Out of the blue..

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Out of the blue..
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 4:23am


I would love some feedback from others regarding a request from a family member.

This is from my younger brother who doesn't speak to me anymore even though we were really close until his wife came on the scene and caused the family to split. Its a long story but the short version is that she never liked me because I was so close to him and wanted him to stay away from me and my family. This is a brother who I helped at every opportunity and gave whatever we could to him. He has never had the guts to stand up to her and say " this is my sister and although you dont like her ( meaning me) she is my sister and I'll see her from time to time and do it with or without you". He has sided with her, which is understandable, but in the last few years, I keep on reaching out and sending them gifts for their kids - which come back as a " we dont want your gifts" and I've also paid for their older child to attend music and physical activities ( which they were happy to accept and she never thanked me for that ) and when their younger child had  a one year afternoon tea party and we were not invited I was so angry that everyone else in the family were invited and we weren't and so i phoned and asked if we could come over and they said NO. I also asked if we could drop a gift off for the one year old , and the wife ( I will be polite here) said that she would talk to my brother and get back to me to see of I could drop the gift off. The child is now 2  and I'm still waiting for that phone call to see if I can drop off a gift. 

Anyway, the difficult thing is that no one has ever given me a valid reason for shutting us out of their lives except that the wife didnt like the way I apologised to her about something that happened 4 years ago, and in my view, I apologised to her over the phone, I apologised to her face in a meeting, I have said sorry numerous times and my husband has apologised too.Its completely bizarre because my other sister in law who said exactly the same thing to her, and I repeated it, said sorry and she accepted that apology from her and not from me. So now my sister in law and other brother see them all the time and she hates us and loves them. She basically hated that I was so close to him and he loved my kids, so she used any excuse to kick us out of her / their life. 

I've included them in all of our family celebrations, I've brought them medicines for when my brother was sick, I've asked if I could come over and see their children (all I get is NO you cant ) and I've extended the olive branch so far that now the branch has broken. They have never once invited us to anything or asked us to join them in anything for 4 years. 

So out of the blue, I get an email from brother last weekend asking me for money to help pay for some cleaning work at our elderly parents flat ( should mention here that its his parents and only my mother as my mother remarried after my real father died and they had my brother together) Now, firstly the letter starts out with " hi ( and my name..) remember me"? ( as if to say that I should remember him ) 

Then goes into a long rant about how messy my mothers place is and how a cleaner is necessary. The message that comes through is that his 2 small children that visit there are now amongst the so called dirt there. He wants to employ a cleaner on some sort of weekly/ fortnighty basis so that they have a nice clean apartment when brother and wife and children visit.  So he's essentially asking me for money. He wants me to contribute to this cleaner.  This is from someone who has serious anger management problems, he doesnt know when to stop screaming when he's angry , he refuses to let us be invloved in his family and he has no regard and care for me or my children and husband. 

I am of two minds here. On the one hand I could spend hours composing a letter that lets him have it and then I sign off something like dont contact me ever again. Or I could stop wasting my time and energy and ignore him completely and hope he gets the message loud and clear that any relationship we ever had is now over. 

What would you do? 


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2003
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 3:23pm

I agree with Serenity.  I think we need to get into the history before any advice is given.  At face value, I'd say not to respond at all.  Then again, depending, maybe it could be a time to ask him why the overt hostility and exclusion.  To me that is hurtful and over the top unless some very severe and unforgiving occurred.  I do have a SIL in the family that just happens to be that nuts and has alienated the entire family from the brother, so I understand your position if the punishment doesn't fit the crime, kwim?  Also, I've completely cut off my own brother for good, but our history warrants it, so I get your brother's POV if the history was like ours.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 1:13pm

Boy, I wish I had something helpful to say here.  I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in this.  Families, for whatever reason, sometimes have these struggles. 

Do you have any kind of clue from other family members what is really going on here.  For arguments sake, if I were to be neutral and not pick a side, is there more to the story that your family is not sharing with you.  I take it that what ever happened in the past, the SIL forgave another SIL (or relative), but not you? 

All that aside, it is too bad that your brother couldn't come to an agreement with his DW about continuing a R with you. 

All I can come up with is that either there is more to the story, either on your end or on hers, or she is just really that wacked.  Returning presents for the children is pretty extreme. 

As far as your mother and step-dad, I would check all of that out yourself.  I take it that you must not go to your mothers house very often?  Is that R strained, also? 

I know it is hard to fit everything into a post without writing a novel sometimes.  A few more details may help.  Disowning family is a pretty drastic measure.  I would pause before replying to his e-mail.

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work