If this were a storyline in a soap opera you really wouldn’t believe it…
Right here we go…
I am ‘C’ 55 years of age.
I am the third of 4 siblings. The eldest son has just turned 60 (we will come to that) we’ll call ‘B’ has an MBE & thinks of himself as an entrepreneur. Two years younger was my sister ‘J’ who was tragically taken away from us back in 1975 in a car accident that also took away the lives of three other people. Two years younger again is myself ‘C’.
Finally comes my ‘little’ brother ‘A’ who is 9 years younger than myself.
We grew up in a pub & my father being ex-services was very strict. So much so he was very violent to myself & my sister & as the years progressed it got steadily worse.
We didn’t know at this point that he had also been violent to our mother.
My parents split up in 1976 the year after my sister died. It was a traumatic time for me as I was going through my exams & at one point I had my father breaking back into the pub by smashing my bedroom window in the early hours of the morning & then pinning down in bed threatening to hit me. Although being a small 16 year old at the time I ‘politely’ to him to go away. This was the first time I stood up to him & the first time that he didn’t hit me.
My younger brother being 7 at the time knew nothing of this. My father knew he couldn’t be violent towards him or he wouldn’t want to see him & so pretty much spoilt him. My mother has since agreed with me that had they stayed together she would have worried for ‘A’s life.
As it has turned out he knows nothing of our father violent history.
Over the years my father never expressed any interest in anything I’ve done or achieved.
In 1978 my father nearly killed me by driving down a road with me hanging onto the side of his camper van. By then I was a very accomplished amateur boxer & when I got in & stopped the vehicle I could have hit him, but I restrained as I didn’t want to lower myself to his level.
Over the years I have tried hold out the ‘olive branch’ on numerous occasions, but he’s always managed to snap it in two by his rudeness.
(The word sorry does not existed in his vocabulary)
In 1985 I got married. My wife & I had 3 daughters, but my father never expressed any interest in seeing them at any point.
Towards the end of the nineties my younger brother ‘A’ was questioning my attitude towards our father. We met up over a beer & I started to enlighten him on how my father treated me when I was growing up. Within a couple of minutes he asked me to stop & never asked me again.
In 2002 I took my daughters on holiday to Rhodes. My eldest informed me that my elder brother had a different father. This was something I had suspected as my mother always held him in such great esteem.
So, this is where the story really starts…
To my surprise three years in September of 2013 one of my daughters expressed an interest to see their grandfather. By then he lived down in Poole. Although my younger brother had offered to take her down to see him I felt this was not his place as over the years my mother had often asked me to see my father to make my peace with him.
My daughter asked me & I agreed to take her. However, as quite a few months past & I felt that this would never going to happen. So one Saturday evening when my wife & I went out to dinner we were talking about the situation & we both agreed that it appeared it would never happen unless we or I instigated it.
So we decided that night I would go down & see him the following day.
I set off around 10:30am & got to my father’s around midday. Before I knocked on his door I suddenly remembered how nasty my father can be & so as not to want our meeting to be misconstrued I turned on the record button on my mobile phone.
I chatted to him for nearly three hours. We did ‘touch’ on a couple of subjects, but at no point was he in any distress. I left him photographs of his grandchildren who he had never seen before & the meeting was totally amicable. When I left we shook hands & I thought to myself that I had paved the way for my daughters to see him without any worry…
I got home about 5:00pm & my wife asked me how it went to which I replied quite well actually.
Around 7:00pm we got a very abusive call from my younger brother ‘A’ accusing me of upsetting my father & calling me various expletives for going down & seeing him! After hanging up on us my wife looked at me questioning me as to what really happened. I then revealed to her that I’d recorded the whole meeting. My mother was next on the phone again reiterating that I’d upset my father. I tried to explain that it wasn’t true & that I’d recorded the conversation. Then followed a text from my younger brother stating ‘I hope you & your tape are very happy together! I can not believe you did it! And you can ask your wife to wind her neck in when it comes to family. I think it’s going to be a very long time before we talk again’.
My wife then sat through the whole recording & was dumbfounded as to how an innocent conversation done for the right reason had been so misinterpreted. I reminded her of how my father thinks even given his age. He had the chance of seeing his grandchildren for the first time, but rather chose to humiliate me. It has never been my intent to do anything with the recording it was only done to prove how the meeting went.
From then on my wife & I were excluded/banned, however you want to put it, from all close family gatherings. Sadly the ban was also extended to my three daughters.
This ban still continues today. It is also getting more & more ridiculous & childish.
My mother blamed me as she said it was ‘the way I did it’.
In December 2013 we were not invited to the Christmas family gathering at my brother’s hotel, but made sure on Facebook that it was announced that it was a ‘family gathering’.
Via my mother we gave Christmas presents as usual, but got nothing from my brothers in return.
My feeling is that at this point my mother should have done one of two things.
Either refuse to go to any family gatherings until this was resolved or order ‘A’ & myself round her house to talk it out. The trouble is my mother tends to bury her head in the sand & hope it will all go away. On top of that she’s not getting any younger so I do understand.
In the spring of 2014 I tried to help…
I suggested writing an email/letter to my younger brother, but I would only do this as long as the email/letter was vetted by my mother & everyone so again it can’t be misconstrued.
When everyone was happy with the ‘wording’ it was sent as an email. It didn’t bounce back & I heard nothing. So a couple of weeks later I printed it off & sent it. I still heard nothing. Weeks later my mother said he never got an email or a letter. So I sent the email to my mother & she sent it. Still my younger brother would not respond.
And so it continued…
I do not have problem with my younger brother & have always got on well with him in the past.
During that summer my middle daughter went to see my father.
A month or two later my elder brother took my mother down to see my father. My parents hadn’t properly spoken to each other for quite a few years. During her chat with him my visit came up & he admitted that it was totally amicable.
In December 2014 there was another family Christmas party & yet again we were excluded.
In early February 2015 my auntie had her 80th birthday party at my elder brother’s hotel. As my cousin was organising this we were invited & my younger brother was going to be there…
I acted as normal, I shook his hand & tried to make conversation. Trouble was he didn’t want to look at me & was clearly uncomfortable having to talk to me. My auntie asked me to use her camera to take pictures of the party. Every time the camera was pointed towards my younger brother he would look away even though I had announced to everyone I was doing this for my aunt. When he left he made a point of saying goodbye to everyone except my wife & myself.
Two weeks later my middle daughter arranged a family gathering for my mother at the pub she grew up in. On this occasion my younger brother decided not to go because I was going!
This was getting rather childish.
In another attempt to resolve this I sent my younger brother some texts (vetted before they were sent) suggesting we meet up. No reply. So I called him a number of times & eventually he did answer, but gave excuses why he couldn’t meet. I told him that I got the feeling he didn’t want to resolve this to which he went into another tirade & hung up.
Two weeks later my father died.
In the past I had suggested to my mother that I may not go to his funeral because of the way he treated me. My mother spoke to my two youngest daughters & asked them to convince me to go. I told them I would think about it, but warned them watch how the decision will be taken out of my hands.
A week before the funeral my elder brother called me & said ‘I highly recommend you don’t go as it will all kick off!’ the call broke up & ended. He then sent a voicemail stating his ‘recommendations’ again which I still have. I spoke to my mother about this & said I was prepared to go ironically to support my younger brother. A couple of hours later I received a call from my younger brother stating I wasn’t welcome & he had enough support.
At no point did they even let me know when the funeral was.
My two youngest daughters went to the funeral & were scathing at my brothers. My brothers wives had know idea to what they had said to me.
A week later my younger brother called me to say in a very aggressive tone ‘It’s over & I don’t want to talk about it!’ By now I’d pretty much had enough so I replied ‘It’s funny how 20 days can make difference…’ To which he went into another tirade still accusing me again of recording the conversation with my father. I told him to grow up & ended the call.
So the punishment went on.
In April of this year I was talking to my mother about the ludicrous situation & she suggested that my elder brother would make a good mediator to sort this out. I explained I have no problem with my younger brother, but for some reason he wants this to continue as does my elder brother. So I knew from then my mother had just given them permission to play more games at my expense.
Firstly, both declined invitations to my daughters wedding in August.
My elder brother called me to announce he going to play mediator, but also added it was totally my fault. I replied that it was nice to know you’re neutral. Four weeks then passed with no contact.
A week before his party I then got this text from my elder brother saying he was determined to ‘sort it out’ & when could my younger brother & myself meet up. Already knowing how this was going to pan out. I immediately replied ‘I’m available anytime’ Predictable texts followed stating they couldn’t do this day, that day etc. Oh what a surprise!
This was all strung out so we could be banned from the next family gathering at my elder brother’s 60th birthday party where people were asking where we were.
A week later my cousin’s son was getting married & we were invited. Guess what even though my younger brother was invited he chose not to go because I was there.
And so it continues
I can handle the punishment, but when my daughter’s have also been excluded from the same events that is unkind.
Needless to say I doubt if will hear anything now until it’s close to the next family gathering before the texts start up again & history repeats itself.
Well - that's quite a story.
I just have one observation and that is your brother had a totally different upbringing than you did and he considers any stories relating incidences about the "bad" things dad did as a betrayal of the father he knew. He dares NOT to even want to process them, much less believe them.
I have seen this countless times in large families or families where there was a span of time between siblings or when parents become different over time.
I have a girlfriend, age 68, who constantly fights with her older sister, now 81, about their father. The father was a raging alcoholic when she (81) was growing up and he abused the entire family, knocking around the 2 sons and the wife, too. My friend (born 13 years later)had a nice childhood and was close to her father, then older and never drinking during her childhood.
So there you go - your brother is from another world.
Have you discussed your childhood with your mother? She may or may not have another perspective.
I even wonder if the death of your sister had anything to do with his attitude - perhaps he even blames you for not protecting her, or upset about the way you handled grieving for her, and the grieving for your father.
Please try to discuss this with your mother and older brother ONLY if they are willing or able. Maybe even in front of a counselor.
Younger brother can be brought after you check accuracy of your childhood. Remember: you were a child when all this stuff happened and perhaps understanding a few things can help you forgive your father as you knew him.
Good luck. My parents were alcoholics. Things were not all good in our home, but not all bad. My brother suffered more than me (I was Daddy's little girl - he was ignored by my father) We had totally different memories of your childhoods.