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Advise needed Regarding FIL

(14 Posts)
Aeschylus Mon 22-Jun-09 09:45:57


I could really do with some outside perspective on a issue I am watching at home...

My DW has a very one sided relationship with him, it started ever since he re-married, as a teenager my DW was a handful, she admits that, but she did not get on with her StepMother at all...

it ended up with DW doing to live with her Mum, however when she left she forgot her diary, her dad found said diary, read it, and it contained very negative opinions on his new wife..

on to today, DW is desperate to have a nice relationship with her Dad, he often seems indifferent, we have a DS 15 months old, here dad lives 20 miles away, been over once!

DW was never allowed to go to her dads, as stepmother did not want to see her, this has cooled slightly, and it is icy civil at best.

whenever DW see her dad, she cries, as she really wants him to be more involved in her life.

her dad has a lot closer relationship with DW's sister...

cue this Saturday, we drove 3 hours to a party her dad had organised for the "whole" family, he spoke to DW once, did not come and see his grandson at all, we stayed for 5 hours, could see DW getting more and more upset, so I insisted we leave...

yet again, I am picking up the pieces from a father who seems to not really care, it felt like DW was invited out of duty, rather than want.

I keep saying to DW talk to him tell him how you feel, she wont as last time she did he stopped speaking to her for 2 years.

I have had enough of this asshole treating my DW like this, he needs a few home truths....

so why I need you..

I am sitting here thinking of going into my wifes email, getting his email address and letting him know exactly what I think of him, and the way he treats my DW....

there is so many more examples of him being a complete tool to my DW, but it would fill a book

I appreciate it is not nice to read such nasty things written about you and new wife, but it was 14 years ago.......

is this a bad move, my DW will be very cross, but I can not help thinking it needs saying...

please what should I do?

thisisyesterday Mon 22-Jun-09 09:49:35

u shouldn't do thst, it will mean she has no chance of a erlationship0 with hm ever, and that clearly isn't what she wants.

i would try agan to get her to talk to him. or maybe talk to him yourself if you think you can do so civilly. i think you neeed to take the moral high-ground here. i know you feel angry with him, but you need to stay calm and be nice because ultimately you want a good outcome from this. not to cause møre upset

perhaps she would consider writing to him if she can't face a conversation?

Aeschylus Mon 22-Jun-09 09:51:43

she wrote 14 letters 3 years ago, on the 14th letter he replied, as DW issued a warning of her stopping any contact if he did not reply...

he replied with "sorry been busy"

Katisha Mon 22-Jun-09 09:51:51

If you do contact him you need to do it in measured and non-confrontational terms otherwise it will give him the excuse to stop contact again.

You would probably need not to make it an angry missive telling him a few home truths because, satisfying as it would be, it would probably defeat the object and make him shut down all communication.

So, and I know this goes against the grain of how you currently feel, you would need to bite the bullet and send something conciliatory saying something like after 14 years of difficulty could we bury the hatchet as DW would dearly love to be a part of your life again and for DCs to have a real relationship with their grandfather. Say something like can bygones be bygones and can we start again.

I really think that storming in with criticisms, however much you want to, will be counter-productive. You need to be a bit more zen about it all...

(And I speak as someone who has learnt this sort of thing the hard way...)

Aeschylus Mon 22-Jun-09 09:54:07

Tryst me I have a whole Iteniery of shocking behaviour on his part...

my DW when younger had to be dropped off by her mum on a different street, as she was not allowed to stop outside their property

helsbels4 Mon 22-Jun-09 09:55:31

I certainly don't think you should go into her private emails or anything like that but I agree that maybe your dw could write a letter to her father detailing absolutely everything regarding the situation from the past to the present day.

I think that if you are to talk to him then you need to do it face to face and not via an email. You need to stay calm and in control and explain to him how his wife is being torn apart from the situation.

My mum did this about eight years ago when I had a huge bust-up with the ils and it very nearly broke up my marriage. My mum called a meeting with them (unbeknown to me) and it did clear the air to some degree.

You have to be prepared for either a backlash from your dw though for going behind her back (on the other hand, she may thank you) or a showdown with her father. That's the gamble though I suppose.

helsbels4 Mon 22-Jun-09 09:56:31

Sorry, x-posts about the letter. Maybe that's not an option then!

Wordweaver Mon 22-Jun-09 10:03:19

Sounds like a really difficult situation, Aeschylus, sorry you are going through it. Must be very hard to see your dw so upset.

I think that it's completely understandable that you want to do something about this. You're her partner and you protect each other.

However, I think that to go about it in the way you suggest may not be constructive, for several reasons.

For most people, when we are criticised or perceive someone as attacking us, we become defensive. It takes someone very close to us or in a position of wisdom/power such as a counsellor to be able to give criticism without causing a defensive reaction. The chances are that you will antagonise your fil and make him even less inclined to build a relationship with your dw.

Your role in this situation is (I'm guessing?) first and foremost to support your dw. By throwing yourself into the fray, you stop being a support to her and start being an active participant. As frustrating as it must be, perhaps it's more important right now to be there for her rather than to vent your frustrations.

You say that emailing your fil would make your dw very cross. I think that as it's her father, you need to put her feelings first. She's already upset - you say you know this will make her feel worse, not better. Therefore telling your fil what you think of him is more for your benefit than hers . . . not the kind of support she needs.

You can't change people. You can't make him see things differently, and you can't stop your dw feeling upset about it. I would try to help her focus on the fact that she has you and she has a lovely son - a happy and supportive family unit. Many people have difficult relationships with their parents, so she's not alone in that, and she's lucky in that she has you to support her. For your own sake, you should remember that too. He's the one missing out.

Sorry, really long reply! But basically I think that unless you are good friends with him, telling him home truths is only going to create more trouble.

Katisha Mon 22-Jun-09 10:05:57

The thing about having a whole itinerary of shocking behaviour is that he is pretty unlikely to suddenly apologise for it all is he? He has got into a self-righteous habit of behaving like this and feels himself the victim.

So if it's a showdown you want - fine, but that will probably be the end of it.

If it's reconciliation you want, then you have to move a lot more carefully and given that he ignores letters then it's going to have to be face to face and calm.

Katisha Mon 22-Jun-09 10:08:12

This is a book about toxic parents that a lot of people on here have found helpful.

Katisha Mon 22-Jun-09 10:09:52

Same author has done one about in-laws

PM73 Mon 22-Jun-09 10:35:57

Dont go behind your dw's back & send emails to her dad,that would make her feel very undermined.

I would have a sit down talk this evening with her & just say it upsets you to see her so upset & how does she want to handle the situation.

It is entirely your wifes decision on how she wants to handle her dad,all you can do is be there for her.

Her dad sounds a complete twonk too.

HolyGuacamole Mon 22-Jun-09 11:26:02

Totally agree, don't go behind her back with the emails, she could see you as being the bad one. The father would have the chance to say "your DH said this to me, he said that to me" and TBH I wouldn't let him use you as being a reason for him to behave like a twat and further complicate the situation.

It is easy to see why you would be angry with him and why you feel you want to give him a verbal kick up the arse, but it won't do you or your wife any good.

Your wife will come to her own decisions regarding her father. Her father will probably never change and it may take her a long time to realise that. She might eventually come to the conclusion that she would rather accept him the way he is than not have him in her life.

There is nothing you can do to solve this for her. The best you can do is just be there and be supportive whilst trying to reserve your anger.

mumsiebumsie Mon 22-Jun-09 11:46:43

I think you should have a face to face meeting with the FIL. Man to man so to speak - so easy for him to hide behind emails and letters.

Start by laying out the issue (without placing blame) and then ask if the FIL wants to resolve things? If he says "yes" - then you can start a dialogue detailing that DW knows she was wrong and is sorry. She was young and immature and loves her father and wants to have relationship with him. In turn she feels hurt by when he did such and such...

However - if he says "no" then there's your answer - some parents just aren't worth it and your DW unfortunately may have to deal with that.

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