Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother

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eben

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My younger brother, as far as I know, has not been diagnosed with ASPD.

Also, as far as I have seen, from growing up with him and from our relationship when we were children and adults, he simply does not have empathy or a conscience.

TL;DR: I am not speaking with him and my mom is upset about it and trying to get me to create a relationship with my brother again. How should I respond?

Instead of telling all the stories I will just list main points about why I am not speaking to him.

- As children, I did a lot of nice things for him, like invent imaginary games we could play together, give him a lot of my Halloween candy, etc.

- He frightened and mocked me for fun and would not stop until I smacked him.

- He got very upset or angry when I wouldn't play with him, for example I did not want to do certain activities because of some health problems I have, and he would rage at me instead of understanding or trying to reach any kind of compromise. (Parents presented this as proof that he liked me, while I felt bad - like I was being exploited for his entertainment and did not feel cared about at all, a feeling I could only articulate decades later thanks to therapy . . .)

- When I got a phone call that my friend's mom had  just died, he was pleased with himself for guessing the reason I was upset before I shared the news.

- As teens, I drove him around and tried to engage with him in ways that he seemed to like (for example, asking him to show me something he had taught himself helped him feel important).

- He made fun of me for "being a freak" (I am bisexual and transgender) and at one point told me that "people like you should be taken out to the woods and  shot."

- I sent him care packages when he went to college and suggested numerous times that we could visit on another at our colleges (he ignored this)

- He stayed at my house for my college graduation, and  got one of my housemates drunk and  tried to rape her,

- He was kicked out of school a couple of times for stalking girls.

- I included him in my wedding party.

- When I could  not come to his graduation, I apologized and suggested we get together another time to celebrate (he just said nah).

- When I was hospitalized with an infection, a mutual friend prodded him to call me, and he said "meh."

That last point was when I stopped speaking to him. My mistake was that I CALLED HIM AND  TOLD HIM that I was not going to speak to him any more.

I had rehearsed a whole speech which went like this: "Hi, it's me. I'm just calling because I've really loved you. I have great memories from when we were kids and I really wanted to have an adult sibling relationship with you. But now I realize that you don't care if I live or die, so it will never happen. Good-bye."

Instead he actually picked up. I said, "Hey, it's me."

"Hey, what's up?"

"I'm just calling because I've really loved you," I said. "I have great memories from when we were kids and I really wanted to have an adult sibling relationship with you. But now I realize that you don't care if I live or die--"

"Wait, you're DYING?!" he said. His tone was 97% incredulity and 3% scorn. It was the scorn that got me.

"NO! I mean you wouldn't give a s--- if I died! So f--- you! Good-bye forever!" And I hung up.

Then I cried really loudly for an hour or two. Someone came in to check on me but I said I was fine and did not want to talk about it. (Also, this is the first time in my life I have ever cursed at my brother.)

The next day I called my mom and told her, "I need to tell you something that will upset you. I am not speaking to [brother] anymore. [Friend] posted on his facebook wall and said I was in the hospital and he should call me, and he said 'meh.' It is the last straw, he really does not care and I am done."

My mom was of course upset but she said it was not my fault. The next day she told me it was really her and my dad's fault for never mentioning I was in the hospital and [brother] thought I was in there for "elective surgery" which is why he said "meh." I said it didn't matter and if he wanted to apologize he could call me. I neglected to say: Do you realize why you did not mention it to him? When you were so worried about me? . . . it's because you knew on some level that he would not care, and you didn't want to see it.

My mom was really, really worried about me especially because her sister had also just died that year from a hospital-acquired infection. She had died because she had almost no immunity due to an organ transplant, but still -- my mom was terrified that I was in the hospital with an infection. She called me multiple times a day. For her to not mention it to my brother? There was some unconscious reason.

My brother's response to my call was to mostly ignore me after this, minus a weird made up story to our parents about being worried that I'd been in a car accident, which I figured was because our parents had been angry or guilt-tripping at him about not caring that I was hospitalized.

Since I left my abusive uBPD now-ex husband my brother called me a bunch, trying to offer himself as "someone to talk to." I guess he thought that me not talking to him anymore was because of my then-husband tell me not to talk to him. (Nope.)

Anyway this was almost 4 years ago now, and my mom is still sad that we are not talking. I have relaxed my stance a little but I am still not actively engaging with my brother. How can I get my mom to lay off? Or make peace with this?

Or is that useless and I should just ignore her stuff unless she addresses it with me directly and just tell her, "I am only putting my time and energy into relationships with people who respect me"?

Thanks for any help or insight.

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Bloomie

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Re: Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 06:14:08 PM »
eben - it really sounds like the road to NC with your brother was a terribly painful one and a last resort for your own wellbeing. You ask this:
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How can I get my mom to lay off? Or make peace with this?

I don't think you can make your mom be at peace with this. She may never be. She is a mom and naturally wants her children to have a relationship. But, you can lovingly set boundaries around discussing your relationship and level of contact with your brother.

We faced something similar with my H's sister that we are vvvLC with and my mil. My mil would not let up on us to reconcile - so, was bringing this up directly, and like your circumstances there was an awful lot of really distressing stuff my mil has not a clue about her daughter and we have no intention of sharing with her to JADE our very personal and difficult decision.

Something that did work to help take the pressure off was to validate my mil's feelings as a mother. We acknowledged that it sucks that the relationships are fractured and that we are never all together for celebrations and holidays. We admitted that we do not have the same view of my sil that my mil does. We acknowledged that it hurts as a mother to have division in her family. We acknowledged that there must be times she just wants to tell us all to knock it off and work it out because we realize it all must seem like simple misunderstandings gone too far.

And then... we established that decision is ours to make for reasons that are personal and very serious and that are private and will not be discussed with her. Period. Then we also reminded her that she and my fil made decisions to distance themselves from certain family members (my fil's brother ironically) because they felt the relationships with him was unhealthy for their marriage and family.

My mil is a tough PD cookie and this conversation could've gone all kinds of wrong, but somehow validating her feelings as a mom while setting the boundary that we are not going to discuss our decisions or justify them by sharing things with her that serve no useful purpose, seemed to work to shut this down.

I also think this is a reasonable and wise course of action to take as well:
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Or is that useless and I should just ignore her stuff unless she addresses it with me directly and just tell her, "I am only putting my time and energy into relationships with people who respect me"?

It is a tough position to be in because you love your mom and it hurts enough to go through this with a sibling and then to add on your mom's sadness is a double dose for you. I'm really sorry for all that your brother has put you all through.




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IAmReady

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Re: Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 07:39:38 PM »
My guess is that your mother isn't ready to face yet who your brother really is. She knows, but she doesn't want to know.

When you took a stand and refused to have him in your life, you were inadvertently forcing her to see what she doesn't want to see. So, by her relentless pressure on you to be on good terms with him again, she is removing the source of her discomfort. You not speaking to your brother forces her to look the problem in the face, and that makes her extremely uncomfortable, as it's what she has been avoiding for years. So, by guilting you into talking to him again, she continues to avoid having to deal with it. This gives a superficial appearance that everything is fine, and then she can go stick her head in the sand again.

Your mother is acting out of self interest, in my opinion. Don't let her guilt you. If you ever talk to your brother again, it will be when you feel it is the right time.

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eben

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Re: Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2016, 12:26:59 AM »
Thanks so much for the advice.

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Iguanagos

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Re: Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2016, 11:01:29 PM »
Eben,
I think you went over and above trying to have a relationship with your brother.  You gave him so many chances to just behave like a kind human being, and he fell short nearly every time.  Relationships require two people.  You can't do all the work.  At some point, he has to step up and contribute too.

I do understand the pressure from parents to force a bond.  I faced similar pressure re a malignant narc sibling, and I finally, FINALLY realized after many years of trying, and many times of getting stabbed in the back, that there was no real relationship.  At that moment, I was done.  And I told my parents, 'no one gets a pass to act nasty just because they are related'.  I also said this sibling never said a kind word to me, EVER, and they didn't deny that.  So they know.  It sounds like your mom probably knows, too.

As an adult, you are entitled to choose who is in your life and who isn't.  You don't need your parents' approval, and you don't need to do their bidding and keep subjecting yourself to your brother's continued abuse.

I understand this makes your mother sad, and as Bloomie said, you could validate her sadness.  But, that doesn't make her sadness your responsibility to fix.    :hug:

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Viola Violet

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Re: Mom's sadness, guilt trips me for not speaking to ASPD brother
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 04:48:35 AM »
I just love how eloquently you painted your picture.  I understand your situation so well as I have a sister like that and a mum trying to put us back together.  These responses are right on the money.  I felt that my issues with my sister were between me and her, but mum kept putting herself in the middle repeating the mantra "but we're a family".  My experience was very messy with tears on everyone's faces except my sister's - it's weird to me that she never cries.  It always comes up at holidays and extended family reunions.  It's so true that mum just can't deal with the truth and wants me to ride the merry-go-round of family drama with her.  It's been difficult for me to find someone with this exact story online or in person.  I want to say thank you for this post because I do still wonder if I could have done more to save our family as if it's all my fault.  Reading it as a third person I can see so clearly that you did all you could (and in my own life so did I).  Thank you for sharing
Hurt people, hurt people.