My brother told everyone that he wanted a puppy, not me, his newborn brother.
For years, he constantly created trouble and then blamed me.
In high school, he stole my girlfriend then dropped her, so she hated us both.
He’s 40 now, I’m 36, and he’s still locked in a competition with me that I try to ignore or avoid.
He used to earn much more than I do, but he got laid off and earns less at a smaller firm.
With big expenses based on his former salary, he asked to borrow from my savings, promising re-payments every three months over three years, as he adjusts his spending.
I agreed. (foolishly thinking it’d improve our relationship).
But he now says he can’t pay me anything during the three years, and maybe never. He said that, as a brother whom he’s always “looked after,” I should suck it up.
When I protested, he went online and maligned me on social media. I’ve had to block him from everything.
Our parents have both passed. I’ve read your statements to others that, whenever possible, family members should keep a door open to stay connected.
But I’m seriously considering cutting all contact with him.
Finally Fed Up
Mean, self-serving behaviour from an adult sibling is very hard to tolerate – especially when there’s been a long, unpleasant and hurtful history of it since childhood. Usually, when I’ve advised keeping an “open door” it’s because of other relatives’ who’ll be affected, such as aging parents or young cousins who want to see each other.
However, with your parents gone, and your brother’s online defaming of you – not to mention the money you might never see again – it’s understandable that you’d consider cutting contact.
From what you’ve written, it’d be unlikely to serve any positive purpose to stay in touch.
Nevertheless, here’s the “open door” again, but this time, I recommend it only in the back of your mind should something significant change – e.g. if your brother apologizes, pays his debt, or unfortunately becomes seriously ill and you want closure from past negativity…. it’s a thought for the future.
My wife of two years and I both have good jobs, are physically active and have a robust social life. We love each other and have fun together.
BUT she creates unachievable goals, then feels like a failure which puts her in a bad mood, of which I get the brunt.
Recently, at a friend’s 40th birthday party, she drank more alcohol than usual. She planned with another guest to attend a 6am fitness class, but couldn’t get up early enough the next morning.
She was so mad at herself all day that she was miserable to be around.
How can I explain to her that she can’t ALWAYS be Superwoman, and then can’t take it out on me?
You two are already deep into a very busy, self-demanding “robust” lifestyle covering many areas. It’s constantly busy, but easily disappointing if you mis-step – and partying too hard and having too-little sleep are typical “downers.”
You and “Superwoman” need to talk, gently. Each is responsible for his/her own well-being, (with help given when needed).
“Couple” life requires planning and scheduling, while being realistic about what you can handle, personally.
That way, you would’ve noted that the party would end too late for the class.
If she books it, that’s on her. If she’s miserable, stay out of her orbit till she recovers.
My husband of 20 years lost his mom to cancer four years ago. He’s still grieving deeply and has lost about 60lbs since.
The family and our family doctor have urged him to stop this anorexic behaviour. I’ve encouraged him to go to counselling, but he ignores advice from those who love him.
He was always a shy introvert and since her passing he’s cut himself off from all social situations and prefers solitary hobbies. He goes to bed at 7pm. Some family members feel that I should separate from him and try to start over.
What would you advise?
Start with a positive-seeking step, not the family’s “give-up” approach.
Your husband’s too withdrawn/depressed to seek help. See a counsellor yourself, describe his intense grief reaction, ask for advice or referral to a specialist for him. Report what you’ve learned, and that you love him.
Separating should be last resort.
Tip of the day:
When a sibling relationship becomes too toxic to tolerate, ending contact becomes necessary unless there’s positive change.