Dad/family issues

For problems with parents, whatever your age...
Post Reply
Taken Root
Taken Root
Posts: 2565
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:05 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Nottingham

Dad/family issues

Post by rufio89 » Tue May 28, 2013 4:47 pm

I've seen a lot of stuff recently about how you learn from your family how to build romantic relationships, you look to your Father, older brothers etc for the kind of man you see and then either go for someone like them if you admire it, or the polar opposite if you dont. (I'm aware that it's not as clear cut as that by the way but as a basic principle it makes sense, although I know it's an overgeneralisation).

Anyway, it's got me thinking a bit about my past relationships and how bleeping awful theyve all been but today after a spat with my brother I feel like I put my finger on the button. I dont know what I'm looking for on here in terms of advice but I just need to get it off my chest so dont worry if you cant help.

I have 3 brothers (35, 30, 29 - I'm 24). They're all half brothers, their Mum died when they were young.
My eldest brother and I were never close when I was a kid (probably due to the age gap more than anything) but over the past 5 years or so we'd managed to get quite close. He's always been quite a difficult person, he's on the spectrum a bit I think, but we managed to build a decent relationship. There was an "incident" a few years ago where I'd gone to see my brother to help him have a big clear out and I found a form from an old job where they asked him to list his beneficiaries on his life insurance. There was space for 5 people but he just put my 2 brothers and didnt put me. The form had been from a few years before, before we were close so I tried to just put it out of my mind and ignore it, but it has stuck in my head a little. Just to be clear, I am absolutely not interested in getting any money from him or benefiting in any way from his death, I just felt hurt that I wasnt included as part of his family. Over time I found it harder and harder to maintain our close relationship because he's a "taker" - he expects bags of support/advice etc but wont even ask you how your day is. I could feel it taking a strain on me and so I thought I would just take a step back so our contact went from daily to weekly to about once a month or so now. Today we had a stupid spat because he was just being harsh, I wont go into details now because it's not really relevant but I absolutely did nothing wrong (and I have checked with a couple of people to make sure I wasnt overreacting and they said no, he was being really really harsh for no reason). Normally I'd just brush it away because I know this is just what he's LIKE but instead today it just splintered off into a whole load of other things.

I'm very very fortunate in that the youngest of my brothers and I are very close. He's different to the rest of the family and he's much more easygoing and fun and kind. We get on really well and he's probably my favourite person in the world, but he basically point blank refuses to have emotional conversations unless it's absolutely necessary, which I understand.

So this fight with my brother got me thinking about the rest of my family - the middle brother is very ill, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 8 years ago now, during the worst of it I was the target of so much rage/hate etc but he got SO much better and everyone was amazed by how well he was doing. However over the past couple of years he started to slip again and now he's not as bad as he was before but he's certainly noticably ill and once again I'm the target. It's easier for me now because I dont live with my parents and neither does he, so I dont have to deal with it on a day to day basic, but when we're both there he's just cruel, I'm constantly belittled and he's just unbearable to be around. I know in my BRAIN that he's unwell, it's an illness and he doesnt mean anything by it, but it just gets harder and harder to remember every time.

Then moving onto my Dad, which is the most difficult for me. Before I start, I want to say that my Dad is a really good man, he's such a good person but he's very depressed and he finds people quite difficult to cope with. He and I didnt get on at ALL when I was younger, but as I got older and realised how difficult his life had been, I got much more sympathetic to his failings as a parent and since I moved out 5/6 years ago, I've worked very hard to build a relationship with him, which has been successful for the most part, we get on better than we ever did and I'm certainly closer to him than my siblings are. I'm also much more like him than I realised so I value the relationship that we have. However I just cant help but feel constantly let down by him as a parent. He was very disappointed when I didnt go to university at 18 so I've been making a real effort to involve him in the process now I'm applying - I email him courses, ideas I've had etc etc, hoping to join him in and he just doesnt reply (and the emails explicitly say "what do you think of this Dad?"). If I ask him about it he'll say "oh yeah sorry I didnt get a chance to reply" which would be fine if he were busy but he's NOT, he's unemployed, he sits on his bum all day browsing the internet and watching TV. I'll also send him articles or reviews for things that I think he'll like and he doesnt respond to those 9/10 either. I try really hard to maintain this relationship but I just feel like I'm not really getting anything back - I've thought about just not making the effort but he's getting older now, he's in his 60s and I know he's not at deaths door yet, but I cant bear the thought that I give up on this relationship and then something happens to him, he's the only Dad I'll ever have after all and he's far from a bad person.

I've tried to talk to my Mum about it but she's very depressed too and as soon as I try to talk to her about ANYTHING she just starts crying and I end up having to look after her.

I know I probably sound like I'm whining and I am well aware of how lucky I am to have the family I do, I know it's a lot better than some people, I just feel let down by them at the moment. These are the men in my life who are supposed to always be there for me, always love me, no matter what, and I know deep down that they do, but they’d never say it. I don’t think my brothers have EVER said that they love me or even given any real indication that they value me and my Dad has said it maybe a handful of times my entire life.

As I said I know that I’m lucky to have them and I feel guilty even writing this down because I know they have their own problems, but the one similarity between all my awful ex boyfriends has been that (even if/though it didn’t last long) they’re SO gushing with how much they love me. It’s like I need to hear it and I dontk now how to get past this now.

I don’t normally react this strongly to a spat with my brother but it’s just really got under my skin today :(

User avatar
Bel Bel
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Posts: 6758
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 1:58 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Dad/family issues

Post by Bel Bel » Thu May 30, 2013 1:27 pm

Well personally I don't think you should try to analyse a person to decide if they are right for you.
Let things happen naturally and if it's meant to be it will be

I also would consider that men who gush often get wrapped up in the moment or even tell you what you want to hear but do you want the fake fairy tale or do you want something real. Something real means someone needs to be able to tell you that you did something wrong or there is a bit of you or your personality they don't like as well as reassuring you that it doesn't matter because you make up for it in so many other ways. No one is perfect.

Of course you want to feel loved and any relationship with a guy that lacks that isn't healthy but you need to be more secure in yourself without the need for this validation from other people.

I think it's not surprising you have fractured relationships but to be fair it's because of them not because of you.
It's best to keep toxic people at a distance but with family that's easier said than done.

I would carry on with your dad as you do. You may find although he doesn't have the energy or will to reply he likes the fact you still include him. At least you will know you tried and therefore will have nothing to feel guilty for.

You just constantly have to remind yourself that your brothers and your dad are not functioning on the same level as you. They are impaired by their illnesses. Try to almost think of them as toddlers or even aliens.
The borther that picks on you, ahve you ever tried to stop it i.e next time he belittles you say something like "If you have nothing nice to say perhaps it's better not to say anything" or "I don't value your opinion so please don't bother to tell me what you think of me". Personally it sounds like he is jealous. Typically a jealous person will belittle someone else as a way to make themselves feel good. You are right to try and ignore it but you are only human.

I think that we are told that our families are the one to look up to and get support from but I actually disagree. Look up to anyone who inspries you. Families are a pain and I don't think we should have to put up with anyone who brings us down. You wouldn't keep a friend who treated you badly so why are we expected to keep family members close when they misbehave. It almost gives people a licence to treat others badly JUST because they are family
Life is for living so live it to the fullest Cheap Pandora Charms UK

Post Reply