"covering up" for adult brother = lying to Mom?


#1

Hello, CAF friends. I'm stuck in the middle of an uncomfortable situation. My one and only brother (I'll call him Bob, not his real name) separated from his wife about 2.5 years ago; they have since divorced. Shortly after he left their house (and perhaps before this), Bob got involved with a woman whom I'll call Jane (not her real name, either). Jane is much younger than he is -- in fact, she is only a few months older than Bob's son. A few weeks after Bob found a new place to stay, Jane moved in with him, along with her two middle-school-aged kids. This was two years ago, and to this day, their relationship remains a secret from our parents. Bob knows they would disapprove, and I think he figures that as old as they are, they won't be around much longer anyway, so why burden them with this? I can agree with this to a certain extent, but there is always a problem at holiday-times, and I get stuck in the middle.

Even though the family is non-religious (I'm a convert), we would always have a family dinner for the major holidays. But since Bob has been shacked up with Jane, he wants to be with her on holidays rather than being with our family. So rather than admitting to the relationship and bringing her over or saying that he wants to spend the day with her, he makes up these lame excuses about why he can't come. So it winds up being myself, my parents, my nephew (Bob's son)...and no Bob. I know my mother's feelings are hurt, and after every holiday she talks to me, wondering why Bob never comes to our celebrations anymore, esp. since he lives only two miles away. I know that the truth would be very upsetting to her, so I give vague half-truth answers to her questions, and then I feel like I'm the liar. "Oh, Mom, you know how guys are when they don't have a wife to keep them in line." "Oh Mom, you know he has a lot of friends, and he's probably hanging out with them instead." blah blah blah. For Easter, he told her some story about feeling like he needed to "just get away," and I found out by snooping on Facebook that he had taken her and the kids to Disney World for spring break! :mad: But I have talked to him about this secret relationship in the past, and he said that he won't tell Mom anything unless she asks him outright...and I know she won't do this (probably because she is afraid of what his answer will be). So I'm stuck between half-lying to my mother vs. risking the relationship with my only brother by "outing" him. What can I do, besides pray? Advice, anyone?

And what's wrong with Jane, settling for a relationship with a man old enough to be her father, who is afraid/ashamed to take her to meet his parents?! :confused: I haven't actually met her myself, although I saw her with him at a concert once, too far away to do anything more than wave, and I can read her Facebook because she has the privacy settings so that friends-of-friends can see her page.


#2

Very sorry to read this. How sad for your mom and for you to be put in the middle of this.:( I wouldn't try to cover for him when she brings it up, but perhaps empathize with her. "I know, Mom, I wish he was here too...I don't understand it either" etc, because that is truthful.
Too bad he isn't willing to stand behind his choices as a mature adult, but rather chooses to still pretend otherwise, at the expense of so many.


#3

I know you love your brother, but how old is he? Seriously! A grown man expecting his sister to cover up his behavior. Unbelieveable. He's way out of line expecting this of you. No way would I lie be it explicity or via omission or cover up his actions. That said, I don't believe it is your place to tell your Mom exactly what's going on, either. Next time it comes up, I would say, "You know Mom, I do know something about why Bob hasn't been coming to our family gatherings, but it's really not my place to share this information. You will have to speak to him yourself." I would, of course, tell my brother this was my intention before I did it. You don't want him feeling as if you've thrown him under the bus.

As for Jane, who knows why she'd shack up with a man old enough to be her dad? But, it is sad. She's clearly willing to settle for an immoral situation with a man who has to hide her from people. Prayers for all.


#4

If it were me, I'd tell Bob that he has a week to find a way to tell his mother the truth about his life or you will no longer cover for him.

You have to protect your immortal soul and by covering for him you are not obeying the "honor thy mother and father" commandment. (Sorry I can't remember the numbers.)


#5

From a purely practical perspective, lying for someone else's benefit carries a lot of risk; sooner or later, the lies (always more than one) come out, and you're left holding the bag for knowing the truth but participating in deception anyway. You're "an accomplice after the fact."

It's not worth it. Your loyalty to your brother is commendable, but has gone beyond the bounds of acceptability.

If your brother is old enough to make decisions like this on his own, he's old enough to defend them on his own.

Dragging you into it is, frankly, pathetic.


#6

[quote="srlucado, post:5, topic:193779"]
From a purely practical perspective, lying for someone else's benefit carries a lot of risk; sooner or later, the lies (always more than one) come out, and you're left holding the bag for knowing the truth but participating in deception anyway. You're "an accomplice after the fact."

It's not worth it. Your loyalty to your brother is commendable, but has gone beyond the bounds of acceptability.

If your brother is old enough to make decisions like this on his own, he's old enough to defend them on his own.

Dragging you into it is, frankly, pathetic.

[/quote]

Totally agree with this one, word for word.

Sounds like someone needs to start to grow up. And that someone isn't you or your mother.


#7

[quote="srlucado, post:5, topic:193779"]
From a purely practical perspective, lying for someone else's benefit carries a lot of risk; sooner or later, the lies (always more than one) come out, and you're left holding the bag for knowing the truth but participating in deception anyway. You're "an accomplice after the fact."

It's not worth it. Your loyalty to your brother is commendable, but has gone beyond the bounds of acceptability.

If your brother is old enough to make decisions like this on his own, he's old enough to defend them on his own.

Dragging you into it is, frankly, pathetic.[/QUOT

**Pathetic and dreadfully unfair to you, his son, and your parents.

[/quote]


#8

Are you sure your parents knowing will do more damage to them than them thinking their son doesn't like them and doesn't want to see them?

Are you sure you're not unfairly judging your parents here? If they're nearing the end of their lives especially, it might be far more important to them to have their son around than worry about who their son lives with.

I would say you should talk to your brother about how hurt your parents are by his not coming, and that he needs to end the lies.


#9

She seemed to be presenting her brother’s ideas about their parents,
not her own ideas. It seems clear she would prefer that the older folks know the truth.


#10

This will come out eventually. Perhaps the parents will just “visit” him and get the surprise of their life, bump into them at the store. It will happen when they live that close together.

So while I think you can say to yourself they are protecting them (the parents), its all going to come out in the end. Without knowing you or your family, if it were me I would

[LIST=1]
*]Not be judgmental to your brother
*]Tell him he should come clean (he will know what is right and wrong)
*]Pray for the help of the Holy Spirit
[/LIST]


#11

I don’t think that it is little sister’s place to tell her parents what her brother is doing with his life.

Maybe it is different, but I kept the fact that I rode motorcycles from my parents. My mother was weak and had heart trouble. I knew that she would worry.


#12

If I were in your shoes, when your mother asks about Bob, tell her she should speak to Bob herself and leave it at that.

Don’t make up any more excuses for him. Don’t tell your mother he is shacked up with a woman.

Just tell your mother that, if she wants to know why Bob isn’t there, she should speak to Bob herself.

If she takes your advice and Bob lies to her, and then she asks you to confirm his lie, don’t do so. Just tell her that this is between her and Bob.

Maybe, when confronted by his own mother, Bob will find the courage to come clean.

My prayers are with you, your mother, and “Bob.”


#13

Tell Bob he can't stop avoiding this, he is going to hurt your parents more this way. Point out that he may miss having any more holidays with them. Say you will not continue to lie when your mom asks where he is.

Do try to help him if he is nervous about a possible confrontation.

If Jane is old enough to have middle-school aged kids, then the age difference is not as much as a big deal as it would be with someone younger.


#14

Another point, unmentioned but really wounding, is the fact that
Bob's adult son is being forced to keep the same secret.

How horribly unfair to him and what a terrible role model Bob is presenting to him.

"Do what you want, lie when you want." Bob's issues and 'secrets' should not
control the lives of others. It's very sad.


#15

I can't find the exact biblical reference at the moment, but there is something that says that if you fail to at least try to correct your brother's sin, then YOU are the one who will pay for it. In other words, you must try to admonish - lovingly - your brother on this issue, both about the lie, about the "shacking up," and about the divorce/separation.

So, I would not try to protect your brother. What I would do is approach him and try to deal with him and get him to come clean. If that doesn't work, tell him you won't cover for him.


#16

Thanks for your replies, everyone. Part of the reason I let it go this far was that I didn't believe that this relationship would last more than a few months. And our parents are in their 80's and not in the best of health, so I didn't want to burden them with this. But enough is enough. I think I will have a chat with Bob and tell him that the covering-up is over. If he is old enough to shack up with a woman 20+ years his junior, he is old enough to take the consequences of this choice. I won't "out" him directly, but the next time Mom asks, I'm going to tell her that I do indeed know "something" and to talk to him if she really wants to know what's going on. And I am going to tell BOTH parties that I'm not going to play "monkey-in-the-middle" anymore. He is indeed setting a terrible example for his son...and for Jane's two kids as well. But they are not religious at all, and they don't care about these things. It breaks my heart, really. Thank you all for your prayers. God bless.:sad_bye:


#17

"Mom, I wish he was here too. Why don't we call him and ask why he will not come over."


#18

It's interesting how what starts out as a smaller lie, perhaps with some good intentions, has turned into this.

Your brother may also be simply wrong about the greater harm. There is the ongoing harm he is causing and the harm to be caused when the truth does come out - vs. your parents feelings about his living arrangements. If they were given the choice I bet they would rather know the truth.

I would talk to him about it and flat-out ask that he tell your parents. He can choose how and when (as long as it could be called soon), but he needs to do it. Your loyalty should be to honor your parents first. If your brother won't tell them then you should - not as a "snitch" but because you have been lying to them and must come clean.


#19

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