please top all this llama drama

So I feel like the time is right to address recent drama going on in my life. If you click over to my (step) sister’s blog there, she’s written twice now about something very sad that’s happening in our family. My brother, her stepbrother (and her friend for years before my mother and her father were married), has decided to cut himself (and his new wife) off from the rest of the family for reasons that none of us seem to understand. Or really know, for that matter.

The day of the big blowup, my brother called me to “apologize for anything he’d done to alienate me.” Which of course, didn’t seem like much of an apology to me. I told him I was hurt that he’d skipped R’s christening, when we had people show up from Iowa, Missouri and Florida. Our minister even commented on the fact that my brother was a no-show (noting how sad it was). Brother’s response? He’d sent a gift.  I told him I’d rather he had shown up without a gift. He’s also continually criticized my child-rearing and, oddly, my husband’s fashion choices. But I didn’t bring those things up to him.

I told him that I thought it was good that he was getting all of this out in the open. That he was having a conversation with our mother that would lead to a more healthy, adult relationship that acknowledges fault on both sides and moves forward to grow more close.

He gave me lip service at the time, but has apparently disregarded my advice, sending my mother an e-mail saying that they would not be purchasing Christmas gifts for them and would not accept any in return. If gifts were sent, they would be returned. And his wife returned the birthday card and check my mother sent earlier this month.

I try to excuse his behavior in that he’s young, but he’s really not that young (25).  He’s certainly old enough to know better. And old enough to know that when he refuses to show up for family events (not just mine, even those hosted minutes from his apartment), it hurts people.

Some of the reasons he gave me when we spoke were not outrageous, I even agree with some of them. But I told him we all have to make sacrifices and accommodations because we are family, and while we might not love certain behavior, we love the people. I told my mother basically the same things.

I’m not sure where this is going to go. It makes me sad that R won’t be around her uncle very much. But I think I’ve done what I can. It’s up to them to bridge the gap. And I think I’m going to stay out of it.

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11 Responses to please top all this llama drama

  1. Christina says:

    It is weird to read this because I had a situation like but I was the person who decided to remove myself from the family dynamic. It is a long story (which I totally will NOT bore you with…) I felt very sad/unhappy with how I was treated by my family. I also was struggling with post partum depression in hindsight and I felt being called the b-word by my sister & being told that if I did not want my baby I should not have had him (which I never ever would have thought or said to anyone most esp. not something I would have uttered to my sister…) No one altered my thoughts about this – in fact my husband told me I should not do this but then he read the e-mails from my sister and heard my conversation with my brother and said he would support whatever I decided to do.

    With all of that said, two years later, I am able to let it go. My son should know his Oma, Grandfather and Uncle. My sister is another story. Someone I do not need to live my life.

    Also, I needed the time away. To grow up and learn how to deal with them better. I always felt put in this horrible position being the youngest. I felt I was aways used a pawn of sorts by everyone. Finally, my mother made it known I was her favorite which made both my bro & sis resentful and mean. I did not want to be the favorite any longer and so I ran away.

    In hind sight, I should have just dealt with this situation in person (or by phone in our case.) I hate conflict so it was much easier to run the other way.

    Not sure if that is helpful to you in perhaps understanding but also know that eventually (hopefully) your brother will come back to you down the road when he has sorted out what it is he needs to sort out.

    I am sorry to hear you are going through this. It is also interesting to hear the other side because I am sure my family wondered WHY (with the exception of my sister who has to be a complete idiot if she does not know why I continue to remove myself from her life…)

  2. rimarama says:

    What a bad situation. I hope your brother comes around. I don’t know which is your step sister’s blog, so I couldn’t read the whole back story, but is the new wife part of the problem? Yikes.

  3. rimarama says:

    OK, I just realized you linked to her blog. Duh! Will go read now.

  4. Sarah says:

    Aww. Hugs.

    I had an uncle do the same when I was very small. He was a fabulous uncle, and he had his reasons (most of them very warranted), and I reconnected with him when I was in my teens. So take heart.. nothing is forever.

  5. skiplovey says:

    So sorry to hear that. it’s so sad when family things happen because it’s the kids who miss out. They miss seeing their uncle or the aunts. Courage to you through this tough time, hopefully things will work themselves out.

  6. mommymartin says:

    I come from a family where my parents and their siblings couldn’t get along, and honestly, even though it’s sad growing up and not knowing certain aunts and uncles (and even some of my cousins), not being around those aunts and uncles made my childhood much more comfortable and stable. It’s terrible R might not know her uncle, but the less fuss in the family, the better for her. From my experience it’s much less painful to not know someone than it is to watch them come around and cause trouble, and to not understand why people can’t just get along.
    I hope things resolve themselves, and like everyone has said before, rarely is something like this a permanent arrangement, but if even if it turns out to be, I hope you can accept it and be happy in spite of it.

  7. mommymartin says:

    I’m so sorry, I just reread my comment again and felt like I sounded terribly insensitive, and that’s not how I meant to come across.
    I’m very sorry for the way things are going, and what I was trying to say is that even though it’s probably no consolation, having less drama at family functions will probably be better for R in the long run. It hurts so much to go to those things and see everyone uptight and fighting and tense.
    Oh darn. I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead. Just please, don’t be too upset. Things will work out the way they’re meant to.

  8. Erin says:

    I never did get a phone call or even an e-mail which only makes me more…angry, hurt, etc.

    It’s going to be a very different Christmas this year without him. Hopefully, things will get better soon. Unfortunately, I think the wife is a big factor….but maybe the spirit of the season will move them to remember what being a family is all about!

  9. Marlee says:

    Sorry to hear things are poopy. I hope they get better soon.

  10. Vixen says:

    So I read this at work, but couldn’t respond. Then I planned out this excellent response in traffic on the way home. Then I lost it all after dinner.

    But I will say this. I come from a blended family, but a strong “stereotypical” Irish Catholic family. I have had to ‘let go’ of people who chose to separate themselves; and, honestly, the hardest part was personal. I had to go against everything I was raised to be or believe and it tortured me to no end for a long time. Then I stopped giving them the power over my happiness and realized it was their problem. I will always love them and I will always be waiting. That is my gift to them that honors the love I feel for them.

  11. I haven’t clicked on the link yet so I obviously know very little, but perhaps he’s ashamed with his own choices but he feels he’s made so many, there’s no repairing it. Sometimes the more defensive a person gets, the more attacked they feel because what they did was very wrong and, really, they have no idea how to right it. It seems he’s going about all of this wrong and he’ll regret it, surely, one day. Try to be open to having a relationship with him when/if he comes back around, but until then, don’t go out of your way to accomodate.

    Also, it bothers me his wife is so involved. Regardless of how much she’s supporting him, she should stay out of it. Sending back gifts is just wrong. You may be able to forgive him one day–he’s your brother–but could you forgive her? I don’t know if I could.

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