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I can't believe what my mum did to my bro!! Advice please on comeback reactions to her..

(41 Posts)
greenday Thu 22-Feb-07 18:54:51

I just received an email from my brother.
My brother is 39!! He is a chief steward and lives with his boyfriend. He's been giving my parents a sum of money every month since he started working over 20 years ago. It's a customary thing to do in my family/culture. My mum wanted to return the money (as goodwill gesture) but knowing that he wouldn't accept it, she waited for him to be on one of his flights, went into his flat, looked for his bankbook and deposited the money into his bank!!! She must have been through all his drawers to look for his backbook. Bearing in mind that my brother lives with his boyfriend!! How embarrasing for him!! I mean, he is 39 ffs. We all have private things in our drawers!!!!!
And she does not think she has done anything wrong. She CAN NOT see that she has done anything wrong, invaded his privacy or shown lack of respect to him as an individual.
She continues to treat us like children!!
My brother is seething, but more than that, I'm sure he is embarrased that she has gone through his drawers in his own home. I agree with my brother on this one. Even though I know my mum meant well.
Any advice on punching 'one-liners' or reactions / actions that may perhaps help her to see his point of view?

NAB3 Thu 22-Feb-07 18:57:09

Did she find anything he would rather she didn't see? If not, I would say a very large thnk you, send an enormous bunch of flowers and at another time ask that if she wants anything in future to just ask. She meant well, doesn't seem like any harm was done and she is his mother so obviously felt it was okay.

Twiglett Thu 22-Feb-07 18:59:12

I'm not sure I know how to respond as I can see both sides really.

What a lovely gesture from your mother .. how full of love and acceptance and joy

But I can fully appreciate your brother's annoyance too

I'm at a loss .. sorry

lulumama Thu 22-Feb-07 19:00:59


she wanted to do something generous for your bro, that he would not agree to , for whatever that cannot be criticised

going through his stuff..that is a different issue, BUT she was not snooping for snooping;s sake, she was looking for a specific thing, not just rummaging through his things for the hell of it.

it is up to your brother , not you, to sort this out.... and no punchy one adult conversation so he can put across why he is angry

although if she has seen embarrassing personal stuff, this will prolong the embarrassment...

your mum meant well and that is important.

totaleclipse Thu 22-Feb-07 19:02:07

Awww bless her, I doubt she realised she was invasive, maybe we can only comment when our ow children are 39

BodkinVanHorn Thu 22-Feb-07 19:02:39

I'm with Twiglett - I can see both sides. Presumably, your Mum had a key in order to be able to get into his flat - so he was OK about her going there when he wasn't at home. And it was a lovely gesture on her part - which she couldn't have done any other way. I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings so I wouldn't say anything, tbh. Your brother will get over his embarrassment (what was in his drawers, then ?)

Freckle Thu 22-Feb-07 19:03:12

What a lovely thing for your mother to do. I can see he might feel a little invaded, but has she mentioned anything "unmentionable" that she found? Has she commented on anything? Presumably she has a key to his flat, so he must be happy for her to let herself in. And she may have known where to look for his bank book.

He should get over himself and be grateful that he has such a lovely mum (rather than one who goes through his stuff looking for reasons to berate him), but perhaps just give a gentle hint that she could have asked his boyfriend if she wanted to keep it a secret.

BodkinVanHorn Thu 22-Feb-07 19:03:25

I'm with Twglett and NAB3 and lulumama and totaleclipse actually

MerlinsBeard Thu 22-Feb-07 19:04:29

i don't see antghing wrong actually. can see being a bit annoyed that his lack of privacy was disrespected but she must have a key and could therefore have gone thru his drawers had she so wished at any other point anyway

Kelly1978 Thu 22-Feb-07 19:09:43

If it was a cultural thing that he would give her that money, does he also feel angry about that as well as the invasion of privacy?

I don't blame him really, she isn't even jsut invading her son's privacy, but his bf's too, and his bf must be seething too, and he must feel embarassed that she has done that to both of them.

I guess some mums are never going to change though, my exh's mother was the same, had this attitude that she had seen it all before and whatever did we need privacy for!

It might have been a lovely thing for her to do, but I'm not sure if he sees it like that and she has gone about it in totally the wrong way.

divamumplus Thu 22-Feb-07 19:11:59

i agree with others too sorry
but as long as she is not seen anything seriously embarassing,its not that really bad. i think she is great mum who just wanted return his money, many parents dont do that these days, so you two are so lucky.
i can understand the way she done it, is not appreciate but she had no other way really.
dont be too harsh

greenday Thu 22-Feb-07 19:12:50

Omigosh! I guess I can see why you all see my mum as lovely. She is, I agree. Just sometimes to the point of being too overwhelming and therefore doing over-the-top things like that. I guess my bro and I seem overly-annoyed as, all thorugh our childhood, we have witnessed times like these where she has overstepped the mark, all in the name of goodness and caring. To her, as long as her intentions are genuine, then her actions bear no consequences. It would be nice, sometimes, if she were to acknowledge that we have feelings and would like a little respect as individuals.
PS-I don't know what my bro has in his drawer .. but a 39yr old gay chief steward ... don't need a vivid imagination for that ...

BodkinVanHorn Thu 22-Feb-07 19:13:41

Ah, your Mum probably didn't know what any of the things she saw mum wouldn't

lulumama Thu 22-Feb-07 19:14:56

well, if he has any sense and he knows his mum is prone to popping in unannounced, his personal <ahem> things, will be well hidden!

ohsmellyjelly Thu 22-Feb-07 19:15:28

Message withdrawn

NurseyJo Thu 22-Feb-07 19:23:32

Message withdrawn

greenday Thu 22-Feb-07 19:24:58

My parents have the key to my brother's flat for emergency purposes as he is away so often. They're not prone to dropping in. So this has taken us by surprise.
Precisely my mum doesn't realise she has done anyhting wrong. That's what grates at us so much. If she could just see his point of view and agree that perhaps it was too invasive an action, we would all calm down and agree that it was a lovely of her to want to return the money to him.
Agree that it's an invasion of my bro's bf's privacy too. I feel sorry ofr him too.
I'm a SAHM living a rather dull life. If my mum went though my drawers, I would feel the same as my bro.

greenday Thu 22-Feb-07 19:29:52

NurseyJo- sorry to hear your side of the story. I know that I am fortunate to have a mum like her. You have reminded me that I should count my blessings.

Twiglett Thu 22-Feb-07 19:30:12

I think I'd advise him to write her a letter and tell her everything he wants her to know

but not mail it

look at it in 2 days and re-write it

don't mail that one

look at it next day, write it again and mail that one

hopefully the perspective will help

vizbizz Fri 23-Feb-07 03:04:47

She sounds like my dad - with absolutely no idea about personal space (Though my dad isn't quite so sweet). If she's anything like him, she would be really hurt if you got angry about it as she truly wouldn't understand. It's possible that it would cause more upset and achieve nothing.

And yes, my dad also still treats us all like we are wee little kids (I'm the youngest at 34). It's not about a lack of respect, it's a cultural thing, and they just don't understand personal space. Never did, never will. Getting her upset and hurt won't change the way she sees things (or fails to see them).

vizbizz Fri 23-Feb-07 03:05:58

Having said that, he has more secrets than anyone I know

sunnywong Fri 23-Feb-07 03:49:52

I am married in to a different culture and I get the thing about personal space not being respected, believe me I really really do. However, what I have learned is that an acceptance of other people's ways and habits comes with it and the interferring person would most likely consider it a point of honour not to be looking at objects she had come across on the search for the bank book, IYSWIM.

And do you really think your mum would know a double ender if she fell over it?

Stiller Fri 23-Feb-07 05:33:30

If I were your brother I think I'd be torn with regards to how I felt. Absolutely furious that she hasn't respected his privacy, embarrassed at what she may have seen, and humbled by her determination to re-pay him. It is an incredibly sweet gesture after-all.

I agree with Twiglett about writing the letters. Hopefully your brother will be able to gently explain why he'd rather her not go into his home uninvited and she will accept it.

My mum and ex-p both have sets of keys for my home but I'd be very angry if they used them without my permission. A bank account full of cash might soften my reaction though

WideWebWitch Fri 23-Feb-07 06:59:06

I don't see the big deal tbh, she didn't think she was doing anytihng wrong, in fact she thought she was doing a kind thing.

I think the moral might be 'if you don't want your mother to go into your flat don't give her a key' tbh.

handlemecarefully Fri 23-Feb-07 08:01:02

I'm actually quite surprised at how this thread has gone.

It was a lovely and thoughtful gesture from your mother - granted, but if I was your brother I would also be livid at the invasion of privacy (and I have nothing more exciting in my drawers than old knickers with failing elastic).

The way I would play it would be to say a huge heartfelt thanks to my mum and tell her how much I was touched by this - but also point out (firmly and clearly) that I was unhappy about her going through my house in my absence. There are lines that simply shouldn't be crossed.

My SIL has the key to my house - but that is in case there are any problems when we are away. It isn't to give her carte blanche to go through our things.

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