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Do I accept I will never see them again and stop sending gifts?

(37 Posts)
PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 11:27:28

My DB and I haven't spoken for 3 years. DB was the one who stopped talking to me.

We both had a difficult upbringing and DB is unable to come to terms with it or forgive DM. I on the other-hand feel I spent too long allowing the past to ruin my present/future and chose to forgive DM for my own sanity (even though DM still thinks she did nothing wrong and has never acknowledged or apologised for her part in our unhappy childhood).

I keep contact with DM very low though. But I have DCs of my own who I don't want to be affected by my past. I feel that my DM should at least try to be a good DGM to her DGCs. She's certainly no Mary Poppins, but on the occasions she see's her DGC she's nice to them and they enjoy seeing her. I like this kind of 'normality' for my DCs.

DB can't understand why I don't share his resentment though, and he seems determined to make DM suffer forever - although not directly to her face. Its all very passive aggressive and rather cowardly. DB frequently posts cryptic comments on social media about DM, doesn't invite DM to important family occasions (or doesn't invite ANY of his own family so he doesn't "have to invite HER too!"). He also sometimes sends DM goady text messages. DM doesn't respond to these texts and that winds him up even more. It causes constant family tension and I just don't have the energy to participate in it too. I just live my life as quietly and as normal as possible, and put the past behind me.

DB is happily married, has a good job, a nice house, two lovely kids and a generally happy life. DM on the other hand has ruined every friendship and significant relationship she's ever had. Shes an unhappy alcohol-dependent bitter old loner now. In my opinion she has her comeuppance for how she's treated us. So I think DB should just let it go and consider himself lucky, because despite our awful upbringing, the only one that's suffering now is DM.

DB has had counselling, as have I. I TOTALLY get the anger he feels, but find it toxic to hold on to it and let it fester forever. But DB can't understand my views, and has therefore cut me off as he claims I'm unsupportive. He has ignored all my attempts to hold out an olive branch and make contact with him. We live hundreds of miles apart so I can't just pop round and chat to him. I only visit our home county once or twice a year.

When I visit home, I go to DM's and DB has told her when I'm visiting his DC's are not allowed to see me. (Despite cutting me off for not being supportive of his vendetta against DM, he hasn't actually cut DM off)

At our DGFs funeral a couple of years ago DB completely ignored me, both at the ceremony and the wake. He spent the entire time throwing me dirty looks and making nasty indirect digs at me (I was in earshot but not actually speaking directly to me). He sniggered at me while I made a short speech about DGF, which was humiliating. He then left the wake early (after knocking back two bottles of wine that were being reserved to make a toast to DGF) and refused to say goodbye to me. I was incredibly hurt. But, I accepted DB's decision and I stopped trying to contact him after this.

However, I still adore my two nephews (his DC's). I miss them terribly. In the time that DB hasn't spoken to me, I've continued to send them birthday/easter/christmas cards and gifts as I don't want them to think I don't love them any more. I don't think its fair to make any of our DC's suffer.

I'm in no way trying to 'out-do' DB, play 'one-upmanship' or antagonise him by sending his DCs cards and gifts. I've spent so many hours wondering if I'm doing the right thing. But the guilt of completely ignoring the DC's birthdays/special occasions would eat me up. They're only young, but old enough to know Aunt Perdita hasn't sent them anything this year.

DB in these last 3 years has never sent my DCs any cards or gifts for their birthdays or christmas. Never asks how my DC's are when he occasionally visits DM to collect the gifts I've sent his DC's. DM says DB is quite happy to let his DCs have the gifts I send, but then slags off what I've bought them or says things along the lines of "Perdita better not have bought them anything noisy or messy / cheap tat / any thing they don't like / any thing they already have, otherwise its going straight in the bin!". He doesn't ask DM to pass on any thanks from the DC's. In fact DB doesn't even tell them the gifts are from me, DM makes a point of letting them know who the gifts are from.

Its really really hurtful. And I'm hurt for my own DCs who never receive so much as a text from DB and have been cut off from their cousins.

It's coming up to Christmas again and my DH thinks its time to stop sending my nephews any more gifts, as DB is clearly ungrateful, disrespectful and sends our DC's nothing. I'm starting to think DH is right, as I think that DB will never come round and this is the end of our relationship. I don't think I'm ever going to see my nephews again.

But it feels so wrong to punish children like that. Its keeping me up at night worrying that my nephews will grow up thinking I didn't give a shit about them.

WWYD?... Is my DH right, should I stop the cards and gifts, or should I just keep sending them, even if I never see my nephews again?

Tinselistacky Wed 29-Nov-17 11:29:46

Maybe send cards and save in a 'pot' for your dns for the future if they choose to seek you out for contact in their own right?

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 29-Nov-17 11:35:24

Be very careful that is your mum who is the go between here; for all you know she could be feeding you a load of lies and passing the gifts off as her own. She certainly isn't helping to reconcile you with your brother.

Saying that, your brother sounds like an idiot and no great loss.

LiveLifeWithPassion Wed 29-Nov-17 11:40:09

So your dB continues contact with your mother, but doesn’t wish you to have any?
He’s full of resentment and anger and directs it you, rather than at your mother.
I would try to reach out to him one more time directly and meet him by himself. If it’s not successful, then move on.

JoandMax Wed 29-Nov-17 11:40:41

Different situation but my sister and I no longer have anything to do with our brother and his family. I also miss my nephew and niece desperately.

I send cards to the children and have set up a savings account that I put money in for their birthdays and Christmas which I will give to them when they're 16/18.

Much as it's tempting to not send anything at all (as they do my DC) I hate thinking they'll grow up thinking I didn't care

bellerina17 Wed 29-Nov-17 11:41:00

I'm a little confused as to why your brother and mum are now on talking terms and you have been pushed out? It surely makes everything he is angry at you about invalid. He now contacts your mum to get the presents yet the reason he doesn't speak to you because you've forgiven your mum? I'd be careful that your mum isn't causing problems between you and your brother intentionally. But I'm completely with you on forgiving and moving on, sometimes it's hard to forgive but life is too short to hold grudges, I'd keep sending the gifts, at least when they are older they will know you made the effort and you were always there, your brother might not appreciate the presents but I'm sure they do and will in the future too

Cricrichan Wed 29-Nov-17 11:54:57

It doesn't make any sense. Have you tried to speak to his wife?

RatherBeRiding Wed 29-Nov-17 11:56:06

I think it might help if you acknowledged that your DB is likely far more damaged by his upbringing than you imagine. It's been the right thing for you to reach some kind of accommodation with your mother, but he can't and that's obviously the best way for him to deal with the situation.

He obviously also feels that you have betrayed him by "making up" with the parent who has treated you both so badly, it probably feels to him like you've chosen sides.

I certainly wouldn't be sending cards or gifts via your mother, even if you brother still does occasionally visit her. She sounds toxic whichever way you look at it - can't you send them direct to your brother's home?

You're probably right that your relationship with your brother is beyond repair, but there's no reason to think your nephews won't be grateful for and appreciate the ongoing contact. Once they are old enough to be independent they may well seek you out, and it would be a shame to not allow for that possibility.

GinandGingerBeer Wed 29-Nov-17 12:08:11

Well that’s all a bit ‘do as I say not as I do’ isn’t it?
Why does he have contact with her but you can’t?
Has he told you categorically that he’s cut contact with you because you have contact with your mother? Or is that what you’ve assumed?
He’s either massively projecting or there’s more going on re his resentment towards you.

PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 12:12:34

Be very careful that is your mum who is the go between here; for all you know she could be feeding you a load of lies and passing the gifts off as her own. She certainly isn't helping to reconcile you with your brother.

I do agree, and I'm under no illusions that my DM isn't enjoying the drama and being in the middle. I genuinely don't think she's passing the gifts off as her own, simply because I think she enjoys putting my DB's nose out of joint. I also believe the pair of them slag me off together and DM is not as nice about me behind my back as she is to my face. But as I say, I only see her a couple of times a year. Contact is low and I only care that she steps up to her role as a DGM to my DC's. And Im always present when she has contact with my DC's.

"I'm a little confused as to why your brother and mum are now on talking terms and you have been pushed out? It surely makes everything he is angry at you about invalid"

Believe me. you're not the only one who's confused either.But DB has been messed up in that, for several months he'll be super angry with her and he'll be hellbent on making her suffer, but then he also still craves her love, affection and approval. The slightest hint from her that she's 'proud' of him, or pleased to see him and he's all over her. They're the best of friends. I'm the only one that forgives and is able to put it behind me to a certain extent, but I am fully aware of how devious and manipulative she is and I won't get too close. I no longer care if she shows me affection or not. I couldn't give a shit if she's proud of me. DB seems to be in a constant mental battle with himself of - I hate DM but I also want DM to love me. I've tried to help him with that, but instead he's turned on me

"Have you tried to speak to his wife?"
This is a whole other thread! DB has spent so long telling his DW all about his horrible family, and colouring her view of us all, that his DW doesn't like any of his family. She has told DB he doesn't need any of us and actively encouraged him to cut me off because I wouldn't participate in the vendetta against our DM. His DW also seems to have a chip on her shoulder about me, as for some strange reason she thinks I'm posh and rich and believes I think I'm better than them (I really don't!). His DW is not someone who I could talk to

LineysRunner Wed 29-Nov-17 12:16:41

Your mother is playing you both.

Do you have your brothers address? I'd definitely send some small things directly to it - cards and maybe vouchers & a few Christmas sweets, that will fit straight through a letterbox. Doesn't have to cost much, but you'll know they'll have been received, and without the bitter and twisted side-commentary.

PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 12:20:16

"I think it might help if you acknowledged that your DB is likely far more damaged by his upbringing than you imagine."

Oh believe me, I have acknowledged. We were actually pretty close for some time. I took DB in and he lived with me for a year. We spent many hours crying on each others shoulders. We encouraged each other to seek professional help. We have both had counselling and various other forms of therapy, and we are both on AD/anti-anxiety meds and I imagine neither of us will ever fully get over it.

But I can't keep up with him one minute him hating her, and then the next being best friends - when I've backed up his anger, and 'sided' with him, but then he goes and makes up with D, I'm the one that's left out in the cold with both of them. So in the end I resolved to side with neither and remain neutral

PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 12:30:01

"Do you have your brothers address?"
They moved last year and I'm not allowed their new address. My DM is the only relative left alive to pass my gifts on to nephews. And when I knew their old address he told our DM that his DW didn't appreciate me sending gifts to their home and I should send them via DM's address instead and they'll pick them up from her home.

I discovered a couple of weeks ago one of my nephews went back to live with his mother. DB had full custody of his eldest when he and his ex separated (as an amicable agreement), but when DB married his current DW and had another DS with her, the eldest from the previous relationship was pushed out, so he has now asked to live with his mum. I contacted the mum, said I didn't wish to interfere in their private affairs and had no intentions of causing any trouble, but asked if it was ok to still send nephew birthday and christmas gifts. Nephews mum said she was uncomfortable with receiving the gifts at her home as she's been instructed by DB to not let nephew see me.

Its so fucking hurtful, as I've actually done nothing to deserve this except refuse to side with him each time he wants to punish DM.

LineysRunner Wed 29-Nov-17 12:33:38

I think you to step outside of this wildly dysfunctional family situation for your own sanity.

user1497997754 Wed 29-Nov-17 13:10:53

Just leave the past where it belongs in the past..."concentrate on your future with your family....stop beating yourself up about your brother and your mum... cut them out of your life and move on its a very toxic set up with them....they only bring negativity to your life so why put up with it....I speak from experience and it nearly cost me my marriage....my mother and sister would have been sooooo happy had that been the case.....be happy with your family....stop sending presents and cards it really serves no purpose and causes you distress because your brother is different to you.....enjoy your life with your family and have a lovely Christmas

MajorMam Wed 29-Nov-17 13:27:14

I wouldn't send anything this year. I should imagine DB's nose will be put out of joint and if he contacts you to ask why, I would tell him that you find it very upsetting that he is happy to receive gifts for his DCs but doesn't want you to have any contact with them and you are confused as to the reason why. I would also make it clear that your own DCs would have appreciated being acknowledged by their Uncle.

I really wouldn't be surprised if his DC have no idea that the gifts are from you as he won't allow you to even send them to his own home or his ex wife's.

I would refuse to discuss it with your M and tell her you will only discuss it with DB.

I totally get his hatred and anger but desperation for his M's love and approval. I can imagine he is projecting onto you as he can't do it to his M for risk of losing her for goodsad.

I wouldn't involve your M in any aspect of your contact with your DB such as sending her stuff for his DCs.

MinervaSaidThat Wed 29-Nov-17 13:32:01

Yes, time to stop the presents and cards for your own sanity.

They hold all the cards and will never allow you to have a relationship with DNs.

You're just hurting yourself in the process.

I think your DH is right.

Northernparent68 Wed 29-Nov-17 13:51:57

I’d stop sending gifts, you do nt have a relationship with your brother or his children and it’d Best to accept that. You do have a husband and children of your own, so concentrate on then. I also think it’s unlikely they ll be upset by the lack of gifts or come looking for you when they re 18.

GinandGingerBeer Wed 29-Nov-17 13:53:15

Your brother is getting a kick out of being the temporary one in favour and enjoys joining in with your mother to cause you further anxiety. Honestly, cut contact with both of them. Your DM is not a good grandparent, why facilitate contact? You don’t owe her your kids.

curtainpolehistory Wed 29-Nov-17 14:36:51

I feel sorry for your DB. I don't blame him for feeling the way he does about your DM and I'm not sure why you play the charade of happy families with her.

She is playing you both and feeding off the drama no doubt. You say you were close but she has got exactly what she wants - triangulation - where she has divided you and now she can control from her point of power.

What also strikes me is that your anger is directed at DB when it should be directed at your DM. Is he a scapegoat for your true feelings?

PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 14:45:08

"Your brother is getting a kick out of being the temporary one in favour"
I think you're right. That reminds me of when we were kids my DM bullied us both. But I was older and a bit more headstrong at times. Sometimes I retaliated so DM would punich me by acting as though I was invisible. She would completely ignore me, look through me, wouldn't let me eat with everyone at the dinner table, would totally blank me if I tried to talk to her, refused to say goodnight to me at bedtime etc. During these 'falling outs' with me, and to hurt me more, she would suddenly start being super nice to DB and manipulate him into blanking me too. Which he'd go along with as he was rewarded with some rare affection. She knew how much I loved DB, and that I looked out for him. She knew that getting DB on side and treating me like shit too would hurt me the most.

He's enjoying being 'loved' by her now I guess, at the cost of my 3-year long misery. I am starting to now wonder if the whole thing has been yet again orchestrated by DM.

"Your DM is not a good grandparent, why facilitate contact? You don’t owe her your kids."
No I don't owe her my kids, and she'll never get as close to my kids as any normal DGPs would. But I feel I owe it to my kids I suppose. I don't want them asking one day why DGM isn't involved in their lives any more and having to divulge awful details that I've currently shielded them from. I want them to be as oblivious as possible to the dysfunction of it all. I want them to think DGM is normal, and they have a normal, albeit low contact, relationship with her... But I am starting to re-think it

LineysRunner Wed 29-Nov-17 14:54:05

I definitely would rethink that, OP. Your mother knows that actually, the best way to hurt you next is through your children.

PerditaSinjorino Wed 29-Nov-17 14:56:37

"I'm not sure why you play the charade of happy families with her."

I don't?! Have younot RTFT?
I visit her once or twice a year for my kids sake. I ring her whenshe sends my DC birthday/christmas gifts. Sometimes she rings me to ask about my DC. This low contact approach is the best I can do without going totally NC, because I still have other siblings that live with DM who I still love. And I still want my kids to have a normal DGC/DGM relationship to a certain degree.

I have already said how me and DB were close. I looked out for him most of my life. I was practically his mother most of our childhood. I'm angry because HE has cut me off, while HE continues to still see DM - even though me not cutting DM off is the reason he's angry with me.

He erratically flits between wanting her to love him, and then hating her again. He wants me to be the same, and when he gets in the mood of hating her he expects me to follow him. I don't, because I can't handle the drama any more. I just want a normal life.

I get he's damaged. Yes, Our DM did that to us both. But I'm an adult with a family of my own. I can't keep going through the drama to prove I will always love him.

I have even sent emails to him pouring my heart out telling him how much I love him. I've said it countless times to his face, on the phone, in texts, on bloody facebook!

What am I supposed to do if HE won't talk to me?

MinervaSaidThat Thu 30-Nov-17 05:16:37

You do nothing, Perdita. He has chosen you as his scapegoat.

I'm NC with my brother, and we used to be close.

The longer we spend NC, the more I see that he is the one with the problem and that there's nothing I can do to change him. I've fully accepted it now and don't even think about him much.

category12 Thu 30-Nov-17 06:24:41

I think it's time to accept that he's not just damaged but toxic himself at this point. So I would send them Xmas cards with token amount voucher directly to them and withdraw.

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