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Not entirely sure where to stand in this family situation, can I ask for some advice please?

(27 Posts)
AlexisCarringtonColby Fri 18-Jan-13 20:11:50

There's a lot of background to this that I'm not entirely sure is relevant so apologies if I dripfeed later, and I'm not entirely sure how to phrase this so hopefully this makes some sense

I have one brother, who is a few years older. He is married with two children under 5. Me, him and my parents all live within about 45 mins of each other. His relationship with my parents has been strained over the years, and I don't know why. My SIL seems to have a problem with having other people around her 'new' family, so neither my family or her family are very involved with them or the kids, more through their choice than the extended families. I know I'm probably biased but I can't entirely see what my parents have done to annoy them (I don't know SIL's family well enough to comment on what is going on there) - there are the usual small niggles with generational differences in childcare, but nothing serious, I have a 1yo myself so I know. My parents have helped him out financially over the years, sometimes in a small way (extra shopping) and sometimes in a large way (paying off bailiffs).

About six weeks ago DB and his family moved to the other side of the country as he got a new job, not a promotion, just a job somewhere they thought was nicer, so they moved within a fortnight of telling everyone. That's perfectly understandable, everyone should try and live where they want to. The problem is that after moving, they've pretty much failed to get in touch with anyone. My parents have called several times, but they can only get hold of my DB at work, which isn't a good thing long term. He keeps promising that he'll get a new mobile that works and that he'll send them his landline number but he doesn't. And now weeks have gone by and he's just not been in touch at all, so they have no news on their grandchildren, and certainly not to suggest when my parents could go and visit. I haven't heard from him at all either.

My parents are enormously hurt. This kind of not getting in touch has kept happening over the years, and my parents are tired and upset of constantly chasing him and being made to feel like an imposition. However, once or twice over the years my brother has complained to me that our parents seemed to expect him to 'always be the one who gets in touch'. But he never is!

Now my parents have decided that they have just had enough, they are finding it too draining and feel my DB is gradually cutting them out. They are going to send him a letter (as they don't really have any other way of getting in touch!) and say that as he seems to not want to be in touch with them they won't try to get in touch with him, but the door is open for him to get in touch if he wants to.

I do sort of agree with this. DB and SIL are being absolute twerps cutting out two perfectly nice, normal extended families who just want to see their children and grandchildren. Of course my parents helping out financially doesn't mean they have an automatic right to see their children, but I think it is enormously rude of my brother not to acknowledge all the support they have given him over the years. I really do understand why they feel that now they have finally hit a point they can't just ignore. But there is a chance that this could be it, this could be the end of contact for quite a long time. I don't have really have much contact with DB aside from through my parents, though I do miss my DNs.

I don't even know what advice I'm looking for sad. Has anyone else been a similar situation, and how did it work out? I'm just so torn on how I feel about this. I agree with my parents, but I'm scared of the long-term implications...

ladyWordy Sat 19-Jan-13 14:32:09

No, you're not, Rose... see earlier post.

Whether it's this or something else, these actions seem too deliberate to be the 'nice guy wants some space from stifling family' scenario.

Besides which, Alexis, you don't sound stifling to me at all, just sad and hurt. The fact that your DB tends to get in touch when he wants material help is a scenario I recognise, and a very sad one.

AlexisCarringtonColby Sat 19-Jan-13 20:23:26

I'm now getting more worried that it is some sort of debt he is running from sad. That will only impact on my parents again because as much as they are now saying that they won't give him money again, of course they will if it becomes terrible and the children will suffer because of it.

Silly boy always gets in to debt, and then has to ask for massive 'loans' (i.e. the bailiffs) instead of being honest at the start and saying that their income doesn't quite cover everything, just another £50 a month would help them meet their bills and eat properly. My parents are now comfortable, they would willing give them something every month to stop debts accruing.

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