Brother winds me up - what would you do?(33 Posts)
We have one child each born 15 days apart. He's very competitive -always, I'm not even a tiny bit competitive, especially where kids are concerned , for example I remember clearly all miles stones of kids achieved at similar-ish times, (phew! I thought , no negative comparisons) but he will insist on telling me casually in conversation that ( for example) his son walked at one but I have the video he braggingly sent me on my phone of his daughters first steps at 14 months.- why
bullshit massage truth?? He popped round and made clever comments about my TV being on because his child is under 3 and not allowed TV ( but I know for a fact his 2.9 year old watches frozen and knows all the songs) he tells me his kids are sleeping trough the night but later his wife drops him in it by saying they were up twice last night!!... Ok, that's the trivial stuff I can handle/ laugh off...but when I lived with him 12 years ago when we were both at uni in the same town it got so bad he repeatedly hit me on two occasions and was mentally unpleasant the rest of the time. Going non contact crossed my mind when our remaining parent died two years ago and he was very abusive in emails and texts and calls during that time (which I was distraught about but forgave him due to him handling grief/ stress badly ) now our relationship is acceptable, my oh can't stand him and will only tolerate him now and again to keep me happy. He never compliments, never acknowledges any success I may have, lots of very clever put downs and negative remarks that only fully sink in when he's gone and I then take a week to calm down and stop the pretend arguments in my head ( where I stun him with my awesome witty retort) I only see him every two months or so, I will definitely not go n.c because our kids adore each other, his wife is sweet and adores him too, and he mostly behaves himself, please can you share ideas / tips for minimising the week after each visit where I have low esteem, doubt my parenting choices and am wound up and can only talk in my head because my oh won't allow him to pollute our home environment , phew... Thanks for letting me get that of my chest
I think the best way is to detach. It is his problem, he has a problem, not you.
Once you have detached, you can smile, tilt your head and say:"is that so?".
What an awful situation, op. He abused you physically and emotionally and it sounds like the emotional element is ongoing. Going nc would undoubtedly be your best option but I can understand why you want to see his wife and children.
Does your dh know about the abuse?
I think you need to keep contact in short bursts. Can you try to only meet in larger family groups - parents, grandparents etc so that you can keep out of his way as much as possible?
Thank you for your replies, my DH knows everything and hates my brother because oh witnessed my distress during mums premature death ( accident) and brothers behaviour towards me and thinks I give him far too much understanding and he give me zero kindness
Family group situations are a achually worse because he has loud comments to make about certain types of parents -particularly scathing about parents who turns to mumsnet for advice!! 😀but I can laugh about bitchy comments like that, it's more close to the knuckle stuff like he pulled a disgusted face at my sons big strawberry marks on his face ( now almost totally faded) and doubted I'd had them properly investigated by the doctor. laughs at my oh religion and choice of a religious school for our child Makes a big deal out of his parenting choices ( no sugar at all ) which is fine if that's your choice but I see my brother give the kids a biscuit in another room when he thinks I can't see, he's just make a big show of rejecting my offer to his his boy of an Ella's kitchen pouch just to make me doubt myself, how can I handle the really subtle digs over dumb stuff like sugar snacks etc when's it's done purely to try and make me look/ feel like a crappier parent then him??
Speaking from experience I would say there's no point trying to understand him or even hoping he'll change. The best thing you can do is protect yourself from his put downs by just not being around him.
Reply that's nice dear to each of his comments it will drive him mad but he won't be able to accuse you of being unreasonable.
HIM: DS could read Latin at 18 months
YOU: That's nice dear.
HIM: We would never let our children eat that...
YOU: That's nice dear.
He will hate it
TBH I would make plans to see your DNs with your SIL when your brother isn't around!
Nobody needs anyone like that in their life...
Thanks yellow, with my oh encouragement I have felt I could limit our exposure a lot both in terms of length of visit and space in between and we do turn down quite a few of his suggested meet ups , my oh only comes to 1 in 3 meet ups because he can't bare him. it was getting unhealthily addictive to be around my brother ( that sounds weird ) but it does get addictive to be around someone who puts you down ( soooo weird but true)
Personally, I would go NC. And I don't say that very often!
If you continue to meet up with him, call him out on his no sugar policy when you see him feeding his DC biscuits. And with anything else you notice,
Rather than getting wound up, internalising, feeling wounded. Just take a deep breath and retort with a good old fashioned 'Oh do fuck off, dear'. Accompanied with a broad smile.
Will do you and everyone around you the world of good!
I would call him up on things, casually...
When his wife says DC have been up dyring the night "haha DB, I see, this is what you call sleeping through, mine are also sleeping through then phewww"
I am just too confrontational to let these things go
I don't call him out on his child rearing whoppers as he once warned me " don't start anything because you know you will come off worse" at the time he meant it violently but now just verbal, if I rise to it and bite back he'll say " well hit a nerve there haven't I?" Or enjoys winding me up so I pretend not to have heard most times, easy with little ones around
Him: what's this??( fake confused /disgusted face at myElla's kitchen food)
Me: ( ignore) smartipants( his kid) "are you enjoying that sweetie? ( bogie)
I would use humour and eye rolling as my tactics.
I empathise having a very infuriating sister who can tell me facts about myself which aren't true and expect to be believed 'You do not like marmite.' 'I do' 'I've never seen you eat it so you can't.' Agghhhh!!!! I think he must be very jealous of you to behave like this.
Your relationship with your brother sounds complex and abusive but I will share what I do with a friend who is extremely competitive about parenting: I try to rise above her boasting by thinking that I don't measure my parenting 'achievements' by her standards. My LO has always met his milestones significantly after hers'. But when she tells me about how her 2 year old is learning phonics I think 'I'm glad my 2 year old loves books' and when her boy only watches educational tv I think I love how my boy is into films and using his imagination. It's a bit smug but it helps me.
He's clearly very very insecure.
Try being very centred and unshakeable. Let his competitiveness/insecurity wash over you with no effect. All his comments are about him, not you!
Try love bombing your DB. Think of the things you like about him and his family. Make sincere meaningful compliments here and there.
If he hits you, the police need to be involved
Yes best not to get involved with any competitiveness.
As PPs have said, try and detach and learn the art of 'smiling and hmm-ing' (if that makes sense?!). If you are happy with your choices, then ot really doesn't matter how they choose to bring their kid up - just because they make different choices, it doesn't mean theirs are right and yours are wrong, just different. I say this, but it took me until my youngest was a few years old to stop worrying about what other people thought about my parenting and to rise above it.
Or just have a few one liners, like 'you're so funny!', or like others have said 'yes dear' ready, and just repeat, repeat, repeat!
Thanks for all the support, much appreciated xxx
OP have you thought about counselling? I think it would help you become more assertive. He sounds to be a bully and you need to be able to deal with that before you can have a good relationship with him, otherwise you will continue to internalise anger long after seeing him. Plus you do sound to have a complex relationship with him and a distressing past.
Just to add, I stopped worrying so much about comments about my style of parenting once I got more confident at it, which takes time.
My brother is very competitive, and can be nasty with at times. He puts me down to make him feel superior about himself. He has an opinion on everything, thinks he's right is very self righteous.
What winds him up most is if I ignore him, so he says it louder, and then may actually directly say it too me, always with the air of a joke.
I try really hard to not react, and say 'that's nice in a cheery tone. I get less wound up, and he gets more wound up.
I see him very infrequently, at some point we will go no contact.
Oh he's also so desperate 'to tell me how it is' 'a few home truths' about how I parent. He hadn't yet, tries to goad me, but it's not worked yet
I'd be phasing him out to be honest. His wife may be lovely but you can't be doing with having someone so snide in your life.
He sounds awful. You are a better person than I am. I would have cut him.out of my life a long time ago. As previously suggested, can you meet up with your SIL instead?
Regarding the competitive stuff. I found that changing subject constantly, annoys them. When the say little Johnny is the best reader in the county. I would say, 'did you read that piece in the paper about warthogs spotted on the green?' Do not acknowledge their boasting at all and change it immediately to something that doesn't involve children and is quite innocuous.
Good luck OP
We use a trick called 'drunk person on the night bus' - which is basically taking the goading and 'helpful' advice of the toxic family member with all the seriousness that you would if you got on the night bus and a hammered drooling drunk person who smelt of wee started spouting their advice
Basically nod, smile and ignore (and edge away slowly where possible!). If you don't give their remarks any weight they won't affect you and it will bounce right back and wind them up. Also practice a slight eyebrow raise which says 'you're a dick' without actually saying anything confrontational. Good luck.
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