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Not to want my brother round for meals

(138 Posts)
FrauMoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:11:07

It's a tricky one. I've recently worked out that my late father had Aspergers and that my brother - in his late 40s - also is 'on the spectrum.'

He lives alone and has a habit of ringing up and suggesting visits that are around lunchtime or the time when we eat in the evening.

Because on Sunday, two relatives on my husband's side of the family were visiting - one of them elderly and senile. So I put my brother off when he suggested a Sunday visit. He said he would come after work on Monday, but ring first to confirm.

When he rang my husband invited him to eat with us. He duly arrived at exactly the time he knows we eat. He didn't have wine/fruit juice/chocolate/biscuits with him. He didn't say thanks for the invitation. He walked in as if he owned the place, sat down and ate his food - without complimenting us on the rather good meal. He didn't offer to clear or wash up. He didn't say thanks when he left.

It's just very frustrating and draining. But also hard to instruct adults in the social cues/norms. (He also drives my older brother mad, but I haven't discussed the Aspergers/autism thing with him yet. My older brother and mother are much more into wanting to pretend everything is normal. 'X is just X and that's the way he is.' That sort of thing.

NB He has not invited us to his house - twenty miles away - for food for ten years. Nor has he ever taken us out to eat. We have probably fed him once every month or two over that period.

Any ideas?

If your OP is anything to go by, it isn't your brother who is the jerk here.

You don't sound like a massively caring sister if you are bothered because he doesn't bring a cake or something with him.

It's quite sad really!

Grumbliest Tue 28-Jan-14 11:51:48

Fingers crossed, maybe all he needs is some gentle persuasion.. People can be draining but we all need someone to be around

Lancelottie Tue 28-Jan-14 11:53:29

Mmm. Remember that your brother (if you're right) lives with Asperger's all day, every day, without any help to deal with it. He probably finds that quite frazzling too.

But yes, be clear in asking him to bring a contribution. If you can do so without any hint of 'as you should have done before, you jerk!', so much the better.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Tue 28-Jan-14 11:53:37

You don't want your brother round once a month for a bite to eat as he does not bring gifts? hmm

How bizarre!

EmmaFreudsGivingMeJip Tue 28-Jan-14 11:55:05

After your last post I feel sorry for your brother.

WilsonFrickett Tue 28-Jan-14 11:55:43

That is a terrible quote and tbh I don't think it's helping you help your brother. He's not being a jerk. He has Asperger's syndrome. His brain doesn't work the same way as yours.

Ask for what you want - it really is as simple as that.

Although I wouldn't expect my brother to bring anything if he came round for his tea once a month, but if you do, that's fine - just tell him!

Ifcatshadthumbs Tue 28-Jan-14 11:57:37

If you want him to be less of a "jerk" (which is a rather unpleasant thing to say) then you are going to have accept that you need to be more forthright with him. Stop expecting him to guess what it is you would like him to do, he's not doing it to piss you off but you need to tell him what it is you expect.

I do have some sympathy I have a brother with aspergers and he behaves in exactly the same way. My parents never ever pull him up on it which I think is sad because he is very lonely but if he were told how play by the "rules" a bit more I think it would help him a lot.

I don't drop hints with him now I just tell him out right (but nicely) it is frustrating but you have to get over your own discomfort of being a blunt about things

youmakemydreams Tue 28-Jan-14 11:58:56

Yep it's no reason to be a jerk but the point I think you are missing in that is that someone can only say that of they have been taught all the rules in the first place.
Your brother is not being a jerk if you haven't told him what your expectations are. You don't seem to be getting that his brain is wired differently and he needs help by having your expectations spelled our to him. He is no more psychic than you or I and has the added pressure of not understanding the social norms in the way we do as well.

SireeDubs Tue 28-Jan-14 12:00:17

Be careful. You say 'you've worked out' that your late father had Asperger's, and now your brother... This is a complicated condition (and associated spectrum) and your doing no one any favours by hanging labels on them.

Whatever the case, it seems that your brother could do with a little coaching in what's expected. There's lots of good advice offered here.... However, I can completely understand the frustration. I have family members who behave just like this and it's just grating and actually quite upsetting (I often feel like some kind of skivvy!). BTW, none of them have any condition, they're just a bit rude and take things for granted. Address it and see what happens.

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but self-diagnoses are rarely helpful. Also, such a condition doesn't mean you can't explain issues of concern to individuals.

Good luck!

nannynewo Tue 28-Jan-14 12:01:31

Your poor brother sad I think life is too precious and short to dwell over 'not bringing a desert or wine.'

I wouldn't expect my brother to bring anything over if he was only coming once or twice a month.

He sounds lonely and probably turns to you because of the way your mother and older brother are treating him. Please don't be the one who turns her back on him or judges him because he probably needs support.

If you are THAT concerned about him not providing anything then you simply need to ask. People with Asperger's need prompting and you'll probably find that he really doesn't mind bringing something along or washing up.

How about encouraging him to try out a new recipe and have you over for dinner sometime? Family time is precious and I think you should make the most of it.
He may be in the habbit of coming to yours now so doesn't think to invite you over, but I bet if you asked he wouldn't say no. Try it!

AwfulMaureen Tue 28-Jan-14 12:04:53

Look it's very hard dealing with a sibling with issues. I have one myself...also a brother. I am tired of his lack of boundaries and have decided that sadly, I don't have room for him in my life any more.

In my case this is after my brother had a temper tantrum in front of my children...he's 45! I won't expose them to this. In your case, you have a brother who simply can't judge social situations. You can either accept that and continue to be his sister or don't....and cut him out.

AwfulMaureen Tue 28-Jan-14 12:06:11

I agree with Nanny. If he is ok financially, just tell him! "It would be nice and would make us happy if you could bring us some wine to share when you come to eat with us..."

Keep it clear...probably he will ALWAYS bring wine once you tell him.

bialystockandbloom Tue 28-Jan-14 12:07:01

You might start by looking at eg NAS website for some more understanding about Aspergers, and how family and friends can help.

Your paraphrased quote about having AS doesn't give someone the right to be a jerk (hmm) doesn't therefore mean that the person with AS can suddenly snap out of it. Some understanding and reasonable accommodation might be made by, you know, people who don't actually have a disability which has at its heart impairments in social interaction and communication.

There are easy and kind ways of helping him. If your immediate priority is teaching him how to behave with more social graces in your house, just be straightforward with him and ask him to help clear up.

Were there any other areas in which you think you could help him, given that you believe he has AS?

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 12:07:12

YABU to me, sorry. You invite him over for dinner, not the other way around. You know he is like this and finds normal social interaction difficult- so why on earth invite him for dinner?

And once a month or every two months is so little I just can't see why he needs to bring round some flowers/orange juice etc- I see my brother more than that and I give him a proper dinner and often some food/tins to take home as he's on a budget.

I think you are perhaps frustrated by the lack of normal social interaction, I get that, and whoever said, just move your expectations is right- I don't get the impression he's being jerk, more just a bit inappropriate and not quite as considerate as you would like.

But- once a month or less is so little, I just can't get my head around expecting family to bring something to that type of event. He's hardly leeching off you with such infrequent visits, and there's only one of him not a whole family so cost-wise it's negligible.

He presumably doesn't reciprocate as he doesn't want to/can't do so- have you ever chatted to him about this.

It is sad though, and perhaps this is your way of expressing how sad it is to have this rather limited interaction.

checkmates Tue 28-Jan-14 12:07:28

FRAU Its up to you in your own home.

NigellasDealer Tue 28-Jan-14 12:10:41

yabu - he is your brother that comes once a month - and he probably has aspergers from what you say. he might not reciprocate as he has no idea of what to get or when to get it - you could say ''oh it would be so nice if you picked up some wine/juice/whatever on your way" - treat him like a teenager.

januarysnowdrop Tue 28-Jan-14 12:15:34

I think Vatta's right - you just need to find a friendly way to tell him how to behave in a socially appropriate way - he's not going to work it out by himself, because he can't! I've got a brother like this (and a Dad, come to think of it) - he's very trainable, once you've told him he needs to bring a bottle, he always will, but he'd never ever in a million years think of it on his own. And terribly boring and totally self-obsessed, but we just let him witter on and nobody really listens.....
I would say definitely don't stop him coming to dinner! Set yourself a challenge and see if you can help him to be less annoying.

peggyundercrackers Tue 28-Jan-14 12:15:55

i think YABU in expecting him to bring a gift because he has come for his tea... i wouldnt thank my brother for an invitation to his house not would i expect to be thanked by anyone else for an invitation. no one i knows offers to clear up either - you really want a guest to clear up after themselves? i think you need a reality check!

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 28-Jan-14 12:19:48

YABU. You seem unwilling to help him out with prompts and apparently find 6-12 meals a year draining?!

Electryone Tue 28-Jan-14 12:22:04

You are coming across as a bit petulant because he isn't bringing a gift everytime he you realise if he does have Aspergers then he may well have no clue it is expected of him by you, so what's wrong with actually telling him! As it is I wouldn't expect my brother to do this, but your expectations seem to be different

TalisaMaegyr Tue 28-Jan-14 12:22:53

On reading your further responses, it doesn't seem like you like him very much. Why is that? And I agree with other posters, I wouldn't dream of asking someone to bring a donation to dinner if they were only coming once a month, least of all my brother. Is there more to this? Because, tbh, you're coming across as pretty unsympathetic.

pianodoodle Tue 28-Jan-14 12:34:47

I don't have much experience of aspergers but....

The behaviour you describe wouldn't bother me in the least from a brother or sister. We tend to dispense with formalities for certain people!

I think it's more about you needing to be thanked etc... but unless he is going out of his way to be rude rather than just omitting a few niceties I'd let it go.

If my sister comes over I don't expect her to bring things. I do expect her to rifle through my stuff to see if there's anything she might like to borrow - probably stuff I "borrowed" last time I was over rifling through her stuff smile

He's your brother, and I think it would be really patronising to try and "teach" him to act a certain way to fit in with your norms.

Inertia Tue 28-Jan-14 13:25:10

So are you a professional specialising in ASD, or has your brother had a formal diagnosis? If not I think you need to be very careful as far as labelling people is concerned.

If he isn't able to interact in a socially conventional way, then perhaps you could help him? Perhaps give him a time of half-an -hour before you eat and ask him to help cook, or ask him for help with the tidying up afterwards, or saying that you're having (e.g) spag bol so could he bring some garlic bread to stretch it a bit. You need to be direct with him.

FWIW I know someone who swans in for meals as if he owns the place, often criticises the food, and never offers to clear up. He doesn't have ASD, he's just a self-centred chauvinist.

Scholes34 Tue 28-Jan-14 13:34:28

Families all behave in different ways. I certainly wouldn't expect my brother to bring anything with him when he comes to eat or stay.

If, as you suspect, your brother is on the spectrum (and we're all on the spectrum to some extent), you can't be ambiguous in any statements you're making to him. Be direct, don't drop hints.

Don't give up on him. People with AS can feel incredibly lonely and isolated. I suspect after your guests on Sunday you're just feeling a little exhausted by it all.

DeWe Tue 28-Jan-14 13:49:30

I don't think the OP is complaining that she has to feed him. But more the way in which she feels painted into a corner to feed him.

Personally I would much rather he phoned up and said "could I come round for a meal?"-leaving me the chance to say "lovely, could you bring wine/pudding/whatever" rather than turning up expecting a meal.

Also, if he's trying to make friends, then I'm sure if someone had posted here "I have made a friend who always turns up at meal times and expects to be fed". then the vast majority of replies would say "he's entitled, tell him to get stuffed" in a variety of ways.
So the Op is worrying that he will find he loses friends by the way he behaves.

He sounds similar to my db, who also I suspect is on the spectrum, but would probably be most put out if suggested.

I would suggest that next time he asks to come round a response along the lines of either, "oh that's a bit late, we'll be eating then. Could you come round earlier and we can go for a walk/play monopoly/chat over coffee together" He may then say he wants to come for a meal, then you can say fine, but can you bring XYZ.
Or say "that's about dinner time, so come for dinner, could you bring XYZ".

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