Family Matters
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My brother ::sigh::

So, my brother is an amazing hybrid of a "black sheep" and "golden boy" in our family.  My parents divorced when we were young (bro was 2, I was 5) and my grandfather died the same year.  So he was the only male in the family for a long time, and my family is a little nuts about treating men like their sh!t doesn't stink.

Anyway, he is getting married this summer.  It is not his first marriage.  He has an ex-wife from hell that he married at 20, while he was in the military.  She was truly horrible.  She lied, stole money from him, drove him into incredible debt and has a violent temper.  They have an 8 year old daughter together.  When my niece was 18 months old my brother was stationed in Hawaii and his ex chose not to go with him and my brother hasn't seen her since.  There were a lot of reasons given, and some are legitimate, but not all of them.  He's now close to signing over his parental rights and wanting to just move on with his life.  He tells me that he and his FI have plans to have kids in the not-too-distant future and I can't help but think, 'you already have a child!!!'

He's getting married soon, and my mom & grandmother think that all this should just be swept under the rug and we should be thrilled that he's "finally getting it right" after his mistakes from the past.  This is incredible to me.  How can I just forget?  I realize that people make mistakes, and that this was a huge one.  He shouldn't be forced to be alone and unhappy for the rest of his life, but I'm just having a really hard time with how people are fawning all over him as though none of this ever happened! 

I rarely say anything about how I feel about the whole thing, but I was recently told by my mom that I am hard-hearted and unforgiving and refuse to see him as anything other than an idiot.  Apparently, I'm the jerk now.  I love my brother.  I do.  I just can't pretend that none of this happened.  Am I being unreasonable to have a little trouble swallowing all this family "joy" I'm supposed to be experiencing?

 

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Re: My brother ::sigh::

  • I am confused are you upset that family is excited about his up coming wedding or the fact that they are pretending the first marriage didn't happen?

    I don't get why you would be upset he is getting remarried or wants to have children with his current FI.

    I can understand frustration that the family thinks the first marriage and child should be forgotten and or not discussed.  If this is the case I would not consider you hard hearted by you don't think they she pretend like it never happened.

    However from the sounds of it he has been "single" for roughly 6.5 years so by now I would think all of these issues have been resolved with how your family is.  Also you make it sound like this how they are and I don't get why you are surprised or irritated they are acting this way.

  • His divorce only went through relatively recently, so it hasn't been 6.5 years of him being single.  It has been a while, so I see what you're saying. 

    I guess, I'm just having a hard time with the fact that we're pretending this didn't happen.  There were 2 Christmases sent together, baptisms, baby showers and now I'm being told I should just get rid of all my pictures of my niece because it's too upsetting to my brother to acknowledge any of it happened. 

    If I made it sound like I'm not happy for him with respect to getting married, I didn't mean to.  I love his FI.  I'm really happy for them, and don't begrudge them having kids.  It's just a strange combination of him getting married/having kids/signing over parental rights all at the same time.

    I guess I'm disappointed that no one can understand why I'd have any feelings about this other than joy.  I know it's how they are. 

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  • I hear where you're coming from. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • True, your feelings are your feelings but why share them with other members of the family? It's an odd thing for you to be upset about. This is your brother's life, not your life.

    You may not agree with the decision he makes regarding his parental rights, but there are some people who use their children as emotional pawns.  God knows what emotional turmoil she was going to subject her daughter to in order to torture your brother. Maybe he felt it was the most peaceful option for the sake of his daughter's life.

    As far as your relationship with your niece, well, honestly, do you think the ex-wife is going to cultivate your relationship with her? How's she been doing with that to this point? Is she going to remain in touch with you? What does your niece's pictures have to do with any of this? Somebody told you to put them away? Well, at some point you probably will. Especially when years pass and you no longer receive updated ones.
  • I don't usually volunteer my feelings about these issues with my family.  I will be told what's happening by my mom or grandmother.  People talk way too openly about this topic in my family, and when I don't respond with agreement (and by this I mean that I don't say anything) I'm met with disapproval for being too hard on him. 

    I have no expectations of having any relationship with my niece.  I know it's not possible.  I know that my brother doesn't have any hopes of having a relationship with his daughter.  She has made that virtually impossible for any of us.

    I'm not angry about this, I'm just sad that it's all turned out this way.  Even, 6+ years later, I haven't forgotten & I don't want to forget.  When people ask if my baby will be the first grandchild for my mom, I answer honestly.  No.  That question alone has become a more frequent reminder of what's happened.  Maybe it's bothering me now b/c of the overlap of circumstances and my bizarrely emotional, hormonal, self right now. 

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  • I have a little experience as a social worker with adoption cases.  I'm guessing that your brother hasn't had much/any contact with his DD and has a bit of back child support owed? 

    If the child is 8 and he hasn't seen her since she was 18 months old then he he's already terminated his parental rights.  Now he's just completing the paperwork.  You don't mention the motivation for the bio mother to agree, so I suspect she has a new/ongoing/stable SO to whom she wants to make a family.  B/c unattached bio moms don't tend to let bio dad's off the hook if they don't have a stable/better environment for their children.

    So, I think your bro checked out a long time ago, and his DD has a chance with a new dad.  Your bro can either step-up or give-up.  Frankly, if he hasn't steped-up and doesn't plan to step-up the kindest thing he can do is give up.  The lingering non-involement is the worst case senerio for the child's well being. 

    You can judge him for it.  He probably deserves it.  But it won't help the DD. 

    Do you have any relationship with her?  See her?  Send cards?

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • He's been ridiculously intimidated by his ex.  And much of what you said is the case.  He has steered clear of her because he's more of an "I don't want to deal" kind of person, rather than one who will fight for what he wants.  He's been spineless about the whole thing. 

    It's hard not to have any judgements or feelings about a situation that has ultimately affected all of us.  Any attempts to contact her - mail, emails, phone calls, gifts - have been ignored or returned to sender.  So, while I've tried, it's not gotten me or my family anywhere.

    As I said, it's probably all the pregnancy related questions, and the overall idea of sweeping everything under the rug, has been hard to deal with.

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  • And your brother isn't innocent in this. He could file in Family Court for visitation if he chose to do so.  It might be costly in terms of money and time but he certainly has the power and legal rights.
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Oh, he!! no, he isn't innocent.  That's where the conflict arises.  I love him, but really have a hard time with how this situation has been handled (or not handled) by him. 

    We grew up without a father in our home, so I guess I thought he would fight harder and be more responsible about being a father himself.  He said it was really important to him that things be different for his daughter.

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  • So your brother has a horrible ex-wife who he had a child with.  Because of the horrible ex-wife, he has chosen not to pursue his parental rights.  He has chosen to essentially forget about the child he had 8 years ago who he has not seen since she was 18 months and instead have children with his new wife. 

    Did I get that right?  If so, then your brother is a scumbag plain and simple.  You don't abandon your child because your ex makes it difficult.  You FIGHT!  He obviously doesn't have a peach either if his FI is willing to marry a man who abandons his child and finds that acceptable.

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  • Did I get that right? If so, then your brother is a scumbag plain and simple. You don't abandon your child because your ex makes it difficult. You FIGHT! He obviously doesn't have a peach either if his FI is willing to marry a man who abandons his child and finds that acceptable.

    You took the words right out of my mouth! I also find it disgusting that your mother also can just sweep her grandaughter right under the rug.

    You sould like the only one with any heart at all in the family!

    I would be fuming...and this isnt just about HIS life this is about your niece's life. Unfortunately there is nothign you can do, youve tried to have contact, but she wont allow it. BUT your brother is a disgrace he COULD have had a relationship with his daughter but didnt think it was worth the fight...a real keeper he is!



  • His new wife to be must be a real treat. Marrying someone with the intent to have children with him knowing full well that he has already abandoned one child! What makes her think this wouldnt happen to her as well????

    Sounds like a train wreck

  • image Lissa832:

    So your brother has a horrible ex-wife who he had a child with.  Because of the horrible ex-wife, he has chosen not to pursue his parental rights.  He has chosen to essentially forget about the child he had 8 years ago who he has not seen since she was 18 months and instead have children with his new wife. 

    Did I get that right?  If so, then your brother is a scumbag plain and simple.  You don't abandon your child because your ex makes it difficult.  You FIGHT!  He obviously doesn't have a peach either if his FI is willing to marry a man who abandons his child and finds that acceptable.

    These are my thoughts.

    I would be ashamed if one of my siblings abandoned a child. I don't blame you one bit for your feelings.

    image

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  • image jbergs:
      He said it was really important to him that things be different for his daughter.

    This is very telling.

    It isn't important to him. His own daughter is not important to him. And the next wife is fine with this? And wants kids with him? I'm not sure I have bad enough words to describe him. I could understand if it was in the daughter's best interests to not be a tug of war item between him and the ex.... but simply 'it's not important'??

    And you are being told to get rid of all the pictures, mementos of the child?

    My apologies for being offensive, but your family are pieces of crap if they can so easily abandon this child! What happens if this next marriage doesn't work out? More pictures and mementos to throw away because they are not going to be important anymore?? 

  • "His new wife to be must be a real treat. Marrying someone with the intent to have children with him knowing full well that he has already abandoned one child! What makes her think this wouldnt happen to her as well????"

    This is EXACTLY what I was going to say.  And no, I don't think you should stay silent.  Sometimes assbags need to be told that they're assbags - how else would they know?

    image
  • I know it sounds crazy to seek reassurance from an anonymous message board, but I really feel less crazy knowing that I'm not out of line because this bothers me. 

    The only person in the scenario I feel sorry for is my niece because none of this is her fault and she's got two craptastic parents.  As for my mom sweeping things under the rug.  I guess I can see how she does it to protect herself from how painful it's all been.  It doesn't make it right, but she tried even harder than the rest of us to say in contact and it blew up in her face.  She says that it hurts too much to dwell on it.  I can see that.  I just don't get how protective and defensive they are of him. 

    I know that saying something isn't going to change anything.  I just felt like I was losing my mind because people were suggesting I was out of line to be disgusted with what's happened.

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