A packed house

QUESTION: Masters, our daughter and her husband and child have moved in with us. We live in the country and have a very peaceful and wonderful life. Our son-in-law stays in a tent in the yard and rarely comes into the house. He is rude and very critical while being passive-aggressive. Sometimes he tries to be friendly but we know that it is uncomfortable for him and also for us. He doesn’t want to talk about it and seems to think that we are to blame. He does not help with the work or help our daughter with child care.  He just spends the day reading and playing video games in his tent. I am assuming that he is depressed. I have a very ominous feeling about this man. He lost a very good job and has a lot of child support to pay. His mother recently died of suicide. We are not sure that we are handling this the right way. We have just been focusing on our daughter and her child and trying not to take sides, even though they have been arguing a lot. I can’t imagine how this will be when winter comes and he has to move into the house. I too am depressed because I am angry and afraid for our future.   ~Jamie, USA

ANSWER: Your son-in-law is not depressed at this time but rather lazy and manipulative. He is quite anti-social unless the topic is him and how others can do his bidding. He has never really grown up and is playing the part of the spoiled rotten brat. It served him well to lose his job because now he can be provided for without having to do anything himself. He refuses to take responsibility for anything that he does, or did, such as father his various children.

He chooses not to interact with you, and stays clear, because he knows you will be able to figure out his game. You are also a parental figure which he loathes. He is afraid that you will disapprove of him just like his mother. Her death has provided a freedom for him and he is on vacation from everything she wanted him to become. He has closed himself in his room with all his favorite toys and says: “I’m not gonna do nothing!”

He abhors control of any kind and refuses to take instructions. His life right now is one of parasitically sponging off you and your daughter. Counseling might help him to understand why he feels the way he does about responsibilities but don’t hold your breath until he goes somewhere.

Just continue to support your daughter and grandchild and let him find his own way. Do not allow him to disrupt the house any further. Your daughter could benefit from talking to someone about the way she is being used so she may better understand.