Family business | 

Dear Maura: My husband (44) is still bullied by older brothers — but he refuses help

“I’m sick and tired of their arguing, and feeling awkward when we meet up”

Siblings can respect each other without being best friends© ??  `??_/O?? ??? ?

Sunday World

Dear Maura: “I need you to stay out of my family” — this is what my husband told me when I tried to stand up for him over another row with his brothers. He’s the youngest and is still bullied by them at 44 years of age.

The other day I was thinking ahead to Christmas, so I went to the house to talk to them. They both still live at home with their elderly father and run a business from there.

We have children and I pleaded with them as uncles to leave their brother alone, to stop always criticising him and putting him down.

I felt the chat had gone well. But when my husband came home he was annoyed I had been over without asking him. I’m sick and tired of their arguing, and feeling awkward when we meet up. It’s gone on long enough and I don’t know what’s at the root of it. The whole situation makes no sense.

So where do we go from here? My husband won’t confront his brothers and they seem to have no respect for him.

Answer:I wonder what trigged all this kind of behaviour. You use the word ‘bullied’ in your letter, and I agree with you. They seem to be complete bullying tactics. Maybe because he’s the youngest, or he is vulnerable — I don’t know. It’s hard to analyse without knowing the family dynamic.

One thing is certain, your husband feels undermined by you going to see his brothers without him knowing. It’s like this is another thing taken out of his control.

I know you had the absolute right intentions but it would be better to consult him next time. Could you try talking to him to help you understand what is going on?

Explain that you feel for everyone’s sake, especially the children, that a truce of some sort needs to be called.

He doesn’t have to be on the best terms, just to get along for the family’s sake.

Email your problems to Maura O’Neill maura.oneill@sundayworld.com All pictures are posed by models

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