succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


A few years ago my brother and I started a tradition of spending Easter together. He planned this year's trip months and months ago. Built it up. We were going to visit our grandfather and then spend a few days in St. Augustine. He was all excited about the historical hotel where we were going to stay. He bugged me six months in advance to figure out my spring schedule so he could make reservations. He was psyched about some new restaurant in town that had been nationally ranked and asked me to make reservations months in advance.

About two months ago I called him out on a lie he told right before Christmas. It was a harmless lie, in the grand scheme of things, but it added to my hostessing stress and regardless, it's not ok for him to lie to me, and I told him so. Then he stopped returning my phone calls. He's done this before, gotten his feelings hurt and stopped speaking to relatives.

I figured it might affect our Easter trip. So several weeks ago I started being more persistent in my phone calls, hoping at the very least to get a definitive yay or nay on the trip so that I could continue planning my life*. He finally returned one of my calls last week. We played phone tag all weekend. Today he started spinning the story - my boss needs me to cover some meetings, my schedule isn't my own, blah blah blah (he was supposed to fly into town tomorrow night). He wanted me to continue to hang out in limbo all week, allegedly ready at a moment's notice to pick him up from the airport and wisk off to Florida! Nevermind the huge gaping logistical holes in this story (no chance in hell of getting last minute plane tickets for Easter weekend, no chance in hell of getting hotel reservations (I'm convinced he never made them in the first place)), nevermind the personal problems - my life on hold, the stress we would cause our very old grandfather by not giving him advance notice of our visit (he's agoraphobic and very attached to his routine. he needs time to prepare for change).

Blah. I know this is ridiculous. I know a sane person would have put an end to this weeks ago. My brother clearly has no concern for me (or grandad) or my schedule and clearly enjoys manipulating me by controlling access to mundane information (such as the (potentially true) fact that his job commitments were picking up and he might have to cancel the trip). A normal person would have had no problem giving me a heads up weeks ago, a little, hey, I still don't know my schedule, but wanted to let you know that things are crazy around here and might stay that way.

I know Kathy's right - I can't change him, I can only change (and enforce) my own boundaries. And I'm allowing him to treat me this way. Which just pisses me off more.

*this trip falls smack dab in the middle of a particularly stressful period - I just spent a long weekend in Texas** and I have both a poster and an oral presentation to prepare for an upcoming conference. But I had rearranged my schedule to make this work because I wanted to go. And he didn't give a shit.

**Heebie - sorry I didn't tell you about this and/or contact you, but it was a full 4 days and I knew I wouldn't be able to work in the pleasure of your company. Hopefully next time!

Mostly unrelatedly, I had a mild head cold all weekend, which seems to be mostly clearing up, but the pressure in/behind my eyes still makes them feel like they're going to pop out of my head. This started up before the other symptoms and now seems to be hanging out after. Any suggestions for a cure?