the emails - he is clearly very brave on emails and is letting off steam on them. Can your dh ask him to stop sending if it's. His work address as Companypolicy is no emails not work? If its home emails, tell him you have a new email address which is bunny and x etc and it's joint. Set it up for his mails only. You can read them and ignore them so your dp is not subjected to it. Delete any mails direct to dp.
Woud that help filter the vitriol?
My father is similar. Not abusive towards DH (well, dad isn't) but every cliche of long standing alcoholic out there. The wicked stepmother is similarly toxic. It's hard to remain involved or completely cut ourselves off from it as he is my dad. What has helped me is to repeat the mantra 'they choose to live like this.' over and over again.
What would happen if you pulled him up on his behaviour? Have you ever did it?
Not that the above posts aren't useful -
It's just that they are very clever on the touchy subjects over there .......
Not a bad idea *Lavender.
Not to drip feed but your post has reminded me. Along with last night's email, he forwarded one that he has written but not sent back in 2009. When things were at their worst.
DP hasn't read it. I can only imagine the vitriol it contains.
Thanks HipHop. Will re-post.
Recovering from flu + irrational anger at FIL = completely forgetting about the existence of Relationships
*When DP rings him I hear DP say hello then he's silent for 5 or 10 minutes as he can't get a word in while FIL rants and raves.
MIL left when DP was a toddler.*
Exactly the same, well MIL left a bit later. She was having an affair I can't blame her for. FIL's main topics of 'conversation' are generally:
1. What's your salary?
2. How much tax do you pay?
3. How much is your mortgage? What's your house worth?
4. How much was your car?
5. Have you seen SIL's holiday plans/extension/car/rental properties/new bathroom
despite the fact she doesn't work and married man with inheritance and well paid job?
He's an arse. It always really impresses me when people with fucked up parents go on to be brilliant parents themselves. I'm sure that'll be the case with our DHs. It's hard to go through but I think being as supportive as possible, listening and respecting the choices they make is key.
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