Heartbroken over situation with my mom


I will try to keep this as short as possible without being too confusing.:slight_smile:

A little back story:

I have a brother (Michael) who is one year older than me, and 4 years ago he and his wife decided they didn’t want anything to do with my parents, me or my family, or my younger brother and his now wife. This went on for 2 years, without any reason why. They also had a (then) 2 year old daughter (she’s 6 now). Needless to say my parents were heartbroken because they didn’t understand and he wouldn’t tell them. My brother and I were very upset because we hated to see our parents being treated that way with no reason why. Things are better now with Michael and my parents and my brother and his wife, but he refuses to acknowledge me or my family. To this day we still have no idea why he did what he did, and it’s pretty much been swept under the rug by my mother.

During the 2 years that this ordeal took place, my paternal grandfather got really sick, and eventually passed away. One Sunday, my mother had cooked dinner and my grandfather was there. He was so sick and pitiful, and he asked if I could go get my little niece (who was being kept away) because he wanted to see her. He knew his final days were nearing, and wanted to see her before he died. She lived across the street from my parents (and still does), and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I couldn’t get her. I figured I could try and didn’t think Michael’s wife would keep her from him.

Well, I walked over and politely asked to have my niece for a couple of minutes because “Pop” was very sick (she knew this) and wanted to see her before he died. Her response was “that’s HIS problem”. :eek: :mad: It took e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g I had not to slap her square across her face. I said some not so nice things to her and told her what I thought about what she was doing to my grandfather and my parents. I admit, I was wrong, and reacted out of emotion. I did apologize to her about 2 years ago for that, but part of me really isn’t sorry for saying SOME of what I did (though I never said that when I apoligized).

My younger brother also had words with her, and so did my Dad. Let’s just say it was a nasty family situation. (As a side note, my SIL was married before and caused the EXACT same kind of trouble with her ex’s family). My Dad nor my brother ever apologized to her, as they didn’t feel that she deserved one.

My mother called me EVERY single day for 2 years, and I was pretty much a shoulder to cry on and help her through what her son was doing. She knew she could call me any time of day as often as she wanted, and I would listen. My brother eventually started talking to them again, after in my opinion, my mother kissed his rear enough. He eventually came around to my Dad and brother too, because his wife and my new SIL are currently best friends.:shrug:

To this day, and for the past 2 years since he decided he wanted to be a part of the family again, he and his wife TOTALLY ignore me, my husband, and my kids when we are at my parents. They all constantly get together outside of my parents’ and we are constantly excluded. It hurts my feelings beyond words. He nor his wife (especially) ever apologized to anyone, and they treat me like I am the village sinner. My husband never said a word to either one of them while this whole ordeal went on, but yet my brother and SIL treat him like he’s the rug at the door. They constantly make comments like “Engineers are so stupid. I know more than some f’ing Engineer.” Hubby is so mature about it, and just ignores it…but I must say…I am nearing the end of my rope.

My brother also cusses beyond belief, and it’s gotten so bad I have actually had to move my kids outdoors so they wouldn’t hear it. He also talks about inappropriate things in front of his 6 yr old daughter and step children…things I am too embarrased to say here on the forum.

This past Friday, after enduring another visit where me and my children were ignored…I finally had the guts to call and tell my mom that I no longer wanted to visit at her home if Michael was there. I asked her what his problem was with me and my family, and she yelled at me and told me she didn’t want to talk about it.:confused: She also told me that I just go to her house “looking for things to complain about”. She said that it’s our problem to figure out and she doesn’t want to be involved. I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t involving her, but I am tired of the way he acts with me and my family and am so confused as to why he does it. She hung up on me:confused: , and I haven’t heard from her since Friday evening.

continues below…


My feelings are hurt and I have been balling my eyes out since. It was ok for my mother to call me and talk when Michael had hurt her, but now that things are better with them she can’t be there for me. I know she can’t “fix” the situation, I thought I could talk to her about it. I know she is scared of him, and that he will keep his kid from them again.

Part of me is so mad at Michael and his wife because I was starting to have a really good relationship with my mother. Now that he is “back”, she pushes me away. She’s so worried about having a good relationship with both of her DIL and she is constatly correcting every little thing I say or do. (ex. as in "don’t do/say that in front of them, it may hurt their feelings). And now she has hung up on me when I needed her the most (I was crying really hard on the phone, and could barely talk when it happened).

I don’t understand how a mother can act like that. The last thing I would do to my child is push them away, especially while they are hurting. Where do I go now? Do I just leave it alone? My kids love thier grandmother very much. What do I say to them if they ask?

My heart can’t take anymore. I am so hurt, and I feel like no one cares.

Thanks for any and all advice.



Well, if it was me I’d sit down with Michael and find out what his problem is. Maybe your mom doesn’t know or she can’t explain it (doesn’t know how). Its best to speak directly to the person that is causing all the trouble instead of a he said she said situation.

My MIL’s brother won’t speak to her at all. Since their mom died 5 years ago not a word. They don’t live near each other but even while visiting her mom he made sure he was not around when she was.
It turns out he resented her for leaving the area when her husband got a job out of state. They’ve done very well finiancially but the brother has not. He resents their success.

Every family has problems but not every family tries to work things out. Don’t punish your mom for your brothers behavior. You can’t make any decisions until you know what you’re dealing with. Just tell your brother you want to understand why he hates you so much. What did you do. What does he want to see changed? How can your relationship with him be better. It might be something you can fix or change, but it might not. At the very least you’ll know the why’s of all this trouble and I think that’s a big part of the problem.


thanks wisdom:)

I understand what you are saying, but my brother has the wierdest personality. He NEVER smiles, never laughs, and has told my mother that “he would deal with me.” He threatens physical violence alot, (such as whipping someone’s ***). We are not like that. He and I are like night and day. I am not asking for a close relationship with him, I would just like to be able to visit at my mother’s without the obvious hatred he has for me and my family.

My Dad has shared with my husband (they are extremely close) that he knows my brother is jealous of my husband. But from my end, I see nothing to be jealous of. He has had the opportunity to have everything we have, he just took a different path in life.

Talking to him is not an option, at least something I won’t ask for. If and when he is ready, I would be more than willing to talk to him (maturely). He often results to name calling and such, and I won’t put myself in that situation.

I just feel that my mother is making a difference. Michael is allowed to go badmouth me to my mother (I know this for a fact), however I can’t speak a word of his name and how he makes me feel (not badmouthing) to her or she goes nuts on me. I know it’s so hard to explain everything here on the forum. But trust me, I am not at all badmouthing him to her. I haven’t said a word for months now until Friday. I just can’t take anymore.


Part of it probably comes from the fact that he shut her out for so long, she afraid of getting shut out again. We all do strange things when someone we care about shuts us out for a long time, and then waltzes back into our lives.

It may be time for you to take a break from your family. You have expressed your feelings to your mother. She knows how you feel. And I am sure, deep down, she will understand if you no longer socialize with her and your father in their home.
Tell you father you feelings, since he and your husband are close. Tell your father, and your mother, they are welcome in your home, without your brother, but you will not socialize in their home.

Good luck to you.


There you have the crux of the problem, and the solution. Sometimes the most charitable thing to do is to stay away. You and your dh might be able to handle their behavior, but trust me when I tell you your kids DO notice, and it WILL come to bear on them. (Trust me, my sibs and I were some of the “not so favored kids” and we knew it. My sister still deals with deep hurt b/c of it- she’s 28 and has 3 kids.)

When my father was unable to talk to me as a rational human being, I had to tell my grandparents that I would be unable to attend family functions at their house. When my father was able to talk to me as a human being ( about 2 yrs. later), I was able to start visiting him again w/ my kids, and was able to start attending large family functions again. I do not regret doing this one bit.

Just phrase it w/ your mom as such; “Mom, I know things are very tense when were here with my bro. and his family. Until it’s cleared up, I don’t want to put YOU in the middle.” (I know she already put you in the middle, but that really doesn’t matter). Promise you will be around just as much, just at different times.
(We visited my grandparents the week before x-mas, for example). Let her know this is not what YOU want, but you believe it to be the best for the larger family right now, and you’ll be happy to come to large functions again as soon as this is resolved, no hard feelings.

You MUST take the high road here- there is no other way.

Then, inform your brother politely of the same (by letter is best). Write him that the door is open whenever he wants to talk to you. Tell him you’re sorry for whatever it is that has caused such a problem between you, and tell him you will pray for him and his family.


Then, with your mom/other sibs, DO NOT talk about your brother negatively AT ALL. (NO indulging in petty hurt feelings- save the hurt for Jesus)

Remember- HIGH ROAD- the ONLY way to navigate this.:slight_smile:


Here’s how I see it:

You have a brother who is a foul-mouthed idiot. He is rude and crude in front of the children. He has the potential to be physically violent. He and his wife are both trouble-makers and manipulators.

And you are upset because he wants nothing to do with you.

Wow, I’d be tap dancing if he wanted nothing to do with me, b/c I would want nothing to do with him.

The whole thing is just about control and manipulation. And, only you can allow yourself to be controled and manipulated.

Just go about your business and act like he does not exist. If you want to go to your mom’s GO. If you want to invite family to your home, excluding him, then do so. If the language gets foul at your mother’s house, then simply say “the language here is unacceptable and inappropriate for children, we are leaving now.”

ONLY you have the power to change-- they will not. So, you can change your reaction to it. Just be pleasant and ignore them.

Right now, you are having a Sally Field moment, the need to be “Liked” by others. The need to “know” what’s wrong and what you did to make them mad at you. First, you probably did nothing, and secondly even if you did WHO CARES??? It doesn’t matter-- you cannot make up for it, and you shouldn’t WANT to make up for some perceived slight.

Your mother’s need for acceptance is clearly far greater than yours. Unless she and your father are willing to put their foot down and demand that the nonsense stop, it won’t.

So, choose YOUR attitude. It’s all you have.


I agree that it’s time to take a break from your family. It is downright abusive the way your brother’s family is treating you in your mother’s home, and your mother IS participating in the abuse by allowing it to take place in her home. IMO, I would have NOTHING to do with my mother if she allowed me or my family to be treated so badly in her own home.

You have your husband and children to make your life with. There is no reason why you should put up with being treated this way. You can’t force people to like you or be your friend. That is something you will never have any control over. But what you can control is who you allow in your life to make it better or worse. I think it’s time to take a step back and concentrate on your own family…and keep your brother and SIL in your prayers.


Sounds like a group of toxic people. One thing I know from watching situations where adult children don’t get along, usually the parents are at the center of it. Resentments from favoritism growing up, sometimes sexual abuse, and of course, add a few new in-laws with their own axes to grind and family get-togethers become Maalox moments instead of Kodak moments.

I predict you won’t get much of an answer from your brother. And since your mother seems to value her relationship with her son more than her relationship with you right now, you may have to step back. (I also predict the pendulum will swing back and she’ll be crying to you after a while.)

Guess what! You don’t need to subject your children to his bad behavior or to the tension in that environment. And your husband has been more than patient with their stupid behavior. (I have several engineer siblings, so :thumbsup: to him for being so smart, by the way!)

It’s time to concentrate some holidays and other get togethers and emotional energy at your husband’s family. I take it your children have another set of grandparents they can love too? Put your focus there and watch how people start running after you!

Pray for your mom, but you’ve been warned by her behavior. She is not someone you can count on for emotional support. She used you, and now she doesn’t seem to need you anymore. Breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t being her unpaid therapist anymore, and go take the time you used to spend listening to her moan and weep on the phone and go do something with your kids and your husband and your friends.

Yes, it’s unjust, but something tells me these games and this erratic behavior and the favoritism has been going on forever.

Eventually your mom will want you to talk to her. And she won’t be able to say you’re in the middle of anything because you will be gone. And finally you might get an explanation for your brother’s behavior.

Or his marriage might eventually implode from his wife’s emotional games, and when he is free from her spell he might start treating you like you are a human being.

But don’t expect apologies from emotionally immature people. Your mother doesn’t want to hear your comments about him because you’re probably right and she knows it. And you hit a very sensitive nerve.

Never underestimate the power of resentment by people who made crummy life choices to poison everything around them. The happier you are in your life, the more he will hate you. And I bet he uses the same crummy people skills on his wife and kids that he uses on you. That marriage won’t last forever.

Dry your tears. Don’t give people like that any more power over you. They have set you free to have your own life. And I would make one unbreakeable rule from now on. Any visits with your parents (wait a while before you see them to let things settle down) should be at YOUR place. Don’t go over there anymore.

I’m interested in the fact your brother lives across the street from your parents. Most men I know would move at least a mile away. I’m thinking there are some real emotional chains at work here. But nevertheless, you don’t need to go there anymore and be subjected to that.


I think this is the one best piece of advice in this thread.


I may be off base here, but these few lines really stuck out for me…

I’d ask your father more about this. It sounds like your brother may have mentioned things to your father. Jealousy can be a VERY powerful and destructive thing. You say, that he had the same opportunities but chose a different path. I take it the path he chose is not as financially rewarding as the path your husband took. If your house and cars and life are nicer than your brothers, he may be extremely jealous. He probably also knows that his lack of success is his own fault and that’s why his hatred runs so deep. You and your husband are a reminder of his own failures.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Ask your Dad more about this jealousy thing, you may be able to find out what the underlying problem is.

God bless!


I’m going to agree with this.

:console: I know where you are coming from. My family is the same way. I hope things get better with your mom. I’m sure she is just so afraid of being kept from her granddaughter, that she feels she has to keep the peace. Unfortunately that means making you the bad guy. I

t might be a good idea to take a break from your family for a while. That way you can focus on your own family w/out all the drama.


no offense here but in my typical abrupt manner I would avoid brother like the plague but when you have to be in the same place at the same time(you know those occasions… ), I would wait for the opportunity when he is alone, walk straight up to him (alone) and say, “Look, I don’t know what your problem is so if you are trying to punish me for something I did, it isn’t working because I don’t know what it is I supposedly did” and walk away… that way he knows you aren’t letting him affect your life and you have no clue why he is acting like this.

Whatever you do… don’t let him respond at that time… let him think about it a while.


thanks guys:)

ALOT of you have said some truthful things that I didn’t even have to type. Everyone around me, including aunts/uncles, even my paternal grandmother see him for what he is. I get asked alot “what is wrong w/ Michael?” It’s just **so hard **to deal with. I hate it that my extended family is becoming so dysfunctional.

Here’s an example of how rude he is: Last year I introduced him to one of my good friends at my daughter’s birthday party. She is very friendly, and extended her hand out to shake his and he just stared her up and down with a “looks could kill” face. :eek: I was mortified, and she was so embarassed. I usually have to warn people about him and his ugly ways, and I forgot to this one time…I just think it’s absoloutely ridiculous that I have to warn people of how he acts. That’s why I put my foot down. I think my Mom’s just mad because I have taken it for so long, and she thinks because SHE puts up with him that I should too.:rolleyes:

Liberanosamalo - you said some very interesting things…are you sure you don’t know me in real life?:stuck_out_tongue: Hubby’s family is just as dysfunctional, if not worse, so they are not an option unfortunately. But everything else you said was pretty much right on.

Another thing I am struggling with is that my Dad doesn’t put up with my brother, and I don’t want him getting hurt because I decide to stay away. We are building a house now and he has done alot for us and I don’t want to do that to him. He doesn’t deserve it, and to be honest I am not sure that he even knows about what happened with me and my mother last Friday. My husband will be with him Saturday, so he will probably mention it. Hubby can talk to him better than I can.

Thanks for all of the responses. Gosh, I sure hope my children don’t behave like that when they are grown ups. I like to think I am raising them better than that.:o


Your mom may not have heard the phone conversation the same way you did. She may have thought you were blaming her for something. You know how we women get when we’re emotional :o

If you want to make things right with your mom, call her up today and apologize. It’s worth a shot, and I believe it’s what she is looking for. No, it’s not really fair, but if you want the atmosphere between you two to be OK again, it’s what needs to be done.


Your brother sounds like he may be mentally ill. I feel for you because I think my brother is bi-polar and I never know what personality I will get. He refused to speak to me when my mother had cancer and refused to tell me why, now he pretends it never happened.

I just keep my distance, stay pleasant when we are together and love him from afar.


Ack, so she can walked all over I don’t think so.:nope:



Please get this book it is by Catholic author Gregory Popcak. It will help develope healthy boundries with your family.


I had the same exact thought…the fact that he never smiles or laughs was a red flag for me as a nurse…I’m not a pysch nurse though so I dunno where he would fit in, but he definitely sounds like he is suffering from some sort of mental illness.

I will offer my prayers to you as my family is pretty dysfunctional itself and I know how it is. I have several extended family members who will not speak to other people and I even had an aunt who just one day decided to never speak to us again for no apparent reason…that was 10 years ago! She hasn’t spoken to us since and my grandma is heartbroke. :frowning:


Well, I’m a male, so I will offer a male perspective.

You’ve tried showing how hurt you’ve been. Sometimes it reaches men, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case it hasn’t reached your brother.

I know you are putting up with this for the sake of the children, but please realize that sooner or later they will wise up to the situation.

So you need to decide if your relationship with your mother is worth all this hassle, or if you want to drop it or take a break and let things land where they will.

If you do want to salvage this relationship, it appears that the pipeline is through your father. Keep that relationship cultivated as much as reasonably possible. And it appears he has given the answer you are looking for regarding the jealousy your brother has for your husband. Depending on how much you want to salvage your relationship with your mom, it may take your dad to step up and claim his leadership role and lay down the law with your brother (and mother as well), because many times a male will only “see the light of reason” when another male gets in his face.

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