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.

Advice re DB being babied by Mum- affecting my relationship with her

(34 Posts)
notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 12:21:58

Such a long story but I'll try to be brief! My brother is 23, 24 next month. Im married but live about 15mins away from my parents and DB lives with them.

My issue is this: DB has always been 'young' for his age and not very independent- complete opposite to me. He graduated 2 years ago and since then has been working 2 days per week in a shop (not related to his degree or what he wants to do). He did find another job which was related to his degree but again this was only 2 days per week and this job ended badly (basically the employer was not paying him, more of which later).

Since then he has been applying for the odd job here and there but a token effort to appease my Dad rather than actually looking for work. Essentially he is being supported financially by my parents, and my Mum seems quite happy for this to continue. She is very defensive of him if anyone mentions him only working part-tim.In truth i think she enjoys the time they are spending together as they basically spend every day together!

Regards the job which ended badly, he is now taking the employer to a tribunal and I have agreed to represent him as he is not a confident speaker, which i am fine with and I want to support him. But as a result my mum seems to have handed the entire 'baton' of the case over to me, and is expecting me to fill out all the forms, make all the phonecalls, deal with the case completely whilst DB does nothing!

it is really affecting my relationship with both of them in that I love both of them dearly but am starting to feel completely cheesed off and rather 'used' in the sense that all my Mum ever talks about is DB and is really babying him- eg my parents went on holiday for two weeks recently and she insisted that I do all his washing and cook for him or she wouldnt be able to relax on holiday. needless to say my DH was less than impressed.

Goodness me I have ranted on for ages!blush

If anyone managed to get to the end I would really love some advice, or to know if anyone else has been in a similar situation?

overweightnoverdrawn Tue 30-Jun-09 12:43:13

Tell me you didnt do his washing and cooking

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 13:21:12

I didn't do his washing but i did do some ironing and also he came round for tea every other night.

I know im being a mug. But when my Mum is on the phoen every 5m minutes worrying about him, its difficult to say no. Any advice?

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 13:21:14

I didn't do his washing but i did do some ironing and also he came round for tea every other night.

I know im being a mug. But when my Mum is on the phoen every 5m minutes worrying about him, its difficult to say no. Any advice?

notyummy Tue 30-Jun-09 13:25:23

I'm not being facetious here, just checking.

He doesn't have some sort of special needs does he?

Because frankly those are the only circumstances where parents should be treating their grown offspring like this.

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 13:31:35

Um no...unless you count chronic laziness?he has always been the 'baby' of the family and things which have been expected of me havent been of him.

it really is that bad isnt it blush. DH has been saying it for ages but I just thought it was cos hes worried about me being taken advantage of.

is it really that bad? To be honest its been going on for so many years that its hard;y registered until now when the combination of my parents being away for 2 weeks and the tribunal giving me lots of extra work has come to a head.

neversaydie Tue 30-Jun-09 13:53:01

We had a similar situation in my husband's family. Younger brother, still lived with MIL, she still did all the housekeeping, washing and so on. BIL seemed to resent being babied sometimes, but never enough to do anything about it. MIL expected DH to step in and help if BIL needed anything. (He didn't!)

Well, MIL died just before Christmas - she was only 63 and it was very sudden and completely unexpected. She left my BIL, aged 35, with no idea how to cope with living by himself.

Babying a son to this degree is irresponsible parenting. The son will eventually need to look after himself, but will never have been given the chance to learn.

DH and I have had a lot of conversations about making sure that we teach our 9-year-old son good life skills since Christmas. (I was always pro - DH has now seen for himself why it is so vital).

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:01:44

Thanks Neversaydie and I am sorry to hear about your MIL. Its true- if the worst happened he would have no idea how to cope. Next year my parents are planning to go to Australia and New zealand for 3 months and I am dreading it already- theres no way it can carry on as it is.

Rightly or wrongly I keep making comparisons against how different I was at his age- at 23 (now) DH and I had a mortgage, full time jobs, were planning our wedding, etc- all normal part and parcel of fleeing the nest. In comparison he is more like a young teenager. it worries me that it doesnt bother him at all and its even expected- Im ashamed to say he is becoming rather spoilt in terms of expecting things to be done for him, for example 'jokingly' (but not really) moaning if my Dad doesnt wash his car on a weekend.

JackBauer Tue 30-Jun-09 14:08:53

Are you my sister? Or my SIL?
MIL does this to BIL so much it is not even funny, he is 25 and still at home, ahs never moved out. He does have a full time job as a mechanic and MIL makes him a packed lunch everyday, shops for all his food and stuff and, because he is notoriously unreliable with money, has his bank card and gives him a tenner a day or whatever he needs for a night out as logn as he can afford it (he is injured and on sick ATM so has been down visiting us and she really waits on hi hand and foot)
he will never move out and freely admits it, as he says, why the hell should he?

My brother is 24 and has been to boarding school, uni and now lives with his GF 150 miles from my mum for 4 days week and the rest at my mums so he can be closer to uni for his masters. He still has a bedroom at my mums house filled with his crap that no-one is allowed to touch, when I stay with DD's I sleep on teh sofa bed so that DD's don't go into his room and mnove his stuff as it is important (but not important enough to actually be in his flat)

When he is coming to hers she does abig shop and stocks up on food for him, even though he has a car, and money through lecturing and personal training, and is perfectly capable of shopping, and she has a full time job.

Again, why should he fully move out? pisses me off. My bedroom was cleared out the year I went to uni, even though I ahd to come home on holidays and live out of boxes in the new 'spare room'.
Interestingly DH thinks my brother is more spoilt, whereas I think it is the other way round.

Sorry for rant, mums and their boys is a sore point. let this be a warning to all mother of boys on heresmile

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:15:40

Jack I feel like I have found my doppelganger in you!!! I suppose by now I am used to them suppoerting him financially and doing everyhtign for him so h doesnt lift a gfinger, BUT whats getting me down now is the impact its having on my life, in the sense that despite working FT, doing von, having a life etc, I am expected to be his surrogate mother and also my Mum has no topic of conversation other than DB! When she rings our house its only to talk about him and whats happening with the tribunal case. i know it sounds teribly childish but sometimes i do feel like waving my arms and shouting "I'm here too!" blush

have you found this with your Mum and MIL, Jack, in that their main conversation is their sons?

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:20:24

terrible typos in that, sorry

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 30-Jun-09 14:22:05

Have had similar with my own brother particularly when he lived at home. Things only improved when he moved out but he still has them running around after him to some extent and it has to this day affected my relationship with both my parents and my brother. MIL has her jobless son living at home with them now and he's 46 going on 14!.

What these two above have in common is the way they have taken charge and as a result infantalised their sons.

Your Mother is certainly not helping her son here by infantilising him; my guess is she's always done this. The thing as well here is that this is about control also. Your brother allows this to happen to him and your Mum likes to feel needed and made important hence her control over him. She is the driving force behind all this here but your Dad is also at fault here too by encouraging this and enabling her to control her son.

You should not further have enabled your brother by doing some ironing for him!. Tsk but what is done is done now. Learn from that. You certainly cannot act this way towards him in future as you would be carrying on where your parents left off. Enabling helps no-one, creates a false sense of control (also this need to control comes from deep rooted anxiety issues on their part) and only fosters further co-dependency which is not healthy. You have to start saying NO and keep saying that to them.

Long before your parents go to Australia for three months I would make it plain to each of them that you will not be there to bail your brother out on a daily basis. He will have to manage on his own with regards to the domestic chores.

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:29:28

Atilla I am shocked by how absolutely spot on your post is. Youa re so totally right- Mum has always needed to be in control and I rebelled against this as a teenager and have come out the other side and for the most part we have a good relationship.

I know my Dad doesnt approve of the situation but is keeping reasonably quiet for an easy life- my Mum is a great one for guilt trips and being 'funny' for ages until you do what she wants- hence me doing the ironing, etc.

I know you are right about Australia- Im just not willing to do this anymore. On the other hand I am not looking forward to the enivitable guilt trips about how myy Mum wont enhjoy her holiday because she will be so worried about him etc etc...and this will all be said to me rather than him as it is just perceived that I SHOULD be looking after him, no debate about it.

JackBauer Tue 30-Jun-09 14:34:54

TBH notmummy, no, my mum knows when she says anything that I am going to tell her she is not helping him live for himself and I just tune MIL out.

Last christmas he didn't get her a present. We had badgered him and reminded him but nothing. He didn't have time to find ehr something special, apparently.
(He had previously not bought any of us birthday presents or cards, or a birthday present for DD1, until mum gave him money and physically sent him to the shop to get her something (was only pound shop fairy wings, so not like it was breaking the bank!) Just before christmas he gave me a 50 quid playstation game with specail controller addressed to my sister and BIL to deliver, but I got nothing. )

Now I am not petty, but he genuinely couldn't understand why thsi upset people until I called him on christmas day at his gf's parents and gave him the biggest bollocking you have ever heard for making his mother cry that he hadn't even got her a card.

I then called my mother and told her the gist of what I ahd said, that he was a selfish prick who didn't deserve her as a mother and that we (sisters and I) were not going to help him anymore, he had to wake the fuck up and start living like a proper adult.
Since then it has been a bit better, or at least I don't hear about itsmile

GooseyLoosey Tue 30-Jun-09 14:36:26

Can you not just make it clear to your brother that you will not be looking after him and mention that if he wants to tell your mother and ruin her holiday, it is his choice. Sure, she will find out when she gets back, but by then it is too late to ruin anything.

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:39:19

Oh Jack i wish I had your balls!!! (Figuratively speaking). Thats so sad about not getting you and your Mum a Christmas present, she must have been so upset sad.

I really wish I had the nerve to give him the giant kick up the backside he really needs. i think it would be easier if I felt like there was someone else on my side but I feel like a lone voice. DH doesnt approve but wont get involved as he doesnt see it as his place to which I fully understand.

I need to grow a pair, don't I?

JackBauer Tue 30-Jun-09 14:39:58

Attila, this is MIL's problem, my mum does it as DB is her last child at home and I think she is nervous of being on ehr own (was in very abusive marriage with my father) so different situation really.
MIL though is definate control freak, when she is away normally SIL is sent round to make sure there is food and stuff in the house for BIL. which she does at half 6 with both her DS's, sendin them up to his room on purpose. He soon asks her to stop.

It is difficult for us as BIL has a serious physical health problem after an accident which means he can't work or do a lot round the house, so she gets to baby him all the more. Hopefully when it get better so will she...but I am not counting on it...

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:41:31

They are back from their 2 weeks holiday now (just yesterday) and Australia isnt until next year thank goodness by which time I WILL have done somethign about this <steels self>. Good point though Goosey but I honestlty think he wouldnt think twice about tattling to Mum about it even though this would make her worry. His view is very much that it is expected that I will fill in in her absence.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 30-Jun-09 14:42:31

I would also go as far to say that these women are ultimately only thinking of their own selves here. They don't really care let alone understand or even think about what damage is being done to their male offspring; its the continuation of their narcissitic supply and having these men dependent on them that is important to them. My MIL is certainly narcissistic by nature and I think my Mum certainly has deep rooted control and anxiety issues.

I would not let your Dad off the hook entirely either as he has played the bystander role as many men do in these situations. People from dysfunctional families take on roles; mine is scapegoat and my brother "the younger and golden child" is more favoured by my parents than I am to this day even though this is strenously denied.

You need to keep saying to your Mum that your brother is an adult and not your responsibility. You need to stress to her continuously that you have both a life and family unit of your own.

I was "trusted" i.e left to get on with it, my brother was not given that opportunity. Also he was easier to control. This has affected my relationship with my parents to its overall detriment. Its a very much superficial relationship we have these days with no closeness whatsoever.

cestlavielife Tue 30-Jun-09 14:53:04

it wil be your mum's choice to worry.

tell her you wont do it. 1. you have no time 2. your brother is an adult.

if she wants to employ a housekeeper for your brother while she is away, so be it. let her do it.

but she has time between now and then to teach him how to look after himself.

but you are under no obligation to care for a fully functioning adult.

if it means your relationship with your family cools - so be it.

also do not listen to your mother's moans - practice cut off phrases - "sorry gotta go now, doorbells rang, bye." "sorry toast is burning, bye"

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:53:50

So many bells ringing here, aprticularly about being the 'trusted' child or the one expected just to get on with things. My Mum is a great one for saying "oh you'll be fine" in an irritatingly flippant way if I have a problem or issue (I recently had some not insignificant health problems) but if DB has a hint of a problem it is over-examined and analysed and discussed to death.

I know I do need to take action- as you say I have a family unit of my own to think of. DH is being quietly disapproving at the moment but I'm well aware that I'm walking a fine line in terms of to what extent he will be prepared to see me doing so much for my DB.

notamumyetbutoneday Tue 30-Jun-09 14:56:31

Thanks C'estlavie- you are giving me exactly the same advice I would give someone else in my situation. I know what I need to do, Im just a chicken.

To be honest its just the thought of all the guilt trips I can't stand- I can hear them now "But he's your brother!" "Dont you care about him" and then the phonecalls "I just spoke to your DB and hes just had a sandwich for dinner, nothing else..." "When are you going to invite DB around? he must be lonely by himself with us away...etc etc etc"!!!

cestlavielife Tue 30-Jun-09 15:24:16

dont answer the phone. let it go to voicemail and delete.

send short text msgs to australia or emails.

zipzap Tue 30-Jun-09 17:42:48

If she tries the 'don't you care' type comments, work out plenty of answers in advance and rehearse them so that you can say them without feeling guilty.

Things like 'Exactly, I care a lot and that is why I think it is important that as a grown man he understands how to make his own tea/bed/etc' and 'I do care a lot and I don't want to be the one responsible for killing him with kindness like you are' and 'Now is the perfect opportunity for him to see his friends' etc etc etc. I am sure that lots of other people will have much better ways of wording this sort of thing but you get the gist.

But it is important to work out a few phrases and imagine yourself using them in conversation with your mother (and the subsequent conversation if necessary).

zipzap Tue 30-Jun-09 17:47:09

Don't know if you brother has a girlfriend... but also start pointing out how he is unlikely to get/keep a girlfriend and if your mum isn't so keen on that, fast forward a bit and get her thinking about how much she would like to be a gran to his children too as well as yours maybe...

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: