Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Brother is Vulgar Around My Children”

Growing up, my mom and older brother always had a strange connection. He had some health issues when he was younger, which led to her coddling him throughout life. I used to be pretty resentful of this, but it doesn’t bother me much any more. (I’m in my early thirties and have two toddlers. I don’t have much time to mope about childhood favoritism!).

Unfortunately, my brother and I have very little in common. He’s extremely bitter and negative. He’s nearing forty and is unmarried with a dead-end career. I limit the time I allow him to spend around my children because he is incredibly vulgar. He often talks about graphic sex acts with no regard for who is around. In addition, he always bashes my dad and he tells me how much he thinks my mom should divorce him because he’s such a loser. He’s even told me that he hates my dad because he never played any sports with him while he was growing up. Clearly, my brother needs some counseling.

Recently, my mother has begun hounding me about getting in touch with him and about spending more time with him. She keeps telling me that he talks about my kids and how much he’d love to see them. What is bizarre is that he never calls me or makes any attempt to visit unless prompted by my mother.

At first, I just put her off because I didn’t want to get into all of the reasons I didn’t spend time with him. Then, she began to get more and more demanding. Finally, I sat down with her and told her (in the most polite but firm way possible) to butt out. I explained that some of his behavior wasn’t appropriate for children, and although I had discussed it with him numerous times, he continued to behave in that way. Although she defended his behavior, she admitted that it wasn’t her business and she should let us deal with our own relationship. However, it obviously wasn’t resolved. Then she began to avoid me. When we do talk, if my brother is brought up in conversation, her entire mood shifts. She begins cutting me down and closes up in conversation.

This past weekend, my parents were invited to come to dinner at our house. When they showed up, guess who was along for the ride? Big brother. He showed up unexpectedly at their house, so my mom just told him to come along. (We live a TWO hour drive from them.) I didn’t want to make him feel bad, so we welcomed him in. The entire dinner, I was constantly barking “Language!” in his direction. I eventually put the kids to bed early and asked them to leave.

I need to speak with my mother soon about this, but I’m not sure how to approach it. I feel like I have been very clear on everything and she is simply ignoring my wishes. Do I need to ban my entire family from my house until they realize it’s not ok to talk like a porn star in front of kids? And how can I get my mom to stop trying to force a friendship between my brother and me? — Family Knots

First of all, when you say that your mom and brother used to have a “strange connection” and that he had some health issues that resulted in her coddling him, I don’t believe that it doesn’t still bother you on some level despite you saying you’re too busy now to mope about childhood favoritism. Why even bring it up if it doesn’t relate in some way to the current situation? That might be something worth exploring here, if for no other reason that to provide another angle for the source of your resentment toward both your brother and your mom. Maybe there’s more than one reason you want to keep your brother away from your kids. Maybe, for you, it’s a chance for you to exercise some control in the family dynamics. As a child you couldn’t control the relationship your brother had with your mom — and maybe it was too close or “strange” for your comfort — but as an adult you can control the relationship he has with your children.

I understand that there’s the issue of your brother’s inappropriate behavior and language around your kids, too. But you can’t change that about him. You’ve tried talking to him and it hasn’t helped. What you can change is your reaction to him. Instead of giving him attention for the behavior — which may be exactly what he wants — try ignoring him.

“But my kids will hear him!” You’re thinking. And, yes, they will, if you allow them to have a relationship with your brother (and for the sake of your relationship with him and your mother, you probably should). To that I say: so what? I mean, do you plan to protect them from bad language forever? Do you plan to keep them away from “colorful” people for the rest of their childhood? At some point, they are going to be in the company of adults who are weird, and at least if it happens around someone you know and when you’re around, you can explain that adults sometimes say or behave in a way that’s inappropriate but it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people. As your kids grow and have better capacity to understand, you can even begin to explain that some adults have certain limitations — emotional, physical, and intellectual — that keep them from behaving in a way that looks or seems “normal” to us. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It means they’re different.

This is a complicated situation and there isn’t a right or wrong way to handle it. If you want to protect your kids from your brother, that’s your call (and if you have any reason at all to suspect he may be a threat to them, then, obviously, do everything you can to keep him away!). But understand that part of your motivation may be connected to childhood resentment on your part that you haven’t fully gotten over yet and that really isn’t fair to your kids or the rest of your family. And understand that sometimes in life we have to choose the lesser evil and maybe in this case that’s letting your kids hear some bad language if it means keeping the extended family unit intact and not compromising a relationship between your kids and their grandparents.

Finally, you don’t elaborate on what sort of “health issues” your brother suffered from as a kid, but if there’s any chance those issues are still affecting him in some way, it might benefit you — and certainly him — to try to find some compassion you can extend his way. It might even help explain some of his behavior (as well as anger).

Obviously, I’m filling in a lot of holes here and it may be that it simply isn’t healthy for you to be around your brother or to subject your children to him. If that’s the case, you need to be as clear as possible with your mother about that decision and let her know that he is not welcome in your home and the next time she brings him along, uninvited, none of them will be allowed in. It would suck if it comes to that, but if you’re adamant in your decision to keep him away from your kids, you need to make the boundaries very clear. I do hope it doesn’t come to that, though, and that you can find a way to foster a controlled relationship between your kids and their uncle. Good luck.


You can follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

189 comments… add one
  • j2 September 4, 2012, 9:50 am

    A major part of being a parent is being a responsible gatekeeper for your young children. That means setting behavior standards, enforcing them, and standing your ground on it.

    You get that, and I congratulate you for it.

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  • lemongrass September 4, 2012, 9:54 am

    My FIL talks this way and I wonder how I will react when my child will be old enough to pick up. Besides having a final “don’t talk that way around my children” I don’t really think there is much that you can do about this. Some people don’t have a filter and that isn’t something you can control. Some kids are freaked out by swearing & worse and you could always try to use that as an angle to get him to stop but that may not work either.

    At least you know when your kids will be learning these words and you can have an appropriate conversation with them about what they mean, etc.

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  • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 9:57 am

    Ugh I can’t wait until someone in either of our extended families has kids just so I have an excuse to quit talking like a drunken sailor. For the last 4 years in a row my new year’s resolution has been to quit cussing all the time. Expand my vocabulary. Stop using Fuck to explain my emotions. Like Fuck that. And Fuck you. And that Fucking sucks. But I just can’t quit. I mean I’ve seriously tried. But you know when you’re really pissed? I’m talking like steam coming out of your ears. Nothing feels better than a good Fuck you. Sigh. I’m going to do a reverse new year’s resolution. I’m better than this.

    LW – It’s totally your call. But remember it’s not really about you. It’s about your kids. Do you want to stop them from having a relationship with their uncle? My mom has plenty of issues with her step-mom. But she’s been my Grandma since I was a baby and I love her. My mom always said that she couldn’t use her issues with my Grandma as an excuse to stop us from having a relationship with her – because that would be punishing us. And give your kids some credit. They will know he isn’t always appropriate – and as long as you teach them that – I wouldn’t stop them from having a relationship with him over a few too many f bombs.

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    • Taylor September 4, 2012, 10:06 am

      It seems like it’s more than a language issue though. “He often talks about graphic sex acts with no regard for who is around.” <– Am I misinterpreting that? Who doesn't enjoy the occasional graphic discussion, but around one's Mom, sister and a couple of toddlers? Ewww.

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      • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 10:42 am

        Yeah that part was definitely weird. I would rather stick bamboo shoots up my fingernails than talk about doing the dirty in front of my Dad. I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about it. I’m surprised the Mom doesn’t think that at least is worth cutting him out. But meh. It’s still a big deal to cut a family member out.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 2:44 pm

        I actually don’t 100 percent believe that part of the story… See my thoughts on that below.

      • Lindsay September 4, 2012, 10:53 am

        Yeah, bad language is one thing, but I wouldn’t really want to expose my kids to that sort of stuff. You have to be careful what kids hear because they might start repeating it at the playground.

      • Lydia September 5, 2012, 3:25 am

        My uncle does that. With his teenaged kids in the room. He also once (during my birthday party, no less) talked about how his ex-girlfriend once called the cops on him because he tried to strangle her. He has Aspergers (and was diagnosed very late in life), so I understand why he doesn’t have those filters, but it’s still really hard to deal with and I feel SO BAD for my cousins that they have to live with him for a dad (thankfully, he’s divorced and they spend most of their time with their mother).

  • Jess September 4, 2012, 9:57 am

    Oof, this is tough. I know I grew up with very colorful uncles who said totally inappropriate things. If we ever repeated the “curse words,” we learned VERY quickly that it wasn’t ok. We understood very early on that while they were lovable family members, our parents expected us to behave differently than they did. For that matter, I still don’t really curse in front of my parents!

    Now, on the other hand, the explicit sexual talk is another matter. To me, at least. ESPECIALLY if it demeans women and/or makes sex seem like something base and meaningless. I want my (future) children to learn that sex is about love. I’m not naive enough to think they won’t have meaningless sex at some point in their adult lives but I’d like their foundation of knowledge to be that it’s something of substance. Maybe the same rules apply —children ARE able to sift information according to the reliability of the source. But there is the potential here of muddying the water earlier than necessary. I guess that is what would trouble me.

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    • JK September 4, 2012, 10:03 am

      I forgot about the explicit sex talk. That is definitely inappropriate, and something that merits a serious conversation with brother (and mother if needed)

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      • camorzilla September 4, 2012, 10:15 am

        For me the issue is more the explicit talk than cursing. We all talk in a way sometimes that I know most of us would not prefer to hear children talk but sex talk in front of toddlers? That’s just plain creepy and WAY inappropriate.

  • JK September 4, 2012, 9:58 am

    I may be a bad mummy, but in my case I have a potty mouth. I try to control it, but I am prone to letting loose a curse. But you know what? My kids also watch TV, so they´ve heard those words before, even if they might not understand (I generally curse in english while at home we speak spanish).
    But, I take advantage of those moments to teach them (well, the eldest, the youngest is still too young) that there are some words that grown ups use, that little kids are never supposed to say them.

    ALso WWS (if you´re over your mother treating your brother preferentially why bring it up? let alone in the very first paragraph of a long letter)

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    • Something More September 4, 2012, 11:06 am

      “…there are some words that grown ups use, that little kids are never supposed to say them.”

      Yes. My kids knew bad words when they were little. They are going to hear them whether or not you say them at home. Who remembers that kid in class who cussed on the playground because it was “cool?” My girls were raised with the same sayings. There are words that adults use that kids can’t – end of story. They aren’t “bad words” just words they aren’t allowed to say. I was always calm about it and didn’t freak out if they slipped on one. They were always encouraged to ask me first if they weren’t sure if a word was a “grown-up word.”

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      • JK September 4, 2012, 11:11 am

        So true about kids picking things up on the playground/ at school. You can´t shield them from everything.

      • EscapeHatches September 4, 2012, 11:27 am

        We basically told this to my stepson.

        You cannot use ‘swear’ words until you really understand what they mean, and how the can make people feel. You can’t swear until you can do it well, basically. 😉

      • Rangerchic September 4, 2012, 12:02 pm

        Kids pick up all kinds of things at school when my daughter (17 now) was in IDK, K or 1st grade I picked her up from school and she said “Look mom, I have a hickey!” and she was so proud of it. So my jaw dropped. I redirected her and told her she was mistaken, that what she had was a bruise (she had pinched a part of her skin somehow so it was really red – ya know like a hickey – more than typical blue bruise color). She was fine with that. I kind of expected her to come home with curse words but that one took me by surprise.

        I agree with everyone else so far though 🙂

  • Taylor September 4, 2012, 10:04 am

    LW, in situations like this, you can only control your actions. You can’t stop your brother from being sexually vulgar (eww, in front of kids? That’s just wrong) or bashing you dad, but you can control his access to them. The same with your mother. I think she is being really disrespectful of you by trying to force a relationship between you and your brother. The thing with families is that we are somehow expected to put up with behavior that would never fly if the misbehaver (not a word, I know) wasn’t related (if you had a friend over who was making crude sexual remarks around your kids, wouldn’t it upset your Mom?). It sounds like you’ve already tried speaking with her, and she’s ignoring your stand on this matter because it’s more important to her that your brother has a certain kind of relationship with you and the family. All I can think of (in addition to WWS) is that you will likely have to set up consequences to her/him not respecting your wishes. Maybe arrange to get together only when the kids have a sitter, or when you go to them. One last thing – it seems like parents of adults who have a hard time in life are sometimes blind to their kid’s bad behavior. As the kid that’s doing well, she may perceive you as having a duty to help out your “less fortunate” brother. You don’t.

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  • SherBear September 4, 2012, 10:04 am

    I’m going to have to go against Wendy on this one – if you don’t want your children exposed to an adult talking about vulgar sex acts at the dinner table than you do what you have to do to prevent that situation. LW didn’t mention the gender of her children but if one or both of the children is a girl than that is beyond inappropriate and I applaud her for putting her foot down. Imagine if the kids starting repeating the stories at preschool or daycare.

    My older sister also had health problems as a child and my mother has constantly given her a free pass for her bad behavior. I no longer have a relationship with my sister because for as hard as I tried, she was and is never nice to me. It took some time in therapy to realize that if I wouldn’t accept that behavior from a friend I don’t have to accept it from a family member either. This of course has affected my relationship with my mother (but not my father) and her and I are currently not on speaking terms. But sometimes you HAVE to put your foot down on what is and is not acceptable behavior even if it means cutting off members of the family. The cuts don’t have to be permanent, but set boundaries for the way you need to be treated. LW- if your mother can’t accept you not allowing your brother’s inappropriate behavior in your home than that is HER issue not yours. I do agree on Wendy’s advice for therapy – it’s very helpful for dysfunctional family relationships and has tremendously helped me set boundaries and stick to them without any guilt.

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    • Sheryl September 4, 2012, 10:58 am

      I dont think it should matter if her children are boys or girls. If its inappropriate for one, its inappropriate for the other. Boys need to know just as much that this is inappropriate!

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      • Jubietta September 4, 2012, 11:52 am

        Wish I could ‘like’ this a hundred times.

  • Laura Hope September 4, 2012, 10:07 am

    I didn’t get that it was just profanity from this letter. Sounded more like pornographic language that would make most of us cringe.

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  • kerrycontrary September 4, 2012, 10:13 am

    I agree with earlier comments that there is a difference between swear words and graphic sex talk. Kids don’t need to know what a blumpkin is at the age of 5.

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    • Taylor September 4, 2012, 10:23 am

      I don’t actually know what that is, and I can’t google it cuz I’m at work!

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      • CG September 4, 2012, 10:53 am

        You don’t want to know what it is! 🙂

      • Taylor September 4, 2012, 10:58 am

        Now I totally do want to know!!

      • JK September 4, 2012, 11:02 am

        I just googled it. I can guarantee you do NOT want to know.

      • bagge72 September 4, 2012, 11:52 am

        It is giving a guy a BJ while he is pooping (Addie’s favorite word)

      • Budj September 4, 2012, 11:55 am

        I always envisioned a blumpkin to be one of those dried out sea urchins in-place of a man’s testicles…I know I’m weird…

      • Taylor September 4, 2012, 12:02 pm

        Errr, CG and JK, you were right, I’d be happier not knowing that.
        Bagge72, thanks for the explanation though, I’m glad I didn’t end up googling it =)

      • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 1:35 pm

        i do do love that word. (hee hee)

        i also like rating poops, 1 through 10. i haven’t poo’d a 10 in awhile. makes me kind of sad.

      • Budj September 4, 2012, 2:52 pm


      • bagge72 September 4, 2012, 3:06 pm

        Have you thrown it in the mix with this new handsome friend you have? Or are you waiting to drop the poo on him…

      • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 3:12 pm

        Oh God no. I’m pretending to be normal for as long as I reasonably can! Though I’ve definitely exposed him already to pieces of my personality. Just pieces. But not the poopy pieces.

      • bagge72 September 4, 2012, 3:57 pm

        Well when he gets the whole thing I hope he realizes how lucky he is!

      • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 4:00 pm


        is so sweet, bagge72. if he doesn’t realize it could you maybe shoot him an emial?!

      • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 4:06 pm

        his email is rahm@sexymayor.gov.

  • laxhaxtax September 4, 2012, 10:15 am

    Maybe i am reading more here than the writer meant but I sense something more than just a spoiled man. He may have a mental/emotional condition that was not diagnosed but that Mom picked up on and babied him. He is too old to be acting this way unless there is an underlying problem. No happiness at work, no family of his own. I think maybe you, sister, might do a little investigating on the net to look up some of his symptoms. If you find that he does indeed have a problem he was born with you might have to explain to your children that Uncle “Joe” is “just that way” and even tho you don’t like his behavior he can’t help himself. What was he like in grade school, high school etc? Does he have friends? If he is alone except for family I would assume you do have a brother with issues much deeper than cursing

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  • Kristen September 4, 2012, 10:17 am

    I agree that a few colorful words here and there aren’t a reason to prevent your children from having a relationship with their extended family. It might even be a learning tool.

    However, talking about explicit sex and other inappropriate things is a whole different ballgame. I would make it extremely clear – one more time – to your brother and your parents that this kind of language cannot continue. If it does, he will no longer be welcome around your children. It’s his choice: Censor his language, or don’t come. I don’t understand why someone would think it was funny to talk like that around young kids, or would balk at being asked to stop. It’s incredibly rude and immature. Depending on what he’s saying, I would even go so far as to say it could be considered abuse to subject young children to that kind of sexually explicit language.

    LW, is there any way your brother might have some kind of medical condition that causes him to speak inappropriately? If not, and he refuses to change, I think it’s up to you to protect your children and restrict his access to them. You know what’s best for your kids, and you have the responsibility to keep them safe.

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    • Lindsay September 4, 2012, 11:00 am

      Yes! He’s a grown adult and should be entirely capable of censoring himself. If he’s given the option of shutting up or not seeing the kids, and he chooses to keep talking about this graphic stuff, then it’s clear where his priorities lie. I don’t think the LW needs to continue the cycle of babying him.

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      • MMcG September 4, 2012, 11:47 am

        “I don’t think the LW needs to continue the cycle of babying him.”

        YES x 100!

      • theattack September 4, 2012, 4:56 pm

        I love this! There’s no reason to give him more chances when he’s shown very clearly through his actions that he doesn’t have an interest in seeing the children. LW, stop telling him that he’s not allowed to use that language anymore. Instead tell him that he has to choose between using the language or having a relationship with your children.

  • Jenny September 4, 2012, 10:19 am

    I don’t agree with Wendy on this one either. There’s a huge difference between some cuss words and speaking graphically about sex in front of children. I mean, we’re not really sure exactly what this brother is saying — but if it really is truly “graphic”, then she definitely has the right to keep her brother from her children. Exposing children to sexual situations like that is at the least potentially damaging to their view of sex and their bodies and at worst, borderline sexual abuse (sexual abuse isn’t just touching, it’s exposing kids to sexual situations, like if you were to watch pornography with a child. Obviously it isn’t going that far, but if the talk is truly graphic, its pretty close). The LW says her kids are toddlers, but in a few years they will comprehend more and more of what is said around them. LW, if I were you, I’d tell your brother and your mother that he is not allowed around your children if he continues to speak this way. And if he does speak that way in their presence, separate your kids from him and tell him to leave. You’re their mother, and him having a relationship with your children is a privilege and not a right. Yes, your kids are going to meet all sort of eccentric people over the years, but this is a totally different situation.

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  • Amanda September 4, 2012, 10:23 am

    This is very bizarre. Your brother talks about graphic sex acts in front of his mother, father, sister, and nieces/nephews? Really? If this is true, then why haven’t you asked him to leave your house, or you and your kids leave your parents’ house immediately after this happens? It’s one thing to say fuck, asshole, shit, monkeyballs, etc. in front of young children, but discussing graphic sexual acts is NEVER OK. It’s borderline abusive behavior and you shouldn’t put up with it. WTF?

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    • Sheryl September 4, 2012, 10:53 am

      Yeah, I agree. An occasional oops curse throughout dinner is nothing to get worked up over, but if it is seriously inappropriate for most adults, much less, small children, you are perfectly within your rights to ask him (or them) to leave.

      A warning ‘Brother, I’ve asked you repeatedly not to talk like that in front of the kids. Consider this your final warning, if you bring up anything around this, this or that, you need to leave”. And then, follow through, tell them to get out. And if they refuse to leave: clean up, and go hang out with the kids in their bedrooms. And if it really gets out of hand, prepare to call the cops. But DON’T CAVE.

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  • Fabelle September 4, 2012, 10:23 am

    Agree with everyone that the vulgarity is definitely more problematic if it’s explicitly sexual. There’s no reason why that should be happening. At toddler age, I think the children are probably old enough to pick up on these things, but still too young to understand the whole “some adults are inappropriate” thing. Also– “…he always bashes my dad and he tells me how much he thinks my mom should divorce him because he’s such a loser.” Does he also do THAT in front of the children? That’s not okay, either.

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    • Hannanas September 4, 2012, 10:35 am

      I actually got kind of an Oedipal vibe here… The relationship between the mom and brother is “strange” and he’s always “bashing her dad”? I dunno, maybe it’s just me….

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      • Sheryl September 4, 2012, 10:56 am

        yeah, that’s why i think she mentioned the weird mom/son thing at the beginning, to set the stage for how her mom is always sticking up for her brother without any reason to. When she said she is ‘over it’, she is no longer jealous. But clearly the favoritism is still an issue because of how the mom coddles the brother, and doesn’t realize this is disturbing behavior!

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 2:04 pm

        The sister certainly has her very own Elektra moments here to be sure.

  • SGMcG September 4, 2012, 10:24 am

    LW, I was wondering how it was in your house while you were growing up. Did your Mom be an enforcer regarding inappropriate language from others while around you and your brother? Although you have a duty to act as a gatekeeper to protect your children, don’t deny your kids the right to know their uncle and grandmother in the process, especially since you have some resentment stemming from past family drama. At that point, rather than protecting your children, you are using your toddlers as an excuse to avoid your family – which really isn’t fair to them.

    Personally, if it were my kids, my overbearing mom and my vulgar brother (FYI – I have none of those), I would first sit down with the brother and mom (with Dad and husband acting as witnesses – grab a sitter to watch the kids) and explain ONE MORE TIME, why protecting your children from such vulgarity is important to you. Then, I would impose this creative solution to make sure that my needs are enforced: I would start a swear jar and have the brother fork over $5 every time his inappropriate language comes up – make Mom pay too if the language he utters stems from an unexpected visit she forced. Explain that the funds collected in the swear jar would be put towards potential college funds for the toddlers. Trust me, the swearing and inappropriate language (or the forced family bonding) will be cut FAST when people can’t put their money where their mouth is.

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    • kf September 4, 2012, 12:19 pm

      That sounds like a lot of work for someone who already has two children, and doesn’t necessarily want to take on two more.

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      • LK7889 September 4, 2012, 2:11 pm

        Also, how can you be sure that they would do this? If the brother can’t stop talking about sex in front of toddlers despite being asked, how can she expect him to put money in a swear jar when he does it? I think the brother has some sort of condition (like mentioned by some others on this post) and I don’t think this would have any effect at all on his behavior.

      • kf September 4, 2012, 2:36 pm

        Of course it won’t, it’ll just add “ineffectual collection agency” to her list of duties.

  • Mel September 4, 2012, 10:38 am

    “But my kids will hear him!” You’re thinking. To that I say: so what? I mean, do you plan to protect them from bad language forever?

    I’m sorry, but no. Bad language: “That fucker’s dumb as shit”. Talking about graphic sex acts: “So I **** my **** all over her spread ***”

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    • Mel September 4, 2012, 10:39 am

      Only now I realize I’m just echoing what everyone has already said. Oh, well.

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  • WatersEdge September 4, 2012, 10:55 am

    My mom is oddly coddling of my brother, although to a lesser degree, so I understand how this dynamic can feel. However, I also agree that you can’t really protect your kids from hearing these things forever. I wouldn’t push so much for the cursing to stop, but sexually explicit stuff, I would make a big deal out of. You mentioned that you keep telling your MOTHER how much of a problem this is. STOP BUYING INTO THE FAMILY DYNAMIC THAT YOUR BROTHER IS TOO INCAPACITATED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN BEHAVIOR and go directly to the source, your brother. Work it out with him and keep telling your mother to butt out.

    I’d limit the amount that the kids see him, but not refuse to let them be around him ever. This man is their uncle and sooner or later they will figure out that he is kind of a disgusting loser. I’d stop barking “Language!” at him. It only gives him more attention, and it makes the kids listen harder to the crappy things he says. Don’t say much at the time, and if he REALLY crosses a line, wait until after the kids are gone to address it. It sounds like he’s looking to get a rise out of you, so don’t let him. Decide what your boundary is, be clear with him about what the consequence of violating it will be, and then enforce it.

    Also, let go of the idea of getting your mother on board. She never will be. If she wants to prioritize the welfare of a 40-year-old man-child over her small grandchildren, then so be it. Let her get as upset as she wants, and again, don’t let her know she’s getting to you or she’ll think she can guilt/manipulate you into backing down to keep the peace. Also- based on what you’ve said, it’s likely that him seeing more of the kids is her idea and not his, so don’t let her make you think that he desperately wants that.

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    • AmyRenee September 4, 2012, 4:15 pm

      +1000 on ” go directly to the source, your brother. Work it out with him and keep telling your mother to butt out.”

      This is what caught my eye in the letter: “She keeps telling me that he talks about my kids and how much he’d love to see them. What is bizarre is that he never calls me or makes any attempt to visit unless prompted by my mother. ”

      LW, is it possible that your mother is trying to force the 2 of you together, telling you “he keeps talking about how he’d love to see the kids” and telling him “LW is so sad you never see his//her kids”? Is it possible that he didn’t just “show up unexpectedly at their house” but that she specifically invited him to your house and that he got upset when he found out he wasn’t actually expected at all?

      Call your brother. Ask him flat out: “Do you actually want to see my kids, or does Mom want you to see my kids and you are going along with her?” Then, if he does, make arrangements to see him WITHOUT your mom. Schedule to meet him at a public place (like the zoo) or at his place so that if he is not making an effort, you can leave. And I mean an honest effort – don’t run away if a swear word or 2 slips out (and he genuinely is trying), but if he is still using sexually explict language with no remorse then just leave.

      All of this is assuming that your brother doesn’t have some kind of true mental/medical condition, as others have suggested. If that is the case, take the advice others have left.

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  • Bossy Italian Wife September 4, 2012, 10:57 am

    I am surprised by the split in what people think you should do on this; on the one hand, when I first read your letter, I was thinking in my head, “This family has a clear lack of respect for your personal boundaries and no kid-filters!” And that may be true.

    But I was surprised by Wendy’s advice to just ignore the behavior altogether.

    Then I got to thinking about what she said…. because in most families there ARE those weirdo uncles, right? Like my friend’s Uncle Gary, who without fail always asks her to rub him down with suntan lotion. Or my Uncle George, who was always talking about guns and sex and shoveling manure at the dinner table.

    You have to decide where your limit is. On some level you could totally justify saying, “You know guys, it’s too much, you can’t do this in front of my kids.” On the other hand, the next time your brother starts getting all vulgar, you could just match him, shock the shit out of him, and do it in a way that your kids wouldn’t really realize it.

    So, for instance, if your brother starts talking about sex and getting explicit, you could just interrupt him and say, “You know what I like? Eating out. It feels great. And as far as I am concerned, swallowing is the way to go–who spits? What a waste of perfectly good semen.” That might shut them the hell up. And your kids wouldn’t know the difference.

    I say give him a taste of his own medicine.

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    • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 4:26 pm

      I’m kind of shocked by all the “I disagree, Wendy’s” I’m seeing. There were so many holes in this letter Wendy simply covered all the bases; I don’t think Wendy actually said one way or the other that the LW should or shouldn’t confront the mom or the uncle. Instead, she gave a lot of great “If this, than that” advice that will hopefully help the LW if she (or he?) is open to the advice and not defensive. Maybe there is *some* truth to the idea that the LW is still harboring some resentment. If she can consider that for a hot second then maybe some good could come from that – it would help her realize that maybe a little bit of the conflict is on her and not just on her vulgar brother. … On the other, on the other end of the possibilities, Wendy says “and if you have any reason at all to suspect he may be a threat to them, then, obviously, do everything you can to keep him away!” … So, all of this to say, I think all of Wendy’s points were good and will hopefully help the LW dig a little deeper to find out where the issue really lies – the issue probably is a little bit of everything – the uncle just a little toxic to be around, her harboring resenting, and lots of stuff inbetween. I’m not sure how all the comment are disagreeing with that.

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  • Lindsay September 4, 2012, 10:59 am

    I have to disagree with Wendy. I grew up with an uncle who cursed around me sometimes. He’d say, “Oh, shit” when he dropped a pan of biscuits or call someone a “damn idiot,” and that was fine. But the vulgarity here seems a little too inappropriate. Not to mention that his apparent inability to stop talking about graphic sex acts is a red flag to me that he may have a lot more than verbal vulgarity lurking in his life. Regardless, assuming the children have other extended family members, I don’t think that keeping them from him (especially when they are young and super impressionable) is wrong. Honestly, if the only person expressing interest in the brother seeing the children is the LW’s mother, then I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually didn’t care and the mom was just trying to bring her children together. To the LW, I say do what you think is best.

    Also, I don’t think that the LW mentioning the childhood favoritism is a sign that she’s hung up on it. It seemed entirely relevant to me, in order to give background as to why her mother is so obsessed with the brother getting to know the kids. Plus, a “weird relationship” is a lot different than simply saying your brother got more toys or praise.

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  • GatorGirl September 4, 2012, 11:05 am

    If you don’t want to have a relationship with your brother for the multiple reasons you listed don’t let your mother guilt trip you into it. You are an adult, you get to decide who you hang out with.

    If you do want to have a relationship with your brother, firmly tell him the rules (no swearing, no sex talk, whatever else) and then if he breaks them ask him to leave your home or if your in public you leave.

    I might be on my own here but I don’t beleive you have to have a relationship with someone just because you share DNA with them. I don’t get it.

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    • FireStar September 4, 2012, 11:33 am

      Nope – not on your own. Having alleles in common doesn’t mean a damn thing if people don’t know how to behave.

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  • stilgar666 September 4, 2012, 11:16 am

    Disagree with Wendy.

    The brother doesn’t really want to see the LW’s kids, he just wants to complain to the mom and piss off the LW.

    If he cared about the kids he wouldn’t be telling graphic sexual stories (I am an ass, and even I would feel uncomfortable doing that). There is a difference between an occasional “shit” or “fuck”, and discussing inappropriate subject matter in detail.

    And who talks like that around their mother!?!?

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  • FireStar September 4, 2012, 11:18 am

    I didn’t get the sense the LW is using childhood resentment to orchestrate controlling access to her children as a way to even the playing the field. I get the sense the uncle is highly inappropriate around children. And the people who enforce what kids should be exposed to are the parents. The uncle refusing to limit his porn star talk in front of kids is ridiculous (and who talks like that in front of their parents anyway?)…so limiting his access to the kids is the sensible solution as far as I am concerned. And if your mom doesn’t understand the severity of the situation then I guess her contact is limited too. This is about judgement – and your judgement takes priority. Your goal as a parent is to look after your kids’ best interests – not to assuage the feelings of your brother or your mother because you don’t want sex talk in front of toddlers. If your brother has some sort of mental illness that is linked to his outbursts – then treatment is called for and teaching your kids about illness but barring that, you may not be able to control the fact your kids will hear cuss words and sex talk out in the world eventually – but you definitely can control the conversation your toddlers are exposed to at your dinner table…and you should.

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  • Amber September 4, 2012, 11:25 am

    I’m not feeling Wendy’s advice on this one at all.

    It sounds like the LW is being very reasonable in her actions and decisions here, and other than mentioning the wierd dynamic of the brother and mother growing up (which, when you read the rest of the letter, does add some context), nothing in the letter suggests her actions are any way because she is still resentful.

    And the great thing about being a grown up is that you can choose who to have in your life, and above all you need to provide a safe environment for your children.

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  • Shanon September 4, 2012, 11:32 am

    First time ever I completely disagree with Wendy. Just, wow, no.

    There’s absolutely NO reason a toddler has to be around someone like this, I don’t care what relative it is, especially if they don’t even have the decency to respect the fathers wishes in his own home. And the whole “oh you can’t shelter your children their whole lives”, please. We are supposed to shelter our toddlers from this, they’re too little to understand some poeple are “colorful”, “weird”, or yes even BAD. (I know! Heaven forbid I actually say someone or something is WRONG in this society) and do not need to be desensitized. Whether this guy is “bad” or a threat, only the brother knows, like Wendy said.

    Perhaps this is a reason why kids don’t leave the nest til they’re 18. Once they get old enough to decide for themselves and understand some people are just off, then fine. But a child? Can’t they be innocent for a little while? I mean seriously, a toddler doesn’t need to know what banging some chick is like, or whatever other graphic sex acts he likes to talk about. And you DO remember this stuff, even if you don’t understand it, as you get older. I know from experience. That does not and should not be your first impression of sex, or anything really.

    An older kid (12, 14, 17, who knows, everyone matures differently so you have to know your kid) can understand what vulgarity is, may decide to be for or against it, but a toddler just doesn’t need to be exposed. They’ll be bombarded by the world soon enough, give them a strong foundation of what you believe is right or wrong and then let them decide for themselves when the time comes.

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    • redessa September 4, 2012, 1:21 pm

      Yes, this!

      Wendy asked “I mean, do you plan to protect them from bad language forever?” Obviously no one can shelter their kids forever but my goodness, we’re talking about toddlers here, not teenagers! Personally, I try to sheild my kids from raunchiness for as long as possible. I have two in Jr High and of course they hear things but they also tell me how much it bothers them. And I’ve never heard or overheard them talking inappropriately themselves. But you can’t expect preschoolers to have that kind of filter yet. They simply don’t need to be exposed to it at all.

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  • Shanon September 4, 2012, 11:34 am

    *I chose father/brother but I don’t know if its a mother/sister who’s writing or not. So if I missed a key word, sorry in advance.

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  • ktfran September 4, 2012, 11:36 am

    Ok, I’ve thought about this, and though I haven’t read all the comments, I’ve read enough and I can see both sides.

    My family is very close, so I’m one of those that understands the importance of family members and knows the value in it. However, I would not like to hear about my sister’s, or cousins, or aunt or uncle’s vulgar sex acts. Let alone children. That is wrong. Plain and simple. (I would me more leonient on cussing. My nieces know what are and aren’t appropriate words).

    WIth that being said, LW – have you tried to talk to your mom rationally, or have they been heated, reactionary conversations? Same with the brother. Because if it’s the later, I can see how these conversations don’t go well. People don’t respond well if they feel criticized or attacked. They’ll, in turn, get defensive. So, try talking to them calmy and make it about you. I feel this when you do this. I would prefer my children not be subjected to inappropriate conversations.

    Now, if you have tried to be calm about it and not heated or accusatory, and they’re still like this, then I say do what you have to do. But if you haven’t even tried, then I think you’re fueling the fire a little bit.

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  • jlyfsh September 4, 2012, 11:48 am

    I don’t know I didn’t really get where Wendy said have a relationship with the brother no matter what kid’s mental health be damned. She did say that the LW needed to do what she felt was best for her kids. And even gave the example of not letting the brother visit if he came uninvited again if she felt she needed to do that.

    The one thing I have to say about the Mother being so pushy is imagine your own kids in 30 years having the relationship you do with your brother. How much would it tear you apart to know that one of them disliked the other so much that they didn’t want a relationship with them? Not that I’m saying it’s ok for the Uncle to be doing what he’s doing or for the Mom to be so pushy, but I can get where she’s coming from. It has to be rough to see that happen.

    It is obvious that your brother has some problems and you list all of them out. And maybe he gets that feeling from you which makes him feel worse and makes him act out more. And maybe it’s why he doesn’t actually reach out to talk to you. Perhaps he’s tired of being treated like a lesser person? Once again at the age of 40 he should be able to control his reactions, but it’s obvious that something more is going on. Either there is some mental health issue that is being left untreated or maybe he does just have a crappy attitude, hard to say from a letter.

    My Uncle can be a little bit on the ‘gruff’ side and definitely has some colorful language at times. But, I love him and he’s always shown he loves us. Maybe not in the language he uses but in the way he treats us.

    Maybe like Wendy said think about the situation a little more, reach out to your Brother in a kinder way and try to talk about things. It’s possible that it won’t work and you won’t be able to reach a place where you can feel comfortable with him in your home. But, I would say it’s worth a slight change in attitude when talking to him and trying once again.

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  • Oldie September 4, 2012, 11:51 am

    I think Wendy is wrong on this one. She should not be guilting LW to allow her brother around her and her kids. It seems a split with brother would be beneficial. She cannot fix her brother, but brother can mess up her kids and make her life less happy.

    I’ve seen the Mom dynamic in my own family. As someone else said, brother is almost certainly mentally ill. The descriptions of his behavior and the Mom’s behavior all point in that direction. Mom’s motivation seems to be a combination of wanting to line up someone to care for brother after she is no longer able and a nostalgia to see her whole family together as she hoped it would be, before brother’s mental illness became a problem.Then there is the wishful parental thinking that brother will be fine, if he just has more love and companionship from sister and her family. It just doesn’t work that way.

    My wife and I went through many years of her schizophrenic brother monopolizing holiday dinner conversation with talk of whom he should kill and raising babies for food to eat them. This forced socialization for the sake of the parents accomplished nothing. Mentally ill brother basically preferred be alone. After he terrorized and hit my wife, we had nothing further to do with him. Parent was faced with choice of coming to our house for dinner alone or not coming. He chose not to come. Parents now both gone and mentally ill son by choice has no contact with any of other sibs, beyond us. The parents last years were a constant push on kids of which one would take responsibility for brother. None was willing. It was an impossible thing to undertake. Brother most certainly did not wish to be taken care of and would lash out extremely at anyone who would try. He is on his own now.

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  • Anna September 4, 2012, 11:54 am

    Your letter reminded me a lot of my childhood. I was raised by crazy right wing Baptist zealots, but my mom’s family is pretty normal. I remember when I was a kid going to my Grandma’s house for Christmas and staying roughly a half hour, long enough to have a bite to eat and exchange a few gifts. As soon as any one of her brothers cracked open a beer, my mom went into emergency evacuation mode and marched us straight out to the car to go home. She was that insistent that we had to be kept away from alcohol that she would drive away her own family. I could also tell, even as a kid, that one uncle in particular did it on purpose because he knew it pissed her off and he thought it was funny to make the uptight sister uncomfortable. Sometimes family is brutal.

    I would say don’t forbid him from seeing your kids but have a conversation with them beforehand about uncle’s language and how he shouldn’t be saying rude things. I have a feeling you will get a lot further communicating with your kids about the situation than with your brother. And who knows, maybe he will shut up if a couple cute kids start reprimanding him for his potty mouth. If nothing else, you have open communication with your kids about what exists in the world VS what is acceptable behavior. Raising them in a cave is not the way to go, trust me. They need to see everything that’s out there, bad and good, and learn to make the right choices knowing all of the options instead of just teaching them the one option you want them to choose and hoping they won’t discover that any other choice exists.

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    • Addie Pray September 4, 2012, 1:33 pm


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  • Skyblossom September 4, 2012, 11:55 am

    I think you’ve already drawn the line and explained it more than once, so he’s had a second chance, so it’s time to enforce consequences. I don’t think you need to explain yourself again, you’ve already done that.

    Sexually explicit talk in front of young children is never appropriate and even when they are older it wouldn’t be appropriate. How many middle school kids really want to hear their uncle talking that way, how many teens, pretty much none.

    Also, if your children went to school and repeated any of the sexually explicit things that your brother says, the teacher would be required by law to report suspected sexual abuse to the authorities. You would be investigated by social services to see if your children were being sexually abused and to see if they should remain in your home. The assumption is that the child who has sexually explicit knowledge has been sexually abused because they otherwise wouldn’t have that knowledge. Also, if your child repeated the sexually explicit things they hear their uncle say in other people’s home the other people would probably ban their children from playing with your children. The parents of the other children would have serious fears about what is happening in your home.

    Your children could certainly suffer serious consequences from being around an uncle who has no filter on his mouth. It doesn’t matter whether he is unable or unwilling to filter his mouth, it just matters that what comes out of it is way beyond acceptable in the situation. How do you know that in the future the lack of filter wouldn’t go beyond his mouth to his actions? Would he show your children sexually explicit movies or photos? Would he touch your children in inappropriate ways.

    You’re the parent and you have every right and the responsibility to protect your children. This is more than vulgar words and could have a seriously negative impact on your children.

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    • Taylor September 4, 2012, 1:00 pm

      This x 100!

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  • Jubietta September 4, 2012, 12:15 pm


    If you and your spouse agree on the situation, circle the wagons and man the defenses. Your door is yours to open or close as you will. Your kids are your responsibility, not your mom’s and not your brother’s…therefore the choices regarding them are yours until the time comes that they begin to be trusted to make decisions for themselves. Old family troubles aside. DNA and the future with your brother be damned.

    I agree that behavior beneath your standards is out there and it’s neither possible nor healthy to try to protect your kids from all of it throughout their whole lives. Having some of those ‘teachable moments’ from time to time is a great way to open up the world to your kiddos. But if you can’t use those times as a chance to talk to your kids because the situations confuse you as an adult (as in you don’t know why it’s happening and you don’t have an answer beyond ‘because my mom says I have to’) your kids sure can’t make up their own minds about it.

    It’s time to make that step where you stop being your mom’s child and start being your children’s mom.

    Good luck!

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  • Lucy September 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Count me in for completely disagreeing as well. I have a brother with whom I have essentially no relationship because he is an intolerable asshole. I also have a mom who for many years tried to guilt me into spending more time with him, which I have always refused to do. So I don’t and have never bought into this whole idea that family is SO IMPORTANT that we should put up with assholes.

    From the kids’ perspective – I have an aunt whom my parents didn’t allow us to be around because her behaviour was consistently inappropriate and alarming. She was also probably mentally ill, although never treated, and chronically bitter and nasty. I didn’t suffer for not having a relationship with this woman, and I don’t think my parents should have tolerated her inappropriate behaviour just so we would be able to add one more family member to our Christmas gift list or whatever. There are plenty of decent people in the world, some of whom you’re related to. Let your kids hang with them.

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  • MMcG September 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

    It’s the rare day that I’m going to disagree with Wendy, but I definitely do in this case IF the LW is accurate and the language being used is describing sexual acts, not just obscenities. The occasional “shit” or “hell” is a lot different that exposing toddlers to sexually explicit material that they can’t possibly comprehend… toddler/toilet training age where they should be beginning to learn the proper words for their bodies, and what makes boys versus girls different, in order to build up to age-appropriate conversation about reproductive health and sexuality. They should not be exposed to graphic sexual acts/language/situations that could only lead to confusion, developing bad or confusing body imagese, or potential for more serious trouble as listed above (can you imagine what would happen in pre-school if one of the kids starts talking about uncle ted and his love of double penetration and santorum!?! or what happens if the kid doesn’t get the nuanced message of what’s ok and what’s not).

    Mother and Brother have clear boundary issues, and the LW need not make any more excuses to grown adults who think it’s ok to show up with said brother unannounced, and then listen to this kind of talk at dinner. Unless it’s a tourette’s situation or something where there is a medical reason why the brother can’t control his verbal communication there is just no excuse. And yeah, shitting on grandpa in front of the kids isn’t going to help either.

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  • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I actually agree with Wendy on this one. I think it’s more important to maintain a good relationship with the immediate family than to worry so much about the “vulgar” things the uncle might say around the children. I’m not sure why, but for some reason this LW strikes me as an overprotective parent trying to shelter her kids from too much. I mean, what “graphic sex acts” is he really bringing up at a family gathering? I’m guessing it’s probably not that bad, because even though the mom might typically side with him, if she doesn’t see the problem then how bad could it really be? I’m also curious what the husband’s take is.

    I agree with others that have argued that some of his inappropriate behavior could be used as a springboard for teachable moments. You really can’t shelter your kids from EVERYthing. Or, like Anna said about her mom trying to shield her from seeing her relatives drink a beer with dinner – I think some parents go overboard.

    Of course, what one considers to be going “overboard” varies wildly from person to person, and in the end, it is absolutely the parents’ decision what they want to expose their children to. I just feel like the LW might be blowing it out of proportion based on her resentment on the mom’s and brother’s relationship (that she thinks she no longer harbors).

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    • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 1:26 pm

      I kind of agree. Maybe it’s because I’m picturing him making “that’s what she said” jokes and stuff. I mean unless this is how the conversation goes:

      Uncle to little kid: God my penis is so sore from taking some chick I met at the bar last night from behind all night long. I came on her face – but that was just because she was a dumb hoe that didn’t deserve my respect.

      Unless that is what he’s saying I don’t see it as a huge deal. He’s just always going to be the inappropriate uncle that makes sex jokes. The kids won’t even know what it means until they’re teenagers.

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      • JK September 4, 2012, 1:28 pm

        I agree as well. What kind of person would actually say explicit sex stuff in front of family? Let alone little kids.
        I think LW is a bit oversensitive.

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 1:30 pm

        Right? I mean, I know that kids pick up on a lot, but I can go back and re-watch movies I liked as a kid and JUST NOW ‘get’ the jokes. Unless he’s talking explicitly about inserting his penis in someone’s hole, it might fly over their heads anyway.

        If they ask, either teach them age-appropriate explanations, tell them not to repeat it, or say “I’ll tell you when you’re older. That’s grown-up talk.” They’re going to pick up on stuff from so many different sources and you can’t protect them from it all. Might as well let them have a relationship with their immediate family.

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 1:33 pm

        That’s what my mom always used to say anyway. “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” It would irritate me for a while but I’d forget about it soon enough.

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 1:36 pm

        And she would make me cover my eyes during sex scenes. Oh, mother.

        When I was 14 I really really really wanted to watch Pulp Fiction. She let me watch all of it EXCEPT the butt rape scene. She didn’t want me to know “how gay men do it.” Geez. I can watch all the violence, drugs and profanity, but god forbid I see 2 men have sex.

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 1:41 pm

        Granted, it was non-consensual violent sex, BUT! She let me both read AND watch “A Time To Kill” as well as probably some other rapey stuff that I’m forgetting. Anyway. Tangent over.

      • ktfran September 4, 2012, 3:58 pm

        The “grown-up talk” line just reminded me. We apparently do that with drinks. I spent Labor Day at my aunt’s with my extended family. I made a drink that looks like lemonade, but it’s 90% alcohol. And it’s delicious. Anyway,the kids asked if they could have some, or if it was a grown-up drink. I thought it was the cutest little question coming from a three year old.

        By the way, I made rosemary infused simple syrup and combined that with gin, prosecco and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Best. Drink. Ever.

      • JK September 4, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Those things aren´t as cute when it´s your kid at the supermarket shouting “Look, there´s whisky!! That´s daddy´s favourite drink!!!”

      • ktfran September 4, 2012, 4:16 pm

        Lol. Literally. Ok, I’ll give you that. I don’t think that’s a problem with my nieces and my cousins children though. However, we talk to them like they’re adults and teach them what is appropriate. All of them are very mild mannered.

    • Caris September 4, 2012, 2:08 pm

      ” I’m guessing it’s probably not that bad, because even though the mom might typically side with him, if she doesn’t see the problem then how bad could it really be? ”

      That’s why she explained before that her brother and mom have a weird relationship.

      My mom clearly prefers my brother over me. Whenever my brother shouted/argued with me about whatever, she would ALWAYS side with him. And now that he is gone over to the US to study, I don’t talk to him anymore. Sometimes he sends me messages on fb and I answer, but I couldn’t care less about what/how he is doing. I don’t miss him one bit. My mom knows this, and sometimes she asks me why am I so mean to my brother. What? If anything he is the one that always treated me like crap. If I stared singing (you know cause sometimes I listen to music and I sing along), he would hit me. If I said something he disagreed with, he would tell me how stupid and retarded I am and how I don’t think logically and whatnot. My mom (and my dad when he lived with us) never, ever told my brother it was wrong to hit his sister (or anyone) and how telling me I am a retarded person is not ok. So basically he would hit me, right up until before he left to the US last year (at 25 years old), pretty much every day. Because I talked, or because I started singing, or because my computer volume was too high, or because he just didn’t like what I said, or thought what I had said was stupid. And he would hit me and expect me to stop doing whatever just because he hit me.

      So yes, maybe he IS actually talking about sex in front of her kids AND his own mother. And there is no reason why young kids should be exposed to graphic sex talk.

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      • Taylor September 4, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Gah. I’m glad you don’t have to deal with your brother any more, and hope you get to be out of your house and fully into your own life soon.

      • Caris September 4, 2012, 7:24 pm

        me too!

    • GatorGirl September 4, 2012, 2:34 pm

      I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to say she is “blowing it out of proportion”. Everyone is entitled to their own beleifs on what is and is not appropriate, like you said. If she has expressed her discomfort about the things said and actions of her brother (and mother) why should she continue on the relationship? To me its the same as saying you won’t tolerate smoking inside your home and then your uncle walks in and lights up. You ask himto stop and if he doesn’t you ask him to leave.

      For me, I don’t care if you’re related if you don’t respect me then I don’t want you in my life.

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      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Yeah, I completely see what you’re saying. I just get the feeling that this has to do more with her resentment of her brother and less with what he’s actually saying.

  • AndreaMarie September 4, 2012, 1:57 pm

    A lot of talk about whether or not the vulgar talk should be allowed but I think that’s only a symptom of the bigger issues you are dealing with.

    You didn’t get into details about your brother’s mental issues but I’m assuming it has a lot to do with social interaction. Maybe a form of autism. I’m just guessing. But clearly it has effected his ability to navigate normal social boundries. And it’s clear that your mother’s continued coddling as opposed to making him responsible for correcting his issues has only made him less capable (ex. he can’t hold down employment). But that is not your responsibility, to help deal with the problems he and your mom won’t deal with. Your responsibility is to your children and husband. It’s your home and you can choose to open the door for whomever you please.

    I think you should set the boundries once and for all and then follow through with any consequence of them not being respected. Invite your mom and borther over. Tell him that you will not, in anyways, tolerate that kind of talk in your home. And if he choses to ignore that request then he will be asked to leave and Mom is free to follow him.

    And in regards to the “vulgar” talk, I’m going to disagree with Wendy. A curse here and there is one thing. My mother would drop an F-bomb and sh-t but explicit sexual talk is a different ballgame. It is even more creepy that he is doing it around his sister and parents. Forget toddlers being in the room, I couldn’t imagine saying to my mother and father, “Oh my gawwd his dick was huuuuuge, felt like it was hitting my spleen”. It’s weird that he would go there. And it does effect the kids becuase they repeat things. It doesn’t put the LW in a good situation if the kidergarten teacher calls her up to ask why her daughter is talking about blowjobs!

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  • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 1:59 pm

    NEWSFLASH! Your kids WILL hear so much worse from their peers the MOMENT they begin school. Although, I suppose you will homeschool them, won’t you? Ugh… Whatever… It was rather interesting and telling how incredibly vague you were about what he said. I mean, is he just saying FUCK all the time? Or things like “Blow me!” Somehow, from the irritating tone of your whiny woe is me letter I almost imagine that that is the extent of this problem.

    Look, you obviously hate, loathe, and despise your brother. You constantly judge him — dismiss his life and problems and yet then have the gall to wonder why HE doesn’t call or visit you more often? Gee, I wonder why… Wonder all you want, sweetie. The rest of us sure don’t.

    Typical judgmental bitch behavior. Typical the world revolves around ME bullshit.

    Seriously, your brother isn’t the only one with an attitude problem in your family. And frankly, I’m sure your brother has BIGGER issue with dear old dad than sports. You just can’t be bothered to accept the obvious. It is interesting how curiously little you actually do say to defend your father though, isn’t it?

    Reply Link
    • kf September 4, 2012, 2:59 pm

      Note to LW: After you scratch your brother from your invitation list for family dinners, do the same to bittergaymark (and make sure you don’t send your kids to bgm’s neighborhood kindergarten).

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 4:09 pm

        Trust me, I wouldn’t be caught dead dining with somebody who was THIS hung up on the past and went so out of their way to treat their own family like shit all the while expecting the world to smile down on her and tell her — good job!

    • Hannanas September 4, 2012, 3:12 pm

      That’s pretty extreme. I mean, why would you automatically side with the guy? Like, you don’t even know this woman, why would you think that SHE’s at fault here? Seems like you’re a bit judgmental yourself…

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 4:07 pm

        The letter raises a myriad of red flags to me. That’s why. I also do think it’s boring to chime in here saying the same thing as everybody else. That said — the tone of this letter was just so off putting to me.

      • AmyRenee September 4, 2012, 4:23 pm

        Are you even certain the LW is a woman? I initially assumed that, but after a comment someone else made I went back and read it over and nothing in the letter tells us that this is the case. What if this was a man writing this letter bgm? Would you still feel the same?

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 4:24 pm

        Hannanas, the women are always nags, remember? They are always needling and antagonizing (you know, bitch behavior) the men in their lives, and as a result so any bad behavior from the guys is justified. Duh.

        In all seriousness, it does sound like this woman may still have a complex about her brother that goes deeper than she’s willing to acknowledge, but BGM’s response was particularly harsh today.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:49 pm

        No, but most LW here are women. And look — I’m sorry, but this tone is just not at all masculine. The whole feel and vibe here is one that was written by a sister. And not just any sister, but by a sister who remains JEALOUS to this very day that her own brother was plagued with health issues during his childhood… Instead of being all “wow, was I ever lucky to NOT be sick!” she starts out her rant against her brother with the sourest of grapes… And to this day, this remains a huge fact she hold against him. Hell, she starts out the letter with it as if its the most important detail in all the world….

    • ElevenSeven September 4, 2012, 5:53 pm

      Wow. Speaking of overreacting and judgmental . . . .

      Reply Link
  • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Discussing graphic sex acts/talking like a porn star is way different than letting the occasional f-bomb slip out. My daughter has heard plenty of bad words, but if someone started talking about sexual acts, what they did last night in bed, etc, that would get squashed immediately by me. I’m no prude, and my daughter (at age 7) knows the basics about sex, conception, child birth, etc, but doesn’t need to be exposed to such talk. Kids pay a lot more attention than adults give them credit for, and will either figure out what is being talked about, or possibly worse, interpret it in their minds, which can mess them up way more than the truth.

    There are definitely bigger issues here that the LW needs to deal with, but I back her up on not allowing such talk around her children.

    Reply Link
    • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 2:22 pm

      I don’t know that I actually BUY that part of the story. For starters, I simply don’t buy the fact that, somehow, SHE is the ONLY person in her family who thinks this is a problem. Seriously, do you REALLY think he is sitting there at the dinner table saying… “So then she drops to her fucking knees and starts slurping away on my cock, and I’m like, damn, bitch! Just wait till I tongue your pussy! Oh, Ma! Pass the salt!” And that NOBODY else even so much as bats an eye but to the poor woe is me letter writer? Sorry, I don’t. I simply don’t buy it. I call B.S.

      I’d bet you a million pesos that I am right on this. That by “talking about graphic sex acts” the best the LW will honestly be able to come up with is a few “Blow me’s” and “Fuck an A’s…”

      If there is ONE thing that I have learned in this life, it’s that those who THINK they have the moral high road tend to wantonly stretch the truth… Often to a laughable extent.

      Reply Link
      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 2:32 pm

        YES. This is exactly what I was thinking.

      • Skyblossom September 4, 2012, 2:35 pm

        There are families that have no limits and no filters. I went to elementary school with a boy whose family snuck him into the x-rated drive-in to watch movies. He was 8 so no way they could lie about his age to get him in so they had him lay on the floor in the backseat with his older siblings legs over him to hide him until they were through the gate. He loved to tell us about the movies, like describing how a woman was raped with a broom handle. His parents would take the entire family to x-rated moves like other families took their kids to PG movies.

        The first house we owned was next door to a couple whose grandsons were exposed to a sexually inappropriate uncle. Their behavior was bad enough, in a sexual way, that every home of every child they played with kicked them out and banned their children from playing with these boys. There are many people who just don’t bother to stop really inappropriate behavior around their children.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 2:39 pm

        What about her husband? (Surely, wouldn’t HE, also loudly object?) PS — Anybody THIS judgmental just has to be married.

        PS: Had ANY of what you suggest been true in this case, I imagine the LW probably would have, you know, bothered to mention it.

      • GatorGirl September 4, 2012, 2:51 pm

        She says that they do no understand it’s “not ok to talk like a porn star in front of kids”, that the brother is always saying negative things about the childrens grandfather and is “incredibly vulgar” and “extremely bitter and negative”. All of that amounts to a person I wouldn’t want around my children.

        I don’t understand why you always assume the LW is lying.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 3:03 pm

        Because often the letters seem VERY dishonest. That’s why. For starters, it’s be nice to know what a porn star sounds like… If he REALLY is saying what I suggest in my previous post, fine. But somehow, I just don’t buy it. The whole tone of this letter is just… off.

        She WANTS to hate her brother. Always has, probably. (He was sick and got more attention and wah, wah wah!) And now at long last she has finally gone out of her way to justify her wretched behavior. (It’s not all about her, but the precious children! The children, somehow, nobody else is remotely worried about because there is no real danger to them…) That’s the obvious subtext of this letter… I find that sad. I also find it mind-blowing that so few of you can see it. Wendy saw it, trust me. Hence the muted tone of her response.

      • WatersEdge September 4, 2012, 3:21 pm

        I just want to point out that your whole attitude of “this prudish, uptight bitch just wants to hate her brother and must be lying” is super sexist. And all the stuff about “what does her husband think” is, too.

        My deceased FIL used to say crazy vulgar shit about his sex life with his wife (to my husband… who talks to their son in detail about his mother’s vagina?!), about strippers, porn, sex toys, etc. I don’t know if he did it in front of children but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He did it for the shock value and to get attention because he was fucked up. He was also a physically abusive alcoholic.

        I think it’s stupidly naive of you to assume that just because you’ve never met anyone like this, that they MUST NOT EXIST and she MUST BE LYING. Because you know everything, right?

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 4:16 pm

        I don’t see how it is sexist. If it was a man writing about his sister, I’d call him a “prudish, uptight asshole.” My point about the husband has nothing to do with either. It’s just that if it is TRULY as bad as she says, I have a tough time believing her husband wouldn’t be equally outraged and we’d thus have a line here about how “My spouse was LIVID and I am so happy that at least the two of us can stand together on this issue…” It has nothing to do with the fact that I think a man’s opinion is more valid, but rather that it would be ANOTHER person backing the LW up. Again, were the sexes flipped in this case, I would then have mentioned how curious it was that the LW’s wife made no such objection either.

        I’m not saying that people like this DON’T exist. But I do find it hard to believe that they exist in worlds where NOBODY else calls them out on their shit. If you have lived in that world, hey, that sucks. But don’t blame me because you yourself simply didnt’ have the fucking balls to bring it up and stand up for yourselves. If somebody actually talked this way around my kid, I’d be pissed.

        That said — I don’t think this story adds up here. I just don’t.

      • WatersEdge September 4, 2012, 4:35 pm

        Well he died before I met my husband, so what I would have done is irrelevant. But for the record, yes, everyone rolled their eyes and laughed and now that he has passed he is remembered as being something of a live wire, nothing more. Nobody else called him out on his shit. Dysfunctional families enable each others’ bad behavior, in case you missed that memo.

      • Caris September 4, 2012, 7:46 pm

        Welp, my mom never called out my brother on his bad behavior, cause it’s easier to not argue. So she’d just let him shout, insult and hit me. And I did call out my brother on his behavior, all the time. And my mom was there a lot of the times were he hit me, and all she would do was say ‘stop hitting her’ without any kind of authority in her voice and she never stepped in to stop him. Surely now, I MUST BE LYING about my brother being an asshole no?

        You don’t know how their relationship used to be, and you don’t know if the mom enabled his bad behavior when they were younger. She certainly is enabling it now. It doesn’t matter if the mom actually thinks that his behavior is bad, the guy can get away with it because he was always spoiled, and still is in his forties.

      • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 7:57 pm

        He was spoiled for getting more attention because he was sick? Lucky him.

      • Caris September 4, 2012, 9:06 pm

        Being sick doesn’t mean you get to be an asshole, like he is being now, repeatedly doing things that bother her sister even after she asked him to please not talk like that in front of her children. The mother is enabling his behavior and using the excuse that he is just joking (see the update the lw made below). And she probably did the same when he was younger and was sick. Taking care of your kid because he is sick and spoiling him are two different things.

        Example: my bf has A LOT of health issues (he was born 3 months premature, had to have multiple surgeries to accommodate his organs into place, and they had to rebuild one of his arteries or veins I can’t remember which one it was), he has food allergies, gets sick really easy, etc. So you bet his mom is protective and took/takes care of him. But he is not spoiled, he doesn’t behave like an asshole and his mom taught him from a young age to be respectful to other ppl. So yes I think this guy is spoiled and was spoiled as a young kid.

      • KKZ September 4, 2012, 3:27 pm

        I got the very distinct impression this LW is single, evidence being not even one passing reference to a husband or a boyfriend or an ex in the whole letter. If she is married, clearly her husband has been no help or has no opinion in the matter.

        –>Anybody THIS judgmental just has to be married.

        Ugh. Just ugh.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 3:32 pm

        I dunno. If she is so hung up on sex — it simply boggles my mind that she would get knocked up so out of wedlock. But then again — people often are total hypocrites…

      • Hannanas September 4, 2012, 3:38 pm

        Just because you don’t want your toddlers to hear vulgar language about f*cking, doesn’t make you hung up on sex – or a total prude for that matter. Geez your world must be black and white.

      • GatorGirl September 4, 2012, 3:45 pm

        Amen. What I do behind closed doors is one thing. What is said infront of children is totally different.

        Also, what if she is a widow? Or her husband is off at war? There are lots of reasons she could have left him out.

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 4:08 pm

        How does wanting your children not to be exposed to an adult discussing sex acts make you hung up on sex? I’m not getting the connection here. I seem to recall you have a nephew (I think)–surely you don’t want adults to have carte blanche to discuss whatever they please around him? I assume you want him to grow up in a secure, stable environment….if you want that for him, why is it so wrong for other people to want that for their kids, and why are they not allowed to be the ones who decide what that environment is? Even if what constitutes discussing vulgar sex acts to her isn’t all that scandalous to other people, shouldn’t she be allowed to decide what is ok in her house, to be said to her kids (who are freaking toddlers)?

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 3:09 pm

        My bad for taking the LW’s word? I can only go off of what she wrote in, so that’s what I replied to.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 3:10 pm

        I like to read between the lines… It’s just much more interesting.

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 3:18 pm

        I guess it’s good that I leave the letter answering to Wendy then.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 3:41 pm

        Yes, and she certainly was decidedly more muted on here than most. Interesting.

      • MissDre September 4, 2012, 4:29 pm

        @Mark your comment “I don’t know that I actually BUY that part of the story. For starters, I simply don’t buy the fact that, somehow, SHE is the ONLY person in her family who thinks this is a problem.”

        You have no idea what people’s families are like. I was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and my mother was the ONLY family member who thought it was an issue when I finally spoke up and told someone. And when I say sexually abused, I’m talking a much older male ejaculating all over me when I was as young as 7 years old and asking me to swallow it, plus many other awful things so it’s not like I just freaked out when some other little boy showed me his penis or something.

        And guess what? My dad and his wife didn’t think it was a big deal. My brother didn’t think it was a big deal. My grandma didn’t think it was a big deal. In fact, they’re all still buddy buddy with the person who did this to me. In fact, my dad tried to STOP my mother when she went to the police. In fact, my dad wrote in the police report that I was a disturbed child and I must have conned this person into doing these things to me. REALLY? A 7 year old girl manipulated a teenage male into doing these things to her?

        So YES, some people’s families ARE FUCKED UP and YES sometimes parents turn a blind eye to things they can’t face or deal with. You have NO RIGHT to say that this LW is lying simply because you haven’t experienced a dysfunctional family dynamic like this.


      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 4:35 pm

        The irony is that you are all being JUST as judgmental by taking everything that every LW says at face value.

        This place has gotten so thin skinned lately, it’s REALLY just not much fun to post here anymore. All the bulk of you seeming want everybody to do here is blindly agree with one another…

        Sure, some people have great dysfunction in their lives. Others go out of their way to create it. And frankly, that’s that the LW sounds like to me… She brings up a host of baggage and other issues — all of which cast doubt on her credibility. Which is interesting because had she just left all this irrelevant crap out of her letter I’d have NO REASON whatsoever to doubt her.

      • MissDre September 4, 2012, 4:40 pm

        Oh and I guess my mom was being really judgemental too when she believed me at face value. I mean jeez, she didn’t even try to make me PROVE that a man tried to put his penis in me. What a judgemental bitch eh?

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 4:57 pm

        God, honestly, this place is so fucking absurd lately.

        Did you honestly, REALLY just compare a mother believing her own daughter’s allegations of sexual abuse to me disbelieving a vague, short letter I’ve read only on the internet that has many questionable details? I mean, come on, seriously?

        I have nothing left to say here. It’s all just too laughable for words. Your argument here is beyond ridiculous…

      • LW September 4, 2012, 6:00 pm

        @Miss Dre, I’m really sorry what happened to you. Its sad and sick that people prey on children like that and that it is so widely ignorned. With that said, i really think you are projecting onto the situation and thus unable to see Mark’s point about there being issues with the LWs version of events. I really really feel for what you went through, but please no need to attack Mark. He’s not one of the people who disbelieved you. He’s not even doubting what you went through. He’s just focusing on the inconsistencies on this letter and calling attention to them, nothing more.

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 4:46 pm

        I think its one thing to think that some of the details don’t seem consistent and being open to the possibility things are not exactly as she describes, and another to immediately think “This doesn’t fit the world I know, so she’s obvisouly lying. And a bitch.”

        Do you see the difference? Do you see how one is attempting to be fair and consider all possible sides, and one is judgemental?

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 6:28 pm

        I’m so sorry, MissDre. 🙁

        I see what you’re saying – that sometimes famlies will turn a blind eye to the inappropriateness of other family members (and what happened in your family goes FAR beyond “inappropriate”) – but other than that similarity, I feel like what happened to you has very little to do with the letter we are discussing. I know BGM ruffles feathers (to put it lightly), but I feel like you might be projecting a bit – he’s not the one that disbelieved you.

        Also, thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have my family turn against me after something so awful had already occurred. I hope others who might be dealing with similar experiences can see how awesome you are now and know that there’s hope. 🙂

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:52 pm


      • MissDre September 4, 2012, 6:58 pm

        I absolutely realize that the 2 situations are completely different and I’m not tryi g to compare the 2 scenarios. It just pissed me off that Mark’s argument for the LW being a liar is that she is apparently the only person that takes issue with it and the mother doesn’t recognize the problem. That’s why included his quote.

        I really don’t have an opinion on this letter either way. I’m not siding with the LW or the brother. But for Mark to say she’s full of shit because her mom turns a blind eye? That’s so rude and judgemental and wrong. Families are fucked up, and if my family turned their faces to something as serious as what happened to me, I absolutely believe the LWs mother could turn a blind eye to this.

        It doesn’t make the LWs letter BS. And Mark makes shit up and fills in any blanks he sees in letters with his own judgemental projections.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 7:46 pm

        So does her father turn a blind to this as well? Now remember — apparently, he’s a saint in the eyes of the LW and yet another tragic victim of her oh-so-evil brother… A brother who’s other really big crime was being sick as a child. And yet you all still wonder WHY and HOW I could ever even dare to question the motivations of a LW…

      • redessa September 4, 2012, 4:52 pm

        Okay, so let’s assume you are right. The LW is an uptight prude who’s getting his boxers in a twist over something most people wouldn’t.

        So what?

        This is his (or her) home and children. He gets to set the rules. And whether they agree with him or not, the LW’s family is showing a complete lack of respect. For the mother to show up unannounced with the uninvited brother, knowing they don’t get along was not right. I get that the brother showed up at the parent’s house unexpectedly, but they should have called the LW and asked if he could come or if LW wanted to reschedule the dinner. And for the brother to continue to make remarks he knows upsets the LW is obnoxious at best. It’s one thing to needle a sibling, but to flat out disregard them in their own home and the boundaries they are setting for their children is beyond rude.

        You don’t have to agree with how someone runs their household, but you don’t come into their house and try to show them up. And you definately don’t disregard their parenting decisions. The LW may be uptight (I don’t know) but the brother and mom aren’t exactly innocent here.

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 5:03 pm

        I agree all around. Whether or not the brother, the grandparents, Wendy, or the DW commenting community feels the LW’s standards for her children are reasonable is besides the point. Its her home and her children, she gets to do things they way she wants, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

        Its her home. She’s made her expectations clear, to her brother and to her parents. The fact that the contiune to willfully disregard them is disrespectful.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 5:10 pm

        A lot of “justified” and “right” people end up all alone — and then they hilariously wonder why oh why that is so. Whatever. Look, the LW had best get used to being along, I guess. I just think it’s hilarious that she does nothing but dump all over her brother for multiple paragraph, carefully detailing why and how much she dislikes him — but, somehow, still acts all surprised that he himself makes curiously precious little effort to see her. That line SPEAKS volumes.

      • kf September 4, 2012, 5:18 pm

        She’s not surprised that he doesn’t make an effort to see her; she’s surprised that her mother is hounding her, and telling her things about the brother’s interest in the kids that are patently untrue. If you want to present yourself as the Grand Between-The-Lines Reader you might want to work a bit more on correctly interpreting the lines themselves.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 5:46 pm

        “What is bizarre is that he never calls me or makes any attempt to visit unless prompted by my mother.”

        Eh, I took that as the LW being suprised…

      • kf September 4, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Read it again in the context of the entire paragraph, and then once more in the context of the entire letter. Her meaning is clear.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:10 pm

        I did that already. We have to agree to disagree on this one.

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 6:22 pm

        Really? Here’s how the paragraph breaks down:

        A. Mom starts hounding the LW about getting in contact with the brother.
        B. Mom says to do so because the brother talks about wanting to see the children often
        C. LW never hears from the brother asking to come see the children (unless Mom forces him to call).
        D. LW is skeptical of B, because of C, and therefore put off by A.

        I think that’s its pretty clear the LW feels her mother is trying to force her daughter to contact the brother by spinning some story to guilt her into it.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:33 pm

        I agree, the mother IS forcing the issue. That said, it’s little wonder that the brother doesn’t call the sister himself. She’d probably just ignore the call, hang up on him, or worse. Look, anybody who goes out of their way to say… “I’m too busy with my two toddlers to now be petty about the past” is simply lying through their teeth.


        If they were truly OVER the past… They wouldn’t still be thinking about it. Seriously. And they certainly wouldn’t be bringing it up in a letter where it’s about as relevant as the price of eggs…

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 5:22 pm

        Yeah, they obvisouly have a crappy relationship, and she bears some responsibility for that. But, it sounds like you are putting it ALL on her, when her brother and mother are contributing as well.

        If anyone is the source of the dysfunction, its the mother who started the whole cycle in their childhoods.

        Why you want to place all of the blame on the LW is puzzling to me.

      • ele4phant September 4, 2012, 5:47 pm

        You know, the person who will go into someone elses whom and deliberately disregard their rules and standards is everybit as much the obnoxious, “I’m in the right, you’re wrong” person.

        As a far less emotionally charged example: I know a woman who is hyper-vigilant about what sorts of foods she’ll allow in her diet. She’s a vegetarian, no GMOs, only USDA certified organics, locally sourced, and no refined gluten or refined sugars. Unsuprisingly, she holds the same standards for her children. Right now, its not a problem for her to control what they eat because they’re still quite young, but you know the instant they start school someone will give them a twinkie and that’ll be that.

        I think her diet is riduculous. I think she’s fooling herself about how much more extraordinarly healthy the foods she picks are then the regular grocery store pickings, and I think she’ll get a rude awakening in a few years when her kids start asking for chicken nuggets for dinner.

        But when I am invited to her home, I don’t bring a meat-lovers pizza, ya know? I don’t slip her children candy while her back is turned. I respect the choices she’s made for herself and her family, even if they are not at all what I choose to do.

        If I can’t bear the thought of a dinner of raw pesto kelp pasta, I just decline the invitation, not trapse in with fried food and slurpees instead of the mango chutney and pita she requested.

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 6:34 pm

        BGM-You’re the one who is usually telling single parents to stop worrying so much about a relationship and focus on their kids, so why does it matter if she ends up alone, if she is trying to do the best she can for her kids by focusing on their well-being?

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 7:20 pm

        Because, truthfully, I very much doubt that she is right on this issue… Duh!

      • CatsMeow September 4, 2012, 5:47 pm

        I completely agree with what you’re saying, BUT…

        We don’t *really* know what kind of stuff the brother says around LW and her kids. I suspect that it is not quite as bad as what some of the commenters are assuming (LW states: “I was constantly barking ‘Language!; in his direction.” BARKING. Her words, not mine. She sounds a little bit like one of those overprotective helicopter parents to me). You’re saying that doesn’t matter; LW gets to set the “rules” about what SHE allows in HER house. I can get on board with that, really. I’m just worried that she’s going to sacrifice a relationship with her brother, and my extension her MOTHER, over something that many would see as arbitrary or silly or “overreacting.” She’s going to deprive her children of relationships with their uncle and grandmother because he uses colorful language? I just feel like it might be taking it too far, especially if LW’s reaction IS colored by past resentments (and I think it very well may be).

        So yes, I see what you’re saying, but also I think she should think long and hard about her reasons for wanting to cut her brother out.

      • JK September 4, 2012, 5:49 pm


      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:07 pm

        I agree. The fact that so many on here are so quickly ready to lynch the brother and by extension the mother is most interesting to me… Not to mention, quite sad.

      • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 6:09 pm

        YES! I think it’s pretty selfish to cut the brother out. Her kids should get to make that decision for themselves.

      • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 6:23 pm

        Apparently nothing is more Family Values than being petty…

      • ElevenSeven September 4, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Her kids are toddlers — making the decision for themselves isn’t really an option.

      • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 6:46 pm

        Exactly – which is why she shouldn’t stop them from having a relationship with their Uncle.

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 9:05 pm

        This will probably just get people even more upset, but honestly, what’s the huge deal about not having a close relationship with their uncle? I have like 8 uncles and don’t know any of them that well. I grew up in CA while they lived in PA. We never talked on the phone, wrote letters, etc. Our families weren’t all that close. I don’t think my life has been drastically altered because I’m not close with my uncles. Not quite understanding why this would be the end of the world for these kids if they didn’t know their uncle.

      • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 9:20 pm

        Well you don’t know what you’re missing. My uncles are hilarious and awesome and inappropriate and drink too much. They’re a blast. I would be pissed if because of some stupid fight my mom get in with them I wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know them.

      • Just Max September 4, 2012, 9:34 pm

        My uncles are awesome, too! I have actually gotten upset with my mom when she suggested for me to distance myself from them, because she feels that they are ‘beneath’ her somehow (I don’t know how, they all came from the same place, duh). But, yeah. My uncles are great! 🙂

      • BriarRose September 4, 2012, 10:50 pm

        My uncles are pretty cool too, I was just making a point that they’re not really in my life, due to distance. And as such, my life hasn’t really been negatively effected. I guess my point was…if the kids grow up without their uncle, that’s the only life they’ll know, much like me. Now that you’re grown and have gotten to know your uncles over the years, and feel that they’re awesome, of course the thought of not having them around makes you mad. But it’s like a circle, you can’t miss what you never had/knew, right?

      • Red_Lady September 4, 2012, 7:27 pm

        This is what I was thinking as I read the letter too! I’m not sure why, but the feeling that I got was that she might be over-reacting on the “graphic sex acts”. And if that’s the case, she needs to calm down. If that’s not the case, then she has some valid reasons to cut her brother out of her life. But I’m leaning towards calming down.

  • AKchic_ September 4, 2012, 1:52 pm

    I have a mouth on me, and quite the colorful past (and present). At no time do I ever discuss colorful sex acts in front of children, let alone toddlers. It is inappropriate, at the best of times. At best, it screams of immaturity and a constant need for attention. And to have these conversations in front of one’s own parents? What the fuck?

    No, there is something seriously wrong with this guy. The mother/grandmother is out of line for forcing a relationship. She needs to be told in no uncertain terms that unless the brother can censor himself around children, he will not be allowed back in the house, 2 hour drive or not. He can sit out in the car and think about his conquests (more like fantasies) for all you care. Ask granny if she’ll be the one to explain to daycare/school why the kids are REPEATING the sexual exploits of “dear ‘ol” Nunky Gabe (more like Creepy Gabe) in class and why nobody was protecting them from such stories.

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  • I. M. Fletcher September 4, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I am the crazy uncle who had to learn these lessons. Thankfully, I did and have wonderful relationships with my siblings kids. Like you, my sisters were direct with me about their expectations of my behavior around their kids, and eventually my head was removed from my ass and things changed. If your brother can’t or won’t meet your expectations, you seem to know your first responsibility is to your kids. It sucks, but he might not get it unless you tell him he’s cut off unless and until he can change his behavior around them.

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  • mf September 4, 2012, 3:40 pm

    LW, if you’re reading this today, perhaps you could post an example of your brother’s sexually explicit comments. (With the appropriate asterisk marks, etc.) As you can see from BGM’s comment, everybody’s answer to your dilemma is highly dependent on how they’re interpreting your brother’s graphic language. If we could have a concrete example, that would be extremely helpful.

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    • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 3:49 pm

      Yes, I would so LOVE to see this…

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    • Just Max September 4, 2012, 4:10 pm

      I think an example, or two, from the LW would help a lot.
      I say things such as “shit,” “damn it,” and the occasional “fuck it” (plus a few other words in Spanish); how ‘vulgar’ is that? Of course, do not ask my relative M.; she gets offended by these. 😉

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    • Amanda September 4, 2012, 4:27 pm

      Yes, inquiring minds want to know

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    • iwannatalktosampson September 4, 2012, 4:50 pm

      LW – If you’re around I’m curious too. My advice would be drastically different depending on some examples. Also what exactly does “talk like a porn star” mean. I mean they are just people you know. They might cuss more but that’s what they do for a job – it’s not their life.

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      • ElevenSeven September 4, 2012, 6:03 pm

        I think it’s safe to assume that the LW probably “talks like a porn star while on they are filming.” From my last viewing, I’d say that’s actually quite different from most people’s daily discussions with family, co-workers, etc.

      • ElevenSeven September 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

        I think it’s safe to assume that the LW meant “talks like a porn star while they are filming.” From my last viewing, I’d say that’s actually quite different from most people’s daily discussions with family, co-workers, etc.

  • cporoski September 4, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Wendy: I think you are right in this.

    LW, this letter is very vague with some crucial details here. However, One you are clearly not over your childhood. The details about your mom liking him better and your brother hating your dad would not need to be in your letter about his language in front of your kids. Also, the debate up top makes it clear. What was said is very important.

    Now, here is my question. Do you ask your brother why he can’t watch his language. When you say “language” at the table, that just sounds like nagging. These multiple times you have brought this up, did you ask him, “why can’t you respect my wishes on this?” or explain why you think this is so important.His answer to that question will be the deciding factor on whether he can be in your life. He might say that he didn’t realize how big of a deal this was. or think that this is the same back an forth from when you were kids or he might disrespect you again in which case he is never going to change. I think the “why” in this is so important.

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  • Kelly September 4, 2012, 4:33 pm

    I think it is obvious the Mother is the one pushing the relationship between the siblings, the brother probably hears the same thing on his end. He doesn’t sound any more interested in a relationship than the sister.

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  • LW September 4, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I have somehow deleted what I had written TWICE before submitting. Let’s hope the third time is a charm.

    I’m the LW, as you folks would say. Here is the comment that got my brother kicked out:

    We were discussing some of my parents’ friends who recently bought a horse. My brother said something along the lines of “There was a guy recently who took it in the *ss from a horse. It’s c*ck was too big and it ruptured his colon. Now he has to use a colostomy (sp?) bag.” It had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    I have no idea if that has ever happened (doesn’t seem likely, but maybe) or why he thought it would add to the conversation, but it was super disturbing. Totally not acceptable to say in front of little children, in my opinion.

    Earlier in the evening, he also made a comment about an older man ‘sniffing the panties’ of a younger guy. He was discussing a teacher in a nearby town who lost his job for being involved with his students. I think it was a 17 year old, but I’m not positive. (The kid was a senior, so he could have been 18, I don’t know.) I don’t want my kids thinking it’s ok for an adult to do something like that with a child. Clearly, they are different age groups entirely, but I take that stuff pretty seriously.

    Yes, he also says f*ck every other word, but that- obviously- wasn’t my biggest objection.

    As far as not mentioning that anyone else took offense to his behavior, I honestly didn’t think it was relevant. Of course they weren’t ok with it. The only people who I thought were behaving out of the ordinary were my brother and my mom. So that’s why they were the only ones mentioned.

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    • LW September 4, 2012, 4:56 pm

      And I should also mention that I did actually write a response/clarification with more details to Wendy some time ago, but thought that I should probably post a comment before you all go to war over what he actually said.

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    • bittergaymark September 4, 2012, 7:57 pm

      Okay. Interesting… It would seem rather obvious to me that you should all seriously push to have your brother tested to see if he has tourettes of something. Clearly there is something mentally off about your brother mentally. I suspect there has been so for some time.

      That said, the fact that you still seem to have ZERO compassion for your brother is sad. Mental illness — IS an illness. And judging people for having it is as fucked up as blaming somebody else for getting breast cancer and then saying that they are a downer so you don’t want to be around them.

      The tragedy of mental illness is that often family members don’t actively bother to do anything to help the afflicted. But rather —- just simply shun them.

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      • mf September 4, 2012, 10:18 pm

        I think you’re projecting too much here. She did say that she continues to carry on a relationship with her brother by calling him now and then. And while it seems like her brother may have a mental illness, but we’re not psychiatrists and it’s not our job to diagnose him. And I’d like to reiterate something that one of the other commenters, Taylor, posted above: the LW does not have a duty to help out her “less fortunate” brother. Her number one priority is kids. Period. Whether it’s a mental illness or something else, in the end it doesn’t matter why he’s saying these things. If he keeps saying these vulgar, inappropriate things, she needs to keep her kids away from him.

      • bittergaymark September 5, 2012, 1:02 am

        No, it’s NOT our job to diagnose him. But clearly something IS amiss here. To stand by and do nothing is pretty messed up…

      • qm September 5, 2012, 12:39 am

        He’s never been diagnosed with a mental illness. Some people are just inappropriate jerks. I don’t understand why you seem bound and determined to vilify this woman no matter what she posts.

  • LW (JJ) September 4, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Oops- And I just saw that Wendy had responded with instructions to post what I had wrote to her via email in the comments. Here it is:

    “Here are some more details on the situation with my vulgar brother. By reading your response and several comments, I thought I realize I should clarify some things.

    First, I didn’t explain that although I limit the time I allow my brother to spend with my children, I haven’t cut him out of MY life. I try to call him a few times a month and keep him updated on our lives. I just don’t take them to visit him or invite him to our home unless it is a large family function where there are some buffers. (He does seem to do a little better with the way he talks when he is in large groups of people.)

    Second, when I say explicit sex acts, I mean that they are enough to make me blush and I am by no means a prude! The thing that made me put the kids to bed early and ask them to leave was a description of an act of bestiality. It was disgusting. Before that, he made references about an older man ‘sniffing the panties’ of a younger man. To me, that’s completely unacceptable in front of children. When I kicked them out, my mother’s response was “You need to lighten up. It’s just a joke.”

    Last, the reason I mentioned the weird relationship between my mother and brother was to put the entire disagreement with my mother into perspective. I definitely agree that I am not completely over it. I probably never will be. My point was, though, that it’s not eating away at me like it used to. I have accepted that it’s just the way life is in our family. I’m not angry with my mother or my brother over it. I realize that, if I had a child like him, I’d probably treat him differently, too. I know my mom loves both of us, even if she shows it differently.

    As far as the childhood illness, he had some heart issues. He had surgeries to correct the condition as a child and is physically healthy.

    To define the ‘weirdness’ of their relationship- it’s as if they flirt with each other. My mom constantly talks about how attractive my brother is, and my brother acts similarly with her. They also discuss each other’s sex lives, which I was never comfortable with. I never realized how odd it was until after I got older and was away from the behavior for awhile. Now, I think it’s just strange. Maybe I am reading into it, but I’ve had several friends comment on how inappropriate their realationship is, too.

    It is possible that there is a mental illness issue. I’ve often thought this many times. However (and I could be TOTALLY wrong here, because I know next to nothing about mental health.), it seems weird to me that he can turn his misbehavior on and off at will. That doesn’t seem like it’s due to a mental illness to me, but- again- I don’t know.

    Anyway, hopefully that fills in some of the blanks that I left out.

    As an update to the situation, I did try to call my mother (because I didn’t want to wait too long before addressing this with her… Sorry I didn’t wait for your advice!), and she is ignoring my calls. I haven’t tried my brother yet. I told him what would happen if he continued to talk in that way. I don’t know what else to say to him at this point. I have spoken with my dad and he is completely on my side about it. He has promised that he will not bring my brother along again unless we’ve told him it’s ok. He asked if I would mind if he had a talk with my brother about it, but I’ve asked him not to. I don’t think that he needs to get involved, especially since my brother already ‘hates’ him so much.

    It seems like a real mess when I write it all out.

    Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.”

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    • AKchic_ September 4, 2012, 9:00 pm

      Geez. Let me get home and I will write a response. Promise.

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    • mf September 4, 2012, 10:12 pm

      Wow, your mother and brother do have a creepy relationship. It’s like an un-funny episode of Arrested Development.

      Based on your description of his graphic language, I’d say you’re totally justified in limiting the time he spends with your kids. Because yeah, that bestiality comment is totally inappropriate for small children. While it’s possible he may have a mental illness, it sounds like (based on your comment on how he can turn on and off his bad behavior) that he has at least some control over what he says and how he acts.

      Also, I was thinking about how you noted that your mother is always pushing to have your brother spend time with your kids, even though he hasn’t shown much interest in spending time with them himself. Could it be that your mother is making things up when she says he always talks about missing your kids? Perhaps she’s pushing for a relationship between him and the kids, even though he has no interest. In fact, he could be acting out precisely because of that.

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    • Oldie September 4, 2012, 10:36 pm

      You should not feel that you need to be chasing after your mother and brother to make up. They were the ones who were out of line. If you chase after them, they will conclude that you have apologized for behaving badly, they have won, and nothing will change. Wait until they come to you with promises of changed behavior and an admission of fault. Your mother seems manipulative. As long as you allow her to manipulate her, by seeking to worm your way back into her good graces, nothing will change and she will continue to manipulate you. Focus upon what is best for you and your kids. And, yes, mentally ill people can turn behavior on and off.

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    • CatsMeow September 5, 2012, 10:53 am

      Dang! Haha, OK that’s pretty nasty.

      *Sidenote: It’s probably a true story about the horse. Didn’t a guy die from that? Anyway, that’s a pretty disgusting conversation to be having at a dinner table – I mean, besides the bestiality he also mentioned a colostomy bag, haha, and not many people besides Addie Pray like discussing poop.

      I’m hoping that it went over your kids’ heads. I was pretty dense when I was a kid. But you’re right, he needs to learn to NOT say that kind of shit in front of kids, and your mom needs to stop defending him. I’m glad that your dad is on board and I hope this doesn’t cause a deeper rift in your family (you + dad vs. brother + mom).

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  • You Go Girl September 4, 2012, 6:59 pm

    The mother and brother are showing the LW a lot of disrespect. She has politely and clearly told her brother that she does not want bad language and sexually explicit discussions in front of her young children. Her brother is ignoring her request, and seems to deliberately antagonizing her at the expense of her children. We do not know why he seems to enjoy taunting her in this way, but his sadism does not make him a good person to spend time with the Lw’s children. Their mother is ignoring her daughter’s legimate concerns and taking the side of her brother.

    We are not given enough information to know why the mother and brother are so hostile towards the LW. The LW has a right to see standards of behavior for people who spend time with her children, even if these standards are more strict than other parents. She may be able to find a way to spend limited time with them, but I would not be surprised if she has to cut off all contact.

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    • Oldie September 4, 2012, 10:11 pm

      Logic and polite requests seldom work on the mentally ill.

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  • fast eddie September 4, 2012, 6:55 pm

    Good grief this woman’s first responsibility is to herself and her kids. Only she and her husband have any authority about what they exposed to beyond the laws of our government. Just like children the brother is obligated to limits of behavior. Warnings have done no good so far and will be ignored into the future. Simply tell him the next time he has an outburst he’ll be evicted on the spot. No excuse will be accepted. Strike one your out period. If he won’t leave call the cops.

    The relationship with her mother is an endless spiral. Mama wants to stir up trouble, whether she’s aware of it or not. The LW responds and the issue continues. The easy to stop is not to respond to mama’s demands. Let her rant all she wants and say your sorry that she feels responsible for Buba’s olfishness, but that’s something for them to work out and you wont take part in it. Your kids are your primary responsibility and that’s what you’ll do with vigor.

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  • katie September 4, 2012, 8:14 pm

    i missed a really good day. damn it. i hate it when this happens!! haha

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  • Skyblossom September 5, 2012, 6:22 am

    I think that what this boils down to is that your mom looks at your children through a prism that features your brother. That’s the thing that happens when there is a child favored to the point that they are exempted from the basic rules of etiquette. So your mom is looking at your children in a “how do they relate to her favored boy” way. She probably sees them as his last chance at not being totally alone in life, especially after she is gone. She sees them as the people who will take care of him in his old age because, for some inexplicable reason, no one has married your brother. This is all about your brother because if it wasn’t, she would require him to behave more appropriately around your children. If the children were at least equal in her mind, she wouldn’t want him behaving that way around your children. She is trying to foster a relationship between your children and your brother because she sees it as being in his best interest, but she really doesn’t care that much about the children. At the same time, he doesn’t want a relationship with the kids, maybe they annoy him with noise or suck up attention or both or something else but he doesn’t want the relationship. So he’s obnoxious. He would love it if he didn’t have to ever go to your house and he would love it if you would quit coming to visit the parents and bringing your kids with you. He’d prefer to remain the only focus of your mom. He’s trying to get banned. He’s going out of his way to get banned. So ban him because he isn’t in any way, remotely in the best interests of your children.

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  • Marcie September 5, 2012, 10:39 am

    I just really don’t understand the mentality to maintain a relationship with family at all costs. They are people that you are stuck with and you can’t decide whether or not you want them in your life just because they are “family”? I can see how it would be painful for a mother to see her grown kids not close, but to try to force it when one is obviously a little unhinged? That to me seems selfish. Let them sort it out between themselves without other family members getting into the middle of it.

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  • Light Rider September 5, 2012, 11:08 pm

    Evidently the LW brother has issues but don’t we all? In spite of all our issues most us understand boundaries. Most people that can’t control themselves end up in prison or in mental institutions. I believe the brother can control himself, there’s a chance he wouldn’t speak this way at work to his boss, a place of worship, or in a court of law. When it comes to relationships be it family, friends, or romantic people only do what you allow them to do. For me the solution would be real simple either you respect my house and watch your mouth or you don’t visit. Like Wendy said, this guy is doing this for attention. When people blatantly disrespect you and ignore your boundaries you have to shut them down and give no attention to their behavior. Boundary violators should never feel comfortable in your presence, they should not feel comfortable acting out. You need wisdom, common sense, and diplomacy in dealing with people like this because each violator and situation is not the same. In the LW’s case there seems to be some underlying issues as Wendy pointed out. The brother has been acting this way for so long (and allowed to do so) that he probably will not modify his behavior.

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  • BeckyGrace September 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    why is BitterGayMark allowed here at all anymore when almost everything that is written is negative and attacking and certainly seems to be against everything this forum is about? I don’t get it. Is he allowed because he calls himself BitterGayMark so therefore by calling himself out as bitter excuses his nasty attitude and treatment of others on here?

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