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Family issues

7 replies

Mrsmagoo22 · 10/12/2014 12:03

Hi everyone
These boards have been a great support to me but first time posting so pls bear with me.
We adopted our gorgeous dd 5 yrs ago aged 7 months and it has been the best thing we have ever done. Family life on the whole has been amazing - ups and downs like everyone else but thats life.

My eldest brother especially formed a close attachment to her and she thinks the world of him.

He has a history of depression, mh issues and although there is no proof problems with alcohol I suspect.

Earlier this year it was his sons bday (22) and he organised a family meal which we said we would attend. At the last minute the venue and time changed to one that was not child friendly (loud music bar and 9pm) so we said that as we could not get babysitter we would not be able to go but hoped that they had a good time. I also sent a card and present along for my nephew.

To say he was not pleased is an understatement, lots of verbal abuse on the phone which upset me a lot.
I even rang the place to ask about children eating and they like them to be out by 8pm.

Anyway the upshot is that we have not seen or heard from him since (8 mnths). DD is wondering why and blaming herself. I have told her that it is a silly row between him and me and nothing that she has done.
I have tried to make contact but no response.

Part of me is angry for dd that he can cut her off like this and the other part is actually glad as I am not sure I want someone like this in her life.

He has fell out with other siblings and not spoken to them for weeks on end but there are no children involved and everyone welcomes him back with open arms when his tantrum has run its course.

He has always been quite selfish, even toward his own kids if truth be known although it hurts me to say that and the whole family have managed his behaviour due to his problems which he refuses to seek help for.

It is now causing other family problems to the point that my parents are saying I should do anything I can to sort it out because "you know what hes like"... Yes I do but dd cant understand this behaviour.

She is getting to an age where we are talking more about birth family and why they cant be in her life so she is processing all this and I am angry that a member of my own family can cut her off like that after forming such a close bond with her.

So do I try harder to resolve the issue for dd`s sake?
Do I accept that in the long term this is the best outcome and help dd to come to terms with it?

OP posts:
Kewcumber · 10/12/2014 22:32

If it wasn't for the fact that my sisters children are all in their 20's and none adopted then I would closely question whether we have the same brother.

My brother always boasted of what a close relationship he had with DS (not totally true as they only saw each other once every 2 or 3 months and DB never took DS out anywhere or had a relationship with him that was independent of me) but they certainly got on well and as a single adopter I encouraged this.

DB's behaviour deteriorated and he went no contact with my mum (who lives locally to me and who I am very close to) for reasons which are not entirely clear to me but I think are either because he deemed her not perfect enough, or she looked at him funny or because she still sees his ex-wife (only with their children though) - who knows?! But we appeared to have been tarred with the same brush and he dropped DS like a stone about 2 years ago when DS was 7. No Xmas or birthdays cards, presents, phone calls - nothing.

We previously papered over the cracks of similar behaviour and made up but this time it seems irredeemable.

DS has some attachment issues and separation anxiety and I don't think I can ever forgive my brother for adding to that in however small a way. Whatever his issues with my mum (or even me though Lord alone knows what he thinks I've done except breathe) I can't believe that he is so self obsessed that he doesn;t care what effect his behaviour has on a vulnerable 7 year old as long as he makes his point (which is a bit laughable as I have no idea what his point actually is).

I have decided not to make any special efforts to cajole him. He knows where we live if he wants to contact me.

I have explained to DS that DB is feeling very sad and that sometimes when people are feeling like that they find it very hard to be part of a family and we have to let them go and work it out for themselves and just hope that they will and then we have to try to be open to letting them back in.

I explain this through gritted teeth to my slightly confused child and try not to look too stabby as I say it...

holeinmyheart · 10/12/2014 22:37

Sorry that you are in this distressing position.
You have done all you can and your DB is being unreasonable. As to your DD, I am afraid this goes on in all families.
I have a dear friend who is adopted and contacted her birth family recently and it did not turn out well. It is life.
My BIL went cold on us a few years back and I went to see him. Phone calls and texts are all very well but it is really only with a face to face meeting that you may have some success.
I told my BIL that if he continued going down the road that he was going down, it would force me into a position where I would have to stop trying to make contact. Then as the years went by it would become more and more difficult to get in to contact and we would lose touch. In the end, 25 years down the road, we wouldn't even remember what the incident was about.

In all conflicts I would recommend face to face meetings. It is the only way.
Also if you do manage to see him, keep to the 'I' word rather than the 'You' word. You are not looking for blame after all, but a solution.
Xx best of luck as he sounds like a difficult A*e

bberry · 11/12/2014 08:14

Oh dear... What a difficult situation, and how selfish of your brother not to consider the additional impact this will have on your LO.

Only you can decide if you wish to peruse a solution and risk it all happening again in the future if you cross him or to let it go now... It all changes when we have LO to protect doesn't it.....

You can't choose your family can you!


Mrsmagoo22 · 11/12/2014 18:05

Thank you so much for the replies.

Kewcumber- So sorry to hear you are in the same situation and yes our DB's do sound scarily similar. I feel angry on your behalf especially with the extra issues your ds has to deal with. How do these people sleep at night?
Isnt it hard to say words in a nice way about someone you feel so angry about? Tips gratefully received lol

Maybe the only difference is that my whole family feel its up to me to sort this out. It just seems that he can behave exactly as he likes and never face any consequences!

Holeinmyheart- yes i could do more to try to put this right tho to be fair a face to face encounter fills me with dread given the verbal abuse he dished out.
if you dont mind me asking what was the outcome with BIL?

bberry- i do have to decide and to be honest typing this has helped a lot.
Hes my DB and i will always be there if he needs me but given everything i have said about him do i want him to play a big part in dd's life?

I always wanted dd to have a support network as well as us but lets face it, he hasnt got it in him to be part of that anyway.

So maybe its time to face facts and help dd to come to terms with it. Kewcumber- i like what you said to ds so may use those words if ok

My mum thinks hes jealous of our life. His marriage broke down (actually thats not true, he had an affair) and so has always carried the guilt that he wasnt a full time dad to his boys.
i dont think this is fair-we (like many) have been to hell and back to get to where we are now!

Thankyou so much for listening to me!!!!

OP posts:
holeinmyheart · 11/12/2014 21:36

The outcome with my BIL was that he became friendly again. During our conversation, I didn't say 'you' as in ' you are an arse.
I kept all my arguments to ' I' as in I feel sorry, I feel that I may be at fault( I damn well wasn't) I feel very uncomfortable with the situation and if you explain to me what you think I have done then I can try and put it right etc etc I left loads of gaps so that he could talk.
My BIL is a very difficult person full of angst but I wasn't going to allow him to upset my life by going NC. He is lucky to have me and my family.

Kewcumber · 11/12/2014 21:54

I have no idea what my brothers issues are (well - I could make a stab at a few...) but in the end he isn't suffering any serious mental health problem that I am aware of (I keep in touch with his daughters who see him) and so ultimately is responsible for himself and is at least 50% responsible for his relationships.

I accepted his sorry arse back once just to have DS given the silent treatment. And in the end people can only "punish" you if you let them.

I can't say I feel happy about the situation, it think its sad and unnecessary but you can't make people behave in a way that is reasonable and I'm not currently inclined to to beg him to grace us with his presence (he is NC with us rather than the choice being ours).

The sad fact is that we have all moved on with our lives and filled in the hole he left and whilst it confuses DS, the people who are around him are reliable and loving and not totally self-obsessed. SO in the end despite feeling its not a happy outcome it isn;t an unhappy outcome IYSWIM.

You are right though that I don't have any pressure to see him from others in the family. Those people who have asked about it I pretty much say "You can't make people want to be happy in your company. You can't compel adults to behave nicely". I am very calm about it - I don't get into any justification about the choices I've made I just repeat with a serene but sad smile " do think its very sad when adults can't make an effort to play nicely when there are children involved. But you can't make an adult behave the wya you want them to".

Repeat if necessary and don't engage in any conversation about how you should be the bigger person.

Unless you want to make things up - in which case swallow your pride and email him saying that he will only ever have this one family and whilst none of you are perfect, you are what he has and in 20 years time you will have missed out on 20 years of experiences together for what end?"

In my bitter experience it will just repeat in a couple of years but do what feels right to you now.

Mrsmagoo22 · 11/12/2014 22:47

You are right Kewcumber it will repeat and i would find myself back here in prob less than a couple of years.

It sounds like you have risen above it and its what i need to do. Thank you so much, it really has helped. I have spoken to my mum and explained that i dont want to fall out with her over this, i will always be there for db and be civil to him if we meet at family do's etc but thats as far as it goes and she has to trust that i am doing what i think is best for dd.

To be honest dd always struggles at this time of year. So much going on at school and out of her usual routine. Had meltdown last night over her classes nativity play. Roll on end of term- think shes ready for a break. My sil had her baby at the wkend too so tho shes very excited about her baby cousin it has sparked lots of questions about her birth.
A good opportunity to talk about it but she is processing so much!

I take on board how you dealt with bil holeinmyheart and if db does make contact will do my best to put it into practice

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