Cutting ties with a sibling


I've created a new profile as there is a photo of me in a previous thread on here and people I know IRL know my user name.

My mum is getting to an age where she has multiple medical issues which, although not life threatening, are enough to make me think about what will happen when she no longer around. There is only the 3 of us as my dad passed away some time ago.

My brother has/had issues with alcohol and drugs. He has stolen from us and has told oh so many lies. He has a large amount of debt which he ignores and has problems with handling his day to day expenses. I've raised it in the past but he didn't want to talk about it. If I do so now it is met with raging verbal abuse. There have been times he has been on the verge of physical violence and I have been worried for my safety. He has never done more than shout (without the verbal abuse) at my mum mostly because he knows that if she cut him off he wouldn't be able to turn to anyone else.

This has meant that our relationship has deteriorated to the point where I couldn't really care less about him. I mostly tolerate his presence when in the company of my mum or others. My mum refuses to have a proper discussion about him. She always makes excuses for him and now barely tells me about all the woes he tells her in order to "borrow" money from her. She knows it will get me worked up and cause an argument either between me and her or me and him. She isn't silly enough to give him large amounts but will cover a bill or two and some spending money. This happens frequently so it does add up. I do monitor the situation and say something when necessary.

He has a long time girlfriend who I don't like but she has made him clean up his act (to a point) but only when he's with her. She has no idea about the extent of his drugs/alcohol problems or the fact that he takes money from my mum then or now. He is on his best behaviour when with her. He always spends the night at his mate's house if he goes on a bender so she doesn't see the state of him in case you're wondering. She is T total and doesn't like going pubbing or clubbing.

He acts as if butter wouldn't melt in public and can be extremely charming so the only people who know what he is really like and what he is capable of is my mum and I. When I have tried to broach this with friends I can hear my mum's voice in my head telling me she would be ashamed if others knew so this stops me from being open about it.

I sometimes feel quite sad thinking about the fact that we were very close as kids and that this is where we are now. He is very selfish and so is his girlfriend so I can't see his behaviour improving. In fact she seems to encourage him to only think about himself or them because she thinks (without knowing the full facts) that we don't treat him as well as she thinks he should be treated. If anything happened to my mum I don't think that he would contact me unless he wanted something and I know that there would be no real reason to contact him.

My mum, when talking about the future without her, is trying to get me to promise to look out and after him. I have said no or changed the subject but she says we're family and who else do we have but each other. I feel as if I'm am being guilted into it.

I wanted to hear from those who have cut ties from family members. How did you cope? He is basically my only family so it does feel scary to think that I will be on my own. My friends circle is also in a stage of upheaval and change so it does worry me that I could be truly alone. I am currently single with no kids so this probably magnifies the feeling! I can't see how to maintain a relationship with him because I can't bear his company and his "the whole world has got it in for me or owes me something" attitude.

Anyone care to share their experience?


  • BrassicWoman
    BrassicWoman Posts: 3,204 Forumite
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    I felt nothing but relief and was fine telling mum he was an adult and I,d only intervene should he lack capacity legally.

    I,m single with no kids. You can make new friends . Eventually the child rearing ones lives balance out again anyway and being auntie is fun!
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  • Primrose
    Primrose Posts: 10,623 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary I've been Money Tipped!
    It's hard seeing your only aibling drift i to this state brut he,s an adult and must learn to take responsibility for himself. Your mother is obviously concerned about him and what will happen to him when she,s no longer around but she is actually enabling his behaviour by giving him money to continue in his bad habits.

    I think you need to tak to her seriously about this and try to convince her that the best way of ensuring that you and he remain friends is for his habits to change, and that predemands that she doesn,t do things that further enable him to follow a slippery downward path.

    We had to cut ties with a family member after years of his alcohol abuse, having bailed him out financially on too many times thst we lost count. In the end the stress on our own family became too great and we cut ties completely, having warned him that one more abusive incident would cause this to happen. Thereafter he went his own way, went further downhill until he eventually died. It was sad, but cutting ties was the onky way to save family sanity.

    Increase your own circle of friends and keep those friendships in good repair. Sadly yiu may not be able to do anything about your brother's habits. Eventually his girlfriend may grow tired of him and that may be the point when he realises his habits have to change. You cant do it for him
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    My brother has/had issues with alcohol and drugs.

    He is basically my only family so it does feel scary to think that I will be on my own.

    Not half as scary as having him make your life a misery for years to come!

    If you make a promise to your mother, he won’t ever leave you alone.

    Concentrate on making some new friends and leave him to the consequences of his life choices.
  • little_pigeon
    I felt nothing but relief and was fine telling mum he was an adult and I,d only intervene should he lack capacity legally.

    His girlfriend dislikes me as much as I do her so I'm sure she has already made arrangements that do not involve me!

    As I grow older I'm finding it more difficult to make a real connection with people, not from the want of trying I might add.
  • little_pigeon
    Primrose wrote: »
    I think you need to tak to her seriously about this and try to convince her that the best way of ensuring that you and he remain friends is for his habits to change, and that predemands that she doesn,t do things that further enable him to follow a slippery downward path.

    My mum is very stubborn and very family orientated. He is her child (always) and doesn't see or acknowledge the consequences of her actions. I have told her bluntly I won't support him but she ignores that bit and carries on her conversation about being a family unit.

    Although we don't really have a proper relationship I don't want to see anything bad happen to him. I have already lost one parent and my mum is getting on too. To have to think about having no real family does get upsetting. I do realise that having him in my life won't be doing me any good. It's helpful to hear other people's stories and how they managed it.
  • lulu650
    lulu650 Posts: 1,158 Forumite
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    Neither you nor your brother come across as liking each other at all. So when your mother is no longer around, why would your brother have much to do with you anyway? I don't think there's any need to cut him off completely and make a statement to that effect. It's more likely that you will gradually have less and less to do with each other as time goes on.

    It sounds like you are the oldest and trying to protect your mum from your brother but she's going to continue helping your brother whether you like it or not. The fact that she tells you as little as possible indicates she doesn't want you interfering.

    I do sympathise but you can't make anyone change their behaviour unless they want to. I also wonder if you would like more of your mum's attention than you are currently getting, particularly if you feel lonely
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  • little_pigeon
    little_pigeon Posts: 12 Forumite
    edited 9 August 2018 at 12:26AM
    My brother would probably contact me because he'd need financial assistance and for someone to tell his woes to. It would be frequently if I base it on the amount of times he asks my mum and especially if he isn't dealing with his debt.

    My mum mostly doesn't tell me about giving him money because she wants me to look out for him when she's not around. The more I know about him taking advantage, the more I dislike him for it. She is trying to make him look better in my eyes, keep the peace and mend our relationship.

    I don't need or require more attention from my mum. We spend a lot of quality time together, either just the two of us or with family friends.

    I wasn't looking for anyone to psychoanalyse my situation from the information I've shared here. I'm looking for others, possibly those who have been in a similar situation, who don't have a relationship with a family member and willing to share their experience but thanks for your opinion lulu650
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,972 Forumite
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    I have nothing to do with my sister, she only has time for our mom when she wants something.

    She got married, my mom had a last minute invite to attend.

    My sister and her husband stopped paying rent of the council flat as she wanted a house (no kids), ended up getting evicted put stuff in storage and they both moved into our mom's house, my mom gave up her bed so they could have it and after a year showed no signs of moving out (he was working FT in a reasonably well paid job so no need for rent arears/eviction), I have to prepare an eviction notice and they moved out into a rented house. My mom makes loads of phone calls, occassionally gets a returned call from the husband, not from my sister.

    I know when my mom dies my sister will reappear for her inheritance......(mom is retired, state pension but owns her house worth about 100k which my brother has never moved out of).

    You dont need to cut someone out of your life, just do not make any promises to your mom to look out for your brother as you do not need that guilt on you when she passes. Your brother is old enough to sort his own mess out, if he ever admits to it, acknowledges there are problems and deals with it. You can just walk away, get on with your life and not have anything to do with him when the time comes.
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • Doodles
    Doodles Posts: 413 Forumite
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    I decided to cut my brother out of my life about 12 years ago. I won't go into the reasons here, but my reasons are justified.

    Easier for me as he lives in the States, so not like I would be bumping into him at family do's or anything like that.

    How have I coped? very well. In that time I have never missed him once, and wish I had stood up to his nonsense a long time before I did.

    You don't have to put up with him if he makes you miserable OP.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 4,176 Forumite
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    I've done this with two sisters. Both heroin and alcohol abusers, full of self entitlement and greed. Cause nothing but problems so I've distanced myself completely.
    I still care for them, think about them etc but for my own sanity and that of my family it was the best thing to do.
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