Today, by accident, I managed to upset my Father in Law so much he wouldn't even talk to my husband about it. I think the word he used was "fuming". Now, if you want to replicate this with your Inlaws, ensure you send them a message either via text or email so it can be totally misconstrued, there is no opportunity to explain and you cause maximum offence. Brilliant!
Want to know what the magical words are to achieve Inlaw alienation? Well, here they are....
"Your attitude to parenting is shocking"
Ta Da! Yep, that should pretty much do it for most folks I think. Obviously, the words can be exchanged for a stronger or gentler option but this version worked pretty well for me.
So you don't think I wander the countryside passing judgement on the parenting skills of others (like I can talk!), I shall now explain the lead up to the final showdown.
As you may or may not know, my Brother in Law has moved in to his first flat this week. A big thing by anyones standards, I'd say. Unfortunately, the day he picked up the keys Father in Law, I shall call him FiL, had a funeral to attend so was unable to help out. He had to work the hours he had taken off the next day but said he would be over to help Thursday (today). More hands, great!
The Corgi guy had been booked to come today so we thought FiL would be able to help with moving the rather heavy cooker from our house to the first floor flat at BiLs in time for the guy to fit it. When asked for help it transpired that FiL had taken on 2 days overtime and wouldn't now be available til Saturday.
What followed was a rather brief but bewildering textual exchange between FiL and myself.
He said he had text BiL to tell him he wouldn't be over but hadn't heard back. I told him BiL didn't have any credit and was probably a bit upset about him not coming over to help when he said he would.
What followed was an acrobatic leap from the handle, involving amounts of irrelevant information and buck passing on FiLs part.
Unfortunately, I am a little protective of my BiL. He is wonderful but a little shy and quiet so gets pushed aside all too easily, until now. Nobody puts BiL in the corner!FiL basically said he asked BiL if he would be ok moving without their help. BiL said he had others to help that day so FiL took it that he didn't need to help at all.
** cue tumbleweed and cowboy stand off music**
That is when I rode in on my high horse and said
"You're a lovely man but your attitude to being a father is shocking"
Understandably, he was p***ed off. I had a rather ranty text saying that he wasn't allowed to be a father, he had it tough paying maintenance so he "got on with life". He said BiL wanted his own place and didn't want his help. "Until you know the facts just leave me alone, you don't know what I've been through"
My husband asked me not to reply so, although I was boiling by this point, I didn't.
My husband tried to call him to explain but his Step Mum answered saying his Dad was out and he would be back tomorrow. He is doing 12 hour shifts and he doesn't go out during the week - FACT! I am so annoyed that he is being so childish and not talking about it. OK I was out of order, I should have kept my mouth shut but I get so annoyed with BiL being left to his own devices all the time. I felt I had to say something. I feel as protective towards his as I do my own kids so god help anyone who upsets him, even if it is his own Dad!
During a drunken conversation FiL told my husband that he would always be his number 1 son. The look on my BiLs face was heartbreaking. He was moving up to Scotland with his Mum the following day. BiL wanted to move back down here after finishing school but when he asked his Dad if he could stay there, his Dad said no. He stayed up in Scotland for another 2 years before coming to stay with us in August.
Having dealt with all this for 12 years with Bigs father, I have very little tolerance for men who shirk their parental responsibility. There seems to be a general feeling that as long as Dads make regular payments for their childs keep, they are doing "their bit". I'm sorry but I don't subscribe to that point of view! Having comforted with the weeping child because Daddy favours another sibling, it really pisses me off when they think a bit of money will fix things. They have no fucking idea of the hurt they cause and the confidence they crush. Being "absent" is far too bloody convenient for my liking. Kids need more than money to grow. They need love, reassurance, support and care amongst other things. Being a daughter, I still need these things from my parents at times, we all do. So is it any wonder children grow up lacking confidence and self esteem if their own parents don't deem them worthy?
I am hoping to start work on a follow up post called "How to Make Up With Your In Laws" but this is very much still in the planning stages...