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God I'm dreading today.(70 Posts)
Don't want to go into too much detail in case I out myself, but I have to go to this big event later today with my ILs and I'm dreading it.
FIL is a bully, a horrible, nasty bully, and I promised myself after the last time I saw them (when he pushed me out of his way in my house) that I wasn't going to tolerate it anymore. But today is a big deal for DH and his family, and I don't want to make a scene or upset anyone, either.
He's likely to be worse than normal today, as he's not great in social situations and reacts by becoming more (emotionally) aggressive, and I seem to be his victim of choice. MIL just makes excuses for him - "oh that's just his way, he doesn't mean anything by it" - and DH is too scared of confrontation (and, I suspect, of FIL) to do anything.
I know I could just not go, but DH will take DD anyway, and I don't want her being around them without me. I'm going to just try and keep my head down and concentrate on looking after her, hoping he'll leave me alone. But I really am dreading it.
I think that your policy is the best one for now. In addition, try to improve ties with the rest of the family. That way if FIL spits the dummy, you can still have family contact without him knowing.
Keeping each section if family segregated and contact going through PIL helps to give FIL power as he can bottleneck relationships. Just side step him as much as possible, and only attend functions where there are enough people to dilute his influence.
Because they think they own you, you are their property (to do with what they like). People like that have no idea where they end and other people begin, no comprehension of boundaries, sensitivity, appropriate info etc.
I'd be fucking LIVID iiwy
No, not really, as I say I kept of their way as much as possible, mingled with the nicer members of the family when I wasn't chasing DD.
DH and I were slightly surprised to find out they've already told all their friends that I'm pregnant again, even though I'm still in the first trimester and we haven't even told my family (apart from DM) and our friends yet, but in hindsight I don't know why I'm surprised. It's entirely in character for them.
YY to springysofa - definitely think about the Freedom Programme.
Glad you got through it OK - any juicy tidbits to throw us?
It sounds as though you handle FIL very well, but it is going to get harder as your children grow up and FIL tries to whip them into line which makes it important to have a fall-back position if the status quo can't be maintained.
One things strikes me: that you see it as inevitable your DH would lose his family if he fell out with FIL. That seems to be a key factor in stopping him standing up to his father. Is it really the case though? If your DH works to foster contact with his siblings and their families that doesn't go through his parents, couldn't that continue even if there were an estrangement with FIL? Worth a thought.
Yes, agree with springy.
You need dh on board with you one way or another.
If he absolutely won't accept there is anything wrong then it is going to put a severe strain on the marriage as the dc grow up.
My mum who is the enabler of my dad's abuse likes to use my dc to prove my dad is not abusive because she doesn't want to admit it to herself. You don't want to end up in this position with dh so I can see why you may not want to go in all guns blazing but you can't just allow them to carry on with this and put your dc in that environment.
Pushing someone and making it look like an accident is a well known abusive tactic, cruel physical abuse combined with psychological to mess with your head and make you unable to complain because you'll look crazy.
Perhaps your husband could do the Freedom Programme. I'm not kidding, he'd recognise a lot there. You probably came into the family, all healthy and bouncy, and FIL saw in an instant that you 'needed to be tamed'. That's why you're the target, he hasn't achieved it with you - unlike the other family members who have
been forced fallen into line.
The thing about not seeing him except at events is that you're a sitting duck, unable to make a fuss at the relentless put-downs etc because you'd be 'spoiling' it for the person whose event it is. So there you are, nailed to a cross so they - the family, who enable this shit - can play contentedly. Utterly miserable. I relate to you not being able to speak when he pushed you - the attacks are so outlandish you are left speechless. That's the nature of bullying imo, it takes you so much by surprise, comes from nowhere and is so out there you don't know what to say (then beat yourself up that you didn't protect yourself..).
What a disgusting man
Definitely battle with him a bit, call him out at every chance. Show him women aren't the weaker sex and that you can't be belittled!
I used to deal with a very rude person. I found that if you say 'fuck you' very quickly while smiling it sounds like 'thank you' but makes you feel a whole lot better!
So you say things like 'Fuck you for your comments / opinion / input' etc.
And if they query it you just give a horrified 'of course not! I said thank you!' whilst chuckling inwardly.
This is just going to get worse though, isn't it. Your daughter is 2, there's another on the way (then maybe more?). They're going to grow up and they'll see with clarity the way he behaves - especially towards you. It may be hard for DH to face the family toxicity but you can't be the sacrificial lamb - by extension, your children will be sacrificed, too, and that can't happen. The big stop in this is your husband, he has to face this. it may 'break his heart' to face the denial he's entrenched in but there we go, he wouldn't be the first. I'm not being heartless, I know this journey. So much gets banked up in the quest to cover it up, so many victims.
I remember your kitchen thread. I'm glad the day didn't go as badly as you feared.
He said yes to that ask again then next time, when he says, "yes" give him thee look and say, "Well aren't you just lovely" then walk away from him.
I do hope that one day he asks you /--demands to know-- why he isn't permitted to visit your house, so you can take great pleasure in saying 'because, as you have admitted, you are deliberately rude, which is unpleasant, and I don't want people like you in my house'. Sweet smile.
next time he's rude "Why do you feel so threatened by me FIL that you have to be so ?"
MIL just sort of clucked and said "oh, FIL, don't torture Ruth. Ruth, just ignore him, you know what he's like." DH and his siblings just sort of rolled their eyes in a "typical dad, off again" sort of way.
He glories in his bad behaviour, and it's normal to them. It's treated like some big family joke that I just don't get.
It's not that it's just banter and I'm having a sense of humour family. My family take the piss out of each other all the time, and you're expected to give as good as you get. But with us it's done with fondness and affection and you can tell that it is.
With FIL it's cruel, and designed to bring you down and make you doubt yourself. I don't think it's a coincidence that all off his kids are clever, successful people who nonetheless all manage to have low self-confidence and self-esteem.
That's one of the reasons I want to keep DD away from him. She's already showing all the signs of a strong-willed, confident and independent personality. All characteristics he loathes, especially in women, and which I will not let him bully out of her as he's tried to do with me.
Perhaps the next time you should ask "why are you being rude to me?" would be very interesting to hear is response...
He said yes?! Wow, what a charmer!
Good job you don't have to see him every weekend. What an arsehole.
How old is he? No chance of him departing this mortal coil anytime soon?!
Just seen this Ruth - glad it went ok. I totally understand where you're coming from & it seems like you can handle him, so that's the main thing. Glad your DH agrees with not ever having him in your house again.
I agree with those that say to completely disengage when in his company & love the 'sorry, I wasn't listening' response. I also think that over time your DH will come to see just how wrong his family are when he can see normal familial interaction without fear or anger - that just might take a while unfortunately & will be a sad realisation for him when it does happen.
Stay strong & all the best with the new baby
Sorry, I did not at all mean it sound like I was having a go at you with the self respect comment. I've had similar personal issues and still deal with them. My cousins. I've gone no contact with one and minimal contact with the others and it works for me.
He's said that in front of your DH? and there's been no challenge?
TheBookOfRuth, I'm glad yesterday went ok for you. You said that you only have to see them a few times a year so I hope that's not too far in the future.
I have no problem with self-respect, thank you. I know I'm awesome.
And actually, I have tried asking him, in front of the family, if he meant to be so rude.
He said yes.
I'm sure I've read somewhere on mn advice to kids on how to deal with bullies.....why don't we adults follow that advice?
The next time he's rude to you say: 'That was very rude, did you mean to be so rude to me' in a calm but loud voice and look at him straight within earshot of your DH or anyone other than your MIL (so she cant minimise it). If he pushes you away, say: 'Sorry, that isn't nice, did you mean to push me like that?' again in a calm but loud voice.
I wouldn't be able to respect myself or think I'm setting any kind of example to a dc (I don't have kids) if I cant stand up to bullies. And there is only one way to deal with them, by 'calling' their behaviour.
Sorry I came to this late. I have been in similar situation. I was never happy for DH to take our daughter to see his DM without me. Not because he wouldn't protect her but because he had come to see his mother's behaviour as normal.
I agree you have more control if you visit them, because you can leave at any moment you choose.
Sounds as though you've done v. well in coping with him
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