Let your friend confront his father


Nathalie's message:

Women and mother-in-law often talk about conflicting relationships, but more rarely women / father-in-law relationship difficulties. I am regularly subject to these difficulties, and more and more intensely.

My father-in-law is a man who reigns in "all power over his family": his wife having been sick for a long time before dying, he used to manage the professional and financial aspects of his family, as well as domestic stewardship. His grip is so powerful that his two sons finally chose the same job as him and are subject to frequent interrogations ... In short, I bear this influence badly enough and I have more and more difficult to hide: result, the situation is getting worse.

My father-in-law seemed quite proud of my professional success, but today, each of his words seems to reproach me that I am not the ideal wife for his son: not enough housewife, not enough submitted. Worst! As soon as his son and I take a decision that does not go in the direction of what he would have liked, he disempowered his son and claims that I am behind the decision ... That his son is allowed to dominate. It is difficult for me to live, but also for my husband, who dares not say anything. His older brother replicates the paternal model, which suits him perfectly and his preferences begin to be clearly felt.

So, we just had our first child and my friend's father did not come to see him. We had to bring him. He did not have a present and as a greeting "It's not a Denotresang ..." The drama is that we are convinced that his behavior will be different as soon as his brother has a baby. I can not manage the situation anymore; I would like my friend to put things in order with his father but nothing comes. As for me, I am more and more aggressive with his father without daring to burst the abscess for fear of breaking the relationship forever.

Thank you for your advice

The opinion of Jacques Salomé:

If you read some of my columns, you certainly know that I profess that there is no possible relationship if one of the partners is not sufficiently loose, distanced from his / her family (or previous affective relationship). Because to ally, you have to be untied. To engage, it is necessary to be independent emotionally and financially. To make a project of life, it is necessary not to be locked up in the project of life that another ... will do for us!

1) Your couple

So you see today, with the arrival of a child, that despite appearances, your couple is not quite built with your friend, that is to say to say your conjugal partner:

• That he still remains dependent (I prefer this term to domination) of his father and seems to fear the confrontation with him.

• That he does not have all the relational autonomy necessary to build a new family with you, which is sufficiently differentiated from his own family.

• That your life plans are in serious competition with those of your "father-in-law"!

2) You are the enemy

By pushing your friend to better define himself, you come into conflict with his father who sees his influence in danger. You are therefore the enemy:

- to seduce: first time

- to submit: second time

- or to eliminate: time to come

You also put your friend in conflict of loyalty, between his fidelity to you and his fidelity to his father ...

3) Get out of this conflict that does not concern you

I do not believe that the real conflict is between you and your father-in-law. That's the apparent conflict, but the real conflict (more masked, more stifled) is between your friend and his father. I invite you to come out of this conflict, that is to say to stay on your territory, not to screen and let your friend confront his father and try to build (or not) his future with you.

Yes, your son has a stanby grandfather at the moment! Your anticipation of the future child of your friend's brother may also be a useless haemorrhage, the energies you will need to start building a relationship and family with your friend on other bases than the original model.

Yours in this way of life,

Jacques Salome

Resource book: Never alone together (Editions de l'Homme.)