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Sibling Problem: Would Like Advice

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have 3 older brothers, and have always been close to #2 and #3. A couple of years ago #3 was arrested on several drug charges. This is a guy who's a 30 year veteran of the fire dept., has been elected to county office, pillar of the community, etc. He was arrested with a skanky woman who is 10 years younger than he is that he picked up in a bar. Needless to say, this whole episode shook our family to it's core. Lucky me, I learned about it by picking up the morning paper and see the headline and his mug-shot!
From the very first, he denied doing anything wrong, saying it was all political. Being the good sister that I am, I believed him, until his wife showed me paperwork from his lawyer that included his confession, and a list of all the evidence the police had against him ( I became her closest confidant during this time) . For months #3 would look me in the eye and tell me he hadn't done anything, it was all a set-up, the police didn't have anything on him. He must have lied to me dozens of times. He was eventually convicted and spent 6 weeks in jail (first offense, family man, etc). After a couple of months he apologized to me, saying he was sorry he'd put me thru all that publicity and finger-pointing. I told him I didn't care about any of that, that I was so p*ssed of because he'd lied to me. He looked so confused when I told him that, as if he didn't understand why that would bother me so much.
We used to be so close; my friends can't understand how I couldn't have known something was going on with him. His wife would even tell me that he and I were closer than they were! He shattered every bit of trust I ever had in him.
My problem is that I can't get past this. I can barely speak to him, and family gatherings are still strained. Being lied to is something that I can't forgive, it's my biggest pet peeve. Being lied to repeatedly by someone I trusted is mind boggling. The rest of my family seems to understand how much trouble I'm having with this, but I'm wondering if there is some way I can let it go? Things will never be the same between my brother and me, I've resigned myself to that. Am I being petty? My Grandmother always used to say that if someone wronged her she could forgive them but she would never forget it. That's how I feel, to a point. I won't ever forget this betrayal, and I haven't reached a point where I can forgive it, either. Obviously, it bothers me or I wouldn't be asking for advice. I know people are going to say "get over it", but how do I do that? I would have done anything for my brother; now I can barely stand to be in the same room with him.
post #2 of 15
Please forgive #3 brother! Life is too short for us to be mad at our siblings.
post #3 of 15
Hey your brother apologised to you for what he put you through. First and formost you must accept that apology, if he is not sure why you have the hangup with the lying on his part then try explaining it to him. Us men can be a bit dumb when it comes to things like that. He probably felt ashamed about the whole situation in the first place which is why he tried to cover it over by telling those lies, who knows? that is something you need to discuss with him as a mature person. As mentioned life is to short and we all make mistakes along the way, some small ones some big ones. What you have to remember is if anything happened to your brother could you forgive yourself for not trying to patch things up? Going through the rest of your life feeling guilty would mess you up even more.
Go on give it a try
post #4 of 15
Probably the best way to work through the problem, is to get some counseling. I know that sounds trite, but it will help you to deal with the problem and put it into perspective. As your grandmother said, you will likely find a way to forgive your brother, but you don't necessarily need to forget about it to be able to enjoy your brother's company again.

Life really is too short, and uncertain, to be angry with your siblings. My mother has carried a grudge against her only sister, because of the way her sister had taken advantage of my mom while their mother was ill and dying. Grandma died in 1999...Mom and her sister have barely spoken to each other in nearly 9 years (one lives in Michigan and the other in Oklahoma.) This past summer, Mom's sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and nearly died after surgery. Who knows how much time she has left? All that time truly breaks my heart.
post #5 of 15
I agree with everyone here. Life is too short. Try and remeber all the good times, special things you shared - can you just throw it all away? He has tried to apologise, men have a hard time reading a womans mind, so you need to be very forthcoming with your thoughts and feelings over this. Tell him why. Tell him how much you love him, that should startmaking him understand how hard this has really been for you. Tell your brother how selfish he has been.

I know it's hard, but you need to forgive. He's done his time in jail, treat it like his punishment for lying as well as for what he did.

Life is too short. Make the most of what you have. You never know when it will be taken away from you.
post #6 of 15
From what you said, I think you really want to forgive him but the anger is still there.
My advice would be not to try to get rid of that anger by pushing it away. Then you just become angry at yourself if it doesn't work. Try your best not to feed the anger either by brewing more negative thoughts about what happened. Just leave the anger as is, accept that it's there and eventually it will fade.

You said your brother was confused about why you felt betrayed that he lied to you... have you talked to him about it since? It's likely that he was confused not because he can't understand that you were betrayed, but because he was so angry at himself for what he had done that he expected you to be angry at that too. Tell him how you feel and I'm sure he will understand better.

It's obvious that you still love him, or else you wouldn't be so worried about forgiving him. Try to accept that he is far from perfect and that even though he made a mistake, he is still a good person. Think of the nice things he has done and the things you love about him... these things are still there. You already have some love for your brother but right now the anger might be stronger... so try to find things that will help that love grow instead of focusing on things that make you angry at him.

I know that forgiving isn't easy, even when you want to forgive. Give it time and things will get better.
post #7 of 15
It takes time to forgive a person. For years I hated my ex and didn't want to forgive him for the abuse he did to me. I was angry, hurt, etc. With the help of God and many talks with others re: forgiveness I slowly forgave him. I won't forget (ever!) what he did to me and started to do to our son, but I have forgave him.

It still makes me angry sometimes thinking about it. One very important thing to keep in mind. If God can forgive anyone no matter what they have done, then you should be able (eventually) to forgive. If you can't, then why should God forgive you for what you've done?
post #8 of 15
Maybe I missed it in your OP, however I really think that you and your brother should have a one on one sit down and YOU ask the questions while he just answers.

If this doesn't help, then please get in contact with a therapist. Several years ago I found a therapist who did EMDR work. This really helped me and cut down the years of therapy. Perhaps you should try that.

One thing i will say about older brothers...they feel it is their role to protect their youngest sister. Even if they do bad for some reason they would rather tell their wives the bad thing than to tell their little sister
post #9 of 15
I agree with those who advise to speak to a counselor. That way you have a trained, impartial professional there to help sort through all of the complex feelings associated with this situation.
post #10 of 15
I really understand feelings of sibling betrayal and anger. Like the others have suggested, you really should consider counseling to help you work through this. There is no reason for you to forget, it though, so don't think you need to sweep it it under the carpet.

I'm not sure when all this happened, but from what you described, you brother does sound like an addict. Addiction twists and changes people, and makes them do things they would never have normally done. He went to jail for the drug charges, but did he also get help? Was he using when he was lying to your face? Could he secretly still be using?

When my Dad was at his worst with his addiction to alcohol, he had let everything go bill-wise. He had never mentioned that he hadn't paid a bill in 2 years, and we were about to lose our house. (Fortunately, my mother found out about this at the last minute possible [after she kicked him out of the house] and was able to save the house, but it was really touch-and-go.) We have no idea why they didn't shut anything off. I'm also not sure why we thought it was a good idea to have a drunk in charge of the family finances. My Dad's license had also been revoked, and had been for some time when we found out. He didn't care, and actually drove me around a good amount.

Addicts are exceptional liars. So don't feel stupid for not realizing anything was going on. You are not being petty, either. You don't feel that he is sorry for lying to you. Of course this is something he should apologize for, but only if he he actually and truly sorry, and not just trying to placate you. But if he does apologize to you tomorrow, you would accept it, would you? You have no trust in him; you would believe he's lying.

So, in addition for counseling for yourself, you should consider some sessions of joint counseling with your brother (so you can tell him why you are incapable of trusting him though the third party, and he can start building back that trust). If he was any kind of relationship with you, then he'll do this.

Good luck.

post #11 of 15
How are your other brothers dealing with this? Are they close to him?
post #12 of 15
I think in this situation, you have to put yourself in your brothers shoes. I have a feeling he was totally humiliated by this stuff, and probably couldn't bare to tell you the truth. He probably had a hard time even facing it himself. He probably couldn't stand to see your reaction if he told you the truth, and you probably would have been just as angry and upset either way.

Things probably never will be exactly the same between you and your brother, because a big chunk of his halo fell off, but you have to remember he's just a mere mortal with failings and faults just like everyone else. I think we all lie at some point in our lives, and I think your brother lied to save face.

Please forgive him and get over it. Bitterness hurts yourself much more than it hurts anyone else. I don't see where he's done anything to try and hurt you, and I honestly don't see that he has done anything that is unforgivable. He's paid for his crime, and he deserves to be forgiven for what he did.
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
It takes time to forgive a person. For years I hated my ex and didn't want to forgive him for the abuse he did to me. I was angry, hurt, etc. With the help of God and many talks with others re: forgiveness I slowly forgave him. I won't forget (ever!) what he did to me and started to do to our son, but I have forgave him.
I had an abusive ex too, and although I have managed to forgive him for most of what he did to me, I will never forget. I realized one day that all that anger & hurt towards him wasn't hurting him any, but it sure was hurting ME. And making my life miserable in the process. It took quite some time to get past it (because he really did some nasty things to me), but I eventually quit hating him for all that he did. It takes time to get past it, when you feel so betrayed by someone you love...

I agree that having a heart-to-heart talk w/ your brother is a good idea, so you can explain why you feel the way you do to him. One of the reasons I had such a difficult time trying to forgive my abusive ex was b/c I never got a chance to tell him how his actions hurt & affected me. I think that if I would have been able to tell him, it would have been easier for me to let go of it all. I think that talking things over w/ the person who's betrayed you is an effective form of therapy. Your brother may never understand why you feel the way you do, but at least you'll get it off your chest, and be able to release some of the anger & hurt that you feel towards him..

I think counseling is a good idea too - especially if you can convince your brother to participate with you.

I hope, for your sake, that you'll be able to forgive your brother some day, and that you'll both be able to get past this..

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've been given a lot to think about, and I appreciate all of you offering your advice. I'm pretty sure I won't talk to a professional about all this; when I feel the need to vent, DH is an amazing listener. He also tells me that family gatherings just aren't the same anymore, that brother #3's antics have left a bad feeling with the rest of my family, too. Brother #1 and our younger sister both live 100s of miles away, so they weren't really very involved with the whole mess; they pretty much treat #3 the way they always have. Brother #2 tries, but he also has a difficult time with #3.

I think it would be a lot easier for me if I hadn't been so enmeshed in the whole situation. The first time I saw #3 after his arrest, I hugged him and asked, "What the h*ll were you thinking?" (While I wanted to believe he was innocent, I was pretty sure that people of his stature in the community don't get arrested without cause) That's when the lying began. As I said in my OP, my SIL made me her closest confidant and I learned things about my brother that I truly had no business knowing. She asked me to follow him a couple of times when she had to work, and asked me to talk to him about his skanky lady friend. My Mom and aunt called me on a daily basis to see if I knew anything more. Brother #2 asked me to go to every court appearance (for both #3 and the skanky lady friend) so I could tell him what was going on. When my SIL decided it was time to kick #3 out of the house, she asked #2 and me to be there in case there was trouble. I discovered that #3 had made a drug deal 1/2 a block from my daughter's school bus stop, just at the time of day the kids were coming home. (for some reason, that p*ssed me off most of all)

Things probably never will be exactly the same between you and your brother, because a big chunk of his halo fell off
I think that's a large part of it, too. I thought the world of him, and now I'm embarrassed by him. I think that in some distant future I'll be able to look at him without feeling all the anger and resentment that I still have, but it's going to be along time coming. I'm just one of those people that doesn't trust easily, and once that trust is broken it's almost impossible to get back.

Thanks again to all of you; talking about this has actually been a big help. There apparently were things I just needed to get off my chest.
post #15 of 15
My trouble with my own brother is completely different in nature -- but I know that nothing hurts so deeply as pain inflicted by someone you've adored since the day Mom first let you give him his bottle. So I understand.

You've got to forgive him and get close again, and you've got to do it with your whole heart -- not only because life is so short and uncertain, and not only because sustained anger is so destructive to you, but also because it's obvious that he needs you. He needs a stabilizing influence to keep him on the right path, and now that you're aware of his problems, you're uniquely positioned to provide that for him.

And conversely... you have great power over him. If you withhold your friendship, you could do him serious damage.

I've quoted this Don Henley song before, and I'll quote it again:

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about
Even if, even if
You don't love me anymore

...and the final chorus changes a bit:

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
'Cause the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
And I think it's about
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