A few months ago my inlaws moved to our city. They used to live a 6 hr drive away and we would see them about twice a year. I could handle my FIL in those small doses. Now that they live a 6 minute drive away I'm finding it increasingly difficult to deal with being around him.
He is so so very negative all the time. I don't know why, or what's at the root of it all. I suppose it is likely that he is at least moderately depressed. He is now legally blind and at some point in the near-ish future he will lose all of his sight. I also feel like the move to a new city (big change) has been difficult for him.
But... while he is now more sullen/mean/rude/negative than ever, he has pretty much always been this way as long as I've known him (and dh says he's always been like this... but was harsher when they were kids).
Dh's mom is very sweet. I really like her a lot. They possibly have some sort of co-dependent thing going on (running on assumption, I really don't know much about it). She does absolutely everything for FIL. He cannot (will not?) even boil water to make himself tea, make a simple sandwich, do a load of laundry, etc. Of course with his declining eyesight he has need of more help in his daily life, but really things haven't changed at all as she's always taken care of everything. I admit it pretty much drives me nuts. He retired before her and she would work long days at a v. stressful job and come home and do all the cleaning and cooking (she would give him breakfast before leaving and would have a lunch all prepared for him before she left). She stands outside the shower and hands him the shampoo when it's shampoo time and conditioner when it's conditioner time. Etc, etc.
FIL is harshly critical of pretty much everyone around him. Says mean things about MIL to her face and to others all the time (every time I've been around them), and blames her for all kinds of stuff that's not at all her fault (sometimes it's totally his fault, sometimes no one's fault). Has zero patience with the kids. Criticizes our parenting. Criticizes everything about everything (nothing is good enough: the new church, the new apartment, shows on the tv, weather is too hot, too cold, etc, etc). He seems to hate everything about his life now, but before moving here complained non-stop about everything in the city they used to live in. He is constantly ragging on dh for finding him this "horrible" apartment (they wanted dh to find them a place to rent here for a year while they looked around for something to buy). Everyone else, including MIL, who has seen the place finds it spacious, lovely, etc. What can i say. He seems impossible to satisfy and most satisfied when he's complaining about everything.
He also has a need to be the constant center of attention. He monopolizes conversations, ranting and spewing negativity. He often makes up totally crazy things (does he believe them - I don't know?). He's homophobic and strangely racist (anti-immigrant... though he himself immigrated here close to 40 yrs ago), and makes up stories blaming "gays" or "sikhs" or whoever for all kinds of crap.
When we brought the kids over for MIL to babysit the other night (for an hour) he literally started bitching about how now he "won't get any attention". He needs MIL to wait on him hand and foot 24/7 and resents when she gives any attention to her (their) own grandchildren.
His behaviour is so weird to me. I don't get it, I don't know how to make sense of it, and I don't know how to be around it.
MIL is not going to leave FIL. I want MIL in my life and my childrens' lives. I would be happy to never see FIL again, but, as far as I can see it, that is not going to happen. They come as a pair. She won't leave FIL to visit us here because he "needs" her (ie. would guilt her out the wah-zoo).
Ick. I hate the dynamic.
Anyway... how to cope? How to find empathy for him? I know he is not happy. How could a person act like that if they were happy? I feel awful that he is losing his sight. That must be so very difficult. And I understand that it must be a big upheaval moving here. I'm trying to keep these things in mind and let everything else roll off my back. But he's just so damn unpleasant to be around. And the way he treats his wife is (IMO) gross. I haven't gone into much detail but it is bad enough that my dh says that he prays that his dad will pass on before his mom so at least she'll get some years without him. :(