Brother Called

A couple of issues - and I thank you all for your insights, they are really helpful.  I can see where my brother may feel invalidated and need to be heard and that although I do have some understanding of where he's coming from, I haven't been great about that either in this situation.  And during his call to me tonight, I really identified why it is so hard for me (and I think for my parents, as well, although I can't speak for them) to communicate with him and allow for him to voice his feelings.
He did not respond to my letter at all (and in fact, I am not sure if that is on a big ignore or if he really just didn't receive it, yet), however, he did thank me for my birthday wishes on FB and did have something to say about my mother.
For a little bit of background, mom enlarged this really cute snapshot of him when he was 6-7 years old, framed it and dropped it off at his salon with a card.  My mom had told me that she had completely forgotten it was a Monday and the salon was closed, but since she was there and the lady who cleans (and who my mom knows, as well) was there, she asked this lady if she could leave it because she doesn't know where my brother lives or have his new phone number to get it to him. 
So, after thanking me, my brother says, "if you have a chance to talk to mom, it is fine for you to give her my cell number, although I gave it to her as soon as we disconnected our land line number and also tell her thanks for the picture even though this frame doesn't fit it all, but that's neither here or there, and also she doesn't need to come on a day she knows we are cloed and tell other people that I won't talk to her, my letter stated I would talk to them any time they were ready to listen".
Well, I didn't get all personally embroiled and that's a good thing, but I did take note that this is what kicks me with my brother.  Why mention the picture being in a cheap, non-fitting frame?  Isn't it the thought that counts?  The best I know to describe my reaction to him is that he acts pompous.
However, my response was that he may not realize how much dementia mom is getting and that I have had to give her my cousin's number (who does her hair) at least 15 times. He said, well make sure she writes it down.  I didn't respond to that, but know that she always writes my cousin's number down, too.
My other response was that it seems to me that feelings are so high on both sides that it is causing a lot of difficulty in both sides actually being able to communicate effectively and that although our parents do need to listen to him, his feelings and his beliefs, that he also should afford them the same respect.  He agreed this was likely true.  And that was pretty much the end of the phone call.
I just discovered that this was 3 for 3 conversations where my brother said something that I just thought was unnecessarily rude.  The first being me talking about how frustrating it is to not get test/paper scores for so long.  His response, "it's college, not high school".  The second being me talking about my son being first chair in trombone, but that of course, he's still in his first year so it still sounds like "dum, dum, dum-dum" and my brother's response being, "it's a trombone, that's what they do".  And, none of these things are big issues, really, but just his tone and the fact that he feels the need to say them in the first place....  
I just can't see how to get to a real discussion over underlying issues when I know I want to shut off and disengage as soon as he makes one of these comments.  The feeling really is that he is and knows so much more and everyone else is far beneath...
Maybe this is just more of a trigger for me post-N.  However, I just stepped back from the picture frame comment, not make it person (afterall, it wasn't my gift or frame choice) and tried to respond only to the issues as I saw them.  But yeah, inside, I just couldn't imagine someone getting me a gift and me acting like it was beneath me.
Anyway, I guess I'm off to bed, only 3 more days of my grand 10 day break from school!!
 

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

All right by now I know I do like your brother, and a lot... we actually end up writing the same things :)

There is, indeed, another interpretation for those \"rude\" lines about the frame. I know because it\'s something I could have said, with NO intent to be rude. I would have said it to mean: \"I am so pleased about the picture that I don\'t care if the frame doesn\'t fit\".

To some people, such as me, aesthetic requirements do count and when they are crossed we can\'t avoid noticing... your brother might be like that (btw what job does he hold? If he is anything like a stylist of any sort, he probably has very strong aesthetic requirements).

For example, I prefer no gift rather than getting something that doesn\'t fit... because getting something that doesn\'t fit puts me through the hardship to either have to pretend I like it or shut up about the fact that it is no use. Also, it makes me feel like I\'m speaking to a wall. I guess that getting something that doesn\'t fit, to me, feel like a lack of validation. Many times when i get a bad gift from people who are supposed to know me I think \"oh, that\'s how you listen to who I am... so much so that you don\'t even know what I like but somehow you think you love me????\".

It doesn\'t feel good :)

It seems clear to me that the two of you have very different values... it doesn\'t necessarily mean he thinks you should change yours. It might mean the lack of a fit hurts him as much as it hurts you, just for different reasons.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I agree his attitude leaves much to be desired in politeness, but some people are just blunt by nature and if you don\'t take thing personally then they\'re really not that hard to get along with. If anything your brother seems to have little feeling where you have intense feelings about things--and then opposite where what he feels strongly about you don\'t think matters. I agree with leaningpixie, I think you\'re very diff people with vastly diff values. And am same, I literally HATE receiving gifts but esp useless ones.... sigh. its just so annoying to me idk how to describe it. most times I refuse all gifts because I just can\'t stand it...
He does sound like he has an artistic temperament--but his seeming superiority is probably just that: illusion.
Everyone is always saying that to me too...and I honestly have no idea what they\'re talking about. Yes, Im arrogant and opinionated but I really have no inkling of being BETTER than anyone...
I think people have an inferiority complex and take it out on me because they feel jealous/insecure (WHY??? Idk Im a total bum!)
I\'m really glad you two got to talk and that you refrained from taking the frame thing personally. That little trick will get you through dealing with all kinds of difficult people...

HUGS Hang in there!
pageo
pageo

So it is the superiority (attitude/behavior) that repels you and of course that can trigger post narc... Until you can read it with out identifying it any more. See it as a defense mechanism.

My thought is that is would do all of you, both you and parents a whole lot of good just to kiss he frequency good bye. It doesn\'t sound like he has the depth to negotiate. It doesn\'t sound like your mother is going to be able to actually have a talk since her head is going.

So, looking at it from this side of the screen. There is a little boy in a big boys body who wants to tell mom about what she did wrong and mom is too old to really reply with any constitution. If your brother was actually looking at reality he would see that his audience is actually not real available.

Does your brother have your parents phone number? And why is he going through you? To me this whole thing is a huge drama triangle. Are you your brother secretary? Delivering messages to your mother? What role do you want to play in all this?

The last phone conversation I had with my brother was around 2-3 years ago. I can never keep track because it seems they happen every 3-4 years. They are always the same.

The last one was interesting in that I think my mother set it up. Then when I told my mother it was ridiculous she started telling me what my brother had to say about me and how I couldn\'t do that and that etc. I made no come back . I did not expect my mother nor my brother to really be able to communicate. At that point I stepped out of the drama triangle. i was done with it. None of it was gong any where and none of it was healthy.

It sounds to me like you, Rani, are seen as an extension of your parents ... in your brothers eyes.

If I were in your shoes I would give your brother space and allow him to deal with what ever he has to deal with on his own. Do not assist him with being the middle man. Allow him to grow the balls to tell his mother he doesn\'t appreciate the frame. What an AZZZ. Who give a care about not liking the frame. So tedious. The point is he received a gift not that his taste matches his mothers. How old is this toddler?
raniagale
raniagale

I didn\'t even tell my mom my brother had called. Not stepping into that one. I can understanding getting a gift that you just don\'t feel was thoughtful or that you just don\'t find right for you. The truth is, my brother always makes earrings for gifts for me and well, I only wear earrings about twice a year, but I keep them on the off chance they will match what I\'m wearing those couple of days I actually dawn them and because I know he made them by hand. :)

Then I think, oh, my last gift to my brother was a natural scene I had photographed here locally and then I put in Arabic script/calligraphy his name and a blessing. I did this for each relative that year. I did frame them in inexpensive frames (but classy ones) because I\'m dirt poor. He likely thought \"what the hell is this?\" and the truth is, I spent a lot of time picking out the nature scene I felt connected with each person, doing separate calligraphy and colors for each person. I put a lot of my feelings into it.

I think I look at my life and it\'s so crazy busy and chaotic sometimes that if I managed to get a gift to you, I put time and energy into it - you really should appreciate the thought! (and I\'m laughing here)

For now, giving everyone their space. Heading back for the fall on Monday and it\'s going to be a busy semester. I will be focused on that and my children - and that blasted court date in a month.
pageo
pageo

Since you life is crazy busy non of what is going on with your brother is really something that needs to be on your plate. Not taking on his own self promoted drama would help you to center and get done what is most immediate. Other wise he is a time sucker and a distraction. All things in good time. In other words ...redirect your focus ... take it off of him . You are not his care taker and his replies, responses, feelings are his responsibility. he is making his decisions and let him live with them.