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Not to want my brother round for meals

(138 Posts)
FrauMoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:11:07

It's a tricky one. I've recently worked out that my late father had Aspergers and that my brother - in his late 40s - also is 'on the spectrum.'

He lives alone and has a habit of ringing up and suggesting visits that are around lunchtime or the time when we eat in the evening.

Because on Sunday, two relatives on my husband's side of the family were visiting - one of them elderly and senile. So I put my brother off when he suggested a Sunday visit. He said he would come after work on Monday, but ring first to confirm.

When he rang my husband invited him to eat with us. He duly arrived at exactly the time he knows we eat. He didn't have wine/fruit juice/chocolate/biscuits with him. He didn't say thanks for the invitation. He walked in as if he owned the place, sat down and ate his food - without complimenting us on the rather good meal. He didn't offer to clear or wash up. He didn't say thanks when he left.

It's just very frustrating and draining. But also hard to instruct adults in the social cues/norms. (He also drives my older brother mad, but I haven't discussed the Aspergers/autism thing with him yet. My older brother and mother are much more into wanting to pretend everything is normal. 'X is just X and that's the way he is.' That sort of thing.

NB He has not invited us to his house - twenty miles away - for food for ten years. Nor has he ever taken us out to eat. We have probably fed him once every month or two over that period.

Any ideas?

So, he comes once a month for dinner? How exactly is that draining?

To be fair, if you really do think he has aspergers then I think YABU - does he behave in a similar way to how your dad did?

Quinteszilla Tue 28-Jan-14 11:18:27

Yabu. It is your brother. It is once a month. Or less.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 28-Jan-14 11:22:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrauMoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:23:53

It's hard to describe how it is draining. But I think the absence of conventional good manners makes it less rewarding to be a host. Particularly if hospitality is never returned, or no gifts are given as a mark of appreciation, and no help is offered. It is also draining when guests - even if they are relatives - consistently talk about themselves in a negative gloomy way, with lots of loud yawining, but never express any interest whatsoever in what the people they've said they want to see, catch up with etc are doing.

I suppose what I'd like to do is work towards saying, 'I'm okay about providing you with dinner if you try to bring some small contribution, remember to ask us how we are, and help with the chores.#

It's also especially draining when the previous day - you're only day off at the weekend has been spent entertaining a 92 year old with almost no memory.

Vatta Tue 28-Jan-14 11:26:12

My brother has aspergers - we've learnt just to ask him to do things in a cheerful, non-confrontational way. Eg John, could you help DH with the washing up? Or yes, do come for dinner, perhaps you could pick up some red wine on the way? He doesn't automatically know these things are expected, the way most of us do, but is perfectly happy to do them, you just have to point it out.

But it's only once a month, maybe once every two months. If he does have aspergers then you have to realise that his brain isn't wired the same as yours, social situations are much more difficult for him - you need to accept him for what he is, not what you want him to be and just appreciate the fact that he wants to come and see you for dinner.

AdoraBell Tue 28-Jan-14 11:28:33

Does he behave in a similar way with other people, in any other sitúation? I know you say he drives your other DB mad.

TBF I can see How it would be draining as it's not just once or twice a month for dinner. It's way it's done and probably a whole host of little things that have irked you all the way through your DF's either condición or behaviour before you really noticed this with your DB.

YNBU if it's always your house he goes To, and if he's not on the spectrum. Does he Go To your other DB's or DM's?

TalisaMaegyr Tue 28-Jan-14 11:28:36

Is he skint? Is that why he always plans his visits at mealtimes, and also why he doesn't bring gifts?

Wrt the aspergers, you can be blunt, yet polite. He won't know why things are offending you otherwise!

Vatta Tue 28-Jan-14 11:28:45

Just read your second post - again, I think sometimes you just have to prompt him a bit - eg, do you want to hear what we've been up to?

You'll find he probably does, he just somehow doesn't think to ask the question.

And I agree with you, it can be very draining at times and it's difficult to explain to people quite why it's so difficult!

PrimalLass Tue 28-Jan-14 11:30:26

Why don't you just ask him to bring a bottle of wine?

EsioTrot Tue 28-Jan-14 11:34:54

As the parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome this post makes me really sad.

I think several of the previous posters have given good examples as to how to encourage the "reciprocal" social interaction you would like from your brother.

If you do genuinely think he has Asperger's it may be useful to read a bit about it - it may give you some further ideas as to how to make these situations more enjoyable from your point of view.

Many people with Asperger's shy away from social interaction as it makes them feel really anxious - how lovely that he feels comfortable enough with you to want to spend time in your company.

zipzap Tue 28-Jan-14 11:35:44

What would happen if hectored to invite himself one weekend for a meal and you said 'you've been here lots recently and it would be nice to have a change - how about we come over to you instead?'

If he often rings up and invites himself then hopefully he won't be too freaked out by you inviting yourselves. Might be that he doesn't think to issue invites as he is used to just inviting himself somewhere he wants to go.

If it's said nicely and in the flow of things then hopefully it won't freak him out too much.

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 11:36:08

You need to tell him as others have said. I can't actually see what the big problem is here. Stop expecting NT interactions from a person with Aspergers and you won't find it so tough surely? Prompt the behaviours you'd like and expect to do that each time he comes. I don't think providing a meal once a month for your own brother who because of Aspergers has less social skills than others might is that huge a deal myself.

Have you read up about the condition? I find refreshing my knowledge about my own dc who both have ASD helps me o maintain my patience.

AndiMac Tue 28-Jan-14 11:37:55

Assuming he's not broke, just tell him next time he says he'll come around at dinner time, "That's a great idea! Can you please pick up a nice cake/pudding/whatever from the store and bring it with you?"

Problem not solved, but a bit of the strain taken off at least. And next time ask him to help wash up!

Lottiedoubtie Tue 28-Jan-14 11:39:22


He's your BROTHER.

CoffeeTea103 Tue 28-Jan-14 11:40:49

Yabu and I think very mean. Given that he has Aspergers rather than try different approaches you would rather that he doesn't come around.
A meal once or twice a month is hardly doing him a favour, he is your brother!hmm How would you feel if your kids treated each other like this one day.
If you feel so hung up on him not bringing anything over, you could ask him or better yet just not expect anything and be happy to give him a meal.
He may be very lonely and may just want to sit down with family to have his meal.

Fox82 Tue 28-Jan-14 11:42:28

I would never expect my own brother to bring a gift if he was coming for a meal at my house hmm Only perhaps if he was coming more than once or twice a week, then I'd ask him to contribute by bringing the desert or something

Grumbliest Tue 28-Jan-14 11:42:29

Yabu, he's your brother and if you discourage are basically showing your kids that this is the norm to ignore siblings when all they want is company

ladymontdore Tue 28-Jan-14 11:42:46

Do you love him? If he talks about himself in a negative and gloomy way maybe he is lonely / sad and needs some support?

pussycatdoll Tue 28-Jan-14 11:45:23

Sounds like you don't like him very much

Lancelottie Tue 28-Jan-14 11:45:24

I think the problem here is that you have only just started thinking that he might have Asperger's (how sure are you, by the way?) rather than living with that knowledge as a child.

DD is 12 and has no qualms about ordering her older brother to take things to the table, get more than one glass, and wash up if she's cooked -- because she knows he won't think to offer, he'll just stand there looking unsure what to do.

Also, if it's always been the case that your brother turns up empty-handed, then he will think that things work just fine the way they are.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 28-Jan-14 11:45:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrauMoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:46:51

Within the last couple of years I have also discovered that my stepson in his mid-twenties Asperger's and have read a great deal about it. His mother has known for years but basically didn't tell anybody, so he has not received the support he needs. He and my very elderly father-in-law were the two guests on Sunday, which meant we were at a low ebb on Monday.

So there are autistic relatives on both sides of my family, but most people (not my husband) are in denial and I have had to educate myself and try to decide what to do with this knowledge.

One of my favourite quotes - I am probably misquoting it slightly - is from John Elder Robison author of 'Look Me in the Eye'. It's something along the lines of 'Just because I have Aspergers it doesn't give me the right to behave like a jerk.'

As a caring sister, as well as a rather frazzled human being with needs of my own, I want my brother to be less of a jerk.

And I've resolved to give him the option of either coming round for a quick coffee or if he wants to eat with us - to bring a contribution and help clear up.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 28-Jan-14 11:48:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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