My brother blames ME for our abusive and alcoholic mother?
My mother has a long history of substance abuse and criminal child abuse (mainly against me) that began once I became a teenager. My brother has always blamed me for her abuse toward me, saying things like “if you didn’t upset her, she wouldn’t have punched/kicked/slapped you.”
I am now an adult and he still does this, and even blamed me for her leaving our home (the abuse became so bad that my father put a restraining order in place, so she was forced to leave the home when I was still a teenager).
I love my brother and I would like to have relationship with him, but my self esteem plummets every time he says these things to me. How can I go forward in having a healthy relationship with him?
- Common SenseLv 75 months agoFavorite Answer
It is such a pity that your brother is so deep in denial about your mother's behavior that he is using you as a scape goat. You never caused your mother to have a substance abuse problem, nor are you at all responsible for her abusive behavior. She used you to vent her frustrations, that's all. When a parent hits a child, they are out of control and lack the communications skills to talk thing out without resorting to violence.
Your father did the right thing by protecting you against her abuse. I imagine she got on his last nerve long ago, but stayed to protect you kids.
Your brother has convinced himself that you are the problem, not your mother. He probably just cannot bare the truth and therefore, he cannot or will not see it or acknowledge the reality of the situation. Perhaps, like your mother did, he is using you as his scape goat. He has all of these negative feelings and rather than seeing it all for the truth of the matter, that your mother caused all of this upheaval, he is putting the blame on you. You see, IF you kept quiet and just took the beatings, mommy would still be home....that is his train of thought, as dysfunctional as it is.
Please, please find a way to forgive your brother for his inability to currently see and understand what actually happened. The cause and effect of your mother's behavior has nothing to do with you other than the abuse she placed on you is a symptom of her problems, not the blame of them. You are not powerful enough to cause a grown woman to be an alcoholic and make her abuse you. You do realize that, right?
I understand you love your brother and unless and until he has a true reality check, I am afraid he will continue to blame you for your mother's problems. But, the great thing is that often when people grow up a bit, they mature and see things differently. He may have a revelation one day. There is still hope that the light bulb will go off in his head when he finally realizes your mother's behavior was all about HER and HER frustrations, HER alcoholism, HER inability to cope with life, HER inability to effectively parent without abuse. She picked on you and she bullied you, but somehow, she had the control not to do the same to your brother (it seems). Maybe she did hit him and he thought he deserved it. Who knows what really is going on in his head.
But, time heals. Time will change his perspective on what has happened, it will. So, give him time and give him space and do not discuss your mother with him, should he bring it up, unless it is in a way that he acknowledges her problems. In the mean while, have light contact with him at first by acknowledging holidays and special occasions. He needs time to heal and once he understands the reality of what happened, he will come around. He will. Be patient.
- 5 months ago
Your brother is probably just a miserable person himself and having an alcoholic mother doesn’t help. It’s not a personal reflection on you.
- Anonymous5 months ago
Your brother has no common sense. He is male. He can’t help it.
- 5 months ago
Why doesn't your toxic brother know that it was his mother's sociopathic behavior and ONLY her fault that caused your dad and the courts to file a RO to leave. Is she still around town? If your brother knows of her whereabouts, then by all means, he should join her. No wonder he "idolizes" her, 2 peas in a pod. I'd break all ties with him as he is also an abusive POS.
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- Chae-wonLv 55 months ago
Move on and claim your own life and happiness. This sweet girl believes in you.
- Emily RoseLv 65 months ago
You can't. Because relationships and their dynamic is based on choices it's not just determined by blood. Just because you guys are blood related does not mean you will get along. All he does is blame you and make you feel terrible about things that aren't your fault but yet you're still reaching out to him. Maybe it's time to stop doing that because he sounds just as bad as your mother except he's not an alcoholic he's an idiot for blaming you and for thinking that it's actually your fault when your mother is the one who knows better so just let that sink in because he's not a smart person and he doesn't deserve a decent relationship with you not the way that he treats you.
- PearlLv 75 months ago
just tell him you dont want to hear that kind of talk anymore
- PatriciaLv 75 months ago
It seems he doesn't want a decent relationship with you, and is playing the blame game, as well. Your mother's behavior was her choice. You didn't decide she ought to be abusive. SHE did that on her own.
Your brother doesn't seem like a rational thinker
- Katherine WLv 75 months ago
Well, it takes two to tango, and it will be hard to have a healthy relationship with someone who isn't healthy in their attitude. It's common for abusers to say "I only abuse you because you're upsetting me" and so when he says you upset your mother and that's why she was abusive, HE is being abusive and behaving like an abuser.
Is your dad alive? Can he talk to your brother and point out that your mother was abusive, plain and simple, and that she didn't abuse because of your behavior, she abused because she was an abuser? Can your dad point out that your mother abused substances and this had nothing to do with any of you? Can your dad point out that your mother left - not because of you - because of the restraining order that he had to put in place? If your dad can talk to your brother, that would help.
You could also refer him to talking to a therapist, or possibly reading a book about abusers, so he understands that it's never the fault of the victim that the abuser is abusive. But that presumes that he wants to learn and to change.
It might help you to go to therapy to talk about your brother's behavior, and your mother's, and your family's dynamics. You might come to understand that it's easier for your brother to blame you than to face his own unhappy childhood.
As to what to do with him, whether he is willing to look into therapy or not, is this: tell him, once "I would like to have a relationship with you. I am not going to go over our childhood and assign blame. If you want to have a relationship, that's great, but let's stop talking about our childhood." Then, you can talk to him about other things, like his work or your work or his/your hobbies, things like that. If he brings up your childhood, say "We talked about this. I won't keep talking about this." Then if he continues, you say "We'll talk again when you're feeling better" and hang up or leave. If you keep doing that, then perhaps he'll change, or at least you won't put up with it.
Good luck to you. Your brother needs to figure this out, and you don't have to put up with it in the meantime.
I'm sorry for what you went through.
- heart o' goldLv 75 months ago
I’m so sorry, the bottom line is that you CAN’T have a healthy relationship with him because he isn’t capable of it.
I suggest you google and read on emotional and psychological abuse and then again on toxic families. I didn’t realized my family was completely toxic and both my mother and my brothers (one more than the other) have abused me, pretty terribly, for my entire life.
It was helpful to realize this, helpful to read about it and I continue to read, learn and grow this understanding.
The process of realization has taken 10 years. During that time I have stopped reacting the way I used to and taken my own safety (yes, the abuse was unsafe for me) psychological and emotional health in hand. About three years ago the abuse became so egregious - in attempts to get me to fall back into line and allow them to continue to abuse me, that I had to divorce my family.
That was really hard, but the rest of my life has opened up like a beautiful flower. I wish I had done it decades ago.