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I feel like I want to kill my FIL

(15 Posts)
Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Jun-09 06:45:00

Bit of background - sorry this is long but I need to get it off my chest.

FIL was a shit in his younger days, shagged around throughout his whole marriage and eventually left MIL for a woman 20 years his junior. He was a rubbish and drunken father and used to belt DH, and massively favoured SIL.
MIL re-married FIL's younger brother - and they are v.happy. We have a really good relationship with them.

When DH's first marriage broke up FIL had DH to live with him and was generally a fantastic and supportive father. It did a lot to repair their relationship. This is the point where I arrived on the scene.

We've always had a good relationship with FIL. He had moderated his drinking pretty well and we all had some good times. Until xmas just gone when DH had a big falling out with SIL (whole other thread).
We decided that we didn't want to see SIL anymore, she is totally toxic and we felt we didn't want DS exposed to that as he got older. FIL has been trying to persuade/bully us into seeing her again 'for the sake of all the children' - she has 2 DD. We had allowed ourselves to be persuaded and had agreed to go to DN's birthday party this coming August.

Fast forward to this week. DH had been trying to call FIL and had no response to either a phonecall or text for over a week. He was getting a bit worried and texted SIL to see whether FIL had changed his number. 'No', came the reply 'he is upset with you for not making a fuss over uncle x's birthday'. Ie. his brother who is married to MIL.

Now bearing in mind that MIL and her husband wanted no fuss for his birthday (60th). They went on holiday by themselves, deliberately to a adult only place so that SIL couldn't invite herself along. We sent a card that got delayed in the post and so the birthday boy didn't get it until after they got back from their trip. This wasn't an issue for MIL, we are due to see them in a couple of weeks and have a pressie to take for step-FIL.

So we are stunned to say the least to discover that FIL has taken umbrage on his brother's behalf that the birthday card didn't arrive on time. He accused DH last night of lying and said that he didn't believe we had posted the card on time. This was all over text and there was other ranting about how DH is so useless, selfish, self-absorbed blah blah blah.
Now he wasn't drunk because he was at work, and he's a lorry driver. So WTF????? The only thing we can think at the moment is that a week spent drinking too much on holiday with SIL and listening to her drip drip malice about DH and I into his ear has turned him against us. As I said, SIL has always been his favourite - the bias has always been very clear and quite shocking to me looking in from outside.

Poor DH doesn't know what to think. His company are cutting 25% headcount and he's expecting an announcement any day. He has been looking for another job and has got an interview tomorrow and another next week, both of which are second interviews so things are looking promising. Having said that, with a huge mortgage and a baby things are scary and FIL knows this. So instead of being supportive what does he do? Invents a reason to have a go at DH and generally behave like a twat.

I am so fucking angry, I just want to go and shout at him and tell him that he can fuck off if he thinks he's having a relationship with his grandson after this.
Stupid fucking wankerous cunt. There. I feel better now I've said that.

Sorry for the rant blush

monkeypinkmonkey Wed 03-Jun-09 07:04:12

I'd tell your DH to try and focus on the inteviews etc. Then when all thats sorted deal with his dad. Is it easy for sil to influence fil, he is a grown man after all?
Hope you feel better after rant.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Jun-09 07:23:04

monkey - you wouldn't believe how easily SIL can influence FIL. He lives alone and spends a lot of his time off (weekends, holidays etc) with SIL and her family.
He will never admit that she is wrong about anything or that she is anything less than perfect. He pretty much does whatever she tells him to.

JustKeepSwimming Wed 03-Jun-09 07:51:53

Ali

1) get DH to focus on work stuff as much as poss, sounds like there could be upheaval, but maybe a good outcome if he can concentrate.

2) get him to absolutely confirm with MIL & step-Fil that they are fine, not just saying so to him but bitching to Fil.

3) see if he can meet his dad face-to-face, not this texting argument that can be misread. get them to sit down, and talk about it properly. once your dh knows 2) for sure then he can say not to be ridiculous to his dad.

sounds v stressful, hope rant helped!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Jun-09 08:05:43

Thanks JKS Yes the ranting has helped!

DH is doing better than me tbh - he is at his laptop now doing some 'revision' for tomorrow. He is calm and focused. It's why I needed to rant here, I don't want to wind him up when he is managing to stay calm. I just get so angry on his behalf when his family treat him badly, I see red.

You are right about confirming with MIL. We spoke to her yesterday evening (before this all kicked off) and she was fine - can normally tell if something is bugging her. I think I will get DH to call her again, but not until tomorrow after his interview.

crokky Wed 03-Jun-09 08:12:36

Your DH's family need to get a grip - a grown man getting silly over a birthday card being late for another grown man shockhmm.

It's unfortunate that you are caught in the middle of all this nonsence, especially when you have proper things to deal with. Therefore, in your position, I would take the shortest route to getting the peace back. Firstly, a card to stepFIL apologising that his card had got delayed in the post and congratulating him on his 60th again, include a photo or something and say that you'll be round with his present soon. Secondly a note in the post to FIL saying that it was not your intention to upset anyone and that you have send a further card and apology to step fil and will be round with his present shortly. Re your SIL being toxic - depending on how bad this is, I would keep in contact, have no rift, but see her as infrequently as possible.

What a prick your FIL is! He sounds totally pathetic!

wastingmyeducation Wed 03-Jun-09 09:28:07

What a nightmare Ali!

Agree with focussing on work and interviews, irrational FIL will still be there when the job worry has passed.

PlumBumMum Wed 03-Jun-09 11:04:21

Oh Ali, you know all about my problems with my dad, so I feel for your dh,
I understand your probably feeling worse than your dh, because my dh sees red when my family are mentioned just because he loves me and can't bear the thought of somebody hurting me, so I suspect you feel the same, you love your dh and can't understand why anyone would want to hurt him!

I think you need to ignore In-Laws, because you have your own family and your own worries, it is hard and it hurts like hell, all my trouble started when we moved and I thought does my family not realise we have so much on our plates at the min,
with all dd's appointments, taking on a massive mortgage and moving our business so dh can work at home [grr], and within 2 weeks of us moving house dh severed tendons in his hand, he was told not to work for 12 weeks, he went back to work after 3, not once did they ask how we were getting on?
No they were pissed that I hadn't went to see a house they had bought to rent out ffs!(breathe)

Anyway sorry this is about you, concentrate on your family and their happiness, and you know I'm here for a chat if you want!

WinkyWinkola Wed 03-Jun-09 11:11:33

Oh dear. What a horrible position to be in.

Do make sure all is well with your MIL and step-FIL first.

Then, if it is, you know exactly the source of the poison (I think you do already!) and I'd have a word with your FIL actually, telling her that your MIL and step-FIL don't have any problem with the card/present issue, so why on earth does he?

Point out to your FIL that your DH is having a very stressful time and that his childish rage about a birthday card and present is absolutely pathetic.

And I think your instincts about avoiding your SIL are correct. You don't need any extra toxins in your life. Sounds like you've got enough stress as it is.

alicecrail Thu 04-Jun-09 06:55:21

Poor you and DH sad

Sil sounds like a total bitch and your Fil like an idiot - sorry, i think that is inexcusable behaviour and you wouldn't expect a child to act like that.

Well done to your DH for staying quite calm and concentrating on his interviews. I am the same as you if someone is unfair to my DH and i get so cross on his behalf!

Fingers crossed for interviews, and i hope all of this gets sorted one way or another. Remember you don't owe these people anything and if you and DH don't want them in your life they don't need to be.

smile

mogwai Thu 04-Jun-09 09:09:22

I feel for you. Sounds as though your SIL is toxic (same pattern as my mum - drip dripping malice like ear drops) and your FIL is stupid enough to listen to her.

TBH I wonder at what point you just give up and leave them to it and get on with your own family?

Have you the energy to go on with them? I ran out of steam at Christmas after a lifetime of this sort of in-fighting.

It seems some families have one or two individuals who create disharmony in the right circumstances - for example, your SIL has the ability to create problems - which wouldn't wash in some families but she manages to be effective in YOUR family because of your FIL's personality and vunerability to being manipulated (as well as inability to see it).

My mother is just the same and sits in a very dysfunctional (and frankly, not very bright) family who have no idea they are being manipulated because they don't see through others' agendas. I don't know why she does it - why does your SIL do it? They have nothing to gain (unless in the case of your SIL she gains your FIL's favoritism).

In my mother's case she has lost her daughter and grandchildren (claims to be devastated about the latter) and all she has left is a brother (who can take or leave her).

I don't really buy into the "for the sake of the children" thing. I have agonised over this point and think, on balance, for the sake of MY children, I need them to grow up in a safe (psychologically) environment rather than thinking this sort of behaviour is normal (which it isn't). I need to break this pattern.

It's not easy to break it (and you and your DH must agree which is hard because it's HIS family) and you come under fire (well actually I don't - she just talks about me behind my back to people I have no contact with - I can live with that!).

We have surrounded ourselves with good friends and have supportive networks of people who have the intelligence to see the true situation and who all agree with our decision not to see these toxic individuals.

I hope this is some sort of help?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 04-Jun-09 11:20:54

Thanks for the replies everyone

We are feeling a lot calmer, have just not communicated with FIL. I'm sure it will all hit DH later once his interview is over, but hey ho.

Mogwai - that is exactly the problem. SIL isn't very bright, but she is cunning. FIL isn't very bright either and the lack of ability to be objective about anything rather than just reacting to things is really the basis of the problem.

SIL is very jealous of us. DH was married before and they all looked down on his wife as her family were from a horrid estate etc etc. SIL loved to feel superior.
Now that DH is with me, she can't feel that way - but because she is judging everyone else by her own standards she thinks that I and therefore DH are now looking down on his family which is not the case at all.

The 'for the sake of the children' line doesn't hold water with me either. SIL's DDs have other cousins who they don't see because SIL thinks that her husband's family are too common and she doesn't get any pressure to make an effort there.
DH and I have agreed that we don't want DS growing up with all this atmosphere around. I don't want him exposed to such a toxic family dynamic. We know that we need to make a choice about whether to continue contact with FIL and SIL, but it's hard for DH. I feel that the decision needs to come from him, I don't want him to feel that I've pushed him into it because that will only cause problems in our relationship further down the line.

I know that MIL would understand. Obviously there is no love lost between her and FIL and she doesn't like the way that SIL treats DH. She is a kind woman, but not strong so she won't stand up to her daughter.

We will see what happens, we are lucky to have good relationships with my family, immediate and extended, and good supportive friends - all of whom would think we had done the right thing by cutting out SIL and FIL.

mogwai Thu 04-Jun-09 11:56:56

Glad you're feeling calmer.

It's funny what you say about your SIL liking to feel superior.

My mum grew up on a council estate. They weren't poor but my grandad apparently kept the family short of money and spend his wages in the pub. My mum grew up feeling ashamed about a percieved lack of material things (such as fitted carpets) but looking back I don't think it was usual for people to have the things she was talking about anyway in the 1950s/1960s.

She subsequently developed a real need to acquire "stuff" and judges her position in life/society by how much "stuff" she has in relation to other people. For example, she judges people by the registration plate on their car or by whether or not they shop in Marks and Spencer; both of which I find quite amusung from a distance but it's hard to live with people who have those sorts of ideas.

In my mother's case, she has never managed to hold down a relationship and so has always had to rely on her own salary for "stuff", which means she's never really got what she wants or what she thinks other people have got.

She practically combusts when she sees me because (a) I have a good job and (b) I'm married to a hospital consultant - I mean - can you IMAGINE?

The thing I find heartbreaking is that she judges me and thinks I therefore judge her. She thinks I'm "posh" because of where I live or what I read and this spills over into resentment, which sounds a lot like your SIL.

OTOH, she looks down at members of our family who continue to live on the council estate (which I must admit has become much rougher over the years) and sneers about their taste in furniture or how their houses need a lick of paint or their kids need a bath (they are not dirty people, just have oridinary busy lives and are too busy to stick their beaks into other's business unlike my mother - who's house is immaculate because nobody ever visits and she has no interests or friends).

She cannot see that she is the only person in all of this who judges and sneers. She thinks everyone is the same nasty piece of work that she is.

They're just not very clever.

I used to work with a lady who was doing her counselling certificate and she gave me some lovely nuggets of advice. I've forgotten most of them but she used to describe these sorts of women as "washerwomen", which always made me smile. I would like to think I'm somehow above the sort of behaviour your SIL and my mother engage in and it does help me (bizarrely) to picture them literally washing sheets in laundries and gossiping idly while they work.

What I will not stand is for one of those washerwomen to have a negative impact on my life (I had 36 years of it already) or to have any impact on the wellbeing of my lovely children. I've worked too hard to provide a stable home life for someone to mess it up if I can help it.

It does sound as though you need to break away from them but you are wise in saying it needs to come from your DH. I hope he doesn't stand for much more of this rubbish and that you can find a peace away from these toxic, tragic individuals. Good luck.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Thu 04-Jun-09 18:34:16

Ali, hope FIL chills out and stops being an idiot. These family situations can be so difficult. Sounds like they are trying to make you guilty. Be strong!

HalfMumHalfBiscuit Thu 04-Jun-09 18:34:19

Ali, hope FIL chills out and stops being an idiot. These family situations can be so difficult. Sounds like they are trying to make you guilty. Be strong!

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