Should I give my toxic brother another chance?
JO - Apr 14 2020 at 16:27
Hi, I will try to keep it short. It has been 8 months since me and my partner has moved to a new apartment. This is because we needed to get away from my brother which was living in an apartment below us. Since the apartment below us was free we mentioned to him that he can move in, hoping that things would be nice. But it was one of my biggest regrets. My brother was being high-headed, demanding a lot of attention from me and help from us and was not grateful. After talking to him multiple times things were a bit better but then he started to be very noisy with door slamming and talking loud on the phone or having loud friends over. He blocked me as contact on his phone. Which actually hurt a lot since I never wanted things to get bad between us.
At some point we weren't talking for like 2 years. Some time last year I finally finished my studies and got a job. I tried to move out as quickly as possible. So a few weeks ago my aunt would call saying that my brother got a stroke and heart attack, that I should try to go see him in the hospital. It was very weird but I was worried regardless, since before all this my relationship with him was pretty chill. Maybe back then I wasn't sure if he was manipulating me all the time to get his way or if I was too timid to have any sort of conflict with him - meaning a fake happy sibling relationship.
So I rushed to see him, I was sad to see him there. I held his hand and gave him a hug. His stroke and heart attack was not the worse, he can talk and walk, he's just forgetful now and a bit slow and dizzy most of the time. He's still recovering. I msg him on his birthday. He seemed happy that I went to see him, and telling everyone that that made his day.
And then the issue now is, me and my partner are fighting these days because she thinks I shouldn't give him another chance just because he got a stroke. For me, I was not going to shoving everything under the rug, but I want him to recover so we can speak about the past and if all is actually genuine then maybe move on but from a distance. I can forgive but I didn't forget, and also he needs to take responsibility for the past issues. I cannot move on without discussing this. But I can't just start of with problems while he's still recovering. At the moment she put me in a position to choose between forever blocking my brother or to choose her.
Let me know your thoughts. I have posted in here in the past about my relationship, but this is the most recent situation which made my relationship sour again. Thanks.
It's up to you, and it's your business alone, how many chances you give your brother as long as they don't impact your lifestyle and well being. You're correct, you and your brother need to talk, when he's able to, but it needs to be a decent discussion on why he's demanded your attention in the past. Some counselling for him wouldn't do any harm.
However it's your personal relationship which needs attention because your partner shouldn't be demanding that you choose between her and your brother, rather she should be supporting you in her own way, however minimal, without being controlling about it. If she has concerns, then communication is the way to go rather than threats. She needs to understand that while you need to heal the rift with your brother, if she demands that you choose between them, then she's just adding to your angst and that shouldn't happen if she loved and respected you.
@Susiedqq, I've always shown compassion to my brother but he would often take more than I can give. Or he would lie to my mother about my girlfriend saying she's crazy, that we are not treating him right and that we've dismissed him, while he was the one asking too much and causing problems and calling us names and blocking us.
For me it's about giving him space to recover and then have a moment to talk about the past so we can move on and rebuild the relationship. I think it's good to discuss what was going wrong in the past to not repeat them in the future. I want us to understand each others point of view.
My main issue is that my partner doesn't want me to reconnect with him since he has done our relationship harm. We are constantly fighting about him... she would tell me "why can he do whatever he wants and you just go crawling back to him because he's now sick, sick or not it doesn't change that he's an asshole".
Hi Jo:. Sorry I'm late in responding, but it sounds like there is some time in dealing with this. It will give time for reflection.
I don't think this is an either her or him decision, at least it shouldn't be. Forgiveness is not optional. It is required. As you correctly point out, you don't forget painful moments, but you can release the control they have over you by forgiving and letting go. Giving this grace to your brother while explaining your need to be physically distant from him as long as he is a "drain" on you emotionally, as well as distraction in your social life, should explain things to him and your partner. Like I mentioned previously. This should not be an either her or him thing. Keep us posted.