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@yangedd

Posts: 21
Joined: Nov 26, 2018

Reunion With Brother After Years (Severe Anxiety)

Posted by @yangedd, Tue, Dec 4 10:26am

Hi guys,

Sorry I haven't been on in days, but going through quite an emotional and anxiety ridden time. As people know, my Ma (Mum) passed away in 2010 from Colon Cancer. I then left my hometown with my partner and moved to Dublin as he got a job offer with a very prestigious company, thus cutting my family out of my life during a very bad time in my life where my addiction to alcohol spiralled out of control. My nephew was born during the summer, and because of not being in contact with my brother I have never met him. Thankfully, with the help of a dear friend who kindly acted as a mediator, myself and my brother have agreed to make contact with each other after a very, very long time. My friend, Freda, sent me pictures of my nephew and I guess I am very emotional and sad, yet positive that things can work out after all these years just in time for Christmas. Because the anxiety is so bad I've been taking 50mg Lyrica x2 daily and also 40mg Propranolol x2 daily for the last three days. I didn't sleep a wink last night with everything in my head so I actually went to the pharmacy and collected one 0.25mg Halcion, which are on PRN to help me tonight. I guess with the festive season coming in I feel not so great, but am really trying to be positive and look to the future.

REPLY

Hi, @yangedd – I can hear the anxiety as I read your words. That is a rather large prospect with reuniting with your brother after years of no contact and meeting your nephew for the very first time.

I'd like to bring in @parus @hopeful33250 @cdcc @gailb @kdo087 @thankful to this discussion for their input as you face this significant upcoming event and the accompanying anxiety and some sleeplessness.

@yangedd – do you feel your anxiety is focused on a particular aspect or concern about this reunion with your brother?

Hi @lisalucier

It's everything really that's sending my tail spinning. How do I greet him? What will we talk about? How will I react to meeting his son for the first time? Will we be able to reconnect after years apart? I actually rang a support line and broke down into tears as I discussed everything with one of the support volunteers. It's three weeks to Christmas and I feel (I apologise for saying this) emotionally destroyed thinking about my Mum and my Dad in a care home in Waterford following a stroke due to severe alcohol withdrawal in 2011. It should be a happy time for me, yet I'm filled with emotional upheaval and anxiety ridden. I'm so sorry to be withering on.

Hello @yangedd

Please never feel that you need to apologize when you express your feelings here on Connect. We have all, at some time, "withered on" as you say and we are glad to be here for you.

I have a suggestion for you, feel free to give it a try if you like: Do some rehearsals for your meeting and talking with your brother and new nephew. Sit in a chair and place a chair opposite from you. Put their pictures on the chair, smile, and just tell them that you are happy to see them.

To your new nephew ask him about school, sports and what his interests are.

To your brother, tell him what a fine son he has and ask him about his work, other family members, and anything else you can think of.

You might even create a script to practice from. Just practice those conversations each day until the day comes when you see them in person.

Would you like to give this a try?

Hi @hopeful33250

This seems like a great idea. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I've been messaging my brother on messenger earlier this evening and he is as keen as me to build Bridges and meet with his family. He sent me pictures of his son with my Dad in the care home and I got emotional, but in a good way if you know what I mean?

It was a little strange seeing the three of them and it looks like my Dad is smiling at my nephew, which is a fantastic thing. Hopefully there'll be a photograph of the four of us (Myself, my brother, my nephew and my dad) taken soon. I'm doing my utter best to control my emotions right now and am still quite apprehensive about the proceedings but I'm going to try and remain positive and try to look forward. I just hope and pray that things will be ok,

Ed

@yangedd

Hi @lisalucier

It's everything really that's sending my tail spinning. How do I greet him? What will we talk about? How will I react to meeting his son for the first time? Will we be able to reconnect after years apart? I actually rang a support line and broke down into tears as I discussed everything with one of the support volunteers. It's three weeks to Christmas and I feel (I apologise for saying this) emotionally destroyed thinking about my Mum and my Dad in a care home in Waterford following a stroke due to severe alcohol withdrawal in 2011. It should be a happy time for me, yet I'm filled with emotional upheaval and anxiety ridden. I'm so sorry to be withering on.

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@yangedd

When I first read your post I felt your sadness and fear. You seem to be putting a large amount of pressure on yourself for this long awaited meeting. It sounds to me that you love and respect your brother, therefore you want everything to go perfectly. That's admirable, but probably an unrealistic expectation. I think you need to stop worrying that your brother won't love you. In fact, I recommend keeping your first meeting simple; the simpler the better. Many of us did things in our youth that we're sorry about, and when being reminded of those things we find out the actions are ripe to be forgiven.

I'm making a few recommendations for your meeting, which you can take or leave as you feel is right.
1. If possible, ask the friend who initiated your contact with your brother, be present at your meeting. She can mediate again if needed.
2. Write down your thoughts and fears now before he visits. Then write down what you want to say to him. Then let it go and just be
yourself.
3. Give your brother a hug, and tell him you love him and have missed him.
4. If necessary apologize for any past behavior and let him know you have learned a great deal since then.
5. Tell him how important your family is to you, and your fears about returning home to see them.
6. Hug your nephew and just be a real person with him.

What I'm recommending is that you just need to be who you are now. Say whatever you need to with an open heart. My hunch is that he's just been waiting for the chance to reconnect with you. The holidays are always stressful as we have expectations that all will be happy and light. Many family members suffer during Christmas because they feel they cannot be honest about themselves or their relationships. It's very sad. You've made your choices in life and have lived with the consequences of your choices, which are different than what your family may have wanted for you. We do that if we are even a little independent in our natures. Perhaps your brother even envies or respects your ability to break from the family mold. It's always possible. You deserve happiness and to love and be loved by your brother and other family members.

If you can identify why you have so much anxiety about seeing your brother that may help you put your fears to rest. I have always found my fears about something were always worse than the actual thing itself. I recommend that you take a meditation class for the future. It will help you learn how to reduce your anxiety without drugs. Also, chances are you and your brother will need more than one meeting to solidify your relationships as adults. Set a time to meet with him again before he returns to his home.

My heart is with you as I have been through similar situations with members of my family. Just be real and honest. Please let us know how you are doing going forward, and how things go with the meeting. When will you be meeting with your brother? Peace to you.

@yangedd

Hi @hopeful33250

This seems like a great idea. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I've been messaging my brother on messenger earlier this evening and he is as keen as me to build Bridges and meet with his family. He sent me pictures of his son with my Dad in the care home and I got emotional, but in a good way if you know what I mean?

It was a little strange seeing the three of them and it looks like my Dad is smiling at my nephew, which is a fantastic thing. Hopefully there'll be a photograph of the four of us (Myself, my brother, my nephew and my dad) taken soon. I'm doing my utter best to control my emotions right now and am still quite apprehensive about the proceedings but I'm going to try and remain positive and try to look forward. I just hope and pray that things will be ok,

Ed

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Hello @yangedd

Remember that you don't have to hold your emotions on such a tight rein. It is Ok to cry when you see them and tell them that these are "happy tears" and, "I am so glad to see you that I am filled with tears of happiness." (You might feel more at ease realizing than you can cry, if need be, and all will not be destroyed by your tears.)

That is great that you are looking forward to pictures of the four of you. I hope that it all goes nicely. Just remember that perfection in relationships is NOT necessary, the only thing needed is a good heart toward them. Try to think of what they would like to hear from you, rather worrying about yourself.

When will you be meeting with them?

@yangedd

Hi @lisalucier

It's everything really that's sending my tail spinning. How do I greet him? What will we talk about? How will I react to meeting his son for the first time? Will we be able to reconnect after years apart? I actually rang a support line and broke down into tears as I discussed everything with one of the support volunteers. It's three weeks to Christmas and I feel (I apologise for saying this) emotionally destroyed thinking about my Mum and my Dad in a care home in Waterford following a stroke due to severe alcohol withdrawal in 2011. It should be a happy time for me, yet I'm filled with emotional upheaval and anxiety ridden. I'm so sorry to be withering on.

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@yangedd Your thoughts are racing as mine do over this type of event. Maybe the estranged relative is struggling with the same thoughts.
No need to apologize as what you are experiencing is to be expected. Some of us approach this type of thing with much trepidation. I know I would be a jangle of nerves as well. Wondering what state the other party may be in…mayhap thinking in this manner for a bit may help help distract. Keep us updated as you can.

Hi @parus,

Sorry for the very late reply. I was in such a nervous state last night that I took a sleeping pill and ended up staying in bed until this evening.

I honestly don't know how he feels, but by the messages we've been exchanging since yesterday he seems to be communicating with me like we never had the relationship problems.

I'm meeting himself, my nephew and his partner for lunch at a very nice Italian restaurant on Friday. My nerves are shattered just thinking about it.

@yangedd

Hi @parus,

Sorry for the very late reply. I was in such a nervous state last night that I took a sleeping pill and ended up staying in bed until this evening.

I honestly don't know how he feels, but by the messages we've been exchanging since yesterday he seems to be communicating with me like we never had the relationship problems.

I'm meeting himself, my nephew and his partner for lunch at a very nice Italian restaurant on Friday. My nerves are shattered just thinking about it.

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Hi, @yangedd – sounds like last night was very hard with being in such a nervous state — as though your nerves were shattered thinking about the reunion with your brother after years of no contact — plus meeting your nephew for the first time.

I also wanted to introduce you to a few others who have been involved in discussions on Connect about estranged family relationships, thinking they may also have some thoughts that would be helpful for you as you look toward your Friday lunch with your brother, nephew and his partner. Please meet @gingerw @ssbionicknee @stressedmesseddepressed and @contentandwell.

You mentioned your brother's messages since yesterday seem like he's communicating with you like you never had the relationship problems. How are you feeling about these messages?

Liked by Parus, gingerw

Hiya @lisalucier

How do I feel about the messages? To be honest I'm quite shocked. I didn't expect it to run so deep emotionally at such an early stage.

He has been sending me pictures of my nephew too and told me how fatherhood has changed him so much and that he never expected to feel the way he does now.

The restaurant we are dining at on Friday is a place called Luigi Malone's here in the city. It's a very nice Italian place located across from the Opera House.

It's now 1:20am and I'm not able to sleep just going over and over the conversation on Messenger. I know it's silly, but my brain is absolutely buzzing.

Ed

@yangedd

Hiya @lisalucier

How do I feel about the messages? To be honest I'm quite shocked. I didn't expect it to run so deep emotionally at such an early stage.

He has been sending me pictures of my nephew too and told me how fatherhood has changed him so much and that he never expected to feel the way he does now.

The restaurant we are dining at on Friday is a place called Luigi Malone's here in the city. It's a very nice Italian place located across from the Opera House.

It's now 1:20am and I'm not able to sleep just going over and over the conversation on Messenger. I know it's silly, but my brain is absolutely buzzing.

Ed

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@yangedd I do not see how you feel as silly. I am excited for you. How old is your nephew?? Meeting on neutral ground is the best until all of you can become reacquainted. I can feel your excitement and also that uneasiness that comes with this type of thing. Anxious to hear how it goes.

@parus

My nephew is 18 weeks old. I will update as soon as I get home from the meal on Friday night.

I am actually excited too of course, but so very, very nervous at the same time.

Ed

@yangedd

@parus

My nephew is 18 weeks old. I will update as soon as I get home from the meal on Friday night.

I am actually excited too of course, but so very, very nervous at the same time.

Ed

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@yangedd What a delightful age! Being nervous is normal I would think. Also uncomfortable!! I imagine your will be thrilled to hug this little one. It would be hard to let go of past hurts too. It is good your brother wants you to meet his son. You are now an uncle.

@yangedd

Hiya @lisalucier

How do I feel about the messages? To be honest I'm quite shocked. I didn't expect it to run so deep emotionally at such an early stage.

He has been sending me pictures of my nephew too and told me how fatherhood has changed him so much and that he never expected to feel the way he does now.

The restaurant we are dining at on Friday is a place called Luigi Malone's here in the city. It's a very nice Italian place located across from the Opera House.

It's now 1:20am and I'm not able to sleep just going over and over the conversation on Messenger. I know it's silly, but my brain is absolutely buzzing.

Ed

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@yangedd I have thought a lot about your posts since you started them a couple of days ago, and can well imagine the wide range of emotions! Remember that you are "good enough", remember that your brother may be having the same emotions and trepidation, remember to take a camera to record this occasion, remember to get good rest, remember to breathe and relax the day of. I know, easier said than done, right? You may have a chance to talk about how the chasm developed, but if not, that's ok, it can be addressed later if you both agree.
This time of year is fraught with heightened senses and emotions anyway, so please feel that you can forgive yourself and those around you for lapses in manners.
While I have contact with only one of my four siblings, I know that it "takes two". Be willing to work on the relationship, bask in the warmth of reconnection, and be flexible.
We will be backing you up, here at the cyber table!
Ginger

@yangedd

@parus

My nephew is 18 weeks old. I will update as soon as I get home from the meal on Friday night.

I am actually excited too of course, but so very, very nervous at the same time.

Ed

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I wasn't aware of his age. How great that he will have a caring relative in his life! I'm sure you will enjoy him.

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