Everyone is familiar with a terrible mother-in-law. They are mean, condescending, and simply evil. However, a father-in-law can be just as awful as a MIL! FILs can spread deceitful lies and have narcissistic, cold, behavior. In fact, nobody knows a frustrating FIL better than these family members!
These people share the downright despicable reasons they weren’t able to get along with their FILs. Content has been edited for clarity.
“He Was One Of The Meanest Men I Had Ever Met”
“My father-in-law simply didn’t like me. At all. And was one of the meanest men I had ever met.
He was passive-aggressive and would either make his displeasure known by his cold silences, pretending as if I weren’t in the room. Or more likely by his actions which were always cruel.
On Christmas morning, my FIL and his wife asked to speak to my wife, his daughter, and me in private. At this point, my daughter was about one year old. My FIL and MIL started the conversation by telling us we were terrible parents because our daughter slept too late.
My MIL stated, ‘We are going to kidnap your daughter and fly her to a place where you will never find her.’
My FIL then retorted, ‘You are the most selfish and self-centered person I have ever met. I despise you and your relationship with my daughter.’
It was a very merry Christmas indeed. Karma arrived the same night with a stomach illness, and everyone in the house got sick. My wife and I left the next morning, and our relationship with my in-laws was never the same.
Years later, my FIL visited my wife and me. He and his new wife took us out to dinner, and we all spent the day talking and laughing together. I kept my distance because even though he was acting friendly, I never trusted him.
Sure enough, after dinner when everyone had left the room except for his new wife, my FIL was wondering how to get back to his hotel. I gave him directions, and he began to look it up on his phone.
His wife asked, ‘Why are you bothering to look up directions? He just told you how to get there.’
My FIL coldly replied, ‘Why would I trust any directions he gives me?’
In just seconds, he revealed his true self and made me feel awful.
In another instance about twenty years ago, my wife and I joined the in-laws and their children for a family vacation. It was the fourth of July, and my FIL and his grown children were sitting on the dock by the lake. They decided to light some fireworks, which sounded like fun. He had five children, and he let each one of them set off some fireworks. He completely ignored me and didn’t invite me to join them. It made me feel awful yet again like I wasn’t a member of the family. I sat off to the side feeling sad and resentful, again.
Ten years ago, it was Thanksgiving, and my wife and I were hosting. My FIL was remarried, and he drank too much as per usual.
My FIL turned to me and asked, ‘Do you have any life goals?’
While I was thinking about my answer, my FIL cut me off and said, ‘My life goal is to retire by 70 years old and outlive my ex-wife. I dream about dancing on her grave.’
What a sweet guy. I guess everyone could dream.
My wife and I after 28 years of marriage and 30 years of living together decided to get a divorce. It was her decision, and I was heartbroken, but it was amicable. From the day we separated, I never heard from a single member of her family to check on me and see how I was doing. Let alone from my FIL whom I could only guess was celebrating. He was a selfish, mean man, who never made me feel welcome in the family.
My daughter is now 31 and married. I’ve tried to be the FIL to her husband I never had. I support them in everything they do and let them know how I love them both and always will. I always tried to pay attention to the small things. If we were taking a family picture, I made sure he was included. I never wanted him to feel excluded like I did for 30 years.”
“None Of Us Wanted To Be Anything Like Them”
“My father-in-law spent the first year of marriage between my husband and me writing to us twice each month. He told us we were bad people because we didn’t idolize him, agree with everything he said, and allow him to run our lives.
Fed up, I wrote back to my FIL and said, ‘If you can’t think of anything kind to say to us, please don’t write us anymore.’
So, he didn’t write anymore.
What kind of father FIL behaved in this way? A selfish, narcissistic one, it turned out.
The man spent his life secretly slandering anyone who didn’t idolize him or conform to his expectations. He wasn’t used to dealing with someone like me who knew better, hadn’t been brainwashed to regard him in this way, and refused to comply.
Fast forward to when our daughter was ten years old, and my husband and I sent her for a long summer visit with her paternal grandparents.
My FIL told our daughter, ‘I don’t care what your parents do, so long as they have a son to carry on the family name.’
This was said to a ten-year-old girl who had no say over her parents’ reproductive plans.
She heard it as ‘You’re not acceptable to your grandfather because you’re not a boy.’
Bingo. From the time she was an infant, he rarely ever held her or did anything with her, but as soon as the first of his grandsons were three years old, he took them with him everywhere.
This same holier-than-thou grandfather also forced her to lie so a much younger grandson would believe he had won a game of Candy Land. Since I had always taught my daughter how lying is a particularly heinous thing to do, having her grandfather force her to do it frightened her.
Our daughter, now a grown adult, learned well what her grandparents were like then and continued to be. She also learned about how her aunts, who participated from their earliest days with their parents in the ongoing backstabbing sessions, were equally unkind and untrustworthy, despite their pretense of ‘love’ to our faces.
As a result of this knowledge, my daughter and I were never sucked into the dishonest, dysfunctional family dynamic. We understood what it took to protect ourselves from them. However, along with her father, we treated her grandparents with courtesy and respect whenever we did interact with them. Why?
Because none of us wanted to be anything like them.”
“My FIL Was An Egocentric Creep”
“I had a very big problem with my father-in-law. He was a strange man who liked to make unwarranted comments about my body and appearance.
Within the first year of my boyfriend and I dating, I had issues with my current roommate and spent nearly all of my time at my boyfriend’s house. I earned my keep twice fold. I walked the dog, made dinner, did the dishes, and washed the bathroom among other chores.
It was heavenly until his father continually made comments about me.
He would say things like, ‘Oh, I love girls with long hair,’ and, ‘The only girls worth dating look just like you.’
My boyfriend’s mom seemed to encourage these things. I once caught them both smiling at me and upon questioning, the mom replied, ‘Oh, he loves girls with long hair.’
The worst comment was when my FIL said, ‘We would have dated if we were in high school together.’
At the time, I was 24 and my FIL was 55.
I chalked a lot of this behavior up to his ego and didn’t think it was worth acknowledging. My boyfriend was never there when the comments were made, which was likely a deliberate move on his father’s part.
However, I knew we needed to move out when his father crossed a line. I had been having some lower abdominal pain for the last two years, and it had gotten increasingly worse in the last six months. A hospital was a stone’s throw away from the house, so I told my in-laws I’d walk to get some relief from the pain.
My FIL instead insisted to drive me. Okay, whatever. However, he accompanied me into the room in the emergency room. The nurse didn’t even ask him to leave when she pulled my pants down and shirt up. I was so foggy from the pain, I didn’t question what was happening until my emergency room doctor joked about his presence.
The doctor asked, ‘Is he your boyfriend?’
To which my FIL replied, ‘I wish I was.’
I knew then I had to leave. When my boyfriend found out his father took me to the hospital, he was livid. My boyfriend had finally realized how dark his relationship had become with his father, and he didn’t trust him anymore.
We moved out one month later. Since my boyfriend ‘outed’ his father’s behavior to the rest of the family, I have been labeled as a liar, manipulative, and violent. My stories were ‘barbaric’ and wrong about his father. Ironically his father admitted to everything and said he found me attractive.
Two years later, the relationship is still strained. My boyfriend sees a counselor because as you could imagine, his father’s behavior didn’t start because of me. His father had a history of being mean, controlling, and abusive to his children.
My relationship with my boyfriend is beyond wonderful though it had such a rocky start with his father. I couldn’t have picked a better man.
But yes, it’s not always the mother-in-law who has issues. Sometimes your FIL is an egocentric creep.”
“He’s Just A Lowlife Idiot”
“One time, my co-worker, ‘Rachel,’ and her husband, ‘Alex,’ were meeting up with a cousin and his spouse visiting from another state. Because the cousin hadn’t seen Rachel’s in-laws, the cousin’s aunt and uncle, in ages. The plan was for the in-laws to join them for dinner.
Rachel hated eating out with the in-laws in the best of circumstances. For example, the two always insisted on eating at the same restaurant. Rachel despised the restaurant because it was old, greasy, and grimy.
For one thing, the way the restaurant had managed to get away with not changing its price for ten years was by offering schnitzel that was thin, grey, and rubbery. It didn’t matter if Rachel always offered to pay for their meals. Both in-laws still demanded to go to the same restaurant.
But in this case, Rachel had an excuse for them to go to a different restaurant. The cousins were vegans, and one was gluten intolerant. The in-laws’ old restaurant wouldn’t be capable of catering to their needs. So instead, they’d be forced to go to a restaurant having the same food the in-laws always insisted on ordering, only the food and service would be better quality, everyone else would have more options, and the meal would still be free for the in-laws.
However, the in-laws made a point of complaining about this the entire car ride to dinner. It didn’t matter how they were seeing the cousins for the first time in ages, they wanted to complain. The in-laws continued to complain while seated at the restaurant and looking at the menu.
No matter how often Rachel pointed out to them, ‘See? This pub also has chicken parmesan and chips on the menu,’ the in-laws continued to gripe about being forced against their will to go somewhere else.
Here’s where the evening became interesting. One of the father-in-law’s supposed reasons for not trusting other pubs was his supposed allergy to garlic.
The FIL explained, ‘You never know what they put in their food, and I might get sick.’
However, per my co-worker who has a medical degree, he does not have an allergy to garlic.
So, up came the waiter to take their orders.
The FIL proceeds to tell the waiter, ‘I have a garlic allergy. I need you to make sure I am not exposed to any garlic. If there’s garlic on the food, I will sue the restaurant. Do you understand?’
The waiter replied, ‘We are familiar with dealing with customers who have strict dietary requirements, and we will make sure you have a clean plate and utensils that have never touched garlic.’
Then, the FIL dropped a bombshell. He ordered some garlic bread with his meal.
The waiter, confused asked, ‘Did you mean to order a different type of bread?’
The FIL screamed in response, ‘NO! Listen to me! I said garlic bread, and I meant garlic bread!’
You see, garlic bread was one of the FIL’s favorite foods, and it was something he always ordered at the other restaurant.
The waiter, still in shock, asked, ‘So, you want the same type of bread we use to make garlic bread?’
‘No, just give me garlic bread!’ the FIL yelled.
Then, Rachel took the highly confused waiter aside and explained to him, ‘He’s not allergic to garlic bread. He’s just a lowlife idiot.’
The waiter went back and finished taking orders. The FIL who had been complaining about being forced to go to another restaurant finished off all of his garlic bread and didn’t wind up with any hives or drops dead. He and his wife continue to spend the entire night complaining about being forced to go to a different restaurant than usual.”
“I Couldn’t Really Say I Missed Him”
“My father-in-law was a handful before he passed. He worked as a professor at a university when I first met him. He fit the stereotype of the typical old professor. He spoke slowly with big fancy words. My FIL was intelligent but very old-fashioned in his thinking. He had traveled around the world but looked down on many cultures and traditions except his own. He saw the world from a right vs wrong perspective. My husband adored him, so it was impossible to criticize him in his presence. He had a favorite son, and the favorite son was not my husband. He did not bother to hide his favoritism, yet my husband craved his validation almost every day.
As my FIL grew older, he became more intolerant and hard to be around. We would go over to his house for a visit, and once pleasantries were exchanged, he would ask me to take the children to the outer living room and stay there. Then, he would lock the dividing door. I expressed how odd and rude this was to my husband, but he made up a thousand excuses for his father.
My FIL treated his daughter-in-law like appendages or equipment in the family. We were only acknowledged when we were to run an errand, cook, or stop his grandchildren from making noise. He was also very confrontational and rude. Once when his grandsons were running through the house, my FIL pointed to me and his other son’s wife and said, ‘You two need to do a better job at raising your kids. They are too noisy!’
Noisy? They were just playing like children!
When my FIL passed on, I felt the pain because my husband had lost his father and mentor but I couldn’t really say I missed him because he made family gatherings unnecessarily tense.”
“My FIL Didn’t See His Grandchildren For Ten Years”
“I have dealt with my terrible father-in-law by ignoring him.
One weekend, my family drove up to visit him. About one hour into the visit, my FIL’s roommate made an unnecessary comment about my autistic son. The roommate continued to suggest I parented my son wrong, and that I needed to do something different to punish him and control his behavior.
Livid, I told my FIL’s roommate, ‘I don’t believe in harsh punishments! My child is disabled, and he can’t even talk to defend himself. Do you understand what you are suggesting?”
It became a heated discussion, and my FIL took his roommate’s side. I grabbed my two children, went to the car, and told my husband we were leaving. It was a long two-hour drive home.
I explained to my husband, ‘You and our older son can go visit your gather any time you would like. However, I don’t want him in our home. He isn’t welcome anymore. I don’t want him anywhere near our youngest, either.’
Because of this incident, my FIL missed out on seeing his grandchildren for ten years. One Thanksgiving, he showed up at our house and pretended as if nothing happened between us. My FIL spent a lot of money and time afterward to make up for lost experiences with his grandchildren. He was more respectful and treated me like a daughter, too.
My FIL used to be a control freak, but I was glad when he finally got his act together.”
The Manipulative MIL and FIL
“Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law are terrible. My MIL was my husband’s stepmother. Regardless, both my MIL and FIL were such deceitful and manipulative liars, we had to cut contact with them entirely.
They have no morality, and lied continuously to my husband and me, as well as spreading insane rumors about us as much as possible. Meanwhile, both my MIL and FIL have issues with substance abuse but kept it under wraps while pretending they are perfect.
They did things like take bullet points from my resume and try to pass them off as their own. My FIL stole my son’s social security card when he visited after my son’s birth. They took money from a trust left to my husband by his birth mother to pay for their other kids’ college while saddling my husband with student loans. They spread lies to our extended family about us and said WE were bad people.
What I found most shocking was how our extended family believed them just because they were older. My in-laws also ingratiated themselves with people they viewed as powerful, so making anyone believe their deceitful ways proved difficult.
My husband and I were successful professionals with our Master of Business Administration degrees, and have generally good relationships with our coworkers and friends. Meanwhile, my FIL got his Ph.D. but could barely hold down a job his whole life because he didn’t believe anyone had the ‘right’ to tell him to come to work at a certain time.
My MIL struggled at work because of her manipulative game-playing and unpleasant personality. It was only because they both had government jobs that they were even able to work! The private sector would never have tolerated such disrespectful and unreliable behavior. Yet, somehow, our hard-working extended family continued to believe their lies and rumors. It hurt my husband and me.
How my MIL and FIL were both so awful was beyond me.”
“I Always Thought He Was A Friend”
“I always thought my father-in-law, now ex-FIL, was a friend.
My ex-husband left me when I was four months pregnant with our third child, and he moved across the street into my FIL’s house. I lost my home because my FIL lied to my landlord. Plus, he tried to get myself and my children’s food and medical canceled, which we only went on due to being left by my husband.
My FIL began starting fights with my family, and he ignored my three-year-old daughter when she called out to him. My FIL used to visit the house daily to see his granddaughter, but he stopped seeing her completely.
Almost six years later, I still received constant texts about what a horrible person I was to my FIL. He threatened to tell my children who were eight, six, and five years old the same lies. My ex-husband never came to see his children, and in the meantime, had another child with someone else. He lived at his grandmother’s house rent-free and plays video games all day.
I have raised three kids alone for almost six years and lost everything in the process. My job, home, car, and my health, yet my FIL still thought I was a terrible person. The harassment and blame I received every week were ridiculous. My FIL thought I was a bad parent, but he didn’t do a great job at raising his kid, either.”