Blogging about family
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I frequently write about my grown children and my sister, always in positive terms. I adore my children and my sister, a very funny and supportive person, and I are close. However, neither of my brothers speak to me and this has been a painful issue for me, as I have no idea why they do not like me. We used to get along and never had any arguments, just gradually over the years they pulled away. My youngest bother has not spoken to me in 5 years. The older of the two was at least civil to me until yesterday. I had sent him an e-mail expressing concern over his health and telling him I admired the work he was doing taking care of our father, which has been very stressful. I also offered, as I have in the past, any help I can provide despite being limited by Multiple Sclerosis. He replied he did not have the energy or desire to have a relationship with me. He subsequently added to never contact him again and if I did he would accuse me of harassment! He has told my sister if I blog about him he will sue me for libel. Have any of you had similar painful situations that you have written about? Was there fallout? The research I have done indicates I would be protected by the First Amendment as long as I was not defaming someone with malicious lies. While I think other people might relate to the pain of family hurt, I am not sure the resulting trouble my brother would cause is worth it. What do you all think? Have any of you had experience with this?
  • Ugh, the double whammy: MS and brothers who are asses! lol You know, there has to be a post in here. Maybe it is a geographical phenomenon? Maybe this is the key to the MS mystery: if you grew up in the Bronx and your brothers are asses, you are 95% more likely to develop MS!! lol Truth telling is what has gotten me in hot water my whole life in my family of origin. It is what makes everyone just a little bit wary of me, because I will point out the elephant in the living room. Thank goodness I have an incredible network of healthy and loving friends, virtual and real life. But I don't think one ever stops longing for that intact, 'normal' nuclear family. We human beings just are never happy, are we? :) Perhaps my new blog will be a place to delve more into the lack of family support. I become a different person when I am writing it, darker and braver. The voice of my Nourish blog is my usual persona of bubbly class clown, all around dork and wimp. lol Thanks so much for the wonderful input. Marie :)
  • Melissa, you are more courageous than I am! I have made very veiled references to having had a rough time, but most of my family simply pretends that everything was sunshine and roses, not that my mother was seriously abusive, neglectful and mentally ill, in and out of mental hospitals throughout my childhood. Her sisters are very protective of maintaining an idealized, fictional version of the past. They are on Facebook, so they see my blog, and I simply do not feel strong enough to upset the status quo. But maybe that will change with some more time and distance. And some strong role models, such as you. :)
  • Thanks so much for your kind words and thoughtful response. I have verified that legally I am protected by the First Amendment as long as I am not defaming or lying and I would be neither. For now, I am holding off writing anything in my blog, but I am working on a memoir and it most definitely is part of that.
  • Look at those celebrity and political blogs. They say stuff that's completely untrue all the time and aren't even sued. I think you're safe. After all you're not slandering, just talking about what's happening. He can't sue over that.
  • Hi Marie, This is very, very sad. I feel so bad for you. I think it's awful when families are torn apart like this. We only have one life on this earth and we need to spend it loving each other. We never know when it's our time to go or when it's their time to go so we shouldn't waste time arguing and fighting. I sympathize with you. If you really don't know why your brothers are like that with you, you should confront them about it. Though I guess it would be hard if they don't speak to you. I'm the kind of person that turns the other cheek. I don't run after people who are mad at me (especially when I've done nothing wrong), I just go on about my business. I know that might seem painful to do but you might have to just go on and not worry about your brothers anymore if they are treating you like this. You have to live your own life and concentrate on that. We can't make others come to us unfortunately, we can only hope they do. I've never dealt with this but I've known people who've had terrible relationships with their families. I've known people who's parents don't even speak to them and their whole families want nothing to do with them over pettiness. About your brother suing, he can only sue if you write something that's UNTRUE. Then he'll have to prove it. He can't sue you if you speak about something that's happening. For instance, he's not speaking to you and you are going through something with him and your other brother, so he can't sue on that. It's true. If you said something totally false, he'd have grounds but I believe it would be very hard to sue over a blog. The most that might happen would be the people who host your blog would ask you to stop posting about him or either they will threaten to terminate your blog. But I don't think a court is gonna take a blog that seriously unless it's very popular or is defaming someone like the president. At least, I don't believe so. I'm not a lawyer though but this is just from what I've witnessed. I know for certain you can't be sued if you say something that's true no matter how much your brother doesn't want you talking about him. You can talk about anyone. Folks can't make you stop talking about them (as long as it's not slanderous and it's true.) Bottom line. I hope you guys get through this but if not, I hope you at least can deal with it and move on. Sometimes folks aren't worth our energy, even family. Best Wishes!