Brother's family takes all attention

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Brother's family takes all attention

Postby Glindora » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:11 pm

I'm not really sure that this a problem that anyone can advise or help to solve and when you hear the full situation you'd be quite justified in saying that I'm selfish and mouldy but I just needed somewhere to vent all my frustration about it in a safe place where no-one knows me and maybe come to terms with it myself.

My brother lost his wife tragically in an accident last year leaving him a widower with 3 children. He has found it very difficult to cope and manages the bare minimum. He hasn't worked since then (he was self employed) and just about manages basic childcare. My parents stay with him one week every month to help and he spends the vast majority of the school holidays with them. I do understand how difficult it all has been for him and have helped him as much as I can. I have two children myself, I'm also self employed and my husband works long hours and we have a very busy family schedule with different activites but I have been down to stay with him twice to take care of the children for a few days and we have also had the three children stay with us twice for a week at a time in different school holidays without my brother to give him a break.

What I am struggling with - and I know this isn't very nice - is my feelings of being pushed out - and my children pushed out from my parents and particularly my mother's attention as she focuses solely on the other 3 grandchildren. I know they need help but the unfortunate result is that my own 2 have lost their grandma over it I feel. They can never stay with her in the holidays or have any time alone with her as the others are always there. If we go out together, she focuses solely on them. We were away for a family weekend all together for Easter and my daughter commented that her grandma never spoke to her once. She just talked to her other granddaughter all the time. My mother and I took all 5 kids out last week and my mother promptly paid for the other 3 and left me with mine. I know its all very petty but I feel they are all her grandchildren. When I call her on it, she gets very defensive. She claims for example that she always buys lunch - she's right; she always does when she's out with my brother and his kids. She never never does when she is out with me and mine. Its not about the money - none of us are short of it which makes it even more petty. I just feel a bit uncared for and as if she doesn't see me and my children as as important to her.

Part of the whole problem with my feelings is my brother himself. He has had a terrible time but to be honest (and this isn't just my view - everyone around us shares bar my mother who has always been blinkered towards him) he is and has always been lazy and selfish and his tragedy has given him the excuse to be so even more. He always did the bare minimum of work and his wife was the regular wage earner. (he's now living off her savings). he - and his wife - always spent as much time as they could getting my parents to do their childcare for them. When they stayed with my parents they did nothing - not get their kids up, nor put them to bed, nor even help set or clear the table. They never thanked my parents for having them. They just sat waiting for everything to be done for them. They used to regularly ask my parents to visit to look after the children for days at a time so that they could go away together. What upset me about this is that only once have my husband and I asked my parents to look after the children for more than one night at a time - my husband asked if she could have them for 2 nights so he could take me away for the weekend and my mum refused saying that it was unreasonable yet she stayed with them for days at a time.

I wouldn't blame you for thinking that the obvious inference is that my children are unpleasant while theirs are easy but in fact the opposite is true. Even though my mother does all this she will tell anyone prepared to listen that the other three are very difficult - they are violent with each other, rude and disobedient and very little interest in anything bar computer games. THis isn't since their mother died - they have always been like this. My mother was also very critical of my brother and sister in law at this time. She would complain about how even when they both there, they would leave her a bare spare bed and expect her to make it up herself and expect her to go shopping for food when staying with them or that my sil would make her own dinner and sit eating it without making anyone else any. When I got frustrated with her (mother) for putting up with all of this, she would explain that she was scared that if she didn't do what my sil wanted, she wouldn't be allowed to see my brother or his kids.

I feel that my brother has just continued with this and uses anyone he can find. When I stayed with him to help with the kids, we went to a supermarket to stock up and as we got to the counter, he stood back deliberately allowing me to pay for his family's food. The one good thing previously was that he was always good company but he seems to feel now that he is the only one allowed any feelings or rights. He utters pronouncements on things and gets very offended if you try to discuss it. He has been very cruel to a family member who had a diffiult break-up telling them that no-one in the family cared because my brother's own tragedy was the most important. He seems to feel that he is at the focus of everyone's lives and that they are all thinking about him. He is unable to do the simplest thing for anyone else - for instance I rang (he never answers phone) to ask him for advice on work-related matter and he couldn't get back to me - if he had, he would have been able to help in 2 seconds as he admitted later and saved me days. This would be understandable - if he hadn't been out with a new girlfiend at the time. Yes, for all his grief he's started dating and has a new girlfriend who he's out with as much as possible. I have to say, she seems absolutely lovely and great with the kids. I just feel that he seems to have the energy and the will to go out and socialise but when faced with doing anything he doesn't want to do or can't be bothered, he points out what a tragedy he's suffered. Even his own kids see this - his daughter told me last week that Dad never gets round to doing anything and when she complains he says she doesn't realise how hard it is for him but he never got round to doing anything before her mum died.

I feel particularly bad at the moment because my mum has just celebrated a big birthday and my dad and i organised a surprise party for her. I spent weeks emailing, ringing, buying decorations, cakes etc - all my time was taken up with it - and my husband and children helped making books of photographs etc for her. We also of course found time to buy her a present. My brother turned up and hadn't even bothered to buy her a card. I did it all to make her happy and to show how she's appreciated after a rather tough year not to be thanked but to spend all the time and effort and to be honest don't really feel appreciated myself. She has said that she knows what I did and wants to take me out to lunch to thank me but she doesn't put a date in and just says it without committing herself. Its like both my children did very well at the end of the summer term and she promised them both a present to reward them - nothing has materialised but she flapped around making sure that she bought things for the other 3. I feel greedy reminding my mum - as I said, we are not short of money and I never want to look grasping - but my kids are disappointed.

In some ways, I could deal with all of this and just accept it all - I have a very happy family life myself and our relationship with my parents is good and I do understand how shw wants to help my brother at this time but what I cannot deal with is that my mother wants and expects me to be as preoccupied with my brother's family as she is. She is retired and they are her son and grandchildren; I work - have a husband and two children of my own; they have very busy lives that need supporting and I am very involved with several local clubs myself. I will support where I can as I said earlier - I've had the kids to stay and will do again. i've been to stay there to help - not easy as i have to leave my own kids and husband - and am planning to again in December so he can take the new girlfriend away for a night. However, I have to deal with almost daily phone calls from my mum that can last up to 2 hours where she wants to obsess about every little detail of their lives - discussing the kids problem behaviour, schooling, my brother's love life etc. She was on the phone for 1 hour and half yesterday - she rang and launched straight into her discusson of them - her opening words were, "So, they went home yesterday at 12" and carried on without once asking me anything about myself, husb or children. When I tried to tell her how unpleasant I find some of the things my brother does and says, she got huffy and said that you've got to be understanding.

I'm finding it very difficult and feel that its warping my relationships with my brother and mother. - I'm aware that my dad hasn't been mntioned - he is on the scene and still married to my mum. I think he feels pretty much as I do about it all and certainly isn't prioritising them above us. He has a great relationship wth all his kids and grandkids and never focusses on one group over another. With my mum thoughI feel like I'm making bitter comments all the time - I don't want her not to help or to help less. I just want her to appreciate us as well and when she doesn't I want to prove to her that he and his kids have quite a lot of faults! which makes me a very sad and unpleasant person that I don't like very much.

Sorry its so long - so much to get off my chest.
Glindora
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Re: Brother's family takes all attention

Postby Kediler15 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:28 pm

Well Glindora, reading your long post, I didn't get the feeling you are selfish at all, nor a nasty sort of person. But you do worry too much about these things. Your brother does sound a little selfish & lazy, and probably doesn't give his kids enough of the right sort of attention. But if he expects a lot from his mother, and if she's quite willing to give it, there's nothing much you can do as such. In time your Mum may tire of so much extra work expected of her, or perhaps your Dad may point something out to her. Maybe the new girlfriend will be willing to take on the kids fulltime ...... it will sort itself out somehow in due course. Your main priority is to reduce any negative effects on your own children by explaining the situation to them to the extent they can understand --- they should not feel they are any less important to their grandmother than their motherless cousins. I wish you luck & hope Christmas wasn't a nightmare ! :D
Kediler15
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