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An other FIL thread

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

es1967's thread about the problems with her FIL's death and the horrible actions of her SMIL and her DH's refusal to stand up for her got me thinking. I originally was going to mention some of this stuff on her thread, but I didn't want to hijack the OP's thread.

 

So, here's my deal.

 

My FIL was a bully, a mean person and physically, verbally and emotionally abused my DH his brother, his own wife and even emotionally and verbally abused myself and our children. It got to the point where I simply couldn't allow my children to be alone with my FIL and MIL, as I didn't want them subjected to the abusive crap my DH grew up with, and thought was "the way fathers treat kids."  He had to relearn how to parent over the years, as at first he was expecting things from our first baby that were unreasonable. Luckily he trusts my mother instinct.

 

It got to the point when my FIL was dying that he was so freaking mean and nasty that my children and I decided to stop going to see him because except for one time, when he softened up and told me "someone who I couldn't see" had come to visit him while he was in a lot of pain the night before, and I was sure it was his mother coming to claim him,  I felt really close to the Old Man that day, and he cried and said, yes, he did think it was his Mama and his sisters, and he thanked me for listening. But, the next time I saw him, he was back to abusive, my youngest DD didn't want to go near him (she was 6) because he was emaciated from the chemo and she was scared of him. He blamed me because "You act like that because you're a woman and always given in to them kids, that's what women do." I asked him if he would have been happier if his son had married an other man.  Then we got BS about the "chemo effecting his brain." Please. I think he just thought he was immortal and was pissed off that he was going to die.

 

My husband's brother died in an accident as a teenager, the last of a string of accidents, alcohol abuse, arrests and other behaviors, many of which my DH also engaged in when he was a teenager. . My DH has always tried to make up for being "second best son" and did everything to get approval from his father.... which he never got, not even at the end.

 

He got WEIRD when his father was sick and after he died. A lot of bad stuff happened in our relationship and we were about to go back to therapy, and it seemed better. However, my DH has never come to terms (or even admitted) with the abuse and the lack of support from either of his parents. Sad, because he's a great guy (most of the time.) When his mother calls, she wants to know what "projects" he is doing and what he has accomplished that week. Then he makes up excuses if "all" he has done is go to work 5-6 days a week and spent time with his family. I come from an academic family, his father never even finished High School and always made fun of "snobs who are book smart and every day dumb."

 

Sadly, this crap seems to come up in...um... discussions. His mother had done nothing with her life but keep an immaculate house. That's it. She did start engaging herself in art (she's a really good painter) but suddenly after a year or two, she stopped and told me, "I'll never do that again." I don't know what caused it, but I'm pretty sure my FIL said something to her about it. Heaven forbid the woman sit down instead of be constantly in a state of a chicken with no head, cleaning everything in sight.  I tend to be more cerebral with my spare time, reading, writing and doing research. Keeping an immaculate house, at least to me, seems like fighting entropy and seems to be a losing battle.

 

Anyway, it really bothers me that not only will he not deal with the fall out of the abuse he suffered, he refuses to admit he was ever abused. "I got what I deserved when I was a kid." Luckily, I made it clear before WE had children that corporal punishment, verbal berating and screaming wasn't going to be part of how we raised our kids and he agreed. I still have to gently remind him if he seems like he's losing his cool and he has learned over the years that leaving the scene is more productive than staying and getting really angry.

 

I know he's protecting his abuser and the abuser's enabler. But, I can't come to terms with the fact that he still puts his parents on a pedestal and won't even talk about the elephant in the room.

 

We've been in family therapy, (he was really difficult to even get to do it) but he skirted all the therapist's thoughts about abuse, pretending he had no idea what she was talking about.

 

I'm at a loss. I love this man so much. But, he's still effected by this abuse and he won't even admit it happened!

post #2 of 3

wow - your post sounds so heartfelt - and i LOVE your signature BTW.  I have no real experience with  this - only to say my DH also suffered emotional abuse in his family and over the course of the last 10 years together - one small thing will come out at a time - he is now 40 and has 'revelations' probably once a year at this point.  Maybe your DH will gradually come out of the abusive closet - and as he ages - it may become more relevant for him to do so.  

But there isnt much you can do - except be there for him if/when he does want to talk about it.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherhendoula View Post
 

wow - your post sounds so heartfelt - and i LOVE your signature BTW.  I have no real experience with  this - only to say my DH also suffered emotional abuse in his family and over the course of the last 10 years together - one small thing will come out at a time - he is now 40 and has 'revelations' probably once a year at this point.  Maybe your DH will gradually come out of the abusive closet - and as he ages - it may become more relevant for him to do so.  

But there isnt much you can do - except be there for him if/when he does want to talk about it.

Thank you, MTD. (I'm a doula, too! :Hug)   I appreciate your caring. I'm glad your DH is making strides. I probably should have given his age. My DH is in his mid 50s..... no revelations yet. *sigh* The whole "Yeah, I got hit as a kid and I deserved it." stuff is what really bothers me. I did make it clear, before we ever had kids, there would be no hitting of children for any reason. And, he's been good about that. He does still talk about the one time he gently  whapped our then 2 year old DD's hand as she was about to actually put a butter knife in an electrical outlet. I got upset when it happened and he apologized, but neither one of us have forgotten it.

 

He certainly isn't the way his father is, but when he gets frustrated, with myself or the kids, is that his language and his attitude when he's sometimes belligerent  sometimes reminds me of his father, and it makes my hair stand on end. When we were in therapy the therapist was all about "Don't diss each others families." So, I'm kind of not sure if I should bring it up or not, but sometimes, damn, he sounds just like his Old Man and I never want him to be anything like that man. Scary, because he looks exactly like his father (who was not an bad looking man,) and everybody comments on it. He's much kinder and more loving and more likely to listen to reason, though.

 

I know there isn't anything I can do to "make" him make progress or see the light. It's just I know the abuse and the way he pretends it didn't happen or that he "deserved it" is difficult to deal with, because I love him, and we both love our children.

 

There have been times when I have been really proud of him. When our middle DD was about a year or so old, we had his parents over for dinner and the baby ONLY wanted mashed potatoes for dinner. So, as she asked (or pointed and yelled) he would put more potatoes on her plate. His parents were like, "That baby should eat everything. She can't just eat potatoes." 

 

My dh quietly, but firmly said, "Mom, Dad, babies know what they need. If Moon needed anything other than what she is eating at this time, she'd eat it. Leave her alone." Then he added, "Plus, she's still nursing a lot, so she's just eating solid food here and there."  I was SO proud of him. An other time he was in the car with his parents, his dad driving (I wasn't there) and Rush Limbaugh was on the radio and my DH told me he couldn't stand it anymore and said to them, "Why do you guys listen to this man? He's horrible." Just little things like that are not only not really common, but when they happen make me proud. I do wish his progress would.... I don't know, increase or something. I guess when you are afraid of your own father, coming to realizations don't come easily.  In fact, he made a comment about "being afraid of your father" many years ago, and I commented that, no, I had never been afraid of my father, he seemed really surprised. I also made it clear that I didn't want our future children to ever be afraid of him. He's gruff, but nothing like his father in that respect.

 

Thank you for listening to me ramble. I just need to vent, I guess. :stillheart

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