This has little to do with MS and everything to do with families. I’ve written a bit before about my uncle. He’s done some wonderful things for me as far as handyman work and adaptations to my house, but he’s also very outspoken and demanding.
He’s my late father’s youngest brother, and I’d had very little contact with Dad for the last 30 years of his life because of his toxic treatment of me and my kids. A side effect of that was that we just didn’t have any contact with anyone on that side of the family. Well, my uncle and I reconnected last summer, and I’ve enjoyed having that connection again. My aunt is the sweetest person around.
However, Uncle Bob is becoming so offensive and opinionated that he’s begun stressing me out. My kids have stopped coming around when he’s here, which means that I have to leave my aunt and uncle out of holiday celebrations and hold separate get-togethers with just them. My mum is a big help on these days, but she and Bob wind up having loud arguments because he is very political and just turns every conversation into a disagreement.
When he sees my adult kids, he can’t just say “Hi! How’ve you been”. It’s “Did you get a job yet? I mean a REAL job, not that one that you currently have.” And then he’ll start telling them that they HAVE to get rid of their friends, move to a new house, etc., and if the kids just walk away, Bob then turns to the rest of us and goes on about how WE have to FORCE them to do things his way. This is every single time he’s around. If the kids bring their friends, he does the same things to them.
Making matters worse is that he calls me several times a week to continue this train of thought. One of his favorites is telling me that he doesn’t believe there’s no cure for MS and that if I’d just see more doctors, take more tests, and get more exercise then all my problems would go away. If he’s not on that subject, then he’s trashing my kids.
My son moved back home last summer because of very similar problems to mine, and he’s regularly seen and tested by a variety of specialists. They’ve already identified a number of issues (IBS, liver failure, vitamin deficiencies due to malabsorption issues, possible Lupus, extreme sleep apnea) and are still looking for more. Uncle Bob has begun yelling at me on the phone that my son is lying to me about all of these things, that he’s just lazy and needs psychiatric help.
The icing on the cake was when Son skipped a small gathering of out-of-state cousins the other day when Bob was present. Bob called me the next day and was positively SHOUTING over the phone that this anti-social behavior was proof that my (very gentle, non-violent) son was unstable and was going to hurt me someday and that I need to kick him out immediately and put him on psychiatric medication. He was so extreme that I thought he was going to have a stroke. I have been in bed for 2 days now with aches and pains I haven’t had in months. I’m having nightmares. My blood pressure’s up. My limbs aren’t working right. I haven’t told the kids any of this because they already dealt with similar issues with my dad, and this just brings it all back.
I don’t want to take the step of telling Bob that I’m cutting him out of my life, but I can’t continue this way. I don’t know how to get it through his head that he’s insulting, rude, argumentative, and mean, and that I can’t deal with his hostility. Any suggestions for dealing with someone like this? He’s 76, didn’t marry until 32, and has never had children.