I feel so sad for my nephew and my brother.

Ireland
May 8, 2007 2:19pm CST
My nephew was raised by his mother, until he gained a great stepdad when he was still small. My (half) brother was never very involved emotionally or financially, and we had many arguments about this. My nephew and I are close in age, and I always took his side, even though he never complained about getting a raw deal from his dad. He made the best of things. Now, my brother's father has passed away, and he has started thinking about his son, who is a grown man in his thrities with a teenaged boy of his own. When my nephew and his wife split up, their little boy was still small, and my nephew has raised him all on his own. He can't understand why his father didn't do a better job, as he was able to. Now, my brother's longtime partner is trying to mend fences between them, and my nephew wants nothing to do with it. He is ignoring phone calls, and my brother's partner has tried to get me to...work a miracle? Get my nephew to want to know his father now that it is convenient for him? Forgive all the half truths, and that he had to watch his father, who ignored him, raise his partners sons? I have a feeling this is going to cause a major family schism, as most people are coming down on my brother's side and saying my nephew should forgive and forget, that his dad is 'trying'. My brother is coming out as the victim in this whole thing and everyone has forgotten why his son might be feeling this way. I feel bad for both of them. I understand how my nephew feels and I would probably feel the same way. I especially wouldn't want to disrespect my mom who struggled t raise me on my own, and the stepdad who raised me just because the man who didn't suddenly needs me. At the same time, I wish this could be healed between them, and my brother could make amends before it is too late. Does anyone have any advice?
10 people like this
10 responses
@mummymo (23707)
8 May 07
I had a slightly similar situation with my own natural dad and he didn't ever get involved in my life. My uncle (his brother) and I have gotten to know each other well and become close over the last few years and I love my uncle dearly - the only problem is he would love to reconcile me with my dad - and that is where my foot stays firmly down! I have spent more than 30 years feeling hurt and abandoned by my father and will not let him hurt me or my kids anymore so I can really understand where your nephew is coming from and how he feels! I came to the conclusion a few years ago that my father is the one who has missed out on one of his children and 2 fantastic grandkids! I really feel that you are in such a difficult situation and that your brother has a terrible nerve to think he can now walk back in to his sons life after so long! If I were you I would show your nephew what you have said in this post and suggest he gives your broter an hour to put forward what he wants from a relationship now and why he has decided that he now wants to be involved with him - mainly so that your nephew doesn't regret his decision in years to come - but that you won't push him into anything or put pressure on him! As for the rest of the family - I think they should put themselves in your nephews position and imagine how he felt as he was growing up before they judge him! I wish you and your family peace and good luck and will pray that everything works out for the best! xxx
3 people like this
• Ireland
9 May 07
I think my nephew was so fortunate to be raised by the people he was raised by, because he is as healthy about the situation as it would be possible to be. He has done such an excellent job with his own son, and to me that is the measure of a man who has been subjected to the treatment he has. My brother really has missed out on a lot, and the bottom line is, I think, my nephew has moved on. I think even my brother realises it, which is why his partner is making the overtures rather than him, which is probably additionally insulting to my nephew. You guys are helping me work out in my head where I really come down on this issue and how to best handle it when the inevitable you know what hits the fan. Thank you for your well wishes and your experience!
2 people like this
@Hart57 (359)
• United States
8 May 07
That's a tough one. It's a complex situation and he has to do what he feels is right. I personally believe in the power of forgiveness. It's very liberating and healing. In fact, I don't believe that we can be completely free until we have forgiven people for all the stupid, thoughtless and hurtful things they have done to us. It's easier said then done because we have a tendency to want to hang on to the anger. I wish him all the best.
• Ireland
9 May 07
It would be great if they could all just forget it never happened, but I think my brother has more of a 'use' for my nephew now, where my nephew has moved on with his life. He has his mother, his son, his whole maternal family, plus his step dad's clan and they're close knit. I get the feeling he is thinking, "Why are you dredging up all this ancient history now?"
2 people like this
• Canada
10 May 07
Oh boy. This is a very emotional and highly charged situation here. If I were in your shoes, I would tell your brother's partner to back off. And your relatives to get off his case too. Your nephew has probably matured enough--thanks to the "character-building exercise" he received when his biological father left the scene. It is very painful to have your father walk away from you and your mom and prefer another family to yours. Sadly enough, the wound never heals--maybe scarred over but barely. And always always painful, just below the surface. One learns to live with it, but never really to accept it. After a while, you think you have succeeded in numbing the pain, but even a little thing can make the pain come back, even worse than before. I am betting you dollars to donuts that this is why your nephew is keeping his distance. He was badly hurt before and he does not want to be hurt again. Good thing he has his mom and stepdad. They obviously raised him well--the way he looks after his own son is proof of that. I'm sorry but I'm squarely behind your nephew; parenthood (or in this case, fatherhood) is not a right but a privilege to be earned. Unfortunately your brother has not earned anything--no rights at all-- other than the label of "sperm donor." Your nephew is 30 years old--he is definitely old enough to live his own life, and to choose whom he will allow into it. God bless your nephew and his boy, and you, my fine-feathered friend, for feeling so deeply for both of them. Sorry, but forgiveness is a private matter. Who are we to judge and say that your nephew has not forgiven his biological father? Maybe he has, he just doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Very possible. Leave him alone--he has made his choice and it needs to be respected-- in the same way that the biological father made his choice long ago, and so would have to live with the consequences now. It's all about choice and facing up to the results of that choice: that's what life is about. :-]
• Ireland
10 May 07
I can't see why they aren't respecting his choice. I really don't get it. He isn't a small boy any more to be court ordered visitation. That is the vibe I am getting, that 'it is about time they had some contact.' Why? He doesn't want any. MAybe he has his own hands full doing a proper jopb of raising his own son who isa teenager, and as a single dad, I would think it isn't easy. I feel like I am the only one (from my family) on his side and I really don't understand why people are unable to see things from his perspective. It's strange. I fell in love with my nephew when he was first born an dplace in my arms and I have always thought he was the cats pajamas. It isn't me he's annoyed with and doesn't want anything to do with, luckily I haven't been tarred with my brother's brush. I think I might be the only person in the hwole family that he or his mother still willingly speak to. I just hate to bring this t their door.
1 person likes this
• Canada
10 May 07
Thanks for the "best response pencil" my friend! I was out for most of the day in meetings and only logged on now. If I were in your shoes, I will have a sit-down with both your nephew and his mom and step-dad and have a heart to heart talk with them. Explain that you understand that all the players in this sad drama are all adults, and that you are all gifted with the power of choice. Leave the ball in their court and ignore what the other relatives have to say. It is none of their beeswax. But that's just me. It is probably easier said than done. I can detect that you are a natural peacemaker, and you are bothered because you can't make peace in this case. But you know what? Your intentions are pure, and so shall you be rewarded. What's that sentence in the Good Book? "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see God." I would venture to add "Blessed are those who let others exercise their power to choose, for they shall have their own power manifest." I shall send you loving thoughts of protection to surround you as you go through that roiling, moiling emotional cauldron. {{{{*}}}}
1 person likes this
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
9 May 07
I don't blame your nephew for how he feels. To suddenly have his biological dad wanting to become involved again would take some getting used to. I think this should be worked out between the two of them. I hate to see these kinds of situations in families. It's good that you're there for support, but it will ultimately be up to them to establish a new relationship.
• Ireland
9 May 07
I really wish it would have just arisen out of my brother's need to get to know his son and grandson, rather than during his grief of losing his won father. I also wish he were handling it, rather than his partner. I don't think either of these factors is helping the situation, sadly.
2 people like this
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
10 May 07
Yes, it does complicate things.
2 people like this
@whyaskq (7532)
• Singapore
9 May 07
Whatever the case, it does sound sad. I read this discussion few times and I still cannot clearly understand the complex relationships among the characters. I would like to clarify which is the case :- a) the son refuse to forgive the father who abandons him in the first place and now the father is trying to make up for his mistake by raising other people's children b) son needs to take care of the father who abandons him in the first place c) the son refuse to forgive the father who abandons him in the first place and the father now makes another mistake by raising someone else' children?
2 people like this
@castleghost (1304)
• United States
9 May 07
I have seen this before with a friend of mine. Your nephew needs to do what he feels is that right then to do. In his shoes I probrally would refuse to see my father also. As for your brothers partner trying to mend the fences, that should have been done a long time ago. When he was able to be a father to his partners children would have hurt me the most. Its not fair for the family to be backing your brother on any of this. Where were they when this all started? Why didn't they try to get yout brother to stand up and be a man then? Why should all of the concessions be made by your nephew? I would be asking them these questions when they side with the brother. Sorry sore subject. My girlfriend went through something similar. I hate when sperm donors act like they are the wronged party.
2 people like this
• Ireland
9 May 07
I can't really understand why the family is backing my brother, either. I think it is nice that most of them get along, and maybe if anyone speaks their mind about this, or even takes the time to see it from my nephew's perspective, they feel it will cause a big fight. I sure don't think my nephew needs to make any concessions. I think he should be free to enjoy the life he has worked hard to make for himself and his own son without this unexpected interference. It seems terribly unfair, that he has, hos whole lfe, been expected to be the one to make all the concessions.
2 people like this
@anindito (58)
• Indonesia
9 May 07
actually in this case is internal family.but i want to give suggest.try to pray to GOD with your mind,soul,body.ask GOD to give the best way to you,your family.
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
9 May 07
Not really much you can do. I think the best thing anyone can do is to back off the nephew. These people that are pressuring him to forgive and forget may be driving him farther away. That has got to be his decision. The more they push him, the more he is going to focus justifying his reasons for not mending fences. It may make him feel like no one cares about his feelings which will make him angrier.
2 people like this
@yanjiaren (9050)
14 May 07
This is terrible when the families are so torn apart from past mistakes that the rift sometimes is too large to bridge together. I was in a loveless marriage for eleven years and treated like a Cinderella by my ex and his family, including my ex stepsons. I tried so hard to be a proper wife and stwep mum to his grwon kids and served them like a slave. Sometimes however hard you try, if people are going to be hard headed and mean it is their choice. In the end I left them to it, we are on amicable terms because we have a son together and I have forgiven myself, but I had to take myself out of that situation. Now they are not related to me, I don't expect anything from them, the polite hello I get is more than enough. Your nephew is very hurt and must be left as an adult to make up his own mind. He may not have such a strong character to just wipe out the past and forget. But I hope one day they may at least talk and resolve the issue. I think it should be left to him now, if nothing else has worked then only time or patience may be the answer. I hate watching films where you see the parents dying without resolving issues and then the kids regret it. Now that is awful, I hope your nephew doesn't regret it.
@yanjiaren (9050)
14 May 07
Yes at least we won't see history repeat itself in the same cycle. May God help you all. At least your Brother's partner was trying to do her bit I suppose, she has to recieve some credit for that isn't it?
1 person likes this
• Ireland
14 May 07
I guess I think it is strange that she wants to put her nose into it at this time. She and my nephew have no relationship at all. He doesn't know her and now she is calling him at work and his maternal grandparents...I think it is too much and I don't think she should be doing it. It is my brother's place.
• India
15 May 07
I maybe a little biased here but I think that your nephew's first priority should be his own well being. I just don't understand why children are excepted to wait around till a parent has solved his/her problems and can now make some effort to build a relationship. I don't think that everyone should automatically get a second chance.
1 person likes this