Author Topic: Will you be around this afternoon?  (Read 12416 times)

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Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #60 on: June 17, 2013, 05:39:41 PM »
I personally reserve the term "toxic" for stuff FAR more damaging and deliberate than this!

Continual criticism of his father's lifestyle and no acknowledgement of the sacrifices his father made for him.
Lying about not being available and then sending a text that makes it sound like it was the Dad's fault for him being caught in his lie.
PA behavior with the texts of 'why aren't you here'.
Ignoring repetitive requests for definitive plans.
Not acknowledging Thanksgiving plans and then showing up late.
Expecting other's to continually be at your beck and call.
Snubbing his father at the "meet the parent's" function.
Always putting his mother and his Inlaws plans and desires first.

If a parent did these things to a child, there would be much more outrage.

To me toxic is anyone who makes you feel like less of a person. No, he isn't physically abusing his father, but he is well aware of the emotional control he has on his Dad and is in my opinion rejoicing in inflicting pain on his Dad.

It hurts to read this, but it's something I needed to see and think about, so thank you for posting it. If this were a parent doing this to a child, it wouldn't be okay. Is it okay for a child to do this to a parent? Hmm ...

zyrs

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2013, 05:47:23 PM »
When I met him 7 years ago, he was working four jobs. A small apartment and a very old car were the best he could do for himself. He was paying car insurance, college, car payments, mortgage, monthly child support, and all sorts of other costs to support the boys.

Before DH and I were married, he would give DH a very hard time about driving those "old beater" cars and living in small, crummy apartments. I heard him question DH about it on many occasions. DH gave evasive responses because he didn't want any of the boys to feel bad about the sacrifices he was making to support them, and he didn't want to badmouth their mother.

My thoughts on this are that Rob has probably made up an explanation for himself as to why his father never seems to have had any money and is treating your husband the way he does because he thinks his explanation is the truth.

Previous posters have given great advice about handling the "drop by' visits. 


Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2013, 05:58:49 PM »
I definitely think this on Rob, not Michelle. In fact I think her behavior shows she is not really on-board with Rob's behavior. She was shocked you ate thanksgiving dinner, presumably because Rob failed to tell her the time the meal was set for - after all, you gave him that info, so you set a time, and Rob knew a time. Michelle didn't know. what else is Rob being vague about? Michelle obviously is closer to her own parents, so she easily makes plans with them. She might even say "hey Rob what about your parents? Should we see your dad this weekend?" And it sounds like Rob might be replying "ehhh, whatever, my dad will be around we can just stop by." So Michelle might not realize its even an issue - she's going to take her cues on how things in her DH's family work from her DH.

I bet some of the reasons behind Rob's motives are his parents relationship. Obviously I don't know their divorce details - nor do I need to - but I bet it wasn't a fly-by-night decision, it was probably years worth of tension that came to a head that the marriage wasn't working anymore. And Rob witnessed, and was old enough to understand it, for longer then his brothers. And Rob being away at college when it happened probably made him feel very left out of a very big thing happening in his family (which was probably a double edged sword - he probably was glad to not be around it while at he same time feeling very left out - divorce is complicated for everyone involved).

I think the solution is 3 fold.
1. Start looping Michelle into all communications. CC her on emails and even texts. Do it in a light and breezy way like its totally natural. If ever questioned, just a big smile "oh we just figured it was easier to tell you both at the same time instead of burdening Rob with having to play middle man."
2. Be proactive in making plans and less reactive to last minute requests.
and
3. If asked, or if its brought up by the sons, your DH should be honest about the sacrifices he made for his sons. He does not need to badmouth their mother to be honest, but they are adults and there is no reason they shouldn't know all the work your DH did to support his sons, and where he wasn't there physically, he made up for financially. This goes for conversations with all 3 of them.

There's a lot of merit in the bolded. I have wondered the same. I like your idea for looping Michelle in and phrasing that response if we're questioned about it.

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2013, 06:54:24 PM »
To me it sounds like Michelle is the one controlling things because every thing they come to your city to do is with her family.  She may be like my ex husband where every holiday and every event is all about her family and you and DH are left with the crumbs.  Time to re train them (and this will not be easy for DH but it is the only way it may work).  When Rob calls with the vague promise of getting together, give him a time/place you can meet up and if that doesn't work, than oh well, see you next time.  The fact that your weekends will revolve around waiting for that call or text is sad and your DH should NOT be allowing his son to call the shots.  As long as your DH is waiting for Rob, and letting Rob know he is planning his weekend around a possible visit, there is no incentive for Rob to change.

Also, when Rob calls/texts to say they are coming, can your DH make plans for something just him and Rob can do?  Maybe Rob would be willing to have time with his dad away from the wives for manly time.  But I would only make the suggestion once, not every time he calls.

DoubleTrouble

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #64 on: June 17, 2013, 10:41:52 PM »
I personally reserve the term "toxic" for stuff FAR more damaging and deliberate than this!

Continual criticism of his father's lifestyle and no acknowledgement of the sacrifices his father made for him.
Lying about not being available and then sending a text that makes it sound like it was the Dad's fault for him being caught in his lie.
PA behavior with the texts of 'why aren't you here'.
Ignoring repetitive requests for definitive plans.
Not acknowledging Thanksgiving plans and then showing up late.
Expecting other's to continually be at your beck and call.
Snubbing his father at the "meet the parent's" function.
Always putting his mother and his Inlaws plans and desires first.

If a parent did these things to a child, there would be much more outrage.

To me toxic is anyone who makes you feel like less of a person. No, he isn't physically abusing his father, but he is well aware of the emotional control he has on his Dad and is in my opinion rejoicing in inflicting pain on his Dad.

It hurts to read this, but it's something I needed to see and think about, so thank you for posting it. If this were a parent doing this to a child, it wouldn't be okay. Is it okay for a child to do this to a parent? Hmm ...

No, it's not okay. My brother does similar stuff to my parents & it's painful to watch. You've been given a lot of good advice, some of which I've given to my Dad (Mom won't listen). The sad part is that most likely there will be little to no contact with Rob but as your DH moves past the initial hurt he will start to realize just how badly Rob has been treating him.

snappylt

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #65 on: June 17, 2013, 11:03:17 PM »
Coley,

I've read the whole thread (up until the moment I started typing).  I'm going to agree with all those who've suggested bringing your daughter-in-law into the loop whenever communicating about visiting plans.  I don't know whether or not it will help, but I'm thinking it won't hurt and is worth a chance.

Also, I've got a suggestion/question:  The next time your son-in-law makes a snarky comment about your husband driving an old car, etc., what would happen if your husband tells him the truth about why your husband's finances are tight?  Why not let him know where his father's money went for so long?

I've known young adults - old adults, too, for that matter, who are clueless when it comes to understanding someone else's priorities.  I just wonder what would happen if your husband explained exactly where his money went.  I don't know whether it would make a difference or not, but I wonder if there is any chance at all that it would be an eye-opener for your son-in-law?

Good luck to you both - it sounds like a painful situation for you.

CakeEater

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #66 on: June 17, 2013, 11:06:02 PM »
As many have said, it sounds like Michelle is a planner. I can't fault her for making plans with her family - it's Rob's responsibility to communicate to her that he would like equal time with his family, which he obviously isn't doing. I'd be a bit annoyed, if I was Michelle, of feeling pressure to leave actual plans made with my family because we had to stop by DH's parents' place on the way home. I'd be tired from doing other family stuff on a day I'd devoted to that, and wouldn't want to do a whole other social engagement on the way home. And maybe Rob ends up feeling that way as well - they're having fun doing something, but he has a nagging sense of guilt that he should go and see dad on the way home, but doesn't really feel like it by then - and the pressure of all the texts asking where they are would make me want to avoid visiting even more.

So of course he shouldn't make the offer in the morning. It sounds like Rob is a big fan of 'it's the thought that counts.' He wants the credit for having the thought, but not have the effort of following through.

 But I can't really fault them for asking if you're around in the afternoon, and expecting to be able to drop in when they have time. Sometimes that kind of arrangement works fine. We're often at home for a whole afternoon on the weekend, and it really would be fine for someone to drop in anytime. If DH has never enforced the idea that he doesn't like that arrangement, and that Rob really needs to make actual plans at another time.



BarensMom

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #67 on: June 18, 2013, 12:57:27 AM »
Coley,

I've read the whole thread (up until the moment I started typing).  I'm going to agree with all those who've suggested bringing your daughter-in-law into the loop whenever communicating about visiting plans.  I don't know whether or not it will help, but I'm thinking it won't hurt and is worth a chance.

Also, I've got a suggestion/question:  The next time your son-in-law makes a snarky comment about your husband driving an old car, etc., what would happen if your husband tells him the truth about why your husband's finances are tight?  Why not let him know where his father's money went for so long?

I've known young adults - old adults, too, for that matter, who are clueless when it comes to understanding someone else's priorities.  I just wonder what would happen if your husband explained exactly where his money went.  I don't know whether it would make a difference or not, but I wonder if there is any chance at all that it would be an eye-opener for your son-in-law?

Good luck to you both - it sounds like a painful situation for you.

I agree with the above.  If Rob starts in on his snark, what's wrong with you or your DH saying, "I worked 4 jobs, lived in crummy apartments, and drove beaters to support YOU and your brothers in the manner to which you were accustomed, and you have the gall to criticize me?"  Hey, it might not be E-Hell approved, but it's the truth and Mr. Biggity-Big Pants Rob needs to hear it.

Awestruck Shmuck

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #68 on: June 18, 2013, 04:58:09 AM »
I haven't read all the responses, but I think Rob's behavior may not be rude - because he's not been told he's doing anything 'wrong'!! It IS very sad though, my dad would be crushed not to see us 'kids' (30, 33 and 22) on fathers day.

My best suggestion is, perhaps do what my mum does with us - organise the occasional family dinner, visit them if/when time permits, and have a more structured approach to communicating with him. eg. 'Oh, you're in town this weekend? we're seeing a movie at 2pm on Sunday, are you free for lunch before hand?'. Or plan the trip with them - call a month or two before you'd like to see them for a weekend, and organise for them to do something specific with you?

I live an hour and a half from my parents, and go to their place once a fortnight or so, but see them when they visit our place, or after work (my dad and I work close to each other)...

It's a juggle, but we're very close so it's worth it to us to maintain that relationship.

I feel for your DH, I remember when my sister didnt call dad once for his birthday, he was crushed. He knew how busy she was, but two minutes would have been nice! (although this was the girl that didn't talk to him for 3 months, when he refused to pay out her car loan!!) /threadjack

sammycat

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2013, 05:19:46 AM »
Wow!  I was shaking my head about how rude, thoughtless and unkind Rob is.  I am undecided if Michelle is a culprit here, in that she wants to spend time with her parents only, or if Rob is avoiding seeing his Dad.  Is it possible Michelle is the one preventing the visits and only giving the crumbs?  It seems odd they ALWAYS stay with her parents.  Why wouldn't she question why there isn't more time spent with Rob's Dad?

I'm wondering about Michelle's role here too. I don't think she's an entirely innocent party.

perpetua

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #70 on: June 18, 2013, 06:03:04 AM »
Wow!  I was shaking my head about how rude, thoughtless and unkind Rob is.  I am undecided if Michelle is a culprit here, in that she wants to spend time with her parents only, or if Rob is avoiding seeing his Dad.  Is it possible Michelle is the one preventing the visits and only giving the crumbs?  It seems odd they ALWAYS stay with her parents.  Why wouldn't she question why there isn't more time spent with Rob's Dad?

I'm wondering about Michelle's role here too. I don't think she's an entirely innocent party.

It's possible, but it's just as possible - although not easy to consider - that Rob actually prefers to spend his time with Michelle's family rather than his own.

Gyburc

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #71 on: June 18, 2013, 06:31:58 AM »
Re. Michelle, I could very easily see her as a completely innocent party in all of this, but I may be biased, because she reminds me very much of me.

My family has always been the type to plan things well in advance, often months in advance. DH's family, on the other hand, is very laid-back and tends to issue invitations at the last minute. Usually there's only a week's warning or so, often less. DH generally goes along with this quite happily, and will say things like 'By the way, my parents invited us over this weekend'. I then have the choice of asking all the questions (when? where? for how long? for a meal or not?) or just going with the flow. Sometimes it's easier just to go with the flow, particularly when it turns out that no-one has yet decided any of these things.  :)

But when we were first together, it did cause friction. My parents would suggest a date for us to visit, I would consult DH and agree, then DH would forget all about it. My ILs would call on the spur of the moment to invite us over, wanting very much to see us, and DH would say yes - then I would have to remind him that we were already booked.

Obviously, this isn't exactly like Coley's situation - for one thing, she and her DH aren't issuing vague last-minute invitations. And we don't have the background of a divorce to muddy the waters. But I could very easily see Michelle as someone who is more of a planner having to live with Rob, who really doesn't seem to plan at all, just trying to 'go with the flow' of his style of family arrangement, and not realizing that this is actually upsetting Coley and her DH.

In any case, ((((hugs)))) to Coley's DH. This must be a very hurtful situation, and I hope you can work out how best to deal with it.
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Itza

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #72 on: June 18, 2013, 08:18:46 AM »
Does your DH ever specifically invite Rob and Michelle over?  Does he ever try to make specific plans with them, for them to visit him from their home in BigCity or for him to go there to visit them?

I ask because the impression that I get from the OP is that your DH waits to hear that they will happen to be in your town, and then waits around hoping that they will want to see him.  Which may be giving Rob (and his other sons) that their visits are not actually important to your DH... because if they were then your DH would be doing something other than just sitting by the phone...  :-\  (Actions speak louder than words, afterall...)

I think that your DH needs to be proactive and actually take the initiative to contact Rob and make plans to get together, if spending time with Rob is something that is really important to your DH.  Then, if Rob continues to blow off your DH... well, there you go... but at least you will know that you made every effort....

I think you’ve made a really good point for the OP to consider here, because this is EXACTLY what my parents do!

It affects my parents more with my brothers* because their in-laws are in the area so they’re invited to their in-laws for one event or another or simply for a meal, quite spontaneously. My parents will just sit at home waiting for one of us to visit or call. You could basically drop by anytime and they’d be in. However, on the rare occasion they haven’t been and I’ve secretly smiled that they’re not sat waiting by the phone.

My mother laments how my brothers are always spending time with their in-laws and I’ve suggested it’s probably because they’ve been invited and suggested she invites them for a meal or something. She won’t. Why? They won’t come. She believe her DILs would prefer to spend time with their own parents so my brothers join them.

No amount of reasoning will get through to my mother; she’s stuck in this belief.

*My in-laws live out of town so a visit to them is an occasional happening planned well in advance.


To the OP: if you’re not doing so already, perhaps you and your DH could invite his children and spouses for something specific like a meal either at home out at a restaurant.




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Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #73 on: June 18, 2013, 08:29:06 AM »
First, thanks to everyone for their responses in this thread. I appreciate the suggestions and insights.

DH and I had a long talk about this situation last night. He told me he was awake in the middle of the night Sunday night thinking about it and wondering how he got himself back into the situation of waiting around for Rob that way. I told him that if it were any other day (not Father's Day), I probably would have pushed him harder to let Rob off the hook so to speak and move on with our day without him. We agreed that we both were holding out hope that maybe Rob would come through this time with a more substantial visit because it was Father's Day. DH is feeling let down about Rob's behavior in general, but especially because it happened on Father's Day.

I made a comparison between Rob and my mother and brother, whom I have posted about several times on eHell. The two of them have a pattern of making plans together and not informing me of them until the last minute. Where in the past I would drop everything to try to make it, I stopped doing that several years ago because it was crazy-making and I was becoming resentful. I asked DH last night what we would have done if it had been my mother or brother behaving the way Rob did on Sunday. He smiled, and he said, "We would have said no." And he's right, that's what we would have done. So the question was, "Why is it different with Rob?" DH said, "It shouldn't be different with Rob."

I also shared Hmmmmm's point, which was hard to talk about, but necessary. If the tables were turned, and if DH were the adult child and Rob were the parent, would we accept Rob's behavior? Would it be okay for Rob as the parent to snark at DH in the way he does? Of course it wouldn't be.

We have agreed on the following:

1) We need to do a better job of initiating plans with Rob and Michelle. We must loop Michelle into the planning so it doesn't just fall off the radar like it does when only Rob is involved. How that plays out, I think, will tell us a lot about Rob's real feelings/intentions. If we loop Michelle in and it still doesn't work, then I think we're dealing with a deeper problem.

2) When Rob tries to pull one of his last-minute "drive by" visits, we need to give more thought to our initial response than an immediate "yes" to a text of "Will you be around this afternoon?" DH realizes now that the immediate "yes" is what's putting us on the hook. I gave DH the suggestions from PPs about calling Rob back to talk specifics rather than replying to his texts so we have a better chance of pinning him down. If Rob refuses to answer the phone and doesn't respond to a message, then our response needs to be, "Looks like it won't work out this time. Maybe next time."

3) If we agree with Rob on a time to get together, and he doesn't show (or if it's getting so late that waiting for Rob is bumping up against our plans), we can use the same line as above: "Looks like it isn't going to work out this time. Maybe next time."

DH and I talked about how a change in his behavior might affect Rob. DH will have to be prepared for the possibility that he may see Rob even less because Rob may not respond well to a change in DH. DH said he understands that may happen. At the same time, if we're countering it with initiating more invitations on our end, we can hope that it may balance out.

DH was glad we talked about it. It seems like it was really eating at him just as it was eating at me. Thanks again for the replies and suggestions.  :)

ellebelle

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #74 on: June 18, 2013, 08:58:52 AM »
Coley,

I have just one more piece of advice. It may be painful but I think your DH needs to give Rob permission to not stop by.

Just because we may not agree with Rob, doesn't mean that he doesn't have the right to be upset or feel awkward or not want to visit. Maybe next time Rob hedges on a time your DH should just say "If you can't make it before X time, that's fine. We will see you next time".

I think this will set up a specific time requiring a commitment from Rob but also gives him an out if he really doesn't want to visit but feels pressured to to do.
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