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Advice on Toxic Siblings - Their reactions to my pregnancy left me in tears

(117 Posts)
HappyFeet2021 Fri 10-Jul-20 10:26:07

Hi All,
I am new to Mumsnet and this is my first post, I had put it on Birthing Announcements but thought I would brave AIBU. Sorry if I shouldn't post twice. I would really appreciate some advice on toxic siblings and whether to go no contact.
I am 32 years old and 14 weeks pregnant with my first child after a year of TTC (a blessing due to my PCOS). My partner and I are very excited and happy, as are all our friends and his family.
To try to cut a long story short, I was dreading telling my sisters and brother due to their lifelong belittling and bullying of me. It is not a simple case of "banter", which I have spent my whole life telling myself it is, but they actually go out of their way to put me down and humiliate me, and take even greater pleasure doing this in front of others including my partner, wider family, nieces and nephews. Examples include making fun of my appearance (when I was a little overweight they would call me fat, when I lost weight they went around telling others I had body dysmorphia), regularly calling me stupid and belittling my achievements, judging me based on how a dress, my partner, the list goes on. The sister I was closest too growing up enjoys keeping me separate from their friendship group, regularly arranging meet-ups with them and the children without even letting me know or inviting me. When I was invited to a party, I overheard them saying “I see you brought the black sheep with you”. This really hurt my feelings and embarrassed me, especially as at Christmas I had hosted them all and made a real effort to be involved. I have literally no idea why they refer to me this way, but the sister who keeps me separate has a history of saying not particularly nice things about me to others and then denying it… no idea why she ever did this or why I ever forgave her for it, but I assume it is why the other two have such a low opinion of me.
My parents have both acknowledged this bad behaviour. However, like me, they dodge confrontation (it is probably why I am a complete DOORMAT). It is a classic bullying situation where 1-on-1 they are pleasant to me, but will never be nice to me in front of the others or on the group whats app.
Concerning my pregnancy, I waited until I felt in a strong place to tell them. I took a long time working out the best way to let them know, which was a well-written message regarding our covid baby and the scan picture with due date. I chose this route because I was nervous and did not want to see their reactions to my news.
For some reason, as a glass half full kind of person, I had a shred of hope they would be normal and say “congratulations isn’t this exciting” as any normal person would. But unfortunately instead I received the unimpressed / awkward grinning emoji and a few hours after they had all read it I got “can’t wait to see you as a mother, will be hilarious!” and “F* it, maybe I will have kids now too”, and “Is this good news??”. This continued for about 30 minutes and then I have not heard a peep from any of them since. The way they reacted is as if I am a young teenager who has announced they are pregnant. However, even if I was, these people are supposed to be my support network! Instead, they are judgemental, horrible individuals. What I understand least with their behaviour is that they all regularly post about mental health, treating others with kindness, yet how they have always treated me is the complete opposite.
The crazy thing is, is that one sister has had a LOT of drama with a divorce and new partner, which I have not judged at all. My brother has a whole host of issues, which is why he has always been let off for being a d**k.
I knew deep down inside this is what would happen, but it has still hurt me and had an impact on my mental wellbeing. I was in tears most of the day (not helped by pregnancy hormones :D). I am yet again questioning my own self-worth because of three people who quite clearly do not love or respect me. My friends do not understand why I continue to try and be accepted by these people just because they are family. In particular, the closer sister who has had a whole host of drama is the most painful to deal with as she is the one driving the exclusion (e.g. only seeing me without them, then seeing them all the time and never inviting me even when I have said it would be lovely to join them). I just have to accept they must really dislike me, for no apparent reason.
After many years of friendship with a toxic friend (who treated me the same as my family – glutton for punishment!) I cut ties with her. It felt like a weight had been lifted. Now I am seriously considering no contact with them, as this behaviour about my pregnancy and mine and my partners ability to be good parents is the cherry on the cake of a lifetime of being made to feel like s**t and not good enough. I feel as though I need to grieve for the family I wish I had and then move on and focus on the positives. I do not want to see them or hear from them and truly wish I had not told them. I do not want my child exposed to this toxic and bizarre family dynamic. Or my child watching me get bullied!
Has anyone got any advice? I probably need to be told to stop being a doormat, stop giving a damn about them and what they think, and focus on me and my future happiness. I probably just need to hear it from other people in order to take action! Also typing this out has been therapeutic.
Thank you and apologies for the mega post.

OP’s posts: |
SprinklesMcDoodles Fri 10-Jul-20 10:31:28

I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this. Your family are horrible bullies and have affected your self worth. Congratulations on the baby! I would take your own advice and cut your siblings off like you did with your toxic friend. You shouldn’t be anybody’s punching bag.

LHMBF Fri 10-Jul-20 10:34:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cherrysoup Fri 10-Jul-20 10:38:21

What a bunch of losers! Honestly, I think it’s pointless trying to continue with them. The dynamic is unlikely to change, they are showing ingrained behaviour and it would be really difficult to change. Stop inviting them, stop wanting them to invite you (I know this is bloody difficult).

If there’s a family Whatsapp, come out of it entirely and when one of them contacts you to ask why, tell them you’re sick of their frankly disgusting behaviour towards you so want nothing more to do with them. They don’t deserve you, you are worth more. Congratulations on your pregnancy. 🤱

backseatcookers Fri 10-Jul-20 10:41:30

I feel as though I need to grieve for the family I wish I had and then move on and focus on the positives. I do not want to see them or hear from them and truly wish I had not told them. I do not want my child exposed to this toxic and bizarre family dynamic. Or my child watching me get bullied!

You are absolutely right to want to do this. You are creating your very own little family unit - congratulations on your pregnancy by the way thanks - so you're well within your rights to do what is best for that new unit. That includes cutting off people who make you less happy and healthy. I'm so sorry they've been so toxic and cruel. Leave the family whatsapp and focus on your exciting new life!x

Buggeredpelvicfloor2013 Fri 10-Jul-20 10:43:08

Oh OP flowers

You say yourself that these people do not act like nice, 'normal' people so why do you care about their opinion of you? Why do you let them have so much headspace? Do not seek their approval or acceptance. I'm willing to bet if you weren't related to them, you wouldn't want to give them the time of day. I say this as someone who experienced this kind of disgusting behaviour from both parents and ultimately went no contact. It was hard, sometimes it still is, especially as I have two children now that they have never seen. But the toxicity of the relationship makes you feel ill over time doesnt it? You question your own self worth, you wonder if you actually are fat, ugly, unwanted, hated, stupid..... Because that's what they tell you and its how they treat you.

But you aren't any of those things OP.

By all means keep them posted on the notable events of your life if that makes you feel better but do not expect anything from them.

You deserve better and you sound like a lovely person. Surround yourself with only people that see your worth. Xx

Weenurse Fri 10-Jul-20 10:44:29

Avoid them, explain why to DP.
Do not host them or do any socialising with them unless absolutely necessary. Even then a breezy ‘hi, nice to see you’ and then move on to someone else.
Do not offer to host Christmas and have no expectations about anything from them.
You have great friends, DP family and your parents, focus on them.
My SIL had this sort of situation with her sisters, and she went no contact. She still saw her parents and brothers, but focused on healthy relationships, not the unhealthy one with her sisters.
Even when SIL was dying, she refused to tell her sisters.

DibDibDibduh Fri 10-Jul-20 10:44:37

Stop allowing them to treat you like this
Walk away and don't respond to any messages
Congratulations on your good news, make this a fresh start

Hadjab Fri 10-Jul-20 10:46:29

I probably need to be told to stop being a doormat, stop giving a damn about them and what they think, and focus on me and my future happiness

This with bells on. Im sorry, but your siblings are fuckwits, and, unfortunately, your parents even more so for enabling this behaviour for the sake of a quiet life. I’m a big fan of family, the more extended the better, but this people are not worth it.

romeolovedjulliet Fri 10-Jul-20 10:47:03

this is awful, i take it the yabu votes were posted by some of these twats you are unfortunate enough to be relate to, because i can't think why anyone would think this behaviour was acceptable unless they are trolling.
have you considered counselling to explore why you bow downto this behaviour and seem to accept it [not your fault, you've been subject to it for years so it's become 'normal',but the fact of the matter it isn't and toxic people including family members should have no place in your life in any shape or form.

MulticolourMophead Fri 10-Jul-20 10:47:56

Congratulations on your pregnancy thanks

And you might find support by taking a look at the Stately Homes threads on the Relationships board.

topoftheshops Fri 10-Jul-20 10:49:31

I'm with your friends. Start ignoring these people and surround yourself with people who are respectful and kind. Lean on your DP and friends for support.

Congratulations on your pregnancy smile

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Fri 10-Jul-20 10:51:53

That really was an upsetting read.

I think you need to look to the future, and ask yourself whether you want your child to witness you being treated like this.

How does your partner feel about them?

I would cut them out completely.

I think I would send them a short joint email or WhatsApp saying you've had enough of this treatment and for your own wellbeing you will no longer be in contact.

Then block them everywhere.

Any visits with parents have at your property so there is no chance of bumping into them.

You don't deserve this treatment. They sound like a bunch of absolute bastards.

I'm not entirely sure I'd want to see my parents, as they have enabled this behaviour, but that is a decision for you.

UmberOmbreUma Fri 10-Jul-20 10:53:28

Definetly go no contact

This behaviour trickles down to your children, they will eithrr treat your child like they treat your or try to get your child to join in excluding you

You might feel lonely and like you've "lost" somthing with them. But you will have gained peace of mind, confidence and loce for yourself

A few of being treated normally by people and you'll be gob smacked at what you used to put up with

Break the cycle, start a nice new cycle for you and your little family x

Weebitawks Fri 10-Jul-20 10:54:46


They sound utterly dreadful. Have to ever pulled them up on their behaviour?

I would just say that you're disappointed by the way they have reacted and leave the WhatsApp group.

mrsnec Fri 10-Jul-20 10:55:59

Yes OP my situation is very similar to yours.

My DC are 4 and 5 now. I kept trying with DB and wish I hadn't because the rejection hurts more all the time. My problem is I have a pushy mother who is trying to force the relationship and even when we were children she made excuses for his behaviour .I have tried to reach out to him to please her and I regret it. I should have gone NC.

My brother is close to his godchildren and nephews but has never been interested in mine. I had to block him on FB when I was seeing gushing posts about them.

I have posted about this before. I'm terrified my dc Will end up in the same situation.

Lobelia123 Fri 10-Jul-20 10:58:02

Im so sorry you're going through this at what is really a happy and blessed time - you sound lovely and they sound like absolute plonkers. Shame on them and shame on your folks too for not setting them straight. Some things are not worth sacrificing on the altar of 'peace at all costs'. I agree that youve learnt from the example of your former friend that you have the strength to recognise abuse and take it out of your life, and that life really is better when youve been brave and found the courage to do that. I dont think theres any point in saying anything to this crowd of weak will just give them ammunition against you to start a 'oh there she goes again . . . too sensitive so stupid' etc etc. Just quietly take back your power, withdraw and answer any mails or queries with a non commital grey rock type approach. You sound like you have a lovely partner, a good life and now great happiness is coming your way with this much longed for well is the best revenge and the best answer to this kind of jealousy and spite. How sad and frustrated they must be with how their own lives have turned out, to have to pick on you like this, especially when they have to pick on you for fictitious things that have no basis in real life!

CoalTitCafe Fri 10-Jul-20 10:58:28

Congratulations on your pregnancy 🎉 when are you due?

OP can I ask what would happen if you "gave as good as you got"? I do wonder if they get away with so much because you never stand up for yourself or they can't see that it's actually damaging you?

So if you replied...

can’t wait to see you as a mother, will be hilarious!
I'll be neck and neck with your divorce in the comedy department then 😂

Fuck it, maybe I will have kids now too
"Oh I wouldn't want to risk passing on those ears of I were you mate." Or "what poor creature has agreed to have sex with YOU??"

Is this good news??
"Oh yes we're very happy with this pregnancy - unlike when mum and dad ended up with you!"

zingally Fri 10-Jul-20 10:58:42

Congrats on your pregnancy OP!!

Your siblings sound like nasty little shits tbh.

I think you're looking for "permission" to go no-contact with them. Here it is. You have permission. You do not deserve or need these people in your life.

Cherrybakewellard Fri 10-Jul-20 10:59:39

My DH and I experienced something very similar with his siblings when we got engaged. We are now NC. The PIL both days they totally understand why we feel the way we do but also keep asking us to 'let it go'.

Sometimes you have to just accept you can't choose your family. It's time to just move on. As you say, grieve for the family you thought you may have had but then move on and focus on the new family you are creating.

ekidmxcl Fri 10-Jul-20 10:59:41

I’d quietly go no contact with your siblings. No need for any announcement, just ignore their calls and messages. Mute the WhatsApp group.

Cherrybakewellard Fri 10-Jul-20 10:59:48

My DH and I experienced something very similar with his siblings when we got engaged. We are now NC. The PIL both days they totally understand why we feel the way we do but also keep asking us to 'let it go'.

Sometimes you have to just accept you can't choose your family. It's time to just move on. As you say, grieve for the family you thought you may have had but then move on and focus on the new family you are creating.

Mycatismadeofstringcheese Fri 10-Jul-20 11:01:15

If you do cut them off then know that the enablers in your family will do everything they can to get you back in place as the scapegoat. That’s because they know with you out of the frame your sister’s attacks will be turned on one of them and they will do everything in their power to stop it.
They want you back in place as the shield.

When you step out of the family dynamic, it is often the ones you thought were gentle and on your side that turn on you because they are scared for themselves.

I don’t say this to put you off. I say it so that you are not blindsided and can prepare.

If you haven’t already, look up scapegoat and golden child dynamics, as well as enablers and flying monkeys.

Quietly withdraw and when challenged become a broken record. “I’ve been bullied by family for 32 years. I am done.” or something similar. No further explanation. No detailing exactly how they hurt you (you don’t want them to have that victory or not ammo as to what specifically hurt you so they can use it again). Just your complete silence and withdrawal.

If you’re unlucky they will try to get you to respond and ramp up. Send nasty messages, they might come to your house or get other relatives to tell you how awful and unkind you are. They will blame you for their own behaviour.But you just don’t respond to it.
If you’re lucky they will ignore you leaving and close ranks in you which will hurt in a different way.

I would recommend getting therapy from someone who understands toxic families and doesn’t preach reconciliation (I.e. you lie flatter).

It’s not you. You can’t win this game with them. This isn’t about you punishing them or wanting them to feel bad. The only way out is not to play.

pazwaz70 Fri 10-Jul-20 11:01:55

Firstly,congratulations. Please cut these toxic,bullying twats out of your life. I wouldn't even explain to them why you have done it.
Life is too short to have these people in your life,focus on your new family unit and friends.
You will grieve,but you're probably grieving for the family that you feel that you should have.
If need be try and have some counselling to help you cope with this.
Good luck x

Peccary Fri 10-Jul-20 11:02:57

You have a chance to start your own story for your own family now. Don't seek their approval or validation any more. The below says it all...

I do not want my child exposed to this toxic and bizarre family dynamic

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