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Old November 20th, 2012, 09:03 PM
janie janie is offline
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New baby tearing apart family??

Hi everyone,

I'm new here - I've been searching for a place to ask for help about this issue as it has been ongoing for a year now and it's really beginning to wear on both me and my husband. I'm hoping that I can get some thoughts and suggestions from you! It's so nice to have a forum where people can help others like this and have open and honest discussions!!

So, here's my situation. My brother and I were very close growing up, and both of us have since gotten married. Problems initially started with my sister in law when they were first dating - she calls the shots - ALL the time. My brother hates confrontation so he just does whatever she says always. It's annoying and was impacting the family, but he made the choice to choose her over his family. Fine. So as time goes on (and they have been together for 15 years, married for 2), he starts to come to visit my parents less and less, visiting my husband and I next to never, spending more time with her family and parents, going on family trips with them, etc. My parents are really then hurt by this behaviour but will not speak to him about it because they are scared that he's going to shut them out for good, or choose her parents over them so to speak. I suppose they figure even a little time that he grants them is better than nothing. BUT, they complain about it...to who? Me. First issue right there. Kind of puts me in the middle.

So now that the stage has been set with these issues, my brother and his wife had a baby. This is the first grandchild on both sides so everyone is going insane. Problem is now that my brother has this attitude that he's calling the shots from now on because he's got a kid. If anyone wants to see the kid, they have to come to him. He won't go to them (unless of course they are his inlaws because they spend a lot of time with them). My parents are now bending over backwards for them...buying them things, flying to see them once per month, putting up with their demands, etc. It's really upsetting because my brother wouldn't give them the time of day before, but now that there is this kid, he's expecting them to come and do stuff for them all the time!

It becomes more complicated because now he's excluding my parents out of xmas plans, etc. My parents are 'chasing' him, and in the meantime forgetting about my husband and I (I think a part of this too is that we haven't had children yet and are having difficulty staying pregnant), all of the other people that they have spent xmas with for years and years, and are ditching everyone for them! My dad, who is usually the fairest man in the world is even now fighting with me and my husband, justifying what my brother is doing! The worst part about it is, when they come to visit, they stay at my place because they say they feel more comfortable here, but literally only sleep here, eat my food and then spend the whole time with my brother, some home and night, eat, sleep, get up and go there again....like I'm a bloody hotel!

I just don't know what to do anymore. There's a part of me that wants to cut them all off...I can't deal with this emotionally - what my brother and his wife have done to my parents, what they have done to me and my husband AND now what my parents have done to my husband and I as a result.

I'm hoping someone can shed some light on what to do here, or any helpful tips or advice. I've gone to the point of talking to my parents about it and all they do is yell at me and tell me that I don't understand what it's like to have a baby (ya, thanks for rubbing salt in the wound...we miscarried three days before my brother gave birth...thanks for being so supportive mom and dad).

This is agonizing and tearing my family apart.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 09:14 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: New baby tearing apart family??

janie, I can't think of anything off the top of my head to say. I just wanted to respond to let you know that we are here and "listening." I'm sorry for your pain.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 09:21 PM
janie janie is offline
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Unhappy Re: New baby tearing apart family??

Thank you KayKay, it's such a bad situation. I get very frustrated because to me there is a serious rub against what family 'means' - families aren't to be treated like the milk train, they aren't to be treated like a commodity, or a convenience when you 'need' them (or want them). They should be an equal part of your life in good times and bad. My brother and his wife have manipulated my parents so much...it breaks my heart and makes me sick. And now that it is seriously impacting my relationship with my parents?? It's just getting out of hand!

People are just so complex and relationships are so complex. I just can't stand these games....you know what I mean? They hurt more than any wound I've ever had. And they have made me lose a lot of respect for someone I grew up with having the best relationship with...devastating....
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Old November 20th, 2012, 10:47 PM
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Re: New baby tearing apart family??

I think it's really hard to judge. This is *MY* story - the way *I* see things. It isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario therefore might not be appropriate for your situation. It is just my experience.

I have a brother who I was very close to growing up and he's got a wonderful wife and four kids. They do everything with her family - very infrequently (every couple of years or so) does he spend time with me and my family. I just don't worry about that. Truthfully I love his family and I love him and I'm very happy that he is happy in life. I am grateful for the time that I do get, and grateful for the happiness that he has. It thrills me to no end when he picks up the phone and calls me.

On the other hand, I have a married sister who is child-free by choice and a sister and sister-in-law who never married. The three of them have never understood that babies change things. They never understood my (now deceased) dad's (or my IL's) devotion to the grandchildren, they never understood how my husband and I could put each other ahead of them. My sister-in-law has never grasped that my kids and I are now my DH's core "family." It doesn't mean that he doesn't love her; it just means that we take precedence in his life. She is very spiteful about this. There has been nothing but bitterness and anger (and revenge) from the three of them, to the point that we actively avoid seeing them now. My children do not know my sisters and barely know my sister-in-law. It is sad.

I don't know what your situation is; I'm not saying that your situation is anything like mine. I don't know what your brother is doing - maybe he has just turned into a huge jerk. Or maybe, just MAYBE, he has had a huge life change with the birth of his baby and he is adjusting into the new role of "Daddy." He will need time to learn how to balance everything. This time of his life just happens to be one of those selfish times where life has to become all about them for awhile.

Your parents sound like rational human beings to me; they get to make their own choices. Their choices may hurt you, and it's okay to BE hurt and to back off, but they are overjoyed with their grandchild, just like they will be overjoyed when you have your first baby. I think they are wonderful for being willing to be flexible concerning the holidays. I also think it's okay for you to ask them to stay in a hotel if they aren't going to visit with YOU, and I think it's wise to ask them to stop complaining about your brother and sister-in-law's behavior to you.

I am really sorry for your miscarriage. I think that you are right that it is salt in your wound to have everyone gaga over the new baby when you have suffered such a devastating loss.

I hope you don't see this as unsupportive. I can tell from your post that you are in so much pain. I hope that you can trust that you are loved by your parents and brother/sister-in-law.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Re: New baby tearing apart family??

((hugs))

Your brother is an adult and makes his own choices - Kaykay has good points

I can understand wanting to start your own traditions... and not wanting to schelp everywhere over the holidays. I used to call myself "mommy the pack mule" when DS was a baby/little.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 04:44 PM
janie janie is offline
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Re: New baby tearing apart family??

Thank you so much for your replies. I sincerely do appreciate your thoughts and advice. Understood that my brother is an adult who makes his own choices. It's just really too bad that everyone has to 'suffer' so to speak from the choices he makes. He makes it very difficult to have a relationship with him...always demanding people travel to see him, never wanting the make the effort to join any family events, always playing favourites and choosing to leave people out, etc. And yes, KayKay, it's very painful - especially from a sister perspective. It's like I don't even know this guy anymore! Hah, I probably don't!

I definitely understand the need for starting your own traditions - especially during the holidays and with new families. That I'm actually ok with. I'm just so very upset at the way he treats everyone around him because of a baby. He uses the baby card all the time - no, not going to go to your 65 birthday dad (even though I know how much it means to you)...because of the baby; no, not going to have thanksgiving dinner with you guys...because of the baby; no, not going to come up and spend time with you mom and dad...because of the baby; no, not going to be around at xmas....because we are leaving going travelling with my wife's parents and the baby. Like come on, make a little bit of an effort! It would be kind of nice to see him involve my parents in some of the decisions! And it's not so much even about involving me - I'm ok if he chooses not to come and see me. Really, I'm completely fine with that. It's the way he deals with my parents that really upsets me. Like, who tells their mom to 'take a cab' to the airport, after she just flew out to see you, spent tonnes of money on you and your kid, only to have her beg and plead for a ride and 'finally' you settle because she offers you $25 in gas, like it's some sort of big compromise?! Just outrageous! Especially when you have a home business and CAN make the time!

On the other hand, I've considered cutting myself off from it completely - which I think at this point might be the wisest choice. If he wants to treat people like this, fine, but I'm not going to be a part of it. I will not watch him treat my parents this way and will divorce myself from the situation. Which would also mean, unfortunately, that it would impact my parents.

I really do hope that my parents advocate for themselves in this situation one day. The only reason why they are 'chasing' my brother so much is because he pushes them away deliberately and makes them 'want' him even more. He rubs in their face things about his inlaws both directly and indirectly. It's such terrible behaviour from your own child.

Urgh.....so frustrating!!!
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Old November 21st, 2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: New baby tearing apart family??

is your brother careful with money or is he the type to live beyond his means


it sounds like he got some sort of issues


could it be that his perspective of what life was like growing up is different than yours? (My OS was this way - claimed that the twins got more than she did ... ie the twins got two pairs of jeans, I should get two pair of jeans, etc...)
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