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Do I really need to have difficult brother for Christmas ever again?

(64 Posts)
NearlyMonday Fri 30-Dec-16 17:18:37

My brother behaved atrociously over Christmas.

We're both in our 40s, I'm a few years older than he is. I'm married, I have friends, I enjoy company and would describe myself as sociable. My brother (let's call him John) has always led a solitary life. He's deeply religious, but doesn't appear to socialise with his church group, he lives alone, works alone, and to the best of my knowledge has never had a relationship and never mentions any friends. Over the years he's got more and more anti-social and intolerant, and his social skills are very poor. We only see him at Christmas, he lives in a different city, and there's only sporadic text contact the rest of the year.

I'm the only member of our family who will have him for Christmas, Mum died 10 years ago and he doesn't get on with Dad. I can't blame other people for not wanting a bad tempered, judgemental individual for the festive season, and I only invite him out of duty these days - I've given up trying to encourage him to be cheerful/sociable, and am getting fed up of his negative demeanour.

DH and I had the chance to go away for a few days over Christmas, I agonised over whether to invite John, but didn't have the heart to leave him alone over Christmas, so I invited him along. He seemed pleased, and I crossed my fingers and hoped for a pleasant few days.

Silly me. He was terse, unpleasant, wouldn't speak unless spoken to, made a huge fuss about denouncing alcohol, and in the end DH lost his temper, told him a few home truths, that I always try my best to include him, and he can't even be remotely pleasant. He was slightly better after that, no more snapping, but he still continued to be derisive, judgmental and negative.

But I was at the end of my tether by the time we got home - and I've resolved to have a John-free Christmas next year. Why should I put up with this just because we have the same parents? Please tell me it's ok to bin toxic relatives? Surely it can't fall on DH and I every year, where do our responsibilities end?

Lucyccfc Fri 30-Dec-16 17:21:51

Your brother is no ones responsibility other than his own. Stop being a martyr, you get no thanks for it, don't feel guilty, just have your own stress free Christmas next year.

oldestmumaintheworld Fri 30-Dec-16 17:22:38

Stop feeling bad. He is your brother, not your child and an adult at that. He has made the decisions he has about his life - he chooses to be alone and obviously prefers it otherwise he'd live differently. You have been a very kind and caring sister. I think it's time to stop.

BlueFolly Fri 30-Dec-16 17:23:05

He's a grown adult, and when people are alone for Christmas there's usually good reason. Of course it's fine to not have him.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Fri 30-Dec-16 17:24:34

Of course YANBU!

girlelephant Fri 30-Dec-16 17:27:55

I would not let him ruin another Christmas Day

YouTheCat Fri 30-Dec-16 17:29:15

He's his own responsibility.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Fri 30-Dec-16 17:31:59

Family can be very hard work, especially the sense of obligation you may feel, however much it shouldn't theoretically be necessary. If it would make you feel better about it you could maybe go away for Christmas but ask him to come for a festive meal on another weekend in future years.

CaraAspen Fri 30-Dec-16 17:32:41

Don't spoil things for yourself by having a sense of duty. It's misplaced. He won't change no matter what you do. He is old enough to get on with his own life. As others have said, people like this are on their own for a reason.

Well done for trying your best, though. Just don't beat yourself up over him and his situation, any more.

LindyHemming Fri 30-Dec-16 17:35:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummydawn07 Fri 30-Dec-16 17:36:22

Yanbu, just because he is your brother it doesn't mean that you have to put up with his awful behaviour and have him making everyone else feel bad, people that are negative like that are just a drain on other people's energy and bring you down!! I have cut contact with so many family members because of their attitude and behaviour.. if he is anti social and like to be isolated from others I'm sure he won't mind being on his own for xmas then, it sounds like he doesn't enjoy company at xmas anyway from your post

OohhThatsMe Fri 30-Dec-16 17:37:51

Just don't mention Christmas to him. Send him a Christmas card and leave it at that. I doubt he'd invite himself. If he says, "What are you doing for Christmas?" tell him you're going away. Every year. He doesn't sound a Facebook type of person (if so, block him) and he'll never know you were really at home having a great time without him.

MatildaTheCat Fri 30-Dec-16 17:39:24

He clearly doesn't enjoy the visit anyway so no guilt required at all. He may well have some underlying issues which cause him to be this difficult but it doesn't ever excuse bad behaviour after accepting the invitation.

Tell him you are making other plans nearer the time and possibly why. Surely he can spend time with his church pals ( or some charitable soul from the church anyway) if he doesn't want to be alone?

Meet him once a year somewhere else if you don't want to break contact at all. In your situation I would be wanting to tell him nicely that his attitudes are making it hard for anyone to enjoy his company...unless of course he is depressed or otherwise unwell.

MusterTheRohirim Fri 30-Dec-16 17:41:25

Don't feel bad, you've done your bit, and it sounds like maybe he'd be happier on his own anyway. Maybe every year he hopes you won't invite him, you never know!

deblet Fri 30-Dec-16 17:43:32

He sounds like my son except the religious part who has Aspergers. He finds Christmas very hard as he is set in his own world and hates anything or anyone who is not part of it. However due to a lot of therapy and forced social contact he is a lot better than he would be if left alone. You can't change him so if you really can't cope with it why not have him at other times and say you are going away for Christmas. What about New Year? I feel for you it is hard dealing with people like this because you don't know what is going on inside. My son once told a therapist he liked going on holiday and looked forward to it all year but couldn't do it when he got there. He ruined every holiday he came on.

timelytess Fri 30-Dec-16 17:45:59

when people are alone for Christmas there's usually good reason
All their family have died?
No-one on this earth cares about them?
They have to live entirely alone, all through the year not just at Christmas?

What a nasty thing to say.

OP, you've done all you can with the Christmas visits. Try offering him the opportunity to see you during the year to see if he can bolster his people skills and make you want to have him around.

Lorelei76 Fri 30-Dec-16 17:50:34

Not your fault, problem or responsibility

Lostin3dspace Fri 30-Dec-16 17:51:22

Ooh interested in this as I'm in the same boat, mines not religious though, but still, miserable and judgemental perfectionist with something negative to say about everything. I can't be bothered any more. Why the hell should I? Will watch thread with interest

SnatchedPencil Fri 30-Dec-16 17:56:26

When people are alone for Christmas there's usually good reason

Is the most fucking offensive remark I've heard on Mumsnet this year month week. There are lots of good reasons - deaths and illnesses being two. It's wrong to assume that everyone who is lonely deserves it. You may as well say that all disabled people deserve their disability, or that rape victims deserved to be raped!

Aeroflotgirl Fri 30-Dec-16 18:01:20

No don't invite him again ever! You reap what you sow. My mother is another John, hence she was alone at Christmas. I am her only child, but could not stand the negativity, and the verbal diarhoea of nastiness.

oldbirdy Fri 30-Dec-16 18:02:02

My son is also like this, and has aspergers. He just spent the last few days in his room emerging grumpily for meals and barely interacting with anyone. If you ask him if he enjoys Christmas, he would say yes, it's one of his favorite times of year. He just can't "play the game". It's very sad that he can't give back the signals that make people feel appreciated. Is there a chance this is the way for your brother? My son is not a gracious guest. I hope when we can no longer host him that one of his siblings will accept that he can't be, but this does not mean he doesn't appreciate it. (Of course we gently tell DS all the time how he can give better feedback, this is OK !)

bigbluebus Fri 30-Dec-16 18:02:40

I only invite him out of duty these days

There is a possibility that he only comes for the same reason - you invite him so he feels he should come! Sounds to me like he possibly prefers his own company. He may well have undiagnosed ASD or he might just be dowright rude but it doesn't sound as if he enjoys your company any more than you enjoy his.

Don't invite him next year and see if he says anything.

MeetTheMartian Fri 30-Dec-16 18:03:27

I was thinking along the same lines than deblet.
If you still want to have some sort of contact with your DB, then best to do it outside the festive period and maybe for one day rather than several.

Janey50 Fri 30-Dec-16 18:09:19

What have you got to feel guilty about? As far as I can see,you have bent over backwards to accommodate him. And he just throws it back in your face. Next year,I would not even mention Christmas to him. He's not the sort to invite himself is he? If he says anything in the run-up to Christmas,I would say that you are going away. He is not your responsibility.

CaraAspen Fri 30-Dec-16 18:09:51


when people are alone for Christmas there's usually good reason
All their family have died?
No-one on this earth cares about them?
They have to live entirely alone, all through the year not just at Christmas?

What a nasty thing to say."

The poster did not mean it like that and perhaps you know it. She was merely alluding to the fact that difficult people, like the OP's brother, are often alone sometimes because it is their choice but often because they treat other people badly and are left alone as a result.

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