Getting married can be a very exciting milestone in many people’s lives. There’s just one problem—when we choose a spouse, we tend to overlook the fact that their family comes with them. And when members of one’s newly adopted family are less than pleasant to be around, things can get real awkward, real fast. Here are 50 must-read real life stories about some of the worst father-in-laws, and in some cases fathers, of all time.
1. A Messy Situation
I don’t typically take my daughter to my mother-in-law’s house for a few reasons, but mainly due to my father-in-law. He’s mentally hurtful to my mother-in-law and has been to his kids as well. Me and my significant other always knew he wouldn’t be around our child. Today, my mother-in-law needed help with setting up a brand new TV.
My father-in-law was at work for a few more hours, and it should typically only take a few minutes to set up, so I figured it would be okay. I sat in the kitchen with my six-month-old baby to be out of the way while she was working on it with my husband. Then, my father-in-law gets home super early for some reason. I mostly ignore him and I’m about to subtly tell my partner that we need to leave.
That’s when my father-in-law walks over. He reaches out to pick up my baby, when my mother-in-law tells him to wash his hands, which are black with dirt. He tells her to screw off. I try to keep things calm, so I say, “We all have to wash our hands before touching her because of the pandemic. It’s just to keep her safe.” His disturbing response made me see red.
He then yells and swears at me before reaching out for my daughter’s face quite roughly. I pull her back in time and firmly say no. He then whacks me in the face while trying to push my head out of the way. I push him away with my free hand, so he grabs it and twists it. I get him away and warn him that if he comes at me again I will do my best to hurt him.
He then starts threatening me while my mother-in-law takes my baby out of my arms and then runs out of the room as quickly as possible. My father-in-law’s gaze is still focused directly on me. I leave a minute later while he yells threats at me. He’s normally just verbally harmful, so no one expected this. I think he wasn’t used to being told no, as everyone else just backs down to his demands immediately.
Of course, I’m never going near that house again. I just wanted to get this off of my chest. When I got home that night, I reported the incident to the local authorities. He already had a history with them and other domestic issues, but I took everyone’s suggestion to make sure that there is a documented history of him having problems with me and my daughter, in case there are any further incidents down the road.
After my call to the authorities, he was actually apprehended and interviewed, but eventually released later that night. My bruise had faded by the time my appointment with the officers happened a few days later. And my mother-in-law didn’t want to serve as a witness, so there was no evidence for them to go on. On the bright side, he has been ordered to stay away and I’m looking into an order that would legally keep him from me and my baby.
2. Invasion Of The Baby Snatchers
So I’ve been having zero contact with my in-laws for about seven months now, and I’m happy to report that it’s been the most drama-free seven months of my life. Over the last few months, I’ve really been ruminating and looking at past behavior and realizing how early on in our relationship their bad behavior towards me and others began.
One story, in particular, popped up for me, and it’s pretty hilarious that it has nothing to do with me. But I want to share it anyway because it perfectly showcases what kind of man my father-in-law is. Also, it just goes to show that my in-laws are mean to everybody, including even themselves at times. Anyway, here goes with the story. Buckle up, it’s a doozy.
My sister-in-law had just given birth and the whole family was at the hospital. The whole time that we were waiting in the waiting room, my brother-in-law made it crystal clear to everyone that my sister-in-law did not want anyone in the delivery room other than herself, her mother, and her husband. Even after she had the baby, she did not want anyone coming into the room that night and preferred to see everyone else the next day.
Which is totally her right to decide. Nevertheless, an hour or two go by and my brother-in-law runs out and says, “The baby’s here! The baby’s here, and everyone’s doing great!” As soon as the words leave his mouth, my father-in-law says, “Great, so can we go in there and see the baby?” My brother-in-law reiterates that no, he can’t, as per his wife’s very clear wishes to have this private time with her new baby.
My brother-in-law then turns to face the rest of the family to just give us the details about how much the baby weighed and what she looks like, blah blah blah. But while he was speaking, I was discreetly watching my father-in-law the whole time because I know what he is like. Sure enough, the minute everyone’s backs were turned, he snuck away and walked straight into the delivery room so he could see his grandchild, because that’s how big of a head he has.
You should have heard the screaming from that room. It was a sound like I’ve never heard before or since in my entire life. One thing I can say about my sister-in-law is that she takes a whole lot less nonsense from people than I do. After he got yelled at and came back from the delivery room, every single person in the family asked him what the heck he was thinking when she had specifically made her wishes clear to him before the actual delivery?
And I said right in front of everyone, “Oh, that’s because he doesn’t care. He’s the most self-centered person I’ve ever met.” And his daughter turned to me and said, “You know what? You are absolutely right. That is a perfect description of my father.” This story is just a tiny sample of the kind of behavior this man engages in every single day.
3. A First Time For Everything
I recently dropped off my son for visitation with my ex and stayed for a minute. My nine-month-old son has started screaming in the last week, which is perfectly normal at his age. My ex’s father had surgery last week and I know he’s in pain, but then again he’s always been a little difficult. Anyway, my son was screaming and my ex-father-in-law started making comments like “that’s unnecessary.”
But I lost it when he said, “Stop that screaming or you’re gonna get your first spanking!” I was like “Oh, no you don’t!” I told my ex that I wasn’t leaving our son there and that I was taking him home. I was like, “Look, I know you just had surgery but I know you didn’t just threaten to spank a nine-month-old. That’s a completely unacceptable thing to do.”
I’m gonna let the judge in our case know why I’ll no longer be abiding by the order to split custody of our child with my ex. I just can’t believe that anyone would seriously think it’s okay to spank an infant! I was madder than a bull in a china shop, and I still am if I’m being honest! His family has always been dysfunctional, but that was a new low.
4. Crying Over Spilled Milk
Okay, so my insane father-in-law has always been a bit creepy towards me, but I typically just brushed it off. He’s been a pretty good grandfather and loves my daughter deeply, to the point where he has stopped drinking and is working to stop smoking so he can see her grow up. This is huge, because he’s had a very serious drinking problem for pretty much most of his life.
Overall, he spoils his granddaughter and puts her before even his wife, which I find hilarious because, frankly, she’s a raging lunatic. Aside from general uncomfortableness around him, I’ve never actually had any problems with the guy. I’ve never really liked him that much because of how he’s treated my husband in the past, but I put those feelings aside and have always tried to remain neutral towards him. That was all about to change.
Now, my daughter recently turned a year old. I’ve been breastfeeding since she was born and have yet to wean her entirely, as I enjoy the bonding and I’ve read so many positive studies about the benefits of breastfeeding until at least two years of age. I’ve always made it crystal clear that if it ever makes anyone uncomfortable, they can let me know and I will gladly cover myself up as best I can when feeding my daughter. Unless it’s in my own home, of course, in which case they can just get the heck out.
Everywhere I go, I try to cover myself as much as I can without overtly covering my daughter’s head, because she gets hot easily. So there has never been a time where anyone has seen anything that they weren’t supposed to. For a year, I’ve been doing this on the regular, including breastfeeding at my father-in-law’s home during visits, and no one has ever said a peep about it.
Then, sometime last month, my husband goes over for a visit without me, and suddenly it’s a big freaking deal. My father-in-law actually said to my husband, “Tell your wife to keep her freaking breasts out of my face when she visits.” Of course, my husband was shocked and confused. My father-in-law and his wife, who had previously been very vocally supportive of breastfeeding, both explained that they didn’t want me breastfeeding in their home anymore, and especially not around my father-in-law.
My husband pushed for more information because they had never expressed discomfort before and like…it’s been a whole year? It came out that apparently my father-in-law had been looking at my chest when I breastfed my daughter. His granddaughter. In front of his wife and kids. I had just never noticed because he always played it off as admiring his granddaughter and calling her cute.
Umm, what in the world??
I am repulsed and disgusted and feel violated in sooo many ways. And, as an added bonus, they all blame me for this situation! My husband’s step-mom messaged my husband and said that I should have had more decency than to be exposing myself like that in front of someone’s husband. My husband and I are both floored, and he is clearly taking my side, but the family as a whole seems split.
Some say that I should be more discreet, and others are just as repulsed as me. Anyway, I just needed to get this off of my chest because I am so grossed out and uncomfortable over this whole situation. And I’m so angry that my literal father-in-law would be so disgusting as to play peeping tom on me when my baby daughter is RIGHT THERE. To literally turn her eating into something inappropriate!
Heck, I’m still so angry just thinking about it. A few people have suggested to me that I not allow any unsupervised contact between him and my daughter from now on, which is definitely the plan as of right now. As a victim of childhood trauma myself, I am especially vigilant about the red flags and keeping my daughter safe. Under no circumstances will he ever be allowed alone with my child, if we even decide to visit them anymore.
5. Won’t Someone Think Of The Children?!
I just had the strangest flashback. So I’m the youngest of three kids and growing up, my dad always told me that he had wanted more kids. He said that he had almost divorced my mother over the fact that she didn’t want any more kids after me, even though he was so willing to provide for us and blah blah blah. Little did I know the crazy direction his complaints were about to go in…
Well, when I was around 18 years old, my mum told me that she had actually been pregnant after me, but that she’d had a miscarriage. It was a bad one too. She was pretty far along and she had to go to the hospital. This is where my knowledge gets hazy. My mum has always had reproductive issues and eventually had to have a hysterectomy.
I have no idea if she personally didn’t want to have kids after that trauma or if she physically couldn’t. But regardless, my dad always painted my mum as the selfish one who couldn’t bear to give up her luxurious existence for one more kid, and he made things out to be as if he was the only one who really wanted and loved us. Spoiler alert: that was all false.
Anyway, once my mother told me that, the next time my dad went on one of his rants about how he’d always wanted more kids, I stopped him and said that I thought he was being insensitive given that my mum had endured something so traumatic to her. His response made me 100 times angrier. He said that I must have misheard and that I was wrong. He insisted that she’d never had a miscarriage, even though I remember exactly what my mum told me.
Anyways, years of such gaslighting from him was only the tip of the darn iceberg. I’m only now just beginning to come to terms with the idea that I may have been mistreated by him over the course of my childhood.
6. Holy Moly
My father-in-law legitimately and literally thinks I am a witch of Satan out to take away his son’s soul. No, that description is not at all hyperbolic. Just to clarify a few things and set the scene: I’ve never met my father-in-law. He has a serious drinking problem. My husband has had minimal contact with his father and hasn’t seen him in person in almost a decade.
He is also ultra-religious. After their eight children were born and they were done having them, my father-in-law wanted to build a hut to put my mother-in-law in once a month when she had her period. My in-laws are divorced now and I absolutely adore my mother-in-law. I feel sorry that she had to put up with a guy like that for so long.
Now for the main story. My father-in-law gets intoxicated every Saturday night and spends some time posting on Facebook, as the Boomers do. He usually uses this Facebook time to go on deranged tangents while adding anyone and everyone who comes up in his “People you may know” list without any real rhyme or reason.
Apparently, I was one of those people that he added without actually knowing. So he added me and eventually started adding my friends and family as they started to appear on his list. After a lot of messages from him, usually YouTube links to lousy rock songs that I never responded to, and several messages from people I knew asking who the hateful, ranting guy with my then-fiance’s last name was, I finally asked him to please stop bothering my loved ones as it was strange. This is where he really went off the deep end.
His response was, “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE. DELETE ME RIGHT NOW!” It was at this point that I realized he didn’t even know I was engaged to his son and had added me at random by sheer coincidence. A light must have clicked on in his head because shortly after, he started posting Facebook statuses about things he only could have found out by looking at my personal Facebook timeline.
My feed started getting flooded with “NO WITCH IS MY GONNA MARRY MY SON!!!,” “MY SON IS UNDER AN EVIL SPELL CAST BY AN AGENT OF LUCIFER,” and “YOUR TAROT CARDS ARE GOING TO DRAG YOU TO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT!!! WAKE UP!!!” A couple of weeks later, at a family function, my now sister-in-law mentioned to me that her dad had phoned her up in hysterics over the fact that his son was marrying one of those “feminist witches who doesn’t respect God.”
Apparently, he actually broke down crying while speaking about this. My sister-in-law said not to worry, that he’d eventually calm down, and that he’d disowned her more times than she can count. My mother-in-law, who was present for the conversation, just stood there and rolled her eyes while listening to the story. He wasn’t invited to the wedding.
7. Checking Things Out
I’m in the Balkans region of Europe. I’m 21 years old and female. My dad is 57 years old and male. He is also a narcissist with serious mommy issues. He doesn’t perform any parental duties, then gets upset at other people when they try to. The first of these duty issues happened a very long time ago, but the two I’m about to write about happened within the last I wanna say three years or so.
During my last year of high school, I noticed that my vision had been getting quite blurry. My head would hurt so much and so often. I’d get the ache going above my eyebrows, in the middle of them and above my nose, and spread to the back of my head. My ears were ringing too from time to time. I thought it was anxiety paired with lots of stress and exhaustion.
I was in my last year of high school and there was tremendous pressure about keeping my grades up and graduating, and then getting into college. A friend of mine got a little annoyed that I was copying everything out of her notes during class. To be clear, this was not cheating on a test or anything like that. I was simply in the back desk and could not see the writing on the darn blackboards.
When I got home and complained constantly about it, all my dad did was yell at me to leave the laptop alone and spend less time on it. That was a hard thing to do when I had countless essays and seminars to write and follow, as well as online tutorials on art to practice for the college I was planning on applying to.
Months passed by and my vision got worse and worse. Until one point when my left eye got severely infected. By this time, I had already finished high school, didn’t get into college, and was on a gap year. Yet again, he refused to take me to the doctors. That mistake almost cost me everything. It wasn’t until my eye was literally fully red and bloody-like that he finally gave in.
I didn’t leave the house for weeks and had to wear sunglasses even indoors because a small lamp with weak lighting bothered my eye so much. Three incompetent doctors later, my eye worsened and my parents didn’t do a thing except try to turn the blame on me. My maternal grandparents got angry at this. My dad continued to not do a thing about it except yell at me, claim it was my fault, and stay away from me as if I was carrying the plague.
So my maternal grandfather took me to see an expensive private specialist. They had to pull lots of strings and connections to get an emergency term. The specialist took one look at me and literally gasped. She was annoyed at the incompetence of previous doctors and how they couldn’t diagnose conjunctivitis. She told me I got to her in the last possible second and that I could have fully lost my vision if I’d waited any longer.
After 13 days of the hardest antibiotics, along with dozens of creams and drops and whatnot, my eye finally healed. I also mentioned the blurry vision and, as soon as my eye was healed, she found my diopter and hooked me up with good glasses. I was ready to come home all happy that I was gonna be able to see after the scare of a lifetime. But the worst was yet to come.
How did my dad react to the news? He screamed that I was embarrassing him and emasculating him by going to the doctor with my grandfather and acting like he can’t provide for me and his family. I calmly replied that I had been telling him for years about how I had weak vision and serious headaches. His response? Getting into my face inches away and yelling that I was lying. Fun stuff.
The second part was with my teeth. My teeth are fine. But I’m tiny, with a tiny jaw, and my teeth were a bit misplaced. Nothing much, they just couldn’t fit in the small jawline. For years, I told my dad about this and waited for the money. He’d brush it off and just say, “We’ll do it later.” We never did. Again, my maternal grandparents came to the rescue.
I spent half of 2019 and over half of 2020 (AKA the parts of it where we were actually able to go out) looking for a good orthodontist. By pure chance, I learned that my mom’s childhood friend had opened a dentist’s office. We went there and booked the session for putting braces in. The discussion literally took just 20 minutes.
My dad’s response? He refused to talk to me for days. He kept whining about how I was bleeding my grandparents dry by getting them to buy me the braces and glasses. First of all, they have a special fund set aside for me. I’m not doing that, and I would never want to put them in that position. But they keep telling me and reassuring me that they always have money for me on the side and that they’re very financially skilled in budgeting and all.
My dad was so angry when I got braces that he didn’t even want to look at me or hear me talk about them. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it still hurt. Yet another screaming match ensued about how he’s allegedly been begging me for years to go to the dentist, so literally the exact opposite of what really happened. He’s now staying away from the glasses and braces talk completely, any portion of it.
The other day, he had to take me to an emergency dental appointment because I thought my braces had broken. The wire on one side pulled out of the small orthodontic part. Unfortunately, I don’t know what it’s called in English. In any event, I thought it was broken and panicked. On the way back from the hospital, my dad asked me why I never told him that I needed glasses or braces. He also asked if my braces were okay and if I was happy he had gotten them for me.
I just took a deep breath and shook my head. Narcissists really just hear what they wanna hear, and believe what they wanna believe. Don’t they?
8. Child’s Play
This just happened an hour ago. As an introduction, I’m currently in my second year of college. I study Early Childhood Education, also known as Preschool Education depending on where you’re from. To those who don’t have any children or are unaware, I basically spend three years of basic studies learning about early childhood development (from conception until six years old) and all the ways in which I will teach children in kindergarten or any preschool facility.
In order to do that, I must know every single milestone and phase that kids go through, including their developmental stages, including the sociology, the psychology, and the pedagogy behind all of that. I can’t really apply a method or compose a curriculum for kids of a certain age if neither one of those fit their milestones and developmental age, and if the kids lack capacity to understand the activity we’re doing.
Maybe I’m taking it too seriously, but my job will consist of teaching and taking care of someone else’s really young child, so I’m trying to stay on top of my studies and methods while also providing the kids with good, educational time and safety. Most people I describe this to view it as a pretty responsible and uncontroversial way to spend my time, right?
Well, last year, my toxic dad decided to make a comment. He pays for my college, as it’s normal here for parents to pay. And while I was figuring out some things in relation to exams, he randomly started yelling at me. He says I’m wasting his money and my time in this course. Why? He wholeheartedly believes that my college only teaches people how to change a stranger’s kid’s diaper, serve the kids lunch, and babysit.
This comes out of the mouth of a man who’s never been a real parent to anyone. Sure, he demanded to hold newborn baby me, tried feeding infant me with solids, and played with me a bit in my early childhood. He only did the fun bits. All of that stopped when I went into school. Since then, it’s been only yelling, screaming, demeaning me, and throwing money at me for allowance. And he thinks that’s the way parenting works.
His mommy taught him that men don’t parent, women do. It’s their place to be in the kitchen and be bedroom slaves—child-rearing subordinates that never talk until they’re talked to. An hour ago, he got a call from an old high school friend. The friend inquired about us since he hasn’t seen us in years, but calls often. My dad first tried to answer with my current age.
He usually misses it. I’m 21 and he’ll always be off by a year. He said “20,” and got cut off by himself instantly switching to talk about his beloved 80-year-old mother who’s an equal piece of trash to him. He spoke about her for ten minutes. Then, he said that my mom was okay and working, then finally reverted back to talking about me.
“She’s studying some before-school child caring thing, some preschool caring. Yeah, maybe that, it’s called differently there. Can you believe that even exists? I had to ask her, do they really have a college course for babysitting!” And his dumb self immediately busted into laughter. I was ready to rip off the 400-page book I’m preparing for my colloquium tomorrow.
A man who has never parented thinks he knows what child care is. A man who didn’t allow his child to be put in daycare for her own sake and who forced his wife to leave said kid in his mother’s claws thinks he knows how daycares, kindergarten, and preschool function. I’m not supposed to be speechless, but I am enraged. Holy freaking cow!
9. What’s In A Name?
My wife and I had a name picked out for our daughter only a few months into the pregnancy. It resonated with us from the start. We did not tell anyone the name until after the baby was born. This is our first child. Everyone seems to like the name, including my siblings, uncles, aunts, and my mother. It is a very pretty sounding and relatively unique name, at least where we live. There’s just one problem…
My dad absolutely hates the name for cultural reasons. He has always been quite objectively a narcissist, as well as emotionally manipulative and damaging. We are culturally Hindu, and the name has some Arabic and Islamic roots, which is a problem for my dad. Ironically, the name also has many other roots, including Sanskrit (which is Hindu), as well as Basque and Japanese.
None of those details matter to my dad, though. In his mind, he cannot stand that it is associated with another religion in any way. Even though my wife and I are not particularly fond of the culture associated with the name, we really don’t care that the name may be associated with it historically. We just happen to love the name.
My dad has been harassing me nonstop since we told him about this plan. And, as you can imagine, this is the last thing we want to deal with, on top of the pressures and stresses of dealing with a newborn that we already have. All this went down about a day after the baby was born. He is saying he can’t sleep because he is so upset over the name.
He has called it a disgrace to our heritage and culture. He is now saying he won’t talk to me at all or be involved in our lives anymore until we change the name. Typical manipulation tactic. I basically told him the name is our decision, we are not changing it, and we don’t want him involved at all if this is how he plans to behave.
I also told him not to speak to anyone on my wife’s side of the family about this. I have not been getting my wife too involved in this because, again, this is the last thing I want on her mind. I have learned to deal with his manipulation tactics, but odds are that he won’t come around on this one. However, we made it clear that we are not willing to change the name.
I asked a lot of people for their thoughts on this situation, and the clear unanimous response has been that I should cut my father off. That is essentially what has since happened. He confirmed that he will no longer speak to me or be involved in my daughter’s life until I change the name. I simply said, “Okay.” He hasn’t spoken to us since and I have no intention of contacting him.
It is fairly easy to manage so far, since he doesn’t live in the same city as us and can’t visit anyway because of the strict restrictions here right now. He has done this before and usually caves within a few months. He may reach out in a few months and, if he does, I will have to set some very strict boundaries for him that he is not allowed to cross, or else I will go full no contact with him and he will not get to see his granddaughter.
10. Fighting Back
A little background: My dad has had severe anger issues throughout my entire life. Because of this and how he’d take out his anger, I grew up to be scared of his temper. He’s a cool guy when he’s not mad, but he just gets super mad a lot. Even now in my mid-20s, I’m scared of his temper. I was trained throughout my childhood to just keep quiet and keep my head down until he was done with his fit.
However, my husband and I moved in with him a couple of months ago to save money so we could eventually buy a house for ourselves. My dad can’t stand my husband though. That’s because my husband doesn’t act like I do, i.e. timid when my dad is around. So my dad hates him for that and will go out of his way to pick fights with him. My husband usually doesn’t argue back per se, he only tries to explain or defend himself. It’s honestly a terrifying situation.
I’ve been very bad at standing up for him before, because honestly I’m just terrified and my natural response is to shut down when in these situations. I know this makes me a bad wife, but I’ve been trying very hard to do better. I’m just so scared. We’re moving into an apartment in about a month. It’s already lined up, and now we just have to wait for the previous tenants to move out.
I also found out last week that I’m pregnant. My husband and I haven’t told anyone yet, and we don’t plan on doing so until we are past at least the 12-week mark. Now here’s what happened yesterday. So for the past few days, my dad has been in a really bad mood practically all the time. Yesterday, he started yelling at my husband over something to do with the mail.
I don’t really know what started it to be fully honest, but my dad was screaming at my husband at the top of his lungs. My husband said he had had enough, and that he wasn’t going to stand for my dad treating him like that anymore. That just made things so much worse. It really set off my dad and he tried to get in his face to scream at him even louder. I immediately stepped in between them and stayed there as a physical barrier to make sure nothing bad happened.
And for the first time in my life, I stood up to my dad. I wish I could say it was a loud confrontation, full of righteous fury, just like in my most satisfying daydreams. But I can’t. In a soft but audible voice, I stood there between them and told my dad he shouldn’t, and couldn’t, yell at my husband like that. I explained that there was no reason to yell at him and that what he was accusing my husband of was untrue.
He then tried to argue with me, turning the target of his yelling onto me, but I kept my head down and simply repeated myself. I repeated myself again and again as I sent my husband into another room to keep him out of the crossfire. My dad tried to argue, but I repeated myself until he retreated into his room. I just sat there after they left. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t use my hands, trying desperately to not cry.
My stomach has been in knots since then, and I’m a little worried about the baby. I’ve been feeling cramps since the argument. I’m just glad that I’ve got an appointment in a couple of days. I think he tried to apologize to me afterwards. He even offered to pay for an item that my husband and I have been saving up for. I told him we weren’t sure we were even going to get it anymore, and thanked him for the thought.
We’ve all just been kind of ignoring the whole incident since then, even though I’m still feeling so tense because of it. When I tell this story, I never know if I’m asking for advice, reassurance, or what. But if you’ve read this far, I just want to say thank you for letting me get this off my chest. It’s been a wild ride, to say the least.
11. Not Seeing Eye To Eye
My father-in-law completely overstepped a line today and I need to vent about it. My husband wanted to go up with the kids for a long weekend to the in-laws who live 3 hours away on a remote horse breeding property. For context, our kids are 15-month-old twins. Now, we couldn’t go up for the full three days because the night before I got a call letting me know that my grandmother and last living grandparent had passed.
She lived on the other side of the world with no family there, so we stayed behind to support my parents and let them have a day with the babies as a distraction while I looked at some funeral and estate issues on their behalf. Last little bit of backstory: I have OCD, depression, and anxiety. I’m very open about it and very strict about my management of it.
I have two different support teams, medication, a mothers’ support program, and a child programme so that my kids get two days of free childcare for two months so that I can apply for work and clean and recover with less chaos from the kids. Okay, now that you know all that, here goes. So we come up to see the in-laws yesterday. Things seem okay at first—but it was just the calm before the storm.
We soon realize that nothing in their house is baby-proofed and the only thing they have for the kids are some un-mattressed portacots and some of the toys my husband and his sister had when they were infants. My mother-in-law spent most of the first day just trying to force-feed my kids and tell them that they needed to eat more.
At dinner, I ask if there’s anything I could get from the kitchen for them as I cook their meals at home so we didn’t bring any instant food up. She says dinner will be ready in an hour and till then there’s nothing for them to have. Ten minutes later, my husband goes in desperately asking for just bread and butter or something so we can feed them before bath time.
She starts yelling at him and claiming that we’re pressuring her and that there’s nothing ready and they need to wait. Finally, she calms down and we can get the kids some food. They get fed, and then my mother-in-law once again starts insisting that they’re still hungry, even when the boys are pushing the food out of their mouths.
I take them away, bathe them, give them their bedtime story, and they get left to go to sleep like they always do at home. I come to check on them five minutes later—and I couldn’t believe what I saw. My mother-in-law is in there feeding them bloody apple purée! Whatever. I let it go. But now we get to what just happened today. You might have a hard time believing it.
The boys woke up at 3:00 in the morning from pain and we couldn’t settle them until close to 5:00. Guess it was synchronized teething and growth spurts, yay twins! In the morning, my in-laws mention that the syringe we use to dole out pain medication sucks in air, so we should “be careful.” My husband makes a light joke about their tone being a bit intense, and at that point, my father-in-law absolutely flips his lid.
He yells at my husband, saying “When we’re OFFERING ADVICE (he wasn’t), we’re not insulting you! We have more than 30 years of experience with this stuff! You don’t like the tone? GET OVER IT!” We were shocked, but let it go at first. However, I warned my husband that if his dad had another outburst like that, we were leaving.
Afternoon: one of the kids bites me. He’s never done it before, but he leaves a mark. I tell my father-in-law about this and, to my utter shock, he says: “You have to bite him back. It’s the only way to make it stop. We did it to your husband when he did that.” I calmly replied: “I’m not going to bite my infant child, thank you very much.” I should have seen the red flags right there.
Lunch time comes. We take the boys out for a walk in very padded fur-lined onesies. Once we get back, I peel them off the kids and leave them in just their nappies because they were red-skinned underneath from being so warm. My father-in-law comes over to “help feed them” and immediately says: “Dress him.” I reply: “It’s fine, it’s just for lunch.”
He shouts: “Dress him now. He’s cold!” I say: “No he isn’t, it’s just for lunch.” He says: “He NEEDS to be BUNDLED UP!” I say: “Father-in-law, I would appreciate not being spoken to like that.” He repeats: “DRESS HIM NOW!” I reply: “If this is really this big an issue, I’m more than happy to just leave.” At this point, my husband steps in.
This now devolves into my father-in-law saying our routine for the kids “doesn’t work for anyone.” He also claimed that the kids are a disaster and that we don’t know what we’re doing. At this point, I was seeing red. I tell him he sees the kids at most four times a year, so how the heck would he have any idea what my routine is like when they’re home in a place where their mother is RESPECTED and able to be their mother without people interfering.
My husband is physically holding me back at this point. I start packing up the car and loading up the kids while my mother-in-law is sobbing that she doesn’t want us to go. My father-in-law is then telling my husband that my depression is making me “dangerous” around my kids, and that I’m clearly not coping well or capable of handling this job.
I missed the rest because I was clicking in the kids’ seatbelts in the car, but my husband came out and told me that he had asked his father to apologize. I told him: “I don’t need a disingenuous apology.” Nevertheless, my father-in-law quickly comes out and unemotionally states: “I’m sorry if I upset you with what I said, but if I think something needs to be said I will. At least we’ve cleared the air.” I scoffed and just walked back to my kids.
I’m furious. I’ve never been so darn insulted in all my life. And in the six years I’ve been with my husband, I have always tried my hardest to be respectful when we visit his parents. I would help with the chores and the horses. I would travel up to help my mother-in-law when she was super mentally ill and I was pregnant. I’ve already had my sister-in-law talk serious smack to them about me because “my house isn’t clean enough to be up to her personal standards.”
And even after all that, my mother-in-law still had the gall to text us when we got home and argue that her husband was in the right, and that we should be more open to people trying to give us advice. Like, as if she didn’t see the way he acted towards us? Yea, sorry but I’m not changing the way I live my life or raise my kids just because someone thinks I’m a bad parent when they see us four times a year at best and can’t even tell which twin is which.
12. Baby Face
Lay back, buckle the heck up, get those popcorn packs ready, and tune into this new episode of “What is this 60-year-old baby crying about now?” Side note, I think this man child needs a nickname, and I would be very open to your propositions and suggestions. Here’s the story. My mom’s birthday is coming up. Per usual, my idiot dad forgot about it.
Screw the fact that they’ve been married for more than 22 years, right? He forgets it every single year. His mommy’s? He recruits both my mom and myself FIFTEEN DAYS AHEAD OF TIME to find her a gift every year. He throws some money at us, usually a fifth of the whole cost of whatever we need to buy. And then he always spits on every gift we select.
Even though Grandma the Grinch is a piece of trash most times, she surprisingly likes her gifts more often than not. But that’s all besides the point, sorry. Last year this jerk made my mom cry on her birthday. He started yelling and screaming at her before 6:00 in the morning. He was calling her names. I’d also had a huge fight with him just two days prior to that event.
So he turned around and called me a slur for lesbians. Why? I’m a 21-year-old female who happens to be bisexual, but nobody knows. He was mad because I’ve never brought a boyfriend home for them to meet. I’ve had two short relationships with two idiots who only thought about themselves and how to drag me into bed.
They were also similarly jerks to my father, so I ended things about a month into each relationship. I know, I really won the lottery in my picks. Anyway, I stay away from dating now because of my dad, how he treated me, and being terrified of meeting someone similar. Plus, there’s a lot of baggage that comes from toxic, dysfunctional, and generally harmful parents and households.
This year, my mom got an offer from her parents. She and I would swing by their place for lunch on her birthday. My good grandma was insistent, but my mom wasn’t feeling it. Instead, she suggested that she’d take out the four of us (as in me, my dad, my good grandma, and the Grinch) to a small restaurant here, less than a five-minute drive away.
If everyone agreed, we would order ahead and organize it all somehow. My mom proposed it to my dad. His response was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. He was laying down as usual. When he heard this suggestion, his legs went up in the air like a toddler kicking. He threw the remote down and started letting out the throatiest yell I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Screeching and all.
Poor him would have to go among people when the virus is still there, even though cases here have been going down for months. We have sanitizers, and masks are necessary at this restaurant. Mind you, this is the same man who is “deathly afraid” of catching it, but he goes maskless to work. He drinks and eats ordered catering at work, and also has drinking binge sessions with his boss. Don’t even ask.
This is also the same man who nearly tore my head off when I didn’t take and pass all my exams a month after lockdown ended when I myself was terrified of getting sick. He also yelled at me when I got the flu amidst changing seasonal weather (e.g. severe rain and severe heat in August) because I went to university “to take exams.”
And then he had the gall to turn around and basically say screw me and my own health, while simultaneously lecturing me about how I’m exposing poor him and his mommy. He had also literally just taken her to a church choir practice with more than 20 elderly people there from different backgrounds and social circles, all singing in close proximity and without masks…
He spent an unhealthy amount of time yelling and tantruming. Like full-blown kiddy tantrums. It was scary at first—then it was just sad. Somehow, I think he’s actually regressing in his level of maturity. His behavior here was similar to and looked like tantrums thrown by the young kids I used to work with. Now, as far as the birthday situation went, you might wanna ask if he tried reasoning with us or bringing up a new, alternate suggestion to the one he had such a problem with.
He had a new idea. Why shouldn’t my mom, whose birthday it was, spend yet another weekend in a row slaving away over a stove just so he could have a good lunch; not to mention giving his mommy a day off from preparing one for him. That way, he can go back to laying down watching TV later. I kid you not. That was his idea.
So at that moment, I take a deep breath. And I say that would be a good idea! I ask if he has planned out a menu for this meal. I remind him that he only has a couple of days to plan out the menu, buy the groceries, and make his own freaking lunch, because the rest of us are planning on going to my good grandma’s house and his baby self will starving by himself.
His eyes widened like he was about to unleash like never before. He shouted: “I did more than enough!!” I said: “So you spent an awful lot of time gift searching, right? Got her a gift and all?” He replied: “I did.” I asked: “Where is it?” He said: “I gave it to her.” He then threw a small amount of money at her to cover the cost of a super cheap necklace she had ordered for herself.
The same necklace he had taunted her about and brought up during a fight the previous weekend. I tell him that’s not really gift-giving, just being a lazy husband. He then talked himself out the door, trying to justify to himself that he had done more than enough. I yelled back that I couldn’t wait to see and taste the meal course he was planning on preparing.
And I threw in his favorite saying: “WHAT’S FOR DESSERT? THERE BETTER BE SOME GOOD FREAKING DESSERT!” Aaaanyways, I can’t wait to see grandparents this weekend and have a few hours away from this fool! Ladies, gents, anyone in between, or whoever—Don’t ever marry a man who refused to cut the cord with his mommy. That’s my only wish. Not just for myself, but for everyone dating men.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
13. Somebody That I Used To Know
My father-in-law basically disowned me and my daughter. In a nutshell, he will not acknowledge our presence. It’s as if we do not exist. If we find ourselves in the same room as him and approach his direction, he immediately turns his back or moves seats. After his latest episode of this behavior, my husband finally decided enough was enough and went full no contact with his dad.
Since then, we have received phone calls from all over the world from extended members of my husband’s family. Some of these people, we haven’t heard from in over five years. Most have been really respectful when he apologizes for them being caught in the middle of a bad situation. He says he is fine, however he doesn’t want to discuss it further than to say that he and his father are having issues.
His uncle actually said they didn’t need to discuss it, as he grew up with the man and he knows how he is. Then he phoned my father! He doesn’t have my dad’s number, but they work in the same field so he was able to somehow trade favors with someone so that they would pass on my dad’s contact details. My dad said he wasn’t getting involved but he would pass on the message that he had called for, but that was it.
But want to know the part that blows my mind? I never blocked his number. I purposely left him in my phone unblocked in case of emergency. I know, silly me. He has my number but he has never called, never messaged, never nothing. But he will speak to my dad?!?! This has just solidified to my hubby and I that he made the right decision by cutting his father off.
If he is phoning far flung relatives around the world to pester my husband but he is so set on not acknowledging my existence, then so be it. The most hurtful thing is that I have never ever done anything to him. I have always been polite, hugged him hello, made small talk, etc. I even tried to learn his home country’s language to form some kind of bond with him.
My daughter loved him unconditionally even though she saw him so infrequently. She is still little and she has no idea what’s going on. But we are a mistake in his eyes. He told my husband that his marriage to me, his having a child with me, and his buying a home with me were all mistakes. Every time I think about it, it burns like hand sanitizer on a paper cut.
14. It’s The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year
I have many ridiculous stories about my ridiculous father-in-law, but this one takes the cake. For some background, I am a 41-year-old female and I have been with my husband Jay for 23 years, and married for 14. We have three children together. This happened a few years into our relationship. The crazy in-laws always had a tradition of doing Christmas on Christmas Eve.
Ever since they were little, Jay and his brothers would open their presents on Christmas Eve, stay up after midnight, and then sleep in on Christmas morning. My family always had the tradition of doing Christmas morning breakfast at my grandmother’s house next door to us, then doing lunch at my grandfather’s. As soon as Jay and I started dating and he met my family, he wanted to be a part of all of our holidays, and he was.
My in-laws didn’t like this—but the way they got back at us was demented. They started scheduling their holiday events to coincide with my family’s holiday times. This particular Christmas, they changed our invitation to Christmas afternoon. We told them we would be at my grandfather’s until early afternoon, and then head their way for Christmas dinner. As soon as we arrived at my grandfather’s, my father-in-law started blowing up Jay’s phone asking where we were.
We eat, open presents, and are about to have dessert when he starts really going at it, saying they’re ready to eat and that everyone is waiting on us. Jay is annoyed because we weren’t supposed to be at their house for a few more hours, but we decided to go ahead and leave to keep the peace. My grandfather would always walk us to our cars every time we left, and wave to us from the driveway until we were out of sight.
This particular time was no different, and I cried when we left, because seeing him standing there like that broke my heart. I didn’t really want to leave his house. We arrived at the in-laws’ house to find dinner in no way anywhere near to being ready. In fact, we all just chit-chatted for a couple of hours until the actual Christmas activities began.
I can still picture my grandfather waving from the driveway. He passed unexpectedly not long after that, and we no longer had Christmas lunches to plan for. The in-laws then switched to wanting Christmas mornings, because of course they did. I wouldn’t budge on this though. As long as my grandmother is alive, she will have her Christmas pancake breakfast with her family.
15. Ring Around The Rosie
I’m a 30-year-old female. I’ve written before about how my materialistic and crazy mom raised me to voluntarily endure torment as a child. But I wanted to finally start writing about my crazy dad. I have not talked to either of them for the past three years, but it is my dad who I will make sure never ever meets my children or enters my life again.
So to start off, I don’t remember large sections of my childhood. But I do know that as a child, I worshipped my dad, who actually turned out to be the scummiest but most charismatic con man, deviant, and philanderer I’ve ever had the horrible pleasure of dealing with. My mom favored my brother who looked like her, while I was favored by my father.
And if you guessed that I must have been the spitting image of my dad, you win a cookie! Anyway, here is the main story. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, and my brother was just starting first grade, my family and I were going back home from dinner at a restaurant. At this point in my life, my parents were physically and emotionally hurting each other pretty much every day.
My dad was also financially taking advantage of my mom who did not want to work and could barely speak English. I remember being in the back of the car with my brother, as the streetlights passed over me, trying not to get involved as they screamed at each other like insane people. They didn’t give a darn if their altercations happened in front of my brother and me. It was a nightmare.
I learned all the Korean bad words at a young age thanks to these experiences. I always tried to stop them when things got physical. And it wasn’t unusual for my dad to grab my mom’s hair in the car while driving or for my mom to smack him as he drove. Suddenly, he pulled out a black little box and screamed that he had bought her a diamond ring, but he wasn’t going to give it to her anymore.
This nut then opened the window and chucked the box out, while my mom suddenly got quiet and started to cry. She begged him to turn around on the freeway so she could look for it. My dad would always buy fancy gifts for my mom as a way of buying forgiveness from her for sleeping with other women. So I think that was what they were fighting about in the first place.
At this point, I just remember being in the backseat crying while we were parked on the side of the road, watching my mom on her hands and knees searching in the grass. He had thrown it out on the side of the freeway that was grassy. My dad watched my mom while leaning on the car, smoking and chilling as if it was no big deal.
When I tried to come out and help, he ordered me to stay in the car because it was dangerous. But there were barely any cars going by. I felt such a deep sadness for my mom. It made me sad to know that she was so materialistic and did not respect herself to the point that she chose the ring over her dignity. I think she eventually found it, but it took a while.
That night, I realized my dad really was a monster inside. From then on, I would do everything in my power to not be like him. I also vowed to never place my happiness in materials or let my husband control me to the point that I lost my independence and identity. This mindset led me to being labeled as the disobedient kid, as I actively worked to grow up against their values.
I think I unfortunately lost a lot of respect for my parents at an early age. They never once apologized for the danger and trauma they put us through, which made me question and distrust them. As I grew older, the tension between me and my parents skyrocketed as they lost more control of me and my life. During a fight with my dad, he claimed that my behavior and disobedience as an adult was due to me leaving home too early.
I left for university on scholarships and loans at the age of 18, and only returned for holidays if they bothered me enough. Now that I think about what he said, I can see that he meant that I didn’t stay long enough for them to manipulate me into being under their control till the point where I became fully dependent on them and it was more difficult for me to escape.
My dad thrived on control and reverence from others. And once he felt like he lost control of me, his illusion of being the perfect family man became completely shattered. He cannot deal with that mentally. His mini-me grew up to have no respect for him or any interest in helping him keep up his illusion like she was born to do.
16. Money Talks
I’m a 21-year-old female. Today, I experienced rage like I never have before. A couple of days ago, my fiance was in a serious car crash which could have taken his life. By what can only be described as some kind of miracle in the words of the paramedics woh saw his car wreck, despite having had to literally crawl out of the wreck of his destroyed car while it was UPSIDE DOWN, he was physically unharmed minus some shoulder and neck pain.
However, he has been really emotionally affected by the incident, as it was the most terrifying and traumatic experience of his life by far. I have been supporting him through it as best I can and, up until now, so were his parents. Until today, that is, when we were on the phone with both his parents. Literally out of the blue, his dad bluntly says, “I would really like it if I could sit down with both of you to look through your finances because I think you both are living way beyond your means.”
Umm, excuse me? Where in the world did that come from? He literally has no idea how we spend our money. Even the way he said it was extremely blunt and almost sounded aggressive. My partner just said that we’d have to think about it. I sat there too furious to even speak initially. I guess he thinks that because me and my partner are going through some financial hardship that he can just dictate to us what he thinks we should do about it.
I am so astounded by the rudeness of this. I am thinking about having my partner call him back tomorrow and asking him to apologize for what he said, but I’m honestly not even sure what I should be asking him to say. Ugh. I’m just so angry and insulted that I needed to vent. My fiance’s parents live in a three-bedroom huge house with two cars, a second holiday home, and never have to struggle for anything.
Me and my partner both have low incomes, as most of our money goes to rent and we rely on a food charity to feed us. They have no idea what we go through to make ends meet, yet they have the nerve to talk to us this way. My partner busts his butt at a full-time job, but it just doesn’t pay well enough sadly.
This is something that we struggle with every day, so it really angers me to think that this guy just wants to insert himself into a situation that doesn’t concern him and start snooping through our personal finances.
17. You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog
I’ve had a difficult relationship with my in-laws from the outset. My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. His parents treat their three grown children, who are all in their mid-30s to early-40s and who all have successful careers and families of their own, like they’re still five years old. If we visit them and we all go somewhere as a group, when we get back to their house, they all but demand that everyone including the adult children take a nap.
I’m something of a picky eater, so I never request that anyone cater to me. So when my father-in-law, who I’ll dub HoH for short (Hound of…Heck), cooks something I don’t like for me, I either don’t take any from the platter if we’re doing a family-style kind of thing, or if I’ve been dished up something I don’t care for, I simply eat around it. I never utter one word of complaint.
And yet, HoH watches me like a hawk when I eat. If I don’t take something from a platter, it’s: “What? You don’t like quiche?” If it’s on my plate and I eat everything but the one food I don’t like, it’s, “I noticed somebody didn’t eat her onions.” These people have known me for 15 years. It should come as no surprise that I don’t like onions. But I get called out for it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I bring it up to my husband, and he tells me HoH is just teasing. I know my tastes are a little weird. I never ask anyone to accommodate me. I just want to be left the heck alone if I choose to stay away from the stuff I don’t enjoy eating. It’s also important to note that HoH is constantly buying clothes, jewelry, accessories, etc. for my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, and me.
Usually it’s pretty nice stuff, and I will concede that he has decent taste, but at times it makes me feel like he thinks of us as his own personal Barbie dolls. It honestly kinda creeps me out. Anyhoo, with all that background that you probably didn’t need, we had a very small family gathering for my daughter’s birthday this past Saturday afternoon.
Given that we live in Southern California and the temperature gets up to triple digits here every single day, but I’m also self-conscious about my thick thighs, I most often wear capri shorts that hit me just below the knee. Nothing wrong with that to a normal person, right? Nevertheless, in the middle of the party, HoH approached me while I was feverishly working on my daughter’s birthday cake and said, “You really ought to commit to either pants or shorts. I hate these things. My sister wears these and she’s 80 years old. You don’t want to dress like her, do you?”
He even asked me for my pants’ size and told me that he was going to buy me something much more fashionable for the future. I was honestly too busy at the time to defend myself, and I kind of have a problem with being seriously non-confrontational, so I just let it go. Once the dust had settled, though, I started thinking about it, and I got angry.
I was angry at him for insulting my clothes and being so intrusive as to ask my darn size, but I was even more angry at myself for not sticking up for myself and refusing to answer such an out-of-line question. I told my husband about it the next day, and he was astonished. He backed me up and told me that he agreed it was definitely out of line, and he asked if I wanted him to talk to HoH. I declined.
I’ve always been very, very sensitive about my appearance. When I was little, I was very skinny, but once puberty hit, I got hips and breasts and filled out. I had a cousin my age who was obese, and every time I so much as reached for a cracker (mind you, I was about a Size Four at the time), my mother would say things like, “You know, [cousin’s mom] told me that [cousin] currently has a [large size] inch waist.”
On my wedding day, she was helping me put on my dress and veil before the ceremony, and she said, “I just want to let you know, your back fat is showing. You might want to keep your veil on for the reception. I wanted to tell you because I figured you’d get mad at me if I didn’t tell you and you found out later.” This was my freakin’ wedding day, the one day in every woman’s life when she should feel her most beautiful, no matter what she weighs or what she looks like, and my mother made me feel like I was ugly on what should have been the best day of my life.
Just a week or so ago, she invited me to join an intermittent fast group for women over 40. I’m 38, for the record, and while I’ve mentioned that I wanted to lose weight because I’m currently about 15 pounds or so overweight, it just brought me back to those “Should you really be eating that cracker?” days. I also have two small children at home, and while I don’t begrudge anyone their fitness or weight loss methods, I also recognize that this lifestyle just isn’t sustainable for me.
I definitely want to improve myself, but I desperately also want to accept myself for who I am right at this moment. For the record, my husband frequently tells me how attractive he thinks I am, how I look good, etc. He has never said anything discouraging about my appearance. But with this constant needling by my mother and HoH, I don’t know how I’m ever going to accept myself just the way I am.
18. He Shoots, He Scores
My father-in-law is a big Second Amendment enthusiast. One year at a family Christmas party, he surprised his girlfriend with a gun and box of bullets as a present. The cartridge was in the weapon at the time. He openly said that he had loaded it before the party, and he casually mentioned that he had forgotten whether the safety was on or not.
His girlfriend then proceeds to wave that thing around the room, and even points it at my father-in-law’s chest as a “joke.” My father-in-law thinks this is all hilarious. The girl clearly didn’t understand the danger of what she was doing. I was absolutely terrified. This only stopped when my brother-in-law, a former serviceman, took the thing away from her, checked the chamber, and showed her how to use the safety.
I was raised in the Midwest and, while I don’t have a ton of shooting experience, I was taught basic arms safety as a child. When I was 19 years old, I was also involved in a friendly fire incident. Needless to say, I was extremely uncomfortable with the situation, and so I expressed to my father-in-law why I felt unsafe, hoping he’d understand.
Instead, when I brought this matter up, my father-in-law and the entire rest of my wife’s family started to make fun of me for having a ‘phobia’ of guns. They likened my concerns to a fear of dogs, and told me that I was just being silly and childish. We packed up and left, and now the family thinks we are the ones responsible for ruining Christmas.
19. The Wizards Of Dopey Place
For a self-proclaimed financial wizard, my father-in-law sure didn’t think some things through. I like to call him “Finance Dope” for short. Here’s a little bit of background info. I’ve been working as a nanny for the last ten years. I have a psych degree in childhood behavior and development, and I specifically work with very special cases.
It doesn’t necessarily pay as much as I’d like it to, but it offers a benefit that far outweighs any other job benefit. Namely, I don’t have to pay for childcare. I make $22 per hour, which is way more than minimum wage in my area. That’s actually a pretty decent salary where I live. And I’d much rather make $22 per hour and not have to pay for childcare than make $30 per hour and have to pay for childcare.
I’d say that as far as any financial decision is concerned, this is the best one that my husband and I have ever made or will ever make. Nevertheless, Finance Dope doesn’t think so. And as you guys can imagine, he’s under the impression that whatever he says automatically goes. On to the current story. My husband and I have been thinking about buying a house.
We’ve saved up for a 20% down payment and several months of my husband’s salary on the side in case of emergencies. We were looking at possibly moving out when our lease is up, a good month before I’m due to have our second child. Finance Dope, for a while, has been stashing some of my husband’s money away in an account and holding it over our heads.
We originally decided to pretend that the money doesn’t exist, because I don’t deal with manipulation. He can try, but I’d rather assume he just swiped my husband’s money than ask a horrible jerk how far I should bend over for him. But while we are talking about this, my husband brings it up one last time and asks if that will help with closing costs.
I said, “It probably will.” So my husband sends a text to Finance Dope, asking how much is in the account. This is when things start getting messy. Finance Dope starts off by denying the account’s existence, then continues by insulting my husband and saying that he isn’t financially savvy. He went on to say that my husband should be receiving his wizardly advice, which he oh so graciously offered to provide to us for free.
He even had the gall to claim that we should really be thanking him truly, before insulting our choice to move out now. As if that’s not enough already, he decides to then go a bit deeper and say I need to find “an actual job” before we think about settling down. Excuse me? What the heck do you think I’ve been doing for the past 10 years? Lounging around while my husband makes all the money?
I don’t freaking think so, you dunce head. This isn’t some high school summer job I’m doing. I’m applying actual academic studies to help troubled kids as their nanny. And I’m making more money doing that than I would if I got a higher-paying job and had to pay for childcare. Not to mention that we are two fully grown adults who have a baby of our own and another on the way.
So you can stop treating us like a bunch of little kids who “haven’t settled down.” We don’t need that money, Finance Dope. This is exactly why we originally decided to pretend it didn’t exist. You’re a manipulative, hurtful jerk who believes you have the right to be involved in your stepson’s decisions. My husband did respond to him, and it did at least temporarily shut Finance Dope up, but it wasn’t as firm as I would have liked it to have been.
It was more like a “Hey, can you please not say that again?” type thing. And this was all over text, so I wasn’t fully able to respond the way I would have wanted to either. Gosh, I’m just so freaking DONE dealing with this man!
20. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
For a bit of backstory, I got married last June to my dear husband. We’re very happy together, and he has been helping me break out of the fog. We moved across the country in August to find work. We’re now both fully employed and have our own two bedroom apartment. We also wanted to get as far away from my side of the family as possible. Mostly my dad.
My dad has narcissistic tendencies, but is really good at appearing normal on the outside. As a result of this, it’s very difficult for people to see what’s really going on unless they get to a certain level of closeness with him. My mom has been diagnosed with ASD, so my dad can essentially gaslight her into believing anything he wants her to believe. My husband and I think that he gaslights himself as well.
During and before our wedding, my dad protested all of our decisions. Even things as unimportant and benign as where the wedding procession would walk down the aisle was a point of contention with him. But the real clincher was the decision to wear masks at the wedding, and have a limited guest list. We had about 20 people present, and the wedding was outdoors.
My husband and I had been seriously ill back in March, and the last thing we wanted was for our wedding to become a super-spreader event. Therefore, we were actively taking all the precautions we possibly could. We even had the priest do a “you may now hug the bride,” which I thought was really cute. Nevertheless, my dad threw a huge fit in front of everyone and started scolding me about my decision to wear masks during our photos.
His behavior got so bad that my brother-in-law actually threatened to throw him out of the wedding at one point, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, because of all the wedding drama and finding out that my dad has essentially been trying to control my decisions all my life, it was very stressful to maintain any sort of relationship with him.
He feels entitled to be involved in every single thing that I do, and expects to be called at least once a week to “catch up.” Then, I found out that I was pregnant. When I told my side of the family the news, my dad was really excited at first. Mind you, this was after I was safely in another state, and had taken precautions to not share my address with anyone that he had connections to.
Anyway, as I said, my dad was really excited. In his words, this would be his first “blood grandchild.” I felt really gross at hearing that, since I already have two perfectly good and cute nephews by my adopted brother. Who, by the way, is genetically my cousin on my dad’s side, if you care about such things, and has been my dad’s son since he was three years old.
Then, perinatal depression started hitting me hard. My parents’ anxiety about everything and their unnecessary and often downright mean advice made things so much worse. I tried setting boundaries, asking my dad to not give me advice unless I specifically asked for it. But his response was that “telling me his opinions and advice was how he shows love.”
Like when he scolded me for 30 minutes about how I’m lazy for interviewing for an “unprofessional job” as a nursing home aide? So in late September, I called him up and said that I needed some time to myself. An indefinite amount of time, so that I could get therapy and figure out why even seeing his name pop up on my phone made me feel so gross and wrong.
During that conversation, he tried bargaining with me and accused me of punishing him. He asked me what he did wrong, other than feeding me and clothing me and supporting me all my life. I told him that I didn’t have an answer. I told him that this was exactly what I was trying to figure out. And then, since he refused to end the call, I hung up and blocked his number, as well as everyone else in the household’s numbers. This includes my two sisters and mother, who still live with him.
The most difficult part was that my youngest sister is still in middle school and we’re really close. In hindsight, I was pretty much her emotional parent, which isn’t healthy for either of us. But I had to go no contact with her as well because she is a minor and my dad has access to all of her methods of communication. It was not an easy thing to do.
Since going full no contact, every week has ended with some attempted contact from my dad. He’s sent me an email and texted me with burner numbers, saying things like: “Exclusion is a form of tormenting.” This went on until I finally changed my number. He then passive-aggressively removed me from his Apple and Spotify family subscriptions.
I didn’t really use those services anyways, as I’m quite self-sufficient now. But that’s not where this ends. To put the cherry on top, he messaged my husband the other day. Not me, even though I haven’t blocked his email, so he could have emailed me. But he chose to text my husband. Bear in mind that this is the first text message that he has ever sent my husband in his life.
He hasn’t even ever called my husband before, despite having had his number since we first got engaged. This was difficult for my husband because he really did want to have a relationship with his in-laws. Anyway, the message was to let my husband know that he was removing me, his five and a half months’ pregnant daughter, from his health insurance policy, because I wouldn’t talk to him.
Bear in mind that my dad has three children under the age of 26 that he pays a flat fee to cover, so he gains nothing from this except the satisfaction of “punishing” me. Don’t worry, my husband and I had already anticipated him doing something like this, and so we have applied for our own family plan. Plus, I didn’t want my dad to feel like he had any ownership over my baby because he “paid for the insurance when I gave birth.”
I did want to eventually have a relationship with him again, but it seems like he’s burning every bridge he can possibly get his hands on. Effectively disowning me over my own desire for space, especially since he seems so desperate for me to come back to him, seems so crazy. If he really loves me like he says, shouldn’t he be giving me the space that I need in the hope that one day I’ll come back to him?
Almost everyone else in my extended family is too close to him or too flying monkey to stay in contact with, so I’ve essentially moored myself in another state with a baby on the way. I can’t talk to the aunts and grandmas that I grew up with about baby stuff. And I think that that is what hurts the most in all of this. My dad being a self-destructive manchild? That’s just amusing.
But yea, my dad really just took his 24-year-old pregnant daughter off of his health insurance policy because I asked him to give me some time to myself and to stop harassing me all the time. It’s been less than three months since I’ve gone no contact with him for my own mental health purposes, and I now know that I made the right decision, at least for the time being.
21. Do I Know You?
My father-in-law has ignored me ever since I married his son. That’s about it, but I’m still mad. Sorry this is choppy but I’m rocking my kid and recounting sparsely, because thinking about it enrages me. So my dear husband and I got married back in June. We had a lovely outdoor wedding and a small reception. My beloved mother spent the entire past year planning, DIY-ing, and making endless phone calls to make this happen.
My parents also paid for the entire thing themselves. We are incredibly lucky, I know. However, from day one, my father-in-law has tried to turn this into a party for himself. He demanded a 100 person guest list of his friends, a lot of them parents of his son-in-law’s former hockey teammates and other people that my husband doesn’t even know.
He also wanted it held at a venue of his choice, and he wanted his friend to be the DJ. He also asserted that we can’t have cupcakes because “That’s for children’s birthday parties.” We did not listen and served cupcakes anyway. Just a lot of demands from someone who isn’t forking over cash for this elaborate party that he wanted.
We told him no, he threw a tantrum, we ignored him and continued. So he made a bunch of snide comments and changed the subject any time the topic of the wedding was brought up. Fast forward a year. It’s March 2020, America is on fire, and nothing is certain. My husband and I toss around the idea of postponing the wedding to the fall.
After all, Halloween weddings are pretty cool and we could probably have some nice candy stations for the kids and what not. Unfortunately, this plan was not good enough for my father-in-law because, GASP, his son-in-law has a hockey game that day and he would rather go to that! So we now needed to change our backup date just to make him happy and agree to attend.
My husband actually hung up on him for that one, and told him that if he ever got tired of washing poop out of his hair every morning then he needed to pull his head out of his son-in-law’s butt. June 2020 comes. Our state is now open, so we go ahead with an outdoor ceremony at a venue we’ve never seen, making the venue swap two weeks in advance.
On the night of the rehearsal, my father-in-law gets lost because he can’t follow Google Maps. When he finally arrives, he berates my mother about how he got lost, how the place is ridiculous, and how she needs to go out and put up signs so that this never happens again. At this point, I step in and tell him that my mother has busted her butt and done everything else for the wedding, so if he wanted signs up then he could put them up himself.
At this point, he threw up his hands and walked away. On the wedding day, I am completely ignored. He does not even say hello. Doesn’t speak directly to me at any point in the day. He walks away whenever I approach him. He tells his son to screw off at his own wedding when he was told that our son was at a babysitter’s place.
I haven’t spoken to him since. My husband still talks to him, but as soon as he hears my voice in the background he hangs up. My God, I hate this man with every fiber of my being. This is only one example out of the hundreds of terribly selfish things that my father-in-law has done to my husband over the course of his life. And don’t even get me started on his weird obsession with his son-in-law.
22. A Good Night’s Sleep
My father-in-law is just a toxic pain in the neck. He always wants things done his way, or as he calls it, “the right way.” I knew since the first day I started visiting their home that we would clash a lot. For the most part, I would always just ignore him back then. After all, he was just my boyfriend’s dad. I just minded my own business, but then things got serious between my boyfriend and me.
Background: I’m pretty much a feminist, strong, independent woman, blah blah blah. My parents always taught me to not depend on anyone, and life has really drilled in that lesson for me. When I first got together with my boyfriend, I worked, had a car, paid bills, and, a month after, got my own place. My boyfriend moved in with me, and we split all the bills 50/50 after that, but I still took care of the house chores, laundry, dishes, etc.
My father-in-law is a stereotypical wannabe macho man. He doesn’t let his wife get a job, even though she’s been wanting one for years. He thinks the woman belongs at home raising kids and all that. We disagree on pretty much everything. When I got pregnant, my father-in-law cried, which I thought was super sweet, seeing as how he doesn’t ever really show any emotion.
But that was the highlight of the whole journey. As soon as we told them our baby would be a girl, he pitched in a name that neither my boyfriend or I liked. We said no. We already had a name picked out before I was even pregnant. Well, he didn’t care. Throughout the whole pregnancy, he kept asking how [his chosen name] was. I just smiled and kept telling him that this wasn’t her name.
Fast forward. Our girl is now nine months old, and he still won’t call her by her first name, just her middle name that he sorta prefers but no one else uses. A few weeks before I was due, I posted on my social media the “hospital rules” as my boyfriend and I didn’t want anyone ruining our moment. We told everyone not to show up unannounced, and to not take or post pictures or anything to do with the delivery until we had the chance to announce it ourselves.
My father-in-law started joking about how she was his granddaughter and he could post whatever he wanted. I pushed the boundaries out even further and said they could not post pictures of my daughter at all, ever. My boyfriend doesn’t use social media, so he doesn’t really care about any of this and just backed me up. I follow my own rules and we still haven’t posted a single pic of her.
My father-in-law keeps pushing and joking about posting pics online and that people would think my daughter is ugly and that’s why I don’t post pics, etc etc. I just responded that if he can’t refrain from posting pics of her online, then he just wouldn’t be allowed to take pics of her at all. Again, my boyfriend doesn’t care and just backed me up.
Every single time we see him, he questions our parenting and all the rules we have; which for the most part aren’t too outrageous, like not giving her soda or candy. Again, she’s not even a year old yet. My boyfriend just tries to stay out of the way, and when I complain about his dad he just tells me to ignore him. Finally, this past weekend, my boyfriend stood his ground, in front of all my in-laws. It was amazing!
He went out to a lake for my father-in-law’s birthday, woohoo! It was the baby’s nap time. She was rubbing her eyes and getting grumpy. My boyfriend picked her up, started rocking her to sleep, and she began crying, which she always does for about three minutes or so before falling asleep. As she began to cry, my father-in-law chimes in that “Ah, she’s not tired! She doesn’t want to go to sleep, bring her over here,”
My boyfriend shakes his head no and my father-in-law repeats himself that he wants to hold her. Now, my boyfriend and I know how bad our daughter gets when she doesn’t nap, so when my father-in-law repeated himself again that he shouldn’t put her to sleep because “She doesn’t want to,” he looks up straight at him and in a cold, firm manner says: “I know what my daughter needs and wants” and just shut him up, in front of everyone.
He didn’t say anything after that. Our daughter was asleep about a minute later and my mother-in-law just looked at her husband and said “See? He knows what his daughter wants!” Just adding wood to the fire…
23. Art Attack
My husband’s biological dad remarried after coming out as gay. The dad’s new husband, we’ll simply call “Aaron.” I have been building a small business to sell art prints, paintings, and commissions. My main job is an office job working 55-60 hour weeks, so I don’t have as much time as I’d like to for art and getting the shop ready to launch.
Early on, it was fine giving free drawings here and there to my in-laws, but as my employer piled on the work, I found it harder to have time to make free commissions for my family and friends.
I was dealing with a lot of stress last year when Aaron asked me for a free commission of a pet portrait for his friend’s pet that had passed.
I asked if it would be alright to ask for a fee to cover materials this time, because it would take me more than six hours to complete and I’ve been buying professional grade paints, paper, and canvases for selling my art. Before I could tell him that the fee would be less than 20 dollars, he completely blew up and listed all the times they had gifted us, including old furniture they weren’t using.
He mentioned how he went out to find items for our home without charging us hourly for his services since he’s an interior designer. The thing is, we offered to pay in full for his services but he declined because we’re family. So we didn’t realize that accepting this help would equal free art commissions on demand.
I have childhood PTSD and this triggered an attack, so I’m having trouble being around Aaron now when we visit. Is it always going to be like this? Should I just give in next time? I am in therapy for the PTSD. My husband wasn’t happy about the whole thing, but he says that Aaron is just stressed and didn’t mean it.
He wants me to do whatever makes me feel comfortable. Aaron apologized later, but I just can’t fully get past what he said to me. I cried for days and it took me months before I was willing to try and visit at all again. I hope I can get over this at some point and go back to having a normal relationship with my in-laws, but it hasn’t been easy.
24. Going Mental
My husband cut off all contact with my father-in-law when he rudely implied that I was mentally ill. Which, to be fair, is true. I am in fact mentally ill. I admit it because I have depression and anxiety. But his issues with me didn’t stem from that. He just didn’t like the fact that I got tired of him pretending he wasn’t a bad person who spent time behind bars for taking advantage of children.
In their final conversation, his dad started making subtle comments about my mental health. My husband wasn’t having it and blocked him on all social media. He at first tried to play it off as being for some other reason, because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Either way, I’m just glad it’s over. And now I never have to see or hear from my obnoxious father-in-law again.
25. Look Who Came Crawling Back
I’m gonna try to make a very long, messed up story short. My mom was the full time parent, always working more than two jobs at a time and taking care of more than four kids at all times. The exact number depended on whether my father’s side of the family had moved in with us rent free or not at a given time. Our absent father was in and out of our lives after she got fed up with the mental, emotional and physical challenges he posed.
We see him once a year, if we’re lucky. He has never done any true parenting and as a grown woman, now with a child of my own, I refuse to let my son be put in the same heartbreaking situations where ‘G-Pop is coming’ and then never comes to get you no matter how many times they promise and swear they will. Nope, you won’t get my son.
Be present or be gone. We’re breaking generational curses over here and cutting off toxic and damaging energy. Family is step one. We do not acknowledge you for the effort that you never put in in the first place. So no. I do not call, text, send smoke signals, or any of the other typical things that people do on Father’s Day. You did not play that role and, whenever it was time for you to, you disappeared for months and years at a time.
So, last year, my best friend and I cooked a four course dinner for the fathers in our house: as in my husband and her fiancé. The men are happy as can be and putting it all over their social media as each course comes out. My “father” goes on my husband’s page and says “I can’t even get a phone call but you getting whole seafood boils and steak? I guess you daddy now, huh?”
I NEVER SAW THIS!
I walked in from my shift at work and got right to the evening plans that I had, catering to my husband because of how good a father he is. He shows me this message after I come home from work the next day. And I explain to him that I’d been getting mean spirited text messages from my “father” since I woke up. But there were more messages now.
In the new round of messages, he literally threatened to come and end our lives. He called me out by name on his social media, made it clear he was under the impression that my husband hits me and that I deserve it. He’s clearly projecting now. He also kept that same energy when he rolled up to my door, and got it handed back to him.
He demanded to know why he wasn’t invited over for Father’s Day. I said: “Because your grandson hasn’t seen you in months and you should spend some time with him if you actually want to be a part of this family.” This made things worse. Apparently, I was being disrespectful for not feeding into his disgusting lifestyle. He added that he “never hit your mom, but I should have.” Sounds familiar, huh?
This was the line in the sand for me. NEVER bring my mother into your garbage. As soon as I said that, I let him know that he can have a relationship with my son but he and I no longer have anything left to discuss between us. He made it clear that he wasn’t going to respect me or my family as an adult. Months later, I get a message from his sister, the only family member on his side that I still talk to every now and again.
The message was basically saying that he was very sick and that none of his kids talking to him was making his health rapidly decline. Meanwhile, my brothers don’t speak to him for similar reasons. This doesn’t work. I let her know that this was a grave he dug for himself. I added that when he’s ready to talk to me like the adult I am, apology in hand, then we may be able to move forward.
That’s a big may. But, one way or the other, I let her know that him sending her and his current girlfriend to talk to me on Messenger over and over again wasn’t the way to do it. A month after this conversation, he sends a distant cousin of mine to talk to me about it. I also rejected that one with just as much respect. I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
He finally reached out to me himself like a month and half ago with the following message: “I just be mad and want to have a relationship with my grandson. I miss you.” Not an apology. Not taking responsibility for any of the things he said to and about me and mine. Nothing. I have long since moved across the country, bruh. I don’t know what you want from me at this point.
Now, I suddenly get a message from him a few days ago about how his mom is sick and how she deserves to see and get to know her great grandchild. I’m at a loss for words at this point. I truly don’t know what to do. Like his side of the family has been verbally, spiritually, and mentally damaging to me in every possible way you can imagine, since we were kids.
I get that as people get older they want to repent and repair what they’ve done wrong, but I don’t know. I still don’t feel right about letting these people off the hook for everything they did to me during my formative years. They gaslit the heck out of us growing up, and continued doing so to us as adults. At this point, my biggest concern is figuring out a way to say I’m extremely happy to not be around them for the rest of my life, without being unnecessarily disrespectful or rude.
26. Fighting Back
When my mom confronted my toxic dad, he threatened to remove me from his car insurance. For the usual short backstory, my father is manipulative, narcissistic, a cheater, and frequently makes threats to kick us out. My mother finally confronted my father the other night. It started with her once again asking what his plans were for moving, and he threw out the usual excuses that he’s “trying” (which he’s not).
He added that the two remaining apartments at a complex he was previously interested in are too expensive, blaming my mother for wanting him to pay her $400 a month in the divorce. That’s all she’s asking for, plus the house, and she could drag him for a lot more. Angry, my mother then confronted him with all the evidence she has against him. She has tons of proof of his cheating.
Russia and Latvia flight info. His secret bank account. His Russian code word that translates to “wait.” His height and weight measurements for some girl. The list goes on and on. She said his whole face and head turned bright red when she brought these things up. He completely shut down, but would occasionally say, “There’s nothing to say” and “It’s nothing.”
She went as far as to tell him that they could try and work it out if he would just admit to what he’s doing and why, adding that she doesn’t want to divorce, and he yelled that he does. He can’t handle confrontation when the person he’s verbally harassing fights back, so he ran away to the bedroom and wouldn’t talk to her anymore.
For the past two days now, he’s been moping around and barely eating. He won’t admit to a single thing, but she definitely struck a nerve with him. Well, now he’s acting like a cornered dog. He caught me yesterday while he was outside with the dog. They were in the driveway near our cars and he knew I needed to get into mine. So he chose that as an opportunity to confront me about something very personal.
We exchanged some words and I shut my car door in his face while he was still speaking. He didn’t go inside and whine to my mom like he usually does, but I texted her about it. She confronted him, and he started threatening to take me off his car insurance amongst other things. She blew up at him and he left the house for a while.
My mother seems to finally be finding her backbone lately. I really think it’s at least in part because I broke down the other day and she realized how hurt I am from the garbage that he’s been doing to us for all these years. I know it’s hard for her to stand up for herself and against him, but I’m proud of her for taking these steps. I feel like this situation is never going to end, but these recent events have given me some hope.
I want to also add something that I found rather amusing from their fight. My mother put her foot down and told my father that he has to start doing his own laundry. This man has never done his own laundry a day in his life. His mother did it for him until he met my mother in his twenties, and back then he flat-out told my mom that he has never and would never do laundry.
He’s always had a very old-fashioned point of view like that. Well, his response to being asked to do it for once was a harsh, “Fine!” He sounded like a child on the verge of a tantrum. She does laundry on Tuesdays. So, let’s see how that goes!
27. In Sickness And In Health
My father-in-law just completely exposed our family to the virus, and I lost it when I found out. He and my husband work together at their family business. Last Wednesday afternoon, my father-in-law received a positive virus test result, and so my husband scheduled a test for the next day. We were advised to quarantine until we got test results.
The next day, my father-in-law knowingly still went in to work and potentially exposed a dozen or so more customers! He also insisted that my husband come to work on Saturday, even though we didn’t have the test results yet and didn’t know if he was sick or potentially in danger. My husband tried to reason with him, but he wouldn’t listen.
When I found out he was at the family business exposing people, I completely flipped out. I went down there and found him in the office. I said we needed to talk. I told him that what he was doing was irresponsible and put customers at risk, not to mention the reputation of the business. My father-in-law said he was fine to be at work, because his symptoms actually started ten days earlier.
In other words, this means that he knowingly went to work sick in the middle of a global health crisis and exposed my husband for a week before he bothered to get tested! I was enraged to know that he had put my husband, our children, and me at risk with his irresponsible behavior. Especially since my husband, one of the kids, and I all have medical conditions that put us at greater risk for serious complications.
I’m embarrassed to say that I acted completely out of character and said “F*** you” to my father in law. He just sat there and said, “Thank you,” which got on my nerves even more, so I repeated the insult and called him a piece of trash. I then walked out. By that time, my husband had come over, and we walked home together. He gave me a big hug and thanked me for “fighting for us.”
I wish my husband would consider leaving the family business, but he says he doesn’t know what else he would do, and that he has a family to support. I told him I would fully back him up if he ever decided to consider a mid-life career change. Until then, we are stuck with this atrocious man of a father-in-law. Wish us luck!
28. Aren’t We Forgetting Something?
My husband’s parents got divorced about five years ago. He isn’t really close to his parents, although we are close to his grandmother on his dad’s side. His dad is kind of a poop show too. We don’t really see him often. But last year, he had a new girlfriend that he had been dating for six weeks, and he brought her over to a barbecue so that we could all meet her.
Two weeks later, he proposed to her. They got married just three weeks after he proposed. My husband got an invitation via Facebook and we were shocked. He called his grandma and his poor grandma was out of the loop and wasn’t even invited! She’s literally the sweetest lady ever. He ended up inviting her because he felt obligated, but waited until the last minute to invite her.
29. Careful With His Words
This is an old story, but I’m thinking about it a lot these days as I’m trying to process the downfall of my relationship with my father-in-law. My husband and I are currently in full no-contact mode with his family. I always knew that my father-in-law and his second wife were very conservative. I’m from the south and it happens. My husband also warned me that his paternal grandmother in particular is extremely hateful towards certain minority groups.
My extended family is from the Midwest and I always thought that people like her were just a made up caricature of a Southern person. Unfortunately, she is very real and has an unnecessary slur for every single person in the world who isn’t both white and Catholic. I started putting her in her place when she said slurs in front of me, and let her know that she is a hateful person.
The family just seemed uncomfortable during these moments, but never said anything. My father-in-law always swore that he wasn’t hateful like her. Yet, most times where I attended any kind of family function with them, the n-word slipped. My father-in-law is very fond of telling a story involving his mother yelling the n-word at someone.
Gross. My father-in-law tried to tell me that this is “just how she is,” and that I needed to accept it because she’s old. I reminded him that my own step-grandmother married an African-American man in the 1960’s and is the same age as her, so age is not an excuse. I let them know that I expected them to be respectful during family gatherings and that I wouldn’t tolerate the continued use of insensitive slurs in front of me.
Christmas is a big deal for my in-laws and we used to always go over to my father-in-law’s place on Boxing Day. A few years ago, we were all sitting around after opening presents. My father-in-law began to tell the dreaded n-word story. I got up in front of everyone, and visibly walked straight to the front door and walked out. I went to my mother’s house.
My husband wasn’t in the room at the time and it took a full thirty minutes before anyone noticed that I was no longer in the house. The kicker? My husband and I were supposed to accompany my father-in-law and the rest of the family on a vacation a week later. I told them that under no circumstances would I travel with them without a full apology for this incident.
My father-in-law came to my mother’s place the next day and “apologized,” though it was mostly rug sweeping. I will never forget the look in his eyes though, or the sneer on his face. I know now that this was the beginning of the end of my relationship with him, because I actually held him accountable for his bad actions and I made him bother to apologize for being a hurtful, hateful human being.
I know now that this moment sparked his manipulating my husband and attempting to break up my marriage. If someone swears up and down they aren’t hateful, but still uses hateful words and laughs about it… then yea, they’re just hateful.
30. Coming Of Age
My father has controlled me for 17 years, and thinks I’ll keep contact after I turn 18. Here’s a bit of insight: My biological mom and biological dad divorced when I was around three or five years old. My mom remarried around that time and my dad remarried during my freshman year of high school. My biological dad is very controlling, narcissistic, and emotionally manipulative.
My dad has always been entitled and narcissistic. He loves to have control over anyone who he thinks is lesser than him. He’s had control over me, my brother, my mom, and my brother’s mom. Although I would love to mention the awful things he’s done to my brother, this story is about how he’s treated me and my mom.
My mom always told me it was a mistake that she married my dad. She would tell my step dad that I would end up finding out how awful my dad is eventually. She was right. My dad would control my mom. Who she saw, what she would wear, where she would go, and more. A couple of vivid stories that I remember involve times when my mom was wearing a tank top and she wanted to leave the house.
He told her to go and change and that she couldn’t wear that out of the house. He would also prevent her from going to church so that she wouldn’t meet any other men. She ended up meeting my step dad at work. Growing up, I was kind of a daddy’s girl. I didn’t see my dad as evil until I got older. In middle school, I had a cat named Mr.Kittles.
Mr. Kittles would run away often. One of the ways he got out was jumping a large white fence in the backyard. I was outside with my dad and Mr. Kittles one time and I saw him trying to jump the fence. I grabbed a hold of him before he got over. My dad told me just to let the cat go because “he clearly didn’t want to be here.” My dad ended up taking him to the vet without a carrier, even though we had one, and I never saw him again.
There were also times when he was blatantly homophobic around me and even towards me. I came out to my step mom (his wife) one time and she immediately outed me to my dad even though I had specifically asked her not to. He was upset with me and banned me from having sleepovers with anyone, including the best friend I’d had for eight years at the time.
I cried for three days and my mental health was awful. I was later hospitalized because of my mental health and I told them he was emotionally harmful to me. He got mad at me for this, and told me not to call him that even though it was true. Once, I bought a cropped hoodie and I was feeling confident about my stomach because I wasn’t as chubby then.
He told me to never wear that at his house and never to bring it over again. I continue to wear a different crop hoodie that is oversized on me. I posted a mental health positivity post on Twitter and mentioned my experience with depression. I mentioned an object that he had in the house, and the thoughts that I had whenever I saw it.
In the post, I never specified what the object was. Nevertheless, he found the post and told me to deactivate all of my social media accounts because “it made him look bad.” That was the first time I ever said no to him in my entire life. He told me not to post stuff like that because I’m still severely depressed and that it was a bad idea.
I’ve made so much progress and don’t consider myself to have major depression anymore. He insists that using social media will make me want to harm myself, even though I haven’t had any desire to do anything like that in many months, so it would be a very small chance that I’d ever want to again. I’ve come such a long way.
I wanted to stay home alone this weekend and my mom made me ask my dad for permission. I was terrified to say anything to him because his immediate answer would obviously be no. I have a car and a job, and I go to school for culinary, so I can easily make my own meals. His reaction was so over the top and I know he’s going to yell at me when I go over next.
Basically, he asked my mom if me saying alone was a joke to him because of my history with depression. Honestly, I’m much more depressed when I’m at my dad’s place than I am alone. I’m absolutely miserable there. I’m 17 years old and he expects me to keep in contact with him every second of my life and see him constantly even after I turn 18.
He told me I should continue to live with him when I go off to college. I told him that that is not happening. He always tells me that I’m able to make my own choices, but what he really means is that I can make my own choices if it means I will “choose” to be with him. These stories aren’t even all of them. There’s so much more that he’s done and said. So much he’s done to make me and my mom feel guilty in various ways at many different points in our lives.
He has always had constant control of me and I’m now saving my own money to get my own things and live on my own. I’m done with him and I’m just waiting until I can finally escape for good.
31. When One Door Opens, Another One Closes
Three years ago, my father-in-law decided that he wanted to bring over his new wife’s kids from another country. He barely made enough money to cover all of his own expenses, but the wife must have insisted on it. Because my father-in-law and his wife didn’t make enough money to be sponsors on their own, they asked my husband if he could help.
Except they lied up their behinds about the legal repercussions of being a sponsor and downplayed the seriousness and full extent of what they were asking him to do. Luckily, my family had gone through the sponsorship process with my brother-in-law several years ago, so I saw right through their lies and warned my husband before it was too late.
I informed my husband about what responsibility he would actually be taking on, and he rightfully didn’t want to risk anything for two people that he had never even met in his life. A few days ago, it was brought up in conversation with my husband’s stepdad. He casually mentioned that my father-in-law and his wife had told my husband’s grandparents that it was all my fault that he wouldn’t help.
I probably would have cared a little back then, but now it just cracks me up at how entitled and delusional this guy can be. I’m so glad he has shown his true colors time and time again, because we can easily shut down his unreasonable requests for money or assistance now without hesitation or guilt. I don’t mind being viewed as the bad guy, and luckily my husband will always prioritize our relationship over his family.
It was a journey to get here, but here we are.
32. Sounds Like Someone Is Unwell
My future father-in-law is using my disease against me. I’m really stressed out and frustrated, because my long term boyfriend’s family is going to a wedding this weekend and I stated that I didn’t want to come along because I have multiple sclerosis. Recently, some new studies came out about further complications that people in my condition can have and autoimmune diseases if they are exposed to certain things at public gatherings.
Plus, I think having a big wedding during a global health crisis isn’t a great idea to begin with. My future father-in-law is now holding it against me that I previously went to some political protests. I feel like my ability to self govern my own health is being taken away from me. Like I should be able to make decisions on what I feel comfortable doing and no one else should have a say in that.
But nevertheless, my future father-in-law is trying to guilt trip me into going to this indoor wedding. I got diagnosed with my condition earlier this year, in April, and it’s already hard enough having MS and other health problems. So having someone that doesn’t understand what it’s like tell me the “right” and “wrong” ways to be sick, it just makes me wanna slam my head against the wall in frustration.
My boyfriend is 100% supportive of me, and is trying his best to explain the situation to his father. We’ve sent my future father-in-law a series of links to relevant articles and studies. My boyfriend is a people pleaser and loves his family, so he doesn’t allow himself to be stern with them. As a result, I just come off as a jerk when I get involved. Usually I don’t really give a hoot, but for some reason him trying to use my own health against me really bothers me.
33. The Art Of The Conceal
My dad is like a bull in a China shop when it comes to feelings, and I’m done coddling him. I’m going through a big, painful growth period and I’ve decided that I’m done living my life for other people. I’m very deeply taking stock of what it is that makes me happy and what I like instead of what I think others will approve of. Also, I’m almost 30 freakin’ years old, so I’m really past the point when I should have already done this.
As a symbol of my growth, I added on to an old tattoo. The tattoo is on my upper thigh and is only visible when I’m in shorts, shorter skirts and dresses, or bathing suits. Not that it matters. Because I love it and I decided that I wanted to add art to my body. I did a lot of research to find the right artist who specializes in exactly what I wanted, then went by myself to get it done.
And the experience was very cathartic. I didn’t tell my parents about the tattoo. Didn’t tell them what I planned on doing, or when it was done. And I only started wearing shorts around them once it was fully healed. I wasn’t afraid of their reactions, but I didn’t want them to try and talk me out of it. I showed the tattoo to my mom a few days before I showed it to my dad.
He saw it today and just goes “You got a new tattoo” and I said, well it’s the same one, I just added to it. And then he replied: “You know, you’re starting to look really promiscuous.” I was able to just ignore that comment in the moment, but I felt really awful about it afterwards. Because whatever I thought the reaction would be, I didn’t expect my dad to call me something like that.
I still love my tattoo, but I don’t think he’s realized yet that he has just added more padding to the wedge that was already there between us.
34. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
My ex and I got pregnant just before we broke up, and he left me because I wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy. I didn’t exactly want my own biological child because I have issues with medical professionals after a decade of negligence and don’t want to risk having to go into hospital with the baby, but I’m pro-life so my child will come first in this situation.
Anyway, his uncle who he lives with and is basically his father figure called me out of the blue. I am already seven months’ pregnant and he told me he wants the baby for himself, so he can raise it alongside him. Allegedly, my ex does actually want a baby, but not with me. I said he can see our daughter but will not have full custody.
His response was to insist that he’d make sure that I would never see the baby. Is he for real?
35. Put Her There, Partner!
I have been living with my mom and her partner due to university shutdowns and losing my job. Due to them being in at-risk demographic groups, I haven’t had guests over and have been careful about meeting people out of the house. My dad and I have a strained relationship but I still occasionally humor him and try to catch up.
My dad is divorced from mom, and after trying to set up a meetup between him and myself, he was offended when I told him that guests are not allowed in the house for the time being. He claims that he is not a guest because I am his daughter and my mom is his ex, therefore he can come in the house if he wants to. Umm, that’s not how this works?
He then went on, like always, talking about how stupid this whole health crisis situation is, and how all of the statistics are just numbers. Another thing I’d like to mention: my mom had the virus earlier this year and hasn’t felt the same ever since. She has asthma and went to the ER twice because she was having a hard time breathing.
It was so scary. I am at this point sick of his anti-science antics and entitled mindset. The first backpedal happened after I told him “I would hate to discuss numbers with you, given that we have already done that. And my mom is considered one of those numbers, and is VERY MUCH at risk of becoming another one of those numbers. I want you to understand that just because you are Mom’s ex does not entitle you to come inside her house whenever you feel like it.”
He responded: “Just being called a guest makes me feel minimal, but I am sorry that I didn’t understand how stressful it was when your mom was sick. I am glad you were there for her. I just feel like an outcast sometimes, but that’s my issue, not yours.” I also tried to explain to him that it isn’t anything fully personal, and gave the fact that my partner isn’t even able to visit as an example.
He jumped on that word “partner” immediately and tried to correct me by saying “Partner? You mean Boyfriend.” He is a very conservative, anti-liberal, anti-political correctness type of person. I once again went in and told him: “Are you seriously correcting me on what I should call my guy? Yeah, he’s my boyfriend, but he’s so MUCH MORE than that. He’s my equal, my partner in everything I do, and my best friend. Boyfriend isn’t a word that adequately describes him in my view.”
Again, he backpedaled: “I am glad he means so much to you. I hope I will meet him one day. Sorry for not understanding.” Perhaps these aren’t the most juicy backpedals I’ve ever seen, but the fact that he didn’t blow up after I stood my ground is a huge win in my book. I am so sick of him politicizing my life, and seeing everything I say and do as an offense to him and his political leanings.
I just can’t stay silent anymore. Guess he wasn’t expecting it.
36. What Happens In Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay There…
I always assumed that the childhood memory I have of my dad dragging my mom around a hotel room floor by her hair was just a nightmare that I’d had. But apparently I was wrong, and it really did happen. I can’t recall a lot of the details behind my traumatic memories. I just remember the specific act of violence and overwhelming emotions I felt, but not the escalation, reason for the conflict, or how it all went down.
This makes me question my memories and wonder if a frightening scene in my head was real or a nightmare, and it makes me insecure about my feelings towards my toxic parents. I had night terrors often when I was a kid. I don’t really understand yet why I have blanks in my memories of things that I feel like I should remember, and are important to remember, you know?
For instance, I have a couple of specific traumatic images and scenes in my head from my first Las Vegas trip, which was all the way back when I was in middle school. The trip was with my parents, family, and parents’ friends. I don’t even remember all the faces of those who went with us. But I do have flashbacks to this day, and remember the screaming.
I also remember seeing my dad dragging my mom by her hair across the hotel room floor as she screamed and held her head up to help get relief from the tension in her scalp. I really thought this was a nightmare and never brought it up to confirm it was reality until my dad abandoned my mom four years ago for one of his mistresses that I call ‘sugar granny.’
At one point, I was helping my mom get back on her feet. At the time, I had hoped that my dad was the only problem and that my mom was just an enabler. I was wrong, they were both bad. But anyway, I brought up questionable memories I had of her and my dad’s relationship, and was disappointed but not surprised to learn that the scenarios in my head really did happen.
I learned the background behind some of these memories from my mom. For instance, the reason that my parents were fighting in Las Vegas was because my dad had hit a big bonus but decided to give most of his winnings to his female ‘friend’ who had come on the trip with us. From that confirmation, a memory resurfaced of my mom crying and attacking my dad, grabbing his leg while sobbing on the floor, screaming “GIVE IT TO ME! WHY DID YOU GIVE IT TO HER?” repeatedly.
There is one other thing that still disturbs and confuses me though. When I asked my mom about the Vegas hair pulling memory, she started laughing and said “I can’t believe you still remember that!!” Her reaction seriously weirded me out and I didn’t know how to respond. She recalled the story I brought up as if it was a hilarious memory, not as something that probably traumatized the heck out of your kids and that you should probably apologize for.
I still don’t get what was so funny about that to her. Anyway, I am in a much better place now thanks to all of the love and support I have received from members of the public who have read about my story. I am forever grateful to them for letting me know that I’m not alone just when I need it most. Sending love your way.
37. They Don’t Call Him “The Terrible” For Nothing!
I moved across the country about a year and a half ago to be with my long distance fiancé. He’s fantastic and really attentive to my needs. I have type two bipolar disorder with hypomania, but I lean depressive and chronic migraine. Through all of that, he’s, all in all, a really amazing stand up guy. When we discussed our plans for the future, we determined that economically it would be best to move in with his parents, since he lives near a big city on the west coast and my parents live in East Jesus nowhere in the northeast.
Also, I had recently finished grad school in Florida and he really didn’t want to move there. Ever since I moved in, my father-in-law, who I call “Ivan the Terrible,” has done nothing but make snarky comments about everything having to do with my existence. He’s a total nut. He brought me in very sweetly the first night. I only met his parents briefly twice before and they seemed like nice enough people then.
But the very next day, he made comments about how my stuff was “in the way.” He next insinuated that I’d never find a job with my degree. After only a couple of months of job searching for something within my field, he suggested that I just give up and take a job at the local Walgreens instead. As chance would have it, I got a call back the very next day for three different positions.
It’s been incessant poking and prodding at me for not being good enough for his son, despite me never having done anything he can point to as “wrong” other than suffering from my chronic and mental illness. His family started to notice the slips and call him on it, as he started to poke them too, particularly his little sister, who he also doesn’t care for.
Things came to a head around Christmas this year, when his son-in-law began blatantly calling him out everytime he would say something nasty to her or me. Ivan didn’t take kindly to that, and kept having massive meltdowns. After months of all of us now pointing out his nutty behavior, resulting in chaos and blowups, Ivan and my mother-in-law are headed for divorce.
They’re drawing up papers and figuring out logistics. In the meantime, my mother-in-law has asked us to cool it on calling out the behavior, since the most recent blowup resulted in Ivan threatening to take the house during the divorce. He must have caught wind of the fact that we weren’t calling him out anymore, because the nutty behavior has turned back up tenfold.
The mask is completely off and he now says whatever horrible things come to mind without hesitation. He also has a bad history with drinking and, after 13 years clean, has sadly picked up drinking again. He’ll gaslight, scare, manipulate, name call, WHATEVER it takes to get under my skin because he knows I can’t do anything about it at this point.
He’s always questioning the validity of my jobs, the degrees I hold, and even went so far as to pull my husband aside on a run and tell him to break up with me. He said I was just another “project” for him to fix and that he could find someone better. Fast forward to last week. I work for a major cruise line and am one of the thousands of people being laid off in a couple of weeks.
I’m pretty bummed because I actually really liked my job. I was chilling on the front porch with my husband and his brother, when Ivan invited himself to join us. He just blurted out “I need to check on the flowers” and then stuck around. Mmmm-hmm. Yep, sure. I asked my fiancé if he had seen some dumb Tik Tok that I thought was funny and Ivan decided to stick his nose in and make the comment: “It’s okay if you haven’t, you’re working now and you’ll miss some of the pop culture stuff when that happens.”
He said that as if, first of all, I haven’t been working this entire time; and, second of all, as if I was talking to him at all. I completely blew my top and stormed upstairs, making sure to not break my promise to my mother-in-law and call him out as much as I wanted to. After this culmination of things, I really don’t want to have him at my wedding.
There are members of his side of the family that I’m happy to invite and I’ve gotten close with and I adore, but once the papers are signed and the 90 days go by to solidify them, I’m officially going no contact with Ivan. My husband thinks he will too at this point. I hope I’m not being unreasonable, but he makes me feel like a crazy person.
I can’t sleep, I barely eat. My mental health is deteriorating. I need to hear from people who have been in my shoes so that I know I’m not alone and that it gets better. Or it doesn’t, but it at least gets easier, or more manageable, or I get stronger or something. Things got worse on Saturday, when he started driving my mother-in-law crazy again.
He woke her up early even though she’s not a morning person. He decided that before coffee was the time to discuss the finances of the divorce. They took their conversation outside for privacy, which totally makes sense, but Ivan has a tendency to block egresses and try to physically intimidate women to make them feel unsafe. This despite him being an average height of 5’8”. Maybe I should change his nickname to Napoleon!
They finally agreed to wait on a mediator, but things were getting heated enough that, even outside, we could hear them inside. We were getting nervous for my mother-in-law’s safety and asked my husband to open a window and keep an ear out for something suspicious. Obviously, once Ivan heard the window open, this threw him into full on rage mode.
They pulled my husband into the conversation once they were done with their financial stuff and asked him if he was eavesdropping. He was honest and said “Yes, for my mother’s safety.” Ivan went nuts and pulled the “Oh, woe is me! No one trusts me! Everyone has turned on me!” card, which exactly no one bought.
Then, my sister-in-law went downstairs to try to deescalate the conversation, which didn’t help because Ivan loves to stir the pot with her. I decided it wasn’t my monkey, nor my circus, and took a nap because I knew that there was a rough afternoon ahead and that I’d be needing my energy. Of course, I was correct. About a half hour later, my husband and his sister wake me up and tell me to pack a day bag, as we were getting out of there.
I wasn’t showered or changed or anything for the day, not at all prepared. I decided to try to brush my teeth and, lo and behold, Ivan decides he’s going to try to follow me into the bathroom. My sister-in-law came in with me to brush her teeth too, as it’s a dual vanity. She asked him if she could help him and he backed off.
When she finished, my husband came in and stayed with me in the bathroom while I finished getting ready. Meanwhile, the entire time I’m using the bathroom, Ivan is posted directly outside of it, sitting in a chair seemingly waiting. This threw me into a panic attack. I didn’t know why I was being watched just trying to exist and do my daily routine.
When asked by my sister-in-law what his problem was, he said that if my husband was allowed to eavesdrop, then he could too. Once we were all finished in the bathroom, Ivan starts barking at all of us to “get the heck out” over and over again as we’re scrambling to collect whatever we could possibly need for the entire day.
He also followed my sister-in-law into her room and puffed his chest at her when she tried to collect her belongings and leave. When she walked into him trying to find a way out, he claimed she had attacked him. “She could have found a way around me and didn’t!” Umm, okay Ivan. We decided to stay at a family friend’s house while they were quarantined in Hawaii. They got stuck on vacation there back in March in their condo and so they’re making the most of it.
We basically ran for our lives. He made it a point to tell me that I knew nothing about the world, that my degree didn’t matter, and that I was a stupid idiot on my way out the door. Haha, classic Ivan. Glad to know he never changes. We got to the house and tried to make a game plan. We called our friends, one of whom is a lawyer, and asked them for their advice.
He told us to file with the authorities and start creating the paper trail. We did and they offered a civil standby to get more of our things to stay in our friend’s house for longer if we needed to, or to remove him from the home for 24 hours. We decided on the civil standby since courts wouldn’t be open because of the holiday here, and we didn’t want to risk anything should he come back.
We got a few officers to come with us and, for the most part, Ivan behaved while they were there. Ivan also tried to argue that if we wanted to come back he could lock us out. The officers, of course, straightened him out and told him, point blank, that we could literally break down the door if we wanted to since we were legitimate residents of the household.
And since my mother-in-law is an equal owner of the house, he can’t evict any of us without her say. She’s the breadwinner and always has been, by the way. Ivan has been unemployed since October of last year and never holds a job for more than a year to a year and a half. Unfortunately, in the hubbub, we weren’t able to find one of our three cats that were coming with us.
I wasn’t going to trust that jerk with our cats, so we sent my husband back to see if he could find her. And of course, he’s greeted by Ivan brandishing a golf club at the front door, telling him he can’t enter despite the officers literally having told him not even ten minutes earlier that he’s allowed to come in whenever he wants.
My husband begins recording the interaction. Our state is a one party consent state, so as long as you tell them you’re recording you are allowed to. He then pushes past him with as little force as he possibly can. Keep in mind, my husband is 6’3” and Ivan is, as you remember, 5’8”, so my husband has quite a bit of height and bulk on Ivan.
He collects the cat and some important documents, and leaves again. My mother-in-law then gets a nasty text from Ivan who is screeching about how my husband is attacking him, breaking property, etc., Theatrics, hysterics, the entire nine yards. We check in and when my husband explains and later shows us the video, we’re appalled at the lengths Ivan will go to make himself seem like a victim and just openly lie.
We finally settle in for the night. All the cats are safe, and then my mother-in-law just gets bombarded with text messages, emails, phone calls, etc. Ivan is just completely blowing up her phone and she is not answering at all. We finally get to Sunday. First, Ivan shows up to where we’re staying and decides he’s going to leave all the groceries that he doesn’t want on the front porch and trespass on this property, even though he’s been told that he’s not welcome.
We immediately call the authorities and file another report. We explain the situation and they take down all of the information, including his name and build, and look around the property for him so we feel safe going outside. We asked for a civil standby to collect more important items, such as valuables, jewelry, and sentimental items.
We also attempt to file a separate report with the authorities in the correct jurisdiction that we were staying in, with the new threatening text messages and video evidence we’ve collected. But I guess the person on the phone didn’t relay that we wanted to both file another report and do the civil standby, because the officers were only interested in aiding with the civil standby.
I stayed at our current house while my mother-in-law went grocery shopping and my husband and sister-in-law went and collected some more of our belongings. On Monday, Ivan decides he’s going to admit to extortion. He leaves my mother-in-law a message saying “I’ve taken most of the money out of our joint account and I will take the rest too if you do not talk to me.”
Upon checking the bank records, turns out this was true. But the dummy did his calculations wrong and put them both in the red. My mother-in-law is sorting it out with the bank now and they seem really helpful. Apparently, they see things like this all the time. Thankfully, besides that, yesterday was much more quiet. We actually got to enjoy our day and even spent some time in a hot tub dreaming of what our life will be like once we’re all no contact with Ivan forever.
So many people have reached out to see if we’re okay. Even Ivan’s siblings have told us that they have our backs in all of this and that they feel terrible to see that he’s treating us this way. Ivan is losing all of his friends and even some of his family through his own actions and behaviors. And to be completely honest, I don’t feel bad for him.
It’s so weird being almost a third party participant in all of this. Anyway, we’re planning on filing an order of protection to get him removed for 30 days so we can settle back into the house. My mother-in-law is planning to file that the same day she files for divorce, which is tomorrow. So congrats to her for finally being a free woman!
And after that, we can go before a judge and plead our case as to why he should be removed permanently. Mostly, it makes no economic sense to displace four people and three cats versus one person who is on camera doing all kinds of questionable things. Wish us luck, and send us some love! I’ve had similar past trauma so this has been crazy for me.
38. Singing In The Bathtub
My father-in-law doesn’t seem to understand why his strange behavior is at all inappropriate. For some context, my mother-in-law and father-in-law only have one bathroom and the bathtub is a handicapped walk in tub. The first time our baby, who was only ten months at the time, spent the night at their place, I listed out his bath time on his schedule but told them that it wasn’t mandatory.
At the time, I assumed they would bathe him in the kitchen sink, like my parents usually do, since their adult-sized tub isn’t an option. When we went to pick him up, my father-in-law mentioned that for his bath he just took the baby into the shower with him when he took his own nightly shower. On the way home, I told my husband that this made me very uncomfortable.
Not because I think that father-in-law would actively do anything inappropriate, but because it will normalize something that could make it easier for a predator to take advantage of my son further down the road. I have worked closely for years with children who have been taken advantage of in those kinds of ways. I know how easy it can be for a child to be preyed upon when they aren’t expecting it.
And despite believing that my father-in-law would never harm my child, I still know that family is statistically more likely to be perpetrators, which makes me exceedingly cautious. My husband understood where I was coming from, but wanted to avoid confrontation with his father. My father-in-law would probably take it as an accusation and freak out.
We decided we would just decline to bring it up and instead, moving forward from now on, we would simply give the baby his baths at home in advance before taking him over there for the night. I was skeptical about this plan, but eventually agreed. This past Saturday, the baby (who is now 11 months old) spent the night with them again.
As we had previously discussed, we bathed him beforehand and I left bathtime off of the schedule that we provided my in-laws with. When we arrived, my father-in-law casually mentioned that at bath time he’d just jump in the shower with the baby again, and instead of addressing it outright (which I 100% know we should have done), my husband politely stated that we had already bathed him and that it wasn’t necessary.
It really felt weird to me that my father-in-law had brought it up to us so directly. I think it reminds him of when his sons were young and he views it as some kind of a bonding thing. I know that many parents bathe with their children. But he’s the grandparent, not the parent, and I truly feel that it’s inappropriate. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t see it that way.
Then, today we went over to his house for a surprise visit so that my sister-in-law could cut the baby’s hair. After she was done, my father-in-law offered to “hop in the shower with him to rinse the hair off.” I said no, as he was past due for a nap and a bottle. My father-in-law said he’d be really quick. I said no, because it would be hard to get the baby to go to sleep after.
Then, as I was making the bottle, my father-in-law asked me if I was sure. It made me want to scream “Why do you want to be naked with my baby so badly????” I genuinely think that he thought it would be helpful, but each time he asked my hackles raised a little higher. When we got in the car to come home, I told my husband that dancing around the issue was no longer an option, and that we would have to have a direct conversation with my father-in-law about the situation.
I insisted that we make clear to him that neither he nor any other family member should ever be in a state of undress with our child and that even if he’s in swimwear he should not be showering with our child. So much inappropriate behavior occurs in showers. I will not run any risks of my child being outright or inadvertently groomed due to this man’s weird habits.
My husband says he’s onboard with this plan and we will talk to my father-in-law about it at the first available opportunity. My husband also agreed to clearly state that this is a “written in stone” rule, and that if it is violated then he will no longer be able to have unsupervised access to our child. I’m just so thankful that he gets why this is non-negotiable to me.
I’m glad he is now on board for what will be a very uncomfortable conversation. Hopefully it will all go well and that will be the end of this ridiculous saga once and for all.
39. Movin’ Out
So, let me give some background here. When me and my boyfriend first got together, I lived with my dad and his partner. I paid rent every month and everything was included. The only things I had to buy myself were the toiletries I would need. I now live with my boyfriend and his parents. Let me just note, we don’t mind paying rent in the slightest.
Now, let me start the story. One day, me and my partner had been somewhere, and we were in the car on the way home. I was having a conversation with his mum, and we got onto the topic of me paying my dad rent, and she said “I’ve never taken any money for rent and I never will. At the end of the day, they are my children and I won’t take money they have worked for and earned. As long as I’m able to work, pay the bills, and make sure there is food in the fridge, I will.”
Anyway, I ended up moving in with my boyfriend and his parents, and his dad started charging us rent at the start of the year without his mum knowing anything about it. She would have gone up the wall if she had known. We just gave his dad the cash every month when he would take us shopping, so that his wife wouldn’t find out.
We buy our own food and everything we need ourselves, so essentially we pay to use the electricity. Then, this month, his dad wanted double what we would normally pay. My boyfriend said he wasn’t willing to pay that much, and said that we only use the electricity because we buy everything we need. His dad didn’t like that answer, so they argued.
His dad didn’t speak to him for two weeks after that. So about seven month ago, me and my boyfriend started looking for our own place. I was having a conversation with my mother-in-law a couple of weeks ago, just me and her. She asked me how the house hunting was going. I told her that we hadn’t found anything suitable yet but we were still looking.
So she started saying there was no rush to move out and that we’re welcome to stay here as long as we like and all that good stuff. Then she asked if there was a specific reason we wanted to move out. I said there’s no particular reason apart from the fact that we want our own space, we would like to start our own family, and the rest of the things you typically want as a couple.
So she asked if it was because of anything her or my father-in-law had done or said to upset us. Trying to assure her it wasn’t, I said “NO DEFINITELY NOT, I’M SURE THEY’LL BE FRIENDS AGAIN SOON ENOUGH AND PLUS WE DON’T MIND PAYING RENT!” I didn’t even think about what I said until a minute or so later.
And then it clicked on that she wouldn’t have even known they’d had an argument in the first place. I mean why would she? She didn’t even know he was taking money from us. She asked me why they weren’t talking, and I told her they had an argument because my boyfriend thought my father-in-law was being unreasonable by asking for double what we were paying when we buy everything we need for ourselves.
So now the cat’s out the bag. My mother-in-law point blank refuses to speak to my father-in-law and she made him sleep in the spare room for the last week. Meanwhile, my father-in-law has made it a point to not speak to me. My mother-in-law is also mad, and won’t speak to my boyfriend because she’s angry that he hasn’t said anything to her before now.
My mother-in-law is now angry at me too, because I refuse and won’t let my boyfriend accept the rent money for the last eight months back. And my father-in-law is mad at my boyfriend, because my boyfriend told him to get a job and I accidently told my mother-in-law about the whole paying rent thing. My boyfriend finds it all hilarious and wants to get under my father-in-law’s skin even more by taking the money back from his mum.
I said he better not or he’ll be sharing a bed with his dad. I really get along well with my mother-in-law and I’m still pretty civil with my father-in-law, even after everything that has happened. I literally tell my mother-in-law everything, so as well as been angry at my boyfriend because he didn’t tell her, she’s even angrier at me because I hadn’t said anything to her until this point.
What the heck do I do about this now?
40. Cleanup On Aisle One
I was talking to my mom about how horrible and aggressive and scary and manipulative my father-in-law is, and how I’ve had to go no contact with him because he intentionally sets off my postpartum anxiety and gets in dumb arguments with me on the book of faces and then pretends to be nice to me when he sees me in person.
My mom then decided it was okay to tell me this story, because she realized that I was no longer trying to have a cordial relationship with him any longer and I promised her it couldn’t possibly make my feelings about him any different. So my husband and I are part of a religion in which marriage ceremonies happen in a special place with a special ceremony, but only for members in “good standing.”
My husband and I had ruined our good standing through premarital intimacy (gasp), but waited (and abstained) the requisite time period to still get married in the “right” way in their eyes. I knew that after my husband confessed his indiscretions that my father-in-law had called me some nasty names. That’s old news. What I didn’t know is that at my wedding, in the special place for good people, he decided to wait until after my husband and I were whisked away to sign paperwork, and then call me a bunch more rude and offensive names.
One of the workers who was there to help things run smoothly was making small talk and asked if they were so proud of their kids. My parents replied in the affirmative, but my father-in-law just had to detail all my horrible actions and talk about how I had made their son into a bad man with my terrible womanly ways. Because their son would never do something like that if it weren’t for me, of course.
Even though he had been with others before me, but whatever. What an idiot.
41. Sausage Fest
So, this is more of a stepfather-in-law story, and it’s old, but I still feel that it’s both strange and hilarious enough to be worth sharing. The story is that I lived with my in-laws once and my father-in-law basically denied me access to the kitchen and food throughout that period. And it really is as crazy as it sounds. Here’s what happened.
To put things mildly, my husband’s relationship with his stepfather is strained. My father-in-law is what you might consider to have some narcissistic tendencies. From afar, he can come off as charming and gregarious, even generous. But behind closed doors, he can be menacing and manipulative, and he seems to have always had it out for my husband ever since my mother-in-law married him when my husband was 14 years old.
To make a long story short, my husband essentially went and lived at a boarding school to escape his stepfather, didn’t speak to his mother for two years, and was essentially on his own from his teen years onward. He did go to live with them again for a few years when he moved back to the United Kingdom, and my husband tells stories of being verbally mistreated by his stepfather, who would rant and rave at him and demand sums of money from him.
He also did a lot of things to make him as uncomfortable as possible in his house, and even admitted to doing it purposely on a few occasions. For example, my husband worked security at nights, and his stepfather refused to move his personal computer out of my husband’s bedroom and would go in there all day and type loudly so that my husband could not sleep.
Anyway, many years ago, after my husband and I had gotten married, we were going to be moving back to London. However, my husband was finishing his training in Oxford and would not be able to join me for a few months. My in-laws invited me to stay with them. I was initially worried, given my husband’s experience with his stepfather. But I had never had an issue with him, and he had actually always been nice to me and seemed excited to have me, so I didn’t think much of it.
But when I arrived, it quickly became weird. For example, I was barred from working on the computer in the living room while they were watching TV, but I was full time trying to apply for jobs and find a flat, so I started sitting upstairs to work on my computer. But my father-in-law didn’t like this and accused me of not wanting to spend time with them.
So now I was required to sit with them in the living room any time that they were in the living room. It was okay, because it gave me time to have nice conversations with my mother-in-law in the evenings. But my father-in-law let me know privately that he didn’t appreciate this, and if I wanted to be around in the evenings then I must not disturb him with my conversations with her.
So… I was required to sit there silently, not working on my computer and not talking? Weirdest of all was that I initially wasn’t allowed to keep my own food in the house. There are some dietary restrictions in the house, and my in-laws thought I wouldn’t be capable of properly following them. Even when I was allowed to keep my own food, I wasn’t allowed to cook it if they were cooking or might cook soon.
This wasn’t a stated rule, but that’s just sort of what it turned into. My in-laws had two younger children, and my stepfather would make dinner for them before my mother-in-law got home, but he mostly did not invite me to eat with them. My mother-in-law would then get home a couple hours later and make a meal for herself or heat up leftovers from the meal my father-in-law had cooked.
My father-in-law worked a lot from home, so he was there a lot of the time. So, I would try to make myself dinner earlier to miss his cooking time, but he thought that would conflict with him spending time in the kitchen around 5:00 pm. It didn’t seem like there was an early or late enough time for me to be able to make food without bothering him in some way.
After he was done cooking, he wouldn’t clean up. And I wasn’t allowed to touch the food or clean it up because my mother-in-law might want it. So, once again, I couldn’t make anything for myself because there was physically no space available for me to do so. Basically, I could only make myself food when he wasn’t around, or if I was cooking for all of them which I did a few times.
Evenings became fraught. I’d get really hungry. So I took to going out to grab cheap food at the local chip shop so I wouldn’t be at home to interfere and awkwardly not be invited to meals. In my mother-in-law’s defense, I think she thought I was being fed by my father-in-law and had no idea that all these weird restrictions on my access to food and the kitchen existed.
And if my mother-in-law was home, I was typically always invited to all meals. So, weekends were much less of an issue than weekday evenings. Anyway, one day, I was home, hard at work applying for jobs. And I could smell these wonderful food smells coming from the kitchen. My father-in-law was cooking something that smelled delicious for my brother and sister-in-law who were, at this time, something like eight and six years old, respectively.
And, in a strange twist of luck, my mother-in-law had managed to get off work early and showed up as a surprise to have dinner with the whole family. I’m sitting up in my room, plotting where I might go to get a cheap meal of my own as the food smells were really making my stomach growl, and I figured I wouldn’t be invited. But then I heard my mother-in-law call up the stairs that dinner was ready and asking if I would please join them.
I was ecstatic. I was being invited to dinner!!! And I was going to get to eat whatever that great smelling food was. I got downstairs and I was thrilled. They had made grilled veggies with potatoes and these delicious looking sausages. My mother-in-law cheerfully asked me: “What kind of sausages would you like, the meaty sausages or the vegetarian ones?”
I looked at the vegetarian sausages and they were not appetizing-looking. They were all shriveled up and kinda grey-looking, while the meat sausages looked soooo good. I replied: “I’ll have a meat sausage please!” I was so excited. My mother-in-law was about to give me a sausage when my father-in-law decided to intervene and stop her from doing so.
And now, you need to imagine him talking with your best cockney-ish accent: “Oy, she can’t ‘ave those sausages! The meat sausages are for the kids!” Mother-in-law: “Surely she can have at least one.” Father-in-law: “I made those for the kids and she can’t ‘ave one.” Me: “I’ll just eat one…” There was a plate of at least eight sausages and I felt like there was plenty to go around.
Father-in-law: “But what if the kids want seconds!” So, it was decided on my behalf that I would eat the veggie sausages. But at least it was food that I didn’t have to buy from the chip shop and eat on a park bench on the street, so I accepted my fate. That veggie sausage was the worst veggie sausage I have ever had in my entire life.
It was somehow both soggy… and dry? It made this squeaking noise as I ate it. But I was hungry, so whatever. I should note that my eight and six-year-old brother and sister-in-law were the pickiest eaters I have ever seen. I had up until that point never seen my brother-in-law eat anything other than potatoes, bread, and cheddar cheese.
My sister-in-law I think primarily subsisted on white carbs and candy. I looked over at their plates, and they had eaten the potatoes, but the sausages sat there untouched. My father-in-law noticed that the kids weren’t eating their sausages and piped up. Father-in-law: “Kids, you better eat those sausages!” Brother-in-law: “I don’t like them!” Sister-in-law: “Yea, you know we hate sausages, Papa!”
An argument ensued, consisting of my father-in-law yelling at my brother and sister-in-law to finish their sausages. But they refused. And I was starting to get excited. Maybe this means I can have some of the sausages after all! But then, my father-in-law stands up in a huff, and shouts: “What a shame! Someone else could have had those!”
He then went over, grabbed their plates, and tossed them directly in the trash, along with all of the other leftover meat sausages. I didn’t stay much longer after that, and eventually my husband and I left the United Kingdom altogether. This incident was maybe nearly ten years ago at this point! Given the distance between us geographically, we luckily haven’t needed to engage much or rely much on my in-laws over the last ten years, and I’d say that my husband’s relationship with his mother has improved since then.
42. A Bicycle Built For Zero
My in-laws are only bad on occasion. Sometimes, they’re pretty great. Other times, not so much. We regularly continue to bring our two sons to visit. Until recently, we would make two night trips on weekends to visit and allow the kids time to spend with their grandparents. Following an incident, I have told my husband and he agrees, we will only be going for day trips from now on.
On to one of many stories: I had just given birth to my second son. It was a quick labor, with no time for an epidural. I was feeling euphoric and on top of the world. I had just given birth with no medication, not even an IV, as they couldn’t get one placed. I truly felt like I was a superwoman. A few hours later, I was moved to the postpartum room, and my parents had been there for a while holding the baby.
My in-laws arrived, and my mom and mother-in-law rode together to pick up our oldest from daycare so he could meet his new brother. My husband ran home to let our dogs out. So, it was just me, my new baby, my dad, and my father-in-law left in the room. My father-in-law likes to preface insults with either a laugh like it’s a joke or by giving a compliment first.
So, while we’re sitting there, he says, “Well, good for you, Mama. You look good. But now’s the time to, like, get on a bicycle or something and start losing some of that weight.” When I tell you my dad’s jaw just about hit the floor, it would be an understatement. I know he was about to say something, but he didn’t have to. I beat him to it.
My mom struggled with her weight for most of my life, and at one point lost 100 pounds about 12 years ago, but I have never once heard my dad say one negative thing to her about her weight. Anyway, I just looked at my father-in-law straight in the eye, because I’m used to these snide comments of his, and said, “No, I don’t think I’ll be getting on a bicycle any time soon.”
“Why not?” he asks. I replied: “Because I just got stitches in my private parts for popping out an eight-pound baby.” The look on his face was a mixture of realization and embarrassment. It was TERRIFIC!
43. Getting Down And Dirty
My father-in-law got super angry that I wouldn’t let him touch my baby daughter’s face without washing his hands first. I don’t typically take my daughter to my mother-in-law’s house for a few reasons, but mainly due to my father-in-law. He’s mentally destructive to my mother-in-law and has been to his kids in the past as well. Me and my husband always knew he wouldn’t be around our child.
Today, my mother-in-law needed help setting up a TV. My father-in-law was at work for a few more hours and it was only going to take a few minutes, so I figured it would be okay to go over. I sat in the kitchen with my six month old baby, to be out of the way. Unexpectedly, my father-in-law gets home super early for some reason.
I mostly ignore him and I’m about to subtly tell my partner that we need to leave, when my father-in-law suddenly decides to start walking over to us. He reaches out to my baby, when my mother-in-law tells him to wash his hands, which are black with dirt. He tells her to screw off. I try to keep things calm, so I say “We all have to wash our hands before touching her because of health precautions. It’s just to keep her safe.”
He then yells and starts cursing at me. He ignores everything we all said and just reaches out for my daughter’s face quite roughly. I pull her back in time and firmly say no. He whacks me in the face while trying to push my head out of the way. I push him away with my free hand, so he grabs it and starts to twist it intentionally. Now, he seriously crossed a line.
I get him away and warn him that if he comes at me again I will do my best to physically hurt him. He starts threatening me while my mother-in-law takes my baby out of my arms and then out of the room very quickly, while he is still focused on me. I leave a minute later while he continuously yells threats at me. He’s normally just verbally aggressive, so no one expected this physical escalation.
I think he wasn’t used to being told no, as everyone else just backs down around him immediately. Of course, I’m never going to go anywhere near that house again for as long as I live. And neither will my child. I just wanted to get this all off of my chest. Since the incident, I reported everything to the local authorities in my area.
As it turns out, he already has a history with them and domestic issues, but I took everyone’s suggestion to make sure that there is a recorded paper trail of a history with me and my daughter being concerned about him. I’m told that he was taken in and interviewed, but released later that same night. My bruise had faded by the time my appointment with the officers happened days later and my mother-in-law didn’t want to be a witness, so there was no concrete evidence against him.
For the time being, he has been ordered to stay away from us, and I am actively and very seriously looking into obtaining an order that would officially keep him away from me and my baby forever.
44. Footing The Bill
I just recalled this memory of my annoying father-in-law and wanted to share it. Shortly after my husband and I got married, my father-in-law presented me with a large manilla envelope. The envelope was obviously well used and quite full of papers. He proceeded to tell me that the envelope contained all of the receipts for all of the expenses associated with raising my husband, i.e. his son.
It was an invoice, so to speak, and he wanted to be reimbursed for the money that he had spent over the years. He placed the envelope on the table in front of me. I assume it contained expenses like braces, medical expenses, clothing, etc. I don’t really know for sure. I didn’t even touch the envelope. I just got up and walked out of their house.
It just baffles me to think that his focus for 21 years was on how much his son was costing him. And then to expect to be reimbursed for it. Like, on top of the fact that he views his son in terms of quantity and numbers rather than as his son, he legitimately feels that I am somehow responsible for his existence and owe him something for his own act of having brought him into the world.
Or like I have to purchase his son from him to make up for all the money he spent. If that’s what he thinks being a father is supposed to be like, there is something very seriously wrong with him. That’s all I can say at this point.
45. On The Road Again
Looking back, I cannot believe that I actually allowed this to happen. I can’t believe that I didn’t dig my heels in and tell my father-in-law off. It’s probably the moment that I look back at with the most shame since I allowed it to even happen. A handful of years ago, I was a new-ish wife and mother. At the tender age of 23, my husband was similarly youthful and naive at the time.
We hadn’t yet figured out that my father-in-law was a problematic person. Heck, we basically hadn’t even figured out yet that we were adults and a family in our own right. Anyway, my father-in-law requested that we take some leave and come visit his family in a city that was three hours from where we lived. This was so that his mother could meet his first grandson.
My father-in-law’s mother’s health was doing poorly at the time, so we agreed and took a train across the country to visit everyone. At this point in my life, I was very quiet, meek, and easily intimidated by my father-in-law. As a new mother, I was also still in that “Oh my God, another human’s life literally depends on me not screwing it up!” phase of parenthood.
Our son was only a few months old and exclusively breastfed. He was also one of those babies who usually nursed every 30 to 60 minutes. He refused bottles, refused pacifiers, etc. Not too big a deal to me, since I worked from home. I was tired, but we managed fine. For anyone concerned, please note that our son was checked out by doctors and experts. He was in the 50th percentile, so there is nothing to be concerned about. He just liked to nurse frequently.
Anyway, I told my father-in-law that for the drive down, we’d likely need to stop a few times so I could feed the baby. He said he understood. We all piled into the car, with my father-in-law driving of course, and set off on a multi-hour drive. It only took about 30 minutes before our son needed to eat.
So there I am, back of the car, fighting motion-sickness because my father-in-law isn’t a smooth driver, and I can tell that my son wants to nurse.
I speak up and tell the entire car, “Hey, we’ll need to pull over soon. I need to feed the baby.” So my father-in-law replies: “Oh, you just fed him at the house, he can’t be hungry yet! Just distract him.” Current me looks back in shame at this, because current me would never be stupid enough to get in any car he was driving in the first place, let alone allow my father-in-law to tell me about my own baby’s needs.
However, past me was a new and bewildered mom, so I thought maybe he was right. After all, he helped raise three kids and maybe my son could just need a distraction like he suggested. Yeah, that worked for like maybe ten minutes max, before we had to pull over at a gas station so I could feed the now-screaming at the top of his lungs baby.
My father-in-law gets out of the car grumbling, then goes for a coffee or something. I can’t remember the specifics. But either way, my mother-in-law had had enough too, so she also gets out of the car, leaving me with a small modicum of privacy at long last. Which is good, because on top of still figuring out the nursing thing, I was super car-sick from trying to distract the baby.
All so that my father-in-law wouldn’t need to be inconvenienced by pulling over. This whole time, I was worried that I might puke all over the backseat at any moment. My son finishes up, I get myself sorted out again, and have my hand on the car door to get out and walk around to try to shake off the nausea. Just then, my husband, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all pile back in the car.
My father-in-law declares that we simply MUST get back on the road again after stopping for so long! The jerk. It was like seven minutes, tops. Predictably, my son needed to nurse again 30 minutes later. My father-in-law was not pleased. He says “Can’t you just nurse him in the car?” I was shocked. I mean, I specifically told him that we would need to stop like this before we agreed to go with him.
My son was only a few months old, and babies eat frequently. I think I just timidly asked him how I was supposed to do that. He said “Just lean over the carseat and feed him so we can keep going.”
Yep. He basically said “I cannot be inconvenienced to stop again and allow my grandson to be fed. So instead, dear daughter-in-law, why don’t you whip out a breast in front of everyone, and perch yourself in a precarious, revealing, and also dangerous position so that I don’t have to stop the car.”
To my ever-lasting shame, I did it. I fed my son in his car seat. It was humiliating to have my breast hanging out like that, and painful because of how I had to position myself, on my knees, leaning over the carseat, with it’s plastic digging into my side, just to be able to reach my son. I felt so alone. My husband didn’t come to my rescue.
My mother-in-law didn’t speak up either, and I couldn’t find my own voice to express my disbelief at the situation. I had to do this again multiple times during the trip there, so that my poor father-in-law didn’t need to stop the darn car. Six years later, thinking about this still makes me see red, mostly because I allowed it to happen when I shouldn’t have.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s such a small event that it seems almost silly to still be so upset about it. My husband didn’t even remember at first that this had happened. In his defense, this was also the trip where his parents had told him that they were divorcing. Yes, my husband should have done something, and my mother-in-law should have said something, but I never should have complied either.
Happily, my husband and I have both grown shiny spines since then and embraced our adult status. My husband is now my, and the kids’, greatest shield from his father. My father-in-law and I now have virtually no contact, and he has zero relationship with our children. I plan on keeping it that way for as long as I’m around. He had his chance and blew it.
46. A Night On The Town, Or Not
My husband’s sister lives with their parents and her one-year-old child. My husband and I made plans with her to take her kid to see Santa and look at some Christmas lights. The night we were taking him, she worked things out so that the kid, who I’ll call John, would be staying with us afterwards. We get to the house to pick him up and my father-in-law acts like he doesn’t know what we are talking about.
We explain that we cleared it with my sister-in-law and that we were taking him out for the night. Now, we have not spent too much one on one time with John and he is a bit of a crier, which we knew and acknowledged. It was fine with us if he cries, some kids just do. But my father-in-law would not stop talking about how John doesn’t know us and how we were kidnapping him by taking him.
He kept using that word over and over again to describe what we were doing. He went on to condescendingly talk about how he knows a bit about child psychology, and how we were going to traumatize John for life. He yelled at my husband and ultimately ran away from the room, trying to call the mother of John to have her tell us no.
Thankfully, she did not agree with him and told him to essentially mind his own business. Unfortunately, that still didn’t stop my father-in-law. He physically blocked us from leaving for about 30 minutes, lecturing us. My husband, bless him, was trying his best to stay calm and tell his dad that we were taking him for the night.
So we walk out the door to grab his car seat, when suddenly my father-in-law just yells out, “I don’t support this! I want nothing to do with this!” and slams the door. My mother-in-law came out to help with the car seat, but by that time my husband felt defeated. I could tell he was feeling lousy, angry, and hurt by what had just happened. We ended up handing John back over to her, saying never mind and that we didn’t want to take him anymore.
I actually ended up crying because I was so mad. Part of me still wanted to take him, just to show my father-in-law that he couldn’t scare us, but my hubby was totally broken over the whole thing. I don’t even know what to do at this point. My husband wants to cancel Christmas with his parents, which I support just based on past experiences with them alone.
I just feel so bad for him. It’s making me sick and I don’t know how to help, especially because this isn’t the first time that his family has acted like this towards us over something ridiculous. They drive me absolutely crazy, but I’ve been supportive in visiting them because I know that my husband still loves them as his parents.
I’m clueless as to what the right way to handle them might be.
47. The Candy Man
My father-in-law is absolutely insane. According to him, I am allegedly “starving” my baby son, who is less than two years old. What exactly did I do to merit this outrageous accusation, you ask? I informed him that I don’t want my young infant child eating sugary sweet junk food. Yea. That was all I said, and yet he reacted the way he did.
This just happened a few minutes ago. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? But it gets so much worse when you hear the full story with all its glorious details. Basically, here is what happened from start to finish. We went to visit the in-laws since it had been a few weeks since we had last seen them. When we left the house and headed over there, it was around 10:30 in the morning.
Now, my son, being an infant, wears a bib. That is because he is currently at a point in his life where he is teething and drooling a lot. So, as good, caring, and responsible parents, we take this very minor and usually uncontroversial precaution to keep him comfortable. Without the bib, his shirt gets completely soaked sometimes, so we just keep him wearing it most of the time for his own comfort.
Up until today, this has never been an issue in any way. Not for him, not for us, and not for anyone else as far as we are both aware. Nevertheless, when I informed my father-in-law that this was why we had him wearing a bib, I stated my reasons to him exactly as I just did to you. His reaction was: “No, he’s not teething or drooling and doesn’t need a bib.”
Umm, excuse me, dear father-in-law? Did I hear that wrong, or did you actually just try to tell me what’s happening in my own son’s life, as if I wouldn’t very obviously know that better than you would? You don’t live with my son, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. I just corrected him sternly by saying “YES, he is drooling. And YES, he does need a bib.”
As if this lovely day wasn’t going well enough already, my son usually has lunch at around noon, so he was getting fussy as it was getting close to lunch time. I was going to go to the car and get some healthy snacks for him from my baby bag, but before I could, my father-in-law told me not to bother and said that he had some good snacks for him in the house.
I was skeptical from the start when I heard this, and my concerns were confirmed when he revealed to me that the snacks he had in mind were just some ridiculously unhealthy and non-nutritious junk food “snacks” that he should probably know are not suitable for young infants to be consuming. Yet for some reason, my informing him of this turned into a major problem.
I told my father-in-law that I was not going to allow my son to eat those snacks. His response was to tell me that I was starving my son. Again, I’m starving him because I won’t let him eat junk and want him to have a healthy diet? How does that work exactly? I got really angry at this point and told him that we would be leaving in a few minutes and getting lunch for him shortly, so he no longer needed to bother worrying about what snacks we were or were not giving our son.
On top of my general rules about what my son can and can’t eat ordinarily, I also definitely did not want to ruin his appetite before lunch with sweets. Especially since he rarely gets sweets. I would much rather that he fill up on nutritional foods instead of sugary junk. Oh, and seemingly just for good measure, my father-in-law also called me fat on my way out.
I am literally eight months pregnant. What the heck are you talking about, sir? This guy is such a handful to deal with. It drives me absolutely crazy. He also doesn’t seem to understand or respect any of my boundaries as a parent. I have gotten into so many arguments with him about the ways in which I choose to raise my son. Like it’s any of his business. Ugh. That’s all I can say.
48. Passing The Torch
I need a safe space where I can vent about this situation. My husband and I have already seen a counselor about it, but I’ve found myself fantasizing about divorce again. And all the while, my husband keeps trying to sell me on liking his terrible father. We’ve been together for 18 years now and married for 14, and his father has hated my guts for every single second of that time.
At the very beginning, I wasn’t allowed in their home, and when I finally had dinner there for the first time, my husband told me afterward that his father complained that I was “passive” because apparently I didn’t clear my own plate from the table fast enough. In contrast, I would never expect a guest in my home to clear their own plate, especially not on their very first visit.
His father has consistently ignored me and called me names ever since. Once he called me brainless. My mother-in-law is no better. About a year and a half ago, we finally hit the last straw. My husband was away on business and he asked his dad to come and help me with the kids. I didn’t particularly want my father-in-law to come, but I figured that if he wanted to see his grandkids and was willing to babysit while I was at work, so be it.
That weekend I decided to prove once and for all that I’m not passive, and I exhausted myself working nonstop to make him comfortable while also taking care of the kids and working my full-time job. I literally threw my back out trying to prove myself to him, and spent half the weekend in significant pain. My father-in-law didn’t complain at all to my face.
But of course, the moment my husband came back, my father-in-law told him I was “passive” and “disappointing” because apparently he spotted me reading a book at one point. It felt so cold-blooded and calculated. Like he saw the entire trip as an opportunity to get another barb in. That was when I finally realized that the problem didn’t lie with me, and I stopped being afraid of my in-laws or caring what they thought of me.
This has created a rift in our marriage. My therapist has confirmed that yes, my father-in-law is in fact mistreating me. The marriage counselor told my husband explicitly that he needs to put a stop to his dad’s behavior and stick up for me. Yet my father-in-law has brainwashed him so deeply that he still believes his dad is always right, even as his dad calls him stupid and hapless, undermines his decisions, and nitpicks and criticizes everything he does.
The bad behavior goes even deeper. My father-in-law and my mother-in-law even tried to override our decision to treat our daughter’s medical condition on one occasion. My husband is determined to make me like his parents while shielding them from accountability, largely because accountability would entail confrontation and he is utterly terrified of them.
His dad recently sent me a book out of the blue called “How to Do Nothing,” and my husband swore up and down that it had nothing to do with all the accusations of passivity. He talks about his parents so often that I feel like they practically live with us. I guess the next step is more marriage counseling, but I feel like nothing is going to get better until he’s able to see that they’ve mistreated him, too.
His sisters have both gone to therapy for years and they know, but he’s still clinging to his rose-colored glasses, even as they chip away at our marriage. I’ve already seen both his parents behaving inappropriately towards our kids and I’m torn between wanting to protect my daughters and not wanting to be anywhere near my in-laws.
This is really hard to write, but for several visits his dad wanted to sleep in the same room as my older daughter. My husband says his dad honored our request that my daughter get her own room during the last visit, but I never know if he’s telling the whole truth as I wasn’t actually there. Just thinking about what could have happened sends a shiver down my spine.
Thank you for listening. I feel like part of the reason my father-in-law has been able to keep this up for so long is because so much of his bad behavior is passive aggression and relational bullying, so for years I’ve fallen prey to gaslighting and plausible deniability. Now that I’m seeing things more clearly, though, I feel like I’m feeling 18 years’ worth of wounds all at once.
My therapist and I have been working on this for over a year now, but the wounds just aren’t healing.
49. All Part Of A Balanced Diet
My husband is in his hometown for two weeks for work, and he took our four-year-old son along with him to visit my father-in-law, who I call “The Jerk,” and my mother-in-law, who I don’t have a nickname for. It was agreed that, a few days in, I would take the train down with our other baby to visit for the long weekend. The trip is about three hours long. We came back home yesterday. My husband and older son will be back home on Friday.
My father-in-law has a lot of annoying habits. For example, he likes telling grown adult members of his family how to dress. He takes every possible opportunity to criticize other people’s appearances and wardrobes, even once going so far as to make snide comments about his cousin’s attire (a sweater and long skirt) at HER OWN FATHER’S FUNERAL.
The Jerk and my mother-in-law also insist that whenever we are in town, my husband, all of his siblings, and their respective families stay at their house, even when it means a total of ten adults and seven children in a four-bedroom house with children on cots and a couple sleeping in the living room behind a dressing screen. Totally unnecessary.
But this past weekend was the worst by far. My brother-in-law and his family were also visiting. He has a wife and three kids. The Jerk and my mother-in-law do not have air conditioning, nor do they have screens on any of their windows. I’ve asked in the past why this is, and my husband simply says, “It doesn’t usually get that hot.” These are people who just bought a brand new car, own about half a dozen motorcycles, and take trips across Europe every couple of years.
Money to put in central air or a window unit here and there or even screens on their windows is definitely not an issue for them. The bed we were sleeping in during our stay is also an antique that is constantly falling apart. The Jerk literally builds furniture from scratch, so I don’t know why he can’t be bothered to fix it.
Our first night there was absolutely awful. It was a Saturday night. My husband, son, baby daughter, and I were all in one guest room together, while my brother-in-law and his family were in the other. It was 101 degrees outside, and while there was a ceiling fan, as darn hot as it was in that house, it was about as effective as blowing your breath across the top of a volcano to cool it off.
We had a choice of sleeping in a veritable sauna or opening the screenless windows and waking up covered in mosquito bites. Since we didn’t especially enjoy the thought of our kids or ourselves contracting West Nile or being miserable and itchy, we opted for the former. The kids needed lullaby music to fall asleep, so my husband had it playing on his tablet.
I have to have silence to sleep, so this was a struggle for me. My son also woke up screaming in absolute horror at least twice. I suspect night terrors, but who knows. Either way, he woke up his baby sister in the process, so you can imagine how much sleep we got. The kids woke up early the next morning and my husband, bless his soul, got up with them so I could sleep a little longer.
Still, I was exhausted and not in the greatest of moods when I got up. But knowing how critical the Jerk is of others’ appearances, I made sure to comb and smooth out my bedhead before I exited the bedroom wearing my typical nighttime attire of a T-shirt over a camisole and cotton pajama pants. The first thing the Jerk says to me as I enter the kitchen is a sarcastic “Snappy PJs.”
I am so not in the mood for his garbage, so I say, “Excuse me?” Again, he says, “Snappy PJs.” I respond, “What about them?” He can only reply, “Snappy!” I say, “You’re going to critique my pajamas? Seriously? What would you prefer I be wearing?” He makes a big dramatic show trying to be funny, saying, “Oh, you know, something silky, a nightie of some sort.”
I say, “Dude. I’m going to sleep.” He says, “That’s when it’s most important! That’s when you need to be alluring!” and strikes a pose like Leonardo DiCaprio is about to draw him like one of his French girls. He walks away and my mother-in-law, smiling like this creepy act of telling his daughter-in-law she needs to look more attractive for bedtime is some cute endearing quirk of his, brushes it off, saying, “He made fun of the nightgown I was wearing the other night.”
My brother-in-law’s wife (whom I’ll refer to as SIL1, because my husband’s sister will be mentioned later as SIL2) comes into the room a short time later wearing her own nighttime ensemble of a tank top and shorts. I make it a point to say, “Hey, SIL1, snappy PJs!” with the Jerk still in earshot. She being the secure, give-zero-hoots person she is, laughed and said, “Thanks! They’re all the rage in Cairo!”
I pulled her aside later and explained the Jerk’s comment on my wardrobe and that I wasn’t taking a potshot at her, but instead subtly calling him out on his behavior. Having had many, many dust-ups of her own with the Jerk in the past, she completely understood and found it hilarious. Most of the weekend went fairly well, relatively speaking.
And when I describe a weekend where my father-in-law darn near sexually harasses his son’s wife as “fairly well,” you can imagine what fairly poorly would entail. After lunch, owing to the lack of air conditioning and finding ourselves positioned directly beneath Satan’s behind, the family as a whole decided to take a dip in the swimming pool for a bit.
The Jerk, my husband, and my brother-in-law have a long-standing tradition of swimming pool horseplay, so they decided to have a chicken fight. For those not familiar, it involves two teams of two people, where one person from each team sits on their teammate’s shoulders and tries to topple their counterpart on the opposing team.
The Jerk prompted my husband to sit on his shoulders, but my husband was leery, not thinking the Jerk could handle his weight. My husband has a slight dad bod, as do my brother-in-law and the Jerk himself. The Jerk says, “Oh, that’s nothing. The last time SIL2 (My husband’s sister, as previously mentioned) came to visit, she climbed on top of me and almost killed me!”
The second the words left his lips, we all recoiled in horror. SIL2 is, by the clinical definition, obese, perhaps even morbidly so, and I’d guess she outweighs her brothers, but in what universe is that an okay thing to think, let alone say, about your own daughter? But of course, because it was the Jerk, we weren’t surprised.
That night, my brother-in-law and his family having headed home, we decided to put our son and daughter down to sleep in the same bed in the back bedroom while we remained in the front room, figuring that if they had each other for company, they wouldn’t be scared if one of them woke up in the middle of the night.
This part of the plan worked beautifully. They slept peacefully all night long without a peep. When my husband and I went to bed, I opened one of the windows in the bedroom because I could not face another sweat-soaked evening. We slept well. But in the morning, I woke up to about a dozen mosquito bites on my legs. I wasn’t too thrilled about it, but I was just happy to have had a decent night’s sleep.
I made sure to dress and make myself somewhat presentable before I went out into the kitchen, because I didn’t particularly feel like having my wardrobe criticized yet again. I came out and made myself a cup of tea, and the Jerk pounced on me. “Here, sit down and eat your oatmeal! I’ve already made a bowl for you.”
I’ve known my husband for fifteen years. We have been consistently together for the first eight, and since then married for six. In all that time, I have never once eaten oatmeal. I know that the Jerk hates pears and that my mother-in-law is allergic to passion fruit and can’t eat nuts, seeds, etc. due to diverticulitis. As such, I go out of my way to provide foods that comply with these dislikes, allergies, and restrictions whenever they visit.
I’m a picky eater. I know this. But, that being said, it’s been pretty well established that I don’t like seafood, onions, or mushrooms. My in-laws cook very frequently with all of these things. I have never once complained or asked anyone to cater to me. I’ve eaten everything they’ve ever put in front of me, eating around things I didn’t like whenever possible without a single word of protest.
And yet, the Jerk always calls me out for it. Several times, I’ve choked down things I couldn’t stand just to try and be polite. But with oatmeal, I just can’t. One mouthful and I gag to the point of almost vomiting. So because I really had no desire to vomit, I politely declined. Me: “Oh, thank you, but I don’t do oatmeal.” The Jerk immediately scoffed and replied: “What do you mean, you don’t do oatmeal?”
Me (Trying to be diplomatic): “I just don’t really eat oatmeal. It’s okay, I’ll find something else.” The Jerk: “Who doesn’t eat oatmeal? I made this for you!” Me: “Well, why don’t you have it?” The Jerk: “I can’t! I just took medication and I can’t eat for 45 minutes!” Me: “So just reheat it.” The Jerk (as if I had just insulted the wee baby Jesus himself): “YOU CAN’T REHEAT OATMEAL!”
Me: “Well, I’m sorry about that.” The Jerk (being completely unhelpful): “Have you ever had it the way I make it, with raisins and lots of butter and cinnamon?” Me (knowing full well that there’s no magical method of preparation that can make me enjoy the texture of cat vomit in my mouth): “I’m set, really. It’s a texture thing.” The Jerk: “I’m going to have to throw it out!”
Me: “I’m sorry about that. Why don’t you eat it?” The Jerk: “I can’t!” Me: “Neither can I!” The Jerk: “Why not?” Me: “Because I don’t like it.” At that point, I was sitting with my back to the Jerk, so I couldn’t see the look he shot my husband, but judging by my husband’s hapless shrug, I can pretty well guess what it was like.
A few minutes later, my mother-in-law emerged from her bedroom and asked about the oatmeal. The Jerk: “I’ll make you a bowl. I just had to throw one out because your daughter-in-law wouldn’t eat it.” The rest of the morning was decidedly frosty. I was busy packing up our baby’s things, as well as my own, for our return trip home, when my husband came into the room.
Me: “So your dad is mad at me about the oatmeal, huh?” My husband: “Well, you could have at least tried it.” Me: “I have tried it many times in the past. I don’t care for it. It’s a texture thing.” My husband: “Well, it’d be nice if you could say something to him.” Me: “I did! I explained to him precisely why I don’t like oatmeal.” My husband: “He doesn’t get that.”
At this point, I wanted to scream. Me: “I told him I was sorry for the waste of food, but that I don’t like oatmeal because of the texture. I don’t know how much clearer I can make it.” I was seething about the whole darn thing for the rest of the morning, and my husband sulked like a child and kept to himself until our baby daughter and I left for the train station.
As we got in the car and we were all saying our goodbyes, I told the Jerk, “By the way, I’m sorry about the oatmeal. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.” He offered a huffy, “Well, it’s okay.” I know this man well enough to know that he was still mad. In the car on the way to the train station, my husband said, “I appreciate you saying something to my dad.”
I responded, “I can’t believe he’s seriously pitching a fit over a bowl of oatmeal.” My husband said, “Well, you know, he was tired. I’m not making excuses for him.” I replied, “Gee, it sure sounds like you are.” He bristled and said, “How about we just don’t talk about it?” So we didn’t. That night, after my daughter and I had returned home, I texted my husband and said, “When you get home, we need to talk about your father. I really don’t feel comfortable around him.”
My husband and son are due home tomorrow around dinnertime, and after the kids are in bed I plan to have a sit-down with my husband about the Jerk and his nonsense. I have another sister-in-law (my brother’s wife) who is a complete, certifiable harpy who all but refuses contact between my brother and our family. To be perfectly candid, she’s a selfish, controlling witch.
I never wanted to be that person. I never wanted to be that person who can’t stand their in-laws, but the Jerk and my mother-in-law have made that all but impossible for me. As such, I’ve erred on the side of being a complete doormat, putting up with their garbage because I was afraid of rocking the boat. I’m not afraid anymore.
Between the decrepit beds, the lack of air conditioning and window screens, the Jerk’s criticism of pretty much anything I wear, and his insistence on playing the breakfast officer, I’m going to tell my husband point blank that while I cannot and will not dictate what he does, I will not spend the night in their house ever again, nor will my children.
If an occasion requires us to travel to their area, we will book a hotel and visit for an hour or two and retire to a room with beds that have been made in this century, central AC, no danger of waking up covered in insect bites, and a breakfast buffet where no one will question our dietary preferences. The Jerk and my mother-in-law stay at a hotel every time they come to visit us, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to do the same.
I haven’t even mentioned the creepiest part yet, but it definitely speaks to the kind of creep factor that emanates from the Jerk. Whenever we women in the family are greeting him, he always demands a kiss on the cheek. He holds his cheek out and awkwardly taps it with his finger until we comply.
Just the other day, he told SIL1 and me (after he’d insulted my pajamas, naturally) that we weren’t meeting our “quota” of kisses and that we needed to catch up. YUCK! I’ve decided that’s stopping, too. I’m tempted to tell him I have a disease so that I never have to put my face anywhere near his again. That is one aspect of visiting him I know I will not be missing.
Thank you for listening to my story. I desperately needed to get that off my chest. I’ve tried several times in the past to have sit-downs with the Jerk and my mother-in-law to try to discuss how I felt, and each time they’ve just simply stated that they won’t change. In a perfect world, we’d be completely no contact, but because I know how much my husband loves his family, I’d never ask him to do that.
I’d prefer very limited contact, but I have no idea how to navigate that. I would greatly appreciate feedback from anyone who has ever been in a similar situation.
50. Getting The Message
Somehow, my medical bill from over a year ago got sent to my father-in-law’s old address. I’ve figured it out and my doctor’s office will be getting a lecture about privacy violations, but nevertheless here’s the story of what happened next. Instead of simply letting my spouse and me know that he had it, my father-in-law took it upon himself to open it and then text us both a picture of my personal medical information.
When told that we did not appreciate him opening up our medical bills, did we get an apology? Oh no! He doubled down on how this is all our fault, and how he was just trying to help. This morning, I got a text from him, and my jaw dropped. It said that he has “consulted with an attorney because we threatened him and his family, and he does not wish to speak to us anymore.”
I highly doubt that he has actually consulted with an attorney, because they would have told him that opening someone else’s mail is a very serious offense in the United States. Also, asking someone not to open your mail is not a threat. His idea of no further contact between us, though? I’m all about it! Bye bye, crazy father-in-law!