Family ties are indestructible

jacques Salome

I have broken ties with my brother for over a year now. The family reunions with him and his wife weighed on me. We were taken hostage and forced to make excuses for not going home. His complaint during the argument was: "you never come to my house". And I felt trapped as if by my presence at home I had to approve his new relationship with his new wife.

The pretext for the argument was simple. My brother's wife is flying easily. She handles especially old people. We accepted her into the family so as not to exclude my brother. That day, she cheated on my aunt, with little money, but she attacks my family again, even though she had already extorted money from my grandfather, it pissed me off. Since she had kept clothes and baby equipment that I lent them, I went to ask her to give them back to me. But she had left everything in the car and my brother had gone with it. I asked her how much she owed to my aunt, but she did not have a checkbook or cash on her, and as luck would have it, she was sick and could not go out to get out. Drop of water that broke the camel's back. So I warned her that she will not stay at home anymore. My brother defended his wife. Since then, they do not come to my house and I do not go to their homes anymore.

Children, my brother was a difficult child and I the little model girl on whom all hopes were based. I always felt that I did not have the right to make mistakes and that I had to respect my brother as he was. It was necessary to leave him room so as not to hurt him, something that I did. I even tried not to overshadow him by not succeeding in life or professionally. I still do not know why. One day, I decided that it was all over, that I had the right to make my life. I divorced and questioned myself. I stopped the family meals, I allowed myself to do what I liked, hence the clash with my brother. Rivalry and jealousy are born.

Since then, my mother suffers from the situation. I wonder if my reaction to my brother was normal. But I've been better since. I do not refuse to see him at my parents' house, but we have nothing to say to him and his life does not interest me. We are so different. I thought it would pass, but I do not want to reconnect with him. Is this normal?

The answer of Jacques Salome

1) The various issues

It seems to me that in the situation you describe, there are several issues that can not be mixed.

On the one hand, being able to respect you in your values ​​by not endorsing the behavior of your brother's new wife. Hence the distance you have undertaken. With a clear positioning "I do not want to meet this woman anymore". The relationship your brother has with his wife does not concern you. It is up to him to discover where his threshold of tolerance for the thefts and scams of his wife is.

You have to confront the implicit and explicit privations that this entails for you, if your brother continues to introduce it into your family. Like the fact that you will not be able to see your parents in the presence of this woman. It could be said that this is the price to pay for your position of consistency and loyalty to yourself.

On the other hand, the relationship you have with your brother that reflects your guilt towards him. This resulted in a set of "self-privative" behaviors on your part in your childhood. I did not quite understand how this made you fail "in your professional life".

You talk about rivalry and jealousy that would be born ... Again, I do not understand the stakes. It's up to you to hear what it means to you. Jealousy and rivalry of whom? Who's next? For who? Or for what?

2) Autonomy and distance

I understand that your mother is suffering from the situation. I can imagine that like many mothers, she wants a good understanding between her children. You put his wish in check. But we are not here as a child or ex-child to meet the expectations and desires of our parents. It's called autonomy.

For the moment, you have moved away. I believe that parental relationships, born of the same blood, are indestructible. By that I mean that they are present in us, that they have an impact and a repercussion. Even when we do not see each other, even when we have broken the communication. The relationship remains as an invisible thread, but very present.

It's up to you to hear what your relationship with your brother means and what place you can give him in your life. Finding the right place, the right distance, the best meeting and exchange space is a good job to do. This gives more consistency to all our other relationships.

Sincerely on this path of coherence.

Jacques Salomé

Resource book: If I listened, I would hear (Editions de l'Homme.)

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