Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Toxic brother(15 Posts)
I have a very difficult brother who I have basically handled with kid gloves for most of his adult life. He has a bad temper, gets very envious of others, holds grudges for years and has zero respect for my husband and me. While he often loses his temper with my parents, they take it because to them, he's the golden boy. My husband has insisted on maintaining a relationship with him because he is from a large close knit family and he wants the kids to be close to all of their relatives. We have taken years of his horrible behaviour and bitten our tongues.
However, last year, he upped his game. He left it to me to organise a party for our parents wedding anniversary, I suspect because he wanted to avoid paying for it. I assumed an evening do would suit most people. My parents said they preferred that. I called him and checked that was ok as it would involve him and his family staying in a hotel. He said that was fine and I started to make plans. I have no idea what changed but the day before the party, he arrived at our house furious with me because I had 'ruined' the party for him. Why should he stay in a hotel? He'd wanted an afternoon do so he could drive home afterwards. He stayed for three hours shouting and swearing at me and my husband, in front of my parents. He called me and my husband lots of terrible names. Meanwhile, my 4 and 8 year old were hiding in their bedrooms. It was awful. My parents occasionally chipped in with 'calm down' to him but said nothing else. My husband and I stayed calm for the sake of our kids. When he left, my parents literally just shrugged their shoulders.
Afterwards, my husband said he wanted nothing more to do with my brother unless he apologised. My dad said not to expect one as my brother is stubborn.
My husband and I feel very strongly that we cannot have a relationship with my brother until he makes amends for his behaviour. Families quarrel but my brother's rages are not normal. However, my parents are upset with me that I am staying away from my brother. They say Ive just got to get along with him because it stresses them out to think their kids don't get along. They are putting me under a lot of pressure to contact my brother again. I should mention that my parents used to have lots of heated rows in front of us when we were growing up. I think they think this is all normal but I don't want this for my kids.
What do others think? Should I turn the other cheek and risk this happening again? Or should I take a stand and say you cannot scream, shout and insult people (especially in front of children)?
Have they said to your brother that he has to get along with you to stop them stressing? Have they said to him to contact you? Has he attempted to contact you? What do they think he should do for the sake of harmony?
Your responsibility is to your children, not your parents. If you do decide to keep his company again then you shouldn't let him scream at you in your house. Have your boundaries and stick to them. If he does not behave well there are consequences. Ejected from your home, for instance.
take a stand. that behaviour is not acceptable in any way shape or form
Deal directly with him no triangulation via them. Be firm, set boundaries as you see fit. Don't expect him to see reason or apologise though esp if yr parents enable this behaviour and it has become entrenched.
You can only change your reaction, not his behaviour, sadly.
Your poor sister in law, and god help any child caught in his tempers wske
He invited us to his house shortly afterwards via email. It was very curt. We said no, saying we had plans. Even if I dropped any demands for an apology, the very least he could do was phone me up and invite me. Since then, nothing. To be honest, I just don't want to be in the same room.
I didn't mention that he said that afternoon that he didn't want a relationship with me, he just wanted to be left alone. This was in response to my husband suggesting we all forget about any problems in this past and move on and try to build a good relationship. To be honest my husband tried really hard with him, urging him to try to get along with me and he wouldn't budge. He even said he preferred his wife's sister as an aunt to his kids!!
Anyone who came into my house shouting and swearing to the extent that my DC were scared, would not be welcome in my life without a full, frank and grovelling apology.
i would be abso-bloody-lutely transparent with EVERYONE about it too. I would not be hiding from it, I would not be answering ANY calls to make it up.
I would tell him to go fuck himself to be honest.
Ugh, I feel for you lem73, I have a toxic sister who turned family members against me while I was overseas for 2 years. I have been estranged from her and 2 cousins that she co-opted into the betrayal for 10 years. It was the best decision for me, as I realise that she would always undermine me. My parents tried to talk me into allowing her back into my life (some time ago now) for similar reasons to you, but I stuck to my guns. When toxic sister eventually said "I'm sorry for what I've done, but no, I'm not going to put it right", I realised then that she was not a person I wanted to have in my life. I knew that if I stopped contacting her, she would not pick up the ball and contact me. In retrospect, it was the right thing to do, and I know that my quality of life has been so much better because she has not been in it.
Stand firm in regard to your boundaries. Having said that, your brother has been 'allowed' to get away with this awful behaviour all his life, so it is very unlikely to change. YOu may or may not get an apology from him, but even if you do, you can be sure that he will not be remorseful or do anything which shows that he wants to make up for this dreadful behaviour. What a jerk!
I don't think you should either resume contact, apologise, confront or turn the other cheek. I think you should leave the horrible man well alone and give him a very wide berth. If your parents put on pressure your response is that their relationship with your DB is their business but your life is your own business. End the conversation there.
Parents are only with us temporarily so I think they deserve some leeway. Siblings IMHO are entirely optional extras dependent on good behaviour. You need to be very firm with your DH and stop him doing all this silly olive branch stuff against your wishes.
I would no longer contact your brother in any way shape or form. Am no expert whatsoever but to me he sounds narcissistic in terms of personality. Your home is or should be a sanctuary for your children; for them to have had to hide in their own bedrooms is completely unacceptable. Both your and you H must present a united front to both him and your parents. Your parents too have to also take some responsibility here for their son's behaviour (which they will not); they have also caused their son's dysfunction. They are also part of the overall dysfunction so you do not have or should go along with your parents wishes to keep the peace. You as well do not need or should now seek their approval.
Read up on triangulation as well, this is a tactic often used by and within emotionally dysfunctional families. I would also suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as this will give you a starting point.
Fortunately for you, your H has come from a family where this type of dysfunction is unknown but he does need to realise that his own birth family remains healthy and yours birth family is not and never has been. My guess too is that your brother was always treated by them as the "golden child" and you as his sister was scapegoated.
I'm sorry, but if anyone came to my house and stood ranting and yelling at me and my family for that length of time I would have rung the police to have them removed.
I would then expect an apology before resuming contact. Resist the pressure from your parents, do not explain, do not justify. Remember, you are protecting your children from his behaviour. Why would you want them to have to deal with such nastiness again?
If you and your DH tolerate this you are inviting your children to believe that the correct way to deal with a raging bully is to roll over and take it in order to avoid stressing their parents.
You were doing something good for your parents. Your brother created hell for you you, your DH and DC - and your (argumentative, manipulative) parents didn't do anything to support you. That sounds like the basis of a complete rethink for you and your DH to me.
Thanks so much to everyone for your messages. I had a very difficult conversation with my mum on Thursday where she made me feel I was being stubborn. I was concerned friends might just tell me what I wanted to hear so I decided to get objective opinions. This experience has made me appreciate and respect my husband so much more. My own family are dysfunctional but he's helped me break that cycle with our own kids.
"Anyone who came into my house shouting and swearing to the extent that my DC were scared, would not be welcome in my life without a full, frank and grovelling apology."
And as others have said, by ignoring his behaviour or sweeping it under the carpet you're just giving him carte blanche to walk all over you. You're also giving your children the message that screaming at someone is an effective way to deal with a problem. Your parents also sound very dysfunctional. Tough situation, OP. Your husband sounds like a star though.
Continue to make your stand and tell your parents that you are an Adult, as is your brother, and you should be afforded the same respect he is given, despite his appalling behaviour, time and time again.
You organized something special for them and he ruined it infront of your children, it is the last straw and the ball is in his court to apologise. In the meantime you don't want to discuss it any further with them.
If they can't respect your wishes then concentrate on your immediate family and keep them at a distance.
Join the discussion
Please login first.