To ask for advice about my brother?

(28 Posts)
Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 07:53:02

Sorry this is long but I want to make sure I get all the relevant info in! Using AIBU not relationships as I want to know if IABU about this?

I have an older brother who I was very close with until mid 20s (now early 30s). He was always also close with my mum, maybe a bit less with my dad (mum and dad are divorced, good friends).

Over the last few years we?ve drifted, partly due to distance as I live abroad, but also because he doesn?t seem to take an interest in things outside his own life. My dad and more recently my mum have experienced the same thing. He will only meet on his terms, in the pub rather than visiting their houses, and seems to get bored or wander off if they are talking about themselves. He doesn?t engage in much about other people?s lives, and if he?s having a bad time at work he doesn?t want other people to talk about their work as it depresses him.

He has a lovely wife, and she clearly tries to make the world easier for him by e.g. asking us not to talk to him about a certain subject as it upsets him.

What?s prompted me to write is that I am 10 weeks pregnant. When I told them, my brother and his wife said that they are trying to decide whether to try for a baby (they both drink a fair bit and are not sure their lifestyle will be conducive to parenthood) and so they felt a bit jolted by our announcement. I tried to be sensitive to this and sympathise with them about what a tough decision it is. On the call when I told him, I said ?oh and please call our mum and chat with her, she is bursting with excitement but isn?t allowed to tell anyone yet (waiting for 12 weeks after miscarriage last time), so would love to have another person to talk to about it?. Sadly he didn?t phone my mum, she called him eventually, and spoke to his wife who asked her to be sensitive about it because he is finding it hard. My mum said she gets the need to be sensitive, especially if a couple has been trying to conceive for ages or had losses, but she doesn?t see why the fact they are just finding it hard to decide whether to try or not makes it ok for him not to engage on the subject. The next time my mum met with him, he basically ?had a word with her? and told her that she talks about herself too much and about ?feelings? and stuff and he doesn?t like it. She was gutted.

I?ve confronted him before, but he doesn?t take the criticism well and just drifts away further. He sometimes says he is depressed but won?t seek help, says people over medicalise things like that and they should just get on with it.

I find this very difficult and I feel awful for my parents too. I feel like he either needs to understand that relationships aren?t just built on what you want but on a mutual exchange, or he will lose out on proper relationships. I think it?s at the point where he really needs help, but I have literally no idea how to get it without him just resenting it and ignoring everyone. Any advice, even if it is to say I am being wrong and should just leave him to it, would be appreciated.

Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 07:54:30

Sorry about all the ?s, pasted from Word, they are supposed to be apostrophes.

Bearandcub Sat 23-Feb-13 07:58:19

In your position, I would leave him to it. He is the one losing out not you, let him get on with his ludicrous sulk.

NamelessHereForEvermore Sat 23-Feb-13 08:04:22

You can't get help for him. Only he can get help for himself - if and when he reaches the point where he acknowledges that he needs help. He sounds like a bit of a nightmare tbh but I don't think you being on at him helps at all. Stop making concessions to him and stop trying to make him be involved if he doesn't want to be. I feel for his wife.

NeedlesCuties Sat 23-Feb-13 08:08:00

He sounds like a big baby.

Is his wife of a similar level of manners, or does she also think he's being silly.

Congrats on your pregnancy, hope it goes healthily. Try not to let your bro's rudeness upset you too much.

CSIJanner Sat 23-Feb-13 08:08:01

TBH it sounds like your brother lives in a world which is brother-centric, where the glass is half filled and it's always his glass. And your SIL is enabling him (probably because it makes her life easier to do so). Yes - its difficult for some couples to get pregnant. I was told in me teens that I wouldn't be able to carry a baby to term but a decade or more later, and here I am with DH and two LO's playing on the bed. It took 6 years of being together to even get to LO1 though.

He will have to deal with this soon as in 6months time, he'll be an uncle. Is he going to ignore his new nephew/niece? TBH it sounds like he's drifted away and everything is on his terms - not contacting siblins or parents, insisting on meeting in the pub instead of for a coffee or at home.

You have a choice - he says he finds things difficult so you either let him get on with things and wallow in his self perceived slights or you sit him down and ask him what exactly is upsetting him. Personally, I'd leave him to it ! But like Nameless, would feel sorry for his wife, especially if he doesn't like talking about feelings and "stuff".

Hmmm, very self-absorbed, isn't he? I think its fair to say we can all get a little self absorbed if not happy every now and again,, but he's taking things to extremes, so a trip to the GP would be a good thing if depressed.

Have you asked him or his wife to book an appointment to see his GP? If not, ask and see what reaction you get from him. If he refuses to go, then he's just being selfish, and there's nothing you can do til he sorts himself out, really. HTH.smile

Oh, and congratulations, by the way smile

Hopeforever Sat 23-Feb-13 08:15:19

This was the line that struck me

He sometimes says he is depressed but won?t seek help, says people over medicalise things like that and they should just get on with it.

Trouble is, he's not getting on with it. He is wallowing and making everyone else suffer with him too.

Either he deals with his feelings and doesn't ask others to tiptoe around him, or he accepts help and makes progress that way.

Can youdistance yourself from his manipulation and concentrate on your parents, DH and preganacy?

badtemperedaldbitch Sat 23-Feb-13 08:15:41

except the wife and the brother obviously suit each other or else they wouldnt be together!

Your issue is that you want him to be happy for you....Isnt that just another version of someone wanting to be the center of attention (but less so than your brother) IYSWIM?

I would make sure that i dont worry about anyone else but my own little family unit. there are plenty of people out there who live perfectly happy lives with only thier immediate family in the picture.

the other thing is that, at this moment, to him, your baby is only the idea of a baby. not an actual living thing with its own personality and ability to bring about emotions that you never knew existed.

So hope for the best, but deal with reality. good luck and congratulations

Oops, sorry, just read your post again, my mistake, you've already asked him, and he refuses.
So leave him alone to wallow, concentrate on what is a wonderful time with your precious cargo and your (almost) little family, really happy for you smile
He'll come round.....

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Sat 23-Feb-13 08:23:13

I agree with needles he sounds like a spoilt child and his wife is enabling him by constantly asking everyone to be sensitive towards him.
It's unlikely he'll ever change while things continue as they are.
I always find it really ironic that these poor sensitive souls are the most rude and offence twats at the same time. He told your mum she talks about herself and her feelings to much? Probably because there's not much left on the approved list of things she's allowed to discuss with the little darling

Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 08:24:03

Thanks much for the replies so far!

Needless his wife can be a bit rude but she is really caring and kind normally. I think she is enabling him a bit.

Crushed agree about GP visit being a good idea, though I do worry he'll just tell me to p*ss off, but then what do I have to lose?

Hope I have distanced myself before, and it's easy as I live so far away, but I just worry that I could and should be doing something before he just is apart from everyone. And I feel bad that maybe he could be happier with help but if we all abandon him, is that right?

bad I know what you mean and I worry I am being selfish, but I really don't think it's about him not being happy about the baby (we are happy enough!). It's about him making my mum who he used to share everything with and support etc feel awful, and as I say above, being not as happy as he could be.

natsmum100 Sat 23-Feb-13 08:32:53

My mum said she gets the need to be sensitive, especially if a couple has been trying to conceive for ages or had losses, but she doesn't see why the fact they are just finding it hard to decide whether to try or not makes it ok for him not to engage on the subject.

This is the bottom line. Congratulations on your pregnancy. This is a special time for you, your DH and DParents. It should not be about your brother.

Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 08:34:50

I feel sad at the replies though I know you're probably right - just feels like it's awful to give up on him, I guess I'm hoping for a magical solution which doesn't exist...

diddl Sat 23-Feb-13 08:38:42

He sounds ridiculous, but fortunately your mum seems to have the measure of him.

Will this be the first GC & he´s pissed off about that?

Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 08:51:57

Hi diddl yes it will be and as we never previously planned to have kids, I guess that might be annoying.

He never used to be like this at all... what makes people so selfish?

DeSelby Sat 23-Feb-13 09:20:10

I think YAB a bit U to expect him to ring your mother so they can chat about your pregnancy. Your DB and DM need to sort out their own relationship.

DialsMavis Sat 23-Feb-13 09:55:12

Congratulations! He sounds a lot like my brother. Does he think he is better than the rest of the family? And is he a regular user of cocaine?

CailinDana Sat 23-Feb-13 10:34:28

my sister is totally self centred and she has isolated herself through her actions. It frustrates me but i've had to accept she is who she is and it's up to her to change if she wants to. It's kind of you to care but he's a grown adult and you need to take him as he is or not at all. I've distanced myself a lot from my sister. I feel sorry for your poor SIL!

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 23-Feb-13 11:15:09

I have a brother like that.
He wasn't resentful about my pregnancy or anything, but since I have been a parent he has seemed to resent anything that makes me different in relation to him.
For example, if I he rang (rare occurrence) when ds was a baby, and ds started to cry, he would get annoyed that my attention was diverted.
He has made little effort as an uncle, which is a shame as ds worships him, and even when he lived nearby has never babysat or taken ds anywhere.
At the same time, he is very intense and inward looking, always either in a FWB relationship with some poor girl who doesn't realises he is not really into her, or alternatively in an all encompassing, shut-out-the-world doomed love affair.
Usually his intense relationships end because he can't really deal with other people's actual needs or feelings.
When my dad was ill he didn't seem to be able to cope, and really didn't want to be there. I had to shout at him on the phone to get across that he needed to come NOW as Dad was about to die.
Other people's illness makes him ill.
I could go on and on!

I do love him, and he can be great company, and very funny, but I also have resigned myself to the fact that he just can't, or won't put himself out for his family in any kind of real way.
No advice OP, just commiserating!

Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 15:40:06

DeSelby I guess you're right, I have to just leave them to it, I just feel really sorry for my mum...

Mavis no drugs, but he is a bit of a drinker.

Cailin and IfNot, thank you for comiserating, I am sorry anyone else is in this position but nice to know I'm not alone!

This has been helpful, seems the consensus rather sadly is that there isn't anything I can do. I think I was worried that I was missing something obvious but probably not.

I also share the sympathies for my SIL - it can't be easy for her!

mrsbunnylove Sat 23-Feb-13 15:53:50

is he aspie?

you seem very nice but is part of your problem that he doesn't obey you? he doesn't fit in with what you want?

that can be difficult for people who genuinely are different from average.

thezebrawearspurple Sat 23-Feb-13 15:55:25

Both he and his wife sound like a pair of idiots. Why is everyone so desperate to pander to him? Just stop and tell your parents they're doing him a huge disservice by continuing to indulge him.

There's only one response to people like this "Fuck off and grow the fuck up, how pathetic" and immediately hang up phone/walk off, repeat as many times as necessary to the pair of them. No more attention, no more special treatment, no more pandering. Don't have any 'talks' with him, that's silly and counterproductive, just tell him (or his wife)to piss off/fuck off/grow some balls/grow up pathetic, spoilt little manchild, every time he acts up or she does on his behalf. Say it with rolled eyes/ exasperation/ bored sigh.

Steeplechase Sat 23-Feb-13 16:48:35

It could all be a smokescreen. Sorry to say it but he he might find your lives boring and suffocating, that is why he prefers going to the pub, so he can walk away easily when he wants to. It can be tedious listening to people talking about babies non-stop, if you don't have any. Perhaps his life has moved on and painful as it is, he doesn't want to socialise with you or doesn't respect your way of life or share your values (just speculating here). He may be an uncle by name but it doesn't mean he has to do uncle-like things, hurtful as that may be, but similarly he must know that in the future there won't be much of a relationship, he might not want his future children to even mix with their cousins. He would surely have thought through all of this through. Leave him to it, the more you push, the worse it will become.

DIYapprentice Sat 23-Feb-13 18:02:41

Steeple - that's an odd take on the op.hmm She hasn't talked about babies non-stop - she's told them she's pregnant on the phone and her DM isn't even allowed to MENTION it.

Op - your brother sounds like a selfish idiot. There's really not a lot you can do I'm afraid. He wants the world to revolve him and his cares/worries. Well that's just fine, except that will mean that noone else will be involved in it, because like it or not, people are concerned about their OWN lives too.

Just tell him that if he ever gets his head out of his own arse you will be happy to meet up with him - and then leave him to it (although you could probably word it more politely! grin)

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 23-Feb-13 18:14:51

I think we have a duty to our families (notwithstanding abusive relationships obvs).
We might not always share their values, or interests, but that is kind of beside the point imo.
That's what our friends are for-to enjoy spending time with and sharing a world view.
Our families are our tribe. We belong to them, and there are certain things we have to do to maintain the tribe.
However mad that might drive us.
(I am looking at you mother.)

timidviper Sat 23-Feb-13 18:17:28

Hooya I think you have to take on board the fact that you cannot really alter anybody but yourself.

You and your parents have tried to coax your DB into showing consideration for others and he hasn't responded so, as you cannot alter him, the only thing you can do is to alter you. This means you have to either accept that is how he is and carry on making allowances, or you have to resign yourself to how he is and let it go over your head from now on.

I suspect it will have to be the latter and life will be easier for you when you stop caring about his behaviour

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