Family problem - advice welcome

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a continueing problem with my brother. Anything I say is wrong. He is beligerent and rude and disrespectful.

    We had a small family party for my dad's birthday. I did not realize my niece would be there when we arrived - my bro was not. Jess wanted to give niece her EasyBake oven. I had ASKED my bro if this was OK. He said it was. He also wanted the toaster oven we were getting rid of. And some acne stuff we tried and didn't finish.

    We came in with the easybake oven. Niece was excited. I included the cookbook of recipes that use real food instead of the mixes AND a $10 Walmart gift card because I know the recipes call for some stuff bro doesn't have. And $$ is super tight for him.

    I ran an errand with my mom (Gma) while Gpa watched all 4 kids. We came back and my bro climbed all over me because it was "unacceptable" to show the easybake oven to niece before asking him if she could have it.

    I walked away. Didn't want to have ugliness at my Dad's birthday party.

    Later bro is obnoxious because he doesn't have room to store stuff I don't want. WTH???? I offered stuff, was ready to freecycle it, but gave him first shot at it. HE lives in a trailer, has a shed AND a LARGE shop building with LOTS of storage (10 by 20 storage area, and then roughly a 6 car garage size shop area). He has his daughter HALF the time. I live in a smallish 4 bed house - 4 bedrooms, kitchen/dining/living area combined. Period. And htere are four of us here. I have no shed at this time. NO outdoor storage.

    I told bro he did not have to take the oven. I had the toaster oven and acne stuff in the car. He asked for htem. Not politely. Jess went ahead and got them out of the car.

    Toward the end of the evening he got on me for "having imaginary conversations" with him regarding the easybake oven and other stuff.

    Bro has significant memory problems due to ADHD and alcoholism. He is in recovery, but he does not remember many many years because he was drinking or having mental problems.

    We all sort of ignored bro as much as we could. I did give him the cookbook and giftcard because niece had seen them. It would have made a bigger scene if I asked for htem back.

    I am deeply offended. I say all the things that I should, to stand up for myself, etc.... He refuses to acknowledge them, or that he has acted rudely or meanly.

    If I cut off contact with him it upsets my parents greatly. My mom is not terribly emotionally stable, and my dad is seriously Aspie. So this is super difficult for them.

    It is as though I am a radio station broadcasting, but bro refuses to be a receiver. I have NO clue how to let him know that I will NOT speak to him in these situation.

    He has called at 10pm or later the last few evenings. We will not answer. IF I call after 9 pm he chews me out for not understanding that he has a job and has to get up in the morning and he has a small child and calls after 9 are just rude.

    But HE calls much later, and will try EVERY cell phone if we don't answer the house phone.

    I HATE having a gfgbro. Yes, he is a recovering alcoholic. Yes, he HAS been sober 7 years.

    BUT that does NOT give him the right to treat me like waste from a pig farm.

    So far we refuse to speak to him if he calls late at night, I will walk away if he starts being rude, and will even LEAVE my parents or where we are if he follows and continues to be ugly.

    I have told him what the boundaries are. We have done these things. But he doesn't stop or get the message.

    Bro will do everything he can to make me out as a bad parent, child and person in this situation. been there done that so many times.

    I don't want him in my life at this point. Cutting him out will hurt my parents badly, so it is not an option. They don't deserve that.

    I am quite sure we are in for many ugly scenes.

    Any suggestions are very welcome. I am at my wits end with this. I dont' want the kids to think this is OK behavior.

    Thanks for reading all of this.

  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's not OK behaviour. Not at all. But if he clearly can't remember stuff you've discussed then you need to plan accordingly.

    He sounds a lot like a woman I know who for years would ring me to talk about her problems, but would at times get abusive with me (especially via email) when her views changed (because she has been told what to think by other people) and I didn't realise. Long story - I won't go into it now.
    She would send me an inflammatory, extremely right wing email of the sort that really gets up a lot of people's noses. If I ignored it, she would have said i was rude for not replying. If I replied with contempt, she would have got angry with me for being rude. So I replied gently, saying that there are many sides to a story, and got a raging email back telling me to stop pushing my left wing views down her throat.

    What it all boiled down to - she had her own version of the rules of behaviour, and they only applied to her. Everything centred around her and her needs. My views, my needs, my requests - immaterial. My sole existence was for her. I was to be available to talk to when she needed someone (in other words, when she was trying to find someone to validate her weird ideas). If I was not available then I was doing this on purpose to be mean.

    What I have done - I have stopped caring if she gets angry. I have simply set up barriers. I am no longer available. As a result, she has finally stopped calling.

    Despite the abusive messages I got from her, she acts as if we are best buddies when we meet. I do see her occasionally, she works where I shop. We belong to a couple of organisations in common. We live in roughly the same part of Sydney.

    But when we meet, I'm polite and friendly. I will avoid talking to her unless she talks to me (it helps me gauge her mood and current mental state) but I won't ignore her. I no longer reply to her emails though.

    Your mother sounds like she's enabling your brother. Her behaviour allows him to continue to behave badly without getting called on it. You need to talk to her and give her advance notice - "I do not want to be rude to him, but I will no longer tolerate him being rude to me. It sets a bad example for my children, to see me tolerate that sort of behaviour from someone who is an adult and should behave better."

    Then follow through. If he is rude to you or mean to you publicly, then politely and quietly stand your ground. Be prepared to leave and go home, taking your family with you. You don't have to walk out in high dudgeon, just simply say to whoever is hosting the event, "Thank you for inviting us. It's time for us to go home now." If he follows shouting at you, do not engage. Ignore him totally. Only respond to him if he is being quiet and polite.

    If he's being rude and you do get the chance, say to him, "I am happy to talk to you but only if you are respectful. I require politeness from my children and I need to teach them that politeness is rewarded and rudeness will be ignored." And if you are fairly sure that such a statement to him will set him off, then say it AFTER you have your family corralled and ready to leave.

    You cannot be held hostage to your mother's over-indulgence. And she shouldn't expect you to allow yourself to be treated badly. We all deserve to be treated by others with respect, we should never ask someone else to put up with such behaviour from another adult, without comment.

    I would also explain to your children that their uncle has problems which is why he is often rude; you understand this but are no longer going to accept it. if he is having a difficult day, then he can have that difficult day without you being around to share it with him.

    This takes courage. Your mother seems to be to be the bigger problem here.

    Also, stop giving him stuff. If he ever comes to you and complains that you gave something away that he could have used, ask him to put his request to you in writing and to sign it. Only then will you go back to offering him first refusal - and if in future he gets rude about it, show him his signature.

    And your stand on the telephones - spot on. Stick with it.

    Good luck!

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I agree with Marj, Susie. This is a no win situation. Bro has memory issues, so likely hasn't got a clue that coversations and such have taken place. Hard to combat that as he can't help it. I have some issues with memory, but do try not to be rude about it, and remind myself of it when dealing with others.

    Set up your bounderies. Ignore his rudeness and kill him with kindness. It'll most likely stick in his craw that he can't make you out to look the bad guy, but that's his problem. I'd do my best to make sure this doesn't spill over to your neice. Most likely she's dealing with the same sort of thing with him too. If he doesn't like it tough cookies.

    I dunno about your parents. I'd not let them influence how I delt with him myself, but that's just me. Odds are bro acts like this because he gets away with it.

  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I think you are handling the situation with much grace and patience. It appears that you are handling things the right way. Walk away if he's beligerent and hang up on him if it's on the phone. I feel bad for your neice. Does she live with him or her mother? I hope she doesn't have to live with such an abusive person.
  5. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    It sounds like most of the issue is his memory problems.(If I'm wrong I'm sorry) So I would tape your conversations with him and have them ready to play back for him. That way he can see(hear) the conversation. It may or may not help, depending on how he would take it. Just a suggestion.

    Sorry you are stuck between a rock and hard place. Hugs.
  6. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I agree that his memory problems are involved with this but I also get the feeling that he is angry with you for doing better in your life then he has in his. When around your parents he tries to make you look bad so he looks better...does that make sense? I would be temped to tape him as well but that would probably make him blow up at you. So, I would try to limit contact with him, continue with your very reasonable boundries, and develope a thick skin when you need to deal with him.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    It sounds to me like you're already handling it like a champ. Sorry its so hard, tho.

    With regard to giving him stuff, is there any chance you can offer him things via email? If so, if he accepts anything offered, you can tape a copy of the email to it. When you give it to him, if he asks, you can tell him its your reminder who has spoken for the item in question. Just a thought.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    You're handling a very tough situation with grace and dignity.

    Given his memory problems and hostility, I don't know that taping your conversations would help the might just enrage him further and give you additional reasons to walk away.

    I do like Marg's suggestion of talking to your mother about the way in which you need to be treated, and that you won't let your brother set that kind of negative example for your children.

    Hope it gets better.
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I wonder if you could just not talk to or see him a whole lot, without officially cutting him out of your life? Know what I mean??

    I don't know your sitch, but if that's a possibility, I'd go for it.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I think this is a basket B case...basically a basket case period. He's prone to fits of amnesia due to black out you can either accept him and move on or look him right in the face and tell him that DESPITE what ever he has had going on in HIS past - YOU will NO LONGER tolerate him yelling at you in any fashion, way, shape or form. Either he starts treating you with respect - or he can bug off.

    Then walk away from him. If he treats you with respect the next time you meet - FINE - continue a relationship

    If he treats you with a nasty mouth and yelling - Look at him and say "I did NOT give you permission to talk to me like that." and walk off.

    I wouldn't offer him anything else free - Free cycle it. As far as your niece - if you have something for her - I wouldn't ask his freaking permission to give her a gift. (unless it's alive, poops, or has a flammability factor) Give it to her - if HE doesn't want her to have it - let HIM take it from her.