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AIBU

to exclude my son-in-law

(20 Posts)
Jackie39 Sat 02-Jul-11 13:35:40

Please bear with me .. this is a bit lengthy ..... When my daughter announced that she was going to marry my son-in-law I was thrilled - I thought he was a lovely bloke - I was wrong.

After enduring 17 years of his misbehaviour in my house of which there are too many incidents to mention but which culminated in his locking my youngest grand-daughter who was 7 at the time, outside my house in the dark because she was making too much noise, I had finally reached the end of my tether.

Then last year after 6 months of watching my daughter suffer from depression and even lose the confidence to drive down to see us and the bullying of his children increasing, it came to light that he had been having an affair for 7 months with a work colleague.

What followed was the usual heartache and tears - they had many discussions and during one he admitted to my daughter that he had always behaved badly in my house because he was jealous of our closeness. We have never had an apology. In fact from the day he was found out I have had no further contact with him and he is now banned from our house and to me and my husband and eldest daughter, no longer exists. My two young grand-daughters 11 and 14 were told by their father about his affair, which I thought was terribly wrong. I have never discussed this with them and do not mention their father to them and they don't often mention him to us although would of course never bad-mouth him to them. My daughter has decided to stick by him (aahhhhhh) but at least now brings the children to visit by herself.

I know some will think I am unreasonable but to watch your own daughter and grand-children being hurt is heartbreaking.

I would be interested to hear from anyone in a similar position - even opposing views!

Thanks.

Joan Sat 02-Jul-11 13:51:43

I've not been in this position myself, but I don't see any problem as you are still close to your daughter and grandchildren. He hurt them, he betrayed them, and he knows you know it, so I'm pretty sure he would not want to come anyway. I think you are doing everything right, especially in never mentioning him to the grandchildren.

My husband had a violent stepfather back in the late 1940s. This apology for a man was not only banned from the parents' house, where my husband ended up living from age 4, no-one in the family would even refer to the stepfather by name. He was referred to as 'The ginger-haired bastard'.

We all protect our own.

greenmossgiel Sat 02-Jul-11 15:50:39

I agree with you. You tolerated his awful behaviour for a really long time - all the while probably trying to make excuses for him so that you didn't cause upsets between yourself and your daughter. He sounds as if he's quite an attention-seeking, immature man. She has accepted that you don't like him, and by bringing your grandchildren regularly to see you without him, she's showing how important you are to the three of them. She'll know how hard you've tried, and how it's hurt you to see them hurt. Also, she knows you'll always be there for her. So far she's sticking by him, but she'll no doubt be wary of further 'dallyings'. You're right not to mention him at all to the grandchildren. That way, they don't have to think about whether to try to be loyal to him, which they probably wouldn't be able to do with ease!

bikergran Sat 02-Jul-11 18:04:07

"Jackie39" I can feel what you are going through and it seems you have had some good advice and replies on here.I personly think you have and are doing the right! thing..and i'm sure many more also agree. Why!! should we have to put up with these "******"!!! why?? because we do it for out daughters/grandchildren/sons etc we try to go "along" with it and smile like everything is ok...yes you are right to ban him from your house or from whatever you feel fit, we have been through similar after seeing our daughter humiliated/mentaly abused etc etc ...but like your daughter she stood by him (maybe for not as long as your daughter) I hope that one day soon a light switch will be flicked on and your daughter will be brave enough to see it.
I cant even mention HIS!! name (that is what we call him, HIS OR HIM!) as liek you he doesnt exsist in our eyes and never ever will, he is my grandsons dad and that is where it stops....good luck keep smiling smile

harrigran Sat 02-Jul-11 18:52:17

Quite right to exclude the son-in-law, your house your rules. Unfortunately we can't live our children's lives for them but you seem to be doing all the right things. No bad mouthing the ** in front of the children but supporting and loving them.

Charlotta Sat 02-Jul-11 19:29:59

It seems that you are all well satisfied with your treatment of the man who is still your daughter's husband amd you can do as you wish in your own home. I feel a bit troubled by the grandaughters feeling that they can't mention him in your house. Maybe they would like to discuss him with somebody and don't want to upset their mother. It can't be that they never think about him. Who can they talk about him to? Just because you don't mention him doesn't mean that he's still very much alive and a part of their lives and it is an unnatural situation, which children, who are more sensitive than most adults realise, must find hard to come to terms with. It could be that in spite of all they love him, your daughter obviously does.
Sorry I can't be more help but I think that Not Speaking never solved anything.

Jackie39 Sat 02-Jul-11 19:40:53

I appreciate all the comments so far. Would just like to make it clear that if my grand-children talk about their dad we carry on the conversation with them as if nothing has happened. Far from all being 'satisfied with the treatment of this man' - we have all been very saddened by the situation especially with innocent children involved.

Charlotta Sat 02-Jul-11 20:03:17

Well that's Ok then, I suppose they don't want to talk about him much anyway.
My father was a bully and cruel sometimes, but as a child I still clung on to the fact that he was my Dad. I always made excuses for his behaviour.
It took me years before I could admit even to myself that I was relieved when he died while I was still living at home.

bikergran Sat 02-Jul-11 20:43:16

yes I agree that if HIS name comes up in conversation via my grandson, then yes of course we carry on the conversation as though its a normal situation, we don't badmouth Him to grandson as like I have said he is is daddy, but theres is a lot lot more lying under the surface and I can connect with Jackie.

Charlotta my father was also a bully and cruel especialy to my mum..they are both still alive and well and some times when I think back to how he used to be with my mum, I wish I had been stonger and wiser at the time. when I go to visit them which is quite often , you try to put these things at the back of your mind sort of bury them, but sometimes the past rears its head and it's difficult to deal with.

Charlotta Sun 03-Jul-11 08:40:17

Bikergran,
Both my parents have been dead for over 40 years I was an 'orphan' at 26 and although I always missed my Mum most painfully I never missed HIM. I have not had the trauma of being witness to their relationship all these years like you have. As you say it must be so difficult to deal with.

I come from a family where Not Speaking is the answer to most differences of opinion. My mother and her sisters! they were always at it. I grew up with a cousin my age and at the age of 18 she cut me in the street because our mothers had quarrelled. I never saw her again to go out with and was heart broken. Later when Mum died this same sister of hers came and cried on my doorstep and it was just too late.
I mention this because I will not STOP Speaking to anyone in my extended family. It is not the way forward.

This thread was started my Jackie39 is about whether this excluding treatment is unreasonable and asks for opposing views so this is my opposing view.

Jackie39 Sun 03-Jul-11 10:12:18

Charlotta,

I did ask for opposing views and absolutely respect your view of always keeping the lines of communication open.

bikergran,

You have obviously been there and have the T-shirt - it's good to be reminded that I am not alone in these difficulties.

Cressida Sun 03-Jul-11 10:41:22

Jackie39 some of what you have written could have been written by my Mum several years ago. My ex wasn't quite as bad as your SIL but long before I left him he wasn't welcome at my Mum's house.

My daughter was 15 when I finally made the break and she was my rock. Your granddaughters will make up their own minds about him as my daughter has done. He has her mobile number and email address but doesn't know where she lives and that's her decision. It must be 3 years since she last heard anything from him. She did meet him then but well away from our house.

My sons had already left home by the time I left my ex but they too rarely have anything to do with their father. Last week my #1 son and family came to see us so we could meet my new baby granddaughter. They also went to see my Mum. To get there they had to drive right past my ex's house - they didn't stop.

So no I don't think you are unreasonable.

lane70 Sun 03-Jul-11 12:54:40

Jackie39, my daughter was at one time in a relationship with a badly behaved man who used to be incredibly rude to me and on one occasion locked me out of my own house. That locking out is so symbolic, isn't it? I'm sure you're right that it comes from jealousy of your closeness to your daughter, and your love for her. I don't know about your son-in-law, but my daughter's boyfriend had a very troubled relationship with his own family. I'm sure he felt unloved, and resented my daughter's more loving (though scarcely trouble-free) family background.

It's a very difficult situation. I'm thankful that eventually, in my daughter's case, it ended, without children, and he gradually went out of our lives. I don't have anything to add to what others have said, except I do agree with others that you're doing the only thing you can do. And by excluding him, you're providing them with an "escape environment", a place to visit which is not dominated by their father's aggression, and where they can see normal loving family life going on amicably. Hang in there, you're doing the right thing.

JessM Sun 03-Jul-11 13:22:44

I am thinking back to when I was in your daughter's position. I suppose the difference was that, unlike the man you describe, my ex got on well with my mother. Like many Philip-Larkin-ed-up (reference to the poem about mum and dad and not wishing to offend...wink) men he had a charming side. This is the bit they use to hook up with needy women in the first place.
Low self esteem and the kids are the reasons why people stay. Carry on being supportive to your daughter and remind her of her good qualities. If she is thinking of doing anything new e.g. getting a job, going back to education etc - do everything you can to support and encourage her, as this might be what she needs to move forward and get rid of him.
If you think the children are being emotionally abused by him, why not make an appointment to talk the person in charge of safeguarding in their school? On the phone if you cant go there. This will be a senior member of the team (e.g. deputy head), and they will treat your disclosures with complete confidence. At least they will put a note on their confidential files and keep an eye on the children. If staff flag up any concerns as well (they might have already done so) then they might decide to take further action e.g. talk to social worker. If any behaviour or learning difficulties occur in school this person will also be alerted as to why. This might help you as well, as you will feel someone else is "keeping an eye".
Hang on in there and be brave for their sakes.

lane70 Sun 03-Jul-11 14:00:24

JessM, I think there's a danger in characterizing the partners of badly-behaved men as "needy women" with "low self esteem". Situations may be more complicated than that. I think it's the badly-behaved person who should be seen as having problems -- not the partner he (or she) is behaving badly to.

Each situation is different.

JessM Sun 03-Jul-11 19:09:23

I am speaking from personal experience lane70. Of course the main problem is with the badly behaved person and it is complicated. However it does take two to tango. One to be abusive and one to put up with it.
My father died when I was 4. Stepfather bullied us from age 11-18. I was 18 when i met my first husband. If I had not had that history I would have probably walked away quite early in the relationship, during a row. Or when he hit me across the face when I was 7 months pregnant.
In some ways, even though I am now married to a sweet man, I am still paying a price for this bad decision made 40 years ago.
Young women often want male attention. They also often want "a boyfriend" as a kind of status symbol.
Who chats em up first? The more predatory and often more "charming" chaps.
Nice guys often more backward in coming forward so the bad guys get there first. (I had to ask sweet man out - he would never have plucked up courage. We were actually discussing this earlier as it happens) But women that feel OK about themselves expect a higher standard of behaviour than those of us who have no idea what we should expect or where the boundaries should be set.
Of course things repeat themselves because my mother never managed to leave my stepfather...

lane70 Sun 03-Jul-11 19:50:32

JessM, I'm so sorry you've had such a sad history. How wonderful that you're now with a sweet partner! smile

But I still don't think you can generalize. You're speaking from experience, but it's your experience. Another woman who is married to a misbehaving man may see her experience very differently, and is entitled to.

Look for instance at Hillary Clinton. Her husband is a charming womanizer who has misbehaved again and again, and did it all in public! Many women might have felt humiliated but she refused to be humiliated by his misdeeds, she stayed in the marriage, and she certainly isn't a person who suffers from low self esteem! She had her reasons for staying in the marriage, and it's very possible the OP's daughter also has her reasons. We don't know, as we're not living the situation.

Circumstances differ. People differ. I'm so glad you've now found peace. I too had an abusive childhood. It's hard, leaves its mark.

JessM Mon 04-Jul-11 18:23:29

Yes you are right of course that it takes all kinds! Good example. Do you think that maybe she (HC) stuck it our because she had her sights on her own political career? wink
And sometimes women do not see it coming... the signals are not there, or they are not noticed.
Generally I feel pretty sorry for political wives - but on the other hand the ex of the Environment minister seems determined to wreak her revenge...
I do think though that in a really bullying marriage the bullied partner's self esteem is bound to suffer, even if it starts off OK. And having suffered this blow then it is hard to think that you deserve better. Is this a fair generalisation do you think?

lane70 Mon 04-Jul-11 23:21:06

Yes, I think that's exactly why HC played it cool! I thought she handled it very well though. I remember her explaining to a journalist, "He's a hard dog to keep on the porch." I thought that just about put him on the right level. smile

I don't know enough about psychology to know, really. I know in my own case it took me a long long time to make sense of my past. Found it a huge liberation when the pieces started to fall into place.

lane70 Mon 04-Jul-11 23:39:06

The penny just dropped (I'm slow these days) and I realized which minister you were referring to! LOL, I suspect he wishes he had never bullied her into that! Allegedly. smile

But she too may be wishing she had never brought it up. She could be in hot water too. Allegedly.