Family Matters
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Brothers....(kind of long)

Let me try to give you the reader's digest version:

I'm the youngest (24) and only girl. I paid my way through grad school, I'm married, have a full time job and pay all my own bills. Oldest brother (now 30) was former drug and alcohol addict, went to jail twice, and is responsible for most of the turmoil in my family during my childhood. He is unemployed, doesn't have a car, his license is suspended, and my parents are paying some of his bills. Middle brother (now 26) was former amazing actor, went to college, got into marijuana and still uses a lot. He does work and pays most of his own bills, but parents still pay some.

Keeping in mind that these descriptions are very VERY basic, it's very easy to say that I have a lot of issues with my brothers. But my most recent problem is with my middle brother. We used to be close (ish) until he went off to college. Since then, it's like he's done a 180. First, he does really annoying things like constantly interrupting, telling people how they should live their life, and why their choice of lifestyle is bad/wrong. Second, he has "Jekyl and Hyde" moments.

For example, we were driving back from the mountains and he kept critiquing my driving so I told him that I had control and to back off. He FLIPPED out on me and started screaming at me and cursing at me and telling me to f-off. I told him he didn't need to be a jerk to me and he said he could say whatever he wanted, blah blah blah. I didn't say anything the rest of the trip. Second example is when my family was at my place for my oldest brother's birthday dinner. We were all sitting around the table talking about stuff and my middle brother was talking. I was trying to ask him a question and kind of interrupted him (we were all talking over each other anyway). He, again, started yelling at me and telling me to stop interrupting him and he couldn't finish what he was saying. I tried to tell him I'm sorry for interrupting you, I just had a question. He stood up, started cursing and yelling and telling me he was f-ing done and started to walk out. My family basically told him to calm down and sit back down. 5 minutes later he was totally fine.

Needless to say, I don't prefer spending time with him. I try to just avoid him, but he asked me to drive him around to find parts for his car that isn't working this weekend. I said I would, but was hesitant and dreading it the whole week. Saturday came and I took him to junk yards, the grocery store, and back home again and he was cordial enough (although not really grateful).

I've finally relented to scheduling an appointment to talk to someone about it because I really don't want to dread spending time with my family when my brother(s) are around. But let's face it, THEY HAVE SCREWED UP MY LIFE SO MUCH!! They don't take responsibility for their own lives and they're full-grown adults!!! I know we're different people, but seriously?! Pay your own bills, buy your own stuff, and find your own job! I'm resentful, angry, disappointed, frustrated....there's just a lot of feelings there.

I guess I don't know what I'm asking for here. This may just be a vent session, but it weighs on me a lot in the day-to-day.

Re: Brothers....(kind of long)

  • LeahMI said:

     But let's face it, THEY HAVE SCREWED UP MY LIFE SO MUCH!! They don't take responsibility for their own lives and they're full-grown adults!!! I know we're different people, but seriously?! Pay your own bills, buy your own stuff, and find your own job! I'm resentful, angry, disappointed, frustrated....there's just a lot of feelings there.

    I guess I don't know what I'm asking for here. This may just be a vent session, but it weighs on me a lot in the day-to-day.

    Ok - how does any of that affect you? Seriously - how does your brothers being losers weigh on you in the day-to-day?  Your middle brother sounds like a pill, I'll give you that.  So stop spending time with him if he's such a jerk. 

    Get a life of your own, stop worrying about what your brothers are doing with their lives and money.  Stop inviting them to your house, stop trying to force a happy little family relationship with them.  I'm betting that you'll be a happier person once you do that. 

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  • That's a very fair argument. And usually, when I don't talk to them or interact with them, I don't even think about them and it's not an issue. It's when they come back into my life for whatever reason (need a favor, a holiday or birthday, etc) that these thoughts come back up. I've tried just staying away from the middle brother in particular after the first incident, but that led to me not inviting him to my birthday dinner and me getting crap from the rest of my family for it.

     

    I'm very proud of the life I've created for myself, I just don't like how crappy I feel when I think about them or have to be around them.

  • LeahMI said:

     I've tried just staying away from the middle brother in particular after the first incident, but that led to me not inviting him to my birthday dinner and me getting crap from the rest of my family for it.


    I'd tell my family that it's my birthday and I want to spend it w/ people I enjoy.  If they really have an issue w/ this, then they are more than welcome to not come over too.

    Push back a little.  Because clearly they feel "but we're FAMILY" and therefore must all be included.  Tell them that you aren't going to do this 'just because'.. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • I feel for you because my sister is kind of the same, minus the temper. She hasn't worked in 2 years, doesn't talk to my parents unless she needs money, smokes pot constantly and always needs help from me. I used to just jump when she needed something, and get upset every time she called me crying about something, but I finally realized that I didn't have to let her life affect mine. I backed way, way off. I no longer "rescue" her, or accept calls at 4am so she can vent (I have a kid now also), or bring her stuff because she chooses not to drive somewhere, or bring her food because she "can't" cook. She's an adult, she's making her choices, and I'm making mine. I managed to separate my emotions from her life, and you should do the same with your brothers. You might need some professional help to teach you some strategies to deal with hearing about their shenanigans, but not engaging. And if they aren't grateful when you help them, stop helping!! You have more control than you might think in this situation. Good luck!
  • How have they screwed up your life?  Their own lives, sure.  But clearly you're doing alright for yourself.

    Look, they are big boys.  They have made their choices, they have carved out their path.  Their lives don't impact your life unless you ALLOW it.  When you put yourself in situations with people that are aggravating, you can't keep getting mad at them for aggravating you.  It's like hanging out with a smoker and constantly getting pissed that you smell like smoke at the end of the night.  It doesn't compute, right?  This is who they are... you can't wish it away and you sure as shit can't change them.

    They are family but that doesn't give them free reign to be dickheads with no consequences.  You have a couple options:  1.  Eliminate all contact, 2.  Reduce contact in an effort to alleviate your frustrations, or 3.  Continue on the way you have been.

    I think it's great you're reaching out to someone to talk through these things.  Hopefully they will give you the tools to need to figure out the best approach and how to execute that approach.  Best of luck to you!
  • They're screwing up their own lives, not yours.  You can't force them to change.  If they treat you badly, don't spend time with them.  If your parents give you a problem, you tell them that you don't want to be around people who curse at you and scream.  End of subject.

    I get it. I really do.  I have two brothers too.  Two unemployed brothers who sit around drinking beer, smoking pot and playing video games all day.  Only I'm the oldest.  I tried to help them. I've lent them money.  I've given them a place to stay for weeks at a time.  I've taken them to appointments.  I've tried to offer advice.  Bottom line is they are grown men and can live their lives the way that they want to.  I can't let it effect me. I love them and I want better for them.  But until they want better for themselves enough to work for it, nothing is going to change.  There is no point in me driving myself crazy about it.
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  • edited November 2013
    You need to cut Brother #1 off because he's a doper (make it clear he will NOT be in contact with you unless he cleans up his act and is clean and sober for a good while with the help of a 12 step program...and ONLY if he can prove he has been clean for a good long time).

    I suggest you steer clear of Brother #2.

    Simply because you do not need the aggravation.

    Tell Brother #2 he is aggravating and you don't have any time in your life for his garbage.  Cut him off and stop associating with him; let him go stew in his own juice.

    I am a member of your club. I have a nuts brother too.
  • Thanks for your input everyone. I had my first counseling session last night and I'm realizing there is a lot more pain and hurt there than I realized. It's going to be a long, hard road...
  • LeahMI said:
    Thanks for your input everyone. I had my first counseling session last night and I'm realizing there is a lot more pain and hurt there than I realized. It's going to be a long, hard road...

    I'm glad you're working through it and you have help. Just don't let their decisions undermine what you've accomplished and the life you've made for yourself. Good luck with everything!
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