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Dealing with family during holidays
How do I approach this?
shanntarra
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shanntarra
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Date: 8/17/09 11:27 AM

Every year we spend either Christmas or Thanksgiving with my family.

This year is the first time when I have actually thought about not going. The reason being is my 30 year old DB. First, I can't stand to look at what he has done to my grandmother's house. When she died she left half the house to him, half the house to me. He bought out my share. One thing the family agreed on, if there was any furniture that we wanted we could claim it. At the time I lived in a tiny apartment and couldn't take much. I did say I wanted her anituqe sewing machine & cabinet. He was fine with that. He put it in a spare room. I also was intrested in a 1930's black laqure chair. It was grandma's favorite. I couldn't take it with me but he said he would keep it for me until I had a house of my own. Sounded fine.
This past year I walked into his house, as he was letting me use his spare bedroom, and I was appaled at what I saw. His two dogs had destroyed the house. They had dug at the original doors from the 1940's. They had crewed the arms, legs and bars of the vintage chairs that were "mine". The dogs had pee'd all over the white burber carpet my grandmother had instralled through out the house. He had pee pads all over. Thankfully my hope chest and the vintage sewing machine cabinet was in his spare room which the dogs can't get to. My child hood home had been utterly destroyed. My heart was broken.
Yes I know the house is his but the utter disrespect he had for things just....broke my heart. If I had the means I would have loaded up a truck and took anything that had any meaning to me with me. His excuse for the dogs chewing. " Oh sorry, the dogs get bored. Besides it was just a chair. Get a new one." The urine all over the place was "Oh, well I don't get home enough so I leave them pee pads around so they can pee when ever they want, and where ever. "
I just can't stay at his house anymore.
Secondly, it is his behavior in public and with my parents. When it is just my DH, myself and him. He isn't that bad to be around. Typically really quiet and layed back. Add my parents in the mix and the whole thing changes. He acts like a 4 year old. He is constrantly poking, hitting, bumping, and generally making a nusecese of himself. He will intrupt my mother when she is trying to talk to a clerk, she will try putting pepper in her coffee. Or generally sabatoge what she is trying to do. My dad is bad off. He has had strokes, can barely walk, see or hear. And he will pick on him too, but not as much as he will my mom. My brother will leave bruises on my mom where he pinches her. Like i said, a 4 year old.
I thought he was just playing the "look at me" card when my DH and I were around. Nope he does this anytime they are out in public. He even does this when he is at his place of work. It is embarrsing. When I ask him polietly to stop it. He just does it more. When I have wanted to go out around town with JUST my mom and dad he throws a hissy fit to come along. I flat tell him no, but my mother doesn't want to deal with his tantrum so she lets him come along. The whole time he is being a nusance.
What bugs me is that anytime my DH wants something my DB wants it too. If my DH saved his money and bought himself an Xbox, my brother HAD to go out and buy one himself. IF DH gets a new laptop for work, DB has to get a better one, even if he doesnt' know how to use it. If my DH is looking to buy a motorcycle my DB will go out and buy the exact one my DH wanted. This keeps happening.
I know my mum isn't helping by doing his laundry for him, cleaning his house, taking care of his dogs, and cooking his meals. My DB refuses to eat what my mother cooks, so she has to cook 2 meals. In my world, if you didn't like the food, and you are over 18, go make it yourself. You have 2 hands, on your day off clean your house. If you need personal apointments made, make them yourself. Unless he is willing to pay my mother for all the work she does for him, I don't think she should do it.

I love my DB to bits but this is getting REALLY out of hand. I'm seriously tempted to ask my mum to stay at her house this year. Yes my DH might have problems with the little bit of cat hair, but better than dealing with that house. I'm tempted to just put my foot down and tell him that he will not be invited to dinner with the family if he doesn't behave.
I want to have a nice holiday, especially since it may be the last with my dad, but if DB keeps acting like this the visits are not enjoyable for anyone.

Thanks for listening.



Edited for spelling.
-- Edited on 8/17/09 11:32 AM --

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"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

EleanorSews
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 2:09 PM

My goodness! How appalling!

You are right to recognize that it is now his house and no longer belongs to your family. That is simply a fact. You can't control whether he does or does not care for the things he owns (even though he is frittering away any value the house might have by his utter disregard). I am so sorry about your grandmother's chair. That was inconsiderate.

Could you perhaps ask your mother if you could stay withher for the holidays because you want more time with your father? Granted you are indirectly avoiding your brother's home, but you are not asking your mother to put you up in order to avoid being with your brother. The end result is the same but the question/rationale is different.

Unfortunately, it really is not possible for you to exclude your brother from the holiday meals if they are at your parents' home. They get to do the inviting or not inviting. Consider too that if this truly is your dad's last year, your mom might feel badly for having excluded your brother. You would not want the burden of knowing it was at your request/demand that she did that, would you?

Finally, is it possible for you to have a one-to-one face-to-face with your brother to ask him why he is behaving as he does. Ask if he realizes that he is too rough physically and does he know he leaves bruises on his mother. Point out that someone else might wonder if he was physically abusing her. Also suggest to him that since your father is not in the best of health, all of you might try to be more considerate and gentler around him so that you are building pleasant memories of whatever time is left.

One thing I have found is that most people, at least in th US, have trouble facing end of life. It would be so much better for all of us if we could recognize when someone has little time left so that we could tie up all those loose ends while there was time. My 2 cents....
-- Edited on 8/17/09 2:12 PM --

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Elona
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 2:30 PM

Gad, that's a terrible story about the house. How sad, but as you say, there's nothing you can do about that.

You didn't say how old your brother is. From the description of his behavior with your parents, I would have guessed maybe eight or ten? But since he lives alone and owns a house, he must be a bit older than that. His treatment of your mother sounds borderline abusive, but indulging his demands doesn't help. Perhaps you could tell mom that you are truly worried and convince her to go with you to one or two family counseling sessions to assess what is going on and how to deal with it in a more healthful way.

shanntarra
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shanntarra
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In reply to EleanorSews


Date: 8/17/09 2:48 PM

Holiday meals we spend together. It is more like. "Can we go to walmarts with out him?" "Can we go have breakfast with just you (mom & dad)? That way we can have a plesant discussion.

I want to spend some quality time with my folks but I can't when he is doing his "look at me" routine. The only time I have ever gotten a qulaity photo of him was at my wedding 10 years ago. If he had runined any part of my wedding not only would I be "upset" with him but so would all of DH's family and the rest of the Clan.

Before we left last year by DH and I tried to have sit down talk with him but he wouldn't take us seriously. "people know I'm just playing with her." If people see too many bruises they may think you are abusing her. He said we were full of it. How dare we want to spend time with Mom and Dad. How dare we want to see respect for our parents.

My Dh and I have talked about it. My DB doesn't do loss well. He doesnt' want to accept that he has to grow up. He doesn't want the responicbility of growning up. He doesn't want to face the fact that our father is going to die. I keep getting the feeling that he wants to "show me up" . I was the one who cut the apron strings when I was 21. I was the one who in 1 week moved 3 states away. I'm the one who goes on trips to other states, and countries. Any time I try to do something he wants to do it too. He likes to flaunt that he can just drop a serious money on something should he choose to, unlike me who has to save my pennies for months to get enough together for what I want.

I think I'll ask mom if we can stay at her house to spend more time with dad (which I really want to). Then talk her into taking a long weekend and bringing down all my big stuff to my new house. That way nothing more that means anything to me will be damaged, and my last strings of my old life can be clipped. There are only 2-3 things that I want of any importance anyway.

-- Edited on 8/17/09 2:54 PM --

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"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook

Vibekeinyork
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 3:06 PM

Your brother sounds very childish even though he is 30 yrs. Is he cpable of acting in an adult way? You say he has a job, so he must be able to take responsibility in some ways. Apart from that I would wonder if he has some kind of minor brain damage. The way he treats/abuses your poor mother is very disturbing.

tr1c14
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In reply to Vibekeinyork


Date: 8/17/09 3:18 PM

I was thinking the same thing, from your description of his behaviour I'm getting the little voice that says it's more than garden-variety rectal-cranial impaction. Has he been evaluated for mental health concerns/organic brain disease? Is there any reason to suspect substance abuse? Has he always acted this way or has it started or increased?

I think staying at your parents' place sounds like a good idea, except that brother is going to want to, too.

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Tricia
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The advantage of being a beginner is, nobody has told you "That can't be done." This is also the disadvantage of being a beginner.

Michelle T

Michelle T
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 3:19 PM

Quote:
I know my mum isn't helping by doing his laundry for him, cleaning his house, taking care of his dogs, and cooking his meals. My DB refuses to eat what my mother cooks, so she has to cook 2 meals. In my world, if you didn't like the food, and you are over 18, go make it yourself. You have 2 hands, on your day off clean your house. If you need personal apointments made, make them yourself.


I am a bit confused. Your brother does not live in the same house as your mother and father, but your mum still does all the above for him at the age of 30?

How does he know that you plan to spend a day shopping or some other outing with your parents if he lives somewhere else?

Leaving bruises is abuse. It does not matter if it is done in fun or not a bruise is a sign of excessive force. He should be reported to the authorities. If he was leaving bruises on a child he would be a child abuser. If he left bruises on a wife or girlfriend there is no doubt he was abusive, so not let him get away with it with your mother. Your mother is a victim of bullying and physical elder abuse. I am sure there is a seniors helpline you can call for more information.

Your mother may be in denial, but she needs to be protected from him, not doing his chores. The question you have to ask is if a stranger did to your mum what your brother is doing would you consider it to be o'kay?

Reporting abusive behaviour is not easy, especially when it is within a family, I know I have been there, done that, your mother needs protection and that is much more important than a house, furniture or holiday plans.

Sorry for a strong reply, but I have strong feelings about this issue due to first hand experience. And yes it is one of the hardest things in the world to report a family member to the authorities. There will be blow back and you may be the bad guy of the family for a while, but in the end you will have protected your parents and that is much more important than allowing his behaviour to continue unchecked and avoiding rocking the family boat.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 3:27 PM

Write a letter to your brother and tell him you love him, but not like him.

Then explain what makes you feel that way.

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Vibekeinyork
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In reply to Michelle T


Date: 8/17/09 3:27 PM

You just said what I didn't dare to. I agree, this is elder abuse.

Rosebeee
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In reply to shanntarra


Date: 8/17/09 3:40 PM

If I was in your shoes, I'd get a hotel room nearby!

No cat fur to bother your husband's allergies, and no brother to drive you both insane. :)

Plus this way, if your brother is over at your parents house & you just can't stand it anymore you have a place to go escape to.

I'd also arrange ahead of time a place to meet *just* your parents for breakfast. This way your brother can't overhear you asking them, and what he doesn't know won't hurt him! This only works though if you parents agree not to tell him when/where they're meeting you & your hubby.

Your brother's behavior is just appalling! And how sad about his treatment of your grandmother's house and her belongings. :(

You have my utmost sympathy!!

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Becca
My blog: rosebee.dreamwidth.org
So much fabric & patterns to fantasize about, so little time to sew!!

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