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My brother is horrible to me

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  • #899342 Reply

    For context, I’m 21(f) and my brother is 23 and he’s been been so unkind to me recently.

    He’ll constantly say things like how lazy I am, call me a ‘bum’ for pretty much anything. If I do something wrong, or say something wrong he’ll call me a bum.

    He constantly says how he doesn’t care about anything and his ego is massive. He thinks he’s better than me at most things and will say it.

    I get it might be sibling teasing, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m withdrawing because these comments make me feel horrible and like he hates me.

    I tried to approach him once and he understood and listened but he called me sensitive and continues to call me a bum etc.

    We are quite close, but given my history of depression and anxiety, I don’t know how much longer I can deal with the constant teasing before it takes a toll on me.

    How do I tell him how I feel?

    #899374 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    Right, so your brother is being a jerk. You’ve tried to talk to him, but he mocked you and he continues to carry on in a manner that you find hurtful. Don’t keep banging your head into the same brick wall. The answer isn’t to change him – you can’t – but to minimize his presence and his criticism in your life. You don’t have to be close to or even like someone just because they’re related to you. Especially if they’re unkind to you.

    First things first, remove yourself from the criticism: when he starts in on you, CALMLY disengage. Leave the room, end the conversation, whatever. Make it clear that you aren’t going to be a verbal punching bag for whatever his deal is. But don’t get into arguing because that just feeds this behavior.

    Second: limit his presence in your life. Don’t be around him if his toxicity is bringing you down. Obviously, that’s easier to do in non-pandemic conditions, and I don’t know where you live or what the restrictions are like there, but there are still steps you can take. Cultivate relationships outside of your brother. Do you work? Go to school? Have hobbies or other interests? Make an effort to make connections with others in those areas. Also, do you live at home? Does he? If so, minimize your daily interactions. Are you able to move out in the foreseeable future (pandemic permitting)? It might be time for some independence.

    Finally, it might be beneficial for you to talk to a counselor. Things are super stressful all over the world right now and if this is dragging on your self-esteem, you need to work on that. Plus, a therapist could help you with setting boundaries.

    #899556 Reply

    Are you lazy? I mean, I dunno. This sounds like typical sibling ribbing to me.

    #899626 Reply

    siblings can be right arses sometimes. MJ’s giving good advice re what to do but BGM’s also right that sibs just do that shit to each other sometimes,—-(if you are lazy, what’s that to him, unless he is having to do your work or something? Being lazy isn’t the worst crime in the world right now.)– and it might also be that he’s probably got his own frustrations that he’s taking out on you. If it’s any comfort, probably in years to come, when you have both moved on and built your own independent lives, you’ll be best buds again or at least have the choice to interact as much as suits both of you.In the meantime, hang in there, try not to let it get to you.

    #899664 Reply

    It seems it’s already taking a toll on you if you feel the need to seek advice online and it’s gotten to the point that you feel he hates you. Withdraw from him if he’s hurting your feelings and you’ve tried to tell him and he keeps doing it. It’s self preservation. And that’s what you should do if someone is hurting your feelings, be it a friend or family member. Tell them and stop spending so much time with them.

    He sounds like a typical jerky older brother, IMO. I think he’s being mean and careless, but I kind of think it’s a stretch to call him horrible. He’s being unkind. If you are really close, and feel comfortable- make it clear AGAIN how much you don’t like that he says these things to you. I would choose a time when things are not heated and he’s not actively insulting you.

    Is it possible there’s more going on, like he’s working and paying rent to your parents and you aren’t or something? This kind of sounds like normal sibling teasing gone awry but I grew up with pretty mouthy siblings.

    #899690 Reply

    I wouldn’t call that sibling teasing, but “contempt”. I have two brothers and they didn’t act like this with me, though they are teasing men with a sarcastic sense of humor. One can tease with respect and this is lacking here. There can be many reasons to his behavior: perhaps he reacts to your mental health issues with discomfort and doesn’t know how to address it – thus the demeaning treatment. Perhaps he compensates with a big ego his own insecurities, and your struggles mirror his own. Perhaps, more probably, he feels that life is a struggle, he hardens up and disqualify you as “weak” or thinks that you are having it too lightly while he works so hard. Anyway, this is not so much the matter here. You have to stop playing with his behavior, which means: stop being close when he doesn’t treat you well. As soon as he starts using words like “bum” or other insults, say that he still has to learn respect and leave the room, stop the interaction. You must reflect abuse with distance and relationship’s interruptions. don’t try to “tell him how you feel”, because you already did that and it didn’t really work. He just considers you as weaker. React to it and act against it: people who feel contempt for others respect only a resistance. So say: “I will have a relationship with you when you start respecting me.” “You should cut off the word “bum” of your vocabulary, this doesn’t look good on you”. “Why do you disrespect me?” “Please act with respect toward me, I am not your punching ball”. And so on. Most importantly: stop being close as soon as it starts. And make him so less important in your life. Get out, meet friends, do sport or activities you like. Don’t be much at home, and when you are, don’t interact so much with him, mind your own business. He just needs you as a submissive person to feel better about himself. Don’t let him do that to you and focus on your own mental health. By the way, he is not “horrible”, he is mean.

    #899745 Reply

    Brise is right. Don’t tell him again how you feel. That will just given him pleasure and cause him to double down. Your brother is not a good person — he is sadistic. The answer is to distance yourself from this bully. There is a huge difference between teasing and bullying. He’s way over to the bullying side of the line. You won’t be the first person with a brother who must be avoided, in order to happily live your life. Feel no guilt. This is entirely his doing.

    #903530 Reply

    It sounds like you both still live at home. And you are quarantined together. So first, understand that all families are starting to grind on each other. Are you doing chores around the house? cleaning dishes being helpful? spending too much time in the common areas? I would start making plans to move out.

    Next time he says something like that, ask him “what’s your goal with that comment?” then listen. Was it meant to hurt me or to make me change a behavior?

    But I think you will find that things get so much better if you move out. Get a bunch of roommates and start living on your own. When adult children live at home too long, those relationships can get unhealthy.

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