Family Matters

How to disown your brother

So there are various reasons why my husband and I do not want anything to do with my brother or his fiancee, too many to really get into.  I've tried several times to explain to my parents that we want nothing to do with them but it's always ended in heated discussion and me crying.  I even tried not attending my family's Thanksgiving dinner last year but rather invited my parents to have thanksgiving dinner with us and my husband's family to make a point that we want to be seperated but all it did was get my mother upset and made my family hate my husband even more because they think he's influencing me and drawing me away from them.  And they keep saying that my brother's kids will suffer if their aunt is not around.  What they really don't get is I've felt this way since I was a child and my husband is only encouraging me to be more forceful with the issue.  And I don't see how my nephews are going to suffer any because if I were living farther away (say another state or across country) they wouldn't see me anyways.

I know that when my parents pass-on I will no longer continue a relationship with my brother.  As sad as it is to say, I am only doing it so that they'll stop complaining.  My husband and I just bought a townhouse, and have agreed that my brother's family is not welcome there at any time.  When we decide to have kids, I can only imagine how much worse it is going to get.  As it stands now, I am practically forced into being a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding.  Lucky me, they asked 2 years in advance.  And because we all live in the same community, I am always expected to be at all his kids birthday parties and at every holiday dinner.

 I was wondering how other couples in similar situations have made the split. I know it's going to be a long process but I can't imagine myself living like this for the next 20 years until my parent's pass away. 

Re: How to disown your brother

  • Just back out of the bridesmaid thing and decline invitations to his kids' celebrations, and then be polite when you happen to be at the same get-togethers that someone else hosts.  It's not rocket surgery.

    Of course, the way you're making it seem sooooo hard and complicated and drama-laden is making me wonder if it's you rather than him that's the problem here.

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  • image ReturnOfKuus:

    Of course, the way you're making it seem sooooo hard and complicated and drama-laden is making me wonder if it's you rather than him that's the problem here.

    I was wondering the exact same thing.

  • Just stop all contact with him.

    You don't owe your parents an explanation. "I am no longer associating with Brother," end of story. They can yell and cry and demand an explanation all they want, but you don't owe them more than that. The more of an explanation you give, the more they will fight you on it. State your terms, once, and that's it ... "We are no longer associating with him" and "We are not going to his house for the holiday. You are welcome to come here if you like." End of story.

    Ditto PPs, though. I'm wondering if he's really as awful as you say, considering that you're still planning on being a bridesmaid in his wedding. If it was all that awful then I would think that you'd immediately drop out of the wedding, no?

    And how the hell were you "forced" into being a bridesmaid in his wedding? Did someone hold a gun to your head? Nobody's "forcing" you to do anything, honey ... if you want to disown him, then just do it. If you don't want to be a bridesmaid then drop out. You can be "expected" to be at every single child's party and family holiday gathering that they want, but nothing short of a gun to the head is forcing you to be there.

    Is this just an issue where you don't get along? Do you disapprove of his life choices? It's fine to avoid spending time with him if you just don't like him, and that doesn't require "disowning" him. If you're forced to be around him, then talk as little as possible, be polite, and make an early exit if you can. If this is a case where he's been physically or verbally abusive to you, or where his lifestyle choices present a literal danger to you and your family (drugs, alcohol, etc.), then simply say that you do not wish to be around him, and then don't be around him.

    I'm not really getting what the problem is here. If you mean that your parents will be crushed or angry if you announce that you're cutting him out of your life ... well, they'll just have to deal with it. If they choose to disown YOU for disowning your brother, then you'll just have to deal with it. If you know in your heart that disowning him is the right thing to do, then you need to make your decision and stand behind it. Right now it seems like you're trying to find a happy medium ... when you cut someone from yoru life, there really isn't much of a middle-ground. It's all or nothing.

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  • image mbcdefg:

    I'm not really getting what the problem is here. If you mean that your parents will be crushed or angry if you announce that you're cutting him out of your life ... well, they'll just have to deal with it. If they choose to disown YOU for disowning your brother, then you'll just have to deal with it. If you know in your heart that disowning him is the right thing to do, then you need to make your decision and stand behind it. Right now it seems like you're trying to find a happy medium ... when you cut someone from yoru life, there really isn't much of a middle-ground. It's all or nothing.

    Ditto everything the otehrs said, but ultimately this.  Don't explain to your parents, don't be around your brother.  Drop out of the wedding.  They asked you 2 years ago?  So what?  Circumstances have changed - drop out. 

    Even if you stop explaining to your parents, if they still cry and moan and beg you to have a relationship, simply say "I know your upset, but this is what's best for me." and repeat.  Don't get caught up in defending yourself- it only give them more ammunition. 

     

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  • image al1bye:

    So there are various reasons why my husband and I do not want anything to do with my brother or his fiancee, too many to really get into.  I've tried several times to explain to my parents that we want nothing to do with them but it's always ended in heated discussion and me crying.  I even tried not attending my family's Thanksgiving dinner last year but rather invited my parents to have thanksgiving dinner with us and my husband's family to make a point that we want to be seperated but all it did was get my mother upset and made my family hate my husband even more because they think he's influencing me and drawing me away from them.  And they keep saying that my brother's kids will suffer if their aunt is not around.  What they really don't get is I've felt this way since I was a child and my husband is only encouraging me to be more forceful with the issue.  And I don't see how my nephews are going to suffer any because if I were living farther away (say another state or across country) they wouldn't see me anyways.

    I know that when my parents pass-on I will no longer continue a relationship with my brother.  As sad as it is to say, I am only doing it so that they'll stop complaining.  My husband and I just bought a townhouse, and have agreed that my brother's family is not welcome there at any time.  When we decide to have kids, I can only imagine how much worse it is going to get.  As it stands now, I am practically forced into being a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding.  Lucky me, they asked 2 years in advance.  And because we all live in the same community, I am always expected to be at all his kids birthday parties and at every holiday dinner.

     I was wondering how other couples in similar situations have made the split. I know it's going to be a long process but I can't imagine myself living like this for the next 20 years until my parent's pass away. 

    First of all disowning someone is a very serious decision to make. I hope you would be doing so not because someone is annoying but for a truly valid reason. Second, just because you make the choice doesn't mean everyone else has to or is going to agree with it. Your not a parent yet, but it would break my heart if my boys didn't speak to each other. Also, you are putting your parents in the middle by trying to split them on holidays and family occasions. That is very selfish. 

    Also, all the terms and conditions seem overly dramatic to me. "You aren't welcome at our house. . ." etc. What does that really accomplish but make you like petty.

    It seems like your brother must think highly of you to ask you to be in his wedding.

    Whether you want to acknowledge it or not your nephews will be hurt by your decision but maybe they would be better off not having you around. Its not the same as if you live far away because you don't. Would you want your brother to treat your children that way? Also, if you lived far away, they would see you at some time. You are the one saying you never want to see them again.  

    Can you not maintain civility with him a few times a years for a holiday or kids birthday. You don't have to be overly involved but it might be nicer than the whole disowning. When your parents pass you can decide what you want to do with him. Have you thought about how terrible it will be if you do disown him and then they pass and you have to deal with him for a funeral.  It all just seems very dismissive and short sighted on your part.  Unless you can give some really good reason he is of no redeeming value. 

     

  • You do this by not expecting anyone to applaud or approve or make easier your choice to cut him off. Do it yourself, do what you need to do to get it done, and don't expect your parents (and his) to do anything to make your choice theirs.

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  • You cant disown a family memeber until you are grown up enough to take the fallout.

    Oh, and no one forced you to be a bridesmaid. You chose to do it!

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  • image Sue_sue:

    You do this by not expecting anyone to applaud or approve or make easier your choice to cut him off. Do it yourself, do what you need to do to get it done, and don't expect your parents (and his) to do anything to make your choice theirs.

     

    This.  If you know you have every reason to not want to talk to him, then don't. 

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  • So, besides being a bridesmaid in his wedding and attending all of his children's parites you are totally not having anything to do with him.

    Gottcha.

    Why are you explaining anything of this to your mother? It sounds like you want her permission.  And since you don't get it, you go along with what she wants.

    Deal with your brother as much or as little as you wish. You don't need your mother's permission. And it seemed rather complicated that you want her to exclude her son, or attend holidays at your place with your in-laws, to exclude him. You don't have to invite him to your home, but unless he's a criminal, it's rude to insist that she not invite him to her home.  

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  • I cut my brother off after decades of verbal and physical abuse, threats, intimidation and harassment. It is the best thing I ever did. I have peace of mind now - something I had previously never known.

    Before that decision was made, an earlier period of estrangement made my mother very upset at first and she tried to patch things up between my brother and I. We tried the civility route, meeting up for holidays etc. It did not work - he blew up again at both my mother and I and restarted the threats and intimidation.

    It was only when he stopped all contact with my mother for over a year that she understood why I had taken the step I had taken. 

    My advice to you is this - just stop all contact with him. Don't return his phone calls or answer his emails/texts. Make it quite clear to your parents why you are cutting him off. Give them examples of his behaviour/lifestyle that have made you come to that decision. They may be upset at first but if they can see that your reasons are valid, they will respect it eventually.

  • This is really not that hard.  Stop talking to him.  Don't go to events if he is there.  Drop ouf of the wedding and don't attend it.  Don't give anyone an explanation besides "It's my decision and I'm sticking with it."
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  • DH stopped contact with his father, stepmother, and (half) sister years ago.  At first it was just his sister (who treated him/us/our dd badly, "wasn't speaking to us," etc.).  When we decided we weren't going to try with SIL anymore, SIL realized she wasn't in control anymore and tried to patch things up. 

    Dh's stepmother was very upset when we told her we weren't interested, believed "we all should get along"  That ended up with us no longer having any contact with FIL and his wife.

    You seem to want a lot of approval from your parents.  You need to understand that no matter how horrible their children are, parents (often) going to want their children to get along.  So stop discussing your brother with your parents. 

    I would also add....my siblings and I are close, and dh is close to some of his family members, but they haven't been to my children's birthday parties in years!  No, you don't "have" to go to the birthday parties.  It is not a huge comment on your relationship or a gigantic snub.  Just decline. 

    It is really easy to "wean" someone out of your life without making a big, dramatic deal about it. 

  • image bmk112302:

    First of all disowning someone is a very serious decision to make. I hope you would be doing so not because someone is annoying but for a truly valid reason. Second, just because you make the choice doesn't mean everyone else has to or is going to agree with it. Your not a parent yet, but it would break my heart if my boys didn't speak to each other. Also, you are putting your parents in the middle by trying to split them on holidays and family occasions. That is very selfish. 

    Also, all the terms and conditions seem overly dramatic to me. "You aren't welcome at our house. . ." etc. What does that really accomplish but make you like petty.

    It seems like your brother must think highly of you to ask you to be in his wedding.

    Whether you want to acknowledge it or not your nephews will be hurt by your decision but maybe they would be better off not having you around. Its not the same as if you live far away because you don't. Would you want your brother to treat your children that way? Also, if you lived far away, they would see you at some time. You are the one saying you never want to see them again.  

    Can you not maintain civility with him a few times a years for a holiday or kids birthday. You don't have to be overly involved but it might be nicer than the whole disowning. When your parents pass you can decide what you want to do with him. Have you thought about how terrible it will be if you do disown him and then they pass and you have to deal with him for a funeral.  It all just seems very dismissive and short sighted on your part.  Unless you can give some really good reason he is of no redeeming value. 

     

     

    I was actually the child in this situation.  When my grandmother passed away, my aunt disowned my father.  I was already in high school at the time, and she was my godmother, so it was definitely a strange adjustment.  I don't know if my father ever regretted the fight they got into (I obviously only know his side of the story and while I understand his reasons I also always assume there are two sides to each story), but quite frankly, I think I turned out just fine. 

     In fact, my father did try to reach out to his nephew and nieces when they were all getting married, saying that while he understands he cannot attend their wedding, he does wish them the best and would like to take them out to celebrate if they are so inclined.  He waited until they were adults to try and reestablish a relationship with them, which is fair enough to his sister.  My aunt never reached out to my brother or me ever again.

    If the situation with your brother really is bad enough for you to want to disown him, be prepared for the fall out, but blood does NOT define family.  How people treat you defines family, in my opinion. Your nephews will hopefully understand eventually, but you don't owe anything to your brother just because you came out of the same parent.

  • My sister and I stopped talking to our brother about 10 years ago.  My parents now split the holiday's.  We have one niece that is not living with him (this is the entire reason for our fall out) and a nephew that does.  We do not have a relationship with the nephew.  Is it sad?  Sure.  But I wouldn't change any decision that I've made through the years.

    My mom still to this day tells us about him.  For example, on his birthday sends an email, "it's your brothers birthday!"  We have told her directly - mom, we don't care if he gets hit by a bus tomorrow, as well as just ignoring what she says.  Both work.

  •  You seem to want a little too much attention on this issue.   If you don't want much to do with your brother, then don't!   Don't explain to your parents and then end up fighting and crying about it.   Don't stand with hands on your hips and say, "we're not coming for Thanksgiving!   Because of my brother.   Have I mentioned I don't want anything to do with him?    So, we're not coming.    You can come here.   But he's not invited.   Because, you know, I don't want anything to do with him."   Dude.  Just don't have anything to do with him!   

    I get the same sense with the "he's not welcome in our new home" stance.    OK....so don't invite him over.   

    Also, no one is forcing you to do all these things.  Being a bridesmaid, kids' birthday parties, etc.    Just don't do it or don't go! 

    I will say though, I'd be hesitant to skip on the kids' birthdays.   I do think it'd be hurtful to them to not have you attend, but it depends on how many people would be there and if you could avoid having any interaction with your brother while you're there.

    What has your brother done to make you hate him?   I'm genuinely curious.

  • image donnycornelius:

    What has your brother done to make you hate him?   I'm genuinely curious.

    I'm willing to bet that it's not one thing that can be summed up on the internet.  I bet it's years after years of behavior until the OP finally couldn't take it anymore.

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  • Stop all contact immediately, gradually is a joke and seems to be a way for you to get attention .  It's like wanting a divorse and taking years to dod it.   The worst part is postponing it.  Once you make the decision you can stop worrying and heal.

    My brother, habitual liar, drunk, and chain smoker.  I'll spare you the lenghty drama.  He's lied about his health for sympathy, and his sixth wife told me he had 3 months to live (8 years ago).  Recently she told my other sibs he was about to be taken off life support.   One of my sisters left me a voice mail that began with  "I know you probably don't want to hear this".  I quickly left the house and turned off my cell phone, thinking he was dead.  They call until my husband gets the message.  He falls for this crap tracks me down after hours of calling everyone, and begs me to go to hospital.  I only went to get him off my back.  I'm still pissed that I gave in to this drama.  The X-brother was joking and posting on Facebook two days later, and home from hospital after 3 days.  My husband was banned from saying his name 7 years ago and knows he isn't to mention his name to me.  

    I've made it very clear to my family that  I didn't go to burry the hatchet and none of them expect to see me at the funeral when he does kick off.  My husband is a different story, I think he just refuses to believe I am serious or worries about needing to make excuses for me.  I made the decision to disown him and his wife after they told my husband a lot of lies about me (that and a lifetime of other crap. 

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