Post # 1
I am brand new to the bee even though my wedding is less than four months out, but I just had to post this somewhere.
My brother is 23, I am 26, and FH asked my brother to be one of his GMs. FH has 3 brothers himself, but only asked his oldest as he wanted to include my brother (I only have one sibling). My brother was honored at the request and said yes last summer when he was asked.
Some background on my brother…he has bipolar disorder, basically an up and down try of mood disorder where some days he is on top of the world and other days he feels suicidal. He has been on mood altering medications his whole life in an attempt to have fewer ups and downs. As he has gotten older and entered into romantic relationships, it turns out that some of these medications have interfered with his sexual health (sorry if this is TMI) and he feels he will never have a normal, healthy and functioning relationship. Recently he has been having severe suicidal thoughts and was recently hospitalized to help him seek inpatient treatment for his issues.
This past week, fewer than 4 months from the wedding, my brother told me that my happiness with Fiance is too much for him. That he is jealous of my happiness and our relationship, because he thinks he will never have that for himself. He wrote me an email saying not only would he not be in the wedding, but he would not ATTEND it because it would be too hard for him. He ended the email saying that being a part of my life is too painful for him and that he would be better off with me not in it.
I have been his biggest champion and supporter, and it breaks my heart to know how he suffers…but at the same time it is also devastating that he does not want to be part of one of the most important days of my life…and that he no longer wants me IN his life.
I refuse to be guilty for finding someone I love and care about. I feel terrible for my brother, but I would also think that he could try to hold it together for one day…am I being selfish?
Thank you for listening…any advice would be greatly appreciated. Am I being unfair? Is he? What would you do?
Post # 3
I think that if he says he wants out, he should be out. No, you should not feel guilty. His life and happiness is his responsibilty. It really kind of sounds like emotional extortion to me. I really don’t like people acting this way and would simply tell him that once he says he is out thats it, no turning back. Don’t be sucked into this stupid game. I can tell you from my personal experience which might help you understand better. We have two daughters, 2 and 4. Our 2 year old, Leah, was born with a birth defect that required that one of her legs be amputated. I will completely understand if Leah someday tells me that she wishes she had two regular legs Anna. If she is resentful of her sister and distances herself I will have to tell Anna that Leah’s resentfulness has nothing to do with Anna and everything to do with the ugliness in her own heart. Leah is responsible for her own attitudes and choices. I hope this helps.
Post # 4
No you are not being unfair. My niece is bi-polar and the ups are great, the downs are horrible. At least your brother can tell you that he wants out, she usually just doesn’t show for things (like her own daughters baptism). You have to work with what you have and have a good day for yourself. Good luck
Post # 5
I am so sorry. I know the struggle you are having. You are not being selfish, unfair or wrong in anyway. Your brother does have a disorder that prevents him from feeling empathy and thinking rationally. However, he is being selfish. You should try to ask him if he found someone what would he expect from you? Wouldn’t he expect you to be happy for him? Tell him you love him and he can choose whatever he wants but tell him how you feel. Then let him make his own decisions.
Also, you should try to make him understand that not everyone should be married. It is not meant for everyone and being single isn’t so bad marriage is actually VERY difficult!!
You all may not be religious so I am sorry if this offends you at all. But my faith teaches that marriage is extremely difficult and not meant for everyone. And that God can call us tot he single life which can be just as rewarding especially if he can find a way to help other people. It will make him feel good about himself. He has a purpose whether he understands it or not. His suffering can make him a better person. But falling into a trap of constant self pity will devestate his life. He still has choices on how he wants to be. If he wants to meet someone he would have to stop being so selfish anyway.
Sorry if this sounds cold in anyway. Like I said I did have someone very close to me develop this. It’s a hard struggle between realizing they are sick and whether or not they are taking advantage.
Post # 6
Ironic…..I almost posted a long post about my sister (who is bipolar) yesterday…..she’s on the road to the same thing I think….is backing out of a lot wedding things. It’s such a hard position to be in…..I get it! A part of you I’m sure feels like this is one of the few days you wish this could be “put aside”…….I would just let him know how important it is to you, and that you really value your relationship with him. Then let him process it on his own! 🙁 big hugs.
Post # 7
@burris4: Her brother has a mental illness, which just like an amputated leg, is a real condition that alters his being. It is very unfair to accuse him of emotional extortion.
I understand that this must be very difficult for both you and your brother. I don’ think either one of you are being unfair, you are hurt and your brother is also suffering. Perhaps in time and with the right support and medication he will come around and be able to have a healthy, functioning relationship with you. Right now does not sound like he is able to do that and doesn’t want to further hurt you or himself.
Post # 8
Wow, everyone–thank you. I appreciate all of the different perspectives and experiences, and it truly makes me feel better just to get these feelings out and to have people who listen and can understand in one way or another. I am obviously disappointed and deeply saddened, both for my brother and for the fact that he is going to be absent during such a big time in my life, but I have realized that I can only worry about the things I can control. I can be as supportive a sister as I can be, and that is it. Thanks again, everyone.
Post # 9
Considering that he is bipolar, it is very likely he may change his mind and choose to attend the wedding..
Post # 10
I think @bells makes a good point – I think you’re facing at least 2 things: dealing with what he said to you most recently, and figuring out how to deal with it if he goes back and forth on this. If he changes his mind, is he allowed to come? If he wants to be a Groomsmen after all, can he? Etc.
And FWIW, there may be the tiniest bit of light here, in that it sounds like he’s trying to make responsible decisions about what’s right for his wellbeing as best he can. Those decisions might be wrong, and this one is certainly hurtful to you, but the impulse sounds like a good one.
Post # 11
Your not being unfair, but there is no way for you as someone who isn’t bi-polar to understand how much suffering he’s in. I also disagree with emotional extortion in this particular case.
Sure you can have empathy, but the way he’s wired, he processes things completely different from how you and I would. So maybe he CAN’T put it aside for one day. Maybe thru his cloud he’s able to recognize his short comings and thats a good thing.
But I understand how its hurtful to you. I have sister who definitely has her own set of issues, so I understand more than you know. But her instability to process things, I’ve had to learn let go of my expectations of how she “should” behave. I plan on inviting her to my wedding and knowing 99.99% she will not attend. So I’m doing my part, the door is open, but if she doesn’t come, my day will go on as planned filled with happiness. The only void I will feel that day is my mom who passed away. Other than that, I will not give up any other “space” to anyone else or their issues, whether they are real (like your brothers) or imagined.
You going to have to let this go. Its not about you. If he “thinks” its better for him to stay away and keep himself together, than to come to your day and “act” up in anyway, then thats exactly what he “has” and “needs” to do. Good luck.