General Question

ubersiren's avatar

How do I cope with a douche bag brother-in-law?

Asked by ubersiren (15031 points ) June 18th, 2009

He and I have different political views. Any chance he gets, he picks a fight about it. He recently came home from traveling the country for the last 6 months. Last night he invited himself over- this is the first we’ve seen him since he’s been back. He flies in the door, ranting about his politics, and attacking me for some article I posted on freaking facebook. Not “Hi, it’s good to see you all!” but, gripe, gripe, gripe. I tried to avoid it and change the subject which didn’t work. I ended up going upstairs to my bedroom and watching tv all night. He stayed for hours. At one point, I came down for a snack, and he immediately started up again. So, I went back upstairs for good.

Aside from just that, he’s very arrogant, spoiled, and just an asshole in general. He’s 30, and lives at home because his parents coddle him and let him do what he wants.

I don’t know what to do because he’s my husband’s brother and I don’t want to break ties and make anyone uncomfortable. I do my best to be cordial at family events, but he just pushes and pushes. I don’t know whether to just blow up and let him know everything on my mind, or talk to his parents, or do nothing… it seems like anything I do would make things even more uncomfortable. What the crap do I do?

I tried to make this as short as possible. If you want more examples of his assholedness, I’ll provide them.

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40 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

make it clear you don’t want to discuss those matters, and make it clear to your husband as well. If he continues, tell him that you consider your open invitation to him to come to your home rescinded.

Judi's avatar

Just ask him, “Can we agree to disagree on politics?” say, “Our relationship is so much better when we put politics aside.”

DeanV's avatar

Just make it clear you disagree with him, yet can accept that and do not like to just argue for the sake of arguing (which seems like what he wants to do). Agree to disagree.

Or you could return the favor and be a douche bag sister in law…

eponymoushipster's avatar

whatever you do, don’t squeeze him

Bri_L's avatar

I can’t believe your husband doesn’t stand up for you. That is pretty lame. I am not saying he has to choose sides but at least tell his brother to lay off.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I agree with these jellies. Let him know in no uncertain terms that you refuse to discuss politics or whatever else sets the fucker off because he can’t be respectful and/or civil. If he continues, then drop the bomb on him. My favorite is to tell someone with a sweet smile, “You know, you just might be living proof that there are more horses’ asses in the world than there are horses!”

Also, tell your husband that you refuse to put up with this relative, and that you WILL NOT be chased to your room whenever he comes over. It’s your house, your BIL needs to abide by YOUR rules. If he doesn’t like it, he can just stay away. Put your foot down. He sounds like a bully. The best way to deal with a bully is to let them know you will not put up with their shit in YOUR house. They either behave, or they can just leave.

Where is your husband in this? Which side is he on?

whatthefluther's avatar

I agree with @Bri_L…you should not be made uncomfortable in your own home (shame on your husband)...wtf

SirBailey's avatar

Er, the problem is NOT with your brother-in-law. The problem is with your husband. I have severed ties with my brother for similar reasons. Just because someone is family does not mean that person should crap on your wife.

EmpressPixie's avatar

The brother in law and your husband should go out. You shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable in your own home, but he may actually disagree strongly with some of your core values. Or at least values he considers to be vital to making up who you are as a human being. As such, he could consider it his job to try and talk to you about them. Like, he’s not doing all he can as a brother or brother in law to leave you in ignorance in your beliefs.

So your husband should say to him, “It’s great that you’re back, I’d love to see you. Let’s go out for dinner.” And if he tries to come to your home, he should say, “It’s great to see you, but we’re actually quite busy right now. If you’d called first, we would have let you know—when is a time we can go out and catch up?”

noyesa's avatar

I refuse to put up with crap like that from my significant other’s family. Fortunately none of them really push my buttons except for one. Rather than exploding at him (terrible move) I instead said “I respectfully disagree with you, now I’m not arguing about this anymore.” At first, the moron said he was just looking for friendly debate, but I explained to him that virtually every time I saw him he unprovoked launched into an ideological assault, key word assault. I know he doesn’t like me for it, but you can’t win them all, and he leaves me alone.

I think your husband should play a more active role in telling him off. I know I did everything I could to keep my bats!@# family from being their drama-queen idiot selves toward my girlfriend. They seemed to think their blood relationship means more to me than my relationship with my girlfriend, but crap like that is not something I put up with.

AstroChuck's avatar

Put a little “Skinny N Sweet” in his coffee.

Dr_C's avatar

It’s very simple.. your husband should be made aware of how uncomfortable this makes you and should take steps to rectify… and you should (next time you see the prick) tell him that he’s not going to convince you that he’s right or change your mind n any way and to just drop it. Beating a point to death only makes the other person run to the other side faster (as we’ve seen on fluther many a time).

If all else fails next time he comes in go up to him before he can say a word…. stand real close (just to make him unfomfortable) lean in and whisper in his ear: “go fuck yourself you self-centered, egotistical mama’s boy” and walk away with a smile on your face.

missingbite's avatar

He obviously has a low self esteem and feels threatened by you. Try your best to make him feel like he doesn’t matter. Also talk to you husband. If someone came into our house and made my wife feel like that, family or not, they would at least get an ear full. If he’s 30 and living at home, explain to him that his politics must suck or he would be contributing to society instead of sitting on his duff!

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

yeah dealing with in laws is tricky. you don’t want to say the wrong thing or risk him/her running back to the rest of the family about it and alienating you. be polite but forceful. or just tell him it’s your monthly gift the next time, if he continues, at that point you’re justified to rip him a new asshole.

ubersiren's avatar

Ok, got some good stuff to go with, here. The thing that I find funny, is that at the end of most of these discussions, he’s the one who says, “Well, I guess we’ll have to just agree to disagree!” Though, when he says it, I think it just means “Ok, I’m done now.”

Something I never considered was how little my husband comes to my rescue. I’ll have to speak to him about it.

Some ground rules are going to have to be set. Thanks everyone.

kevbo's avatar

Maybe always make your conversations with him about things like getting a job, his vocation, and moving out of his parents house (subjects I’m sure that he’s uncomfortable discussing). Press him for details. After awhile, he might avoid talking to you.

CMaz's avatar

Sounds like you both need to get out and talk. Some place open where you can both get some fresh air. Away from family and the distractions of town.
A good walk in the woods is always nice.
Then beat the crap out of him, give him the riot act and make him walk (crawl) home.

prude's avatar

yikes, I know I wouldn’t want to be in your position. in my home? I’d freak out on him for doing that to me. my home is supposed to be a sanctuary of sorts, not somewhere I get attacked for my beliefs and thoughts and opinions.

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

I think you should definitly consult your husband. If I had a brother that constantly made my wife uncomfortable, I would start drawing lines. And I had to, I would draw a very thick lines because he will always be my brother. My goal would be to please my wife and companion that have found in this world of ours. I wouldn’t turn my back on him, but I would definitly let him know its pissing me off and he needs to grow up. Thats just how (as a husband) I would feel if my wife came and told me those things.

Ivan's avatar

Talk about him behind his back.

eponymoushipster's avatar

maybe pee a little in his food?

SeventhSense's avatar

Detach with love and refuse to engage. If he continues, he will only look silly talking to himself. Any other non loaded conversation, should be welcomed and encouraged. Finally, give him a hug.

DeanV's avatar

Slash his tires?

ubersiren's avatar

@SeventhSense : It’s hard for me to resist when he starts, but I’m going to have to work on it. And the hug… that may be a very long time, if ever. :)

SeventhSense's avatar

@ubersiren
Could change everything

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

just don’t hug him like his Mommy does.

filmfann's avatar

It may be this guy just doesn’t know how to communicate with you. Guys are terrible at this.
When he starts in again, just tell him you would rather talk about some movie or TV show you saw.

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

The self-centered, arrogant, and imature guys don’t know how to communicate you mean…

filmfann's avatar

No, pretty much all guys suck at communicating.
But they learn.

ubersiren's avatar

It’s not just me that he’s a jerk to. It’s everyone in his life. He has absolutely NO friends because he is just that self centered. He only calls my husband (his bro) when he needs something. He’s rude to his whole family- he doesn’t discriminate. Even to his mom and two little grandmothers who are the sweetest people on Earth. I don’t think he cares much about communicating. My husband says he’s always been like that, but it became even worse when he met his last girlfriend, who has since broken up with him and left him very messed up. Maybe he does need a hug.

DeanV's avatar

He definitely needs a hug. It would be less direct than a slap in the face, which he seems to need too…

Bri_L's avatar

that is another approach that might shock the hell out of him. be as unrelenting as he is but in trying to find out why he is doing what he is doing. Take the good points about him keep brining them up(I would hope he has some) and just keep driving as to why it is so important to alienate people by forcing his views.

ubersiren's avatar

@Bri_L : I like that. I like that a lot. Asking him about job hunting is like his biggest pet peeve.

Bri_L's avatar

@ubersiren – well I didn’t mean it in that sense. But I am glad you found something in it you liked. I meant approaching it in a generic sense that just said “hey, here are all the reasons people like you, why don’t you let go of this other crap”

But hell, ask him about the job hunt. Then ask him what time his parents want him home and if you need to call them to see if he can stay for dinner.

dannyc's avatar

Well, just rise above him, and think of one good thing about him. Just let him spew his stuff, not letting it affect you. See why he is behaving and saying these things, and learn from him how not to think. Thank the Lord you are not like him, smile and wish him well. He can change and you can assist him. It is in everyone to become a better person and hope springs eternal.

Jeruba's avatar

Laugh.

Silhouette's avatar

“You know Blow, I’ve been meaning to tell you, I’d rather not discuss my politics with you. My views seem to upset you and I really don’t want to discuss them with you every time I see you anyway.” “I’ve tried to hint at this, but you haven’t taken the hint, so I thought it would be best to tell you directly.”

primigravida's avatar

@AstroChuck Anyone who can work in a 9 to 5 reference is a good person.

Honestly, you just need to grin and bear it. Its family. What do you do? I’m the same way with my dad… certain things we will just never agree on. Eh, talk about something else. If he’s not mature enough to do that, he doesn’t need to spend time in your home, like someone else said, he and your husband could go elsewhere. Maybe talk to your husband and see if he will suggest going somewhere to his brother. In any case, I sure do hope your husband is backing you up when this happens and not sitting there like a log while his idiot brother picks a fight with you.

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