Al­co­hol-fu­elled bul­ly­ing in­ex­cus­able

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - El­lie Tesher

Q - Our son, 25, moved back home last year, with his (now) fiancee, 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

A - 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 al­co­hol­fu­eled out­bursts.

Re­mem­ber, he just hasn’t hit any­one - yet.

Try to calm your son’s fiancee, 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 wonít 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 loss.

“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.”

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