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? 


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 12:55pm

Yea, SS makes a good point.  You just have to stop participating.  The great thing is you just stop!  You don't have to make a phone call, send a text or e-mail.  You just don't reply!

Now, with that said, no contact may be impossible.  But, you can be cordial without participating in drama.

"I appreciate your concern for mom, but I was at moms yesterday I didn't really see a need at this point for a cleaning service, therefore I won't be contributing to the cost if you and mom choose to go that route." 

If you have to see them at a family event, you can still treat them like you would any other person at a gathering.  You don't have to ignore, yet you don't have to engage in conversation, either. 

This stuff goes on in my DH's family (not mine), and I do feel for you.  It is painful to watch.  Hang in there. 

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Tue, 08-06-2013 - 3:59am

Silly Sadie, you are so right here. Its the drama that they feed on. I've even told my mother to STOP talking about me, because every time she does, it feeds them more information for them to be critical of me. 

I also told my mother that I dont want to hear about my brother or his kids. She finds it really difficult to do this, as her main topic of conversation is letting me know about my siblings. ( telegraph wire) 

Thanks so much everyone for your advice. Its not easy to just forget about my brothers and sister, and I never will, but serenity and sillie sadie are so spot on when it comes to focusing on people who I can have a HEALTHY relationship with and not people who will bring me down. I dont like the person I become because of them.. 

( and getting back to the very first thing I said about brothers wife not liking her GFather.. this was actually said because my brother had been saying all these things to me and making me feel bad about not doing anything special for his wife when GF passed away and he did not appreciate that at the time I was very very sick AND had my own kids and a business to run and his wifes feelings over what I WAS or WASN'T doing were the last thing I could deal with... and this wasn't the first time he was speaking to me like this so his behavour back then was becoming more and more bullying and then when I snapped and repeated the comment that the other SIL made, it all came out wrong and it was partly because I felt he had pushed me too far .. and then starts being abusive to me and then the wife starts abusing me .. ( one of the other conversations I had previous to all this was this - I would ring up midweek and ask what they were doing on the weekend, specifically to extend a dinner inviation and before he was married, he would always come over for dinner or a barbeque or something to catch up.. and then after they were married they would come together... so then I get this phonecall, that I now need to give them minimum 2 weeks notice if I wanted them to come for dinner.. which was not coming from him as he never would have though of it.. basically the invitation was so low key, I was cooking, if they didn't have any plans, they could come by.. it wasnt FORMAL.. it was casual.. so in order for me to give them 2 weeks notice then I was formally inviting them to come for a dinner that was planned.. this wasnt what i meant for them.. it was like, hey I'm making curry/ bbq/ spag bol, come over... see the kids, have a glass of wine... but now this new way had to planned and organised.. and with my busy schedule and their demands, it wasnt fun anymore.. ) just one example... ( there were plenty of these) 

And after so many apologies from me and rejections from them, they are now after something from me to add even more drama to their lives... well, thats NOT going to happen. They can find someone else who is willing to participate in their games and I can focus on building positive relationships with people who are warm and friendly and kind. ( and who are happy to be spontanepus and come and share a glass of wine and maybe some dinner... 

Thank you.