(Closed) nwr family question: do i get in the middle? (sorry, this is really long!)

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

It doesn’t sound like the situation will ever change without a catalyst.  So, it seems to me that you can either be that catalyst and talk to your brother, to try to facilitate some communication, or you can keep listening to your parents’ frustrations. Which would you rather live with? Possibly upsetting your brother and SIL or continuing on as it is now for many years to come?

Post # 4
1580 posts
Bumble bee

I think you should defnitely say something in the situations where your brother and SIL’s behavior affects you (like planning thanksgiving alone or not making themselves available for family vacation for 2 years). Bringing things like this up may help the whole family.

But I think you should try to stay out of it when the issues don’t directly affect you. If I were you I’d tell my parents to stop complaining to me about my brother and that I don’t like being put in that position. If they have an issue with the brother, they should go to the brother, not you. They are adults and can manage their own relationships.

I’ve been on the side where my parents didn’t agree with a decision I made, and they talked to my sisters about it. One sister openly told me that she was siding with my parents and pretty much started confrontations with me about it. It was stressful and hurtful. So if you do confront your brother, be prepared that you could strain your relationship with him, even though you are just trying to repair his relationship with your parents.

Post # 5
4001 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think I’d probably say something.  I’d be sure to rehearse it before I do!  You don’t want to come across as biased in either direction.  And once you say what you need to say, be sure they know that you’re not getting involved further than you already have.  And stay true to that.  Good luck!

Post # 7
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union

I’m in the minority, but I just wouldn’t get involved. You’re really only getting your parents’ side of this and some people… just don’t like their parents. You can certainly encourage your parents to speak to your brother, but that’s not your job. They’re adults too.

Post # 8
2395 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

As the “go too kid” in my family, I have been caught in the middle numerous times.  Between parents/siblings, siblings/siblings, parents/parents….it gets old.  Finally to keep my sanity, I had to tell them that they had to start dealing with the person of issue directly, without going through me.  I don’t mind being a shoulder to vent on, but in terms of solving the problems, it was never going to happen with always having a middle man.  Not to mention, being the middle person all the time will drive you nuts!!!

I can understand the wanting to do Thanksgiving alone, but if having it with family is tradition, it would have been polite of them to give you guys more than a week notice.  It’s very important (well, atleast once we have kids) to create our own family traditions.  So, we decided to come up with a rotating schedule.  One year w/ my family, one year with his, and then one year at our home. 

And are they crazy about the vacation?  If my parents offered to take my family on a paid vacation, I’d jump at the chance. LOL

Post # 9
145 posts
Blushing bee

I’ve always believed that no one can change how others will act, but they can change how they themselves act. In that sense, I would suggest telling your mom and dad respectfully that they are trying too hard to please your brother, that they can only dictate how they respond to your brother/sil. So, to facilitate the change, your parents need to start backing away from them, start to allow them to be independent, start to do their own things, start to not plan their lives around your bro/sil. Then once your bro/sil sees that they are not getting the reaction from your parents, they will start to come around more and get a action out of them. Its all about stop trying to control other’s actions, and taking control of your own actions instead of allowing others to.

Post # 10
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

I think the biggest problem here is that your parent are coming off as extremely needy to your bro/sil. They don’t appear to be comfortable with this and thus are trying even harder to seperate themselves. Honestly, I agree that you shouldn’t interfere and that you should tell your parents to start living their own lives and stop working around those two. They need to state clearly that a 2012 vacation will not work as they wish to go sooner and regret that your bro/sil cannot attend, but they will send pictures of all the fun they had with you. If they change their mind and make room for the trip then so be it, otherwise you guys will be having all of the fun while they stay home and sulk. Also, I’m sure that being dependent on your parents really bothers them and quite honestly maybe your parents need to decrease their support at least a little so that they start living off of their own paychecks.

Post # 11
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I might approach this differently than some, but I’m not close to my family, and I can sort of understand where your SIL is coming from. I feel really smothered when my family tries to make plans, and if I think something is going to upset them, I wait until the last minute to tell them, because otherwise my mom tries to make me change my mind and we end up fighting about it, and it just causes more turmoil. 

Perhaps if your parents were to give them more space, and see about weaning them financially, your brother and SIL would more willing to come around for special events. 

Post # 12
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

It sounds like there is way more to this story than you really know. Maybe your parents are picking and choosing what parts to include to make their case, knowing you ‘ll listen to them. Maybe they’ve never had a close relationship with your brother and are just now realizing it…’cool’ or not,they don’t know how to ‘fix it’ and are involving you in something they shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t be asked to be the facilitator in solving their relationship with your brother and his family. Its forcing you to take sides!

There’s an old saying that goes “A son is a son til he takes a wife. A daughter is a daughter all her life’. Many women always are and remain closer to their parents and families, while men seem to find it easier to distance themselves once they get married. Even tho he’s still financially dependent on them its sounds like this old saying may apply here.

I have a brother (older) and 2 younger sisters. My sisters and I have always seen to our parents needs when they became less than able to do so, but my brother always has an excuse. I had it out with him about 10 years ago with regard to my parents and his lack of interest or involvement. I told him he was lucky to have 3 other siblings who would take care of everything,but that he was not busier nor more important than any of us,and that he needed to step up and help out. Did he do it? Nothing changed,but I did get to have my say.

Nothing will change with your brother either,unless he chooses to change it. Save yourself the grief and possible estrangement from him by not getting involved. Be there to listen and support your parents in whatever way you can,but this is really something you might need to step away from right now.

Post # 13
2641 posts
Sugar bee

That’s really unfortuante.  I can’t say I have a real grasp on what’s going on.  Although it seems bratty that your bro/SIL take money from your parents and in turn are trying to distance themselves.  I wonder a couple of things.  Do they resent not being self reliant, and basically “bite the hand that feeds them”?  (Perhaps because your parents are so successful?)  Are they holding their children as emotional hostages, so that your parents will keep giving them money, or “they’ll never see the grandkids again”?  If that’s the case, then your parents are stuck, unless they are willing to stand up to them.

I would think that eventually your bro/SIL would come around to realize they need your parents, even if they don’t have their money.  It sounds like they’re living near your parents not SIL’s family.  I would think they’d welcome grandma’s babysitting services, at least.

Well if you feel close enough to your brother that you think he’d hear you out without alienating you then I’d say OK.  If you think it wouldn’t go over well, I think you should stay out of it.  I bet your parents are a leat thankful that bro/SIL are still connected to you. 

You mentioned a family trip.  I would casually start there.  “Hey, are you sure you can’t come?  It would mean so much…..   Are you sure it’s because of your schedule?  If you don’t want to talk, that’s OK, but Mom and Dad seem to be hurt that you don’t  see them much….”  (Something like that anyway.)

Post # 14
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

Your parents need to stand up for themselves and stop tiptoeing around this.  If they want to go on vacation, they pick when, and if your bro and sil can’t come, so be it. They also need to stop helping them financially.  Maybe if they stood up fro themselves, then your bro and sil would treat them differently.

Post # 15
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

…..I would honestly stay out of it.

It’s not fun when you get into a situation within a family where you start taking sides. And if you start to butt into it, it will end up like that whether you mean to or not.

The thing is even though they are family you never know the whole story. I’m sure your parents are selectively telling you things as is your brother. It’s human nature.

You never really know if your brother and SIL can afford to take the trip or have the money. You never really know. They can tell you they have a lot of money or spend like crazy. But for all you know they can be in debt. I’m not saying they are, just as an example.

The funny thing is once each sibling starts forming their own family unit. They have to start thinking about THEIR family unit first. Can you really blame your brother?

If the situation was reversed wouldn’t you hope that your husband would cater to you first?

Unless something happens that directly affects you, the issue between your parents and your brother & SIL are between them IMO. Not your place to try and resolve it. The only thing you can do is be a good daughter and let your parents vent. Be a good sister and let your brother vent.

Family drama sucks big time. Can’t live with them can’t live w/o them.

Post # 16
7404 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Its unfortunate that they don’t have a better relationship.  But you mentioned that your parents bend over backwards trying to get the Brother and Sil to “like” them.  Who ever said that family members have to like each other?  Family is not like friends who you get to choose- lots of family members just tolerate eachother.  Maybe your brother and his wife are happy with the distanced relationship they have with your parents and have no desire to have a relationship like the one you have with your parents. However, I agree with you that it seems that your brother and his wife could be more respectful and considerate of your parents.

The topic ‘nwr family question: do i get in the middle? (sorry, this is really long!)’ is closed to new replies.

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