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Not sure what to - in laws

(5 Posts)
whitehousemum Sat 07-Oct-17 13:41:49

Hi everyone! I'm a long time lurker and 30 weeks pregnant so thought I would actually join in! I'm looking for some advice. This is a long post.

I have a serious problem with my FIL. I've always found him hard to be around as he is irrational and very short-tempered. Recently, I've realised that what he puts his family through is emotional abuse - he constantly puts DH and SIL down, and the things he says to my MIL are terrible. He will never give a straight answer to a straight question. He has very strong opinions about things and will often air them, but they appear to be directed at us - he does not approve of the kind of people that do our job (DH and I both work in the same profession as freelancers, after years of study), he doesn't like people from the country that I am from, and he doesn't like women. He will not observe any instructions given to him over his grandchildren if delivered by a woman (sometimes creating danger for them). His behaviour has become more erratic over the past few years, and most recently he has taken my MIL's car - she does not feel comfortable driving his and is disabled, so effectively this has left her housebound and unable to go anywhere without him. I find this very hard to witness.

My DH and I have recently moved much nearer to them - although I have been concerned about FIL since making the decision, we couldn't afford to work as freelancers where we were living before and our petrol costs were astronomical. Since moving here a month ago we have been lucky enough that we have been offered more work than we can take on, our petrol costs have gone way down and the cost of living is lower so we aren't constantly struggling. It has been nice to see MIL more too. However, DH and his family's way of dealing with FIL has been to tiptoe around and go along with whatever he says or does.

Six months ago, at the beginning of my pregnancy I was in a car accident (before I knew about baby). I had concussion for two months, plus morning sickness, and was managing to work part-time but not at normal capacity. We stayed with the in laws because we were exhibiting our business at an event nearby to boost our work in the area. After the first day of the exhibition I started bleeding and had to spend seven hours in A&E at night - I thought I was having a MC. Luckily I wasn't but didn't know until a few days later when I had a scan. After we got back from hospital I had three hours sleep before I had to get up. Because I was still bleeding, very tired and recovering from concussion DH just went to the exhibition with another member of staff so I could rest. The whole day I was berated for not being at work by FIL, and when DH got back he asked him if I had lost DH money by not attending. This was (almost) the final straw with FIL for me. A few weeks later he almost killed our dog several times by allowing him to run out onto main roads (because I had told him how he should be walked he did the opposite) - I don't let him near the dog any more. Then, a couple of days ago I was trying to find out what he thought about our washing machine - we have been having issues finding somebody to plumb it in, and he had looked at it. He refused to answer any questions, just laughing at me and saying he didn't know and he would talk to my DH about it. I just wanted to know what he thought to find out if I needed to spend the next day phoning plumbers. In the end he told me to go to hell and just looked so angry I was quite frightened. I left as soon as I could. I want nothing more to do with him at all, and I don't want my child around him to witness how he treats people - I believe it is psychologically unhealthy for a child to witness that. No members of his family will confront him, they just go along with what he does and says, to the detriment of everybody. I can't do that because I have never witnessed behaviour like it. I'm at the end of my tether because I don't want to cause problems for DH and would never stop him seeing FIL, but I don't know what to do about this baby. Thanks if you have made it this far!

Butterymuffin Sat 07-Oct-17 13:44:37

How did your DH react to being asked if your illness had lost him money? Or any of these other things? If he isn't challenging it you have, as they say on here, a DH problem and need a serious boundary-setting talk with him.

whitehousemum Sat 07-Oct-17 13:48:42

DH has been brought up to keep the peace and at the time didn't say anything. However, more recently he has been more confrontational with his Dad - telling him he can't let our dog run onto the road (although he did it again so we just took the dog away) and yesterday told him he is not allowed to shout at me, so we are having progress. The difficulty is that if anybody winds FIL up MIL gets it, so I just feel like it's walking on eggshells all the time.

BewareOfDragons Sat 07-Oct-17 13:50:37

Where is your DH in this?

whitehousemum Sat 07-Oct-17 13:56:01

He's very torn. I think he feels completely caught in the middle between two very strong people - nobody has ever challenged FIL before so when I started doing it initially he asked me why I couldn't just go along with it like they all did. It has taken a few years, but labelling it emotional abuse has been helpful, and he now states that he can see this is not normal behaviour, but doesn't want to end up cut off from the rest of his family, particularly MIL, who we are both concerned about. He has recently started to stand up for me to FIL, but I don't think he understand how concerned I am that DC might witness the behaviour and how damaging it might be. I might add I am a psych student and have worked for Childline so have an understanding of how damaging this can be and have no intention of him ever being around my daughter. I can just see how much pain this is causing DH, but at the same time now we have another human to protect I think I am less willing to let things slide.

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