My older brother’s been a problem for me all my life. He’s now 49, I’m 43. I think he’s never forgiven me for intruding on his starring role as “the only child” when he was age six.
He’s always been “right” on any discussion between us.
When we were young, he bullied me into doing things that’d get me into trouble, then play the innocent one.
Fast forward, he had a job for years that made good money, a wife he dominated, and a superior attitude towards me that I was going nowhere as a graphic artist.
Things changed for both of us and he hasn’t handled it well. His job changed and his financial security lessened considerably. He started asking me for loans that he’ll repay “soon.”
His wife withdrew emotionally. I believe she stays only for their two daughters’ sakes.
Meantime, 15 years ago, I found a very good job in a creative field that values my skills and vision.
The current problem is that my brother turned to gambling with my loaned funds (which had due dates) and claims they’re simply “gone.”
I’m furious. He was never foolish in financial matters before. But he took wild chances because it didn’t matter if he lost MY hard-earned salary.
I didn’t talk to him for a couple of months after I learned of his losses. Now, I can hardly look at him.
Our widowed mother, early-80s and health-compromised, asked to see her granddaughters on Christmas. My brother decided they’ll all visit her.
I believe he’s going for the meal and gifts she’ll provide without having to be generous himself. But it’s too much work for her and too close quarters in her small apartment.
I was planning to drop off food/gifts for my mother as my wife and I (no kids) are very Covid-conscious about protecting her.
We’d then connect online, play Christmas carols, sing along with her, and “share” our meal virtually.
How can I insist that my brother and his family not go to her home?
My Brother’s the Problem
Step up as brother-in-charge of your mother’s well-being. Tell him that she isn’t strong enough to cook a traditional Christmas dinner.
Explain that you’re going to be online with her, and he and his family can join in the virtual gathering.
Alert your mother to enjoy the provisions you deliver to her, and the contact online. But to lock up and not risk close contact with your brother’s family.
Be clear that during worrisome numbers of Covid infection cases and existence of asymptomatic carriers, he’d be risking his mother... for which you’d never forgive or help him again.
He’s a deflated bully in a vulnerable position if you call in his loans. He’ll hopefully cave and join your thoughtful Christmas plan.
A man I knew slightly 20 years ago in high school has suddenly started emailing me. He said he’s always “liked” me, but he got his girlfriend pregnant mid-way in our senior year.
He says they’re now divorced, their two children are in high school, and one reminded him of me.
He heard from a long-ago mutual friend that I’m also divorced and thought we should get together.
I was never attracted to him and find this sudden contact somewhat creepy. What do you think?
Creepy. Having sometimes passed in the school halls back then, is no indication of any current shared interest nor even common ground.
Return only a polite “No thanks.”
Reader’s Commentary “My friend is always trying to help others, which I admire. She’s in a wellness field, but her outreach outside of work to people she meets also occupies a lot of her limited spare time.
“She’ll listen to anyone’s genuine need, call around to find contacts for that situation, and spend up to hours researching others’ symptoms if they’re ill, or trying to find solutions to serious problems like someone’s housing issues.
“I’ve had to learn to understand when she calls that it might take some of my time too - listening, brainstorming, also researching, and arguing which route is the better one for her to suggest to the worried person.
“Sometimes it’s more time-consuming than I expected or wanted. But I always end up marvelling at how, as she reminds me, that if we want a better world, it has to start with one person helping another.”
Tip of the day:
An adult brother can no longer bully you when it comes to your protecting your mother from COVID-19.