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Old September 27th, 2017, 10:11 AM
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Re: Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue

StephanieB, the best thing I did when I was having my sibling issues was to remove my dad (a widower by then) from the middle. He was upset that my sisters and I weren't getting along, and was leaning on me (the family peacekeeper) to go-along-to-get-along. He knew what my sisters were doing, but he also knew that I was the reasonable one who was the "family glue." That meant that my sisters got to behave badly (like your brother and his wife are doing) and I was expected to graciously take the abuse. Nope. Like your brother, my sisters shot off nasty emails and were kind enough to copy my dad on them, so he knew what kind of crazy they were. I eventually reached the end of my rope.

I understood things from my dad's perspective. He didn't want to have to chose between us, and everyone (well, everyone except my sisters) wants peace and harmony and happy family holiday memories. By the time I reached the limit of what I would tolerate, I had two kids of my own and I understood the heartbreak my dad was probably going through.

What I did was refuse to engage. I wouldn't complain about my sisters. I never asked about them and only ever said things like "I'm glad they're doing well" when he'd volunteer information. When they'd shoot off volleys of vitriol, I'd only respond with short, direct, unemotional responses answering whatever specific questions they had wrapped up in accusations. (My dad thanked me more than once for my reasonableness in my responses). When I removed my dad from the middle, my sisters' craziness became *their* problem, and not a problem in my relationship with my dad.

Believe it or not, that will help your parents too. They have enough of a problem walking the tightrope of a relationship with your brother and his wife. If they are no longer caught in the middle between you and your brother, they will have more freedom to negotiate their own relationship.
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