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(9 Posts)
Amandajs66 Sun 10-Jan-21 12:33:44

I’m 54 and my brother is 2 years older. I always imagined that we would grow up to be really close, many years ago both our marriages ended within days of each other and I had visions of us holidaying together with our children.
Obviously that didn’t happen.

My brother is single and has been for 15 years, he doesn’t have much contact with anyone, has only just started to speak to our Dad after years of not talking to him. ( we didn’t have a great childhood, mostly Dads fault ) he hardly speaks to his son who is working in Australia with my 2 sons for nearly 2 years. Brother rents a bed sit about 200 miles from me.

A few years ago we were left quite a lot of money when our uncle died. I bought a house and my brother gambled his away. That really upset me as my uncle worked hard all his life and I feel that my brother just wasted his inheritance. But I know at the end of the day it was up to him.

Anyway, my brother has been furloughed since March, doesn’t see anyone so I’ve made a point of calling him every week for a chat. Normally it can be 3/4 months between calls, I always call him. My brother isn’t on the internet, doesn’t have a smart phone and hasn’t a tv, when I speak to him he tells me how bored he is during lockdown. Plus since March he has been drinking a bottle of vodka every day and has been in hospital with liver problems etc...

After every call I tell myself not to call him again, he never asked how I am, never asked about his niece, nephews, great nieces etc... He also thinks I’m having a go at him when I suggest things he can do to occupy his mind which hopefully will stop him drinking. Both our parents were/are alcoholics, Mum died at 38 of liver failure, who he blames for his drinking.

Sorry this is going on a bit, just wanted to explain things.

Anyway, do you think I should cut back on the phones calls, I do try and then feel bad as I know he doesn’t talk to many people and it can be a lonely place at times. I know he will never call as he doesn’t call any family members. x

cornishpatsy Sun 10-Jan-21 12:59:40

If it makes you feel better to phone then continue.

It does not sound as though he wants contact with his family and you cannot change his life.

SueDonim Sun 10-Jan-21 13:20:37

You’ve obviously now got a lot of experience of your brother’s likely response when you phone, so I think I’d still continue to call but I’d have no expectations of a fulfilling reply. You can’t change your brother but you can change how you respond to him and at least you’d know you were doing your best for him. He sounds a very unhappy soul.

Grandmabatty Sun 10-Jan-21 13:31:23

What do you get out of keeping in touch? It strikes me that it upsets you and frustrates you. You cannot change your brother's behaviour so keep in touch if you want to but scale it back. I have a very difficult brother. I have learned over the years to distance myself. I have also learned that his poor financial decisions and lack of social skills are not now not will be in the future my responsibility. I repeat this whenever family members bring him up in conversation. Good luck.

PECS Sun 10-Jan-21 13:33:09

Keep in touch. It makes you feel better and, for all you know, it might be a comfort to your brother too. Limit the time..I find making a list before I make a tricky phone call helps me.

Oopsadaisy1 Sun 10-Jan-21 13:59:40

I would say keep in touch as well, I didn’t know that my brother had so many problems as he cut off contact many years ago, he knew where I lived but I didn’t have an address or any idea of his whereabouts.
But the night I got a phone call from the Police saying that he had been found dead in his flat was something I won’t forget.
I tried but failed to find my brother , so please keep in touch with yours, exasperating as he might be, you might be the only thing keeping him with us.

sodapop Sun 10-Jan-21 15:20:50

I think you should keep in touch with your brother as well Amandajs he may reach out to you one day. Addicts/alcoholics are notoriously self centred so don't expect too much.
Good idea from PECS to keep the calls short and have a list ready.

Amandajs66 Sun 10-Jan-21 15:43:29

Thank you all for your replies, I will keep in touch as I do worry about him.
I can’t make him care about the rest of the family but I do feel sad for my grown up children. I was extremely close to my Uncle and my children will never have that sort of relationship.
However they all continue to sent him gifts at Christmas and on his birthday but never get cards or anything back. Obviously I’m old enough to know that we don’t give to receive but it would be nice for my Granddaughters to hear from their great Uncle.
Maybe one day!! 🙂

grannyactivist Sun 10-Jan-21 16:04:55

Amandajs66 you're obviously a kind person and care for your brother, so yes, please do continue to call him. flowers

I'm in a similar position with three family members who cause me endless concern, but who have no-one else they can relate to in the same way to care for them. Like you I sometimes have low points, but I know that it's the right thing to do.