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Hi, remember me???


OK, so lately I've been noticing my FIL driving by or home and not stopping in. Please keep in mind we live on a very private street. No short cuts to get to anywhere.... I guess there's a couple of questions here why the heck would he be driving by and not stopping? For instance, one day I was out playing with my dog and daughter in the front yard and at the time we had gotten a new vehicle for me to go back and forth to work with. My FIL drives by real slow, rolls down the window and asks me, "you two got a new vehicle?".... I said, yes (politely)... He then says, oh... real softly and drives off..... My daughter was wondering why grandpa just stopped and said that and then just drove off??? How do you explain that to a 6 year old???? I then see him driving by real slow at around 6:30 in the morning when I leave for work. One day I opened the garage door, backed out of the garage, got out of the vehicle and ran inside. When I came back out, there he is driving by AGAIN!!!! Then one evening I was driving back from the jewelry store and sure enough he was turning off of our street and heading towards main street! I got home and asked my wife what he wanted and she told me he never stopped by..... I said, OK enough is enough, why does your dad keep driving by like he's checking up on us????? She thought it was a little weird that he's doing it and I told her to confront him... He doesn't really respond to when he's been confronted....yeah, twilight zone! My wife even says there's no reason for him to be doing this. I car pool back and forth with a friend of mine... no it's not a woman, it's a guy. I'm home every night on time. I work my tail end off day in and day out with my wife being an at home mom for our girls.... What more do they want from me???? Can anyone here relate to this problem and concerns I have because I really can't figure it out...


Please help.

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You are entirely too enamoured with confrontation. Your wife should definitely talk to him & ask if something is wrong, but is a 'confrontation' really necessary?


Is it possible that due to your recent conflict, that he feels unwelcome at your home, or wants to try to talk to you, but doesn't know how to start and is waiting for an invitation?


Next time you're out with your kids, flag him down. Invite him to come play with the kids, or have a beer with you. Casually ask him "what brings you by?"


Everything isn't a battle for control....Maybe he just wants to see his grandkids?

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Maybe the guy's a little eccentric and he's just making the rounds checking on his family and stuff ... who knows where else he makes his rounds? Seems rather harmless though. Maybe for him 'proximity' is a form of reassurance - for him and he hopes for you(?)

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That's a good idea with the beer.... I really like that.


No he's not senile....very good health.


The drive bys have occurred before the recent trip...


The only family that lives in town is our family (my wife and I). The rest of the siblings live at least a half hour+ away. So the rounds he's making is only us.


Also, in the past years I've done a lot of remodeling on my first home... There was some times where he'd stop on by and just start helping me without being invited sometimes.... While I appreciated his help, it really wasn't necessary. I told him that it wasn't necessary and supposedly it hurt his feelings. Well, I felt bad and let him help again and I was the one in the wrong to them and ended up apologizing...well, little did I know he started doing things on my remodeling his way one day when I came home from work..


Maybe he's seeing if I'm doing any projects this year but at 6:30 in the morning though???? That's odd if you ask me. I've even been getting dressed and seen him out our big picture window in our bedroom driving by in the morning. That was even closer to 6:00 a.m.

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How often do you invite him over? Is there a chance he's lonely, and hoping to feel connected to his children and grandchildren?


And sometimes Alzheimers/senility can bring a paranoia... perhaps he thinks he is 'protecting' you by watching the house.


I would definitely try to talk to him about it in a non-accusatory way, asking him why he doesn't call or ask to come in if he comes by...

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Put a big sign out in the yard saying, "HI DAD!"


I love this, and I'd add... ".. come on in!"


The poor guy obviously has nothing else to occupy his time, and he probably loves his family but doesn't want to intrude.


He may have begun incorporating this drive-by habit into his routine... get the paper, drive by the kids' place, pick up groceries, whatever.


Instead of viewing this as troublesome, and certainly instead of seeing it as warranting 'confrontation' which by definition is aggressive, I'd consider ways to encourage Dad to stop in, or at least grab a chair outside and read the paper as one of you serves him a cup of something.


Think in good terms before assuming the bad. Bad happens soon enough to all of us.

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I'm not sure how many times my wife actually invites him over. I really don't because they just come over when they do without being invited. I don't mind that most of the time but when they come over and tell us what we're doing wrong with our home...that becomes a problem and bugs the living CRAP out of me.


Again, I'm looking for answers and trying to help solve these PROBLEMS. Maybe I should back track a little for you that like to listen to my story. When my wife and I first got together....my wife and I started dating and I was in college getting my degree. My wife and I decided to move in with each other which didn't fly well with them..... They told my wife that I was going to be a drunk, and abusive husband for doing so because it was against their religion.... I have on average of 2 beers a month now.... but yet he has the authority and right to call me a drunk and abusive husband because of living with each other before marriage???? I asked her to be my wife and the first thing he asks me is if I'm going to keep the tradition alive of divorce because that's written all over both sides of my family... Yeah, cause that's fair just to lay that on someone.... I've been married to my wife for 10 years now and I'm dam proud of it and love her very much. He'll make jabs at me as far as my weight goes (I'm 6' 1", 200 lbs.) and at the time of one jab he made at me IN FRONT of EVERYONE he asked me if I was gaining weight? I had gained 20 lbs and in front of everyone he has to point out my weight???? I was home alone one time and surprise, surprise, he drives by our old home real slow.... It wasn't probably 10 minutes later that he called and KNEW I was home alone. I answer the phone and he says, hey "son1", what ya doing??? Well, I'm watching T.V. and looking at the homes for sale online because we were looking at homes at the time.... He said, I hear you looked at a home over on "X" street? I said, yeah we did....He asked, what did you think of it? I said that the inside of it was really nice, the garage was awesome because of how big it was, BUT the yard needed a complete make over because of some of the problems that it had and would cost a lot to get it where we want it so we decided against it....He then comes back with out of the middle of no where...."I guess your raise doesn't cover that"......I said, excuse me???? Well, I have to get going...click. Just because we decided to not go with the home he automatically thinks that I can't afford it???? WOW! I told my wife about the incident and she had agreed with it being very odd. So my wife had asked her sisters if their husbands ever get the same treatment....NOPE not one bit. So I'm wondering why my wife and I? What did we do so wrong seeing how one of the other siblings had a child out of wetlock, the other got into drugs and alcohol, drove while entoxicated, and was arrested for having drug paraphonalia on him. (No I don't think any different of them but stating the facts of what happened here.) But yet they like to cast stones at me for what???? Here's what I did, I started dating his daughter, I went to college and graduated, got a very respectable job out of college, bought my wife a car and house, made a boat load of home improvements so we could finally get some equity, worked a second job, gave them two wonderful grand daughters, moved into a very nice home in a very private neighborhood, since then, have moved on to bigger positions in my field in more opportunities are opening up for me....and yet I still get jabbed at?


Thanks for listening and reading.

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You have to understand that family dynamics in dysfunctional families will always dictate a 'black sheep' - someone to be the fall guy. Think of that true story, A Boy Named It. The whole family sat back and watched while the mother treated this boy like garbage.


My own H was the oldest of 3, took in his mom and siblings at the age of 18 and gave them everything, took care of everything, bought his mom a house...and yet he is the 'mistake' of the family, the one who gets blamed for everything. It's just how dysfunctional families work.


Take the high road. Be the bigger man, and just accept the fact that your FIL is a little 'off.' Unless he's harming your relationship or your family, I would just grin and bear it. He won't be around forever, and you don't want to jeopardize your marriage over a nutcase.


And you never know...he may come around to approving of you.


Get this book; it'll help you see some things about her family: Healing The Shame That Binds You, by Bradshaw. Amazing book.

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I'll check that book out thanks.


What's sad is, he IS harming my family but doesn't realize it. Because their so used to throwing the orders and getting their way. It's this way or NO way according to them. None of the siblings see it because their so used to their parents ways and bowing down to them... that's the way they were brought up. They just think, we HAVE to do whatever mom and dad tell us to do because that's ALWAYS right. I've had talks with one of the other husbands about it and he totally agrees with me and sees my views he just doesn't want to cause any trouble with his wife and the family. I've accepted the fact that my FIL is a little off....but I don't even have time to address the problems at hand because there's another problem right behind it. That's terrible. It could be a home improvement project or some simple plans we have on the weekend... Say I painted a bathroom a certain color.... "Why didn't you do it this color?" If we go somewhere say a short getaway to a cabin or something....and asked what way we came up..."Well, why didn't you take such and such highway"? "It would've saved you a boat load in gas and time...." Those are the times when I feel like going off the wall because if we do something a certain way, there's usually a reasonable explanation behind it. Do you see the uphill battle I'm fighting here?


I used to play alot of golf with him and the other brother in laws.... even then I had to play at my best. If I missed a putt... he would say, "Oh my gosh, how could you miss that putt "son1". Make it a clear point that I missed but the other brother in laws could miss all day.... "hey, that's ok- you'll make up for it on the next hole". You honestly think that's enjoyable? Please note, I said, "used" to play with him. Not anymore.


Birthday parties... they're huge for the kids and I couldn't agree more and they're big get-togethers for the family on their side. I think that's great! However, this year my daughter's combined parties come up... both brother in laws are no shows (they went to a baseball game).... perfectly fine with me and the wife and we had no problem with it. My neices' parties come around and it just so happens that I had plans that I couldn't part with and ended up not going... not because I didn't want to...just because I couldn't part with the plans....oh, "son 1" is viewed as "not being very nice and the kids were looking forward to seeing uncle "son1" and playing with him! Why couldn't he be here???? There better be a good reason....

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You need to stop rising to the bait.


Him " Why didn't you paint it this colour"

You "Oh, we hadn't thought of that colour, well this will have to do for now"


Him" Why didn't you go this way, you're way is too long"

You" " You think so? Hmm, I'll have to try to remember that next time"


Him" HOW did you miss that putt?"

You" I must be off my game today, You had a great put on that last hole."



I think that you may be so used to this battle too, that you MAY be refusing to acknowledge that ANYTHING they say, do or think could possibly have any merit. You are feeding into a cycle that you instead need to break.


Throw him a few crumbs, do things the way you want, acknowledge that you could have done it another way, and move on....


At least let him THINK you are considering his POV, and don't let his criticism bother you. It's clear you don't respect his view on things anyway, so why should his opinion of how you handle your life really matter when your values aren't in sync?

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You need to stop rising to the bait.



At least let him THINK you are considering his POV, and don't let his criticism bother you. It's clear you don't respect his view on things anyway, so why should his opinion of how you handle your life really matter when your values aren't in sync?


You're absolutely right, and that's a great question, why does he keep throwing his POV's at us when we obviously have our own that they don't approve of?


Why do you do that? You took what I said, twisted it around to be an attack on your FIL, and then assume I am agreeing with you?



Let me try this again. This isn't about what HE does, what HE could do, or what HE should do. It's about YOU. YOU are the only person whose outlook YOU can change, YOU are the only person whose actions YOU can change.


Quit looking to cast the blame onto them. That achieves n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

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[...]Let me try this again. This isn't about what HE does, what HE could do, or what HE should do. It's about YOU. YOU are the only person whose outlook YOU can change, YOU are the only person whose actions YOU can change.


Quit looking to cast the blame onto them. That achieves n-o-t-h-i-n-g.


I agree. You're holding grudges from before you were even married 10 years ago--that's a long time to nurse that thing, and you are the one keeping it alive.


You're loaded for attack, and so you find one in everything the guy says and does. You've put every perceived slight into your memory bank, and that's the place from which you perceive everything else. You've built a frustration that is unnecessary and will never serve to make you happy--it keeps you trigger-cocked.


These odd folks will never magically transform themselves into ideal inlaws. You get to decide whether you'll do your part to meet their imperfections halfway by holding up your own as a valid and reasonable standard for being human--and then you can just relax.


Next time you perceive an insult, question whether your over-sensitivity isn't trumping it up beyond what's profitable, and then just laugh at yourself. Turn 'stupid and cheerful' and pretend not to imbue any meaning behind it, and just shrug or change the subject. Stuff will start to roll off you, and you'll stop internalizing it so much. You'll stop feeding your useless arsenal of wounds, and that is how you 'win'.


In your corner.

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[...] It's really easy to assume an issue exists with the other person, but it helps to remember that THEY, too, are feeling something. About YOU.


Great point, and the tricky thing about it is that 'what' they are feeling about you isn't always what you assume.


Have you ever considered your past mistakes and decided you'd like to start over with someone, so you make a pointed effort of engaging them when you see them? You start off with the best intentions, maybe asking them a question to demo that you care about their life--only they're so accustomed to being defensive toward you, they perceive your question badly and respond with a knee-jerk reaction--and there you are, again.


How do you know if this hasn't been the case with FIL? Maybe he's tried many times over the course of years to extend an olive branch, only to have his efforts perceived as insults? Meanwhile, maybe same has been true of your own attempts? This is what nursing grudges does--it turns every encounter into a fragile mess of hurt feelings and assumed 'proof' of injury. Everyone loses.


The only way to break this misery-go-round is to be the one with enough clarity to break it for the long haul. This requires an ability to let your feelings get hurt for a time while you stick with changing YOUR part in the pattern. The other will slow down eventually if you're not participating. You've changed your MO to one of kind indulgence--you're no longer primed to 'see' everything as bait. Over time, your perceptions of another as harmless become your reality.


Your perceptions are your fuel. If you want to fuel antipathy, you can do that--or you can focus your energy on future potential. This rewards you whether anyone opts to credit you for your discipline, or not. It's not about them.

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These are the kinds of inlaws that make people move accross the country... literally.


I had a friend who had inlaws like this, and it made his only life constant misery. They were also influencing his wife to join them in criticizing him, and trying to get her to participlate in more and more radical religious teachings, to the point where they were all preaching at him all the time about his sins even though he was a normal, decent guy who took care of his family, in fact was the sole breadwinner, but nothing he did was good enough.


He finally realized it was going to destroy his relationship with his wife eventually, so he interviewed and got a new job 1500 miles away! His wife was upset at the move, but he was the breadwinner, so they moved.


Once she was out from under their constant influence, their marriage stablized and they had a normal life. The wife flies down to visit the inlaws for a week with the kids a couple times a year, but other than that, it solved his problem.


So perhaps you might think about transferring to another job far enough away to prevent this kind of interference. A surprisingly large number of people do that as a solution to in law problems, and not having them interfering on a daily basis, because they can't just drop in anytime they want, or drive by etc.

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Aw! He's lonely & bored!!


Yeah, he's onery & outspoken (actually he reminds me a bit of Sophia from the Golden Girls) but old people get that way.


Maybe your wife could help him find some kind of club/lodge for Sr. citizens so he had a little more interaction with people. If he was happier & busier he might give you guys a bit more space.


My guess is, your SIL's don't get the same treatment because they're much further away. Out of sight, out of mind!

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