Tuesday, October 2, 2007

my family is falling apart

Well, not yet.

Remember how I told you about my brother being a punk about my sister’s new car? Well, shortly after that, my mom ripped him a new one, basically telling him that he needs to be more supportive of our sister because she’s been so good to him and his family and that he’s an immature, little brat (ok, she didn’t use those words, but that’s pretty much what she said). Knowing my mom, she didn’t say this in the harshest tone. It probably sounded more like a loving scolding (my mom has mastered this over the years). When I’ve been on the receiving end of the loving scolding, I get mad at first and then I see the light and correct my behavior. My brother has decided against this route.

Instead, R (my bro), in true immature brat fashion, has decided to ignore my mom for a whole month now, with no end in sight. He doesn’t return her calls. He has his wife ask my mom to baby-sit my niece Serena. My brother completely ignored the Evite I sent him for my Cali birthday bash in two weeks (even though I have nothing to do with this). And now my brother isn’t even returning my sister’s calls, even though she had nothing to do with my mom’s scolding. Yes, it was about her, but my sister has no idea what was said, even to this day. My mom doesn’t want my sister to know.

My mom was pretty upset after she scolded my brother. She called me that night to ask me if she had done the right thing. I questioned some of the things she had said (some that could come across as ‘low blows’ and my brother would definitely interpret them as such). But I told her that if what she said was straight from her heart, then she had done no wrong. She only wanted to mend the relationship between my brother and sister, a relationship that has been strained on many, many occasions—sometimes to the point where they don’t even speak to each other. And I can’t fault her for wanting to bring her children together. My brother is the lone passive-aggressive person in my family which occasionally baffles the rest of us—mom, sis, and me—because we’re generally very passionate and vocal. When it comes to my family, I’d rather lay everything all out on the table than stew in anger. As easy as it is for some of us to just stew in our own feelings, it’s not the most effective way to deal with stuff.

In a desperate effort to get my brother to stop being such a punk, my sister sent him an email last night. The email was very diplomatic and basically urged him to re-establish communication with our mother who is very upset with the treatment she’s been getting from R. I’ve read the email and I’m not sure he’ll reply. Why? Because my sister gently called him out on various things and he’s a big baby. He may not be ready to see the truth.

I told my sister that it really, really upsets me that my brother continues to act this way, even as an adult and one who has a family of his own. What kind of example is he setting for his kids if he refuses to take grandma’s calls? Does he not think that maybe one day, he’ll have to give one of his daughters a loving scolding of their own? I wonder if he’ll remember his recent behavior if his girls refuse to speak to him again.

Karma’s a b*tch, big bro. Don’t think it won’t happen to you.


sunchaser said...

I don't know what sage advice I could possibly give you, but it sounds like you all are doing everything you possibly can. The reality is that there's only so many times you can extend the olive branch. If someone doesn't want it, it might be a loss (both yours and theirs), but then again, it might be a blessing in disguise.

Hmm.. I wonder what it was that your mom said that was "low blow." Sometimes it seems like to me that parents think they can do/say whatever they want (almost in a "I took care of you before, so now it's my turn to be the child" kind of mentality), and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this (to some extent, of course it's OK to cater to them, but not ever if their behaviour is hurtful).

That said, your bro probably does just need to stop being "such a punk."

Keeping my fingers crossed that it works out for ya'll :)

PS - met a cool chica from Santa Barbara today. Her comment: "I'm always shocked at how uptight people on the East Coast are - and why do they think black is the only color you can wear?" ;) (yes, w/out any prompting on my part whatsoever). Networking w/Cali people = fun

lizzie said...

sunchaser--true, there are only so many times you can extend the olive branch, but that won't stop my mom from trying (or worrying about it).

the 'low blow' had nothing to do with my brother's behavior but rather his 'blended' family. it's true, a parent shouldn't feel like they have the right to say or do whatever they want. but i don't think she was out of line when she called my bro out on his punkish behavior.

thanks for the support.

got your email about the SB woman and wrote you back just now. this story makes me feel warm fuzzies. :)

Jilian said...

Families are funny things. I think all families are 'normal' in the sense we all have our issues :)

My emotions (happy. sad. joy. overwhelmed. hurt.) are multiplied when they relate to family. I figured out it's because it matters soooooo much. My family has the power to encourage me or destroy me - in an instant. It's crazy.

I used to think my brother could take me from calm to boiling in 3 seconds flat because he knew what buttons to hit - that's part of it - but the other part is because I care so much about him - what he says/thinks matters. Same thing is now true with my husband. If I feel like I disappoint either of them - I take it hard. On the flipside - their love and encouragement brings tears of joy.

Another interesting thing with families, they don't stay the same. As we grow up and get married we create new families. It's ever changing. As important as the core family I've known for 28 years is - now my #1 priority is this family I'm creating. Sometimes they conflict - and that's hard! I struggled with selfish feelings when my brother got married. I love his wife (she was my friend first), but it changed 'my' family and that took some getting used to. Now I'm the one with the 'new' family - It's starting to make more sense to me!

I don't know the entire story - but I can't help but feel bad for your brother who is the middle trying to honor both his new family and his core family. Seems he's made some mistakes and has some learning to do. Hopefully he'll figure things out and realize that love is behind everything. And he'll stop acting childish!

You're family is not falling apart - just going through a rut that we'll hopefully make ya'll stronger :) It happens to the best of families :)

(PS I know family is family - so hopefully my adjectives make sense and don't offend anyone. I don't want to take anything away from the importance of Mom/Dad/Siblings - but think 'old' and 'original' sound like 'not important' and that's sooo not true :))