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I think my brother is being selfish. Should I talk to him?

(32 Posts)
blankpieceofpaper Tue 21-Mar-17 22:50:23

My brother and I are both adults. He has a family and works from home. I am single and live alone. We all live in the same now.

Our parents are in their sixties/ seventies. They are redecorating some rooms at the moment. Initially my brother (who's background is design and has worked on his own house etc) said he would help with the wallpapering / painting etc. So far it hasn't happened.

My mum today said that if it continues it looks like she is doing the whole thing herself. I will help out when I can.

My dad can be difficult to get on with. But he is generous in other ways. Like a number of times he has gone into town to pick my brother up from a night out or babysat at the last minute.

There is this activity my dad likes to go to once every so often on a weekend. He hope my brother and his children will go along, but often they are vague or say no. This may not be relevant to the overall issue, but it's one more area. My brother said no recently then I saw him posting on Facebook later about a game he was playing.

It's my mum I feel for - she works so hard for all of us and this means something to her. He has lots of time for other things. When his family are away she is left to feed their rabbits and water plants check post etc.

He is generally a caring and approachable person. It makes me frustrated with him. I want to go round to his house and talk to him. Is it my place? Will he take it the wrong way and it backfires?

TL DR: I think my brother is selfish by breaking promises and taking advantage of my parents. Should I say this to him?

blankpieceofpaper Tue 21-Mar-17 22:51:30

We are all in the same town* sorry, this is relevant as we are all near each other, so the question of travel is not an issue - it's minutes between houses.

Mo55chop5 Tue 21-Mar-17 22:54:04

Just say "look mate, mum and dad could do with that help you promised them but are too proud to ask. Shall we go round at the weekend and get it done for them in time for Easter"

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 20:53:04

Thank you, good angle.

MatildaTheCat Wed 22-Mar-17 21:01:11

Am I missing something? Why isn't your dad helping your mum? I'm not that surprised your brother who works and has a family isn't exactly jumping to do it. If there's a reason he's needed fair enough but is there?

MangoSplit Wed 22-Mar-17 21:06:18

I think that "breaking promises and taking advantage" is strong wording in the circumstances. It sounds more like "means well but is a bit busy and/or disorganised" to me.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 22-Mar-17 21:10:12

Why can't your dad help?

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 21:31:38

Sorry, I should have mentioned my dad has an illness which means he can't do that sort of work - he has taken the furniture apart and other things.

I think it is more the fact he made a big thing of how he was going to come round and do it - conversations on the phone, would help with wallpapering etc... then not much since.

Yet when he asks for favours in return at short notice - being picked up, babysitting, house sitting, they always help him.

FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 22-Mar-17 21:34:38

Can I ask is there any reason you can't help with the decorating?

You could always have a quick chat and say your Dad looks forward to this event, could he make more effort. I would also say being a parent must be stressful, but also say your parents won't be here forever, you don't want him having regrets.

I think that way it appears that you're thinking of him, rather than nagging him which he might not react well too.

Best of luck.

pipsqueak25 Wed 22-Mar-17 21:35:45

you need to get something sorted with db, i've got a bil and sil like this mean well but totally disorganised with everything -it's a standing joke in the family

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 22-Mar-17 21:42:53

maybe his memories of childhood are different to yours, so he says things to keep them happy and at arms length.

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 21:43:26

I have helped some - I have been there and helped clear stuff out of the way before everything was ready to be decorated. I have taken my mum out to shop for stuff etc.

It is partly worry as they get older yes.

And more the fact he has offered to do it. And my mum was really looking forward to this being something they could work on together and sort of have as a project as per his own suggestion. This is sort of linked to his area of his work - design etc and spend time together. It does make me sad to see how readily they will help him and the response.

Anyway, it's apparent from your responses I shouldn't be thinking this, so thank you, I'll consider again.

Floggingmolly Wed 22-Mar-17 21:46:00

How is he taking advantage by not helping with the wall papering?? If you feel he's being selfish; what's your excuse?
It's hardly your business.

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 21:46:46


I'm not sure understand how your comment applies - how is he keeping them at arm's length when he regularly asks them to babysit, housesit and to pick him up from a night out at gone midnight?

MangoSplit Wed 22-Mar-17 21:46:59

I'm not saying you shouldn't mention it, OP. I'm just saying that the wording in your post might be a little OTT. If you do mention it, I think a more casual, light hearted approach would be better than laying a massive guilt trip on him.

SpreadYourHappiness Wed 22-Mar-17 21:47:07

I would just leave him be; it's between him and your parents, not you.

As for the activity your dad wants them do do with him, your brother INBU. My dad loves X activity and would love me to do it too, but as much as I love him, I just don't want to do X.

Bluntness100 Wed 22-Mar-17 21:48:44

>>Anyway, it's apparent from your responses I shouldn't be thinking this, so thank you, I'll consider again.<<

I must be missing something, as I don't see that's apparent at all? You were simply advised how to address it with him to ensure you got him to help without alienating him.

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 21:50:49

FloggingMolly - have you read my posts? He offered - and spoke to my mum about it, to the extent she expected him to come round at some point over the past few days - again, as he implied. He works from home - that was the implication.

I have helped - I have cleared out stuff from the lounge and kitchen and taken my mum shopping and helped out with stuff in the loft.

It is my business as it affects people I love and care for.

EdmundCleverClogs Wed 22-Mar-17 21:53:41

Whilst it would be nice for your brother to be more involved, I don't think he's selfish. He doesn't sound very interested in your dad's activity, perhaps he has his own hobby or wants some his own family time at the weekend. That's not unreasonable, especially since you admit yourself that your dad can be difficult.

I would probably say to him 'hey, if you're going to offer to help parents with a, b or c, can you actually do it? Don't offer then leave them wondering when it will happen, that's not very fair'.

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 22-Mar-17 21:54:39


They babysit - he isn't there
They house sit - he isn't there
they pick him up after a night out - he is drunk, how communicative will he be.

Your parents get to feel 'useful', see their grandkids, look after the place, and be a parent.

he enables this, but has little real contact.

he may ring them every night, have them round for meals or visit evry weekend, hard to say as you haven't mentioned what type of relationship they have other than "he is selfish".

It is also very easy to say that someone else should do something with a "difficult" person.

Badgoushk Wed 22-Mar-17 21:55:42

How old are his children. Maybe he has no capacity to help. I have two young children and there's no way I could fit in helping with decorating!!

sooperdooper Wed 22-Mar-17 21:59:10

Just because he works from home doesn't mean he can drop everything mid week - surely he is actually working & has stuff to do

I think the expectation he'd take days off to help decorate in the middle of a working week a bit odd, i assume he was offering his free time?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 22-Mar-17 22:02:13

You keep mentioning that he works from home. Maybe when you work from home you don't work, you doss. Maybe he is you know working

YANBU to say something like PPs have said to remind him your mum is looking forward to working on it with him.

YABU to imply that his job isn't important, his deadlines aren't real and he can just take loads of time off work because he works from home.

blankpieceofpaper Wed 22-Mar-17 22:02:47

BoneyBack - that's what is making me wonder. He does spend time with them other than that. My dad has an illness that is sort of a disability, but he is not like that all the time, it is difficult to explain.

Sooperdooper - as I said, he offered and suggested the whole thing, implying he could come round during the day.

FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 22-Mar-17 22:03:29

I think it's hard when you've got your own family, I don't know if you've said how many DC he has, life could be super stressful, so it's hard for him to commit as sleepless nights, tricky stages, etc.

He could feel terrible for not having the time. Maybe go in from a supportive angle. I always finds that works well. I avoid confrontation where possible.

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