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lexy*
12-05-2011, 10:23 PM
I swear to God that I am only slightly exaggerating when I say that my brother's girlfriend of a over a year is evil. While I wouldn't call her evil per se, she is mean spirited and manipulative. I have had a couple of heated argument that escalated out of control. To sum it up, the girl is basically intolerant, highly opinionated without the slightest filter, arrogant and condescending. One by one, she's alienating my entire family who is generally very open and tolerant to significant others. They may not particularly like a gf or bf, but we accept them and understand that it is not our decision. However, my brother's gf picks fights and never apologizes for sticking her big bumpy nose in someone's business or for making a rude comments, so arguments spin out of control and offensive, inappropriate comments are made on both sides. For whatever reason, my brother does not moderate these fights but allows them to escalate and escalate. Because this girl's attitude infuriates me, I avoid her, because I do not want to aggravate myself nor do I want to find myself amidst a scandalous blowout fight. There was a heated argument between the girl and my dad's gf, and I was glad to not be a part of it.

Last weekend, my brother and I celebrated our thirtieth. I had a big party at a lounge, and I invited my brother to stop by my party if he happened to be able to make it. He was noncommittal, because he didn't know what his gf had in mind for his birthday. I had a wonderful celebration, but was a little disappointed he didn't stop by, though I understood seeing as I didn't know what his plans were. As it turns out over a very awkward Sunday birthday dinner with my family, including my brother's gf, she threw him a surprise birthday party just a block away from where I had mine. No one in the family knew about it nor were they invited. My aunts and uncles and cousins stopped by my party, which was very nice, and they would have wanted to stop by his party. I literally walked straight by where he was having his party. I would have wanted to stop by. I am really hurt.

I did email him saying that I would have wanted to stop by his party and was hurt that he didn't stop by my party and didn't let me know where his was located.

I don't blame the evil gf completely. My brother could have easily stopped by my party seeing as it would have been just a five minute walk. He could have texted me to come over there if he had wanted.

I am really annoyed and hurt as is my family. I hold the evil gf partially responsible seeing as she is probably influencing him and he is very easily influenced. But he is also making his own decisions and allowing the gf to treat us with disrespect. This gf could create a big rift in the family. My dad said the other night when she spent the entire birthday dinner texting, whispering to my brother, rolling her eyes and sighing like a nine year old that she would not be welcome at Christmas if she has this attitude, though he didn't say this directly to her but rather was going to communicate this to my brother.

In an ideal world, I would want to have a close relationship with my brother, but this does not seem to be a possibility right now. I don't know how to interact with him at this point in our lives, because honestly, I do not respect him and am angry with him. Yet obviously, these feelings of animosity only will serve to drive someone farther away.

L

nc
12-05-2011, 11:12 PM
Lexy,

You have written about your brother's girlfriend before and based on what seems your mutual dislike for each other it sounds like having seperate parties was for the best. And while you might still like to be included in certain things it is not unusual at your age to not have family and siblings at parties.

As a matter of fact what often happens is the person has their family time then if they want a party with friends they have that seperately. And while I understand you find this hurtful I think you might be surprised at how common this actually is.

My sons are twenty-eight and thirty and we have a family gathering with them and their wives (meaning my husband and I because at their age aunts, uncles and such have not been part of the birthday celebration since they were in elementary school) and if they have a party it is among their peers, they do not invite us, aunts, uncles, etc. and no one takes offense to that. Sometimes the boys celebrate together (their birthdays are three days apart) as they have a lot of mutual friends but other times they don't.

It is the same with my nieces and nephews whose ages range from mid-twenties to early thirties. They post about celebrations and parties on Facebook but none of the extended family expect to be invited to these. It is celebrations with their friends, their peers which is seperate from family functions.

Much of what you write about regarding your brother is pretty typical behavior when siblings grow up and become independent adults living independent lives.

Do you think you are having difficulty dealing with the natural seperation that happens with adult siblings, especially once partners become involved?

lexy*
12-05-2011, 11:44 PM
nc,

The issues isn't just between me and my brother and the gf but rather a lot of people now. Initially, I will admit that I did take a perverse glee that the gf was burning her bridges with other family members, but it is getting a little out of hand. The fights are almost amusing, since now I only see them from a distance as I choose not to engage with her. Unfortunately, not everyone in the family has learned this lesson.

I think that our lack of relationship is on the extreme. We interact maybe once every four months even though we live a couple of miles away. All of my family complains that they never see him or hear from him EXCEPT when he is in need. It's a very one sided relationship. My grandparents are getting older, and they are hurt that they never hear from them, and they will not be around forever. When my mom went through knee surgery, he didn't call or recognize how hard this was for her.

When I compare my friends and their relationships with siblings, most of them seem to have a seem to have a closer relationship even if they are not close per se. He does not seem to care at all about me. And he seems to care very little about his family.

L

ducksquack
12-06-2011, 08:04 AM
Your brother is indeed making choices and they are his
choices for whatever reason. He appears to be self focused
unless he needs help or something. Quite selfish it seems.

His gf is quite the piece of work and she certainly is quite
obnoxious to put it bluntly. Some people are like that sadly
and its great that you dont get involved in her 'games' as
its hard for her to play them when you dont react or give
her an audience. Your brother does have some responsibility
as her behaviour is unhealthy for your whole family I believe
but he seems to let his gf 'run rampant' over everyone.

You cant change either of them however your family can be
the ones to learn from your example. If they dont get invited
for Xmas it would be their loss as there is no reason to spoil
the joyous family holiday inviting them.

god bless.

sflathinker
12-06-2011, 10:27 AM
I'm that person in the family who chooses not to be family oriented. The rest of them are, and my choice is because I feel like the black sheep. Nonetheless, my family has never liked my boyfriends...but you know what...those men are the ones I chose and I chose them because I believed they were right for me. And hopefully your brother is happy with his choice. We all grow up and some of us stay close to our families and some don't. Lots of boys will become close with their girlfriends/wives family and friends. Hopefully your future boyfr
nds/husband are all close with your family and its not a struggle. Relationships are tough.

Whether this girl becomes your sil or not, your brother is making a choice to develop a new life. I will likelihood be the family member absent from holiday dinners next year and not because anyone is making me...but because its right for me. But I bet ******** years ago when I first chose a boy over my family they blamed the boy....when infact, it was me just choosing my life over the life my family prefered for me. I doubt they understand me but I hope they respect me. Your brother avoided drama by not going and attended the family celebration. I understand its hurtful but in the end, he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. He has two strong women to contend with!

lexy*
12-06-2011, 09:10 PM
sfl and dq,

It is interesting to hear from "that" person in the family, lol. It's funny, because, until the last few years, my brother used to be the one that was more involved with the family, and I wasn't that emotionally close or geographically close. Since I graduated, I lived in several different states and countries, and I was pretty independent from my family. However, after my last stint abroad, I think that Spanish culture influenced me, and I wanted a closer relationship with my family and I returned to the area where I grew up and want to stay here. On the contrary, my brother has never really struck out on his own, but his world has revolved almost entirely around whoever he is dating at the expense of his friends and family.

I guess that I can accept that he doesn't really value having a relationship with his family. I think that I can change my perspective on my relationship with him and view him as just another person. And if he is just another person, then I wouldn't seek out a friendship with him, because we are not that compatible and I don't really hold him in the highest esteem if I view him as just another person and not my brother.

In an ideal world, I would want them both to come to Christmas, but I wouldn't want her there with her attitude like she had at dinner nor would I want a heated fight like there was at Thanksgiving. I do know that I would probably minimize my contact with her, and therefore my brother, at Christmas since I do not want to be apart of the drama the girl seems to engender.

I think that I am going to not let myself think too much about this issue and let it be. It is what it is, and you can't force a relationship. So there is no point in continuing to put forth effort and then to be disappointed.

L

nc
12-06-2011, 11:09 PM
I think you have to be careful of placing too much judgement here. One thing I have noticed in many of your posts is there are a lot of "shoulds" and expectations around others, from how they act to what level of education they should have, what kind of job, money, etc. and if things don't measure up to your standards then they are somehow wrong. You seem to have few shades of grey.

Just because your brother does not interact in how you think he should does not mean he does not value family. There is room to live his life differently than you and still value family and simply not display it in the way you do. As well, one day when you have a relationship with someone you really care about you may find that you enjoy celebrating special occasions or holidays on your terms with your partner and not bend to what someone else thinks you "should" do or allow someone else to dictate what is the appropriate way to interact with family.

Perhaps all this rigidity and judgement about how one should act or show they care is what keeps your brother away from the family.

rafferty
12-07-2011, 03:00 AM
It sounds as though you have difficulty in accepting your brother does things very differently from how you do things. See him as 'just another person' feels as though you are writing him off... that because he doesn't share your view of 'family' and how family should interact - then he's 'just another person' as opposed to your brother who happens to be more distant from the immediate family than you would prefer.

I too am the 'distant' one... the one that can go months without catching up with my sisters - even though we are close. I don't call them often... but am happy to talk to them when I do see them. I don't always accept invitations to family events... but it's not that I don't value family.... I absolutely do. But I also value alone time - and can only do the big family thing when I'm in the right space to do it.

I would hate to think that my sisters would not accept me as me because I don't share their almost daily contact with each other... or that they would thing less of me because I will often put other things in front of family stuff.

Just another perspective from the other side!

:love

catsIlove
12-07-2011, 03:18 AM
I don't think you need to view your brother as "just another person" and forget that he is family. I think maybe you are going from the extreme of thinking you have to be really close or not family. My brother is more distant because he is in the military I will never ever think of him as just another person because I can't spend every holiday with him. The fact is that you have formative experience with your siblings and blood ties that should never make them just another person.

dermaline
12-07-2011, 06:54 AM
I agree with what others have said here and will add something.

This may not be relevant to the situation but we all tend to slot into a "role" within our family to some extent. Even if there is nothing "wrong" with that role it is often something that people may want to keep to a limit once they are an adult as it can be limiting.
And the more determinedly the rest of the family feel they have an answer for how that persons life needs to look the more problematic that may be and the more they actually push them further away. .

I would suggest that it would be better for all of you to rather address any bad behaviour as it happens without writing anyone off as a person. Behaviour is behaviour but people are people.

I am also someone who needs a lot of alone time and when I was living around the corner from my family I really did need to limit contact. I do the same with friends. It doesnt mean I care less.

It may help you whole family if you dont take the behaviour of your brother or his gf personally. If she behaves badfly then it reflects on her. If you all respond in a controlling way then it reflects on you.

lexy*
12-07-2011, 08:35 AM
nc, d, cil,

My brother doesn't need alone time. He never has alone time, because he literally spends all his time with the gf, which is a choice.

I can see how I am judgemental towards him, which may make him not want spend time with me, but the rest of my family is not judgemental in the slightest toward him, and he still doesn't want to spend time with them.

I can see how it may seem like I am going from one extreme to the next in terms of how I view him. However, the reality of it is that I have an almost no relationship with him now, so moving from almost no relationship to no relationship isn't a huge shift. Also, I wouldn't say that I want a super close relationship with him either--just something.

Part of the problem with my brother is that he has a primarily one sided relationship with the family. He reaches out when he needs us, but he isn't there when we might need him. There are tons of examples of this type of behavior. It's annoying and not really fair.

I know myself and I am not going to feel close to someone just because they are my family. I feel close to someone because I share experience and emotions/thoughts with them. I don't do this with my brother, so I don't feel close to him. So, he is kind of just like some other person in this world. If I can drop my desire to have a relationship with him, I can view him and treat him just as another person.

I know that my brother views family as important just because they are family, but I don't feel this way. I think that a relationship is something that you develop and work at, whether it is a friendship, a romantic relationship or family. We have different perspectives, which is fine. But as a consequence, I will not have the relationship with him that I want, and he will not have the relationship with me that he would want, which probably entails seeings me a couple of times a year and catching up.

L

ducksquack
12-07-2011, 08:50 AM
I think that a relationship is something that you develop and work at, whether it is a friendship, a romantic relationship or family.

I can certainly relate as I feel the same.

If both people dont work on it then its not really
a relationship in my opinion.

Look after yourself and your recovery.

god bless.

amska
12-07-2011, 10:02 AM
Lexy,

I can understand why you would be upset about this situation. I have a twin brother, and when he first started dating his wife, a lot of things came up for me and she is a lovely person! It does sound like your potential sister-in-law is a handful, which is really too bad, and I, too, would have been upset about the birthday party thing. I honestly think the best approach at this point is just to give your brother the space that he seems to want. The more you or anyone else in your family pushes back against this girl (and I'm not saying that anyone is doing that), the more he will probably go in that direction. Also, you can't force having a relationship with him. My experience is that those things just have to work themselves out. For example, my mom had a really bad relationship with her siblings when she was in her twenties and early thirties, but now she is best friends with her sister. As people grow and change, sibling relationships often change, too. So I wouldn't worry about not having much of a relationship with your brother at this point, it's not forever. Though it is upsetting, and those feelings are best dealt with in therapy, I think.

Take care,
Amy

Kensington
12-07-2011, 01:09 PM
I am estranged from my brother, so I can relate to having differences with your brother. Having said that, I'm sure he would tell people I don't value family like he does becuz I don't want to be around him. What he does NOT tell people is what a jerk he was to me growing up and as an adult. There are two sides to that story.

I'm not suggesting you are a jerk at all, but rather pointing out that both of you have your own versions of why he isn't spending more time with his family. He may have reasons you aren't taking into account, or perhaps don't even know about.

He may also feel your rigidity towards him comes from other family members as well. This may have started long before his g/f. If so, she really isn't "evil" but rather the woman dating your brother, who already felt he was better off spending little time with his family before he met this woman.

Then again, he may be selfish and only want contact when he needs something.

I don't know the answer, and I'm suggesting you may not truly know it either. If you feel it's not worth sitting down with him to see if he would like to be closer, then learning to be neutral about him is a healthy step for you. If you learn to stop resenting him for not being where you feel he "should" be (family gatherings, parties, etc.), and can toss him a casual, "Hi, how are ya?" when you do see him, you will be a calmer, happier person. That beats being upset becuz you can't change him or understand him.

sflathinker
12-07-2011, 03:31 PM
Maybe he just likes the way he feels "better" when he is with her. I have a relationship with my family, but we aren't always close....but they will always be family. And I don't like how they make me feel all rhe time. I choose to spend time with those who "get" me. One day you might meet a man and find you have less time for family and friends or a desire to do things with him that exclude others....its not abnormal. But alienating someone for their choices is going to hurt any chance of them wanting to include you in thru life they are building.

lexy*
12-08-2011, 07:35 AM
dq, a, sfl, k,

Thanks for relating your own experiences with family relationships.

My dad thinks that because my brother never dated in high school or college, he is really devoting himself completely to his relationships now. There is probably some truth in this statement.

We can't really know my brother's reasons for his choices since he doesn't explain them to us. I was annoyed with him several years ago, because he was not at all supportive when I was struggling with my ED my freshman year of college, but then come our junior year, I was supportive when he was a basket case and would invite him to dinner with me and my friends since he had a falling out with his friends. I asked him about this, and he just said that my eating disorder was hard for him to deal with and that he was sorry. There have been occasions when I bring up the fact that our relationship is one sided, and he doesn't explain and just says, "Yeah." The problem is that he will admit that he never talks to our mom or grandparents or whoever, and then he will say that he's sorry that he isn't in touch. He and my mom, for example, will work out a plan to talk once a week at a certain time that conveniences him, but then he will not call her and he will not answer his phone. The other problem is that he is very hard to read, very nonexpressive, so it's hard to guess what he is feeling.

In any case, I am done putting thought and effort into this particular relationship as it isn't going anywhere. I emailed him on Monday about a few Christmas things and then stated briefly that I was hurt that I wasn't invited to his birthday party. He didn't respond, and he probably won't. It's impossible to work through anything if a person doesn't even respond. It's pointless.

L

dermaline
12-08-2011, 08:04 AM
One of the things I have done with my family is to accept who they presently are. To not keep wanting more than I am ever going to get. I catch myself going down that road sometimes and then stop myself.
It sometimes hurts when someone isnt able to give you what you really want from them and I actually wonder how much of what you describe here is underpinned by hurt.

If you think that your brother behaves as he does because he doesn't love you enough (because if you behaved as he does that would be "why") then it hurts but you would be interpreting his actions through your perspective on the world.
If you rather view his actions as being about him and not about his feelings for you then I wonder if this would be easier.

I am not saying that his actions dont speak of immaturity or self focus but what is important is how you interpret them or accept them. You may need to mourn the loss of the brother you want but dont have.

sflathinker
12-08-2011, 09:54 AM
People love differently. You are expecting him to treat you the same way you would treat someone, however family members aren't people we choose. You can continue being disappointed or you can try not to judge and accept that he isn't like you and accept him for who he is. I'm sure he has qualities you value. If you focus on the parts you don't value you won't like him. There are things about all of us that can be picked apart and criticized. And there are things to praise. If you continue seeing the bad, you will find your world (and social circle) very small.

lexy*
12-08-2011, 08:00 PM
d and sfl,

I feel like it is his responsibility to communicate what his perspective is or how he is feeling when he is asked or he can communicate it on his own free will. Since he doesn't communicate and isn't expressive in ways that I can see, I am left to make assumptions and view the situation from my eyes.


I really think that for now, the best decision is for me to be neutral. This way I will not feel disappointment or animosity towards him. In any case, I feel like the only thing that I am losing is the hope of having a better relationship, but I'm not actually losing a relationship of any significance, which makes it easier to stomach. I guess in some ways I am giving up a superficially, friendly relationship during the holidays and family events, but I don't think that I will miss it, though I could be wrong. I feel like my life is full of quality relationships, albeit I tend to date very casually, so I don't feel like I am lacking good social connections. So, I don't think that I will mourn the loss of what we had, since it wasn't fulfilling in the first place.

L

nc
12-08-2011, 08:17 PM
I'm not actually losing a relationship of any significance, which makes it easier to stomach. I guess in some ways I am giving up a superficially, friendly relationship during the holidays and family events, but I don't think that I will miss it, though I could be wrong.

So if you care so little for him then why the post? Why care if you are invited to his surprise party (which I am sure he did not make the list since it was a surprise) or if he is around for holidays?

I am really confused as to what you want from this post.

lexy*
12-09-2011, 08:29 AM
nc,

At this moment, I don't have a close relationship with my brother that I value and find fulfilling. I wanted a closer relationship with him but my steps towards that haven't been successful. So, what I wanted from this post was help accepting that at this stage of my life, I will not have the type of relationship with him that I would ideally want.

So, I wanted support in accepting this and the disappointment that comes with giving up hope. And then since I won't have the type of relationship that I want, then what will I have? Or what type of dynamic do I want to have with my brother in the absence of what I would ideally want?

L