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Lonely for Brother

My older brother seems more emotionally distant since he moved far away.

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

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Joy, your brother moved across country?


And what would you like? What would you like some help with?

I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to keep a relationship strong. He moved just a few months ago. And I was just hoping to hear some tips. I'm not talking to him as much as I used to.

What do you think's going on with that? What do you think's going on with that, that you used to talk every day? And now this a little distance?

Yeah, he has a new job and sort of a new life. And I'm very proud of him. But you know?

You just sweat.

I just miss him.

Oh, you just miss him? I didn't hear that. Okay.

Yeah, he has a new job out there. And he has a new bunch of friends. And you know, Okay, moving on in minus staying the same.

Okay. So if that's always an awkward situation, when you've got an imbalance like that, and partly, you need to grieve the loss. And it's not that you lose your brother. Because you'll always have whatever good is in your relationship, you guys will always have that and you'll still have a connection. And you both need to grow. And you seem reasonable about it. You seem like you're understanding that, you know, it's a new job, it's a new life. He's excited about it. And we won't be best buddies the way we were for a period of time, you know, talking with each other daily. What's, how old are you? I'm 22. You're 22. And he's How old 26? And you were really, really close as you as brothers.

Yeah, we both lived in the city, in the same city for you know, forever. And then he moved away.

Okay. What advice have you given yourself to help you through this?

Yeah, I mean, I just what I said is just remembering that he started his job. He has, you know, all these exciting things happening for him, and I'm just very happy for him. Okay, yeah. Right. Now, for me, it's a little bit harder.

Okay. So what I'm saying is, it's perfectly fine for you to grieve some of that connection, as long as you can hold the context, that he's always going to love what he loves in you, he's always going to have those feelings toward you that close failing, you know, assuming that nothing big happens between you, but I'm assuming you've had a stable relationship for a while. And so you will have that to lean on. And I can, every parent goes through this. You know, many times siblings can't wait to get away from each other. So you guys are so lucky that you've had a close connection. And so you want to cherish that it'll be there for a lifetime, most likely. parents go through it when my daughter became a teenager. We had we've had been very, very close, she becomes a teenager and what happens? . . .

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Hey, I got to interrupt this because we've got to pay some bills. 30 seconds. That's it. A very quick and then Ellen will be back.

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And when my daughter became a teenager, we had we had been very, very close. She becomes a teenager and what happens? You can guess? Yeah, she told me she said, Mom, I wanted to just be with my friends. I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to basically be on my own. She decided to go to school, while she went in a little bit in our backyard, but then she went across country. I'm in Rhode Island, she went to California, right? And so we would talk we would you can Skype, you can talk you can chat, you can video chat. You can send each other short little text messages, so you don't feel like it's a big phone call. I mean, that's how we did it. I would she, I felt like we kept our closest connection just by a very short, funny text upbeat, not something like how are you doing? Because that's kind of a heavy, right? You know, and it's kind of like, what do they want to know? Do they want to know about work or friends or it's just like a vague thing, but if I sent her a funny picture or something I know that would tickle her funny bone or something interesting, or something Like I just microwaved eggs, and they splattered on the ceiling, you know, she would, it was just sharing moments and keeping that that connection together. And she could not wait after a few years. Yeah, maybe it was seven years. I'm guessing I'm ballparking it here to get back to the East Coast. And she's back to the East Coast, and she visited this weekend. So realize that, you when you have a bond like that with your brother, it'll go on for your life. And it'll ebb and flow, but it's still a very close connection. So kudos to both of you for having that. What can you do for yourself now that your brother is spreading his wings a bit?

I mean, just the same as what I've been doing, I guess, remembering that, you know, his own life now I have my own life. We always had our own lives as you know. We're adults. Now just sort of being happy for him and keeping in touch but not being I guess.

Not in, right, not intrusive, not needing not guilt inducing. Why don't you call me it's like the guilty Mother, you know, the mother that's inducing guilt? I haven't heard from you lately. Can't you pick up the phone? Is it that hard for you, you know, you don't want that. So and he may just need to get away from the family context, it may not be you so much as the whole family context, if mom's got a tinge of that type of coping strategy. You know, if she's having difficulty letting go a bit, and you want to be able to get your independence to because that's that psychological independence. Being on your own a bit, my son did the same thing. He was on his own a bit, and we are so close, and they are their own people, both my kids. And that's what you want to see your brother grow. And man, you want to do the same for yourself in spades. Not as retaliation, not as a neediness thing, but because it's your life. And if you could have a good relationship with your brother like that, guess what that tells me about you? What about you?

I don't, I don't know.

Do you think you have the ability to have that with someone else? Yeah. If male or female. So you can use that as a foundation for yourself, George, that it is your life. And you want weather? Do you like the job you're in now? Okay, so that would be an area to focus on.

Yeah, I'm kind of happy. That maybe that's part of it.

Okay, so that's what it what an eye opener just to say, I think that's a piece of this. It's not the whole piece. You don't want to diminish the fact that you guys were close buddies. And always will be, you're temporarily a little separate. But if you can focus on the new job, that will be good. New friends, maybe and all you need is one new friend. You don't need me. You might have a few new friends. But really, it's, you know, one or two. You don't have to have a collection of them to make yourself that happy. Right? Yeah. So listen, I wish you the best you can text him funny things you can keep connected. And you'll get a feel from him. There's like he'll, he'll give you feedback. I usually say to my daughter good time, bad time. Meaning is this a good time to talk or not? And she'll say bad time and we're so cool with that. She'll do that with me too. So you just respect one another's minds and keep the friendship alive.

Um, okay, thank you so much.

And here's a little more from Dr. Kenner.

(audio clip from tv show)
Is this for me? This is lovely. Well, I'm glad you like it because I picked it all up myself.

I don't know if I can accept this. Because you spent far too much. Right? Well then I'll take a couple of things back. Would you please just take the damn basket? Across about why you can give me a gift but I'm not allowed to give you one back. Oh, so that's the only reason you gave me this. Yeah, that's the way it works.

And that's from Frasier. It makes me laugh. I love that scene. And you know, when you give gifts to family or friends, you want to what is they want might want to what is your motive? You might wonder what is their motive? Did I give them the right gift and you might stress over it? gift giving is tricky business and you really need to know the person in my own family. If we usually are very open with one another, I say usually because there are always those times you don't say what you really feel about a gift, but typically will just say thank you very much. And I think it's not quite my style or this isn't the type of jewelry I wear and then somebody else in the family might say, Oh, I love that. Can I have that and everybody's happy. So it's much better to be open with gift giving. It's much better to know whether your partner likes gifts, what type of gifts they like, and that takes a lot of communication.

For more Dr. Kenner podcasts, go to Dr. And please listen to this ad . . .

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A repressed lover's lack of passion will undermine the entire emotional tone of the relationship. Who wants to make love to a robot repression can be difficult to cure and usually requires the help of a trained professional. The roots of repression often lie in an unhappy childhood full of pain, during which the child usually subconsciously decides to block off the psychological pain by refusing to feel anything. This helps the child get through the painful times but not without cost. Some people are passionless for other reasons, they may be shallow individuals with no independent deeply held values at all. Such people are not promising his romantic partners.

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