It would help if you gave us specific examples, but generally speaking, I don't think verbal or emotional abuse is subjective. Maybe some people have a higher tolerance for it than others, some people may have a thicker skin, but it's something that no one should put up with in their lives. I think emotional or verbal abuse is anything that is designed to make you feel belittled, inferior, disrespected, put down, or inadequate, or if the person is angry at something else, a bad day at work, etc. and takes that anger out on you by getting disproportionately angry for some little thing you did, yelling, name-calling, etc. for no good reason. Emotional abuse can also be something that just makes you feel like you have to walk around on eggshells all the time, always nagging, criticizing, correcting, losing his temper or getting irritated at you for simply being there and being you. "How many times do I have to tell you to put the cap back on the toothpaste!?? And you used the dryer to dry the whole load, you know I only want you to use it to fluff!! Why do you insist on doing this, that, the other, etc." Being overly controlling as well. Always needing to know who you're talking to, where you're going, if you're 10 minutes late coming home from work, why? What were you doing, and with whom, I don't like that friend of yours, I don't want you going out if you 're going to be hangin out with her, etc. etc. etc. Someone who tries to make you feel like you're responsible for their peace of mind and comfort. They'd be happy if you'd only do this that or the other, do it just so, and do it all the time...something that most likely is impossible to achieve.
An extreme example might also be, if you wore a nice dress to dinner and your man said "hmmm, that's a nice dress but I think I like your other one better." An insecure person might take that very hard, feel like he was criticizing or that he didn't like the dress at all. But this comment is not making a judgment on how you look now, on your fashion sense, not telling you what you should do or should have done, it's just stating a preference, and not requiring you to do anything about it, or to even agree. Now, verbal or emotional abuse would be "LOL where did you get that dress? Tents 'R' Us? You should have worn the other one, that one doesn't need a sign that says "Wide Load!" LOL I guess I'll have to pick your dress out for you next time we go out." Again, that's an extreme example, but you can see the difference in the INTENT behind each comment, yes? This second comment judges, belittles, makes an attempt to control, and is mean-spirited.
Could you provide us with specific examples of what you are talking about?
Last edited by Larrylou'smom; 03-10-2011 at 10:36 PM.
emotional abuse is putting someone down, bullying, controlling, make feel like there nothing, intimidated, neglect, blackmail.....many more, theres loads of different ways a person can emotionally abuse another intentionally.
there is no limit in my opinion. even a small bit is not acceptable and no one should put up with abuse till the abuser reachers the limit. they shouldnt be a limit. all abuse wether it be emotional/mental/physical is unacceptable.
Last edited by cryingforever; 03-11-2011 at 12:49 AM.
It is about my father-in-law and my husband. I was told here that this is relationship issue and that it should be co-dependence.
My father-in-law has some kind of Asperge syndrome (just my guess.) So all his life he has been self-centered about his own research. All his conversations focus on his own work whenever it comes to family gathering. The social activities are secondary to him. Well never mind about his own sickness, he demands his family including all relatives unless they are not nearby to focus on his own research, retired or not, real or false (he now has Alzheimer's and can no longer work whatsoever.) At least 30 years... He even had his son worked for him in summertime for 2 times 30 years ago. Ever since then, he always talks to us about his work and his ideas. Lately due to Alzheimer's, everyone needs to talk about his "work" which is now about being a doctor (he was an MD in his home country.)
Right now his memory is long gone due to late Alzheimer's and he is in a nursing home so we no longer need to deal with this nonsense all the time. Back home he would force my hubby to talk to him about his "ideas". He has not worked or written any papers for 10 years. Research goes with writing and he has the status to do it forever.
My point is this thing is about forcing his son to talk about his dad's thing... is this emotional abuse although his son, my hubby is always nice about it? I think my husband has been affected negatively somewhat although his Dad showed him how to be a professor as well in my hubby's youth (not in the same field.)
My husband probably adored his Dad when he was much younger. Now it is at a point that his Dad demands unreasonable working together with his son so he is in a nursing home. Everything about our career is turned into his way of thinking in his own world. He has not been really working for real for 10 years now!!
To us, we started out to be polite to him trying to please him in conversation when we went to his house for holidays. But now I realized he manipulated us into talking about his fake work.
The other thing is he is very tricky and he is very polite. So lots of people like him very much. The nursing home likes him a lot. But he just put this on my husband and he knew that I tried to stop it in vain. I don't try to do it anymore. I am at a point that I don't want to talk to my FIL in case he talks about his "work" again. I am responsible for all his things in the home and we do it diligently with good care.
This bugs me to the point that I may have gone mad to talk about it irrationally....
I know he won't have much longer life to live and he is 90 with lots of sickness, but ...
I mean, after what we have done for him with difficulty, all he wants is to work for him??? He has a distant relationship with his elder son in Europe. That son has not seen him for 45 years although the son calls/writes his Dad.
If this family has one big difficult person like my FIL, no wonder everything else didn't work out the way it should be...
I am not saying he is the "bad" guy but it is annoying.
I just wrote a long story about my specific case. I also have emotional abuse issue in my own original family but it is a lifelong history. I just know it runs in my own family. But in the mean time, my FIL's nutting behaviors just make me mad. I know he is not normal anymore but how can a father think that his son is his extension and has to serve him to talk about his own work? He didn't even bother to train his son to be in his own field. It is just for his own convenience. It was his late wife that raised my husband and he did that to her too. Everyone is serving him like he is a lord...
I just need to know if this is abnormal relationship. I think my husband sometimes goes the other way (he is like his Mom) to defy him. He does not want to live with his Dad permanently anyway (there was a time when we thought about helping my FIL who has Alzheimer's in our home.)
What a difficult situation you are in the midst of...I am sorry for all you are having to endure.
Just to make sure I have a good understanding, I will recap what I have read...Your FIL is in a nursing home due to ALZ, is 90 years old, and was a doctor in his working years. You and your husband are the ones who make sure he has everything he needs at the nursing home and are his primary visitors. Is that the gist of it?
With that said, is this an abusive situation for you and/or your husband?
Well, it sounds as if your FIL has always had a strong personality and possibly Asbergers Syndrome, but never diagnosed by a doctor. His behaviors fit with the descriptions of AS, which may explain his intense style of interacting with the family, such as being unable to enjoy holidays and such, with his work being the only thing he allowed to be spoken about. As the ALZ intensified, the insistence his need to talk about his "work" has grown even more bothersome to you and your husband.
While there may have been behaviors in the past that could be described as abusive by your husband, and the other brother has decided to end contact over 40 years ago..he sounds like quite a handful! When a child cannot get away from abuse due to age and legalities, that is one thing. But now that your FIL is 90 and in his last years of life, in a nursing home, it is a bit different.
When you mention that you come from an abusive background as well, I can see how this behavior might trigger many deep feelings in you that have been buried inside, making the FIL all the more bothersome. Have you ever done any counseling to try and overcome your childhood abuse? If you still carry all the wounds the abuse has scarred you with, it will likely always be right there, ready to jump back into your life, as it looks like it has here.
In some cases, the easy answer would be to grin and bear it, he only has a short time left...that answer does not fit here. It is much deeper for you than that. How does your husband feel about his dad and his demands? Can he handle doing the visiting and dropping off of clothes or whatever needs he has?
I would consider distancing yourself from him as much as possible, while still being of help in other ways that do not require direct contact or conversation with him. if that is not possible, I would clearly state in every visit that I am not willing or able to talk about "work" as you have no interest or experience with it. If he talks about it, simply excuse yourself and tell him you will get back in the conversation when it applies to your interests and experience, or his direct needs.
While it is admirable to try and help a man who is in his dying days, it is not OK to subject yourself to his demands, leaving you feeling awful and ruining your day to do so. Especially as his DIL, you have no obligation to let this man leave you feeling abused, as you had to when you were a child.
The Following User Says Thank You to writeleft For This Useful Post: ninamarc (03-11-2011)
Thank you so much for replying me in such details. Like you said I can try to avoid my FIL when I cannot stand it and come back later. In fact I am doing that lately... Try to go to his room to fix things up while he is in the activity room with my hubby and all that. my FIL has MD PhD degrees from Europe but he is emeritus professor in research only in Chicago.
I just need someone to confirm or validate my feelings.
I am not the one that hate and don't forgive. In fact I always try to bear with people since I had been the one that was put down in my family. (Not that they don't like me but it is the family style. My own folks don't understand emotional abuse but they do know how to survive...)
You asked me about how my husband handles it. Well to be honest, I don't know how they do it. You see, my FIL does not like to argue so he demands that everyone be nice to him and all that. So on the surface, these sons are like nice kids to him in his face. (The elder son left due to the divorce long time ago in his home country.)
But I can tell that by content - it is nothing close at all. It is like an official father-son relationship and my FIL even says "I love you" to us but it is all talks. My FIL cares that his kids have good jobs and etc., but that is it. Well if he stops at that, it is fine. My grandfather was like that. But my FIL goes further to demand my husband to "share" his Dad's papers. And you know what? When my husband asked his Dad to read my husband's paper, his Dad said he had no time!!!!
My FIL never bothered to visit Europe to see his other son and his grandson at all. His work is more improtant to him than family. I think he hides behind his work from this world. His own Dad died when he was 11 or so.
On the surface, my husband is able to go see his Dad in the nursing home and sit with him quietly. But my husband no longer feels he can talk to his Dad although his Dad can still make simple conversations. Well the thing is, if my husband stays longer than meal time and acitivity time, once he is told my husband is a professor again, then my FIL's eyes will light up and say oh we can work together (just my expression!) So we stay shorter and try to leave him with groups...
The harder part is everyone in the home told us my FIL is such a NICE person and blah blah blah... The home care people before knew about such abuse because they saw it. One caregiver even said she would not let her husband do that to her son. (Someone else could help stop the situation long time ago.)
Frankly I got help about my past already, but I just want to validate what I feel about my FIL and that I am not crazy to think that.
This is dysfunctional father-son relationship for sure.
I certainly confirm and validate your feelings! Sometimes just getting our words out into writing can be very helpful, and that is proven here everyday.
I am happy to hear that you have overcome your own background, and that you can disconnect it from the current situation.
I encourage you to visit our Alzheimer's support board, and I believe there is one for caretakers too. I have visited the board quite a few times, as I suspect my mother is in early stages of the disease herself. What I found there were some of the most beautiful loving people, with the greatest insight as to how to manage life with a loved one living in this heartless illness. They have found strategies that work for them, invaluable people who are sharing their knowledge with anyone to has the interest to read their stories. That is what I love about this place, we all have our boards...All you have to do is say hello, and they will share with you.
For you, we have the Aspergers board, I recommend you pop by over there and introduce yourself...I have read that board too, I do a lot of cross research, so I have been to many of the boards. We are all friends, some very close friends that see each other everyday!
Once you get the responses from the other fine folks here, you will be confirmed and validated by lots of others besides me! You will have some great ideas about dealing with FIL, and will have lots of support and encouragement from all of us.
After all, you are being of service to you Father in law, just by being there visiting him, and in support of your husband, which is an honorable thing for anyone to do. It is something that you are doing out of the goodness of your heart for your family. If you leave there feeling emotionally abused, then there is a part of the visit that is violating the very goodness of your kind action. The component that is blocking the honor from your visits is the illness called Alzheimers Disease, that has invaded the mind of a man suffering from Aspergers, (a very anti-social but often brilliant mind) Syndrome.
It is clearly not you! But it is up to you, as to how you choose to address it. I would go for nothing less than turning this in to positive teaching experience, even if just for yourself.
Wow, how confusing! Can you imaging what it must have felt like having all that going on in his brain? At his prime, when he was in his career, his research...Your husbands childhood..
To then go to the other side of the spectrum, he must be using his endless discussion about his work to hold on to the one thing he has left of his memory with the only son who visits him. That makes sense to me.
I am very interested in what you learn from the other boards, if you choose to venture out a bit. If you do not feel comfortable introducing yourself and re-telling your story, I understand completely. We all have our own style of seeking help. If you do not know how to start a new thread on another board, feel free to ask me.
The Following User Says Thank You to writeleft For This Useful Post: ninamarc (04-17-2011)
nina, i'm sorry for what you're dealing with.......
your husband must have a ton of patience to tolerate this over the years. All I can say is, the guy is 90, you won't have to put up with this much longer. Do the best you can in the meantime......
The Following User Says Thank You to rosequartz For This Useful Post: ninamarc (04-18-2011)