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An issue of morality

Community Member
I have a problem with anxiety and depression I also have a really aggressive sibling with mental health problems. We are estranged because I fear for my safety and health. However, my parents, still feel sorry for him and put his needs before mine. There has always been a lax set of guidelines for him and a different really strict set of rules for me. I feel like I am the second child, even though we are not children anymore. I think they’re really scared of him and, despite what every psychiatric expert has said, they give him what he wants because it’s easier for them.

Here's my current dilemma that I'd like people's opinions on before I lose yet another night of sleep over it. We go away to a seaside town a lot and the problem I have is that my parents always invite him. He doesn’t always pitch but it’s enough to ruin a holiday. Last time I was meant to go with him and they invited him last minute and I back out. They were really hurt and angry at me. So we are going away for Easter and I’ve agreed to go. I asked if he was invited and they said no. Happy because I love them and we have fun together. However, I don’t trust them, just by some underhanded comments they have made. I am really scared that if I go he’ll turn up and I’ll be stranded there in the same house with no way of getting home until we leave. Even though I’ve made my terms and conditions fr going very clear.  I feel really sick and
scared in his presence but my parents don’t care about that. It’s already ruining the trip for me. But I don’t want to hurt their feelings again and deal with all that drama by backing out. Especially as this time it's a familiy religious celebration. I also don’t want to spend another holiday by myself and I think active holidays are good for my own mental health whereas sitting at home watching crap movies is not. I think it’s really unfair that my trips away are dictated by my parents and sibling- I am over 21- and that my feelings are put last when I try to do the right thing. I’ll be really hurt if it turns out they’ve lied to me to protect his feelings too. So do I stay and feel awful or go and possibly have a good time or possibly risk being stuck in an unsafe situation with no way to get out until the close of the trip? Or am I just being an anxiety person who is worrying too much like I always do? I'm interested in people's thoughts because this is going to set a precedent. 
3 Replies 3

Community Member

Dear Polka Dots.  Hi and welcome.  You are in a very tricky situation here.  Mum and dad obviously want family time, now you are older.  As you said you're not children any more.  You're over 21, your brother (I take it), how old is he?  Are you all travelling together?  Where does your brother actually live, I take it he doesn't live with your parents.  If you are going in your own car, if your brother arrives, I would say to mum and dad (gently), you did say he wasn't coming.  You know there's always been problems when we're together.  I'm not going to get into any arguments, I have my own transport, I'm sorry to do this, but under the circumstances, I think it might be wise if I were to go home.  When m/d try to get you to stay (at this point, they may try to make you feel a bit guilty).  Just say, you said he wasn't coming, I'm extremely disappointed that you lied.  Don't take the guilt they lay on you, parents often try this when they want children to do what they want.  It sounds as though they're a bit uneasy with your sibling too.  Another way you could find out, do you know where your sibling lives, is he in care?  If he's in care, phone where he's living explain (without giving too much information), who you are and why you're phoning.  Ask if the carer knows whether your sibling is going with your parents.  If the answer is yes, phone your parents back, tell them something unexpected has cropped up and you won't be coming after all.  If they find out you lied, tell them straight out why you had to lie.  Are your parents elderly?  I wouldn't get into any major arguments about it, remember, you owe parents nothing.  There's really only two solutions from where I'm sitting, either you find out for sure whether he's going, and you stay home, or he's not going, you go and enjoy yourself.  If sibling lives alone and you can't phone, take your own car (if you have one), and come home if he's there.  If parents are collecting you and he's with them, you are under no obligation to go with them.  You still have the right of refusal.  I think, in your circumstances, I would opt for a holiday alone. 

Maybe someone else on the forums has a better idea.

Community Member

Hi there polka dots,


Couple of questions to pose to you.


As you’ve said, you’re no longer children, you’re over 21 … first question is:  do you have access to transport?  Ie:  do you have a car and/or drive?  Is it possible for you to drive separately from your parents to the holiday place?  That way, if this other problem sibling turns up, you’ll have your mode of transport to ‘get the hell out of there’.


That would be my first big thing to raise.


It’s a shame that it seems that you can’t actually trust your parents with regard to whether they’ll invite this sibling, kind of ‘behind your back’.


I’m guessing that you’ve sat down with them on multiple occasions to discuss with them the impact that he has on you … the horrible negative impact that he has.  Maybe they are scared of him also, hence why the seemingly ‘do give him what he wants as it’s easier for them’.


I really feel for you because of all that you’ve written and I can imagine how churned up inside you must be in the lead up to this Easter.  It’s horrible when things are like this, when really this should be a time where family are looking forward to doing something special together.


I really hope that there is an option for you to drive … and you can also then tell your parents that you’re going to do this, because of the real chance of them ‘on the quiet’ inviting this other sibling.


These are my views … I hope others will come along and provide other thoughts for you as well.


Kind regards



Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Polka Dots,

You have been given excellent advice. Your parents are adults and so are you. So you can all make your own decisions according to your respective opinions and feelings. Your duty is to yourself first so your own feelings should take precedence over everyone else's.

If you don't have independent transport, you will be at the mercy of your parents' choice. You have made your feelings clear. If you choose to take a chance, being cautious would be a good idea. Perhaps give your parents another chance to come clean about their intentions, letting them know in no uncertain terms that a breach of trust will have consequences...for your own future protection. Perhaps such ultimatum would make them think twice about lying again. 

If -as you say- the trip has already been ruined for you, then I can't see the point of going.

If you have/can get your own transport all is well. Being able to quit if you need to will give you peace of mind.

In any case, I hope looking after yourself will be your priority.