How to enlighten brother?


In one year, my middle brother has become a verbally abusive father to his elder dtr since she announced her engagement to marry. Marriage will not be in the family's home "parrish," but a civil ceremony on a college campus. Initially, my brother extolled the virtues/ambitions of this man, but since the divorce of his parents (and my neice 'moving in'), my brother has only negative comments: disinheriting, stupid, etc. We have met this young man several times and admire him greatly. He and niece are employed, self supporting college many states away.

My brother ceased all calls with sibs and rarely sends emails, unless forwarding non-personal generic info. He has never told any of us of the engagement. If he answers the phone when I call, he never speaks of his wife or dtrs. All topics are about him, his trucks, crops, etc. His wife works from home and is finding it more difficult to be productive. My younger sister and I believe she will leave him after the wedding. When the pending wedding plans are raised, my brother walks away or says 'it will not happen.' The younger dtr is still in college, but not living at home.

This brother (60+ years old), had been a very caring person. Is this dictatorial/controlling behavior common to men with only dtrs? Am I corrrect in being worried about everyone's safety, as he does have guns for varmints on his farm?

Has anyone witnessed anything similar? Will sending him books on toxic relationships/parenting enlighten him? Is there any way a letter could be effective? I am his closest (and eldest) sibling at 400 miles. My family plans to attend the summer wedding.

Any advise for promoting my brother's understanding and ability to 'let go' is appreciated.

Comments (5)
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Is this behavior out of character for him ?

Have you talked to his wife about your fears ?

The gun issue is of concern.

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"Am I corrrect in being worried about everyone's safety, as he does have guns for varmints on his farm?"

No. Unless there's an awful lot more than you've described, there is no "gun issue". He's decided to be grumpy for whatever his reasons. From what you've written I don't see any reason to manufacture this concern.

Even when I disagree with some people's behavior, they don't automatically become threats. I think this is a highly unreasonable leap.

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Wow, this behavior is not common to men, period. It may just be coincidental that it occurred when his daughter got engaged.

It sounds like he needs a good physical/mental exam, something seems to have gone terribly wrong. Is he on new meds that are interacting badly with old meds, does he have an undiagnosed illness, early onset dementia. Are there serious but hidden financial problems causing him to act out like this?

His wife may need to enlist the help of friends, family, his physician (if he has one, many men don't), their pastor, if they have one, etc, etc. He probably won't cooperate, but he must be examined, the sooner the better.

Don't worry about the books or letters, he wouldn't read them anyway, and if there is a serious physical or psychological problem, that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Good luck.

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Momj, I agree this brother needs a good physical/mental health exam! Unfortunately, he only sees an MD IF he believes there is an actual need. He is not on any medication-only a vitamin daily. As a former nurse, I have yet to meet a man who shares any emotional/mental issues to an internist willingly-and very few docs even ask. This bro would NEVER see a mental health rep unless forced to by law. He remains adamant re the Aug wedding. He has estranged himself from three sibs and will sometimes call two others. His wife is unable to speak with him about most topics, and finds his proclamations very distracting to her work. She may leave before the dtr's wedding.

Though this bro believes his pastor is God on earth, he would never share anything personal. He has few friends. He does have some financial problems, as he overbought farm equipment that has lost value.

Thanks for your views.

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Absolutely, the two posters above me are correct--this sounds very much like a medical situation that needs to be addressed. Seems as if there's something wrong medically, and the daughter and her fiance are just the targets that gave him something to hang his hat on.

Yes, if there are guns, and if he's having issues that are making him other than the man he used to be, you really DON'T know if he might decide to use those guns in a way he'd never have considered in the past.

I'd think that the LAST thing you want to do is start sending him self-help books--that's going to be seen as a confrontation, and if he's not yet ready to look for help, it's going to be a bad idea. Best thing to do is sit down with his wife, make sure she understands that he may have medical issues that might be treatable--and that SHE needs to call their dr. and alert him to what's going on, so the next time your brother has a check-up, the dr. can be on the lookout and handle the situation properly.

Fact is, your brother is at an age where sometimes some 'senior health' issues can hit.

Good luck.

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