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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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My FIL is very verbally abusive and being OKMH1112217

Customer Question

My FIL is very verbally abusive and being from a culture that looks down upon talking back to elders I have always had to keep my mouth shut. I feel like he screams at the top of his voice when he gets angry. I feel depressed. I have an 8 month old at home, I am trying to protect from his behavior. I feel bad for my husband who is stuck in between. Please help.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I understand what a difficult position you are in, stuck between duty to your father-in-law, or perhaps duty to the old commands of your native culture.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

However, you also live in the United States where these kind of behavior is considered to me emotional or verbal abuse and the abuser is considered.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Sorry for the slow response time. There are some computer transmission issues. I shall continue.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If you were native born Americans I would have to tell you that it is your husband's responsibility to tell his father that he must treat you with respect. He must stand up for you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have to decide what is more important: to live by the old rules and be terrified or emotionally crushed by your FIL, or tell him to back off and treat you with courtesy and respect or just leave you alone.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Being from that old culture is NOT an excuse or a license for being harsh, disrespectful, or lacking in kindness or consideration.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is not a worthy reason or an acceptable one to act this way.

Customer:

I will be back in an hour\

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Somebody has to break this stalemate and end the dilemma. Your FIL will not change. Either you husband will have to put you first as his wife.

Customer:

could we talk then?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

OK. I shall save the chat.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I will try to be here but will work with you as soon as possible.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

until later. I am saving the chat.

Customer:

Its hard for me to do all these hings mostly because it will ruin the relationship we have

Customer:

and it is looked down upon and the consequences for the family are way more stressful than just this

Customer:

I knw as pathetic as it sounds this is my predicament

Customer:

I guess I am realy looking for ways to cope with this in a positive way

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So you say that, alas, you are the prisoner of tradition?

Customer:

sometimes I fear for my child who is with him when I am at work ( I have a nanny also) but he 'helps' out

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What is it that you fear for your child, specifically?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Your child is learning this behavior, that is true. But is there more?

Customer:

yes.. the behavior is one aspect

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does your husband know of your intense unhappiness or do you bear this burden in slience?

Customer:

the other thing I am worried about is that when he loses his temper he is really out of control

Customer:

I am scared of any physical harm :(

Customer:

My husband tries to stand up for me but it only ends up making it worse.. my FIL screams even more :(

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That is not acceptable in any culture.

Customer:

and that gives me more stress than the original screaming

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Can you separate yourselves from him?

Customer:

he is staying with us for 6 months

Customer:

and will leave only in Feb

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Where is your MIL, his wife?

Customer:

to the rest of hte world he is projecting an ideal FIL image

Customer:

she died when my husband was 9

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

And that implies that he is in YOUR home.

Customer:

he pretends to 'help' me

Customer:

yes

Customer:

unfortunately

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

There is one solution.

Customer:

the worst part in all this is that he constantly compares our family with my sister-in-lwa's family

Customer:

they live in SIngapore and I am really sick of his comparisons.. She is 10yrs older than me!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are permitting him to do this, and this is partly happening because you both allow it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He is getting away with projecting a FALSE image of himself.

Customer:

we dont allow it per say but to prevent any ramifications for our family I have to keep my mouth shut

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He would not want others to see him or hear him behaving this way.

Customer:

that is true

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What ramifications?

Customer:

I almost felt like taking a video of what he was doing and showing his family members

Customer:

he is old and respected memeber in the family

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That was my next idea. I wrote this and saved it:

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

There are so many different easily masked and hidden devices that will record video and audio.

Customer:

if we were rude to him and he decided to tell the rest of the family we will be shunned

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You can keep a long record of his actions and words in video files, you can have them edited to show the relevant parts and expose him.

Customer:

this is way too radical for our family

Customer:

give me a sec

Customer:

i will brb

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You can then show him the video but not show the others.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

OK

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You will now have leverage over him.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He will be angry and demand the video but you will be able to demand that he stop the behavior at once.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He is wrong, and destructive, and is making your life miserable. He has no right to do this and needs to see himself for who he is.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You really have two options: continue to live with this abuse, and suffer (and all of you are suffering and will have emotional consequences) or face him down with mere pictures of himself acting in a very harsh and inappropriate manner.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You will have to make the choice, butt those are your options.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

To be shunned by a family that would allow this kind of abuse does not seem to be such a great loss, but I am not in your shoes so it is really up to you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You cannot change their thinking or behavior. You can only change yours. Right now your behavior is to accept this hurtful treatment and let him torment you. If you think that this is your proper response, then by all means continue to accept it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The best way to cope with it is to rejoice in the passage of everyday that brings you closer to his return to his native country.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have gone silent.

Customer:

I have a calendar that I use to cross off days

Customer:

that helps

Customer:

and I need to point out that he is very destructive in that he is good at black mailing ppl

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That is a coping mechanism..

Customer:

and he will do something worse to someone I love just to get off the hook

Customer:

do you think I will have any long term psychological problems becasue of this?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It sounds as if he may be a narcissist.

Customer:

He is

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

As long as you do not allow him to believe that you are at fault in any way, you will not.

Customer:

He keeps talking about how great he is and how amazing he was

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

However, do your best to ignore him and avoid him. Politely shun him and stay away from him.

Customer:

I feel like every outburst of his has been worse than his previous one

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How many more days until the blessed departure?

Customer:

do you think he is affected?

Customer:

3 months

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He wants attention and control, and so ignoring him is the best thing you can do.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If he has a screaming fit, treat him tenderly as if he is a baby having a fit. Tell him to speak up or excuse yourself and ask him to repeat.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Make this a game for your own amusement and let him work himself to fatigue.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Smile and tell him him "I don't understand, poppa?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Is something wrong"?

Customer:

nice.. I like this

Customer:

I think I can do that

Customer:

last time I did that.. I was fine during the abuse but later it caught up to me

Customer:

that is what I dunno how to deal with

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Children need to be indulged.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Think of a 2 year old having a tantrum and you are the smart mom who indulges him.

Customer:

i liek the thought of that

Customer:

but how do I prevent the effects of the horrid things he said? especially dragging my parents and my brothers

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Stay out of his way and shun him gently without showing intent.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You cannot, unless you have video proof. If won't hurt to have it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If someone asks how you got it just say that you have video surveillance as part of your security system and he happened to be on it.

Customer:

how do I get it out my head?

Customer:

he said some really nasty things about my mum n dad who have been nothing but nice to his daughter and himself

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Let me recommend a great thought-stopping workbook that will help you to get these thoughts out of your head. Remember, they are all malicious lies.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Here is the book:

Customer:

I dint get a book.. in case you already sent it?

Customer:

the link i mean

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

A link for you to purchase the book. Here it comes:

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life by McKay, Matthew, XXXXX, XXXXX and Fanning, Patrick

Customer:

I want to tell u that it has been really nice to talk to u

Customer:

and thank u for being so nice

Customer:

everyone else has just been telling me to deal with and that in-laws will be mean

Customer:

but you have been really really nice

Customer:

thank u sir@

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


Thank you so much for your very kind works.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall keep you in my prayers and in future if you need support I will be there for you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I think you can survive the next 90 days or so. It will seem like a thousand, and then it will be over.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You might not miss him when he's gone. LOL

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warmest regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Customer:

thank you!

Customer:

if there is something called good karma you just earned a million points.. :)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
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35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.