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StephanieB September 26th, 2017 09:12 PM

Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue
I am new to this group but am seeking some sound advice from anyone.

My husband and I just got married in April. My brother and his wife just got married in August. We were both not present at each other’s wedding. Back a year ago my brother got engaged to his now wife, she is around 25 he is 31.My now husband proposed to me 10 days after. Not getting into many details to keep the post short- they both flipped out- cried.. blamed us for copying them- but we didn’t. I am 34 and my husband is 30. This whole ordeal spiraled down into a lot of necessary drama from my brother and his now wife and my parents got involved. My husband (then fiancé) and I wanted to resolve this early not to have drama- but they couldn’t be in the same room as us. Later on- emails and texts were written to us stating awful things on how much they hated us and never liked us and how they will be happy in their lives without us and my family.

Fast forward: things have not been resolved. My parents got involved because his now wife criticized my mother and was disrespectful to her many of times. With the holidays approaching I do not know what to do. We live in Texas, my brother lives in another state and my parents and family are in New York. I have been trying to get Christmas sorted out with my parents for over a month and no one can give me answers on what they are doing. I do not want to spend it with my brother and his rude wife. Just tonight- I found out he is going home the same time I planned and my parents haven’t say anything about it.

I don’t want to spend my holiday miserable in an uncomfortable situation with my brother and his wife- but i want to spend it with my family. My husband doesn’t want to go and waste money as he knows this is going to be an issue. I honestly am at a loss on what to do. I am usually the glue that keeps the family together- doing all that I can. I’m the person who cares the most and gives the most. But with this- I feel I have nothing to give.

Please help.
(If any of this is too vague- I am happy to give more details as I am leaving out a lot)

Thank you!

KayKay September 26th, 2017 09:45 PM

Re: Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue
This may not help, because I'm very conflict-adverse.

Can you tell your parents that you'll visit at Thanksgiving and have Christmas in Texas (or with your ILs)? There are benefits to this, not just to avoid the current situation with your brother, but to set precedent for down the road. Holidays become very complicated when/if kids come along and new parents are expected to drag the kids across the country for the sake of "tradition."

Or... go visit the week after Christmas, or for New Year's. Or, you could invite your parents to Texas. It sounds like they might like to get away from the drama too. :)

I used to be the person who was the glue that held my FOO together. Then I realized I was the only person who WANTED the family held together. When I backed off, no one complained and no one stepped up. I had been twisting myself in knots trying to create a Norman Rockwell family, and it was sweet freedom when I let that façade go.

Just a friendly nudge to a newlywed... don't forget that you and your husband are now "family", not your brother and extended relatives in NY. ;)

LucyVanPelt September 27th, 2017 03:51 AM

Re: Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue
I am vigorously agreeing with KayKay!

The one thing I am curious about is how did you find out that your brother is visiting the same time you are if your mother didn't tell you? That person might seem like a "peacemaker," trying to protect you, but be wary. He/She may also be more of a troublemaker, keeping the drama going and robbing you of your peace.

And why do you think your mother didn't say anything? She might be hoping that she can exercise her authority as a mother to keep conflict at bay and enjoy having her children with her. Your mother might not like the reality, but you and your brother are adults and her maternal authority has become very limited. The sooner she accepts the new reality, the sooner she can adjust.

StephanieB September 27th, 2017 05:44 AM

Re: Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue
Thank you both for your responses.My mother did tell me- and yes her and my father will not face this ugly reality. They are the people that like to so call “brush things under the rug” especially my father. I guess I am truly upset because I want to celebrate the holiday in the holiday and have been trying to plan this for months. Maybe I need to face the reality too.

Thank you both so much! <3

KayKay September 27th, 2017 09:11 AM

Re: Holiday Help- Adult Brother and SIL issue
StephanieB, the best thing I did when I was having my sibling issues was to remove my dad (a widower by then) from the middle. He was upset that my sisters and I weren't getting along, and was leaning on me (the family peacekeeper) to go-along-to-get-along. He knew what my sisters were doing, but he also knew that I was the reasonable one who was the "family glue." That meant that my sisters got to behave badly (like your brother and his wife are doing) and I was expected to graciously take the abuse. Nope. Like your brother, my sisters shot off nasty emails and were kind enough to copy my dad on them, so he knew what kind of crazy they were. I eventually reached the end of my rope.

I understood things from my dad's perspective. He didn't want to have to chose between us, and everyone (well, everyone except my sisters) wants peace and harmony and happy family holiday memories. By the time I reached the limit of what I would tolerate, I had two kids of my own and I understood the heartbreak my dad was probably going through.

What I did was refuse to engage. I wouldn't complain about my sisters. I never asked about them and only ever said things like "I'm glad they're doing well" when he'd volunteer information. When they'd shoot off volleys of vitriol, I'd only respond with short, direct, unemotional responses answering whatever specific questions they had wrapped up in accusations. (My dad thanked me more than once for my reasonableness in my responses). When I removed my dad from the middle, my sisters' craziness became *their* problem, and not a problem in my relationship with my dad.

Believe it or not, that will help your parents too. They have enough of a problem walking the tightrope of a relationship with your brother and his wife. If they are no longer caught in the middle between you and your brother, they will have more freedom to negotiate their own relationship.

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