Brother hates my family, refuses to speak to us for years. Why does this happen? - Mothering Forums
Grief and Loss > Brother hates my family, refuses to speak to us for years. Why does this happen?
Celuvski's Avatar Celuvski 02:20 PM 12-29-2013

I have an older brother and we grew up in a really good happy family. We really didn't have any big problems and we have wonderful parents. 8 years ago or so my brother met a girl online on the other side of the country and decided she was the one for him. He moved there and got married and basically his relationship with me and my parents deteriorated to the point that he stopped talking to us several years ago and refused to respond to emails, or phone calls. Nothing really happened to cause this. His wife was always a little weird, and we couldn't quite figure out what it was about her. She would very easily get offended by little things my mom said to her. They have 2 kids and my mom is a wonderful grandmother. She buys them gifts all the time and even still mails them gifts at each birthday and holiday, even though they refuse to speak to us... for absolutely no reason. Everything she did offended his wife. His wife would imagine these things that my mom said or did that just absolutely did not happen. It got to the point where we thought this women he married was insane or a psychopath. 

 

My parents have tried to communicate with them for years and have never gotten a reply so they decided to take a cross country trip to see them and try to reconcile. They knocked on their door and my brother refused to open the door and instead called the police. The policeman was reasonable enough to actually try to ask my brother to just come out and talk to them, that's all they wanted. They just wanted to see their son and tell him they love him and miss him. But, he refused and told them to leave and that he would never talk to them. 

 

Why does this happen? Has my brother been brainwashed by this women? He was always an intelligent, nice person, wonderful son and brother, but he has turned into an asshole. Who treats their parents like this? For absolutely no reason? There is no explanation that he has ever given of why he has become this person. We only see that his wife has been sorta delusional and perhaps created this image of us that isn't true and he believes it. How can someone be so feeble minded? Has anyone had this happen in their family and is there any hope of a change or should we just forget about him and pretend he is dead, since he basically is dead to us?



philomom's Avatar philomom 04:02 PM 12-29-2013
There's a chance you don't know all the facts.

I struggled through years of a critical and bossy MIL because I felt giving the children grandparents was a decent thing to do but.... at some point.... you get tired of the constant criticism and the shenanigans of favoring one set of grandchildren over the other. I got tired of trying and my hubby backed me up in spending less time with them. They are not completely cut off but we see them much, much less than we do other family members.
MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 05:51 PM 12-29-2013
I agree - you may not have all the facts. It may be that what you've been experiencing as a wonderful, loving family with no major problems has been awful to your brother, or to his wife. (Frankly, if my family thought my beloved partner was insane and possibly psychopathic, I wouldn't be taking their calls either.) There is a painful and aggravated estrangement in DH's family, and various people have tried to "fix it" at various times, but none of them have gotten information from both sides first. It's simply not possible - there's a lot of pain, abuse, denial and mistrust in the situation.

The unannounced visit your parents embarked on was a bad idea. When someone isn't speaking to you and has told you they prefer no contact, showing up at their door to "make sure they're okay" is not going to be perceived as a loving or caring gesture. It comes across as an announcement that you don't care what they want or need, and don't believe what they say. This is not a basis for reconciliation.

So this is the situation you have: your family is painfully estranged from your brother, who now lives far away. You would like to be in closer contact, but he would not. You cannot force this. You cannot make your brother willing to accept overtures from your parents. Your best bet for talking to your brother in the long term is to not talk to him right now. He's asked to be left alone. Respect that. (If he tells you why he has cut contact, don't argue. Listen and think. If you have new information to contribute, tell him. But don't argue.) Admit that you don't understand right now, whether or not he hears you.

Your brother isn't dead, and if he was, you wouldn't forget him. You can remain open, and you can hope for the best. You can send exactly one short email saying that you wish him well, that you're reachable at (email/phone) should he ever need anything from you, and you won't pass on messages to or from your parents. Keep a facebook or blog account with updates on family (you can make it viewable only to specific emails/accounts), and let him know where it is. Then stop. If you have already sent an email like this, do not send it again. The ball is in his court. He can keep it or kick it back or let it lie where it lands and deal with it later.
swede's Avatar swede 06:07 PM 12-29-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celuvski View Post
 

I have an older brother and we grew up in a really good happy family. We really didn't have any big problems and we have wonderful parents. 8 years ago or so my brother met a girl online on the other side of the country and decided she was the one for him. He moved there and got married and basically his relationship with me and my parents deteriorated to the point that he stopped talking to us several years ago and refused to respond to emails, or phone calls. Nothing really happened to cause this. His wife was always a little weird, and we couldn't quite figure out what it was about her. She would very easily get offended by little things my mom said to her. They have 2 kids and my mom is a wonderful grandmother. She buys them gifts all the time and even still mails them gifts at each birthday and holiday, even though they refuse to speak to us... for absolutely no reason. Everything she did offended his wife. His wife would imagine these things that my mom said or did that just absolutely did not happen. It got to the point where we thought this women he married was insane or a psychopath. 

 

My parents have tried to communicate with them for years and have never gotten a reply so they decided to take a cross country trip to see them and try to reconcile. They knocked on their door and my brother refused to open the door and instead called the police. The policeman was reasonable enough to actually try to ask my brother to just come out and talk to them, that's all they wanted. They just wanted to see their son and tell him they love him and miss him. But, he refused and told them to leave and that he would never talk to them. 

 

Why does this happen? Has my brother been brainwashed by this women? He was always an intelligent, nice person, wonderful son and brother, but he has turned into an asshole. Who treats their parents like this? For absolutely no reason? There is no explanation that he has ever given of why he has become this person. We only see that his wife has been sorta delusional and perhaps created this image of us that isn't true and he believes it. How can someone be so feeble minded? Has anyone had this happen in their family and is there any hope of a change or should we just forget about him and pretend he is dead, since he basically is dead to us?


Wow.  REading this I thought you might be my sister in law.  I agree with previous posters, you probably don't know the whole story.  Without knowing the whole story about my in laws, many would think I am just keeping my husband from his mom.  However, that is not the case.  I would love for my husband to have a relationship with his family of origin.  He, however, has decided he no longer wants to be a doormat.  When he stopped putting forth any effort, the relationships just deteriorated.  He was tired of always being the responsible one and watching the favoritism shown to his sister and her kids.  (ex - parents took a cruise - came back with diamond earrings and t-shirts for sister's kids, but only t-shirts for our kids).  I can give a ton of examples.  It's too depressing.  Haev you tried calling your brother and just saying I miss you?  Or, "I'm sorry if I've hurt you"?


Celuvski's Avatar Celuvski 07:40 PM 12-29-2013

Those things you say about your family are not true at all in our case. I have repeatedly reached out to him over the past few years, emailed, called, with no response or explanation from him as to why he isn't communicating. I've stopped because it doesn't make much sense to make the attempt anymore and I'm done with it. My parents have done the same but they aren't ready to give up. There is no favoritism happening here. When they had their kids, they were the only grand-kids and my parents loved them like crazy and wanted to spoil them like any normal grandparents. At that time, I didn't have any kids. I only recently had one and they had already stopped talking to them years ago, so it has nothing to do with favoritism. I'm sorry for both of your situations because it sounds like the in-laws really are abusive or there is just something wrong with them. 

 

I don't think their unannounced visit was at all wrong to do. They've tried for years to contact them in other ways with no response. They made one last attempt. They did everything they could to say they were sorry for anything they did to hurt them and to show them how much they cared by making such a long trip to try to reconcile. I'm sure they won't do it again, it will be the last time, and yes, the ball is in their court now. 


MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 07:59 PM 12-29-2013

Celuvski, your parents may have had good intentions when they made their trip, but it was still a bad idea.  It was a violation of the boundaries that your brother had laid out.  It was not going to work, and it very likely made it more difficult for any reconciliation to proceed in the future, because the impression that trip probably gave your brother was "If I tell these people to stay away, they will pursue me anyway.  I cannot trust them to respect me."

 

So it sounds like you're in the "wait and hope" place.  I'm sorry - I know that's a hard place.  Don't put anything on hold for your brother.  Just have it in your heart that he's welcome, and hope that one day he would like to be.


Celuvski's Avatar Celuvski 08:11 AM 12-30-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
 

Celuvski, your parents may have had good intentions when they made their trip, but it was still a bad idea.  It was a violation of the boundaries that your brother had laid out.  It was not going to work, and it very likely made it more difficult for any reconciliation to proceed in the future, because the impression that trip probably gave your brother was "If I tell these people to stay away, they will pursue me anyway.  I cannot trust them to respect me."

 

So it sounds like you're in the "wait and hope" place.  I'm sorry - I know that's a hard place.  Don't put anything on hold for your brother.  Just have it in your heart that he's welcome, and hope that one day he would like to be.

I don't think he deserves respect in any form. He is an asshole. He's been abusive to his parents, lied to them and about them repeatedly and treated them like garbage. I've been done with his sorry excuse for a person for years, but they continue to have these ideas that he is still a noble soul, and just needs to be told more that he is loved and he will see the light. So, I hurt for their case, but I have no intention of going anywhere near him. 

My brother used to be an intelligent and nice guy, but maybe a little weak in standing up for things, so in some ways I feel like he maybe just settled for this foolish sad women and can't get out, so he decided to just be like her. His wife's family is very messed up and I think he joined them fully in mind and heart. They both weigh about 400 lbs and I imagine that causes their whole life to be difficult. It's probably hard to move around and perhaps that makes them angry toward others. Their 8 year old is also morbidly obese which is very sick that they've passed this lifestyle down to her. Former friends of theirs have also told us that their family functions this way. They easily become offended by other people and then disown them and ignore them for the rest of their life. So, this is their defense mechanism. I just don't understand how my brother could fall for this. 

Anyway, I usually don't even think about them, but my thoughts have resurfaced just because of my parent's last attempt. I know saying all this about them doesn't make the situation better in any way, but I needed to vent. I don't talk to anyone about any of these details and I'll go back to leaving their problems alone since they are not my problems. 


rachelsmama's Avatar rachelsmama 10:22 AM 12-30-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celuvski View Post
 

I don't think he deserves respect in any form. He is an asshole. He's been abusive to his parents, lied to them and about them repeatedly and treated them like garbage. I've been done with his sorry excuse for a person for years, but they continue to have these ideas that he is still a noble soul, and just needs to be told more that he is loved and he will see the light. So, I hurt for their case, but I have no intention of going anywhere near him. 

My brother used to be an intelligent and nice guy, but maybe a little weak in standing up for things, so in some ways I feel like he maybe just settled for this foolish sad women and can't get out, so he decided to just be like her. His wife's family is very messed up and I think he joined them fully in mind and heart. They both weigh about 400 lbs and I imagine that causes their whole life to be difficult. It's probably hard to move around and perhaps that makes them angry toward others. Their 8 year old is also morbidly obese which is very sick that they've passed this lifestyle down to her. Former friends of theirs have also told us that their family functions this way. They easily become offended by other people and then disown them and ignore them for the rest of their life. So, this is their defense mechanism. I just don't understand how my brother could fall for this. 

Anyway, I usually don't even think about them, but my thoughts have resurfaced just because of my parent's last attempt. I know saying all this about them doesn't make the situation better in any way, but I needed to vent. I don't talk to anyone about any of these details and I'll go back to leaving their problems alone since they are not my problems. 

It's possible that the previously "good" relationship with your parents was simply that he was weak, and never stood up for himself about anything.  If that's the case, then when he started standing up for himself, it might have come as a shock to your parents, and your brother probably hadn't had enough practice standing up for himself to be able to do it graciously, either.

 

Anyway, whatever the reason for the breakdown of the relationship, your parents' trip was a bad idea.


MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 11:53 AM 12-30-2013

It sounds like the estrangement is a relief, so best to let it be, no?


Celuvski's Avatar Celuvski 02:54 PM 01-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
 

It sounds like the estrangement is a relief, so best to let it be, no?

 

It is for me, but my parents won't let it go, so it always resurfaces, and I'd like to just get away from it and move on with my life. But, thanks for your thoughts. I'm going to try to let it be and just let them alone even if they handle it in a way that I don't think is best, that is their problem. Thank you for all the replies. 


Marina Brasil's Avatar Marina Brasil 02:18 PM 01-09-2014
Hi Celuvski,

I just read wha you wrote and then the comments and i must say i also believe your brother is an ashole! I'm not usually a very judgmental person but what gave me that impression is the fact that your brother refuses to give an explanation as to why he doesn't want to talk to you or your family. Ok, you may not have all the facts and your family may have offended him somehow even though you cant identify anything that could have caused such reaction, but it takes a really narrow mind to completly ignore your parents, you and your niece. I was shocked when i read about him caling the police and denying to simply talk to your parents even after the policeman tryied to reason with him. He could have just come out and say he is ok but is not willing to maintan a relationship anymore because of xyz reasons. It would have taken less then 5 minutes and after that he could shut the door close. Families are not perfect and i understand that a MILs behavior can be destructive or ofensive (and i'm not saying it is, just that he might believe so) but your brother's reaction seems so out of line that i find myself having a hard time to give you advice!

I would probably let him be. If thats what he wants and if he's willing to go that far in order to keep your family distant, them nothing you can do will change his mind. Life has a funny way to make us learn whatever it is that we need to learn and i believe its possible that he comes around in the future. What you can do is try not to be too hard on him whenever and if that ever happens.

redface.gif
MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 03:34 PM 01-09-2014
Marina, the issue I've noticed in the estrangement in my family is that one side persists in the belief that the estrangement is mysterious and inexplicable, while the other believes that the reasons have been clearly explained many times. I can't say who is right. I wasn't there. But if I thought I had explained my decision clearly, and was protecting myself and my family from manipulation or abuse, I would not walk out of my house to explain myself again.

IME, it's not narrow-mindedness that leads people to cut others off. More often, it's major pain.
Marina Brasil's Avatar Marina Brasil 04:53 PM 01-09-2014
Many things can get people to cut others off, and in my opinio in this case it seems to be narrow mindedness or fear of dealling with family issues. I say that but i get what you are saying. The things is i see it diferently. Of course we dont really know all there's to know about the situation, so it comes down to our impressions after reading the story and mine was that C's brother could deal with this issues so much better than he has...! Sometimes there's not a good reason why people do what they do. Sometimes its not because they are hurting, its because they are insensitive and just wont grow up!
Tags: Grief And Loss
Up