By Shane Kulman
My brother is causing major unneeded drama. I don’t know what to do. His wife is hard to work with, and I am so protective of my parents. He doesn’t seem to understand me when I make requests and I don’t know what to do. I am so stressed out over this, and it’s affecting my life, my work and my family. It’s not fair, and I feel stuck and a bit crazy. Help?
Dear Lost at Sea,
I understand you. Family is hard and seeing everyone else’s social media that shows ease, joy and love can rub salt in a wound. The merging of two families hopefully works out great, and everyone is into communication and blending. However, sometimes other people’s families are damaged and have so much small world behavior and no connection with love and kindness that it disrupts the feelings of togetherness. So first, I give you compassion.
Second, it sounds like your brother is siding with his wife and the fact that she’s hard means there are things he is not telling you, and he has a new family to be more connected with. This is painful and will bring up feelings of abandonment and trigger child-like feelings that long for better days.
I say write a letter that you give or DO NOT give to your brother. Really write everything you think and feel. Do not share your feelings about his wife, that is for you to bring to therapy or your trusted friends. The letter and putting your thoughts and feelings onto paper, may not seem like a big deal, but at the very least you will get it all out. And this letter is different from a journal. You are writing directly to him. And you can do this for any person. After you write it, see how you feel. You may want to write him a different letter, or you may want to give him this letter, or you may tell him you wrote a letter with all the hard stuff that you’ve been unable to say out loud.
This last suggestion is a powerful one and will lead to more communication. I hear you need help and asking him for help may be a genius route and will empower him to offer his thoughts and needs, instead of you requesting. We don’t know how requests land. So, consider he may have a whole different way of thinking. Unfair or not, consider his mindset and his reasoning. Good luck on this.
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