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    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 8th Aug 18, 9:51 PM
    • 12Posts
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    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 3
    • tooldle
    • By tooldle 11th Aug 18, 7:44 AM
    • 293 Posts
    • 463 Thanks
    tooldle
    I am in a similar situation. To preserve my sanity i had no contact withmy sibling for over ten years. Then my dad died and my mum had to go into a care home (dementia). My mum expects me to look after the sibling and is voiciferous about this, often in front of sibling. Do not muddy the waters with your mum as this will not resolve matters unless your are certain of what is being said to the sibling. My sibling seizes any statement from our mum to demonstrate expectation. To my eyes this is not a matter of keeping mum happy, more setting the siblings expectation of future contact and assistance.
    I have found over the years these discussions are difficult, as many people do not experience such poisonous relationships within their own families, and hence find it hard to understand just how loaded the dice can be.
    I wish you luck op.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 11th Aug 18, 10:17 AM
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    paddy's mum
    Do not muddy the waters with your mum as this will not resolve matters unless your are certain of what is being said to the sibling. My sibling seizes any statement from our mum to demonstrate expectation. To my eyes this is not a matter of keeping mum happy, more setting the sibling's expectation of future contact and assistance
    Originally posted by tooldle
    I think this is a very valid point, OP.
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 11th Aug 18, 3:02 PM
    • 1,233 Posts
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    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.

    And the OP did say in her first post:



    I don't suspect, I know.
    I have experienced it first-hand with me and my Mum.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    If the OP only gets views from those who have done as the title states then she will only get one view, and again, there are ways of doing it which are less drastic than the title implies.

    The way the OP is worded shows that she is wary of taking that step both from the pov of her mum and from her own pov. Things change, people change, they mellow as they age. The OP can take the steps she needs to take without involving her mum now or in the future.

    You use emotive language such as 'preserve sanity' which may be true in your case, but won't be true in all cases.

    What a lot of the issues boil down to between siblings are, variously: dislike, being very different personalities, jealousy, different lifestyle choices, different values, perceived different socioeconomic levels etc, etc. All of those may be valid personal reasons to take a step back and limit contact but can be done without the 'flounce or drama. If there is drug taking, criminality or abuse then, of course, that is different and a stand should be made.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 11th Aug 18, 4:11 PM
    • 38,887 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    TBH, in that situation I might sit down with sibling and say "I am not going to upset mum by saying this in front of her, but you can forget any notion of me doing X, Y or Z for you, no matter how much she shouts at me about you."

    And then make bland reassurances to Mum. "You know you can count on me."

    I might also try to avoid being there at the same time as sibling ...

    it's not the same, but my FIL's dementia means he rarely remembers that my parents have died, and regularly asks after them. I say they are both OK, they don't get out so much these days, but they have lovely views. This sometimes triggers something so that he remembers they have died, and is sorry for upsetting me, which he hasn't done. If I outright say "They both died some years ago" it is more upsetting for him.
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    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 11th Aug 18, 4:13 PM
    • 12 Posts
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    little pigeon
    In my family we have contact between siblings limited to Christmas cards and occasional emails (on family deaths, some births). Seems to work.
    Originally posted by theoretica

    A good solution. I think that this will be what probably happens unless his problems worsen
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 11th Aug 18, 4:20 PM
    • 1,233 Posts
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    happyandcontented
    A good solution. I think that this will be what probably happens unless his problems worsen
    Originally posted by little pigeon
    And if they do worsen what then?

    I really sympathise with you it sounds as if you are in a situation where you are trying to keep everyone happy possibly to your own detriment. You have to set the level of contact/interaction that suits you best.
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 11th Aug 18, 4:33 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    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.
    Originally posted by Primrose
    Thanks for highlighting this as a possible issue. My mum and I had a lengthy conversation about this some time ago and although she is blinded to a lot of his faults she has had enough experience to know he wouldn't be the right person to handle her affairs. All that has been sorted and although he did raise a bit of a fuss at the time he hasn't brought it up since.

    It's more his girlfriend who has raised objections regarding my mum's decisions. Not directly with us but he has mentioned it a few times and yes she is definitely the type of person who would have an opinion on this.

    I have had words with him about it and that he knows the reasons why it has been set up the way it has. More importantly that it's absolutely none of her business! I can see her goading him on if anything does happen to my mum and he will have conveniently forgotten our conversations about it
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 11th Aug 18, 4:39 PM
    • 12 Posts
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    little pigeon
    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).
    Originally posted by Out, Vile Jelly
    This is definitely the case here. He is very much a mummy's boy! She has said you need to look after your sister but only after he has been disrespectful to me in front of her. I doubt she has had any, let alone numerous conversations about it in private with him.
    • little pigeon
    • By little pigeon 11th Aug 18, 4:52 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    little pigeon
    And if they do worsen what then?

    I really sympathise with you it sounds as if you are in a situation where you are trying to keep everyone happy possibly to your own detriment. You have to set the level of contact/interaction that suits you best.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    Thanks and at the moment things can tick along as they are. My mum's health is deteriotating but she is still in good to moderate health. I am interested to know how people coped with cutting ties with a family member because that might have to be an option if things come to a head.

    I appreciate the debate you and Pollycat have been having about this and it gives me a lot to think about
    Last edited by little pigeon; 11-08-2018 at 5:04 PM.
    • _shel
    • By _shel 11th Aug 18, 5:47 PM
    • 1,294 Posts
    • 2,209 Thanks
    _shel
    Thanks and at the moment things can tick along as they are. My mum's health is deteriotating but she is still in good to moderate health. I am interested to know how people coped with cutting ties with a family member because that might have to be an option if things come to a head.

    I appreciate the debate you and Pollycat have been having about this and it gives me a lot to think about
    Originally posted by little pigeon
    To be honest it was a relief, hard at times dealing with the guilt and wanting to know they are ok but in all like a burden had been lifted.

    Other people's issues are not your issues and you don't have to take their crap even if they are siblings.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 12th Aug 18, 9:22 AM
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    paddy's mum

    Other people's issues are not your issues and you don't have to take their crap even if they are siblings.
    Originally posted by _shel
    OP - this is actually the bottom line in all this.

    If the person pressuring you was the next door neighbour and her indulged son, would you feel that you had to stand by him when she popped her clogs? If your answer is 'no, of course not...' then perhaps you would be wise to analyse that response.

    In my opinion, your mother is being very unfair to you to expect/demand that you take over her role. It is NOT your duty to continue to mother him so that he never faces up to his own failings and choices.

    I'd go so far as to say that she is not being very loving or protective of her child (you) to be putting this burden on your shoulders. Exactly why should you be caught in the inevitable cross-fire when this eventually implodes, as it will unless you predecease your brother or cut the ties beforehand?

    I'll repeat what I said in an earlier post - all my family felt when we severed a toxic relationship with a relative was relief,
    and peace knowing that we could finally answer a knock at the door without dread.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall on the day that the girlfriend finally realises what's really been going on!

    Good luck.
    • need an answer
    • By need an answer 12th Aug 18, 12:32 PM
    • 935 Posts
    • 1,139 Thanks
    need an answer
    I had no contact with one of my siblings for 20 years after an argument that simply stretched too far.

    We simply got on with our lives and probably missed out on many family highlights such as weddings,gatherings births of children to name a few.

    Both of us were stubborn and it got to the point that actually we had grown up and apart and to continue with the no contact was quite easy really.

    That did all change when my sibling was diagnosed with cancer,we had 10 days to rebuild 20 years.

    My advice is do what you need to do and if that's cut ties,do it,but if there is something that later you need to pick up on don't hold back making that contact.

    I don't actually regret not having contact with my sibling whilst we were estranged,but I'm so glad we had those final days to rebuild.

    Maybe 20 years apart taught us to grow up but we were together when it mattered at the end and reconciled enough for us each to go forward.
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    • Lia-Crafts
    • By Lia-Crafts 17th Aug 18, 12:50 AM
    • 5 Posts
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    Lia-Crafts
    No matter who it is, family members or friends, you are are not obligated to take any form of abuse.

    The sooner you put your foot down and remain firm the better. Over time they will get the message.
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