Brother getting married... need help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

I have one brother who is two years younger than me. He is almost 30. He is getting married in three weeks and informed me that if I ever need to discuss anything other than the weather with his wife I need to go through him. I really like his fiance and was looking forward to being friends with her. He told me you are not getting a friend you are getting a sister in law. He also told me that if I do not respect his wishes that he will not be a part of my life. We have always been close. He also told these same things to my mom. We live in the same town and see each other several times a week and talk almost daily. I told him I wanted to have a relationship with his wife but I was not going to run to him every time I needed to discuss something with her. Does this seem strange to anyone else? I have been married almost 13 years and my husband said that what my brother is requesting is not normal. I don't know what to do I am agonizing over this. BTW my daughter who is 12and I are in the wedding as bridesmaids. Please help give me some perspective on this situation and maybe advice on what to do. I thought about calling his fiance but thought that might make things worse.

Thanks,

Lisa
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#2 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:34 AM
 
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I'm not even sure what to make of that but it sure isn't normal. If nothing else I'd say he has something he wants to hide. I mean, he doesn't OWN her, how dare he tell someone else what they are allowed to discuss with her.:
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#3 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:54 AM
 
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Seems to me he is trying to control her and your family. Does he have a problem with anxiety or a mental health issue? Just wondering. Perhaps the stresses of getting married, merging families, is getting to him. Is he worried about keeping up appearances of some sort? Does he feel like he has to take sides with family? Strange. My first reaction is that it is not normal.

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#4 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 05:10 AM
 
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It sounds like your brother is freaking out and preparing to become a controlling and possibly abusive husband. I'd ask your STB SIL if she wants this to be the form of your relationship so she knows what is going on.

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#5 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 05:16 AM
 
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Dial phone - "So, uh, (future SIL), what's with my brother telling meand our mom we can't talk to you?" "Yeah, no, really, he said we have to ask his permission." : But I'm just like that....
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#6 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 09:34 AM
 
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Have they been to a pre-marriage counselor or anything? The reason I ask is because sometimes counselors will suggest to people that once they are married that conflicts with families should be handled by the person related to that family--in other words, if your mom/you said/did something to upset the new wife, your brother should be the person to handle the conflict.
You will also see this advice here on this board. Example: MIL does something to upset wife regarding baby, father should handle MIL, not the wife. Make sense?
I do find it odd that you say you are close with your brother and wife-to-be, but you have not talked to him about this. That would be my first course of action. Ask him what the deal is with this whole thing.
If he does not elaborate, maybe new wife isn't as nice as you THINK she is...is it possible SHE is behind this????
Bottom line--unless this is a misunderstanding--something is totally off here and you are looking at a future of very difficult relationships with both your brother and his new family...and if that is the case, I would protect myself from getting hurt--because no matter what happens, it's only going to get worse. I also see a divorce in his future. Too bad.
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#7 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by GranoLLLy-girl View Post
Have they been to a pre-marriage counselor or anything? The reason I ask is because sometimes counselors will suggest to people that once they are married that conflicts with families should be handled by the person related to that family--in other words, if your mom/you said/did something to upset the new wife, your brother should be the person to handle the conflict.
You will also see this advice here on this board. Example: MIL does something to upset wife regarding baby, father should handle MIL, not the wife. Make sense?
I do find it odd that you say you are close with your brother and wife-to-be, but you have not talked to him about this. That would be my first course of action. Ask him what the deal is with this whole thing.
First of all thank you all so much for helping me to see that my gut feeling was that this is not normal in families.

I have thought about this is his way of dealing with conflict like the above quote states. However he said he wanted me to clear anything I talk to her about with him first. I have tried to talk to him about it. I was on the phone with him for two hours last night. I told him to please explain to me his reasoning behind this so maybe I could then understand where he was coming from, but all he said "nope don't have to explain, this is how I am going to run my family and you have to respect that." I also told him that if this is how his fiance feels then I wanted her to tell me she was in agreement but he shot this down too. I thought about emailing her or calling her and talking to her but I am afraid that will really tick my brother off and he won't let me attend the wedding. I am so upset with him right now that I really could care less about going but oldest daughter I think would be really upset.

Also, when his fiance asked me to be a bridesmaid my daughter told me she really wanted to be a part of the wedding so I called the fiance and asked her if there was room anywhere could she make my daughter a part of the wedding, it did not have to be a bridesmaid just part of the house party or something like that. The fiance then asked my daughter to be a bridesmaid. My brother told me last night that this made him mad too because he felt I should have gone through him first. Does that make any sense at all? The fiance was very happy I called her and said she would be delighted to include my daughter in the wedding. When I told my brother this he said it did not matter because this was HIS wedding and he wants to make the decisions for his family.

The fiance has been married before. She married a guy that was extremely controlling and abusive. They did not have any kids together and divorced after a short time of being married. I would think she would see that my brother is trying to control too many situations as well but I don't know.

My dad is extremely controlling as well and I have only seen him three times in fifteen years. He did not attend my wedding, college graduation or the births of my children. He has never even seen my 3 year old and the last time he saw my 12 year old she was in first grade and the only reason he saw her then was because it was at his mother's funeral. My brother and him are closer and he will be at the wedding, something else I am struggling with. Part of me says to just smile and be gracious and the other part wants to walk up to him and here is the grandchild you have never seen or something mean like that.

I stayed up most of the night pondering over this. The wedding is in three weeks. Should I just lay low and smile and do my part for the wedding and see how the rest of life plays out or do I keep trying to talk to him and the fiance? I have thought about not saying anything and then when the fiance tries to talk to me say something like. "oh we are only allowed to discuss the weather unless I clear it with my brother."

The other part I worry about is if the relationship ends with my brother how will that affect my kids? He is the fun crazy uncle, kind of like the life of the party when he around them and they really love him. And he is my only brother and my husband is not close to his siblings and they live far away so this is like my kids only chance to have some cousins to play with.

What to do? What to do?

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts.
Lisa
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#8 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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Wow, this sounds like a set-up for a very controlling (and possibly abusive) marriage.

Maybe OK it with brother to talk with fiance about something inconsequential - dd's dress needs a bit of alteration, or hairstyles for the wedding, or leg covering (is dd going to wear hose?). Or maybe something completely unrelated to the wedding - planning a summer event, want fiance's input.

And then, while talking with fiance, let the conversation wander over to "Why is brother asking me to go through him? Is this what YOU want?" to find out if fiance may have requested this, or if she even knows about it.

I'm still hoping that this is some kind of misunderstanding, that brother heard the whole "you handle conflicts with your family, she handles conflicts with hers" advice and somehow got mixed up. Because otherwise, he sounds like someone I wouldn't want my children around, just the way he's treating his fiance.

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#9 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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She needs to know this information. To me it is exactly the same as if someone knew he was a herion addict and didn't tell her. And I say this because given your family history, it may well be he is "addicted" to controlling . I know it's really hard, but I have to say, I'd be pretty PO'd if nobody at least tried to tell me. Also, it occurs to me that this may be a dynamic between them that is motivating your bro to act this way. He clearly learned this kind of behavior from dad, and she clearly accepts being treated like crap, if only in the past. Sometimes people create relationship to fulfill the script they've been given, KWIM? I know it's scary to confront. If you don't feel comfortable doing it alone, is there a mutual friend with the same concerns?
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#10 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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I'm not normally one to mind other people's business. However, in this case, I would call the fiance.

What your brother is planning is not vaguely normal. It is extremely and dangerously controlling. He doesn't get to "run his family." His wife is an adult human being, who has the right to determine her own relationships and communication with other human beings. She is being set up for an abusive relationship from the get go.

He might otherwise be a fun guy, but if he were that controlling, honestly, I wouldn't want him around my kids.
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#11 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:36 PM
 
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Your brother is acting like a turd. He is trying to control EVERYONE,
including you. I would tell him flat out....You MAY try to control
your wife, but you're NOT going to tell me what to do. I don't
take orders from you.

That's just me and what I would do, even if it meant that I
would be uninvited to the wedding.

There is something else going on here. Something's up. I
don't know what it would be but it doesn't sound like
it's legit.
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#12 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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Something very strange is going on. Have you been talking to/friends with the finacee up to this point? Maybe your brother has told her a lot of lies and doesn't want her to find out?

Otherwise it sounds like abusive patterns playing out. A lot of times women who are abused go from one abusive relationship to another. And some men who have controlling fathers grow up controlling and abusive. It's a hard cycle to break. Talking to her might not even do any good. I know that when I was in abusive relationships I had to figure it out for myself. When anyone would tell me, gently or otherwise my ex was abusive, I would get mad and tell my ex, and he would tell the people to never talk to me again.

The other thing is, is this coming from her? My SIL was so nice until she married my brother. Now she is a huge b%$&h and I could see her telling my brother to tell us not to talk to her. In fact she told my brother to tell my grandmother to never talk to her again.

Just some rambling thoughts
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#13 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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Just a question... is there any back story here? Is it possible that you inaverdantly said something to hurt her feelings?

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#14 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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It sounds like the beginning of abusive patterns to me, and I think you'd be doing your potential SIL a disservice if you didn't warn her.

Since she was in an abusive relationship before, she probably has little understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like. She's probably satisfied with the fact that he's not (yet?) hitting her.

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#15 of 23 Old 03-27-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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No, this is not normal at all. Usually when you marry someone, you are INCLUDING that person into your family, not EXCLUDING them from your family. Keeping your wife separate from her in-laws on purpose is bizarre behavior that I, frankly, can't understand.

I'm also concerned that he's blackmailing you by saying he will remove himself from your lives if you don't do what he wants. That's not normal brotherly behavior either. It's abusive, IMO. Healthy families try to practice unconditional love for one another and they certainly don't threaten to destroy relationships...unless there are extenuating circumstances like "I will not talk to you until you get into rehab" or something.

Honestly, I don't know what to tell you. He has drawn a line in the sand that he expects you not to cross for whatever reason. He's not giving you any reason you can understand. He doesn't think he needs to. I don't know if it is worth it to you to risk your relationship with your brother over this issue. But I will say that this scenario seems to point to a larger ice-berg under the surface that should be addressed.
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#16 of 23 Old 03-28-2008, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a question... is there any back story here? Is it possible that you inaverdantly said something to hurt her feelings?
Once again thank you everyone for your opinions, insight and advice. To address the above quote... no, I don't think I have said anything to have ever hurt her feelings. She currently lives three hours away and I only occasionaly see her when she is visting my brother. They have been dating on and off for about three years were broken up for a year when they saw each other at my cousin's wedding last April. I think she is a very sweet person and I would never want to hurt her. I even took her out to lunch last October to celebrate the engagement. My brother was working that day so he could not go. I have always been friendly with her and asking her how I can help with the wedding etc. And she has always been nice to me. And my kids adore her.

My mom is very upset with my brother for acting this way and will be confronting him shortly. She has no idea what is going on with him. He has been a jerk to her as well and she is paying for the rehersal dinner but she is going to tell him that if he does not straighten up she will not be paying for the dinner. Should be an interesting three weeks.

Lisa
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#17 of 23 Old 03-28-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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I second that you need to talk to her. Just ask if this "how I will be running my family" talk is how she wants her relationship to be and if she knows why he would be saying this to you and your mother. Next I would be telling your brother that since you live in America and your future SIL is a citizen with free rights of association and speech as are you, he will not be telling you who or what to speak about and that his scary declarations of control make you wonder if SIL is about to jump into her next abusive marriage, because he sounds like he is on his way to becoming just that. I also would be preparing daughter to NOT be in the wedding cause I don't see this ending well. And why should you be witness to a marriage that is starting out on such a scary and unequal basis? I wouldn't want to stand up for it.
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#18 of 23 Old 03-28-2008, 03:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by N8'sMom View Post
Your brother is acting like a turd. He is trying to control EVERYONE, including you. I would tell him flat out....You MAY try to control your wife, but you're NOT going to tell me what to do. I don't
take orders from you.

That's just me and what I would do, even if it meant that I
would be uninvited to the wedding.

There is something else going on here. Something's up. I
don't know what it would be but it doesn't sound like
it's legit.
: (Except I'd take out the bit out his attempt to control his wife. Although unintended, it almost seems to suggest - to a controlling person - that this might be OK, because somehow the wife and the sister are different. The whole point is that they aren't different: adults/individuals, etc. Both equally-entitled to free association).

I guess I probably would have started with something like, "So you mean if I'm having some 'female problems' that I'd like to get some advice on from my sister-in-law, I'm supposed to talk to you about that first?!". . . But I'm like that. . . (Feel free to insert other more "queasy" phrases for "female problems"!)

Short of being uninvited to the wedding, I couldn't in good conscience agree to take part now that you have talked with your brother about this matter at some length. If I was in your shoes, I would feel compelled to uninvite myself. To me, "standing up" for someone at their wedding is pledging support, encouragement, and such for their marriage. It's about an awful lot more than the fun of the party and the nice photos of that day. I would feel sick to listening to the vows and smiling away knowing of such a sinister situation.

If you don't end up taking part, this would quite likely be crushing to your 12-year-old daughter. Again, me in your shoes would sit down with DD and explain what my concerns were and why I was backing out. She could decide for herself. I wouldn't feel right about yanking her participation based on my beliefs.

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#19 of 23 Old 03-29-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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If you don't end up taking part, this would quite likely be crushing to your 12-year-old daughter. Again, me in your shoes would sit down with DD and explain what my concerns were and why I was backing out. She could decide for herself. I wouldn't feel right about yanking her participation based on my beliefs.
Beliefs? I don't see this as about beliefs. If I would not stand up at a wedding because of the abusive behavior of one party, I would not send my 12yo to do so alone. Who knows what the brother and grandfather would say to her when she there alone.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#20 of 23 Old 03-30-2008, 03:40 AM
 
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I thought about emailing her or calling her and talking to her but I am afraid that will really tick my brother off and he won't let me attend the wedding.
I think that, at this point, not being allowed to attend the wedding is the *least* of your worries. If you make that call... the wedding may not happen (which may be the BEST thing for all concerned).

And yes, your brother WILL be angry. Very. He's made that clear up-front. What an ultimatum... "I'll withdraw myself from you as a sibling if you try to form a relationship with this person who *I* chose to bring into our family."

Your 12-year-old daughter wants to be in a wedding. I totally get that. I was 12 once, too! But... how much is it worth for her to get that experience right now? How will *she* feel about that experience down the line if (when) she finds out about this "rule" and its consequences?

You could just keep mum until *after* the wedding, and THEN bring it up (then at least your daughter got to be in a wedding) but, of course, there's a lot of momentum once the ceremony has happened, and a lot less ability to change things in a relationship. :-/
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#21 of 23 Old 03-30-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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I know you don't want your kids to be hurt, but I don't think it's healthy to tiptoe around their feelings. If your brother uninvites you to the wedding and/or "divorces" you as a sibling, yes, it will hurt your kids, but I still think that's better than enabling him in a controlling relationship. Your kids will get over it.

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#22 of 23 Old 03-31-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Georgetown HB Mom View Post
Once again thank you everyone for your opinions, insight and advice. To address the above quote... no, I don't think I have said anything to have ever hurt her feelings. She currently lives three hours away and I only occasionaly see her when she is visting my brother. They have been dating on and off for about three years were broken up for a year when they saw each other at my cousin's wedding last April. I think she is a very sweet person and I would never want to hurt her. I even took her out to lunch last October to celebrate the engagement. My brother was working that day so he could not go. I have always been friendly with her and asking her how I can help with the wedding etc. And she has always been nice to me. And my kids adore her.

My mom is very upset with my brother for acting this way and will be confronting him shortly. She has no idea what is going on with him. He has been a jerk to her as well and she is paying for the rehersal dinner but she is going to tell him that if he does not straighten up she will not be paying for the dinner. Should be an interesting three weeks.

Lisa
Lisa, thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Your brother's behavior seems so odd without provocation. I agree with pp's. something is not right here..

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#23 of 23 Old 03-31-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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double post. sorry! :-(

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