Angry dad confronts narcissistic son-in-law
Dear Annie: I’m worried that my daughter has married a narcissist. The man has no empathy for others. He does what he wants, when he wants. He constantly puts down one group or another, and in fact, his performance reviews at work indicate he needs to be more “culturally diversified.”
He is envious of others at the same level in his organization and comes off as though he knows everything, which is clearly not the case. He always wants to buy my daughter (or himself) the nicest jewelry, car or whatever so that he’ll look good. He’ll take advantage of others to achieve his goals.
They now have a 7-month-old boy. We recently visited, and my son-in-law made me so angry, I blew up at him and had to leave the room. I apologized, but only to say that I’m sorry for my outburst.
I’m wondering where I go from here. I will visit my grandson in spite of his father, but I’d like things to be civil.
I’ve read narcissism is one of the most difficult disorders to treat because the person with the disorder feels he’s always right and there’s nothing wrong with him, so therapy is out of the question.
Should I play to his ego and claim I was wrong? Do I confront him again with the real issue? Or do I forget it and hope for the best at the next visit? – Worried Grandpa
Dear Grandpa: You’ve already apologized for whatever argument you had before, and we see no reason to bring it up again. In fact, we’d steer clear of any discussion where you are likely to lose your temper. The fact that your son-in-law is a know-it-all and you don’t like him doesn’t mean he is a bad husband or father, and those should be your main concerns.
If your daughter loves him and he is good to their son, please try to get along with him for their sake. You don’t have to enjoy his company, but you can be polite.
Dear Annie: I’ve been shopping with my 13-year-old several times recently and am just appalled by what is in fashion. I would never let my child out of the house wearing the short shorts or skimpy midriff shirts that I’ve seen in popular stores geared toward teens.
What is wrong with the fashion industry for teenagers? Why can’t designers come up with clothing that actually covers our girls? Don’t they realize that many schools have dress codes? It shouldn’t be this difficult to find affordable teen clothing that is appropriate for school. – Disgusted Virginia Mom
Dear Disgusted: We agree that many articles of clothing for teenage girls are highly sexualized and inappropriate, especially for school. In the past, readers have suggested purchasing athletic wear or checking out stores like Old Navy and Lands’ End. You also should talk to the managers of the stores you regularly patronize and ask them to stock styles that appeal to daughters without making parents cringe.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Tired of Listening,” whose negative wife has become much worse. He could have been writing about my late mother-in-law. She, too, had a negative streak, but almost overnight became worse.
We commented on it, but she appeared to have no clue what we were talking about.
When Mom went to the doctor for a seemingly unrelated medical issue (she couldn’t feel her nose), we found out that she had suffered a series of small strokes that coincided with this change in behavior. There were no physical signs, but the strokes had affected her personality and her ability to filter what she was thinking and saying aloud.
“Tired” should have his wife examined. While it may not prevent her from “speaking her mind,” it will give the family a little bit of empathy toward her. – Mid Missouri
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.