Thanks everyone, some really lovely replies. I feel really much better reading through, makes one feel very supported, especially in this Catholic network!
In this particular situation, my brother and I work together- so there’s no escape…If you know what I mean.
I keep quiet- there are loads of issues, lots of this I could get cross about, but peace and harmony are paramount. If asked I give my point of view. But I do not bully, or dictate.
Still, every now and then he decides to criticise ME!!! There are lots of old issues that come up every time and these revolve largely around his feelings of inferiority or insecurity which probably result from the departure of our Father some 6 years ago (they were very close, we all worked together and my brother, understandably felt heavily betrayed). I have come to the conclusion that I cannot change these feelings in my brother. Trying to make up for them just makes me more resentful.
They are things he needs to deal with himself before he can move on.
I end up feeling like everything is great in the family, except for when he decides it shouldn’t be, and then I have to undergo this torture of self examination and sadness. It also must be bad for our mother who is a shadow of her former self really, but has really made some great progress over the last few months.
On this particular occasion I have not been the conciliatory party I usually am, but stood up to him and said
*“this is your problem, not mine, so do what you will.” *
The result has been that it has not been mentioned since. Still, I can’t help but hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 5: 22-25 and I feel that as a dedicated, careful, considered and prayerful Catholic, I really should be able to resolve these issues.
Since Dad left, I have been forced to assume the mantle of ‘head of the family’. This has been a good change in many ways and the family is, overall, better and stronger now. People do come to me with their problems and I am able to sort out their conflicts.
Makes me feel even more of a failure with my brother.
With regards to prayer…I have been praying all the time about this (I then feel guilty that I am wasting God’s time repeating myself). At communion on Sunday, I was praying and praying, and I had the most wonderful feeling of love after communion. A feeling that Jesus was with me, he was there and he understood. It was a physical thing, like a warmth permeating every pore, spreading out into my being. A feeling that it would all be ok. God is there and he understands.
Today and yesterday, it’s still on my mind. I just wonder if I am justifying things for myself, or if my answer to prayer is real. (I know it is, I’m just trying to interpret it…If you know what I mean). I suppose that even if it is real, ultimately, it’s not enough to do nothing. I must continually seek recociliation.