Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coping With Obnoxious Male Acquaintances.

Sorry, but tonight's blog is a bit of a rant.

As most of you know, I go to my mother's on Monday night for supper. My late sister and her husband always used to come too. When Jane died, her husband, R kept coming, and of course he is always welcome. After all, he was married to my sister for 28 years. The trouble is, R is one of the most obsessive and obnoxious boors I have ever known. His doctor has prescribed psychotropic drugs, but he refuses to take them. He has become so addicted to feeling amped up all of the time, that he hates to take his meds, because they bring him down to a more normal human level, but without them, no one can stand to be around him, because he becomes a sort of Mr. Hyde. His ego completely takes over, and he becomes an expert on everything. Mention a subject in casual conversation, and immediately he chimes in, and lectures everyone on it. Nothing you have ever done is of any interest to him, because he has done more, or better, or harder, or longer......etc.. and he absolutely never fails to remind everyone, what a man he is.

I dearly love my sister and my mother, and I only get to see them once a week , but my bro-in-law completely ruins our get togethers, with his obnoxious boorish behavior. What to do? He's family, so we can hardly say, go away, yet he simply refuses to accept any criticisms of his behavior! Just last night, my mother cooked a pot roast. Yum! Was it ever good! She sliced it up, and put it on a serving platter on the dining room table. No sooner had she had placed the platter on the table, than R dug in, and unloaded half of its contents for himself! Shades of my sister's birthday dinner at the Olive Garden, where he unloaded all of the Parmesan cheese topped salad for himself! My sister saw what he was doing, and said something to the effect of , "Hey, why are you taking so much, you're being a pig!", to which he arrogantly and snottily replied, "That's just a value judgment." Then he tried to defend his piggish behavior, by saying," I'm a man, and I need more." To her credit, my sister answered, "Yes, it absolutely is a value judgment!" Of course he wasn't phased by her remarks at all, and once again, I just wanted to smack him!

After dinner, mom served us chocolate pudding for desert, but that wasn't good enough for him. He then had to scour my mother's cupboards, until he found her stash of mini Snicker's bars. He then grabbed a great handful of them and sat down at the kitchen table, and as my sister cleaned up and fed dishes into the dishwasher, and I made coffee for my mother and me, he unpeeled the chocolate bars, and devoured them. Then incredibly, as I was pouring coffee for my mother and me, he went back grabbed another handful!

R was my late sister's husband for 28 years, but because he has such an obnoxious personality, I really can't stand to be around him for more than five minutes at a time, but he's family and I can't avoid him. What am I suppose to do? I usually don't say anything and try to take it all in stride, but I'm afraid that one of these days, its all going to all come to head, and I'm going to lose it and unload on him. I know that won't do any good, because he is totally oblivious to any criticism. He has such a lofty self image, that he simply doesn't value what others think of him. How in the world does someone get that way? I wondered aloud to my sister after he left Monday night, how our sister ever stayed married to him for 28 years. She said that she just ignored him. I try to do that, but he is so "in your face", that it's virtually impossible.

Since I have retired, I have virtually eliminated all social contacts with males in my life. My brother-in-law remains the one male that I see on a regular basis. After a life time of dealing with egotistical overbearing men on my job, why does the one remaining male in my life have to be such an A-hole?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any advice on how to cope with such an obnoxious, yet unavoidable relative, will be greatly appreciated!

Melissa XX


Naukishtae said...

I have always thought most men are pigs.. you show more restraint than I could.. the problem isn't that he feels he is the greatest, it's that inside he knows that he isn't!.. so he puts on this machistae act for the women in his life that are a captive audiance, and it is probably made even more so, because you in "boy mode" make his self worth feel threatened.. hence his Man goes first act, and the need to thrust out his chest, and show all of you what a mAN he is.. the one thing that made him feel "manly" your blessed sister, is gone.. and he is trying to get back with the only people who will put up with him.. it is like a Napolian complex on steriods.. hang in there Melissa, we can only chose our friends, our family comes "As Is"...

Naukishtae XX "We all love you Here"

Anonymous said...

Naukishtae has some sound advice. There really isn't much you can do, that's why you have us! Vent or rant anytime you want :)

By the way, your brother in law sounds like my dad, in the know-it-all respect. He loves to spout things he's heard from the History Channel and it always amazes me how he gets it so wrong :)

Jenny said...

You've just described perfectly someone who used to be married to a friend of mine.

His other problem was that he's of diminutive stature so he saw anyone like me at the other end of the scale as a challenge to his alpha male status simply by being there.

I got the impression that he viewed us his "friends" as a safe space in which he could be an idiot and get away with it. I only once snapped and told him in suitably expletive terms to shut up.

Stace said...

More or less you have just described my brother... He even tries to lecture me on computers (my job / I have the degree - he struggles to keep it running for more than a couple of weeks) and tax matters in the NL (I wouldn't take his advice on tax in the UK - but he knows nothing about it over here).

If you try and argue he just get's a strop - so I generally do the whole smile and nod thing for a quiet life...

I don't have to see him as often as you though. Once a year is the most I normally manage...

That's also part of the reason he is still the only close family member that does not know...


PS I would like to add though that I do love him, and stipudly enough I miss him nearly as much as my parents when he's not around.

Keri Renault said...

Regretably your bro-in-law's bad behavior reminds me of my father. It was insufferable.

As a young adult I would argue against his irrational, over-the-top antics. Of course, that would fuel Dad's fire, raise my ire and ruin family time together.

As a middle age adult I learned the only way to "win" was to walk away. I left Thanksgiving one year, BEFORE dinner.

Perhaps tell Mom politely you're not coming home on Monday. Pick another evening to visit. Better yet a random day. Maybe your sister will follow suit.

Perhaps that silent protest will open Mr. Macho's eyes. A long shot. No matter. The purpose is to extricate yourself from the toxic situation. Right now, you and your family are soaking in it. Life's to short to tolerate such abusive antics.

Continuing to accept the insufferable status quo will only reinforce bro-in-law's boorish, ill-manners.

If staying away from "Meal Monday with Mom" isn't possible, then I suggest you ask to meet with him for coffee to talk. (I know, he won't listen). Or, send him a letter/email stating your objections and those of your sister and mother.

If it was me I'd change the Monday to any other day of the week.

Sad to say, but a zebra can't change its stripes. Good luck.

caroline said...

Keri got here before me!

All my male friends are from the opposite end of the spectrum, how you have put up with this for so long I can't imagine. I would have driven me to some action straight away just to be out of his presence.

I take it your mum is not in love with this creature. Declare that she can no longer do the meal thing.

Hide all the treats in her bedroom!

As Keri says arrange random visits with your sister and get some quality time together. Your mum will not be around for ever, make the best of what you have left and without him around you will probably be able to be more yourself.

If it ever gets through to him that he is being sidelined tell him straight what a (************ **********!) he is. I can't say it but I am sure you can.

There are standards of expected behaviour, if he is unwilling or unable to comply then do not feel guilty of excluding him.

Be brave be strong, we want a report.

Caroline XXX

Two Auntees said...

I wish I had the perfect advice to fix the situation but I don't. If it becomes unbearable for your mother, sister and yourself, change the night you have dinner together and don't invite him that night. As someone said earlier, your mother is not going to be around forever, you might want to enjoy your time with her.

Leslie Ann said...

OMG, you have described my late brother-in-law. Expert at anything brought up, socially inept, manic. I actually liked him, as I understood his insecurities, but I couldn't stand to be around him after a half hour of it.

We wound up spending much less time around my sister-in-law as a result. The problem worked itself out when he killed himself. I cried at his funeral, but now we get to spend more time with my wife's family, whom I like very much.

Not really a workable solution for you, but it's the story I had available. My sympathies.