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My brother- is this passive aggressive?

(97 Posts)
JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 09:53:54

Okay- I know this is not the world's worst problem and I don't want to make out it is but.....

my brother lives 300 miles away. We get on okay although have very different lives- he's single and likes it that way. I'm married with grown up kids.

We speak on the phone either once a week or once every 2 weeks- usually about our elderly parents who live near him.

Anyway the problem is that if I call him he never ( 99% of the time) picks up his phone. I am sure that for 80% of those times he is there at home.

I mentioned this to my mum and she says he does the same to her, but she excuses him by saying sometimes he's upstairs doing 'work' ( extra consulting he does separate from his day job) and doesn't want to be disturbed. I know she's just covering for him, but also been taken in by his 'excuses' because he's told me that he only does this extra work at weekends, usually Sundays when I am careful not to call him!

This week we each (Mum and me) tried to call him to tell him about a death in the family (Mum's side) and again, he didn't answer. Mum left him several messages and eventually he called her back but he's not yet called me.

I suppose I don't know what is behind the way he withdraws like this. Our mum is a huge worrier and I know she sometimes calls him too much, but he seems to have taken a passive aggressive way to cope- rather than just answer the phone and tell her ( or me) he's busy at the time.

I suppose I just think this is about him controlling us in a weird way and wonder if I ought to ask him why he doesn't answer when he's clearly at home? I know we can't and shouldn't be slaves to the phone, but it's just odd that he never ever answers and only speaks to people on his terms.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:02:10

Some people just don't like answering the phone.
I don't particularly relish the opportunity of speaking to scammers, sales people etc.
And yes, we are registered with TPS.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:05:21

He's got caller display though hmm so he can see the number or even check afterwards with 1471.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:06:52

So have I. Doesn't mean I want to schlep downstairs to hover over the phone and check who it is, though.
Why should he?

sooperdooper Sun 02-Feb-14 10:08:55

Doesn't he have a mobile, can't you text?

curlew Sun 02-Feb-14 10:10:01

If you have elderly parents, you answer the phone. Or check caller ID before you don't. No question.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:10:04

So do you purposely avoid connecting and communicating with people who'l like to chat to you? Does it have to be as and when it suits you and you alone? smile

At the simplest level, it could be important- like one of our parents ill- they are very old. And I am sure he's got a phone in the bedroom anyway next to the spare room where he is working ( but not really working- that's an excuse.)

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:10:40

I have elderly relatives. They face time me.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:11:32

Yes he has a mobile, but he doesn't answer that either.

I'm just going to stop calling him- fed up with this attitude of it all being on his terms when he can deem to talk.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:12:33

face time you?
ha! Lucky you.

My parents do not have a computer- they are 88- and they can't even really use their mobiles properly- dad's kept ringing here all weekend because he can't work out to lock it, as he's going senile.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:13:21

Yes I do. I can't stand chatting on the phone. I dislike being controlled and interrupted by a gadget I pay for. If I lived alone I'd have the thing removed.
If someone needs me in an emergency, they text me on my mobile.

FetchezLaVache Sun 02-Feb-14 10:15:03

only speaks to people on his terms

Well, that's the thing with phones. They're for the convenience of the phone's owner, not that of the person trying to ring.

I really think you're overthinking it, unless there's a back-story to this. Maybe in this case, he thought that as long as he phoned one of you, he'd covered all bases so there was no need to ring both. After all, your mum did tell you he'd rung her back, didn't she? Maybe he just don't like talking on the phone much!

CakePunch Sun 02-Feb-14 10:15:29

I never answer my phone unless I'm on mn my phone is usually on silent and in my bag. I only check it at work incase my dd nursery call. I just don't feel the need to be contactable all the time. Sorry if that makes me passive aggressive but it's just not something I think about.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:15:33

Are you sure you aren't my brother Katie? You do sound rather hett up about it all.

But there the comparison ends- he turns his mobile off too.

quietlysuggests Sun 02-Feb-14 10:18:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:18:42

This is all getting complicated.....

I know he was told of the death of my mums's SIL, by our mum, BUT i wanted to talk to him about the way mum was getting involved in the funeral and death arrangements, and this was not something I'd discuss with my mum.

Suelford Sun 02-Feb-14 10:19:09

So leave a message or a text or an email or a letter or a Facebook post, or one of the other countless ways of getting in touch with people that don't want to drop whatever they're doing because you made a bell go off in their house.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:19:38

Hang on till I check...
...No, I'm not your brother smile

Seriously, I really get hacked off by the assumption that the callers preferences on chat time are somehow more worthy than the recipients desire for peace.

However I am an out and proud introvert and probably horribly old fashioned grin

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:20:20

and quietly I asked him to call me back 3 days ago and he didn't.

ovenchips Sun 02-Feb-14 10:20:36

Well it's clear he dislikes answering the phone. But I am less sure that it's because he's being passive aggressive - it may be - but he may also really hate having to use the phone for whatever reason.

And yes it's aggravating if you are trying to contact him, but I honestly don't know what you could do about it. As a PP said, he may be better with texts or emails. Otherwise, I would just try to change my own expectations and not expect him to change.

And if the consequences are that he misses urgent news etc well that's totally on him and you are simply not responsible. You tried to ring him. He didn't answer.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 10:22:28

Katie- it's nothing to do with being an introvert or old fashioned. It's simply if relationships between friends or family are to remain harmonious they can't be if it's all one sided and someone prefers their solitude to the extent of never wishing to speak to anyone except at the precise moment it suits them.

pictish Sun 02-Feb-14 10:23:16

When the phone rings, it's not a summons, and you don't actually have to answer it...but you can if you like.

I don't think he's being controlling or passive aggressive at all. I'm the same...if I don't feel like answering the phone, I don't.

quirrelquarrel Sun 02-Feb-14 10:23:43

I don't think it's PA. Loads of people have a low level bit of anxiety about the phone. I don't like it myself and hardly ever pick up unless we've specifically agreed on a phone call. Can't you email/text?

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Feb-14 10:25:24

My family relations are Walton's harmonious. Seriously, that close.
Mostly I suspect because we respect each other's preferences and foibles.

ShadowOfTheDay Sun 02-Feb-14 10:25:52

I do not answer the phone much either.... someone (Stephen Fry??) said it is like having a toddler in the corner shouting "Me,me,listen to me, me me now" "come on pick up the phone, it's ME, me, me you know, I HAVE to speak to you NOW..."

nope....leave a message I'll call back - preferably leave a time when it is convenient for me to call....

I don't carry a mobile all the time either...

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