Please help! I’m not sure what to do any more.
Bit of background: I am a teacher in a highly volatile environment. I specifically deal with English Language and Literature, Dramatic Arts and Theatrical Development. All of my students have severe educational difficulties and other issues pertaining to their own experiences of education, which have never been resolved. I quite often find myself teaching much older learners to read and write simple spellings and names.
My in-laws don’t have a ‘permanent’ job, they standby for emergency work only and are struggling financially to keep paying their mortgage and their car payments etc.
The tale itself:
My In-Laws like to think they are superior to everyone. Not only are they constantly late to family gatherings, obnoxiously rude to my (gay) brother about his ‘choosing’ to be gay but also emotionally blackmail my husband into doing every little odd job they have around the house. They treat our home like it is their private skip and have even gone so far as to invite my husband’s ex-girlfriend to our wedding! They really don’t like me, that is obvious, but I am now at a loss of what to do.
My f-i-l constantly complains about the educational system in my country. He says things like, “Teachers are paid too much”, and, “I don’t know why we bother with exams, they don’t prove anything.” The day I got my degree, he said, “Congratulations, you are now one of the mindless masses.” He said this so quietly, no-one else heard, and of course, my Husband doesn’t believe he said it.
He constantly slates Dramatic Arts programs, saying that “they don’t teach anything” and that my students “are bad enough already, they don’t need to be taught any more rubbish.” (I have taken out the swears, in deference to the lovely readers here.)
He is always bringing up how my students “must be really thick, having to learn how to spell their names”, and, “you can’t be much of a teacher. They’re all really stupid.” He continually comments about their educational difficulties saying it makes them “stupid” or “retarded” and that “no one in my (his) family would dare have something so shameful.” Yet he, himself is dyslexic!
My f-i-l also likes to “call-out” my dad and brother, saying things like, “Your brother’s dyslexic, that means he’s retarded, no wonder he can’t get a decent job”, and when looking at text messages my dad has sent him about something, “Your dad’s messages are stupid…what is he, brain dead?” He comments about my brothers’ job and how “thick” he must be, working in a shop, even though he is a manager.
So far, through all these comments I have managed to “bean-dip” away from the topic, and although he never mentions my family whilst my husband is around, it hurts. Every time my husband has been there and heard he’s called his dad on it, and basically told him to shut up.
However, I’m not sure how much more I should/can take. I’m sick of changing the topic all the time and having no “normal” conversations with my in-laws. Everything seems to revolve around F-I-L and his opinions, which are hurtful and upsetting.
I’m at the end of my tether and my ‘polite spine’ is about to snap!! 0919-13
Relinquish your hope of ever having a “normal” relationship with your FIL because he is not normal and likely won’t be for the foreseeable future. There are some people in the world who live to goad others into misery because their own life is one long, miserable mess and your FIL is one of them. He’s trying to needle you every chance he gets and if he gets any kind of reaction from you, he scores. I wouldn’t even bean dip at this point but rather ignore him completely, as if he did not exist, during the moments he says those hurtful things. People like this are not worthy of the brain cells we yield to them and their opinions matter even less.