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Inlaw Relations/Problem with father-inlaw


Tampa wrote at 2008-12-10 17:08:00
I am dealing with a similar situation with my father in law.  The last time I spoke with him was when I let him know I was upset at his response to me about how I need to take care of my family and what we need to do.  He started commenting on something I told my mother in law about one of my family members decisions and he called me telling me how I needed to treat them and what actions my family needed to take.  I let him know I wasn't interested in what he thought me and my family should do and that he overstepped.  He got very angry and said that as family it is his job to tell me what to do whether I want to hear it or not.  The result is that I just do not associate or speak with him or my mother in law anymore.  He was very upset that I decided not to attend dinner with him, my in law and my husband.  I decided to pass on it.  I am not comfortable continuing a relationship with someone who thinks they are going to control me and tell me how to live my life.  I am an adult and am willing to make my own decision and reap the rewards or the consequences.  My husband has been battling this with himself and he is starting to recognize he needs to be a husband first and son second.  Unfortunately, my father in law has already addressed my concerns by saying they are not valid and he is not changing.  So, unfortunately there will probably not be any resolution.  My husband recently asked if I was willing to go to dinner with them and at first I was open to it but asked for time to consider it.  I've thought about it and nothing has changed.  Basically, by attending dinner he will continue treating me the way he thinks he has a right to and I think it's silly to continue putting myself in that position.  I'm not interested in what he thinks of me or earning his respect.  I respect his opinions and the fact he probably wouldn't want me telling him what to do and what I think he does that is right or wrong but I will let someone live my life for me.  He has overstepped in my eyes and has told me that he will not be respecting my boundaries.  I am at the point that I can only make decisions for myself and it's not in my best interest to continue a relationship with my father in law.  I hope my husband understands this but I don't think he does and we'll see what the future holds for our marriage.  I'm open to suggestions but the fact is I can only control my choices not my husband or my father in law.

DD wrote at 2009-05-26 15:44:53
For this cause shall a man LEAVE father and mother, and shall CLEAVE to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh.

St. Matthew 19:5

Sad in Canada wrote at 2011-01-10 06:01:29
Oh my!  It's 12:30 at night, I'm crying, I can't sleep.

The pain that goes on because of a father-in-law.  He thinks he's funny.  He's not.  He's insulting - to everyone.  My husband has told me numerous times that "Dad" makes others feel bad so he can feel better about himself.

Thankfully, I have a husband who knows the truth about his father.  My husband has tried to distance himself (we live 2 hour drive away!), but that doesn't always help.

A year ago, my husband decided to drop out of college.  He couldn't handle it.  He was getting depressed.  I supported my husband, encouraged him, and told him his happiness meant more than a diploma.  His father, on the other hand, hadn't heard from his son in a while (a month - if that!) so "Dad" had a friend of his PHONE THE SCHOOL TO SEE HOW MY HUSBAND WAS DOING!!!!  That's when he found out that my husband had dropped out.  Needless to say, I called the college to complain, and they apologized profusely for it.  I was in tears to the school.  The lady there (after I explained the history of "Dad") said that we should try to distance ourselves from him. I told her we had tried, and that's why he called the school to check up on how he was doing!

All three kids from this man have issues.  My husband is quiet, keeps to himself, and doesn't like to share (as he says, at dinner, you keep quiet or you give "Dad" more ammo to use against you) is very sensitive (but bottles it up!), his brother is into drugs and has had 2 children with 2 different girls (and doesn't support either child), and his sister has mental-health issues.  And yet, this man blames the mothers of the children (2 different wives here!)  Doesn't he realize that HE is the problem?

He is rude, has to be the centre of attention (even at our wedding), makes sexual comments (including "jokingly" what positions my husband and I enjoy!), insults MY family, has no morals, deals drugs, drugs horses for racing, and thinks he knows everything under the stars.  And everyone's reaction is, "Oh, that's just "Dad".

My husband and I don't have kids.  And I'm crying tonight because I am seriously thinking of not having any - natural or adopted - simply so it won't come to me putting my foot down and saying that this "man" will NEVER see/talk to my children.  I don't want them exposed to his illegal and immoral actions.  I have a hard enough time putting up with him the very few times I see or talk to him.  I can't expose my future children to this "man".  The pain that he has caused my husband, I cannot let my children go through that.

It's comforting to know that others have this problem too.  And luckily, my husband is aware of how wrong "Dad" is, and has stood up for me.  Hopefully, these other women will have a husband that will put them before his family.  As my husband has told me, "You are my family now."  That means so much to me.

Keith S. wrote at 2011-02-03 05:06:08
Wow, such pain. I feel for all of you. I too, had a strong headed father in law. (and mother in law) But I learned over many years simple principles. The marriage is far more important.Do more work on it then on the in law problem. Don't ever put up with verbal abuse. Talk gently (in other words, don't use the same verbal abuse in return)but clearly that you will use respectful words and expect the same in return. Anything less then that means someone does not want an ongoing don't expect everyone to understand your rules, but those are the minimum expectations you have set for your own life. If abuse continues, politely dismiss yourself and go take a walk, go to a room, bathroom, whatever, but don't stay where abuse is present.  When you have the talk with your souse later, try to stay away from becoming defensive. A good way to start such a conversation is to say, "I don't expect any action from this conversation, but rather I'm hoping to start with greater understanding..." That can relieve the pressure and allow for a more open communication. We can't change someone else. They change themselves. It's better that way, anyway. After all, we have enough just managing our own lives, how the heck can we be in charge of someone else's changes? "Sad in Canada", please don't stop from having beautiful children because of that jerk. You really can create a life without his influence or teach them that evil does exist in this world and they can choose the good. I know of great kids raised in families that the parents were drug dealers and expected each kid to be prostitutes to raise money for the family. But one child refused and was the "black sheep" of the family, grew up wonderful, graduated with high honors from college with no help from parents and went on to marry and now is living a normal life with one child of her own. Don't let your father in law's horrible life dictate your choices in life. You'll regret that one day. Go one and do what's right for you. Have kids, then beautiful grand kids...enjoy life!!!  

CatEB wrote at 2013-11-17 20:32:48
I would love to know if this worked.  My father-in-law does not like career girls and I am a fairly blatant feminist.  Really not a good combination.  

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I would be happy to answer any questions regarding any situation you have with your inlaws. I have been married for many years, have been church affiliated and/or a staff member for over 20 years, and have counseled many people in that capacity. I take pride in providing answers that will give honest insight and concrete direction to go forward like many of the wellknown advice counselors. I believe that being a shoulder for you to lean on is important but much more important is advice that you can put into action to make your life better!


I have several years of psychology education, many years of counseling experience, and have been very helpful in my own family. It is a wonderful feeling to realize that you have helped others and made their lives better.

Many years of church counseling, Several years of psychology course work, BSA in accounting, and MBA candidate.

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