Hi there. I'm new to this site and could use some advice. My

Hi there. I'm new to this site and could use some advice. My fiancee's father is undoubtedly a malignant, abusive narcissist. He has been abusive both physically but also mentally, and I'm sure that this mental abuse has had the biggest impact. Although my fiancee is no longer under his roof and therefore not under his control, he still has a lot of fear. Unfortunately this is not going to be a NC situation, as my fiancee's mother is disabled and we cannot have access to her without my father in law being present. It is not even possible to have a conversation with her without him being there. This obviously makes things difficult, and his mother cannot speak out and never has been able to, as she is utterly dependant on him.
I have only met with them a handful of times since getting engaged, and my father in law has been extremely nasty and manipulative regarding wedding plans, along with general insults thrown in. This never occurs when I am present, he likes to maintain a facade of the perfect family to outsiders. My fiancee was able to stand up to him about a week ago, which was a huge step for him. Our next visit to see his parents is tomorrow evening, and my fiancee's worry is that this time he will have pushed him too far and he will want to have a row with both of us. I'm just wondering how best to interact with him. My current game plan is to make eye contact only with his mother, and make it clear that we are here to see her, not him. If it gets heated I think it would be best to leave. Does anyone have any advice? I'm very new to this situation and I'd like to be as prepared as possible and come at the situation as a united front to support my fiancee as best I can. Thank you.

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[86245]
Jun 20

@crescentmoon You're very welcome, and I'm so glad you found the article helpful!... I'm sure you'll do fine -- the best way to act, is cool, calm, and indifferent. Cordial, polite, and civil, but detached and unaffected -- any emotional reaction will fuel his narcissistic rage and volatile behavior.....

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[100]
Jun 21

Completely unexpected turn of events! We arrived last night and he almost completely ignored us! He left the room for the duration of our two hour visit. He said hello and goodbye but without looking at us. It was really weird, but we had a really nice time! It was the first time my fiancée has ever been able to have a conversation with his mother without his father being present. Ground breaking stuff...we were both so happy later that evening, because neither of us every anticipated being happy in that house. I want to know how to keep this up. It's the closest to no contact that we are ever likely to achieve. He was clearly trying to punish us, but his lack of envolvement works like a dream as far as we are concerned. Any ideas?

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[86245]
Jun 21

@crescentmoon I'm so glad to hear that things went so well, and much better than you expected. Sometimes things work out on their own -- if he was trying to be distant and unfriendly, he succeeded. But if it was an attempt to punish you, it worked out to your benefit. The less control you try to exert, the better -- you cannot control anyone else's behavior. But you can control your response, and that's what you should continue -- the civil connection, as close to no contact as possible. Take the cue from him, like you did last night. I'm glad you and your fiancé had a chance to have a nice visit with his mom. I hope things continue to go well.....

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