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Disrespectful son in law

(95 Posts)
Fran3325 Sun 30-Apr-23 19:34:36

Since my husband died 17 months ago I’ve found that my son in law (and my son and daughter to a lesser extent) treats me like a useless and thick elderly person. e.g making fun of me being a little deaf (though I’ve had a responsible and demanding job on the past). I’m 74. Am I being too sensitive or should I say something to him?

Grammaretto Tue 02-May-23 14:43:59

You don't notice it M0nica until after the death of either a spouse or a parent.
It's as though however well you coped before, afterwards the focus shifts to you.
I shall have to develop that stare. grin

Dickens Tue 02-May-23 14:59:22


You don't notice it M0nica until after the death of either a spouse or a parent.
It's as though however well you coped before, afterwards the focus shifts to you.
I shall have to develop that stare. grin

I think the stare - with an 'eye-roll'

thus 🙄

should do the trick!

M0nica Tue 02-May-23 21:54:57

Well, I have a husband who always travelled a lot and I could be on my own, sometimes for months. As he has never fully retired this took me well into the children being in adult territory - then there was the two months he was in hospital.

I already have the look, I cultivated that a long time ago when I worked in a predominantly male environment.

Norah Tue 02-May-23 22:09:03


I like your reply- the joking is maybe good natured and they are all supportive but I feel infantilised/useless at times by their joking. I’ll try and practice ‘the look’! 🤣

I'd not say anything, ignore. Or just laugh it off.

I value harmony rather than winning.

V3ra Wed 03-May-23 10:36:28


Fix them with a stare and remind them...

As you are now, so once was I
^As I am now, so you will be^

My Mum's variation on this was,
"You'll be old one day."
Followed by a pointed "look." 🤨

sodapop Wed 03-May-23 12:22:43

Interesting link Dickens thank you

Theexwife Wed 03-May-23 13:25:50

Next time a comment is made that you don't like could you just say that it upsets you as it makes you feel like a useless thick elderly person?

If you don't say anything how would they know how it makes you feel?

NannaFirework Thu 04-May-23 13:20:59

Have a word they are being ignorant and hurtful - I gave hearing aides and some people are rude about them (idiots)!

Dressagediva123 Thu 04-May-23 13:34:27

Seems to be open season when it comes to belittling older people. Not allowed to be insensitive to anyone else . Nip in the bud I say

PamQS Thu 04-May-23 13:34:51

You’ve lost your husband and your hearing isn’t brilliant. You deserve & need their support and understanding at this challenging point in your life. I think it’s completely reasonable to point this out!

HeavenLeigh Thu 04-May-23 13:38:27

Aww that’s not very nice them treating you as if you are a thick and useless elderly person. And making fun of you! Very disrespectful. I would certainly be putting them in their place. You are not being too sensitive . If it’s happening as you saying then they are being very rude.

TillyWhiz Thu 04-May-23 13:38:28

I too noticed this shift when my husband died 4 years ago, despite having been his carer for many years coping with all that role meant, mostly without help. Don't allow any untoward remarks to go without comment otherwise they will continue. And make sure your reply is not in 'victim' mode: I always call it my schoolmarm voice! grin

Romola Thu 04-May-23 13:42:57

I'm a widowed MiL who hesitates to voice an opinion in the presence of my rather dour SiL. I fear a sarcastic put-down hmm. He's not exactly disrespectful, just dismissive. DD overcompensates by telling me I'm wonderful.
(Did you know that there are three ages of adulthood; young, of a certain age, and wonderful?)

Nannan2 Thu 04-May-23 13:45:40

As septimia said.

Coco51 Thu 04-May-23 13:47:12

Say “I am the person who was capable of bringing you up without causing your deaths - I am still that person”. Deafness is a disability and they are very cruel to associate deafness with stupidity
I saw a great T-Shirt slogan
“I have selective hearing - you were not selected!”

HeavenLeigh Thu 04-May-23 13:48:23

Brilliant T-shirt coco51

MrsNemo Thu 04-May-23 13:53:13

Since my hearing began to fail I noticed one family member seemed to find it funny. I did say one day, after a particularly silly and cutting remark from her, 'Would you be quite so amused if I were blind?' Delivered in a decidedly non aggresive way, but she went pink and thereafter didn't seem quite so keen to make hurtful comments if I misheard. I do tend to brush off the remarks - it says everything about the person making them, and I try hard not to let it affect me.

Pepine Thu 04-May-23 13:54:20

I would be inclined to point out that poor hearing is not a lifestyle choice and happily has no effect on the intellect. Obviously it would be helpful if they remembered to speak clearly and face you when talking but if they sadly aren’t able to remember this you will do your best to manage or perhaps they’d like you to help by reminding them?

Twig14 Thu 04-May-23 13:56:04

You really must pull them up as it’s extremely unkind and very rude. Stand up for yourself and tell them you are not prepared to put up with it

Juicylucy Thu 04-May-23 13:56:21

I’m also a target of this, even though I’m 66 able bodied and still work, go to the gym etc. The family call it banter but I find it hurtful and tbh I’ve now started firing the banter back. No need for it in opinion.

hebburnsent Thu 04-May-23 14:00:36

Always remember - Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth. Unfortunately often younger people don't realise how much they can learn from a person with so much experience such as yourself. Personally I would totally ignore it and they will start to think, but yes - also get a good hearing aid. As I usually say "you must remember I might be deaf, but I am certainly not daft"

grandtanteJE65 Thu 04-May-23 14:13:15

I would certainly mention that these remarks are upsetting, but I would start by saying that I realise two things.

One that they are probably trying to cheer you up by making jokes, but that these remarks actually make you unhappy.

Two that it might well be that I am being over-sensitive right now, but that is part of grieving for many people.

Try not to make too much of an issue of it and see what they say.

I too, am becoming a little deaf, but don't feel deaf enough to want a hearing aid right now - silly, but that is how I feel about it. I do realise that it can be annoying for others if I do not hear what they say, so I shall soon have to reconsider that hearing aid!

If your son-in-law and your daughter and son continue to make these hurtful remarks, tell them frankly that you are old, yes, recently widowed, yes, struggling to some extent with coping alone, but that they are not exactly helping by this attitude, but again try to say this as nicely as possible.

Respect is a two-way street, so if they feel you are not respecting them, their attitude to you will not change for the better.

However, I suspect these remarks are in some way due to their ways of dealing with bereavement, after all your children have lost their father, and your SIL a father-in-law whom I presume he liked.

Try to sort this out now, otherwise it will be bugging you quite literally for the rest of your life.

And, I should have started by saying that I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

GoldenAge Thu 04-May-23 14:17:26

Fran -the next time you get them all together, hand out some soft ear plugs and ask them to wear them for an hour whilst you and they try to communicate or watch the TV at its usual volume. Couch that in a discussion of deafness and its impact on the person who is either completely deaf or losing hearing. Let them know that for you it's a serious matter and that it's bad enough having to wear a hearing aid without being ridiculed because this is a double blow to your self-esteem. Of course, as we get older we have to accept our bodies and capabilities will change, but that shouldn't make us the object of poor jokes. I wonder if your sil and adult children would ridicule a work colleague who was deaf - ask the question. They need to understand that having a disability at any age isn't a subject for poking fun at. What you're describing is the all-too-frequent belief from younger generations that with age comes stupidity. It's an ageist issue.

Corinnaj Thu 04-May-23 14:17:37

I echo "the look". Us mums have become masters at that over the years... 😆

Toddleo Thu 04-May-23 14:28:00

I have worn hearing aids since my mid 30's, they are very good, but have their limitations. I get so upset/angry when people "joke" when I have mis heard something, or they think its funny to say "pardon" when you have just explained that I am hard of hearing. You don't see people mocking those who struggle to see due to eyesight defects do you? so why is losing your hearing considered to be amusing? I just dont understand it.