How Can I Share My Space With Someone I Hate?

Not all advice needs to be professional. Sometimes your problems deserve honest honesty on the part of a dude who has nothing but a computer and a conscience. Lucky for you, I’m that guy. Welcome back to Tough Love. (If you would like my advice, email me at sblum@lifehacker.com)

Today we are discussing how to negotiate a family reunion with a family member you would rather avoid at all costs. What will you do if you have to spend several days with this person? Can you avoid them? You should?

Note: I am a reviewer, not a therapist or certified healthcare professional. My advice should be interpreted with this in mind. If you have any problems with what I am saying, please file a complaint here. Now let’s get started.

Hi Sam,

For the past seven years, I have been happily separated from my brother. I was the manager of our parents’ property, and he cut off contact with me because of my decision. I was so happy that I no longer have anything to do with him. Over the years, I worked hard to maintain a relationship with him out of respect for my mother, despite the fact that my brother was a violent narcissist. His hot temper made everyone walk on eggshells. His MO was to pit my sister and me against each other – even though we both had his number and made fun of each other about how she was burdened with it, and vice versa when he broke off contact with one of us. and tried to ingratiate himself with another.

My last meeting with him was when he shouted at me that I was a “liberal” and never talk to him again. Since he has many weapons, I slowly closed the door in front of him and have not spoken to him since. My lawyer managed to get in touch with him to settle the case, and I was so glad I didn’t have to deal with him. I do not like him. I don’t like his company, and I see no reason to try to restore this relationship. I don’t wish him anything bad, but I really don’t want to have anything to do with him.

Nevertheless, my eldest son kept in touch with him, and it is good that he is an adult and he makes his choice. However, this son is getting married and will undoubtedly invite my brother to the wedding. The thought of spending a week with my asshole brother makes me nervous. I won’t tell my son and his fiancée what to do, but I desperately want to enjoy this weeklong celebration. Having my idiot brother there will surely darken the party.

He was not invited to the wedding of my other son, because he was a terrible jerk in relation to his nephew, who also wants nothing to do with him. But my brother doesn’t have the ability to learn, understand, or apologize. Although he has undergone professional therapy for decades (he is the first responder), he uses therapeutic ideas and terms to absolve himself of any responsibility for his abhorrent behavior. As far as I understand, there is no point in attracting him to any level. But destination weddings bring everyone together for a few days of intense communication. I don’t understand how I can avoid it.

How do I deal with this? Do I grit my teeth, ask me to sit as far away from my brother as possible, and try to minimize our interactions? Can I stay away from home? Go the other way when I see him coming? My brother has no self-control and I can imagine all kinds of scenarios in which he tries to involve me, lure me in, or otherwise initiate some kind of interaction. He could really derail a wedding – like he did our mother’s funeral when he pouted and walked away annoyed by some minor comment made to him by a cousin. He also ruined a few holidays by throwing wild accusations at my sister and leaving in a rage.

So how can I successfully overcome this forced intimacy?

Made with it

Darling, it’s done with him,

I can certainly understand why you are “done with him,” as your pseudonym makes clear. This dude sounds like pure chaos; someone who is constantly offended, but never really reckoned with his inner torment (even if he went to therapy). Instead, he unleashes his suffering on other people in the form of psychological abuse. No wonder you want to avoid it, but how?

The good news is (in part) that you are dealing with someone who has the emotional maturity of a child. It also looks like you will have refuge in a family that feels the same way as you do. Assuming everyone in your family is as rational and discerning as you are, it’s safe to assume that no one will defend a violent narcissist seeking to ruin a joyful event.

It looks like your brother is thriving in chaos, which, as you astutely put it, is one of the hallmarks of a narcissist . One question to ask yourself: How many people are actually willing to put up with his bullshit, or even close to sympathizing with his bullshit? I think he will find few, if any, allies on this journey. You mentioned his story of pouting and pouting when his tactics let him down at family events. Who said he wouldn’t resort to his usual theatricality and just bail out when no one feeds on his chaos?

Nobody wants to see a dramatic flop at a destination wedding, especially when everyone is supposedly hanging out in the same area for days. But if he leaves like a toddler, is it really such a bad situation in the long run? Eventually he will go away.

Moreover, I would not advise you to stay elsewhere unless you live in the house with your brother this week. Until your safety is compromised, don’t let him take over in every conceivable sense of the word. This is your son’s wedding, and it looks like your brother is a kind of guest of dishonor. He received an invitation of sympathy. He probably feels resentful and insecure about your other son not inviting him to his wedding. Let him feel resentful and insecure; his disgusting reputation is not anyone’s fault, but only himself.

One technique that is good to keep in your back pocket is called gray wiggle – this is when you act as passively and uninteresting as possible so as not to fuel the narcissistic desire for conflict. This requires short, monosyllabic responses and avoiding eye contact. This will probably drive him crazy, but as you know, he will be in a position where perversion will only ruin everyone’s mood, which means that no one will tolerate his reckless outbursts.

In your general communication with him – if you absolutely must communicate – just kill him with kindness, even if he tries to provoke you. Reacting to provocation with neutrality can really irritate the aggressor and even be confusing. Why not throw him off guard? If it comes to this, and you need the help of close relatives, I am sure that one of your sons will be ready to intervene. Until then, don’t worry too much about him. It doesn’t seem worth it.

That’s all for this week, but there is still a lot of Tough Love to come. If you would like to be mentioned, please contact me with a description of your dilemmas in an email to my address ( please include “TIP” or “HARD LOVE” in the subject line ). Or tweet me with the hashtag #ToughLove . For serious inquiries only: do not email or email me if you do not want your name to appear in this column. Disclaimer : I can’t answer everyone, so be sure to include the specific issue in your post. I will not respond to generalizations such as “rude” or vague descriptions of “relationship problems” without specific examples of what is bothering you. Take care of yourself until next time!

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