Author Topic: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.  (Read 263 times)

Offline BlueInGreen

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How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« on: August 29, 2022, 01:35:29 PM »
My older sibling and I are children of immigrants in the States. Our parents were raised Catholic in their homeland. When we became school-age our parents, most notably our mother, decided to enroll us in Catholic school. One reason being is that since we're Catholic it would make sense to attend a Catholic school. Another reasons being that the environment would be less chaotic with better discipline.

Compared to the surrounding public schools, our Catholic grammar school was quite poor in facilities. We didn't have an actual gym, but instead we held indoor gym in a separate building's annex. We didn't have a music room so music lessons were held in the space just above the said annex. There weren't any basketball hoops or outdoor green space for the students to play soccer or softball so we used our school's parking lot. Our school lacked the facilities to house proper science equipment; our microscopes were the plastic kind you get out of science home kits your aunt would get you as a gift when she stopped by each fall. There were no lockers or cafeteria, so each student kept their texts and school supplies in their open front desk. Our coats and boots were held in the back of our homeroom on simple hooks. Lunch each day was held in our homeroom where every student brought their own lunch.

Despite our curriculum not being able to afford teachers who could teach more advanced subjects at the grammar school level, such as Algebra II, or the nonexistent language courses that some public schools offer (i.e. Chinese, French) I can't recall the most capable students when entering high school faltering academically when they matriculated to high school, whether it be Catholic or public. At the end of their senior year, a number of our valedictorians and salutatorians ended up in the top 10 (not percent wise, but number ranking) of their graduating high school class. Our best athletes made their high school basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and baseball teams despite no gym. The fact that our grammar school did not have those facilities or those classes didn't make much of a difference when competing with other students from other Catholic and public schools that offered a more robust curriculum once at the secondary level.

I see this but my sibling, in his 30s, either does not or refuses to acknowledge this. A few days ago when he came back into town he scoffed and questioned why on earth would mom and dad would send us to Catholic school given public school, with all the "free" offerings that our grammar school lacked, cost significantly less. I understood his decision to not want to send kids to Catholic school just based on a more pragmatic, financial reason, though I'm rather confused of his outright dismissal of our attendance of Catholic school as if we were cheated out of something that reverberated into our adult lives.

One day we were driving and he wanted to look at our old grammar school. Upon arrival, we saw a big "Choose Life" banner hanging from the side of the convent which sits on the school's premises. He said something to the effect of "stupid people", referring to pro-life people. Many years have past since the last time we stepped foot on school grounds where there were many upgrades made (i.e. various saint statues implemented, greenery expanded etc.). He positively commented on these aesthetics though.

This attitude my sibling has expressed is his same attitude to other activities we partook in as children. We both were involved with scouting - I as a Cub Scout and he as a Boy Scout. When enjoying the outdoors at a state park, he wondered aloud what was the point of Boy Scouts. "I didn't learn anything." As a grown adult, I wish there was some sort of program for adults to learn the skills and knowledge found within the Boy Scouts curriculum.

There really isn't any thoughtful explanation given by him besides "we didn't have this and that" to "this is pointless."

Outside of our formal education and activities, my sibling also displayed shame when asked if he wanted to invite a coworker to our house for Christmas since she was alone in the city for the holidays. We grew up in a house built in the mid-1980s. It's a modest house were many things haven't been upgraded. At the time of the question, we just redid our kitchen and living floor, so no more broken tiles and carpet, but instead (fake) wood tiles for the living room and new stone floor tiles for the kitchen. This wasn't enough for him. "Our house isn't posh." His coworker spent Christmas Eve alone.

Besides praying for him, my patience is running out. I am slightly surprised our mother and father haven't called him out yet for his attitude. They just sit there quietly and mumble a few short worded defenses, but for the most part they just let him talk.

Sibling background: Works in financial consulting making a decent wage, living in NYC. Has developed an elitist attitude towards anything that isn't "progressive", that isn't like NYC, and constantly makes jabs at poor and middle class whites. I'd even say he has displayed a borderline racist attitude towards whites since he graduated from college/uni. (We aren't white.) I attended a relatively small state university where the city's population was mostly white. When my parents and him visited me we stopped by the local Chinese restaurant. Once we stepped in the restaurant he noticed that many of the costumers were white. "Ugh. White people." This disdain - whenever he notices that he is the minority amongst whites - has carried with him for over a decade. Safe to say my sibling has personal issues that need to be resolved.

Our background: We grew up in a working class, blue collar neighborhood in our city amongst mostly Irish, Polish and Mexican Catholics.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2022, 02:00:36 PM by BlueInGreen »
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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2022, 01:51:00 PM »
He sounds like your average liberal who grew up not-well-off, and now makes a decent living. 

I have no recommendations on how to handle him.  He's got personal issues he's projecting onto his childhood and your parents. 
Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.  ~Treebeard, LOTR

Jesus son of David, have mercy on me.
 
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Offline BlueInGreen

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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2022, 02:05:41 PM »
He sounds like your average liberal who grew up not-well-off, and now makes a decent living. 

I have no recommendations on how to handle him.  He's got personal issues he's projecting onto his childhood and your parents.

Our family household was solidly middle-class.
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Offline Instaurare omnia

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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2022, 08:34:39 PM »
Current peer group has him repeating their priorities. Basic premise is "cognitive dissonance" -- He can't feel affection or respect for his own origins and at the same time seek acceptance from his new friends/colleagues. That's too confusing and unsettling, so faced with the choice, his own background gets sacrificed. The conflict is worse for the middle-class than for those of poorer backgrounds, for whom the hypocrisy is much more obvious. (Examples: poorer nonwhites are often vaccine-averse, anti-homo, and usually are against defunding the police.)  NYC + financial services job? Heavy pressure to conform.

The irony is that the ideology is fed by elitist whites as a form of revenge against more conservative yet "ignorant"/retrograde whites. Progressive upwardly-mobile non-whites are the willing pawns in this game.
Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam (Psalm 126:2).
Benedicite, montes et colles, Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra, Domino (Daniel 3:75-76).
Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation (Psalm 145:2-3).
 

Offline BlueInGreen

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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2022, 10:46:19 AM »
Current peer group has him repeating their priorities. Basic premise is "cognitive dissonance" -- He can't feel affection or respect for his own origins and at the same time seek acceptance from his new friends/colleagues. That's too confusing and unsettling, so faced with the choice, his own background gets sacrificed. The conflict is worse for the middle-class than for those of poorer backgrounds, for whom the hypocrisy is much more obvious. (Examples: poorer nonwhites are often vaccine-averse, anti-homo, and usually are against defunding the police.)  NYC + financial services job? Heavy pressure to conform.

The irony is that the ideology is fed by elitist whites as a form of revenge against more conservative yet "ignorant"/retrograde whites. Progressive upwardly-mobile non-whites are the willing pawns in this game.

I don't believe that's the case for him. Financial consulting has long working hours where discussion is mainly about, well, finances of a particular client and not much else unless someone is complaining about a co-worker on Zoom.

He has a history of inserting politics when it's not necessary; he's the family member who brings up politics during the holidays when it isn't instigated by anyone - as an opportunist he'll interject politics even if he sees a political ad on tv as we eat our holiday roast. Regardless of ones politics, he has uttered the following in public -

  • F_ck Trump!
  • Can someone execute Trump? Behead him. Him and his whole f_cking family?
via text when while on vacation in Florida -
  • Florida can drop into the ocean because they have stupid voters who vote for evil politicians (paraphrased).
  • Florida is disappointing. Key West has no culture ... like it has no minorities. Just white people getting drunk. It's a mixture of New Orleans and Nashville.[/iil]
He'll go on weird political rants about white people because he thinks white people are either insulated people or are poor racists. On his last day in town when visiting, our family went to a local restaurant with an outdoor patio. He noticed that there were many white people and said "This place looks a little hillbilly-ish, like white trash." The clientele weren't posh by any means, but still. A weird political/racial outburst was when my parents and me traveled two hours to a pumpkin farm in October a couple of years ago. When my sibling heard about this he texted to tell our parents to turn back because the area we were traveling to was mostly white in a mostly Republican voting county. He said something along the lines of being attacked because we weren't white and that it was "gun country" or something. It was a weird exchange.

He also is a homosexual so he has carried a chip on his shoulder since as long as I can remember. He only attends weekly mass if it's a family occasion when in town, or if he knows his parish's choir in NYC is performing. His godmother knows about this and she tries to encourage him to attend weekly mass but since he feels the Church's stance on same-sex attraction is wrong he holds that against the institution.

Again, I don't think it's his peer group. I believe he's probably the most vocal politically amongst his friends even if they are sympathetic to or share his views. He does listen to NPR and watches CNN which I believe, alongside social media platforms like Youtube and TikTok, have helped form his political opinions. He actively searches for politics on TikTok where the clips usually are about how bad and mean social conservatives are (whether Republican or not). If anyone holds any "basic" right-leaning stance (i.e. closed borders, low taxes) he'll disparage them calling them "f_cking stupid" or accuse them being racist. When COVID was still a thing, when he didn't see someone wearing mask, or if they were wearing their mask wrong, he'd shout just loud enough "Wear your f_cking mask!" or call them a POS under his breath.

I get the feeling that he just uses our childhood home and me as a venting box. I suppose I could be honored by this designation but I don't appreciate it and I don't enjoy it. He knows that his political outburst in public might get him punched in the face, and the worst part of me says that if it does happen I'm not my brother's keeper - that if I do see him hit the cement I won't help him back up, after all he's big boy making big money living in a big city in a nice flat. A part of me feels my relationship with him is literally The Prodigal Son.

There are other things but that's the gist.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 11:10:44 AM by BlueInGreen »
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Offline Instaurare omnia

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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2022, 11:17:37 AM »
"Peer group" isn't only about bowing to peer pressure as it would be among teens or obviously passive individuals. It can affect anyone. His friends listen to him, thus there's some motivation to cultivate their interest and attention. His colleagues and clients have explicit and implicit opinions about what's desirable in life, thus your brother thought your parents' home wasn't posh enough to invite a guest.

Social media is a very strong 21st century "peer group" even if among anonymous strangers. (Don't think the internet is a peer group? Look at some of the controversies here at this forum over the years, and note especially how seriously some participants took it.) Then the clincher: he's a homosexual. Massive internal daily self-affirmations involved in maintaining that identity, even with like-minded friends, since one's upbringing never really goes away.

Just an informed opinion (been there with my own family) as to a stranger about whom I know only these few details. The best I can say is to pray for him daily*, try not to let him perceive you as hostile, but know that he will have to accept for himself that his chosen path is harmful to his soul.

* FATIMA PARDON PRAYER
MY GOD, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee!
 I ask pardon for for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.
Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam (Psalm 126:2).
Benedicite, montes et colles, Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra, Domino (Daniel 3:75-76).
Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation (Psalm 145:2-3).
 

Offline BlueInGreen

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Re: How to deal with unappreciative, if not shallow, sibling.
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2022, 11:41:55 AM »
"Peer group" isn't only about bowing to peer pressure as it would be among teens or obviously passive individuals. It can affect anyone. His friends listen to him, thus there's some motivation to cultivate their interest and attention. His colleagues and clients have explicit and implicit opinions about what's desirable in life, thus your brother thought your parents' home wasn't posh enough to invite a guest.

I don't think that's the case with his colleagues or even clients. Discussions with his colleagues and clients revolve mostly about work and not much else. My sibling is drawn to fancy, posh stuff. He knows what money can buy him and he relishes in it if he can afford it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if it goes to your head, as it has with him, it's an issue. He gleams on how much X and Y makes in his social group wishing he'd make that amount since in his mind more money equates to more purchasing power (he isn't wrong). He likes money - a lot.

Quote
Social media is a very strong 21st century "peer group" even if among anonymous strangers. (Don't think the internet is a peer group? Look at some of the controversies here at this forum over the years, and note especially how seriously some participants took it.) Then the clincher: he's a homosexual. Massive internal daily self-affirmations involved in maintaining that identity, even with like-minded friends, since one's upbringing never really goes away.

But traditionally that's not what "peer group" means. I don't consider anyone here part of my "peer group" given I'm probably the youngest. Besides most of us being Catholic, I'd categorize fellow users here as "social" group at best.

Quote
Just an informed opinion (been there with my own family) as to a stranger about whom I know only these few details. The best I can say is to pray for him daily*, try not to let him perceive you as hostile, but know that he will have to accept for himself that his chosen path is harmful to his soul.

* FATIMA PARDON PRAYER
MY GOD, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee!
 I ask pardon for for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.

I do think this is a good plan.

« Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 11:50:43 AM by BlueInGreen »
Cradle Catholic traversing modernism while rediscovering my heritage - in faith and ethnically.