Our son, 25, moved back home last year, with his (now) fiancée, 23. We created a basement living space for them. My son works, she attends university on a student loan.
He pays a modest "rent" and does their 'housekeeping' – laundry, dishes, etc.
We were one big happy family – she even called me 'Mama' – until recently.
When my husband drinks too much, little things will set him off. He becomes loud, aggressive, and rarely, will throw things.
He’s never hit our children or me. I learned long ago it's best to not comment, argue, placate… only discuss things when he's clearer-headed.
Two months ago, he flew off the handle. My son was at work. My future daughter-in-law, who had a difficult childhood and is currently estranged from her own father, was upset by the tirade. She came upstairs and told him so.
He responded as one would expect. She threw back a few expletives then stormed out of the house.
Via text, I said she was out of line; she argued she had every right given she lives there too. She returned with my son but said she’d move out when her work contract expired.
Due to health reasons, she cut her contract short and has spent the past month as a hermit in the basement. She no longer joins us for dinner (our son does).
She says nothing when she leaves or returns. She avoids my husband but is no different with my daughter and me. We just have to go to her.
Apparently, my son acts the same with her as he did before this happened.
I don't know whether to say something. Meantime, my husband's dislike for her grows, as all she does is watch TV, play video games, and sleep.
Mama in the Middle
Your husband’s in the wrong, even in his own home.
Unfortunately, he’s excused when he’s aggressive and belligerent on the too-much-drink excuse, enabled to repeat the behaviour.
You all knew your future daughter-in-law’s history with her own father. Was she warned about your husband’s tirades?
Has your son decided your model of accepting his outbursts is okay?
If you don’t want to lose your son once the couple has their own home, you all need to address the bully elephant in the room.
“Dad” unleashes serious anger issues through alcohol.
He’s pushing his son’s future wife away, and she may well want to protect your future grandchildren from him.
Get to an Al-Anon support group for people/families living with alcoholism and alcohol-fueled outbursts.
Remember, he just hasn’t hit anyone… yet.
Try to calm your son’s fiancée, telling her you understand her hurt and fear, and hope changes can be made in the home environment.
Reader’s Commentary “I was assigned a new work partner. Colleagues’ warnings arrived about his huge ego, moodiness, and that he says things he won’t later acknowledge.
“He’s inconsiderate of others’ needs and feelings, and a manipulator.
“I’d previously worked with difficult personalities, but managed to remain optimistic.
“This time was more difficult. I soon felt disrespected as a person and as a worker.
“I’d been enthusiastic initially but started to “fight" back. He didn’t like it.
“So, instead, I started to help more just to make peace.
“I tried to understand why he behaved tough. I found he’d had very difficult times in life with a lot of lost.
“I learned that revenging never helps. I then acknowledged any success and appreciated good things done, because we all have low times when we need emotional support.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman who moved home and resented her mother’s rising rent demands (July 18):
Reader – “Kid's don't realize how disruptive it is for aging parent's when they move back home.
“Our mother told us to always have our own money just in case you have to flee the relationship. How parents handle their money is none of their children’s business.
“The writer said her mother did nothing in the house? Well, she fed her daughter’s cat, which she left there while staying with her boyfriend on weekends.
“Who gets a cat when they cannot financially support themselves?
“This adult child is wrong, she should move out immediately. She has a car she can live in it.”
Ellie – I agree she should move, but not to her car. Perhaps the writer will think she’s lucky despite her difficulties living with her mother, having read how you would handle the situation.
Tip of the day:
Alcohol-fueled bullying isn’t excusable. Period.