Gransnet forums


FIL again

(35 Posts)
WorriedDIL Mon 28-Oct-19 10:40:18

I’ve posted before about my FIL and why it is usually me who has to deal with him rather than my DH, his son.
He has become increasingly insufferable as time passes since MIL passed away. It’s becoming more apparent just how much she covered for him.
He is extremely opinionated and never misses an opportunity to put all & any if us in our place. However with his alcoholism and associated memory loss his pearls of wisdom are becoming more personal and ludicrous.
This has escalated recently as we have had one of our children diagnosed with ASD. It’s been a long hard process with us as parents having to deal with some difficult issues.
We tend not to tell him anything about our lives anymore due to his critical comments. We do however have to listen to his health and emotional issues as in his head he is the only person grieving and the most important person.
However, he is spending Christmas with us this year, we invited him.. I thought it would be better if he knew about DS issues and could hopefully be a bit kinder, have more patience and be understanding. He lives quite a distance away so needs to stay.
This has backfired immensely. He was so rude and dismissive of the diagnosis. He had been drinking though so his opinion was amplified. He said in his experience (ie none at all) these new fangled conditions are just made up and children would have just had a clip around the ear 20 years ago. I was so upset that I hung up on him. He called back a few times. I couldn’t speak to him so left it a few hours. I then calmed down and called him back hoping that he would apologise. He at first denied the previous conversation happened. He obviously had a nap between calls and sobered up a bit. He then doubled down on his opinions. When I told him that he was being insufferably rude he said he didn’t mean to but that I wasn’t listening to him.
I ended the call again. Upset, again.
My DH called him the next day. He said he didn’t mean to upset me but that I wouldn’t listen to him. He then reiterated all of his points to DH. When DH said it didn’t matter what he thought and what his experience was, this was ours. He still banged on about these new conditions which were ridiculous and over diagnosed just to make consultants more money. He just doesn’t get it. He can have an opinion we just don’t need to hear it. He’s so hard on DS when he visits. I now fear that he will be worse. We’re all trying to deal with a diagnosis, including DS that is life changing really.
I now don’t want to invite him for Christmas, which is my AIBU. DH has lost his mum, this is his only remaining parent. Without visiting us he will gave a very lonely Christmas. DH will be upset by this, but I now think FIL deserves it. He has alienated most people over the two years since MIL passed away.

Jane10 Mon 28-Oct-19 10:45:50

I'm amazed that you continue to return his calls. I suggest that you provide him with simple information sheets on ASD and, maybe a list of ways that this affects your lives and just leave him to process that. Let him stew!
Your poor DH. Its all such a difficult time for him and for you too. Good luck with it all.

WorriedDIL Mon 28-Oct-19 10:46:01

If you e got this far, thanks for reading

knickas63 Mon 28-Oct-19 10:53:44

I am not sure how old your DS is - but you could maybe have a talk wiht him first? Explain how out of touch his granfather is and that he is not to take anything he say seriously, that you have his back and understand him. Then get DH to talk to his father, and make it clear, that if he comes for Christmas he is to completely back off of your DS.
If however - you think any of this is unlikely, then for your DS sake - you may have to withdraw the offer. I hope you can sort it.

DanniRae Mon 28-Oct-19 10:54:25

I would definitely not have at my house for Christmas. If he comes NO ONE will have a good time - if he stays at home only he will not have a good time. He sounds just awful - don't let him spoil Christmas for you!!

Jane10 Mon 28-Oct-19 10:57:23

He's just not listening though. The good thing about written info is that its there all the time. It doesn't change, doesn't depend on tone of voice and can't be interrupted!
If he wakes up in the middle of the night, sober, he can read it then etc.
I hope he comes round eventually. I think there is specific info available for grandparents.

Daisymae Mon 28-Oct-19 10:58:22

I am amazed that you need to ask. No, you are not being unreasonable. In fact I can't believe that you asked him in the first place. The only thing is certain is that if you go ahead you will all have a miserable time. I think the magical family Christmas we have in our head is, for many, just that.

annsixty Mon 28-Oct-19 11:11:59

Just "unask" him.
I speak from bitter experience, we had my mother ruin every Christmas from my early years until she was 95 years old and she was not as bad as your FiL.
Don't feel guilty either, he has brought it on himself.
If you must have him just make it very, very clear, any comments to ,or about, your son will not be tolerated or he will have to leave

WorriedDIL Mon 28-Oct-19 11:12:37

Thank you so much. DS is 8 so this may be one of the last Christmases that we have Santa too.

EllanVannin Mon 28-Oct-19 11:20:00

This man doesn't sound so well himself and needs to see a GP about his obnoxious outbursts. I appreciate he'll be grieving and he can only show it through his anger which is exacerbated by his drinking. He's to be pitied really although that won't come easy.
We can all live in the past at times when things were so much different, but this is now the future so he'll have to accept it. His non-acceptance will only get worse if he isn't treated in some way and perhaps tested for early onset of dementia.

His drinking won't help either but that's obviously his way of dealing with present day living which certainly isn't helping anyone least of all himself.

If he's going to be with you at Christmas, serve non-alcoholic drinks but don't let on.

EllanVannin Mon 28-Oct-19 11:25:25

If it's any consolation, my late husband could put the world and everyone in it to rights and could well have become a Victor Meldrew x Alf Garnet had he lived ! Even suffering cancer he was quite selfish at times but I was more than able to put him in his place with his " poor me's " constantly.

petra Mon 28-Oct-19 11:25:37

The pig wouldn't cross my doorstep ever again. He was unkind to Your child
There would be no more phone calls, either. No contact, nothing. If your Husband wishes to keep contact with his father, that's his choice.

Oldwoman70 Mon 28-Oct-19 11:25:45

Protecting your son is your first priority (as I am sure you know). Explain to your FiL that your son will always come first.

I think I would withdraw the invitation but if you feel unable to do that tell him if he makes any comments about your son's condition over Christmas he will immediately be returned home (with a food parcel if necessary).

wildswan16 Mon 28-Oct-19 11:29:30

I can sort of forgive your FIL for his behaviour because he is a drunk. His thinking is therefore warped and impaired. He will not remember what he said before and will probably repeat it in the future.

I honestly could not invite him into my home for a family celebration (Christmas), even if he is a family member and would be on his own. Maybe that is what he needs to sort himself out a bit.

However, he is your husband's father and the final decision must be between both of you, with your husband making it very clear on how he expects him to behave and speak to his wife and children.

WorriedDIL Mon 28-Oct-19 12:14:08

The fact that he doesn’t keep well health wise and drinks too much makes me feel guilty for withdrawing offer if Christmas. He might not be here next year

agnurse Mon 28-Oct-19 12:21:35

If he is drinking to excess he shouldn't be around your child. Period. Someone who is an alcoholic is not a safe person.

Madgran77 Mon 28-Oct-19 12:33:16

I can understand why you feel difficult about withdrawing invitation. I think if I was in your position I would:
1. Avoid any discussion or trying to change his views on Autism with him by telling him very clearly that:
* it is up to him what he thinks
*you dont agree with him;
*you will not discuss again now or over xmas
2. After the above, ask him if he still wishes to come for xmas
3. If he says he does state very clearly the "rules" on his behaviour at xmas towards:
- your son
- everyone else in the house
4. Tell him specifically what will happen if he doesnt stick to rules (and if he doesnt, do not engage other than with "consequence" he has been warned about )

And do all of the above with your husband as a United front

Hithere Mon 28-Oct-19 14:31:11

This is easy

You are the problem. Uninvite him for Christmas and your dh deals with fil.

He is an alcoholic and you are letting him damage your child. Do not let your child have any contact with fil.

Tangerine Mon 28-Oct-19 16:24:41

I think the advice about giving him written information is a good idea. He can read and re-read it.

From your point of view and that of your son, he ought not to come at Christmas ideally but these things can be hard.

Is he elderly? Does he have dementia as well possibly? Delightful relations of mine became downright rude in the end but, if they could have seen themselves, they would have been horrified.

NfkDumpling Mon 28-Oct-19 16:35:35

Can you turn it onto him? Point out that he’s far from normal and may well have dementia. He needs to get his drinking problem sorted out. Its making his dementia worse... Has he thought of getting professional help... You’re all worried about the effect his drinking is having as he can’t remember what he’s saying... And so on. Don’t talk about ASD. Refuse. Will there be many others there at Christmas? Other children? The more the merrier to deflect him.

Either that or get him so drunk he passes out!

Pantglas2 Mon 28-Oct-19 16:42:16

If he comes for Christmas it’s ruined for everyone- if you cancel his invite it’s only ruined for him (possibly). No contest really.....

Daisymae Mon 28-Oct-19 17:01:40

Not sure that even guilt would let me ruin or even jeopardize my child's Christmas.

Jane10 Mon 28-Oct-19 17:03:14

He's lucky to have such a kind and sensitive DiL.

leyla Mon 28-Oct-19 17:07:40

I think it would be best if he did not come at Christmas. Get your husband to explain that your son has to be your top priority at the moment and that it is best if he does not visit this Christmas as your son and you would undoubtedly be upset by his comments. Your husband could perhaps suggest a visit sometime in the New Year.

grapefruitpip Mon 28-Oct-19 17:35:19

Invite him at a less emotionally charged time of year.