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  • FIRST POST
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 8th Aug 18, 9:51 PM
    • 12Posts
    • 9Thanks
    little pigeon
    Cutting ties with a sibling
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 18, 9:51 PM
    Cutting ties with a sibling 8th Aug 18 at 9:51 PM
    Hi

    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?
Page 2
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 9th Aug 18, 12:11 PM
    • 3,564 Posts
    • 12,833 Thanks
    paddy's mum
    Ask her why she thinks you she should punish yourself you
    Originally posted by Primrose
    I've corrected this for you, Primrose
    • katie_saver
    • By katie_saver 9th Aug 18, 2:12 PM
    • 135 Posts
    • 116 Thanks
    katie_saver
    Hello OP,

    I couldn't not reply as I am in the exact same position although it has improved slightly now that my brother finally has a place to live...it will be easier for me to move on and distance myself from him...

    My brother moved in with me at the end of February – he had been evicted due to not paying his rent. He has mental health issues. He has depression and is on medication for this (although I think he has not taken his medication regularly). He has also been suicidal. He has always drank a lot – every night and sometimes from morning until he passes out in the evening.

    Living with him has been very difficult and on several occasions he has become violent and abusive to me. I have called the police twice now. The last time, after he had been drinking heavily and woke me up shouting and screaming. They arrested him and he spent the night in custody. They released him without charge due to lack of evidence and it being his word against mine.
    This seems to have shaken some sense into him.
    I only have my father left and he is ageing and not well. The idea of having no family scares me too.
    HOWEVER, being alone is better than being in a terrible relationship. Also, being alone does not necessarily mean you are lonely.
    I can't wait to have my flat back!!
    Be strong. Wishing you all the best xxx
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 9th Aug 18, 2:20 PM
    • 64,536 Posts
    • 378,977 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    You can agree to look out for him, just to give mum peace of mind. It won't hurt you to have that small white lie for her peace.

    What you actually do after is entirely your business.
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 9th Aug 18, 4:20 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    Your mother is forgetting one vital thing here...and it's all the out you need.

    YOU are not his mother and therefore the buck stops with him!

    As an added thought - don't be surprised if she leaves all or most of her estate to him in her will. A woman who is :-

    1.effectively enabling him

    2.putting enormous pressure on you to continue to mollycoddle him

    3.thinks so little of you that she 'shouts' down your refusal/protest

    4. conceals the reality (instead of urging him to seek help)

    is not going to change her behaviour just because a little thing like death intervenes.

    My mother, sisters and I cut a relative out of our lives twenty years ago and the only feeling all of us had, and still have, is relief that our lives are now peaceful without that malignancy in them.

    You are not in the wrong here and your mother should realise that she is asking far too much. Good luck.
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    I totally agree that he needs to look after himself and that my mum is being unreasonable with her requests.

    I think she just doesn't want to admit that he has problems. This is probably due to to the fact he doesn't want to admit to them or address them, that it triggers him and the fact she may see it as a failing on her part as a mother which would be completely unfair. She also had issues with her own family which I think has resulted in wanting us to stick together no matter what.

    Although I have no say in her day to day spending my mum is responsible enough to ensure that we are both looked after. He has also been made aware of the decisions she has made in regards to this and has accepted her wishes.
    Last edited by little pigeon; 09-08-2018 at 4:28 PM.
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 9th Aug 18, 4:26 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    Also - I don't think that you have any moral obligation to keep a promise which is made under duress, so if your mum does succeed in pressuring you into to giving the kind of promise that she wants,remind yourself that the purpose of the promise was to give comfort to your mum, who you o care about, and you are still free to decide for yourself what, if any, support or relationship you have with your brother after she is gone.
    Originally posted by TBagpuss
    I think it's the guilt I'll put on myself even with the knowledge of what he has done and is doing. I need to ensure I look after myself and don't get dragged down with his issues.

    He also suffers from a couple of medical conditions, not related to his addictions, but one of them will definitely impact his quality of life as he gets older. If he and his his girlfriend break up I can see this being added to why I should be looking after him. So although I don't like her I pray that they stay together!
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 9th Aug 18, 4:43 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and your words of advice! I'm sorry to hear that some of you have been or are going through similar things and the impact it has had on you and your families. It does take it toll. My mum and I have tiptoed around him because it is sometimes easier to do that than to deal with him and his temper. He has so much rage which he refuses to deal with.

    I will continue having conversations with my mum so that she understands what she is actually asking of me and the pressure and obligation this puts me under. My brother is a high functioning addict but there will come a point this will change. I don't think my mum takes that into consideration.
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 9th Aug 18, 4:51 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    Hello OP,

    I couldn't not reply as I am in the exact same position although it has improved slightly now that my brother finally has a place to live...it will be easier for me to move on and distance myself from him...

    My brother moved in with me at the end of February – he had been evicted due to not paying his rent. He has mental health issues. He has depression and is on medication for this (although I think he has not taken his medication regularly). He has also been suicidal. He has always drank a lot – every night and sometimes from morning until he passes out in the evening.

    Living with him has been very difficult and on several occasions he has become violent and abusive to me. I have called the police twice now. The last time, after he had been drinking heavily and woke me up shouting and screaming. They arrested him and he spent the night in custody. They released him without charge due to lack of evidence and it being his word against mine.
    This seems to have shaken some sense into him.
    I only have my father left and he is ageing and not well. The idea of having no family scares me too.
    HOWEVER, being alone is better than being in a terrible relationship. Also, being alone does not necessarily mean you are lonely.
    I can't wait to have my flat back!!
    Be strong. Wishing you all the best xxx
    Originally posted by katie_saver
    Thank you for sharing what you have been going through Katie_saver. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to have your brother staying with you with all his issues. I'm so pleased to hear that he now has his own place and you will be able to move on with your life. It is scary to think of yourslef as being on your own though regardless of what they have done. I try to think back to when times were better but that isn't enough these days.

    Wishing you all the best too. Onwards and upwards! xx
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 9th Aug 18, 6:06 PM
    • 5,359 Posts
    • 6,686 Thanks
    theoretica
    In my family we have contact between siblings limited to Christmas cards and occasional emails (on family deaths, some births). Seems to work.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 9th Aug 18, 6:25 PM
    • 8,346 Posts
    • 29,316 Thanks
    Primrose
    You don't say what age your mum is although you do mention she,s developing health problems. Now might be a good time, if she hasn,t already addressed these issues, for her to start thinking about making a will and appointing powers of attorney so that she has somebody RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY to look after her financial affairs should she be unable to do so herself.

    This is something on which she needs to ponder deeply, given your brother's unreliability. Many parents might appoint both children as their attorneys. This would clearly be a risk for your mother, given your brother's issues. However, you may want to get her seriously thinking about how her affairs are handled in the future, and by whom. Unexpected health issues can happen at any time and trying to deal with them jointly with a sibling who is not to be trusted and who has ongoing money and other problems is not an issue to be taken lightly.
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 9th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • 1,542 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    happyandcontented
    Why shouldn't the OP say this?

    The OP's Mum is trying to coerce her into agreeing to look out for him - why should the OP be put under this unwanted pressure? Be made to feel guilty for saying 'no'.

    It's how she feels anyway - she says she couldn't care less about him.

    It might give the OP's Mum pause about her own enabling behaviour towards this man.



    Personally, I'd rather be blunt and tell my Mum the truth than lie to her face and do the opposite when she's not here anymore.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Perhaps because she knows how much this would hurt her mum? I am sure her mother is not stupid, she will be able to see that they will never be bosom buddies, but I suspect most mothers would want to think that their children would be there for each other after they have gone. I know I do.

    What is there to gain by upsetting her mum by spelling out issues that she will never see? Far better and kinder to follow what the poster you responded to suggested - a play on words that allows the OP to act as she sees fit in the future.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 9th Aug 18, 8:15 PM
    • 20,827 Posts
    • 56,119 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Perhaps because she knows how much this would hurt her mum? I am sure her mother is not stupid, she will be able to see that they will never be bosom buddies, but I suspect most mothers would want to think that their children would be there for each other after they have gone. I know I do.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    I believe in being true to myself.
    I don't 'do' coercion or guilt-tripping.
    My own Mum would never interfere between me and my estranged sister by asking me to look out for her.
    She knows full well what my sister is like and wouldn't want us 'to be there for each other' because she knows it's not what either of us would want

    What is there to gain by upsetting her mum by spelling out issues that she will never see? Far better and kinder to follow what the poster you responded to suggested - a play on words that allows the OP to act as she sees fit in the future.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    I could not under any circumstances mislead someone in the way the poster I responded to suggests.
    Better or kinder play on words or not - to me that's dishonest and I could not do that to my Mum
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 9th Aug 18, 8:51 PM
    • 1,542 Posts
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    happyandcontented
    I believe in being true to myself.
    I don't 'do' coercion or guilt-tripping.
    My own Mum would never interfere between me and my estranged sister by asking me to look out for her.
    She knows full well what my sister is like and wouldn't want us 'to be there for each other' because she knows it's not what either of us would want


    I could not under any circumstances mislead someone in the way the poster I responded to suggests.
    Better or kinder play on words or not - to me that's dishonest and I could not do that to my Mum
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    So do you always tell the plain, unvarnished truth regardless of who may be hurt/affected by it? Or are there times when you 'fudge' the issue from an altruistic (not dishonest) motive?

    To me, that is a white lie, certainly not dishonest per se. I would put my mum's feelings above my own under the circumstances outlined here and use language that would give my mum hope that a relationship of sorts would be maintained, whether it actually panned out that way or not she would never know.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 9th Aug 18, 10:41 PM
    • 20,827 Posts
    • 56,119 Thanks
    Pollycat
    So do you always tell the plain, unvarnished truth regardless of who may be hurt/affected by it? Or are there times when you 'fudge' the issue from an altruistic (not dishonest) motive?

    To me, that is a white lie, certainly not dishonest per se. I would put my mum's feelings above my own under the circumstances outlined here and use language that would give my mum hope that a relationship of sorts would be maintained, whether it actually panned out that way or not she would never know.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    If you're asking what my response would be if someone asks 'does my bum look big in this?', then yes, I may 'fudge' the answer.
    But never, ever in circumstances such as this.
    It may be a 'white lie' to you but I would not under the circumstances under discussion here utter that 'white lie'.

    Just out of interest - have you ever cut a sibling out of your life?
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 9th Aug 18, 11:49 PM
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    happyandcontented
    If you're asking what my response would be if someone asks 'does my bum look big in this?', then yes, I may 'fudge' the answer.
    But never, ever in circumstances such as this.
    It may be a 'white lie' to you but I would not under the circumstances under discussion here utter that 'white lie'.

    Just out of interest - have you ever cut a sibling out of your life?
    Originally posted by Pollycat

    No, I have never 'cut' a sibling out of my life. I can see that it may be necessary in certain circumstances, but equally, I think that one can achieve the same effect by less dramatic means.

    Each to their own I guess. I just don't see the need to inflict that kind of pain on a parent. Out of interest are you a parent?
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 10th Aug 18, 6:12 AM
    • 20,827 Posts
    • 56,119 Thanks
    Pollycat
    No, I have never 'cut' a sibling out of my life. I can see that it may be necessary in certain circumstances, but equally, I think that one can achieve the same effect by less dramatic means.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    Then you perhaps don't understand how toxic a relationship between you and another sibling can be.
    And how much a relief it is when you do 'cut' that sibling out of your life.
    Please enlarge on your 'less dramatic means'.

    Each to their own I guess. I just don't see the need to inflict that kind of pain on a parent. Out of interest are you a parent?
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    The OP's parent is inflicting pain on the OP by asking her to commit to something that she does not want to do.
    It's a 2 way street.

    No, I'm not a parent.
    But if I was, I'd hope that I'd behave like my parent has done and not attempt to coerce and guilt-trip one of my children to do something that they clearly don't want to do.
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 10th Aug 18, 9:45 AM
    • 1,542 Posts
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    happyandcontented
    Then you perhaps don't understand how toxic a relationship between you and another sibling can be.
    And how much a relief it is when you do 'cut' that sibling out of your life.
    Please enlarge on your 'less dramatic means'.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    As I said I do understand that in some circumstances it may be necessary to do the rather dramatic 'cutting all ties' very obviously and clearly with a sibling. Less dramatic means would be to allow the relationship to slide, being civil when required, but not engaging with them on a social level and putting some distance between you and them.


    The OP's parent is inflicting pain on the OP by asking her to commit to something that she does not want to do.
    It's a 2 way street.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Of course, it is a two-way street but the point I am trying to make is that the OP can, if she wishes, pay lip service to trying to maintain a relationship with her sibling and then at the time it becomes necessary she can gauge what her level of involvement should be, if any.

    No, I'm not a parent.
    But if I was, I'd hope that I'd behave like my parent has done and not attempt to coerce and guilt-trip one of my children to do something that they clearly don't want to do.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Then perhaps you don't understand the emotional need to see your children have a relationship after you have gone? The motives you assign to the issues are not there, they are simpler, baser, not manipulative. You want to feel that these children whom you love dearly and whom you created have a tie to their birth family.

    I reiterate there are some circumstances where that is undesirable, but in general, I think most parents feel that way. When it doesn't pan out that way due to petty issues or stubbornness it can be heart-wrenching for the parents who feel torn in two by the children involved.

    Only the OP knows which side of the divide her relationships with both her brother and mother fall on and only she can decide the right course of action. It has to be one that she is comfortable with from both aspects.

    I suspect we will have to agree to disagree on this one but I have seen this first hand with a friend and her children.
    Last edited by happyandcontented; 10-08-2018 at 12:00 PM.
    • Out, Vile Jelly
    • By Out, Vile Jelly 10th Aug 18, 10:37 AM
    • 4,165 Posts
    • 14,167 Thanks
    Out, Vile Jelly
    Why shouldn't the OP say this?

    The OP's Mum is trying to coerce her into agreeing to look out for him - why should the OP be put under this unwanted pressure? Be made to feel guilty for saying 'no'.

    It's how she feels anyway - she says she couldn't care less about him.

    It might give the OP's Mum pause about her own enabling behaviour towards this man.



    Personally, I'd rather be blunt and tell my Mum the truth than lie to her face and do the opposite when she's not here anymore.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    I like plain speaking myself, but the mother is clearly in total denial over the son's behaviour, and blunt statements do not, in my experience, shock them into facing the truth. I saw this with a friend in an abusive relationship; everytime his unacceptable behaviour was pointed out to her, she'd make excuses for him. She eventually finished with him, but had to come to her own realisation.

    It's a generalisation I know, but mothers can be unnecessarily over-protective of sons, throughout adult life. The expectations on daughters are often different (mainly along the "it's your duty to act as carer" line). Anyone remember the classic scene in Corrie when, after decades of defending him, Vera had to finally face up to the fact that her son Terry was an irredeemable Wrong Un?

    There's no need to add drama to an already stressful situation, that's why I'd advise the OP to not upset her mum with strong words like "he will be dead to me". Just calmly repeat something like "I cannot commit to supporting anyone who refuses to acknowledge and change their damaging behaviour".

    The advice about getting mum to think about PoA is very good.
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
    • Deano777
    • By Deano777 10th Aug 18, 8:48 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 182 Thanks
    Deano777
    I really feel for you, Ive been there and its not easy.

    My brother has always leeched off of my parents, never worked, selfish, always lived at home and has a serious gambling problem. My mum passed away years ago, my dad 2 years ago he was then forced to stand on his own 2 feet. He didn't though, continued to gamble his food money and rent away. After months of trying to help and him denying he has a problem Ive washed my hands of him. He will never change just expect everyone to wipe his a**e all the time.

    People may judge me but I say he is an adult not a child and he can look after himself. So is your brother and if he can behave himself long enough for his girlfriend he is as manipulative as my brother and can change if he wants to. He doesn't have to now because he has your mum to feed his behaviour.

    I would help my brother if he admitted he had a problem and wanted help, maybe you would for your brother too. I say tell your mum you will look after him but its between you two, hes not to know. I know its a lie but it will keep her happy and she will know no different.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 11th Aug 18, 7:29 AM
    • 20,827 Posts
    • 56,119 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Then perhaps you don't understand the emotional need to see your children have a relationship after you have gone? The motives you assign to the issues are not there, they are simpler, baser, not manipulative. You want to feel that these children whom you love dearly and whom you created have a tie to their birth family.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    Perhaps I don't.
    But equally, perhaps you don't understand the emotional need to preserve your sanity by cutting a sibling out of your life.
    No, I have never 'cut' a sibling out of my life. I can see that it may be necessary in certain circumstances, but equally, I think that one can achieve the same effect by less dramatic means.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    And the OP did say in her first post:
    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?
    Originally posted by little pigeon
    I suspect we will have to agree to disagree on this one but I have seen this first hand with a friend and her children.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    I don't suspect, I know.
    I have experienced it first-hand with me and my Mum.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 11th Aug 18, 7:36 AM
    • 20,827 Posts
    • 56,119 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I like plain speaking myself, but the mother is clearly in total denial over the son's behaviour, and blunt statements do not, in my experience, shock them into facing the truth. I saw this with a friend in an abusive relationship; everytime his unacceptable behaviour was pointed out to her, she'd make excuses for him. She eventually finished with him, but had to come to her own realisation.

    It's a generalisation I know, but mothers can be unnecessarily over-protective of sons, throughout adult life. The expectations on daughters are often different (mainly along the "it's your duty to act as carer" line). Anyone remember the classic scene in Corrie when, after decades of defending him, Vera had to finally face up to the fact that her son Terry was an irredeemable Wrong Un?

    There's no need to add drama to an already stressful situation, that's why I'd advise the OP to not upset her mum with strong words like "he will be dead to me". Just calmly repeat something like "I cannot commit to supporting anyone who refuses to acknowledge and change their damaging behaviour".

    The advice about getting mum to think about PoA is very good.
    Originally posted by Out, Vile Jelly
    My view is that if the OP tells a white lie now to her Mum that she will look out for her brother, then when the sad time comes and her Mum is dying, she will bring this up and the OP will find it much harder to renege on a promise made then than if she stands her ground now.

    Where have the words "he will be dead to me" come from?
    Not from me.
    Please don't put words in my mouth.
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