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LC with brother but want to keep in touch with DNs

(11 Posts)
drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 15:41:03

Massive ishoos with my DB for a long time - my DM has actually changed her will because she does not trust him with money (and he has blown through a lot of family money on various "schemes" so she is justified).

There are various things that I think he's done that are abusive/neglectful of my DNs who are now 12 and 10. DM agrees (in fact thinks this more strongly than I do) and DB seems completely oblivious to the fact that we now have two DCs, seems to see them as an afterthought (some of you may remember the ridiculous Christmas present thread, something vastly age inappropriate that was recycled from my DN2, probably because it was too boring/old, and there's been no present or even a card for DC2's birthday, nor even any acknowledgement by email etc., I appreciate that it's not all about material things - it's about remembering.)

Following the ridiculous Christmas present I am going to follow various people's suggestion that I propose presents only for the DCs "now that we both have children that are old enough to open presents". Won't stop them sending unwanted gifts for the DCs but at least we won't have to think up lovely presents for my ungrateful DB.

They live abroad and I can email the older DN but the younger one's English is not great. Skype etc. obviously involves DB (and I know - would expect - him to read their email but I would confine myself to neutral topics anyway).

I've been having fantasies now we have two DCs of taking them on lovely family holidays, practicing my language skills, teaching my DCs, but I'm coming to terms with the idea that we can still visit the country my DB lives in but not see him.

SIL is mainly on the same page as DB but occasionally squashes some of his madder/more abusive ideas. But not consistently enough to make her a reliable alternative contact.

DB almost exclusively gets in touch when a) he remembers it's a family occasion (basically, my birthday or Christmas, which he spends with my DM often anyway - not the DCs' birthday or DH or any other occasion e.g. we asked them to a couple of big birthdays and the DCs' christenings but got no real reply and no congratulations on the day) and b) he wants something (to borrow some equipment from us, stay with us on the way to somewhere, advice on fixing something that he thinks DH or I know more about, that kind of thing).

Basically has anyone got this set up, I assume you did not tell your relative that you were LC with them but just ignored them and contacted the DCs in question separately.

If you're asked for something from someone you're LC with e.g. if my DB yet again asks to stay/for advice on how to fix something, do you just ignore? Or reply to say sorry we can't help and then ignore? or what?

My DM tends to bring my DNs to visit and we don't have room in the house for all of DM, DNs and B/SIL so we can occasionally see the DNs without actively refusing B/SIL (beyond, oh sorry we don't have room for you all).

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Thu 23-Jun-16 17:15:08

I can understand your reasons for wanting to have contact with your DNs separate to their parents but, I don't think it's particularly achievable. You may have to just put up with the status quo. I personally wouldn't bother announcing the LC, all it does is create drama whereas if you just back off quietly they may not even notice.

Generally speaking (although I come at this from the other side in a way), if someone doesn't want a relationship with me then they sure as hell don't get one with my offspring.

We are LC with MIL (our choice) and she occasionally attempts to bypass us to contact our DD, it pisses me off no end.

quicklydecides Thu 23-Jun-16 17:18:28

I agree with the above.
You don't get too have a good relationship with DNs if you don't have one with their father.
Stop with the fantasies.

WannaBe Thu 23-Jun-16 17:21:55

Not having a relationship with your brother is fair enough, but that comes hand in hand with not having a relationship with his DC either.

If a family member of mine went NC and was emailing my DC behind my back I would put a stop to it pretty sharpish.

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 17:25:04

I do get your point!

He seems happy for his DCs to come and visit us without him (with my DM) and they sometimes stay with my DM independently too. I already have a pattern of emailing the older one though not very frequently. As I say, he reads her emails and I'd expect a parent to do that, and I'd never say anything to her that I wouldn't say in front of him (Part of the reason for LC is because I don't want to get dragged further into talking to him about how badly he treats his DCs, but I would never say that to the DCs without him present. I have said it to him with the older DC present.

I mainly just talk to the DCs about what they are up to, parties, crafty things, books and films. That sort of thing.

I actually rarely think about him but remembered just the other day they were supposed to be returning something they borrowed (this is part of the "only contacting when wanting something" - it's something which we need back and they'd nagged us for ages about keeping "we thought it was a gift"). I did email to ask "oh, did you send that thing because I'm a bit worried about it, it hasn't turned up, do you have a tracking number?". And got a "oh, we were still using it, just about to send it" with an additional minor harangue about one of his bugbears (politics).

So I just replied "thanks for letting me know" and did not get dragged in to his bugbear. Even though in this instance (rare) I agree with him.

I will need to contact him before Christmas to say no more adult presents please but will just avoid engaging otherwise.

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 17:27:03

Wannabe There is no "behind his back". He knows we email the DCs, he knows we see them when they visit DM (either with us going to DM or them coming to us), they will call them if they are visiting us.

I know he reads the DCs emails, which is appropriate given their age, and I would never say anything that I didn't want him to read (or anything that would be a dig at him either).

Hotwaterbottle1 Thu 23-Jun-16 17:33:49

I don't know if there is a back story but it all seems really minor? Getting that worked up over presents & the like? I don't understand?

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 17:48:18

Oh no the presents are very minor and would be easily solved by just saying "no more presents for adults" (or to be honest no more presents for anyone though I would be sad not to buy them for the DNs, and that would be a lot harder to justify too). That's just something I do need to communicate with him over. That's the main reason I mentioned it because I do need to make this change and it will involve contacting him.

The main issues are: his treatment of the DNs (which would have probably been at least "of interest" to social services had they lived in the UK) which mean that I cannot respect him or even really wish to see/contact him; the fact that he only contacts us if he wants something material e.g. accommodation, loan or gift of something; and his dogmatic treatment of issues - it's not strictly true to say he only contacts us when he wants something material. He also contacts us when he has a bugbear that we MUST agree with him on. These are often political or related to political e.g. something like a community issue, especially if he wants to tell us how he's in charge of something in the community, but in a caring way, and isn't he lovely, but also this is the only way that any community could possibly want to do this so we must agree with him on that.

He has MH issues that he won't acknowledge and treats his family rather like members of a cult (they must agree with him or he shouts at them till they do, he must make all decisions etc.)

We of course can just not reply to his rants, and they are via email. His family can't do that which is what makes me sad for my DNs.

Northernparent68 Thu 23-Jun-16 17:54:39

I m surprised you criticised his parenting in front of his oldest child.

It sounds like you re trying to poison his children against him, do you know how damaging that is to a child ?

It's not ideal he expects everyone to agree with him, but that does not justify you trying to create a rift in his family.

Hotwaterbottle1 Thu 23-Jun-16 18:05:02

I think you just need to step back, if you are that concerned about your DNs then contact the appropriate people in that country. Otherwise ignore his rants, don't lend him anything and continue to be a loving Aunt when you can.

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 22:34:12

I m surprised you criticised his parenting in front of his oldest child.
I agree it's not ideal but it has not been very often and usually heat of the moment e.g. you are upsetting the DCs by shouting. I try to steer clear in general.

contact the appropriate people in that country
Believe me if they were in the UK we would have but it's not that kind of country.

DN1 does offload to me (including about her parents, though more to my DM as they see more of her). Only in person when my B/SIL are not there. I am clearly not going to push DN into further revelations/complaints but I equally don't want to appear I've cut off the DNs from our generally pleasant chat when it's actually my brother that I struggle to talk to.

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