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To ask for advice about my brother?

(28 Posts)
Hooya Sat 23-Feb-13 07:53:02

Sorry this is long but I want to make sure I get all the relevant info in! Using AIBU not relationships as I want to know if IABU about this?

I have an older brother who I was very close with until mid 20s (now early 30s). He was always also close with my mum, maybe a bit less with my dad (mum and dad are divorced, good friends).

Over the last few years we?ve drifted, partly due to distance as I live abroad, but also because he doesn?t seem to take an interest in things outside his own life. My dad and more recently my mum have experienced the same thing. He will only meet on his terms, in the pub rather than visiting their houses, and seems to get bored or wander off if they are talking about themselves. He doesn?t engage in much about other people?s lives, and if he?s having a bad time at work he doesn?t want other people to talk about their work as it depresses him.

He has a lovely wife, and she clearly tries to make the world easier for him by e.g. asking us not to talk to him about a certain subject as it upsets him.

What?s prompted me to write is that I am 10 weeks pregnant. When I told them, my brother and his wife said that they are trying to decide whether to try for a baby (they both drink a fair bit and are not sure their lifestyle will be conducive to parenthood) and so they felt a bit jolted by our announcement. I tried to be sensitive to this and sympathise with them about what a tough decision it is. On the call when I told him, I said ?oh and please call our mum and chat with her, she is bursting with excitement but isn?t allowed to tell anyone yet (waiting for 12 weeks after miscarriage last time), so would love to have another person to talk to about it?. Sadly he didn?t phone my mum, she called him eventually, and spoke to his wife who asked her to be sensitive about it because he is finding it hard. My mum said she gets the need to be sensitive, especially if a couple has been trying to conceive for ages or had losses, but she doesn?t see why the fact they are just finding it hard to decide whether to try or not makes it ok for him not to engage on the subject. The next time my mum met with him, he basically ?had a word with her? and told her that she talks about herself too much and about ?feelings? and stuff and he doesn?t like it. She was gutted.

I?ve confronted him before, but he doesn?t take the criticism well and just drifts away further. He sometimes says he is depressed but won?t seek help, says people over medicalise things like that and they should just get on with it.

I find this very difficult and I feel awful for my parents too. I feel like he either needs to understand that relationships aren?t just built on what you want but on a mutual exchange, or he will lose out on proper relationships. I think it?s at the point where he really needs help, but I have literally no idea how to get it without him just resenting it and ignoring everyone. Any advice, even if it is to say I am being wrong and should just leave him to it, would be appreciated.

DIYapprentice Sat 23-Feb-13 18:02:41

Steeple - that's an odd take on the op.hmm She hasn't talked about babies non-stop - she's told them she's pregnant on the phone and her DM isn't even allowed to MENTION it.

Op - your brother sounds like a selfish idiot. There's really not a lot you can do I'm afraid. He wants the world to revolve him and his cares/worries. Well that's just fine, except that will mean that noone else will be involved in it, because like it or not, people are concerned about their OWN lives too.

Just tell him that if he ever gets his head out of his own arse you will be happy to meet up with him - and then leave him to it (although you could probably word it more politely! grin)

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 23-Feb-13 18:14:51

I think we have a duty to our families (notwithstanding abusive relationships obvs).
We might not always share their values, or interests, but that is kind of beside the point imo.
That's what our friends are for-to enjoy spending time with and sharing a world view.
Our families are our tribe. We belong to them, and there are certain things we have to do to maintain the tribe.
However mad that might drive us.
(I am looking at you mother.)

timidviper Sat 23-Feb-13 18:17:28

Hooya I think you have to take on board the fact that you cannot really alter anybody but yourself.

You and your parents have tried to coax your DB into showing consideration for others and he hasn't responded so, as you cannot alter him, the only thing you can do is to alter you. This means you have to either accept that is how he is and carry on making allowances, or you have to resign yourself to how he is and let it go over your head from now on.

I suspect it will have to be the latter and life will be easier for you when you stop caring about his behaviour

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