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Old 01-14-2022, 02:17 PM   #1
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Default Family not acting like family

Hello my friends. I have a daughter who is graduating high school in June. We are a small family and I wanted to make sure we all are together to celebrate the occasion. My daughter has worked very hard, especially during trying times, to do her best and is proud to be graduating. I just sent a "save the date" note to my brother and sister so they can mark their calendars. My brother responded by saying "we booked a beach house for that week a while back so we won't be there, but we will send a nice gift". This response made me very angry. I'm asking them 6 months in advance. My daughter will only graduate from high school once. How should I react to this? Should I be understanding and say "sorry to hear that, we will miss you"? or should I let him have it and remind him that family should come before a beach house? I did send a reply asking if he could shift the days around on the rental. I have not heard back, but I'm not expecting a favorable response. He can be a selfish person sometimes.
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Old 01-14-2022, 02:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

My response would be sorry to hear, we will miss you.

I can understand that they made their rental arrangements far ahead, ours for 2022 was made 11 months in advance. It would be great if they are able to change, but if not I would let it go. Maybe you could have a family celebration party over the summer?

I remember when your daughter was very young. I feel joy for her and you as well! Congratulations to her!
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Old 01-14-2022, 02:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

I would let it go - I can understand feeling hurt, but your brother is allowed to have his own priorities. Heís still acknowledging your daughterís (his nieceís) achievement, just not in the way you would prefer.
Congratulations to your daughter from me, in any case!
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Old 01-14-2022, 03:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

Have to agree with the others. Let it go. They made their arrangements first and he did acknowledge you and is sending a present, most kids want to be with their friends on graduation.
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Old 01-14-2022, 04:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

Even before I read any of the other posts above, I was surprised to read that you got "very angry" at your brother's response. He is putting plans he made for his immediate family over plans you've just made for your immediate family. That strikes me as okay. I think you've already created awkwardness by suggesting he shift dates around to accomodate your plans. His note to you already tells you that he is prioritizing his own plans. Your request that he consider shifting his rental dates is you trying to pressure him. He probably resents that, which is why he has not responded to your 2nd note. He would be well within his rights to not respond further. Your second note, actually, was not polite IMHO. It comes off as an attempt to embarrass him.

Would you really want your daughter to be surrounded by people whose arms you twisted into being there. How embarrassing for her that would be, if she knew.

I won't say you're wrong to feel "very angry" because we don't choose our feelings. They simply are what they are. I do think you would be wrong to let your brother "have it." You can't guilt relatives into having warmer feelings toward your daughter and you. The effect will be the opposite. He may, indeed, have very warm feelings for your daughter. That doesn't obligate him to show up in person for every milestone she hits. Almost everyone in the United States graduates from high school. No one is socially obligated to attend every graduation of every niece and nephew. Your expectation strikes me as abnormal. That probably is symptomatic of a larger issue you have that you believe no one is allowed to disappoint you. Maybe you just apply that to relatives. Your defense is that "Family should come first!" Few will argue against that. However, the family duties of an uncle are not at all the same as the family duties of a father. If they were, we'ld all be crushed under the burden of family duty.

Celebrate your daughter's achievement with a joyous get-together of those who are there because that's exactly where they want to be. Maybe it will just be your immediate family going out for dinner at someplace elegant. That would be perfectly alright as an option.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:04 PM   #6
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Beach houses are usually booked a year in advance in my state. If you want a nice house. I donít see how he could switch it around.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

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Originally Posted by Rose76 View Post
Even before I read any of the other posts above, I was surprised to read that you got "very angry" at your brother's response. He is putting plans he made for his immediate family over plans you've just made for your immediate family. That strikes me as okay. I think you've already created awkwardness by suggesting he shift dates around to accomodate your plans. His note to you already tells you that he is prioritizing his own plans. Your request that he consider shifting his rental dates is you trying to pressure him. He probably resents that, which is why he has not responded to your 2nd note. He would be well within his rights to not respond further. Your second note, actually, was not polite IMHO. It comes off as an attempt to embarrass him.

Would you really want your daughter to be surrounded by people whose arms you twisted into being there. How embarrassing for her that would be, if she knew.

I won't say you're wrong to feel "very angry" because we don't choose our feelings. They simply are what they are. I do think you would be wrong to let your brother "have it." You can't guilt relatives into having warmer feelings toward your daughter and you. The effect will be the opposite. He may, indeed, have very warm feelings for your daughter. That doesn't obligate him to show up in person for every milestone she hits. Almost everyone in the United States graduates from high school. No one is socially obligated to attend every graduation of every niece and nephew. Your expectation strikes me as abnormal. That probably is symptomatic of a larger issue you have that you believe no one is allowed to disappoint you. Maybe you just apply that to relatives. Your defense is that "Family should come first!" Few will argue against that. However, the family duties of an uncle are not at all the same as the family duties of a father. If they were, we'ld all be crushed under the burden of family duty.

Celebrate your daughter's achievement with a joyous get-together of those who are there because that's exactly where they want to be. Maybe it will just be your immediate family going out for dinner at someplace elegant. That would be perfectly alright as an option.
Hi Rose. Thanks for your input. I respect that you disagree with my feelings on the matter. Perhaps you could have been less judgmental of me though. In my original post I said we are a small family. I guess because of that I place a higher value on family interactions. That does not make me abnormal for feeling anger at my brother's shallow opinion of the importance of a family get together like a high school graduation. And yes, many kids graduate from high school. Does that mean my daughter's day means nothing and should be thought of as just another day? Well, perhaps to you. But not me. From this day on I will lower my expectations of my brother. I will place less importance on family gatherings with him. I'll move on from this and enjoy the party with my daughter and he can enjoy the beach. And I'll no longer feel the burden to be at all his family events ( I've never missed one of his). And when his daughter graduates and he expects me to be there....well, I may be at the beach and that will be okay.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by divine1966 View Post
Beach houses are usually booked a year in advance in my state. If you want a nice house. I donít see how he could switch it around.

No he can't switch it around. And it really doesn't matter anymore. He's free of the burden of my daughter's graduation and can enjoy his beach house all he wants. I'll move on. Perhaps I should thank him for lowering the bar. Now I won't have to worry if I miss one of his family gatherings. And I'm sure not going to plan around them.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:20 PM   #9
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Have to agree with the others. Let it go. They made their arrangements first and he did acknowledge you and is sending a present, most kids want to be with their friends on graduation.
Thank you Nammu!
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

When you say ďfamily has to come before beach houseĒ Iíd agree if he said he booked beach house for himself or to do drinking with some guys, then I agree. But beach house is his family outing, he booked it for a family. So he is really not prioritizing beach house. He planned something for his family. Perhaps he prioritizes immediate family over extended. Thatís not uncommon and I donít see how it makes him shallow

If you want everyone to attend big events like weddings or graduations. you plan like a year in advance but even then you might have people unable to attend. Typically graduations are not attended by 100%. Itís not uncommon for people being unable to attend

Your feelings are valid. Intensity of your anger is a little unusual though and it makes me think there is more to the story. You shared ongoing difficult relationship with your own and your husbands family members and with other people (neighbors classmates friends etc etc) before. maybe there is general animosity in the families and in your circles or maybe there is something else at play
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

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Hi Rose. Thanks for your input. I respect that you disagree with my feelings on the matter. Perhaps you could have been less judgmental of me though. In my original post I said we are a small family. I guess because of that I place a higher value on family interactions. That does not make me abnormal for feeling anger at my brother's shallow opinion of the importance of a family get together like a high school graduation. And yes, many kids graduate from high school. Does that mean my daughter's day means nothing and should be thought of as just another day? Well, perhaps to you. But not me. From this day on I will lower my expectations of my brother. I will place less importance on family gatherings with him. I'll move on from this and enjoy the party with my daughter and he can enjoy the beach. And I'll no longer feel the burden to be at all his family events ( I've never missed one of his). And when his daughter graduates and he expects me to be there....well, I may be at the beach and that will be okay.
I'm sorry for the judgemental tone. I do think that successfully raising a child is a tremendous challenge. You have every right to be thrilled with each milestone your child reaches, from first words and first steps to H.S. graduation and beyond. When you brought her into the world, you got no guarantee she'ld make it this far, without screwing up her life, as many a daughter has done. So - by all means - rejoice and celebrate! Your brother's presence would be nice, of course, but there's no need to let his absence rain on your girl's parade . . . or on yours. I think your revised plans make good sense.
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:47 PM   #12
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When you say ďfamily has to come before beach houseĒ Iíd agree if he said he booked beach house for himself or to do drinking with some guys, then I agree. But beach house is his family outing, he booked it for a family. So he is really not prioritizing beach house. He planned something for his family. Perhaps he prioritizes immediate family over extended. Thatís not uncommon and I donít see how it makes him shallow

If you want everyone to attend big events like weddings or graduations. you plan like a year in advance but even then you might have people unable to attend. Typically graduations are not attended by 100%. Itís not uncommon for people being unable to attend

Your feelings are valid. Intensity of your anger is a little unusual though and it makes me think there is more to the story. You shared ongoing difficult relationship with your own and your husbands family members and with other people (neighbors classmates friends etc etc) before. maybe there is general animosity in the families and in your circles or maybe there is something else at play
Divine....thanks for your input. My anger comes from the fact that my brother, himself, has always placed a lot of emphasis on family gatherings. For example, we all recently got together at a restaurant for a pre-Christmas family lunch. Both my husband and my sister's husband were not able to attend but the rest of us all did. My brother was mad that our husbands were not there. They had a valid reason, work travel. But my brother took it personally saying "I guess I'm not good enough for them." I thought that was ridiculous! But then we remembered that my brother has always had a high expectation for attendance to family events. So when I got his rejection to my invitation to my daughter's HS graduation celebration (which I was sure he would attend) I was stunned and yes, Angry!!! I felt like, don't hold us to a high bar, then lower it for your self. And he's known for well over a year that my daughter was a senior in HS. He's asked where she wants to go to college. So why did the thought not enter his mind about us having a graduation party?? He should have known better! And as I said previously, I've been at every one of his child's events. He'll probably never see my child again after HS graduation as kids begin their adult lives so the graduation family get together is even more important in that regard. But hey, that's fine. I'll let it go. I won't forget though. People show you how to treat them. I'll be placing much less importance on his events from here on out. As he showed me!
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:22 PM   #13
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Why would he never see her after graduation? That sounds extreme.
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:51 PM   #14
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Divine....thanks for your input. My anger comes from the fact that my brother, himself, has always placed a lot of emphasis on family gatherings. For example, we all recently got together at a restaurant for a pre-Christmas family lunch. Both my husband and my sister's husband were not able to attend but the rest of us all did. My brother was mad that our husbands were not there. They had a valid reason, work travel. But my brother took it personally saying "I guess I'm not good enough for them." I thought that was ridiculous! But then we remembered that my brother has always had a high expectation for attendance to family events. So when I got his rejection to my invitation to my daughter's HS graduation celebration (which I was sure he would attend) I was stunned and yes, Angry!!! I felt like, don't hold us to a high bar, then lower it for your self. And he's known for well over a year that my daughter was a senior in HS. He's asked where she wants to go to college. So why did the thought not enter his mind about us having a graduation party?? He should have known better! And as I said previously, I've been at every one of his child's events. He'll probably never see my child again after HS graduation as kids begin their adult lives so the graduation family get together is even more important in that regard. But hey, that's fine. I'll let it go. I won't forget though. People show you how to treat them. I'll be placing much less importance on his events from here on out. As he showed me!
I think getting together with sibs for a pre-Christmas lunch is a lovely idea. Your brother was a real spoil-sport to start fussing over two brother-in-laws not being there. He was being ingracious and petty. Personally, I relish opportunities to be with my sibs without their spouses tagging along. I figure they didn't choose me for a relative, and I didn't choose them.

Here's the standard I hold my brother-in-law to. If, when I knock on their door, he lets me in . . . and I don't see bruises on my sister's face . . . and my nephews/nieces look well fed, then that BIL has met all my expectations. Anything beyond that is gravy: nice, but not required.

I can see how your brother's odd combination of expectations and reciprocations can have you confused. You don't have to operate on his level. As you say, perhaps the bar has been lowered. Do what feels rewarding to you. Assume he'll do the same. Everyone's free to do as they like.

I felt very close to my 3 siblings growing up and assumed we always would be. As adults, no two of us live in the same state. There have been years when I wondered if they even cared if I was alive. Recently - now that their kids are all adults - we have grown much closer. In life, relationships can wax and wane. I've learned to just roll with the flow.
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Old 01-14-2022, 11:17 PM   #15
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@lovethesun I just read through all the thread, and like many others, I was perplexed at the intensity of your anger at your brother UNTIL you let us in on the recent holiday lunch where your brother stated an expectation that seems to be a double standard. Considering his comments, I can understand how you would be upset that he isn't coming, but I would guess to say that the intensity of your anger comes from the double standard he presents, not his actual absence. He expects you and your husband to drop everything and prioritize family events that he plans, but he does not have to change anything to accommodate the events you plan. And, while your anger is justified either way because how you feel is how you feel, I think all of us can relate to feeling that anger from a double standard.

And I can totally relate because my brother plays these double standard games all the time too, which is just one reason why I no longer have a relationship with him.

I agree with others who said don't let his attitude spoil your day or your daughter's day. The people who really care will be there. And that's who you really want there anyhow.
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Old 01-14-2022, 11:45 PM   #16
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We all want great family relationships, closeness and fantasy of everyone getting along. The reality sadly isnít like this even in best of families.

Yet we want to continue creating an illusion of this ideal family. Ideal family that doesnít exist.

Going by what you shared there is a lot of resentment and distance in your relationship with your brother. Even the way you speak about him. Thereís also no particular closeness between him and your daughter as you donít even anticipate him seeing her in adulthood.

Yet you donít want to accept that this isnít ideal family situation (and itís normal to be in denial) and just enjoy whatís there. It could be always worse. You could have no family. Instead you have imperfect one. Iíll take imperfect.

You can choose to remain angry and plot a revenge or you could choose to accept the situation the way it is and enjoy whatís there: let them send the gift, enjoy the party, chill and focus on your daughters future.
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Old 01-15-2022, 04:42 AM   #17
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I wonder if he genuinely wants to come and actually regrets that he can't....has he avoided events of yours, or demonstrated a double standard, consistently in the past? You seem not only angry but surprised that he cannot attend.
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Old 01-15-2022, 03:50 PM   #18
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I truly understand why you are upset about this.Yep ,your brother knows your daughter will graduate this year.But he made his plans with his family.And that is his decision.Others have given you good advises. Let his absence not ruin the joy of your daughter's accomplishment. Enjoy the event.Sometimes relationship with FOO is complicated.My sibling s kid graduated in 2021.I was planning a lot for the event and was in much euphoria for the occasion .I was expecting the invitation with out a doubt as I was close to the kids and babysat them whenever possible.I never got invited.I later knew through my parents that graduation was over.I was really upset and felt used.(my sibling would always tell me how her kids adore me and wanted to spend time with me and would drop them at my place for a week or so)Now I have introspected my entire relationship with them.I was never invited over for any birthdays,anniversaries. They were only missing me when either they are sick or parents have a date night or have a vacation but parents are busy working.None of them have any heart felt connection with me in the same way I do.I was used for their needs.It was not reciprocal and mutual.Ya good idea to lower our expectations.And congratulations to your daughter.

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Old 01-16-2022, 06:04 AM   #19
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

Your brother is certainly displaying double standards, but it's not unusual. Siblings can be the worst for recognising the value of family relationships.

Relating to my own experiences, has he always been like that or has it happened when he got married (for instance). My brother changed when he married for the second time. She controls and tries that behaviour on family too. For ages, he couldn't be bothered to do jobs for our mother, because he was too busy helping his in-laws.

He recently told me to wind my neck in when I contested something he said about me. I know where the comment had originated but this made me more wary of him. Unfortunately, he's adopted the attitude of both his wife and stepdaughter, who think you should tolerate unacceptable behaviour because of everything they've done for you. What they've conveniently forgotten is time spent packing up for their move while new niece was in hospital, then helping with decorating in new house (amongst other things).

Sorry I've taken over this thread but wanted to give you an example of that type of behaviour. If your brother feels it's more important to take a holiday, then that's his choice. It would be better if you don't react. Just because he's your brother, it doesn't mean you have to behave in the same way!

Enjoy your daughter's graduation and take pride in her achievements.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: Family not acting like family

Your brother made his plans before you notified him you wished him to attend. If I had made plans like that and my nephew then announced something he wanted me to attend, I would respond as your brother has.

Let it go.
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