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Should I get back in contact with my brother?

(16 Posts)
hiddenhome Thu 13-Oct-11 14:03:30

Brief History: didn't grow up with brother because I was in care and he was at boarding school.

I was taken into care due to my mother's neglect and my brother's threat to overdose me and kill himself - he was 15 at the time. Mother has a diagnosed personality disorder and is totally toxic and evil. Will never see her again, neither does my brother.

Had brief contact with him during the early 80s. He visited our mother for as long as he needed to in order to get his grant applications signed, then did a bunk leaving me to look after her until I couldn't stand it anymore.

Got back in contact in 1998 and we were fine up until I got married when his wife was horrible to me all day and I became upset and depressed after the wedding due to their behaviour. My brother was okay, but he stood by and let his wife treat me like crap sad

That was in 2003. I haven't seen them since. Didn't bother contacting them again and moved house. They did send a greetings card about a year later asking where I'd gone and what was up, but I couldn't face doing anything about it. I can't stress how let down and depressed I felt.

I have been taking antidepressants and having CBT lately and feel much better. I do miss my brother and it was his wife's fault that I didn't see them anyway, not really his. He's okay, just a bit gutless.

Do you think I should get back in contact or just leave it?

I don't know what to do. I don't feel that I should apologise as such because I was the wronged party, but don't want to go in with all guns blazing and accusing his wife of being a heartless bag or anything.

I don't really know how to approach him.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Oct-11 14:19:19

There is a saying; if in doubt do nowt.

He has let you down a lot in the past. He allowed his wife to act badly towards you at the wedding and he did not stick up for you. He acted on that occasion as a bystander. Calling him a bit gutless therefore is charitable on your part.

What would you want from contact after all this time?. I think that is a question that requires further thought.

hiddenhome Thu 13-Oct-11 14:32:06

He is the only person alive (apart from nasty mother) who knew my late father. I can't remember my father and my brother is a sort of link. I have no other living relatives apart from my dcs.

I just wonder about him sometimes and do miss him. I never really had the opportunity to get to know him before the wedding fiasco. I don't know what was wrong with his wife. There'd been no arguments or anything prior to the wedding. I wish she'd just stayed away.

I feel angry because she has three brothers and sees them regularly and I only have one and she's managed to trash our relationship. She's horrible.

I don't want to give her the satisfaction of knowing how depressed she made me feel over what happened, but I need to explain to my brother about what happened so that he knows I haven't just disappeared maliciously.

mumsamilitant Thu 13-Oct-11 14:38:04

Could you not contact your brother and ask to see him on your own?

incognitofornow Thu 13-Oct-11 14:39:52

Message withdrawn

hiddenhome Thu 13-Oct-11 14:48:09

Yes, I'd rather see him on my own.

I agree that it does seem destructive and is perhaps not worth bothering with sad

mumsamilitant Thu 13-Oct-11 15:09:29

If he's your only relative then I can totally understand you wanting to see him Hidden.

Unfortunately you will have to accept that he is married to someone you don't like etc. Why not ask to see him but don't mention how you feel about her.

hiddenhome Thu 13-Oct-11 15:21:49

I would do that mumsamilitant, but I know that she'll try to prevent contact. She's stroppy and wears the trousers in the household sad

I suppose I could just test the waters with him and me alone. I don't know if he would agree to even see me.

mumsamilitant Thu 13-Oct-11 15:25:24

You won't know though until you ask ay? Then at least you can say that you tried.

Thzumbiewitch Thu 13-Oct-11 15:28:30

Are you sure you miss him, as opposed to missing the idea of a brother? You say you don't even really know him that well, so I get the impression that you're just clinging onto him because he's your only peer relative.
While I can also understand that feeling, sometimes it's better to stick with the family you do know and love and who love you - and it doesn't sound much like your brother falls into that category.

Remember he is who he is, not who you would like him to be.

garlicScaresVampires Thu 13-Oct-11 16:11:20

I totally agree that you're longing for "a brother" (and "a father") rather than the biological sibling you've got, hidden. Doesn't make it any easier, though, does it sad

From your description of your mother, it seems very likely bro would either have married an abuser or become one - going by your wedding story, he did the former. I'm not sure how much is to be gained from pushing a relationship with him, against her wishes, and exposing yourself to possible abuse as well.

mumsamilitant Thu 13-Oct-11 16:24:08

I have no other living relatives apart from my dcs.
I need to explain to my brother about what happened so that he knows I haven't just disappeared maliciously.

I agree with what other posters have said to a certain extent, however if you are in a better place now and you think you can handle it my earlier posts still stand.

stayforappledunking Thu 13-Oct-11 16:33:40

he is your brother. From the sounds of it neither of your childhood's was pleasant and he probably has issues from it as much as yourself.

When it comes to his wife, yup he should have stood up for you, but he wont be the first or last man to bury his head in the sand. I dont believe that means he doesnt love you. As you say they sent you a greeting card. Years go by and people change...as you are changing yourself. I personally think it would be worth a meet, with just him by himself.

izzywhizzysfritenite Thu 13-Oct-11 19:13:28

As you're currently having CBT sessions, I believe that you should wait until you are truly on firm emotional ground before giving any consideration to making contact with your brother as it may undermine your progress.

From what you've said, you last saw him in 2003; that's a long time to hold a grudge against his wife and you need to let that go before you see him/them again.

However, in saying I need to explain to my brother about what happened so that he knows I haven't just disappeared maliciously it seems that your sole purpose for making contact with him is to rake over old ground and vent your feelings.

You may feel that his wife has deprived you of your brother but, given the level of dysfunction in your childhood, it seems that he was your brother in name only and that there was no particularly close bond between you.

Given that you had very little contact with him in your childhood and that, as any history you share relates ony to the way in which your mother's behaviour individually impacted on your lives, it is unlikely that either of you will be able to redress this imbalance to your satisfaction.

As Thzumhie has said, you need to examine what a 'brother' means to you; does it mean someone you can rely on, someone who's always 'there' for you and who 'looks out' for you and protects you?

If so, your brother has demonstrated that he is not capable of filling this role and you are best advised to accept that you had no choice in selecting those who are related to you by blood, the friends/partners that you are free to choose can become closer, dearer, and more meaningful to you, than birth family members.

hiddenhome Thu 13-Oct-11 20:40:34

Thank you so much for all these replies. They have given me things to think about that I'd not actually considered before.

I will think this over very carefully before making a decision. I was hoping that the CBT might help me get things out of my system and help me move on as I don't really want to go over old ground again and I was let down by them both. I am making progress and don't want to leave myself open for more angst from them.

izzywhizzysfritenite Fri 14-Oct-11 02:29:57

CBT is a structured, practical, problem-focused psychotherapy which is far removed from lying on a couch, dwelling on past events, and telling all to the therapist in order to gain insight into your emotional state of mind.

While recognising that patterns and behaviours learned in childhood have contributed to the way you currently think and behave, CBT focuses on how these thoughts and behaviours are affecting you in the here and now with the aim of helping you find ways of changing negative thought patterns and behaviours so that you can function more effectively in the present and in the future.

From what you've said, it's clear that you have specific issues with your brother and his wife and I would suggest that you raise this in your next CBT session with a view to finding solutions that will help you view him and her, and your relationship with them, in a less judgemental light.

I'm sure you'll find CBT beneficial but if, subsequently, you don't feel that it has enabled you to achieve some resolution of the way in which the past has impacted on your life to date, please don't hestiate to source a different form of therapy.

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