Need advice

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by standswithcourage, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    What do I do when my daughter and her husband argue in front of me? I have just sat there or usually walked away and given them space. However, he intimidates her. He told her she was acting like a stubborn child. He also said she was delusional about wanting another color of furniture! He attacks her verbally, I believe and sometimes it is very hard for me to just sit there. I want her to know I am on her side no matter what but I dont want to interfere in any way but I hate it when he says things like that to her that are not true. Also we all went to church today and it was a very good one about living life to the fullest and changing our ways and loving people for who they are, etc. My daughter said to him today - I guess church doesnt mean anything to you does it? and he said - dont start acting prissy with me - ! I just wanted to say something but didnt.
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Honestly, if it were me, I'd say something like, "What you say in private to my daughter is none of my business. However, you will not insult her in front of me." Of course, you run the risk of him saying they won't be visiting you again and you won't be welcome in their home.

    He sounds like a first-class jerk and I hate to imagine what he is saying (and doing) to her in private. Sadly, unless she comes to you and gives you specifics and asks for your help (not advice, but help), there's not much you can do. Regardless, there is no way I would let someone insult my daughter in front of me even if I risked not being able to see her, but that's me.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Doesn't sound like they have learned to disagree in a very healthy way. Too bad.

    I'm not good about being silent but adult children shouldn't be drawing you in by doing this sort of disagreeing in front of you. Keep biting your lips and talk to easy child on the side that you support her but don't want to interfere.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I would talk to your daughter in private. Let her know that you can not interfere but are there to help and support her when she is ready for help. Let her know you feel uncomfortable about how her husband is treating her and that no one should be disrespected as he is disrepecting her. Ask her how she feels. If she makes excuses (he is stressed, he is tired, etc.) than she is not ready for the help. If she says that she also hates it but does not know what to do, then you can offer some suggestions. Let her know it is up to her to put an end to how he treats her but that you are there to encourage and support.

    I hope your daughter can really see what is going on. Most of the time, the victim is so beaten down that the bully has convinced her that it is all her fault and she doesn't feel strong enough to change the situation. She has to get her self esteem back and realize this is his problem to solve and she does not have to take it.

    Good luck!
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would say something about this conversation not being appropriate in front of other people, including me. I also would have to tell him that I would not have him talking like that to my daughter in front of me. He could take ME on, but he would have to leave my daughter alone in front of me. That is just how I am made.

    They can be as ugly to each other as they want in private, but not in front of me. I had to do the same thing when my father in law was being UGLY to my husband in front of me. It was in our home twice, and I flat out said that that kind of talk wasn't welcome in my home. Then father in law tried it in his home. I spelled out the relationship - his son didn't ever bring up visiting, I did. With that kind of talk I would NOT be bringing up visits, nor would I be cooperating with them, or letting my child come on visits where people are that UGLY to each other.

    My father in law got angry, we were asked to leave (well, I was and husband said that if I left, he and Wiz were too - the ohter kids were not born yet.) The next few months they saw I meant what I said when I said no to a couple of invites, after checking with my husband. They came around, and now we have a really good relationship. And father in law ISN"T ugly with ANYONE around me because he is afraid I will leave - and I would.

    I REALLY REALLY think you should take your daughter to an al-anon or narc-anon meeting. SHE was as affected by your son's drugging as anyone else in the family and SHE needs to face up to that, and learn other ways to relate to people. You can't problem get your sister in law to go, but your daughter problem learned this was OK behavior because your son treated you and others like that and was not forced to stop. I know you wanted to change your son's life, but you really changed your other kids' lives by letting that behavior continue. Your daughter will need time and help to learn healthy ways to relate to others and how to change the way others treat her.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I don't think I'd be able to be silent if someone was insulting my child in front of me when he/she didn't deserve it. I expect I would probably say, "I'm not going to sit here and listen to this" and I'd leave. That way I'm not passing judgement on either of them, but hopefully this would snap them both out of it.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have been worrying about this for a couple of months, if I remember correctly (how he talks to her). You could stop by the domestic violence shelter and get some pamphlets on verbal abuse and have them sitting around YOUR house for her to see. Hopefully she would read one at your house and get an idea that what he is saying is not OK.

    Just a thought.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Just ask Nichole, I don't keep my mouth shut when it degrades into belittling and insulting. Can't help it. I could care less what they do in private. But put a stop to it in front of me by not allowing boyfriend in the house until he could learn to respect Nichole and talk to her that way. You can argue and disagree with someone without being mean and vicious to them

    I know boyfriend still pulls his stunts. The big change is that I don't have to watch it.

    easy child and sister in law used to argue all the time over here. I put a stop to that too. But they're both easy child's and it wasn't so hard. I told easy child on the side that husband and I don't act that way when we visit her or anyone else, and she could manage to hold off on the arguing until she was in private.

    Haven't had anymore from her either.

    Been pretty darn peaceful around here lately.

    Try some info on domestic violence. Who knows? Maybe you'll get lucky and she'll open her eyes.

  9. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thanks all. I will go and try and find some pamphlets. I dont want her to feel beat down. He is quite the me first type I think. She asked me why we dont have them over to eat. It is a regular thing at his mothers but of course she is having an affair with another man and it is common knowledge - but anyway - we havent had the money to put on a big spread and I always feel not good enough beacause of that - however, the things he says - like - my youngest son lives with us and it just fine - her husband told her he looked like a fat girl - also he said deer hunting was red neck because he had better things to do than sit in the woods and talked like a red neck - he makes jabs at our family I think and I dont like it -
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I am coming from a position where this hasn't happened to me personally, with my children. However, we came close with ex-boyfriend when he was staying with us. He had the sense to not say things in front of me.

    If this were happening in my space, I would step in at least to referee. That is when I would get each of them a sheet of paper and ask them to write down the arguments that THEY wanted and to also write down the arguments they thought the other person would use to get what they wanted. The ground rules are, no put-downs permitted if not relevant to the argument. In other words, differences in taste must be accepted as just that - differences - and not a reason for personal criticism. However, it IS permissible to put in writing these arguments if you feel they are relevant or if you feel they are arguments the other person will use.

    Then the papers are shown. Depending on the personalities, I would read them out rather than the author. No recriminations, no anger. Often the author of the arguments feels ashamed at this point. Also, if the arguments have been sufficiently long-standing for the other party to be arguing just as inappropriately, this is a useful process to get BOTH of them back on track to healthy arguments.

    husband & I sometimes argue in front of his mother, but we argue in a healthy way. At first she used to be upset until she realised we were just being ourselves and that it was healthy.

    What is important in refereeing - pulling the rug on inappropriate arguing, but allowing arguing that is healthy and moving to a good conclusion. The personal attacks are not appropriate. Attacking the choice probably is.

    For example, we have some money come in from our tax refund. What should we do with it? I might want it spent on shares because right now is a great time to invest in the share market. husband might say, "No way! People have taken a bath on the market! It's like gambling! No, we should invest it in ourselves, and pay off the mortgage."

    If husband says to me, "Are you crazy, woman? What kind of fool do you take me for?" that is NOT driving the argument forward. I have not, in my suggestion, given any indication that I think he is a fool. But now he has mentioned it... the gloves come off.

    And this is what can happen - a bad argument can quickly escalate until both parties are at fault. The original argument is lost in a lather of personal attacks and everyone retires, hurt. Nothing has been achieved and much has been lost.

    Some people have never learned how to argue properly. Some people (especially some males) have grown up with the belief that the man has to make the decisions, that he has to constantly battle against the woman's tendency to spend money like water. A man must always provide for his family and take pride in his wife, LETTING her spend money like water because her appearance is a reflection on him and his success.

    Not good. Very bad, all round. Because he will always take an adversarial position and always belittle, trying to force her back into the role he feels she should never have left.

    Some women have grown up with men like this and have learned how to manipulate and wheedle. Again, not good.

    For a couple who need to learn how to argue - I recommend the rules of debating as a good start. If only one partner is prepared to make changes, you can still bring change, but you need to go to conflict resolution techniques. make "I" statements, not "you" statements. For example, "I felt very hurt when you told me I was a fat pig with no right to a personal opinion. I also didn't feel that what you said as relevant to what we were trying to discuss - where to send our child to school."
    You DO NOT say, "I'm a fat pig, am I? So what does that make you, you lazy, good-for-nothing lump of lard!"
    Schooling options are now completely forgotten.

    You do not have to be wealthy to put on a 'good spread'. I tell people - I specialise in gourmet poverty food. I have ordered, in restaurants (for a huge price that thankfully someone else was paying) a meal which I can whip up in my kitchen for a fraction of a dollar per serve - gnocchi alla Napolitana. If you plan ahead, you can provide tasty nutrition as well as ample serves. But what is even more important - your home should be a sanctuary from unpleasantness and personal attacks.

    Chances are he is arguing the only way he knows how, the way he has been taught. I would say quietly to him, "I don't know where you learnt to debate, but in MY presence, you will be polite to your debating opponent and you will stick to the subject. That rule goes for everybody - we all must feel welcomed here, must feel safe and accepted here. Everybody."

    He may not even realise how wrong it is.

    Whenever I am in doubt, I think back to how my mother would have handled it. She wasn't perfect, but she tried to be. And in trying, she set us some very high standards of behaviour.

    Good luck with this one. By staying silent I think you are showing him that what he is doing is OK. And you're showing your daughter that she must also stay silent. Not good.

    Maybe read up on conflict resolution first, talk about these techniques with your daughter and practice them between you, so you are good at it before you try to teach him.

  11. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    My daughter and sister in law used to 'bicker' in front of me quite a bit before they were married. I sat them both down and asked them how they would feel if my husband and I were constantly bickering, arguing, etc. in their presence. I also told them if they could not stop - then I would choose to not be around them. I had to remove myself a few times - and they 'got it'.

    I would speak to them both together. And then if it continues, remove yourself. YOU can't make him stop. But, neither do you have to tolerate it in your presence.
  12. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If he's controlling/intimitator I would talk with a domestic abuse counselor before making any decisions. Sometimes confronting the controller can make it much worse for the one being attacked. It might remove the fighting from your presence but this way at least you're seeing what's going on. A lot of controllers try and isolate their victim by cutting them off from family and friends.
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Ditto what SRL said. I was just thinking the same thing....if you are confrontational, he will try to make her feel that you are a busy body and then he will do everything he can to cut you out of her life.