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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother is 49 years old. When I was a kid, he was my protector. I adored him...(didn't have a dad & often wished he was)

He's bright and funny and like most of my family...crazy.

He has popped into and out of my life for the last two decades.

He acts like I am very important for a while and then I don't hear from him for years. I really don't want that sort of relationship with him...I know that I would just be waiting for him to abandon me again. I know that I could never trust him again.

I had not spoken to him for nearly 6 years, when he called yesterday, out of the blue. Our conversation was short and amicable, then he got a call that he "had to take" but said that he would call me right back.

When he called back (twice) I just let the machine pick it up. I felt bad for doing this and I love parts of him, but I know that he will mess up my life. I don't want him in it.

He is a very selfish but very sensetive person and I really don't want to hurt him, but I can not have him be part of my life.

I want to write him a letter...any ideas on what to say? Thank you.
 

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I don't think you need to point out that he is "selfish" but perhaps it might help to mention that last time he was part of your life, it made you unhappy. Then do what you need to do to avoid him. See what he says.
 

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I know *exactly* how you feel, mushroom. My dad did the exact same thing, except he went away for months, not years. He would act like I was the most important thing in his life for a while and then not call for months on end, and then call me back and expect things to be the same. Whenever he was around, he'd screw around with my head. I got sick of it and told him to get lost... and now I haven't spoken to him for over a year, and I have no plans to.

I've found that I'm better off without him, but only you know if that's right for you or not. Try to explain what he's done specifically and how it's affected you, and let him know that there's no excuse for it. Hopefully he'll realize it and give you a full apology. Then maybe he can make it up to you.

Just remember that you don't deserve to play second fiddle to anything unless there's a damn good reason for it.

And good luck! I hope it works out for you. Things like this are always hard.
 

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Of course it is not really clear from your message what the problem with your brother is, other than that he is "crazy" which is pretty vague and we don't really know what that means, and that he alternates between being interested in you and "abandoning" you.

What exactly you mean by abandon is not clear. There are degrees of abandoment -- the whole reange kinds that can be overlooked, to kinds that are dangerous and can get you in troulbe. If he says he is going to send you a birthday card, and then forgets to send the card -- this is not really a big deal. If he leaves you inside a locked freezer and says he will be back in 10 minutes to unlock it -- but forgets to show up -- this is a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I didn't want to bore everyone with the details, but since you asked soilman...

He is the type of person who is all talk...he makes promises and never keeps them. He gets drunk and calls me at 2 am to cry to me about our dead brother. He makes stuff up about our dead brother (to feel important) and it is really hard to listen to.

After his first baby was born he called to thank me for the flowers, but spent a much longer time complaining that our sister didn't send any. (He has NEVER sent me any - nor has he ever acknowledged any of my children's birthdays)

When I was 10, my mother married "Jack" and my brother didn't like Jack, so he stayed away from us for nearly a year. He made no attempt to see his little sister. He was 19. I guess that's the first time that I felt abandoned by him.

When I was 18 and barely making ends meet; he had a good job making 70K...he said when he visited he would "fill my cupboards"

Instead, he stayed with me for several days, then took a trip and came back broke. He ate half of my dinner on his last night in my apartment.

He smokes constantly and it really physically bothers me. However, if it were just that I would put up with it.

Once, after not talking to him for a year, I called him. His gf answered and she said, "Scott, phone." Then she came back on the phone and said, "He is too tired. He won't come to the phone." I said, "Did you tell him it was me?" And added, "tell him he better get up and talk to me." He refused. Now, he didn't know if one of my children had been hurt etc. He didn't even ask if it was important.

Another time, I flew to Washington State to visit my mother. I brought my then 8 year old son and 2 year old daughter. I hadn't seen him in about 6 years and he wouldn't drive (1 hour) to my mother's to visit us. He said that he had to do laundry..."I am sorry, but I am seriously out of clothes."

I think a normal person would have washed clothes a day or two earlier, don't you think?

He says he loves me...but he sure doesn't act like it.
 

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Yea. I guess I'd keep a polite distance from him. But not so far that you couldn't reconnect should he decide to overhaul his method of operation.
 

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Sounds like my older brother and father. I no longer have relationships with either of them. It makes me sad sometimes, but I can't stand the back and forth. I'd rather have no relationship then one that puts in and out of my life. My son has never met my father, I didn't want him to feel like I've been made to feel. Some things are better left alone.
 

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Hhhhmmmm.

Based on your first post, I wasn't going to give any advice. Based on your second, I would definitely limit all contact.

A letter? I don't know.

If it were me, I would probably maintain some low-level of contact, just to know if he is breathing or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tame, when we have contact, he tends to dominate. I don't know if low level contact is possible for me...he knows how to pull my strings. I catch myself feeling sorry for him. And he can be charming when he wants to be...

I think what it is for me, is that I adored him absolutely and then he kept hurting me. I don't adore him anymore, but I don't want to hurt him any more than I have to.

So, does anyone have a fantastic, brother version of a dear John letter?
 

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Keep the contact real low level - no personal phone calls. Drop a note/card/letter in the mail now and then, and leave it at that. If he calls, you are washing your hair. Or the kids. Or the cat, or somethin'.

I don't think a "Dear John" ever makes this go away, although I can see the merit in giving it a try.
 

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I would write a long letter to him where you say everything but don't mail it. It's just to get it out of your system. I agree with the other suggestions to limit contact. You sound that you have so much else going for you in your life with your children so focus on that.
 

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AuroraLiliy,

The letter is a great idea. I wrote a letter to my dad and never sent it, it really was theraputic. This is a great was to get your feelings out, without having someone else hurt them again. Mushroom, focus on what is going on in your life right now. You can't be expected to stop your world (emotionally) whenever your brother re-enters your life.
 

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Don't feel guilty because you don't like your brother. Love and liking family members are two entirely different things. He hasn't given you a whole lot to trust or to like. You have to ask yourself if you want to be used by him again and if you want to ride his emotional roller coaster again and risk him hurting you again. No one expects you to go back for more heartbreak just because he is your brother. Do you like pain or peace?
 

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I wouldn't put up with someone who smokes. If they can't curtail their smoking sufficiently to protect me from having to smell any smoke, including bathe, change their clothes, and discard the smoke-filled clothes, before they arrive at my door -- I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them. But the other things -- they don't sound that bad.
 

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Ah, sounds like you're talking about my X and his entire family (he and his Dad are both alcoholics, both make promises they don't keep...but both are charming, and in person, when they want to be, very caring individuals). With my daughter, in her five year old conversations with her father (when they happen), I encourage her to take control of as much as possible. When she was upset about his not calling, I encouraged her to tell him herself how she felt. He responded to her being honest by calling more frequently. For now. When it happens again, I will encourage her to remind him again. No she shouldn't have to. But that's the way he is. I don't anymore make attempts to change him, but I will always encourage my child to make it clear to him that his actions cost him his relationship with her--I don't mean that she's ever disrespectful or rude to him, or threatens him. I just mean that on a very real level...he's missing her life when he doesn't take part. All I can feel for him there is a deep sense of compassion. It is indeed his loss if he chooses to be out of her life. I've been very proud of how she's stood up for herself in her relationship with him and how it changes her own sense of self. It puts the control with her as much as it can be and it gives her confidence.

I don't know if I'd advise a letter here. I see he 'dominates' the conversations which is hmmm...not good. Actually I'd not threaten, give ultimatums or cajole. If he called I'd talk and if he visited I'd be family. But on the inside you know you don't trust him. So stop trusting him and being pulled in...you can talk and be family to him and know that he is who he is. He's not the hero he was when you were a kid, he's a man with deep fault-lines. His disconnection injurs mostly...mainly...himself. He can brag and promise and paint it a different color, but that's the bottom line. When you deal with an alcoholic, you MUST MUST learn to disconnect and realize his life is his choice. To me it's vastly important to get past the anger and resentment. Because that is what injurs you. I've got all sorts of crazy family and I promise myself daily to love them AS THEY ARE...because that is good for me. And my own history is that important to me...to preserve it by keeping up ties with the people (crazy as they are) who knew me first...and sometimes still, best.

Good luck,

B
 
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