Do I tell my brother this is hurtful to me?

Justmehere

Sponsor
I grew up in an abuse filled household. My mother was checked out due to dissociation and something else I don't understand... She still has a weird habit of laughing when others are crying and ignoring pain of others. More than being a bystander. I was the main target as a child of the abuse -- and the scapegoat. Even as an adult living far away with zero to no contact, I was blamed for any rage episodes he had about anything. My brother has said he was seen as the golden child. He also has more success as an adult - lived up to it. Meanwhile, I'm always struggling with mental health and trying to survive... ugh.

It's all typical alcoholic dysfunctional family patterns. Just make him happy I was told... and somehow my brother sort of wasn't ever the target and was seen as making him happy. They kept a relationship, and my brother sort of shut me out - for failure to make my father happy. About two years ago, my father apparently snapped, went after my brother. I dunno quite what happened. My brother told me "I thought I could control him, manage the rage episodes, and then he went after me, like he used to go after you."

Years of him as an adult enabling my father and one day he suddenly is the target and he stops enabling it. Basically cuts my father out of his life. In the middle of it, my father is sort of trying to reconnect with me? I have no idea. I just visited for the second time in 15 years. So. Lots of weird. Not sure what I should do for me or where my boundaries are going to be at the moment with my father and mother. I have safety boundaries but not sure what to do with the whole thing beyond that.

My brother is also sort of reconnecting to me. Sort of. I reach out, as I always have, when I have been in town where they all live. He'd invite me over to his place. He doesn't really seem to care about me as a person though. He's randomly defensive about his boundaries with my father, without my bringing it up -- to which I am nothing but validating that I'm glad he is doing what he needs to do to keep himself and his family safe and I fully support him on whatever he decides is right for him with my father. I won't be getting in the middle of that. I also know he may be traumatized so whatever about the random defensiveness.

But me as a person? Doesn't really show any signs of caring. Like it's a duty or a favor to do lunch together. Engages others with warmth, asks how they are etc, and none of that towards me. Talks about himself, his family, etc. But it's not reciprocal. His wife reaches out, sort of, but it's weird. All weird. I don't really feel like I know any of them, because we have been so distant for so long - except my mother.

I'm not sure what to do or how to process it. I'd like to have a relationship with him. I also know it just may be too far gone. I'm also mad. Like WTF. I can't express that to any of them, because what's the point? For 8 years my father said I didn't exist and my brother joined him in it. Now they suddenly treat me like I exist. My father got me a Christmas gift. What. My brother can't even bother with a card. A hello. I want to tell him this isn't an okay way to treat me, but also know that he'll likely just cut off all contact if I do. It's to the degree it feels hurtful, unfair, etc... but years ago, when I tried to say anything of it, I was rewarded with 8 years of being cut off by him because "it's too painful for you to bring it up." What?

I guess I need perspective on this dynamic with my brother. Maybe I just need to accept he's kind of an asshole who won't change.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Families are so challenging.
I don't have any answers at all, just a series of questions.
If you told him it was hurtful, what reaction would you want? What reaction are you expecting? How would you handle those?

If you don't say anything, what happens then?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Do you think he can do that?
And if he does - can you trust it?
And if he doesn't - can you handle that?

My sister (one of them) and I seem to be building up a relationship again. She actually contacts me now. She still never really asks me anything about my life. But, she initiates contact. And not to take things , but to converse. It's nice but unsettling. And I don't trust it yet.

I suppose these things take time.

In other relationships, would you talk about the elephants in teh room? And if so, what is it that is stopping you from expressing your needs with your brother? And can that thing be over come?
 

Friday

Moderator
I think what I would like is for my brother to be like a friend.
Feels like a bit of putting the cart in front of the horse.

Meaning, he’s not a friend, now… but holding him to the same standards you’d hold a friend to.

One of those complicated things about family. The history is there, but the relationship often doesn’t match the history.

IME, if I want to be friends with someone? I have to actually be friends with them, before I hold them to friend-standards. Ditto dating, employing, etc. Holding a person to standards for a role they don’t actually hold, yet? Gets crazy-making fast.

Ex Post Facto has saved my bacon more times than I can count, in not holding people to new rules being lived now, for past acts.
 
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arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe I just need to accept he's kind of an asshole who won't change.

i'm the "golden child" in my criminally dysfunctional family, more often called, "the rich aunt." according to my shrinks, i am every bit as damaged as the siblings who crawled into self-medication containers instead of workaholic distractions. the workaholic distractions look far better at the bank, but have done nothing to heal the scars of child prostitution, et al. the siblings, nieces and nephews who believe my buying them a new car will fix all their problems prefer to call me flattering names like, "asshole." i have long accepted that my birth family is incapable of offering healing support. buying them new cars has yet to buy that support.

however unlikely, i still crave that family support which can't be bought at any price. in my dreams, all of us dispense with the family tradition of unflattering judgement and commence with the hard, confusing work of healing as a family of equals. just dreaming. . .
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe it's not an 'either/or' situation.
Maybe there is the wish for him to be a friend.
And maybe there is the fear/expectation of how he might be based on how he has been in the past.
And maybe there is something in the middle? If he is able to show some elements of 'friendship' (which I take to mean understanding, mutual engagement etc) and is still an asshole in other areas that he is unable to change (yet? Ever?)
 

Justmehere

Sponsor
I guess what I'm struggling to find is a next step to take. Bringing up the past won't help. If he wants to talk about it, he can, but my initiating it doesn't lead to fruitful dialogue anyhow. I keep trying to do something... but never sure what to do. I sent a postcard last fall, no response. It's not entirely one-sided, but it leans that way.
 

Friday

Moderator
I guess what I'm struggling to find is a next step to take.
I have too many friends with PTSD or crazy lives/schedules, so margarita’s worth of salt…

…I just start -randomly- including someone in my life.

Randomly = there’s no focus to it. It’s simply when I think of it, as I feel like it. No stress, no pressure, no reliability, no expectations. IF they get back to me or reciprocate? Awesome. If not? No skin off my nose… because I haven’t made this… effort …that is unrewarded/ feels like wasted time / why do I even bother/ detracts from people (or parts of my life) I could be focusing on if I weren’t directing energy their way, etc.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I guess what I'm struggling to find is a next step to take. Bringing up the past won't help.
The past is a massive subject. Maybe instead, it could be focusing on the future. I.e. saying "brother you know I would really like to have more of a relationship with you, perhaps we could start talking more or seeing each other" or something like that?

I recently said to my sister that I would like us siblings to have relationships with each other that isn't influenced by our parents. She said she did too, but she felt our other sister isn't able to. Since then, she's been contacting me more....
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I sent a postcard last fall, no response. It's not entirely one-sided, but it leans that way.

shared trauma is a sneaky, snaky bond. the typically unspoken secrecy codes of family dysfunction make it hard to know what is leaning which way. healing those family dysfunctions calls for many, many leaps of faith and even more patience with the process.

more and more, my next step in the healing process is prayer. WHEN the time is right, IF EVER the time is right, the healing mysteries will guide me. my job is simply to listen for that guidance. in between steps, i simply maintain healing hopes for all. no exceptions.
 

Tinyflame

MyPTSD Pro
It's good to avoid the victim/ perpetrator/ fixer dynamic, I think. IMHO, stick with who sticks with you, don't expect miracles overnight, and as @arfie said work towards or pray for healing with the realization you may never see it. Or be prepared it may take a lifetime, or not, or never in the ways you'd hope, or worsen, or surprise you.

Good luck and surround yourself with kindness. The family is not always what it's cracked up to be, and your brother may need his own processing to deal with his relationship to your father, as well as yours together.

i think some get it on their deathbed, when they realize not a lot of it mattered. Others hold fast to resentments, or anger or hatred, or hurt, or cognitive distortions. Others, never really cared and still are only self-focused. Others are unwell. Or any mix there-of. Maintain good boundaries, and try to be kind and not drawn in to what isn't helpful.

Hugs in your journey, and hopes for healing with your family.
 
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