Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Olive branch or whitewash?

(27 Posts)
Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 09:50:35

Gah! Am in the midst of a terrible family fall out between me and my brother (my only sibling), which is very likely permanent. Brother has narcissistic tendencies and has upset me very, very much. He has behaved very badly to our elderly mother, who is in declining health and unable to speak up for herself. I spoke up for her. He has stuck the boot in. Result is that I have been virtually cut off from the rest of my family.

A few months ago I got sick with all of this (I was traumatised!) and my Sil (brother's wife) suggested we go out. I thought this was for a heart to heart because of what was happening but actually she wanted a fun evening so I said I didn't want to do that. I was hopping mad at the time and felt that the situation needed to be acknowledged. She had got herself a bit too involved in the family row and although I didn't blame her (I know what my brother is like - he had pulled her in) I told her I wished she had stayed out of it. She turned on me by saying I had asked her to get involved. I remember that conversation and it was very much along the lines of 'please don't get involved, this is for your husband to resolve'. The result was that she cut me off. Fair enough. The least of my problems, tbh.

The row with my brother has since escalated and I haven't spoken to him for over six weeks. I don't want to speak to him. He takes NO responsibility for what has happened and its pointless trying to talk to him about it (I have tried) because he simply denies that most of it happened.

So then I get a text asking me to join her for drinks. Its her birthday.

To be honest I feel manipulated. I don't want to spend a 'lovely' evening with my bully of a brother, forced to be on my best behaviour because its a birthday, with all this crap simmering away. I feel that if I go I'll be allowing them to whitewash over some very nasty business. If I say no, I feel I'm being the sour-faced bitch he accuses me of being.

On the other hand, if its a real olive branch, it would be churlish of me to keep the row going.

How do I find out which it is?

pombearsforbrunch Sat 12-Jul-14 09:52:45

Say that you are unavailable, and invite her out for coffee, just the two of you at another time?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Jul-14 09:56:29

The reality is that you'll be a 'sour-faced bitch' whether you go or not...

gamerchick Sat 12-Jul-14 09:58:50

What do you actually want though? It seems you're the one who's kept the feud going and it looks like the sil has already tried to smooth things over with a night out when you wanted to go over and over things again.

What do you want to happen to resolve things? As it's highly unlikely that your brother is going to throw himself at your feet begging for forgiveness. It's up to you whether you want to put it behind you or go no contact.

gamerchick Sat 12-Jul-14 10:00:20

Personally I would tell them all to fuck off but I have no problem with cutting people off as life ? Short for aggro.

gamerchick Sat 12-Jul-14 10:00:46

* is too

hamptoncourt Sat 12-Jul-14 11:34:30

No they just want to press the reset button and for you to tow the line again.

Get back in your place Imbroglio stop causing a fuss there's a good girl.

I suspect if you stay NC with the lot of them you will find peace.

Good luck.

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 13:01:22

Thanks, all.

Gamerchick I understand why you are saying that. I have tried but there is no way I can spend superficial social time with a man who bullies his elderly mother for personal gain. There really is no getting past that for me. What I want is to have nothing more to do with my brother, but I have my mother to consider and she's extremely vulnerable.

If my SiL wanted peace, surely a quiet coffee would be offered, rather than an invite,which I suspect she's expecting me to turn down anyway.

DoJo Sat 12-Jul-14 13:06:51

I can understand how you feel, but you didn't want your sister in law to get involved, yet expected her invitation to be to talk about the situation and declined when it wasn't. She might want to maintain a relationship with you and you are refusing, which is your right, but it seems as though she is damned if she does (you don't want her involved) and damned if she doesn't (you don't want any contact with her unless it is to talk about the situation with your brother). If you have previously got on well with your sister in law and want to maintain a relationship with her, then make time to spend with her doing something which doesn't involve the rest of your family. If you don't then make that clear to her as it sounds as though she still wants to spend time with you and doesn't understand why you are unwilling.

gamerchick Sat 12-Jul-14 13:14:28

I was wondering that as well.. what was wrong with just having a night out with your SIL and just spending time together without hashing over the whole thing?

Just stay NC if you see them both as a unit.. you don't have to spend time with your brother if you don't want to and there is a middle ground when it comes to your mother.

I'd probably say thank you so much for inviting me but I am unable to make it. No reasons required.

I think she may want to whitewash what happened. Ask yourself though, can you live with nothing being resolved and your brother still being awful to your Mother? If you can't you need an open and frank discussion and not things being swept under the rug.

How do you want to resolve this? What's the biggest issue here for you?

Perhaps you can decide what to do better if you focus on the facts only and not feelings?

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 13:33:27

I should add that my SiL and I don't really socialise. I think we have had one drink out in about ten years. We had a day out on her 40th a few years back, which was my present.

The offer of a 'fun' evening out was unprecedented.

Squirrelsmum Sat 12-Jul-14 13:39:42

Just wish her a happy birthday and decline the invite. No reason necessary.

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 14:25:12

Dont this rift has cost me and my family very, very dearly, and has tainted what may be the last few years of my mum's life. I know I won't be able to just forget it.

I know from talking to my brother that he is minimising what happened and putting the blame on me, so SiL will have his version of events. I don't really want to go over it with either of them as it won't get anywhere, and I think trying to have a relationship with SiL which excludes him is not going to help the situation.

Hoppinggreen Sat 12-Jul-14 15:59:40

I went nc with my narc brother 2 years ago but I still see SIL and the children . Suits us all

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 16:05:45

Hopping does your brother know that you are nc with him? Does your SiL understand this as well? I ask because this strikes me as the best of all possible outcomes but I would want it really clear that this is the deal.

Its no olive branch, you are being summoned back into the role that they have assigned to you. Do not attend her birthday celebration, its not as if you socialise much anyway. You should not really be at all surprised that your brother has and will take no responsibility here for his actions.

If your brother is a narcissist it is not possible to have any sort of relationship with him. Your SIL will likely side with him as well.

Unfortunately it may well be that your mother has allowed over the years to let her son behave badly towards her. She may well have created this overall dysfunctional dynamic within your family. What role do you play within it?.

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 17:14:49

Attila my mother has facilitated this from a very early age. He was always her darling. Bad behaviour was rarely challenged directly. However, when he behaved badly she withdrew from him emotionally and would not cooperate with him, so he used to get very frustrated, and nothing was ever dealt with. I grew up seeing him bully her and stupidly stepping in to her defence, which she largely ignored.

Even as an adult, she would say that anyone who didn't get on with him was 'jealous' or 'demanding'. However, I don't get the sense that they were ever actually that close. I don't think he cares very much for her.

This latest situation (half a century on!) is something of a replay, with her, as always, dismissing the situation as sibling rivalry and not realising (or acknowledging?) that SHE is his target. He took no more notice of me than a fly until I challenged him. He is furious with me.

Meerka Sat 12-Jul-14 20:50:03

I think give it a go this time and see how it goes. Show willing. if it's a real olive branch then it'd be a shame to throw it on the fire.

If it's horrible, then leave early. And forget them.

Or do as pombear says, suggest a coffee

DoJo Sat 12-Jul-14 20:59:13

I have to say, I'm not sure why you are so concerned about the impact of your brother's behaviour on your mother, when she is the one who has facilitated, encouraged and supported it his whole life. When you say you have been cut off from the rest of your family, does this include your mother? Has she shown any appreciation for your intervention? Is she actually now fighting back against your brother's behaviour?

Imbroglio Sat 12-Jul-14 21:17:33

My mum wants to see me and appreciates what I do for her.

I think she has brought this on herself to some extent but through weakness rather than badness. I'm over it (mostly). She may not be perfect but then who is? I can't stand by and let him bully her, especially as she won't say anything to him directly. She has been very distressed but is too frail to deal with it.

DoJo Sat 12-Jul-14 21:51:36

It sounds very difficult - is your mother being prevented from seeing you by the situation with your brother? Either way, it sounds like you'd be better off without your brother in your life and if you aren't particularly close to your SIL then there's no reason to see her either. I would focus on your mum, completely disengage from your brother as much as is possible and don't allow yourself to be dragged into any discussion with him.

Hoppinggreen Sat 12-Jul-14 21:59:10

It was actually my brother who told me to never contact him again or some such over dramatic bollocks when I dared to not let him bully me for the first time in 40 years!!!
He actually told me never to contact his family either but the next morning I got a text from my SIL about something totLly unrelated. He hadn't actaually told her anything.
She told him he was being an idiot but her na the children would be seeing us and that was that.
My brother knows he's being an idiot but he will never admit it.
The only one suffering is my Mum really because we can't all get together.

Meerka Sat 12-Jul-14 22:18:00

If your SIL told your bro that he was being an idiot then definitely it looks like it's ok to go to the party. She clearly has a mind of her own and clearly values your and her children playing together.

It also sounds like she doesnt take him too seriously.

It'd be a shame to take out your (justified) anger at him on someone who's clearly telling him when he's being an idiot. I'd say go, and see how it goes, even try to enjoy yourself.

Meerka Sat 12-Jul-14 22:18:37

gaaahh sorry I misread and confused the OP with hoppinggreen. sorry (blush)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now