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To not want to see or spend any time with my brother?

(13 Posts)
parrots Tue 15-Mar-16 11:16:09

I have lived abroad for the past 15 years and only see my elderly parents once a year, as they live a long way away (other side of the world) and are no longer well enough to visit us. My parents and I have a very close relationship and speak on the telephone at least 2-3 times a week.

This year, I will be visiting them with my dh and dc for a couple of weeks at Easter. My brother, who I have had a very strained relationship with throughout my life, and who rarely visits my dps, despite living in the same country, invariably decides to visit when he knows that we will be there. He dresses this up as wanting the cousins (ie his dc and my dc) to spend time together, but it always feels as though he is trying to hijack my time with my dp's, who I see so rarely.

My brother emailed me on the weekend to announce that he was planning to visit our dp's at Easter too, describing this development as 'good news'. I felt this immediate sense of dread and anxiety. Without going into detail, I simply don't want to see or spend time with my brother. I have another sibling with whom I have a good relationship, but I find this brother to be toxic. Whenever we see each other, I end up feeling stressed and anxious and uneasy.

I replied to his email, attempting to be as diplomatic as possible, and suggested that he visit our dps at a different time, as too many visitors could prove stressful for our dm in particular, who is in her 80's and was recently in hospital for a serious operation.

He did not reply to my email, but rang up my parents to complain about how difficult and unpleasant I was being. My parents also find my brother difficult, but obviously they want a quiet life and of course are keen to see their dgc whenever possible. They suggested to my brother that it would be better for him to visit at a different time, so that they can spend more quality time with the dgc and him, but admitted to me that short of telling him not to visit (which they were obviously not prepared to do) there was little else they could do.

I have tried to avoid upsetting my parents, but now I find that a visit that I had been very much looking forward to has become a source of dread and anxiety. DH, knowing the background to my relationship with this brother, is very supportive, but I find that when I talk to friends about it, they generally suggest just trying to get along with the brother for the duration of the visit.

This is my issue. I am an adult now - my brother has bullied me since I was a child and I feel that he is continuing to bully me now - by forcing me to spend time in his company when I do not want to. So: AIBU? Can I not decide, as an adult, to cut ties with my sibling? And how do I go about it if he refuses to respect my wishes?

GloriousGoosebumps Tue 15-Mar-16 11:38:12

Given that your parents acknowledge what your brother is like, why did they tell him when you were visiting? On some level they must like the drama or they would simply not let him know about your visit. As it's done now, all you can do is change the dates of your visit, tell him that something has cropped up requiring you to be at home and make sure you don't give him the new dates. If your parents really are the weak link then don't tell them you're visiting just turn up. I realise they live in a different country but my parents would always have been at home so there would have been no risk if I just turned up.

parrots Tue 15-Mar-16 12:21:05

Thanks for the response smile

Actually it wasn't my parents that told him, a mutual friend mentioned the visit to my brother in passing after I told them about it on Facebook. My parents are always very good at keeping these things quiet - in any case they very rarely speak to my brother anyway.

I can't really change the tickets now without losing a lot of money (the tickets cost thousands).

Pantone363 Tue 15-Mar-16 12:24:06

No advice but I sympathise.

I also have a strained relationship with my brother. We weren't close as children and he isn't someone I choose to spend anytime with. We don't have anything in common and it's awkward and strange. My parents try to encourage us to have a relationship but i'd rather not tbh.

Arfarfanarf Tue 15-Mar-16 12:24:15

You dont have to change them. Just tell him you are. And the other friend who mentioned it. And ask your parents to say it too.
I bet you anything he cancels as well.
I know thats sneaky but i wouldnt care.

And in future tell nobody that you are visiting if they are going to tell him.

parrots Tue 15-Mar-16 12:33:54

He's definitely visiting now, it seems he is staying with a friend of the mutual friend for a few days because my parents have told him that it would be too much to have us all staying with them at once. The people he is staying with live nearby, so I know he will be around constantly, trying to set up competitive scenarios between his dc and mine.

I just feel so trapped. I know my parents are upset about the situation and I do hate to upset them. They recognise that my brother is very difficult but they still try to see his best side (as a parent myself I do understand this) and they still want us both to just get along. I suspect that they think that my brother's insistence on gate-crashing my visits is some sort of clumsy attempt on his part to resolve/improve our relationship.

Kidnapped Tue 15-Mar-16 12:42:49

Yup, you could tell him that something has come up at work and it'll be the end of May before you can make it now. So sorry. And then visit as scheduled of course.

If he is staying nearby, try to find out exactly the dates that he is staying there. And then whenever he is due round you can set off to see friends for a couple of days. Alternatively, be ready to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to the local castle/beach/city.

If he is only there for, say, 4 nights you could arrange to be away for 2 nights of that, spend a couple of days with him around, and that leaves you plenty of alone time with your parents.

OliviaStabler Tue 15-Mar-16 12:51:18

Why not tell him you've changed the dates? Bet he'll change his.

BeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-Mar-16 13:23:21

Hi all - we're going to move this over to Relationships at the OPs request.

Duckdeamon Tue 15-Mar-16 13:32:30

It's up to your parents to decide who visits them and when. They are clearly unwilling to ban your brother from visiting at the same time you are, but have asked him to stay elsewhere, which is something at least!

in future if you feel that strongly that you will need to make clear to your parents that you will not visit them if your brother is there.

mamas12 Tue 15-Mar-16 13:36:07

If you do end up being there at the same time
Could you organise some cousin time together for you
As this is what he said in his emails
Organise a day trip or two or three with either just him and the cousins so you are then spending time with yours dps
The you take them somewhere
Then a trip with just you and your family with your parents and then his
Hopefully you could arrange to never cross his path haha

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Tue 15-Mar-16 13:51:43

Have you actually said to your brother that you would prefer him not to be there? As opposed to just that it's too difficult for your parents? Is that possible?

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Tue 15-Mar-16 14:06:34

Time to be blunt with your brother. i don't think you've got anything to lose.

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