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to ask for your help in wording an email to my siblings?

(115 Posts)
LaLyra Fri 02-Oct-15 15:47:49

This probably isn't the right place. And I probably should be able to compose an email by myself, but my DH is away, 3 of my 5 children have chicken pox, one of my DD's seems to think she's 23 rather than 13 and my fucking siblings are being a bloody nightmare.

I'm the youngest of four siblings. My brothers are 9 and 8 years older than me and my sister 6. Our father is dying. Apparently he has days left at most. My siblings have decided that we will be going to the funeral together and that we'll each be contributing a set amount to flowers, one set from us and one set from "the grandchildren".

When I was 7 my paternal grandparents realised how much of an abusive monster their son was, and that their DIL wasn't much better. We stayed with them on Friday night like we did every week and they spotted an iron burn on my sister. After speaking to us and everything finally coming out they went to the police, social services and our school and after lots and lots of arguments we never, ever went home.

Since then I've seen my father maybe a dozen times. Usually when he turned up at GP's looking for money for booze or drugs, or to shout at them because "his" money (child benefit and family allowance) had been stolen by them.

Last year we were told by a distant relative that he had cancer. Sister decided to visit him. This caused uproar with my brothers at the time, one of them even stopped speaking to her for several months. I told her she had to make her own decisions because we each have to live with our choices. I wouldn't be visiting as I want nothing to do with him.

Over the past months she has visited him regularly and was even planning on him coming to stay with her when he left hospital, but instead he's had to go to a hospice place for care. My brothers have softened to her decision to the point that they have both been going with her (again, imo, that's their choice).

However, they've now decided on this funeral/flowers plan. I said no and since then I've had emails/phone calls from each of them and now they are taking the "we always agreed we'd stick together" line, which is hurtful to me because we took that line against our parents. After another email today I need to put together a reply that is firm, but not too emotional (if there's any hint of emotion they'll just ignore it).

I need it to be right because if I put it well they'll get it (we've been here before and if I word things right it's like they suddenly remember I'm not a child anymore). In many ways I know I shouldn't even bother, but they're my siblings and I'm not ready to cut them off yet.

"I wanted to make my position clear to each of you as there seems to be some sort of belief amongst the three of you that my mind can, or will, be changed.

I will not be going to this funeral. I will not be contributing to flowers and you will not be including my children in any sort of tribute from grandchildren. This is not something I will be changing my mind on.

I do not appreciate the "sticking together" line being thrown at me over this. We used to say that to each other when we were promising to protect each other from them. Now it feels to me that you are allowing him to use it against me.

I support your decisions to go to the funeral because it is something the three of you clearly wish to do, just like I have supported your decision to visit him. All I ask is that you do me the same courtesy by respecting my decision not to go."

ALongTimeComing Fri 02-Oct-15 15:51:24

I think what you've said sounds good. I would maybe soften if a little and remind them that you love them and you know it's a hard time for everyone involved.

CatsAreLikeChocolates Fri 02-Oct-15 15:54:23

I'm really sorry that you're stuck in this impossible position. I think your email sounds perfect but perhaps you should include the bit above and tell them what you told us... they're my siblings and I'm not ready to cut them off

Maybe it might make them see why this is important to you.

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Fri 02-Oct-15 15:55:09

What you have written is perfect! You don't need help composing the email.

MaidOfStars Fri 02-Oct-15 16:00:34

Email fine but agree with ALongTime - sign off with something like 'Please remember that I love you all, that won't change'. Unless you think this would be viewed as a focus for emotional blackmail.

It must be a difficult (and confusing?) time for you flowers

whois Fri 02-Oct-15 16:09:56

Good email, and good suggestions from MaidofStars

HaydeeofMonteCristo Fri 02-Oct-15 16:10:40

Your e mail sounds great. So sorry you have been through this. flowers for you.

IsItMeOr Fri 02-Oct-15 16:15:08

flowers You are every bit the adult you wish to be.

Scoobydoo8 Fri 02-Oct-15 16:18:14

Think I would take out 'the 3 of you' bit - as it sounds maybe as if you are suggesting they are ganging up on you (whcih maybe they are) -

"I wanted to make my position clear to each of you as there seems to be some sort of belief amongst the three of you that my mind can, or will, be changed.

I will not be going to this funeral. I will not be contributing to flowers and you will not be including my children in any sort of tribute from grandchildren. This is not something I will be changing my mind on.

I do not appreciate the "sticking together" line being thrown at me over this. We used to say that to each other when we were promising to protect each other from them. Now it feels to me that you are allowing him to use it against me.

I support your decisions to go to the funeral because it is something the three of you clearly wish to do, just like I have supported your decision to visit him. All I ask is that you do me the same courtesy by respecting my decision not to go."

Scoobydoo8 Fri 02-Oct-15 16:20:56

Assuming you are sending it individually to each sibling with their name at the top.

But the first version is fine too.

Gottagetmoving Fri 02-Oct-15 16:25:45

Excellent suggestion to leave 'the three of you're out. Sounds much better and more friendly.

LaLyra Fri 02-Oct-15 16:31:38

Thank you everyone. I shall make a couple of tweaks as suggested. Especially the bit about the three of them, thanks Scooby - that would have been taken as an accusation of ganging up (even though they are).

I need to watch I don't put too much love and emotion it it or my eldest brother will use it in a "well, can't you just do it for us?" way [what a shit sentence that is to say and feel].

I hate this. I hate him. How dare he thunder back into our lives after all that time like a fucking grenade.

I'm just so thankful my Nana and Grandpa's grave is full so he can't go in with them. I think that would have been a fight that cost me my siblings because there was no way I could have let that go (My Nana believed in her head his actions lead to my Grandpa dying relatively young).

Thank you.

KissMyFatArse Fri 02-Oct-15 16:35:44

Nothing to add apart from good luck and hopefully they respect your wishes.

Pseudo341 Fri 02-Oct-15 16:39:35

I think I'd say something about how you completely respect and understand their decision to be involved with your father as he nears his end but you simply can't feel the same way and ask that they respect your decision on this. It's obviously been a difficult situation for all of you to come to terms with and it's important that you each feel able to deal with it in the way that you feel you can. Also something about how you don't want this to come between you and you love them all very much.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Fri 02-Oct-15 16:48:32

flowers

Yadnbu

You're supporting your siblings right to make their own decisions, you're just asking them to give you the same consideration. I'm sure it's already an impossibly time with emotions stirred up, you need their support, not for them to add to the stress and misery

edmontonkitty Fri 02-Oct-15 16:49:44

Whatever you say in an email is bound to be misconstrued by at least one of them - that is the nature of electronic communication. Couldn't you try talking to them either face-to-face or on the phone instead?

LaLyra Fri 02-Oct-15 16:55:34

I can't edmonton - if I speak to them directly then eldest brother will speak to me like I'm a child and I'll end up doubting myself, next brother will play the 'we need to stick together' card and will drag me into agreeing by using emotional blackmail even if he doesn't mean too and my sister will point out that my life was easier and therefore they need more support and won't give a shit about the impact on me.

Honestly if I wasn't on my own and had DH around for back up I would, but I haven't and I know them. They'll play on everything until they cry, I end up feeling shit and then I'll end up feeling obliged to go.

Also if I do it via email I have proof that I did reply and I won't have eldest brother claiming I said something I didn't at a later point.

JawannaDrink Fri 02-Oct-15 17:11:31

If I were you I'd soften it all up in the interests of family relationships. The "reconciling with the dying crappy parent" thing is a well known trope that a lot of people fall into, its a psychological norm. You don't want to, neither would I. But it is common and can serve a good purpose for them sometimes.

I would email and say that you are happy for them if they have gained something from their relationship with him, and that you respect their decisions to go to the funeral/do flowers etc etc. I would say that while you appreciate the many times in the past that you have all stuck together etc, you don't feel that such a stance is appropriate in this instance, as its a very personal thing that you must all make your own decisions on. And you would very much appreciate it if they could respect your position as you respect theirs. And that you don't think there is any need to discuss it further as your decision is made and you prefer to move on.

This way you say the same thing, you make your position clear, but you are doing in a way that does not invite arguments or fighting. No talk of using things against each other or comments being thrown around, but very clear on your own feelings, which is the part that matters.

FantasticButtocks Fri 02-Oct-15 17:32:01

I agree that your email is good but take out 'the three of you'

Maybe another change:
Now it feels to me that you are allowing him to use it against me. could be changed to: 'Now it feels to me that you are allowing it to be used against me.

Scoobydoo8 Fri 02-Oct-15 17:54:38

The youngest in my family is still talked about by my siblings in a slightly exasperated/ impatient tone of voice - a sort of 'what has she done now!' attitude.

She is 55 this year, and still a bit of a nuisance smile

I suggest having a few pat answers written down, OP, ready for any comeback by phone or email so that you don't get embroiled in emotional debate.

Dowser Fri 02-Oct-15 18:15:12

Sounds good to me and very assertive.

They should not try to bully you like that. Anyone who tries to bully me and manipulate me in that manner will find I dig my heels in all the more and refuse to budge an inch.

Good on you for sticking to your guns.

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 02-Oct-15 18:27:03

Good for you for not being a hypocrite. Also, mention that he is dividin you all in death, is that why they want? Is he worth it? I hope you get through to them.

Hissy Fri 02-Oct-15 18:36:41

You poor love! No wonder you have been struggling with this.

Sticking together works both ways, why are they all deserting you at the first opportunity?

Your email, with the tweaks will be fine.

Put your children first, put yourself first. Your father never did, so you get to choose to care for those who deserve it.

You may benefit from some counselling when all this is oveR, the death of a toxic father is bound to create hurt, and this stuff with your brothers and sister is going to leave a bit of a mark.

Keep talking here, it will help.

LaLyra Fri 02-Oct-15 18:49:04

Jawanna I can't soften it. I've been soft in emails and conversations so far. This email is in response to a concerted effort from all three of them to use the "we need to stick together" angle to push/bully me into changing my mind.

Thanks again everyone. I sent roughly my original email with a few of the tweaks suggested. No doubt I'll hear back over the weekend.

Hissy I had counselling before, it took them 18 months when I was 8 and then I went again when I had my DDs (was terrified their parenting could be passed on to me). One of the reasons I'm not getting involved in all of this bollocks is that it took a lot of hard work in counselling to sort my head out. I'm not undoing all that work for nothing.

I may end up needing some to deal with my anger at my siblings. I seem to be expected to toe the line forever. And be grateful forever. Not that I'm not, I am, but they seem to expect that that gratitude should mean I have to do what they say.

It's not really helping that my eldest brother is spooking me with his manner and tone. I don't think he realises how much he sounds like him sometimes.

Badders123 Fri 02-Oct-15 18:56:27

I think what you have written is perfect.
So sorry for the position they have put you in x

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