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FIL again

(36 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.

Sussexborn Mon 28-Oct-19 17:37:30

My childhood was blighted by my Mum’s alcoholism. Personally I wouldn’t let him near my child. The unkind comments will stay with your son possibly for the rest of his life. Your FIL is an adult and will only be helped if he makes that choice. Your son is a child and needs your wholehearted support.

The problem is Christmas can be an awful time for those living with an alcoholic. What is likely to happen if he persists in his nasty behaviour to your son? Would he leave quietly if you told him to go or would there be an almighty scene? Would your OH have to go with him? Is it possible to have a conversation with your son and ask him how he feels about grandad’s visit?

What if the family visit grandad on Boxing Day or during the break before New Year. That might ease your conscience. If he is rude you can then just walk out and leave him to it.

Grannyknot Mon 28-Oct-19 17:51:36

Hi WorriedDIL - the crux of the matter here is that your FIL is an alcoholic. So any discussion with him is like trying to blow out a lightbulb - don't waste your breath.

You don't have to accept unacceptable behaviour. So, if he was my FIL, I wouldn't invite him for Christmas. I'd set out or explain why I have made this decision, for example to my husband that his dad's drinking stresses me out, let alone the problem with not accepting the ASD diagnosis for your son.

If your FIL wanted an explanation from you as to why he isn't invited, let him ask you, and tell the truth about the effect it has on you. It's time to talk openly, with kindness, about what his drinking is doing to the family. Otherwise, you are enabling his behaviour. You can stop enabling and still have empathy for his drinking problem.

Good luck!

ClareAB Mon 28-Oct-19 17:52:27

I recently cut 2 toxic relationships out of my life completely. My father and my sister.
I had put up with their constant undermining, disregard and neglect for my children, sense of entitlement to my unconditional love, giving nothing in return, fair weather support, and constantly being shamed for being fat.
The last straw believe it or not, was last summer, when they separately invited them and their families to my house for a cheap summer holiday and on top of stressing me and my lovely husband out, were unkind to our beloved dog. That was it.
I never realised how much space they took up in my head and how their critical voices constantly undermined me.
Now I feel like a different person. The people in my life are beloved friends and family who I would trust to be kind to my dog, and who love me, warts and all.
I'm sorry that your FIL is grieving and drinking too much. But it's not your circus, not your clowns, you can indeed tell him he's not coming and the reasons why. It's hard and scary, and you'll feel really guilty. But over time you will feel empowered as a mother and in your own home.
You never know, he might start to make a real effort if he knows his awful behavior will not be tolerated.

WorriedDIL Mon 28-Oct-19 18:58:15

Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. Going to talk to DH tonight about cancelling Christmas. He died gave family near him but he’s not welcome there either due to his behaviour. Regarding dementia. A nurse friend suggested Alcohol induced dementia might be what us going on. When he stops drinking he is so much easier to be around. Unfortunately, that only ever lasts a week or so periodically.

agnurse Mon 28-Oct-19 19:59:19

OP, you and your DH may like to consider attending Al-Anon meetings, either together or separately (as I know you have a child). Al-Anon is based on AA, but it is specifically for people who aren't alcoholics but are affected by the drinking of a loved one. From what I understand, they emphasize the three Cs: you didn't Cause it, you can't Change it, you can't Control it. All you can do is control your response to it.

Unfortunately, if your FIL is not ready to accept help, he won't be receptive.

Tedber Tue 29-Oct-19 16:37:10

Oh dear! I can understand how difficult it is for you. On the one hand you don't like to think your FIL will be sad and lonely and his son may feel guilty if you uninvite him? May spoil his Christmas just thinking about his dad. do need to consider yourself and your son here. I think your DH needs to step up a dozen notches and speak to his dad about it. Maybe he could tell him there is no drink available in your house over Christmas? (that in itself may prompt dad to choose to stay where he is?)

As for the issue of him not recognising ASD - that seems to be common in people of a certain age t.b.h. Not many are quite so rude and I suspect as you do that the rudeness is more associated with his drunkenness. Has he always been an alcoholic or is he drinking because he is mourning the loss of his wife? If the former, then I doubt you can do anything to help. If he has got worse because of his loss then maybe, just maybe there may be a slight window of opportunity to help. As I say though - pass it onto your DH. You have enough to worry about.

Good luck

luluaugust Wed 30-Oct-19 10:56:36

I agree it has got to be your DH who deals with his father. I am sure your DH will want to protect your son as much as you do so I don't see how you can have FIL in the house this Christmas. You really have been doing your best up to now under very difficult circumstances. Maybe your DH could see him between Christmas and New Year if he feels he should. Obviously he needs help but you aren't the one to try and get him to see a Dr.

Winniewit Thu 14-Nov-19 16:18:40

Think about your child in all of this. Iv no idea how old they are but obviously are finding it very difficult to deal with diagnosis. Your FIL could cause a huge amount of upset ramming his shite opinion down your child's throat He sounds a horrible man and quite frankly I would be un-inviting him for Christmas. Your child needs your protection

Dawn22 Thu 14-Nov-19 22:15:31

"He might not be here next year. "

Or he could still be with you for 10 or 20 or even 30 Years to come depending on his age. Who knows?

Take care of yourself whatever else.


Hetty58 Thu 14-Nov-19 22:36:41

I understand that you have already invited him so see no reason to 'uninvite' him now. That would be very rude.

He's obviously not interested in your son anyway. He's become quite self obsessed but surely your husband can supervise him when he's there? I'd suggest non-alcoholic wine/beer too!

Elderly folk can become very awkward, opinionated and trying but one day we'll all be old. Leaving him alone at Christmas is cruel.