- This topic has 46 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 6 days ago by Sara.
October 8, 2020 at 2:38 pm #963038OriginalusernameGuest
Okay, I’m sorry for how long this is about to be but it’s been weighing on me a lot. I’m not sure about what to do or how to feel or anything right now.
I recently found out that my boyfriend of over 6 years has been hiding the fact that his father is a recent convert/ Trump supporter.
I should start off by saying I was never really comfortable around my BF’s dad. Something about him just rubbed me the wrong way, but I guess I pawned if off as maybe me being too judgemental and thinking that maybe my own upbringing instilled a lot of biases in how I judge someone’s character.
My boyfriend and I grew up in entirely different circumstances; I grew up fairly poor, non-Christian in the inner city and my parents are educated bleeding-heart liberals. I’m mixed race and even though we grew up culturally Jewish, my parents raised us agnostic at best. We all went through the public school system. My parents have a pretty diverse friend group that comprised our non-blood related ” aunts and uncles”.
My boyfriend is one of 4 boys and he grew up in the suburbs. His family was pretty well off and didn’t struggle with finances. His parents were Republicans and fairly conservative. He and his brothers all went to private catholic schools, attended church and mass and most of his friends growing up were all from either church or school .
In many ways we came up from opposite circumstances. When we first met he was already starting to question a lot of the beliefs and ideals he had grown up with. He hates the Catholic Church for covering up all the sexual abuse scandals and hasn’t attended a service, not even to make his grandma happy around Christmas, for over 15 years. He is the only one of his brothers that decided he didn’t want to continue with catholic school after 8th grade, and his mom let him attend the local public..
My BF is almost clinically shy, crowds can make him anxious, he stutters sometimes and I love him dearly, quirks and all.
He’s also brillaint, kind and creatively gifted. He can assemble eleborate models or structures that would take me weeks in a matter of hours, without looking at the instructions. He’s a graphic designer but I think he could have just as easily become some kind of engineer. He’s always happy to help my parents around the house when we visit. One time, he assembled an entire outdoor gazebo that they had lost the instructions for, and was just a pile of different parts jumbled up in a large wooden box( they got it off Craigslist) My youngest nephew is obessed with robots and my BF buys him model robot kits and my nephew loves watching and ” helping”( he’s 4 so he can’t exactly ‘ help’ more than opening the box) him put them together. He really is very sweet and I genuinely don’t believe he carries the hate his father does in his own heart. My BF becomes panic-stricken whenever he has to call our buildings maintenance department for any issue, so he mostly just fixes whatever it is himself( he does a better job than they would so I guess it evens out) because I think he is afraid they’ll be mad at us for any minor wear-and-tear issue.
There have been times throughout the years where his father has said or done things that were red flags to me, made me feel defensive or uneasy but I was told that I was overreacting or that ” it’s not that way”.
Once we were at his parents talking about how we were at Aldi before we had stopped over, and his dad just blew up and yelled at my BF “why are you shopping where all the welfare people go?”
My parents relied on food stamps for a period when I was growing up, and I don’t see it as anything to be ashamed of. When I tried to talk about that later to my BF, he just shut down and said there was nothing be could do in those situations to correct his dad, so it was better to let it go. Okay, I guess that’s true?
I know his mom is vehemently opposed to Trump because she posts a lot about it on FB. She even got one of those ” hate has no home here ” lawn signs. She describes herself as “an embarrassed former Republican”. I don’t follow his dad on social media so maybe if I did I would have gotten the full picture sometime over the last year. I knew his dad was against Trump in the begining, didn’t realize things had changed. I know all his brothers are Democrats. I guess I assumed his dad probably felt the way his former-republican mom does? That was my ignorance. Again, I try not to have lengthy conversations with him. He always made me nervous.
Recently his mother suffered a major stroke after undergoing brain surgery. Thankfully, she is recovering now. However, I noticed that her own brother / my BFs uncle posts terrible things in the comments underneath her political posts. He once commented that ” it’s obvious [her] brain was destroyed or replaced during surgery” and that ” they must not have gotten all of it [the tumor] out for you to be posting lib-tarded crap like this”. Her husband ( BFs dad) is, like, BFF with her brother. I assume he has seen all the horrible things his BF posts on his wife’s FB about her stroke, but says nothing.
His parents invited us over for dinner around the Jewish New year, and from the beginning it was not going well. When we walked in his father was watching some Clint Eastwood action movie and as his mother was trying to talk to us about her day, his dad kept turning the volume up on the TV and purposely ignoring her, only speaking to comment on the movie. His mom collects animal figurines and has her favorite ones in an antique display case she restored. I really like her collection so we were standing in front of the case and she was pointing out some of the different animals, explaining where she got them from ( a lot of them are really beautiful clay figures made in different countries) and then his dad just snapped at her “what are you doing? You talk too slow, she probably can’t understand a thing you’re saying”. Again, she is still recovering from a massive stroke and only came home from the hospital a few months ago and is still needing PT and ST a few times a week. I said ” no, I can understand you just fine. I love your collection”, trying to keep it light.
After we got done eating and we were sitting around the table talking, his mom brought up something Trump had said or tweeted that day. So, at this point I still did know his dad was a Trump supporter. I knew his dad was a dick in every other way, but I did not know that. Now, this was when I had a ” soup for my family” dubbed remix stuck in my head all that day. So I made some passing remark about it and that’s when things got ugly. His dad was saying how yes, wasn’t awful that people were using cans of soup to attack innocent police officers with…I was so confused for a second until I caught on. I sort of laughed awkwardly and said “what are you talking about? Haha, people aren’t throwing soup…”
” Oh yes they are. The media isn’t showing it because they’re controlled by Soros. When you go to the grocery store, you can leave with bags full of weapons….”
It ended up with my BF and his dad getting into a huge argument as his mom’s face just glowed red with embarrassment. I didn’t curse or raise my voice, but I did take offense at some of the things his dad was saying about poor people and minorities, being one myself and all.. When his dad started screaming at us about power-hungry Soros Democrats conspiring to destroy the constitution, I said “I don’t think that’s true. Nobody has ever changed the constitution. ….As a Jewish woman, coming from liberal parents I don’t think you’re being fair. A lot of that Soros stuff is pretty anti-semitic….my family doesn’t want to destroy the country… ” And repeatedly to my BF I kept trying to interject the argument he was having with his dad about politics with ” Can we please leave? I want to go home, it’s late and we have to take the dog out” but he ignored me. So I stayed quiet again until he and my BF began arguing about whether or not it was racist to refer to Covid-19 as ” the China Virus”. So I interjected there, because I felt I had to. I said that I have Chinese co-workers, and even my own SIL has told me she has also been the victim of street-side harassment ( she is Phillipino but some guy yelled the ‘ C’ word at her from a moving car ) and been facing a lot of racism and hate ever since Trump started calling it the ” China Virus”. So his dad got up from the table and began leaning over me, fists planted on either side saying ” That’s a goddamn lie. That never happened. You’re so full of shit and you’ve been putting it into my son’s head. All you people do is lie. Why don’t you just leave our country if you don’t like it?!” It was crazy. He was just standing over at me, leaning on the table shouting at me. I was genuinely frightened. I thought he was going to throw a plate or something at me. Outside of internet trolls, nobody has ever spoken like that to me before.
So I just got up and left. Didn’t say a word. Just walked out the front door while my BF continued to argue with him. I had made it almost a mile down the road before my BF called me and came to pick me up.
When I got in the car my boyfriend said he had been hiding this about his dad because he was ashamed, but felt relieved it had come out because now he didn’t have to hide it. He also said his mother was almost crying after I had left and she told him to tell me she doesn’t think that way and now I know what she has to put up with.
I wanted to give my BF the space to talk about what had just happened, so the only thing I said on the brief car ride home was “this is it. I am never going over there again. I won’t be in the same room with that man again”. He said he understood.
The next day my parents were actually in town to put stones on my grandparents graves for the holidays. We met up with them in the cemetery and it was as nice a time you can have in a cemetery as any other. Before walking to our car my mom asked my BF how dinner was with his parents( I mentioned we would be doing that over the phone to her a few days before) I was about to lie to them and say ” fine fine” but my BF was actually the one who told them what happened. He was very upset. He kept saying he doesn’t feel that way about us( my family) and neither does his mom. My mom broke social distancing and walked over and gave him a big hug and kept saying ” it’s okay, we understand. We don’t choose our parents”…
A few days later his dad sent him an apology text, but it wasn’t really an apology. He ” apologized” for how ” passionate he got about something he believes in”. And he was sorry ” that I was too harsh towards [me] and he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings”. FYI, he didn’t hurt my feelings. I did not walk out crying or showing any emotion at all. He didn’t hurt my feelings, the things he said enraged me. They still enrage me. I don’t ever want to be in the same room with that man again. But…he is my BFs dad and they do hold a lot of get-togethers. Realistically, how many of those can I avoid without making things weirder for my BF? My BF said he understood my position and respects it. He’s still mad at his dad too, but he seemed to forgive him in his response text saying ” we can get through this” right after he told his dad in the text that ” it might be a long time before you see her again”…
I don’t want to put a wall between him and his family, but idk how I am supposed to move on from this situation. His dad STILL brings up how I didn’t show up to his pig roast party last year. I’m vegan but also we had a pipe burst in our apartment that day and I volunteered to wait around for the plumber. His dad can become very possessive of people.
I mean, I guess I am grateful in some ways that that is a shame I will not ever have to know. I know that this is really difficult for him and I know you do not choose who your parents are. I know a lot of people are going through this very thing right now and it may be the biggest privilege I have inherited through birthright in being spared from it.
When I think back to dinner, I get annoyed that my BF didn’t immediately stand up and say ” don’t talk to her that way” or something, because at that point it wasn’t about Trump. It was about his dad’s hatred for me and people like me. I’m a little annoyed I wasn’t warned early and I had to find out the way I did. I’m also angry that some fucking asshole so close to me has smiled to my face all the while he held these bigoted, hateful beliefs about me and people like me. I’m angry that my BF would come even close to forgiving his dad. I think about how my beautiful, brown nieces and nephews all refer to him as ‘ uncle” and how excited they get on the phone when I call and they ask to talk to him because they want to tell him about a cool bug or a robot they saw on TV. He can so casually half-forgive his dad through a text message when his dad hates the kind of people my nieces and nephews and me are. Is it okay to be angry at that? I know that he has a lot of social anxiety and fear of confrontations BECAUSE of his dad, but it still stings.
I am starting to feel very alone here. My family lives over a 45 minute drive away, and I don’t get out into the city as much anymore. Thankfully our little district is just on the outskirts of the city I grew up in, and it’s pretty diverse here. It’s not like I’m stuck in rural Montana or something. I just feel alone because a lot of what his dad said still bothers me and I don’t know how to bring it up again to my BF, and it feels like a betrayal of trust to even post it here.
His mom messaged him with a jewelry website she told him I would like and to please show me, and she saw a pair of origami animal earrings she ordered for me from there ( one of my favorite hobbies is origami) and I just feel sick….she can’t find the nerve to just talk to me herself because she’s so embarrassed and upset. So it’s all just hanging in the air now.
How should I handle this? Is there an actual way to handle this outside of what I am doing? Seriously, it’s just his dad I have the problem with now. I don’t want to alienate my BF from his family, and I now have a much better understanding as to why he has a lot of trouble standing up for himself in everyday situations, and I can’t imagine what he must be feeling about all this. I want to be apprective of his side of things here, but I keep reliving that argument in my head and I don’t know how to really get some sort of closure from it. I just feel angry and sad and alone the more I think about how his dad has probably hated me from the beginning.October 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm #963039
Girl. You don’t try to argue with or reason with a Trump supporter. Especially if they’re not even your own parent. That was a mistake. You should have changed the subject and not engaged.
I don’t mean this to sound harsh or mean, but this isn’t about you. Just like the stuff that happens at work isn’t about you. It’s not personal. These people are just ignorant and susceptible to other people’s stupid fake info that goes around on Facebook. They think liberals are crazy, and maybe they have some kind of point. This is just how they are and how they think. You have got to stop taking everything personally.
The dad apologized. His text was actually a decent apology. Let. It. Go. Yes, the things he believes are awful and racist and ignorant, but nothing is going to change that. Or at least, you’re not, your boyfriend is not going to change him. A lot of older people get like this. My husband’s parents did.
Go over there once in a while and just be pleasant and DO NOT discuss politics. Don’t make your boyfriend fight with his dad. Change the subject. Try to feel some compassion. Don’t lecture. And seriously stop taking everything personally.October 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm #963041
Also, don’t leave your in-laws’ house and walk a mile, in the dark or even if it’s not dark. That’s dangerous and also comes off attention-seeking. Go outside if you must. Walk around the house. Sit in the car. But don’t go walking off alone.October 8, 2020 at 3:54 pm #963042ronGuest
It seems that you are on the same wavelength politically and socially as your bf and his mother and compatible religiously at least with your bf. It is not at all unusual to not get along with an in-law. From what your write, it sounds like much of the father’s side of your bf’s relations are Trump supporters. They were brought up like this. They won’t change. If your relationship with your bf is god, then you really don’t have all that big a problem.October 8, 2020 at 4:08 pm #963043HelenGuest
If you and your bf get married seriously consider living on the other side of the country from the in laws.
I live in Trump country. I hear a lot of vile, racist, untrue shit daily. I only say something if I think it would change someone’s mind (hardly ever) or if it would help someone in the vicinity being targeted. Mostly I just let my facial expression convey how much I disagree and exit the situation. If I spoke up every time I wouldn’t be able to function. So I glare at their bare faces from over my mask.
Your bf sounds sweet & sensitive but he is as pig headed as his dad. I abhor the catholic church but if sitting in one for an hour would make my mom happy I’d do it. We can try to be different from our parents but some things imprintOctober 8, 2020 at 4:22 pm #963044AngeGuest
My MIL is a weird conspiracy theorist racist type and we just ignore her when she gets like that, or tell her to knock it off. We also limit our contact with her. That’s easy for us to do because we’re both very outspoken and confident people. For someone who is very shy and awkward and probably cowed from birth by a strong personality I’m sure it’s much more difficult for your BF and you should extend a little grace here.
Let it go if you can, keep your contact short and sweet and keep those boundaries strong. Just like we’ll never get through to my MIL you’re not going to change that man’s mind so save your energy for where it can do actual good.October 8, 2020 at 4:29 pm #963045OriginalusernameGuest
I get that, I really do. But I really didn’t know his dad felt this way. Last I heard of, he was a ” anyone but Trump” Republican. I seriously thought he was pulling my leg up unt the ” bags of weapons” comment. Sometimes I think I just don’t pick up on social ques as fast as others do in these situations. Especially if I know something to be a certain way, I sort of solidfy it as being that way in my mind.When I realized he wasn’t joking, I did try to remain quiet but at that point he and my BF were going at it full force. I’m trying to get better at accepting and understanding change as it occurs, but it’s never been my strong point.
I left I just started walking towards home ( we live within about 20 minutes walking distance to his parents) I didn’t know how to stay on the house after his dad started screaming at me about me being a negative influence on his son. I probably should have stayed for his mom’s sake, but I just acted on impulse. I just really, really wanted to be in our own home with the dog after that. It was a cheap shot at avoiding anymore confrontation. Idk how I could have mediated the situation after that or if it even could come down.October 8, 2020 at 4:51 pm #963046anonymousseParticipant
You don’t have to mediate that situation. The way I read it, he was leaning over you with fists on either side of you? That’s pretty aggressive and threatening. Just stay away from his dad. His comment about Aldi and welfare people should have tipped you off that he has different views of the world. You can’t change his mind, he thinks you’re a terrible influence. I would just do your best to put this behind you and move forward. You can’t tell your bf how to have a relationship with them or what he should do. He doesn’t have to choose. I’d actually be a little annoyed he didn’t tell you/stand up for you/cut the visit short. He put you in an awkward situation that you weren’t prepared for.
I would maybe suggest you say goodbye to the idea of any kind of closure. What is closure in this situation? Seriously? Avoid his parents until after the election, or maybe longer. Stop following either of them on Facebook. Block his uncles if you hate seeing their comments.October 8, 2020 at 4:59 pm #963047
You had already been tipped off that his dad’s kind of problematic, both in the past and that same night. And yeah, there are cues that someone is a bigot, like disparaging “welfare” recipients. You had the cues. The thing to do when the soup thing came up was go, “haha yeah” and change the subject.
Is his dad’s behavior your fault? No. Do you have to engage with it? Also no.October 8, 2020 at 5:32 pm #963048OriginalusernameGuest
But the things he was saying we’re wrong on every level. When he started saying racist, anti-semitic stuff that is just wrong, was I supposed to just let that go ? My BF was the one yelling back at him, not me. But I do know for a fact that my coworkers were not lying about their experiences, my SIL was not lying, they were concerned about their safety and had been victims of experiences that gave them every right to be.October 8, 2020 at 5:48 pm #963049
Yes! You should let it go. You need to, for your own sanity and well-being. No kidding your friends had those experiences. You know what’s real and what’s not. Trump supporters are living in an alternate reality fueled by the president’s lies, Fox News, and QAnon. They are racist and full of shit and afraid to have their white male privilege diminished by brown people. But you can’t change that, and if you try, you just make it really ugly and upsetting for everyone around you. You have to let this go. You can go over there now and then for the sake of your bf and his mom. You’re not 17. Be an adult and don’t engage.October 8, 2020 at 6:25 pm #963050SunflowerGuest
I think you keep going back to the fact that you cant let go of his way of thinking.
Just keep in mind that everyone has the right to have a different opinion, and right now, you’re not being very open about it.
For what you wrote and what i understood, he never really tried to convert you or anything, he just said racist and stupid things.
Just brush it off, you get along your boyfriend very well.
And why are you mad at him for forgiving his dad? It’s his father, and I believe that your boyfriend does understand that his way of thinking is just that, just his opinions.
I also think he didn’t tell you about his father not only because he was shamed, but because in reality, does it really matter?
And just like everyones is saying, just brush it off, dont try to discuss or change him, keep in mind that everyone has their opinion.
May be next time you do see him, if he does come with the topic, if changing the topic does not work, may be ask him why he thinks that way. Try to be calm and understanding, which doesnt mean you are accepting his way of thinking or bettaying your own.
But if you get heated up he will too.