Advanced search

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.

My brother doesn't speak to me

(32 Posts)
SMJYellow Fri 06-Oct-17 17:36:19

I have a few brothers. There are two living abroad in Australia. There is one younger brother living at home with our mother. He's now in his mid 20s. I also live at home.

Me and my brother at home used to get on well but not so much any more and I don't know where things have gone wrong. He hardly speaks any more.

I first noticed something back around about January or February of this year. He was a bit cold. There was zero conversation from him. I put it down to perhaps work stress. Perhaps tired from work or whatever.

Like I would try and make conversation like:
How was your day in work?
How was your night out (if he was out the night before)
Did J or G phone you lately? (J and G being the first initials of our brothers).

I would hardly get a reply from him. One word grunts at most, I would get from him.

He started dating earlier this year. He started taking the girlfriend home back in March. He didn't even ask our mothers permission. He came in hungover one Saturday evening, the girlfriend following him and in his room they stayed until Sunday night. I was hardly introduced to the woman. I was only introduced because I happened to rise very early one Saturday morning and we happened to meet in the kitchen.
Later that day, in the evening time, I asked you brother - hows M? Is she gone home? (M being the first initial of the girlfriends name). I got much and the same kind of a response from my brother - I got a one work grunt before he fled back to his bedroom.

Not only all that, there's been many opportunities for my brother to speak to me. Like, my boyfriend likes to take me out at times like going for a spin and visit on Sundays. We went for a break away back in August. My boyfriend took me for a weekend away for my birthday too. My brother could have spoken to me at any time and asked me anything like:
How was your day at _ (insert tourist attraction/activity)
How was your break away? Did you enjoy yourself?
How was dinner? Where did you go for dinner?

However there is absolutely nothing from my brother in the form of conversations. He's not talking to me. At times there might be a 'hello' but that's it, there is no conversation from him. I have a hobby I like to work on regularly and he could even ask about that.

He's the same with our mother but he's even worse with her. The only time he speaks to our mother is when he's giving out to her and criticising her. He's being overly critical too and it's completely needless. Its like he's only happy when he's dishing out dirt.

I think, all this has gone on too long for work to be a reason. I work long and hard myself but I still speak to our mother and I'm not dishing out dirt to her.

It feels to me that he's so wrapped up in his girlfriend that family doesn't exist anymore to him. I could be wrong maybe there's other reasons he's being like this. I don't know.

I can't think of any row that we had for him to not speak to me.

Has anyone experience in similar. A sibling withdrawing from family.

I understand people grow up and meet partners and grow apart and all that. I have two brothers in Australia. One is settled with a partner and child and we are in touch a few times a year. Even though we don't hear from each other often, I know what is between us is solid. As for my brother at home - to grow apart into nothing where he hardly speaks except for a grunt. I'm not able to understand that.

SMJYellow Fri 06-Oct-17 19:02:40

I had to rush writing the original post but I have a few more minutes to add to it as well.

There's a few more other things along with the zero conversation from my brother.

I brainstormed and researched PlayStation 4 games coming up to last Christmas and bought him a game I thought he would like as a Christmas present. On Christmas day, he unwrapped the gift I got him but after that it was left in the sitting room since then. Unopened from the clear, plastic film that comes around these things. He has a TV and the console in his room. The game wasn't even brought to his room.

Then there is other things. We are friends on Facebook but there is zero interaction on Facebook from him too. I don't have much time for Facebook but when I do, it's fairly organic like putting up pictures, liking pictures, getting tagged in pictures. A few good things went up over the past few months on Facebook from me and some friends, not once did he press like.

So I feel theres a few different things happening:
Zero conversation
Zero interaction on Facebook
Dumping the gift I got him at Christmas.

I feel completely shunned from him.

Rainycity Fri 06-Oct-17 19:23:21

Are you younger than him? Don’t want to sound harsh but it sounds like he’s just living his life and being independent - maybe his GF does mean more to him right now! I certainly would prefer to keep my life a bit separate from an adult sibling if we were still living with parents. You could always try finding a time to directly ask if there’s something bothering him. There could be something you’re unaware of.

junebirthdaygirl Fri 06-Oct-17 19:35:28

If he is so rude to your dm as to not speak to her in her own house and bring girls home without asking if that suits he should be called on it by your dm. I know you cant really get involved in that but he sounds very cheeky and rude.

lolaflores Fri 06-Oct-17 19:38:30

IT might be time for everyone to get their own places. A bit of space really does improve relationships.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 06-Oct-17 19:41:05

I'm sorry you feel hurt. It can't make for a happy atmosphere in your mother's house.
Did this distancing start when you began dating your boyfriend and spending less time at home?
Perhaps he has always been self-absorbed, or just feels the two of you don't have anything in common and now he has a gf he is happy to shut you out.

HopefulHamster Fri 06-Oct-17 19:43:22

He seems rude.

My brother didn't speak to me for a few months once because he perceived I'd been patronising to him on one occasion (I'd no idea). Still don't have words for that really!

SMJYellow Mon 09-Oct-17 19:12:20

Thank you for all of the replies. I meant to reply sooner than now but never got a chance.

I'm a few years older than him. I know we are all adults and life is going to take us in different directions and all that. I have a brother in Australia who is settled and even though we only hear from each other a handful of times a year, things are fairly solid between us and we are all good together.

As for my brother at home, I understand we have our own life's to lead. My issue is that there has been nothing at all from him in regards to kindness or courtesy. Someone else wrote it better here and said - shut out. I'm not able to understand this, that's all.

Our poor poor mother. Things were not easy growing up with an absent father and she done her very best.
Me being an older sister, I picked so many things up. Like working throughout school to bring in a wage and buy my little brother shoes and sort Christmas out too. That's beside things, she did her best and he is showing so little respect towards to our mother.

If I had the money I would be gone. My wage in incredibly low. I do help at home though and I chip in my fair bit and other bits. My brother was unemployed for a while but he's in employment now for the best part of 18 months. Full time employment which plenty of opportunities for overtime. Atva guess he's earning anything from 400 euro (I hardly get half this) to 700 euro a week depending on hours. He has the wage to carry him forward into renting if he so chooses.
It appears to me that he's not happy at home and he's free to leave but he won't.
It also appears to me the relationship he has with his girlfriend is very materialistic and if he was to go and rent his wage would be taken up with rent and bills and he would have very little left over for going out, for treating his girlfriend, taking her away on holidays etc.
Last week the two of them returned from a trip to Poland. So the money is there for him to rent.
I asked him when he came home from Poland - how was Poland and I got a one word response and that was that. He got up and left the room. It nearly pained him to be in the same room as me or speak to me more.


I first noticed something from him back in January but it wasn't an issue for me. I put it to the back of my mind. It would have been in and around the same time that he started dating. He was on better terms with our mother earlier in the year and speaking but not so much any more.

I started dating in February. The coldness became more obvious in March but I put to the back of my mind. Thing is, it's so prolonged now.

I'm mindful about what I usually say. I try and remain positive as best I can.
There is even trouble from a sister in the form of harassment but I don't speak about things to my brother. He can't stand the sister so I don't involve him. Have been to the police and all.
That's absolutely awful what you've been through.

I went out with my boyfriend yesterday to come home last night to find my mother in tears in her kitchen. I brother slept all day and got up and started giving out to our mother. She was going to ignore him and go to the room but he was pressing things. That's what mam told me anyways and I have no reason to doubt her.

I'm disgusted with him.

Fishface77 Mon 09-Oct-17 19:17:31

Whose house is it?
Maybe he needs a short sharp shock and be told to move out "while we still have a relationship"?
Also it sounds like your quite motherly towards him (working through school to buy him stuff and support him), remember he already has a mum maybe he needs a sister rather than another mother figure?

SMJYellow Mon 09-Oct-17 23:46:19


Its our mothers house. I completely agree with you. I'm at my wits end. I'm a fairly easy going person and I can let so many things slide but this, I think it's only time before I blow a fuse with. I would tell him to get out and move but it's not really my place to do so. I don't think my mother would be too pleased with me if I was to tell him to considering he doesn't like it at home.

I think so much of this is of my mother's making. She allows him to live at home without contributing and he's taking advantage of that big time. Not only that, our mother enjoys helping him big time like doing his laundry and I think he should be doing things for himself.

I wrote briefly of the years growing up where my dad wasn't on the scene. Growing up in a one parent family is not easy. Its a poverty hole. I worked from a young age to help at home and to help with my brother. That's all. I'm far from a mother figure for him but I always had his back too. I was happy to help him out from some sticky situations many times. He got sick the year before last with a bad case of chicken pox and I was there happy to help him. I bought a cream called poxlin and other medications and loads of cold drinks. I hated seeinhim.sick and I wanted to do anything to help him be more comfortable.
I always had his back.

All this - being shunned from him and him behaving as if family doesn't exist anymore is a smack in the face.

Fishface77 Tue 10-Oct-17 00:00:53

How old is he op?

SMJYellow Tue 10-Oct-17 13:01:25


He's 26.

We used to eat on good and chat away many times. Now there is nothing.

About a fortnight ago, I went out with my boyfriend to a show. Unfortunately I began to feel sick. At half time during the show I went out and I began to vomit. Two strangers came up to help us and offer us very cold and chilled water which absolutely helped. It was lovely. The night was cut short and we went home. I was sitting in the kitchen, clearly sick and heaving into a bucket and my brother was up. I just about got an hello from him but there was nothing else like:
You're home early,
How was the show,
You look sick - how are you feeling?
Would you like a hot water bottle filled?

There was nothing there from him at all.

I'm not able to understand this.

MissBabbs Tue 10-Oct-17 13:16:42

Maybe he feels he was put upon - having to be the man of the house or similar.
If you mother has run after him all his life he is unlikely to feel much respect - maybe until he has his own DCs and sees for himself how hard it is.
His GF swill copy his attitude.
He wants to be an independent man with Gf not DMs or DSis to deal with.
Stop trying to chat as it prob just annoys him.
Could other DBS help to get him to move out? But imv the problem is your DMs and she has to fix it. That’s unlikely to happen so you will have to wait until he decides to move out. I would look for a better paid job with a View to moving out OP.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 10-Oct-17 13:27:51

He saves the real rudeness for your mother by the sound of it. If it's her house she has the power to give him his marching orders.
What you see as ordinary chat, he sees as irritating small talk.

SMJYellow Tue 10-Oct-17 14:06:46


He was never the man of the house. He was ok at helping sometimes with some jobs like cutting the grass before but the grass has been completely neglected now since his girlfriend came on the scene.

I wouldn't understand how he's feeling hard done by, by something like that.

That's it. He's showing little respect towards the family home and our mother. You mentioned something in your post about him wanting to start his own family with his girlfriend or whatever or something on them lines. I think this would be a true assessment. He could be acting out wanting to leave. Thing is, there is no one holding him back. He's free to leave. He would have to money to carry him forward into renting. The girlfriend looks to be high maintenance and it appears to me that their relationship is very materialistic. He wouldn't have much money for wining and dining and buying gifts and holidays for the girlfriend when rent and bills are paid. The only reason is staying put is for money.

I would chuck him out in a heartbeat but right now all I see from him is rudeness and him not being happy at home and him using the family home at the same time. I suspect he will cut contact or keep a large distance when he does leave. That will break my mother's heart and I don't want to be responsible for that or for any sour feelings that might develop from my mothers side if my brother decides to go down the route of cutting contact.

SMJYellow Tue 10-Oct-17 14:27:07


That's it. He ignores me and he goes about shouting at our mother.

Towards the end of July and August of this year, things were really fairly obvious at that stage. He didn't speak to me in months expect for one word grunts and I got annoyed with that. I withdrew all communication. I didn't say hello to him. I walked out from the room when he walked in. Things like that. It didn't take him long to learn this and then he spoke to me. So there I was happy he was making an effort and then I spoke to him. It didn't take him long to return back to what he was doing before that. More ignoring except for one word grunts when spoken to. It seems to me he's on some sort of a power trip where he wasn't happy because I was ignoring him ignoring me.

The ass has completely fallen out from things now.

I'm gone back to ignoring him ignoring me and I don't know if I want to let my guard down again and speak to him if he speaks to me.

I hate it how it's come to thia where he doesn't speak and I just don't understand it.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:58:14

Have you outright confronted him? And if not, why? Ask him, to his face, what his fucking problem is. Tell him the way he treats your mother is TOTALLY unacceptable. Tell him if he's so unsatisfied with they way others do things then he is free to leave, and that honestly you would all be happier if he did. You should also encourage and support your mother so she refuses to be treated like that in HER OWN HOME.

MissBabbs Tue 10-Oct-17 16:43:58

He sounds like a bully. He might be angry as he hasn't the money to move out and set up on his own and takes his frustration out on you and DM. But if your DM is going to keep him happy at all costs in case he cuts contact with her in the future I don't see what you can do.
Eventually he will leave, just hope it's sooner rather than later.

SMJYellow Tue 10-Oct-17 18:30:16


To be honest - the silence from my brother had been so subtle and in the early days it didn't bother me. I put it to the back of my mind thinking it's work related stress etc. The thing is, it's gone on far too long for work to be a reason. The Christmas gift left in the sitting room unused. No interaction on Facebook from him. The whole thing has been completely subtle.

As for his treatment towards our mam, I only ever witnessed one major mood from him and I was sorry afterwards I didn't stand up then.

Then in early August my mam snapped at him and he turned around into a rage. I had to come in between them then and he roared at me to stay out from it and he had a dirty dig at me and my boyfriend that he never apoligised for either.

To be honest, I've been dying for him to start things up again with our mother but In front of me but he's careful about his timing making sure that I'm not about.
Its only what my mam says to me afterwards. If I was to catch him in it, I this stage no more excuses, he wouldn't even get time to pack his bags, I would have him out.

SMJYellow Tue 10-Oct-17 18:40:40

Miss Babb's,

I think he does have the money to move out but he would have to do some serious budgeting and going away on holidays would be out of the question.

There was a horseracing festival where I am during the summer. He bought a new suit and shoes for that and at a guess that would have cost the guts of 400 euro. Two days out at the races would be more money. I don't know how much. About 2-3 hundred euro. That was just the spending in one week. That would be a lot of money to go towards a rent.

The money is there on his side for renting.

MatildaTheCat Tue 10-Oct-17 19:53:44

He sounds immature and resentful that he lives with his mum and sister whilst wanting to be the young man about town in a batchelor pad. So easiest to ignore you both and be rude. It sounds much worse for your poor mother.

It's up to her to set some boundaries and impose them. So, rent contributions, grass cutting and other chores, clearing away after meals, doing his own laundry. I bet she won't do this but she should.

So other than support your mother there not much you can do. I guess you've tried suggesting that you all eat together some nights each week and so on? And I suppose you have actually asked him if he is ok since he is so moody and silent? It's unclear if he's always been a bit like this and got worse or whether this is a total change of character. If the latter it's possible he's depressed or has external issues such a work related problems or debt. But unless you begin to communicate as a family it's impossible to tell.

choccybiscuit Tue 10-Oct-17 20:35:09

Yep I've had a similar experience with my db and he was smoking drugs.

Guttedbysis Tue 10-Oct-17 23:50:26

Oh For goodness sake. leave your brother alone!
Sorry why does he have to constantly check how you are, introduce you to his girlfriend, or even ask your mothers permission to being a girlfriend home to his own house as an adult?

He sounds like he's ignoring you, or not answering your business because your far too involved.

He sounds like a normal adult trying to have an independent personal life whilst living with family and you sound like you feel like he should justify his every move to you and his mum. If you were my sibling I'd fucking ignore you aswell.

Angelf1sh Wed 11-Oct-17 05:29:10

I think being rude to your mum is out of order and she (not you) should pull him up on that. The Christmas present thing is a little rude too, even if he didn't like it, he could at least have taken it into his room. Other than that, I think you're overreacting a bit. Seemingly he doesn't have the same desire to have small talk with you as you do with him, there's nothing wrong with that. He doesn't have to ask you about your day, it's not a crime. He doesn't have to care if you had a nice weekend or not. And jeeze the Facebook thing? Seriously? He hasn't liked your photos sufficiently? You said yourself you don't use Facebook that much, maybe he doesn't either? Maybe he doesn't want to comment on your stuff, he doesn't have to. Using Facebook as a reason to be angry at your brother sounds quite silly to me.

If you feel that you're being ignored, ask him what's up. If your own response is to ignore him back, that's not going to improve things. Two wrongs don't make a right.

JayoftheRed Wed 11-Oct-17 12:00:10

I kind of agree with guttedbysis although not so harshly, although I do disagree with the fact that he doesn't have to ask permission to bring his girlfriend home - while he lives under your mother's roof, he does. Sorry.

He should be paying rent, and it would be nice if he wanted to enter into family life. But he clearly doesn't want to, and I suggest you just leave him to it. Stop asking him about his life - he clearly doesn't want to tell you. Stop expecting him to ask you, he clearly doesn't care. He's telling you with his actions what he wants.

He may well be able to afford to move out, but prefers to have the money to spend on clothes and holidays. His behaviour towards your mother is disgusting, but again, that is her problem, she needs to put boundaries in place, sort out a rent amount or he moves out etc. Does he do his own cooking, washing etc?

Let him get on with it and leave him be. Think of him as just a lodger or something.

I know it's hard, and I'd be gutted if my brother suddenly stopped speaking to me, but he's telling you without words what his priorities are - listen to him.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: