I'm glad to hear that. I'm sure it was a very hard decision to make, but staying wouldn't have done any good. When doing the "selfless" thing doesn't actually help anyone, then it's not selfish to do what's best for yourself. And your DH deserves extra hugs-- as hard as it was for you, it took outright heroism for him.
Do take previous posters' advice about looking into Alanon and Adult Children of Alcoholics. It will help you (and probably especially DH) to know that you're not alone and that your decision was the best for all involved.
Thank you to everyone who posted suggestions and support. My husband and I decided that we could not tolerate staying with his parents any longer and we came home.
We reluctantly attended the 'celebration' supper and his father only had a glass of champagne that night - not sure if we were all supposed to be grateful for that! We felt so bad abandoning his mum to her fate but there is not a lot we can do for her, she does not want to leave and feels it is her 'duty' to stay and look after him. He is really just a nasty, vindictive old man and, as someone said, is also a bully, plain and simple. I would not give him the time of day if he was anyone other than my husband's father.
We left quite late in the evening (we had planned to leave the next morning) as he was totally out of his head and just going on and on and on and my husband said 'that's it, we're not staying here a moment longer'. We had to catch a ferry so had the added expense of having to find a hotel to stay in, after midnight, but it was worth it to get away.
My sympathies to anyone who has to deal with an alcoholic, especially at this time of the year when we should be getting together as families to appreciate and enjoy one another.
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 12/15/13 12:43 P
I really don't think that you can use the generation as an excuse. My parents are about that age and there is no way that my mother would EVER put up with something like that, not for a minute.
You can't change the situation, so remove yourself from it.
has anybody tried doing an "intervention" with him? I have no direct experience myself, just a good friend's husband who was in and out of rehab so many times.
Fitness Minutes: (223,360)
8,004 12/15/13 12:11 A
I think you need to allow your FIL to hit rock bottom, and your MIL needs to be tougher!!!
Fitness Minutes: (79,215)
2,953 12/14/13 8:08 P
I have a SIL like that and this year I put my foot down and told the family I was not going to enable this anymore. So once she starts, I give my husband the nod and we are out oh there ASAP. As well she and my husbands brother are the godparents to our son. Last week, we revised our wills removing them and putting in DHs sister and her husband. Now if anything happens to us, Our now eleven yr old son will not be subjected to that atmosphere. That is how I deal with a drunk!
Fitness Minutes: (31,900)
1,252 12/14/13 5:37 P
Find the closest Alanon meeting and go to it. Or, better still, find the closest Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting and go to that. If you have no idea what I am talking about, research it on the internet, perhaps purchase one of the many many great books that have been written on the subject. Short of that, find a 'One Day At A Time' book or website for ACA's or Alanon family members.
This really hit home for me as my dad did the same thing when growing up he made every holiday a nightmare and thought more of going out after work to get a drink then spending his time with his family. We didn't have money when I was young but yet he always had money enough to get drunk every single night as me and mom would eat lettuce and mayo sandwiches. I grew up thinking I'll never marry a man like my dad and one of the first questions I'd as a man when on a date is if he drank because I'd never want to live through that nightmare again as an adult and thank god my husband isn't a drinker. Your MIL is from the same generation as my parents where they think they have to tolerate that kind of behavior for her it's routine at this point being married for 60 yrs. Your FIL needs to be taught a lesson and see what life is like with his wife gone for a few days, I'd offer to take her back to your home or at least take her out for the day even if you don't have a lot of money go walk the malls or go to a craft fair just to get yourselves and her out of the house , give that poor woman some peace for a few days even if you go out to walk around for a few hours will do her some good to get away from him let him think .... My mom use to be mean to me maybe cause of what she was going through with my dad, she was more like his slave then wife. My mom passed last year now my dad is alone and realizes how much she did for him and that she was the only one that could tolerate him. I had to break ties with my dad because it was like I was taking her place in his eyes , he started belittling me , being mean, cold hearted and expecting me to do everything she did and I'm not a healthy woman and can barely do for myself. The amount of stress he was putting on me was going to put me in a grave before him, I finally had to let go for my own sake and for my family. He's got my brothers who never really cared about him, he's just a mean, spiteful , old man now and he has no one to blame but himself. Don't subject yourself to his behavior, no holiday should be full of such meanness and be very thankful that your husband broke the mold and isn't like his dad.... If mom doesn't want to go on little day trips or doesn't want to go to your home ,then you need to leave for your own sanity.... She's use to this abuse unfortunately and although she doesn't deserve it, it's what she's use to now , not going to change her. But go have a nice holiday with hubby! You shouldn't have to be hiding in your bedroom all day to avoid a selfish drunk.
My Mother was a terrible alcoholic. I have some bad memories of our holidays as children. There were 7 of us and my father was deceased. I have my Christmas tree set up for my grandchildren to enjoy and I enjoy Christmas so much more.
I know alcoholism is a disease but your FIL needs help and until he realizes it everyone is going to suffer that is around him. I am not a professional that is just my opinion and my heart goes out to you and your family and your situation.
Fitness Minutes: (34,370)
22,458 12/13/13 9:40 P
I will add a word of caution - I can understand others suggesting leaving him out of celebrations or taking your MIL somewhere else, but it can actually make things more difficult for HER. I am speaking from experience on that one. My daughter had said similar things, and altho' it wasn't intended as such, it hurt ME. Regardless of his behavior, he was still my children's dad , and even tho' he may not have shown it much, he did love them. If I felt I had to chose between the rest of the family OR my husband even for a dinner, I would have chosen my husband, so in effect, it would have had a negative effect on me in that I would have had reduced contact with family/friends, when I would have needed it most.
I agree that you should just leave. Your mother-in-law may believe she has to stay, but YOU do not. If you feel that you have to stay for the supper, do that, but do NOT waste your holidays being miserable. Invite your MIL to come home with you, and tell your FIL very clearly that you're leaving because his behavior is unacceptable.
As for the dinner... Really, how is it a celebration if he's just going to get drunk and embarrass himself, your MIL, and all the guests? If I were in your shoes, I would change the dinner plans; I would make new reservations to take MIL and the guests out somewhere else, tell FIL he's welcome to join you IF he's sober, and explain to all the guests that he's not feeling well but might join you later. Anybody who knows them well enough to be invited to their celebration undoubtedly knows what he's like and will be greatly relieved. They're probably all dreading this supper.
You have to love your relatives. You don't have to like them. And NO ONE has to spend time with someone they dislike. Tell him that you're perfectly willing to see him whenever he's sober, and leave the decision of how much time you spend together up to him.
Thank you all for the suggestions. Unfortunately we cannot afford to go and stay at a hotel - we would definitely have done that, money permitting. My husband keeps apologising to me for subjecting me to this but he is not responsible for the way his father behaves. We have told my mum-in-law she can come home with us, she would be welcome to live with us. But, as pointed out above, she is from a generation who grin and bear it and I don't think she would leave him. She is also financially dependent on him and so doesn't have many options available. Interestingly enough, I did suggest to my husband that he film his father and I think we might still do that. He needs to know how abominable his behaviour is; even if it doesn't spur him on to do anything about his drinking, it might shame him into some semblance of decency when it comes to the way he treats his wife. Basically, he is just a damn bully. Once again, thank you for the suggestions. I no longer feel quite so alone. Oh, don't get me started on mixing alcohol and medication! He takes bucket loads of prescription morphine every day and to be honest I don't know how he is still alive. He also drives a car and has to be well over the drink/drive limit every day. I'm considering ringing the police to suggest they might like to look out for him and breathalise him as I am sure he is a danger to other road users.
Edited by: SUMMERSHORTS at: 12/13/2013 (19:22)
Fitness Minutes: (34,370)
22,458 12/13/13 7:09 P
The other thing I meant to add was to ensure that his Dr is aware he is an alcoholic. It might interfere with his medications which can also impact on his behavior.
Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 12/13/2013 (19:10)
Fitness Minutes: (34,370)
22,458 12/13/13 7:05 P
My late husband was an alcoholic and at one stage often drank so much that he couldn't remember things, and would black out. He could get verbally abusive, but didn't believe it until I taped him secretly a couple times. At the appropriate time, a couple weeks later, and when he was totally sober, we were talking about things and alcohol came into the subject. I tried to explain what he was like but wouldn't believe me, telling me I was exaggerating or totally making it up. I ended up getting the tape and played it to him. I watched his face. He was totally gobsmacked, and apologized and asked me to turn it off. I told him :No - you are going to hear it all (it got a bit worse a little further along.) For a long time after that it made quite a difference to his behavior. I discovered long ago that alcoholics will use alcohol as the excuse (note - not "REASON") for their bad behavior.
Other than that, have a good talk with your mother-in-law and let her know that you are there for her should she need or want someone to talk to.
There were times I felt like leaving my husband, and at one stage even started looking for houses to rent. I didn't go through with it because bottom line was, I loved him with all of my heart. I understood the reasons behind his alcohol issue - very bad OCD and trying to deal with abuse in his childhood (not of him, but rather directed at a sibling and his father to his mother.)
I went to counseling to help me deal with his drinking, and I still go to her, but now it is more depression (long-term and aggravated by his death a year ago today.) I suggest that your husband join Al-anon - either in person or on-line. It may be very helpful to and for him .... and you, too ... to learn how to constructively deal with this.
Fitness Minutes: (42,697)
6,725 12/13/13 3:36 P
Yes. Take mum and go stay at a hotel for the duration of your visit.
Most alcoholics don't realize they have a problem. If you do video him, you and your hubby show him in private while sober and say Nothing until the video is over. Tell him calmly how disappointed you are about his behavior when you visit. He may "get it" after he sees what his actions looks like to others. . You may or may not recieve the reaction you are looking for, but you tried. As for his wife...many women of that generation are stay at home housewives with little or no savings of their own and Stuck in the situation making excuses for their spouse, or do not seperate for religious beliefs.
I'm really sorry that you've got a family member who is an abusive alcoholic.
I'm not certain why your husband would expect you to stay there and deal with your father-in-law's abusive behavior? Honestly, I think you need to talk to your husband and let him know that you just are not comfortable staying there. I'd not stay there in the future. You might also want to have a talk with your husband about offering to let your mother-in-law move in with you, if at all possible. She shouldn't have to stay and be emotionally abused by her husband, either, and it would be kind of you and your husband to offer her a way out of this situation.
My husband and I are staying with his parents at the moment - just a visit, thank goodness. They have been married for 60 years and are having a supper celebration tomorrow night. We are supposed to be staying here for Christmas as well.
The awful thing is, my father-in-law is an alcoholic who starts drinking around midday and then proceeds to make life hell for everyone else until he finally passes out some time between 10pm and midnight. He verbally abuses my mother-in-law, belittles her and chips away at her self-esteem all the time. My husband is desperately disappointed with his father and terribly sad for his mum who has to put up with this.
We have been here a week and the only way I have managed to deal with it is to go and sit in our bedroom and watch programmes etc on the internet. I did some research before we arrived and found out that alcoholics don't lay down very much in the way of short-term memories so it is easier (if that's the right word, ha ha) to cope with the complete lack of awareness he has in the mornings of his deeds the night before.
Anyone got any advice or anything for me? I would be very grateful, really need to share this and lighten the burden.
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