How Can I Deal With My Emotionally Manipulative Brother?



I’m 19 (turning 20 in two months) and my brother’s 21. To put this simply, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that he’s manipulative and emotionally abusive, like the title says. He says the most nasty things to me; about a week ago, when his girlfriend and best friend were over, he got really pissed off at me because I told him his domestic abuse jokes weren’t funny. He seriously told me to “Get back in the kitchen!” (which we were already in because I was putting away clean dishes) and kept verbally battering me. One of his favorite topics is that how I don’t have a job. This has been something I’ve felt very guilty for in the past, and he’s heard me talk to our parents, but we live in such a dangerous town that they wouldn’t want me getting one anyone. My brother has been working for the past two years and makes very good money, but he doesn’t seem to understand that because I’m not a guy and I’m not incredibly tall/intimidating it’s even more dangerous for me to work. He’s always saying how I mooch off the parents (I spend MAYBE $20 a month, max??) and I do nothing but sit at home all day (I’m taking a full load of classes, working on re-writing a 951 paged novel I plan to publish at the end of this year, I play guitar, make a little bit of cash online, etc.) Even when I tell him what I do, he still waves it off as laziness.

Anyway, when I was doing the dishes one of the lines he threw at me (yes, still while his girlfriend and friend were standing off by the side, watching and unsure of what to do) was how “doing the dishes is the only point to your existence.” And this is spoken with tone that’s venomous and also a little passive (the anger is riding more underneath his words, if that makes sense. It’s not like he’s yelling or anything). He kept saying super hurtful things like that and I kept trying to step away, saying “Let’s not get into this right now. I don’t wanna talk about it. I don’t wanna talk about this.”

It’s fuCKING indescribably frustrating because he never owns up to what he does! We’ve had kittens for about seven months; my mom and I fostered them after my ten year old cat died. That cat pulled me through a ton of very emotional toil, and to have her die so suddenly left me in a catatonic state for a few days before my mom and I took that negative weight and turned it into positive energy by fostering kittens (which, given all we went through with them, we ended up adopting). For so long, my brother has complained about these kittens. Every time he comes in the living room, it’s some comment about how he hates them or how they smell or why did we get these cats (80% of what comes out of his mouth when he’s not around his friends is a complaint).

My main point to this is we have one orange cat that always wants to go outside. He’s still very little, and in the past I would let them outside for like two minutes tops because they really loved it out there but they were also so little. My brother would almost constantly whine about how we should let these cats outside all the time; free-range kind of stuff. A few weeks ago, when I was picking him up to go inside, the orange cat climbed up our redwood tree (which is probably about 30 feet high). My brother let out a comment about how stupid it was of me to let them out and how I shouldn’t have done it. Ok. Never mind the months of comments you’ve been making.

What’s frustrating is that HIS negativity does have control over me. He’s been making such idiotic 12 year old kid-like comments to me since middle school. We’ve gotten physical a little bit in the past; there was this one time where I was holding one of the cats (the orange one. he’s a cuddler) and I walked up to my brother and I was like “Look at this sweet lil angel” and he literally shoved me away by the stomach.

I realize my brother has to grow up on his own time, but he still lives at home and it’s SO FRUSTRATING AND EMOTIONALLY DRAINING for me…. I could go on because there’s so many examples and stories for me to draw from but the fact is it’s so hard. My parents don’t do anything. My brother treats my mom the exact same way, sometimes even worse, and my dad is just passive to it (saying he’s gotta grow up on his own, maybe he’ll learn eventually, there’s nothing we can do, etc) and while I understand that, I don’t know how I can deal with what my brother keeps saying to me.

Category: Tags: asked January 24, 2015

6 Answers

I don't know exactly how you talked about it with your family, but I think that, if it bothers you so much, you need to show them how serious it got.Sit down with him and tell him that it is not ok to act the way he does. Tell him that if you do things that bother him, you're ready to talk about it and work on it (and be ready to do it, maybe there is really something bothering him) but he can't just be mean all the time and hoping things will work out that way.Sit down with your parents too. Explain to them that you don't take it as lightly as they do, tell them what you just wrote to us, explain why this has to stop: you can't take it anymore and the family home should be peaceful for everyone. Get them to talk to him wqith you if your attempts remain vain.Congrats for your book, that's pretty awesome !
@Junels: Thank you. The fact that I need to write this book has kept me going through many dark times lol. Honestly, I've had so many discussions with my mom and my dad over the years (I don't have to do much explaining with my mom; she's experienced it first hand). I've tried to talk to with my brother before but we'll talk and it'll be nice, we'll make an agreement to go out and do something together, and then the next day he'll go right back to being a huge butt. I feel stuck with this situation.I've tried talking to him specifically about how he treats me at home and he openly admits that he's "rude or whatever" but then he turns it on me, saying I'm [insert insult here] (he likes to pull the laziness card or say I'm stupid or a bitch or something). So he literally blames me for his actions. Like it's my fault he's treated me this way for seven years.
If there's one thing I've come to realize that family can be so cruel and heartless when it comes to people they should love and cherish. Nobody deserves what you are going through. I think maybe discussing these things with your parents to make them realize what's going on. It's never a bad decision to ask for help when it's needed. I know what it's like to be emotionally abused. My father has done it to me for years on end. It gets to overwhelming and just so downgrading towards my self esteem. I hope he understands the sadness he's bringing to your life and once finally admits that he's wrong. -Much love, Kassi.
My sister acts very similarly towards me. She thinks that I'm really lazy since I'm in high school and she's in college, even though I'm taking much harder classes now than she ever did in high school, most of which are AP Classes (college level classes). She always berates me for not cleaning my room very often, even though it really is none of her business how clean my room is, and she often treats me like I'm stupid, and gets mad at me for not having very many friends and not wanting to interact with very many people. Whenever I offer my opinion about anything, she tells me to shut up and says my opinion doesn't matter. So yeah... I know what you're going through. All I can say is to try and talk to your parents about it. Hopefully they'll be more understanding than my parents, who just say that I'm too sensitive and that I need to "toughen up."
First thing first: you need to live your life the way you want to. You seem to already be doing that, but it's never said enough ;) You know you need to get a job but you also know that it can be dangerous to get the wrong one because of the place where you live. Don't rush into the first job opening just so he will give you some peace. Keep looking, of course, keep trying, but don't let him make you take a bad decision.There are two things I would advice you. They are quite opposite and I think you'll know better than I which one you should use.First one would be: try to involve him in your life. For example if you find a job but are too scared to come home at night, ask him to pick you up. Tell him you really want to find a solution, but well, yeah, you're scared something might happen to you. The bad thing about that is that he could tease you again saying you can't do anthing on your own, but well...Second would be: ignore him. Like give him the silent treatment. It sounds stupid but if he does react like a 12-year-old, treat him just like that. Just like kids, he'll get bored if everyone around him doesn't pay attention. Just say nothing or "yeah, right" and let go. It might calm him down.
Your brother seems very immature. Sorry to hear that dear, there isn't anything you can do about that. He most definitely will not learn on his own and as a family you should teach him how he should behave. He should have learned this when he was a child, but now he's old and it's much harder.He shouldn't say those things to you, and his friends are just as responsible for just standing there watching him do that. You shouldn't let him treat you like that either, if he does then walk away or turn to his friends and ask them how they can simply watch this happen. It's good that you're taking full-time classes and writing a novel, it shows that you're dedicated and intelligent. Don't let him get to you, okay? Just keep moving forward and you'll be alright :).Think of it this way, if he's a bitter and immature person, then that's how his life will be. It's an awful quality that will haunt him for the rest of his life because he'll make those around him miserable. You, however, are not like that. If you stay positive and ignore his ramblings, your life will be so much more pleasant because you have the right mindset.You love your cats and you're very caring. Those are wonderful qualities to have. If your brother complains all the time about everything, it's his loss. He won't ever see how lovely everything is since he's so busy being crude ;).