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BlueEyedGirl

And....I Think We Figured It Out!

7 posts in this topic

I've mentioned before that FIL's narcissistic tendencies have gotten worse lately. And that he really hurt ODD's feelings when he not only didn't bother to congratulate her on her recent graduation, but went so far as to say 'What does she want from me?" when DH mentioned it to him. What she wanted from him was a simple acknowledgment that she had worked her rear end off to graduate Magna Cum Laude, nothing more. She didn't want or expect a gift, she JUST wanted him to say 'hey kiddo, congratulations on graduating." Apparently, that was too much for him. 

Fast forward to Christmas. YDN recently graduated and we're all over at FIL's house for Christmas Eve. YDN is living there with his parents and has his own room. He dropped in for dinner and then again for the opening of gifts, but otherwise, for the time it took us to prep and make dinner, clean up, etc he was MIA playing video games. He opened his gifts and was getting ready to go back to his room, and I don't know if FIL decided he didn't want him to leave the room or what, but he yells out "Congratulations on your graduation, really proud of you!" YDN kind of smiles and says 'thanks', and starts to walk out of the room and FIL says again (not the same words, but words to that effect). He tries to prod YDN into talking about it. 

ODD is sitting on the couch next to me and looks at me like "WTH?" but doesn't say a word and she and her sister go back to talking about their nails. I look over at her again and she looks so hurt it was all I could do not to yell at FIL. 

Afterwards, having a conversation with SIL, she mentions that he refused to acknowledge ODN's recent graduate school graduation. And for whatever reason something that has never clicked with both off us suddenly did. He has one grandson and several granddaughters. He does not seem capable of acknowledging anything the girls do that has to do with academics or accomplishments. He generally ribs the boys they date, the exception being that both of my daughters are currently dating boys that either already ARE in the military or will be after they graduate, which seems to keep him off of their backs. He doesn't have a single nice thing to say about ODN's boyfriend, who, I might add, he has never met. But he LOVES YDN's girlfriend. YDN's graduation is a big deal but the girls's graduations don't rank even a mention. YDN's job is worthy of celebration but the girls's jobs are not important. Clearly we are establishing a pattern of male chauvinism. Now, I recognize that some of it has to do with his age and his upbringing, but it doesn't excuse the fact that he applies it so harshly and obviously. He does the same thing to his kids. The girls are only good for cooking and cleaning and being at his beck and call, the boys are the providers but..they should also, for what it's worth, be at his beck and call. The only exception that he even appears to appreciate even a little is when I help him. I didn't used to say anything, but when he got so churlish and demanding I started making sure he knew I was having to use vacation time to help him or having to work from his home to do so, reminding him that I didn't HAVE to help him and was doing so to be nice, not because he demanded it. 

I just don't even know what to do anymore!

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Sounds like we have the same PIL's, at least FIL. One granddaughter and several GS's and the treatment of the two varies from one end of the spectrum to the other and is ridiculous. I wonder how they would have treated their own daughter had they had one, if that would have made any difference at all.

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I don't think you can change FIL's outdated, sexist attitudes at this stage of the game, BEG. All you can do, IMO, is remind the girls how old-fashioned this is and maybe laugh about it, as long as he doesn't hear you. .("Grampa's so behind the times, he probably still thinks college could give a girl 'brain fever,' LOL!") I don't like to poke fun, but I can't think of anything else at the moment.

 

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You won't be ever be able to change his sexist viewpoint.  I guess I would have a conversation with your daughter about his generation and their attitudes and let her know how lucky she is to live in today's age, where opportunities are more equal between the sexes.  Or becoming more equal, it's a life lesson, it will prepare her for the workforce.

Why use your precious vacation time to help him?  Does he appreciate it?  Do what you can when it's convenient and let him know his ODN is there and so capable so he should be able to help more.  He is treating your ODD awfully, I wouldn't be bending over backwards to help him that much, it's only teaching him that he can treat women like crap and they'll still do anything for him, actually not teaching him just reinforcing his sexist attitude, hence he'll treat your ODD like crap and who cares.  Perhaps a life lesson for him is, treat a person like crap and they stop doing nice things for you, treat a person with kindness and respect and they will go out of their way to help you.

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I remember one summer I was about 11 and my older brother was 12, we were helping relay bricks for a patio at my grandparents. After we had finished my grandfather was paying us with some coins in his pocket and he couldn't give us each the same pay so he gave my brother the extra nickel or dime. The reason he gave for giving my brother more was because he was a boy. I still remember how much that discouraged me. It didn't matter how hard I worked, if I did a good job or not, I was still a girl and not worth as much. It wasn't that my brother did more work, he was clumsy, no larger than I at the time. There were other times this type of thing happened including with my grandmother and even my own mother (who should have known better due to things that happened to her). It's very deeply ingrained and of course if you point it out or complain, then you are the "bad, **** feminist" trying to change everyone else. I think your daughter needs you to stand up for her when these things happen, even better give her permission to "fight back" for herself, even within family, that she has your backing to speak up even to her sexist grandfather. Her father should be backing his daughter too. This won't be the only time she faces discrimination for being female. I wish I had learned how to fight back sooner and that the people that mattered most to me would back me up instead of saying it's just how it is for females.

 

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Thanks ladies. To level set, this is the FIRST time that ODD has been inclined to visit her grandfather since all of this first went down in the summer. After he said what he did, she basically said she wasn't going back to see him and we completely supported/support that. I even told her if she didn't want to go over there for Christmas, we completely understood. I already had the food but I told her I could send it with her dad and YDD and I would stay home with her if she wanted. She spent the better part of the day on her laptop hanging with her sister and we didn't even tell him she was there. She's basically C/O her grandfather and made it clear why.  He asked why he doesn't see her around anymore and I told him that she wasn't happy with the way he treated her so she chose not to visit. Being the classic narc that he is, he turned it into a pity party for himself and I just walked away. DH and I both tried talking to him, explained that she wasn't asking for a thing except for him to acknowledge her achievement. He said he didn't understand why she didn't visit him and I flat out told him that she didn't visit because he hurt her  and that we weren't going to make her come see him. She chose to go Christmas Eve more for the rest of the family who happen to live there than him.  There is literally no getting through to the man, he doesn't listen/can't hear unless it benefits him in some way. Honestly, I don't want to go see him and only really go to see my SIL and spend time with her. I spend as little time with him as possible. Half the time he doesn't even know we are there. If SIL's family wasn't living there and we weren't close to them, he would rarely see us. When we got ready to leave Christmas Eve he said to ODD, "Love you babe" and right behind her to her sister "See ya." I don't know if he has any understanding of what he is doing (we have some concerns about early signs of dementia here recently) or if he does it to manipulate. YDD said before DH got in the car...."See ya? I get 'see ya'? Maybe not..." She's the LAST one of his grands that even spent any time with him...ODN lives out of state and barely tolerates him,  YDN lives at his house but stays invisible, hidden in his room or working or avoiding him at all costs. ODD doesn't want to see him....YDD was his last shot....

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Posted (edited)

you won't change his attitude or behavior towards women...you're right in that it was part of his upbringing, age, etc.  Also right that this doesn't excuse his behavior.  As some of the other posters suggested i would explain to the girls his attitude and why possibly (as long as it's not making an excuse for his behavior).  And i'd probably stop doing things for him....doing things for him and making it known that you're doing it to be nice and not because you have to, will not change his attitude.  the only thing that might help him see a little is just not doing things for him at all....but that's me and that's how i roll.  don't feel like you "owe" him anything especially when he is being such an outdated  *** hole about things

Edited by RoseRed135
guideline 5e

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