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Dealing with passive aggressives - any suggestions?(22 Posts)
Driving me crazy!
My brother. We are trying to help my mother sort out her affairs, sell house, move in with relative. All very stressful. She's getting very confused and is extremely anxious.
Brother is incredibly PA. Agrees to course of action then completely ignores it. I'm trying to be really transparent about what I'm doing and asking for his input, but he ignores me and does his own thing.
Currently ignoring a request I have made to just make a note of when we are both available/unavailable so that we can divvy up some jobs. I texted him to ask if he got my email and he replies 'Yes!'. But no actual response.
Want to punch a wall. We need to get stuff done but if I have any suggestions or get stuff organised he just ignores me or complains that I'm 'doing stuff'. Last week I asked him if he could stay with mum while I showed the estate agent round. He agreed without any indication he didn't want to do this, then followed us up the stairs leaving my mum on her own.
What do I do? Other than punching the wall.
Have to go to work now but any suggestions welcome.
All you can do is be very, very direct in your communication with him (eg. not "did you get my mail?", which is a bit PA in itself, but "will you do x and y by z time?")
And also, translate his own statements into something concrete. So when he says something that sounds vaguely like agreement to do something, spell it out back to him: "So, are you saying that you are going to do x and y by z time?"
Must be a stressful time for you. all the best.
Agree with the above that you don't leave anything open-ended with someone like that. You don't suggest or ask for input because it's too vague and easily fudged. You tell them what they're doing, when and you have a feedback loop to make sure they've done it. If they want to object they have to commit for once. Good luck!
Thanks. I have tried being more direct but it doesn't really work. He get really antsy.
Spent most of today trying not to cry.
My mum is so vulnerable.
So why not have it out with him properly. Tell him that you feel he is constantly letting you and your mother down at a very difficult time and you need him to step up to the plate and stop being so vague and unhelpful.
Because he is so manipulative!
There is a lot of history here.
Oh well, he still hasn't replied. I texted him again last night.
One of the dates I want to sort out is a weekend for me to have his boys so that he can take his wife away for her birthday. He was complaining the other day that he couldn't think of anyone to ask.
I've got to start doing stuff for my mum. I can't just wait until he feels like talking about it.
"I will be doing x on y date. I'll see you there"
Half way up the stairs, turn round and say "Aren't you supposed to be staying with mum?"
"I will need z weekend to sort mum's stuff, so won't be free to babysit. Here's a good sitting agency, or you can complete a, b and c tasks for me by the weekend before. Your choice."
Ha ha! You are right, of course.
I think 'passive aggressive' is being charitable actually. I think he's clearly being difficult/elusive/antsy/vague etc because he's worked out that if he makes it too difficult to ask him for anything, he'll be off the hook. So he's just a lazy git. Personally, I'd keep putting him on the spot and letting him do his 'antsy' tantrums. Wouldn't bother with the babysitting gig.... don't even offer.
Just do it. Tell, don't ask - he's an adult, he can reach to put his own toys back in the pram. If he strops because you didn't involve him, direct him back to the email you sent telling him what you were doing and point out that it was his choice not to be there.
Good luck, it's much easier to say than do
Thanks everyone. Still no reply from brother.
I'm spending a bit of time with my mum this weekend so I'll draw up a schedule with her, and if he hasn't replied by then he will be handed a list of things to do and some deadlines. If he has a hissy fit about that its too bad.
It won't be pleasant.
Well, I have heard from my mum that he is 'not feeling well'.
I think he's bottling it. The reality of having responsibility for an elderly parent is just too much. But he doesn't want to let go and let me get on with it, or support me.
Of course he is. But he wants the world to see Adoring Son, not the reality of Scared Wuss. Give him clear, public choices - you do x and I'll do y. Oh, you can't? Fine, I'll do it then. Then you get control <bwahaha>
Call him out on it and don't do whatever he was trying to get you to do/not do by using the PA.
What does your mother want? You say she is confused and anxious - perhaps your brother is aware of that and doesn't want to upset her. Does she want to sell the house and move in with a relative - is that her choice or DB's? I wonder if there are unresolved issues that need to be tackled. Not saying the DB has reasonable excuses, but perhaps if your focus is on her needs rather than his ineptitude you might get further.
I'm in a similar situation btw, it's an absolute nightmare. A lot of this is down to sexist attitudes that the 'oldest son' takes care of affairs and even when they are complete wasters you end up having to leave your mother in their hands because your mother has been brought up to believe that men know more about banks and mortgages than women.
Sorry about the minor rant, but the last bastion of sexism in this society is the bastion that our own mothers uphold. I find.
Maybe you should leave him to mess up things with your mother, not in a dangerous way, but it sounds as if you are in an 'I know best' and 'I must care for mother' mode and maybe you can step back a bit. We will all get old ( or most of us if we are lucky) and get a confused etc and life will be more difficult but that is life - can you take a step back.
Thanks everyone. Still no word from brother.
My mum wants this move and is being supported by other members of the family in her decision. Her neighbours are increasingly worried about her being alone. I get the impression my brother hadn't really thought about it until it got critical. I'm far from happy about the move for various reasons but am compromising because its what my mum wants and she has been much happier since this was decided.
To be honest I'd be fine if brother just backed off altogether and let me get on with it. The problem is that when he does have an idea he can become totally inflexible and doesn't listen.
Is there a family friend that can mediate or host a discussion?
Oh dear, I think its me that's being passive aggressive now.
We last met at my mums 12 days ago, with the estate agent, solicitor etc. We discussed the situation with regard to POA (which we share), timescales etc. Since then - nothing.
Have emailed updates to him and my cousin (who is looking after things with the relative my mum is moving in with). In the updates I've asked him to tell me what his availability is, what he wants to help with, and to say if there is any stuff at my mums house that he would like to keep as I'm starting to throw stuff out. I've also mooted a family get together at the house so that the grandchildren get a chance to say 'goodbye' to this big bit of their childhood.
His wife has just emailed me to say she'll 'prompt' him to get in touch with me. (I copy her in because, as I have learned from previous experience, he often 'misses' emails).
Incidentally - my mum told me he has called her a few times and has mentioned bringing his kids down for a holiday. They are 5 and 8, so it will tire my mum out to have them staying for so long. She really is quite frail now.
I know I should phone him, or give him a specific list of things to do. But to be honest it has been quite peaceful just getting on with stuff with my mum without him putting his tuppennyworth in. I feel she is becoming more confident in handing stuff over to me. Part of me things, sod it, if he won't get in touch then I'll just carry on without him.
Wow. Just wow.
Things are moving very fast and I need to get my mum moved asap. She just isn't coping on her own.
So I keep on with the email updates.
And I finally get a call today while I'm at work. He rambles on about this and that and then starts in on me about what to do.
Doesn't acknowledge any of the things I have done over the last two weeks.
Then he refused to discuss anything I have emailed to him on the basis that I should have phoned.
So that's the reason he hasn't done anything for the last two weeks. He could have phoned me. And I know he has had the emails because as I said upthread he acknowledged them and I have copied his wife in as well.
But it's MY FAULT because I emailed instead of phoned him.
So why didn't you phone him? Actually, that has been my thought all the way through reading this thread. IT's been going on a while and you seem to prefer texting him - and any person knows that this is a less than perfect way to handle a situation that is time-sensitve.
By not phoning him or his wife and forcing the issue, you have handed him an ideal opportunity to ignore you. And you can then complain about it.
Manipulation from all sides, I think.
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