Oh brother

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2013
Oh brother
5
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 2:17am

My oldest brother is constantly bullying me.  Sadly I'm 31 and I still don't know how to deal with it :( He is 35 and still refers to be as "fat Josie" yes I know I am overweight but how is it okay that a man can call me that in front of his wife and children and my parents too?  I really don't know what to say, I've wanted a relationship like i see my friends have with their siblings and I really try but I really don't think he actually likes me. What's worse is no one says anything to him about it to stop, I'm not sure if they think its funny or encourages me to lose weight but I just hate being around family because of it, I told my mom and she just said I am being sensitive, I was really upset tonight and she said that I must have been drinking. maybe I am too sensitive, is this normal to be called fat and "never going to get married" by your brother? I have a very respectable job but he belittles it and says I dont actually do anything, I think because he does more manual work and I have a degree and work at a desk mostly and I know he doesn't understand what I do.

honestly I would rather avoid coming to family gatherings, I know family is important but I get so depressed after going to things he is at, I imagine its gonna be different at first and I try to be as nice as possible but then im picked on and put down and after im just not sure what to do.

Is it wrong to just pretend I don't have a family? Is family important enough that I should just bite my lip or is it okay to just never talk to him again?  

i have tried saying something about it to him, to my mom, but no one thinks its a big deal except for me.  

is it okay to just stop coming and seriousy pretend I don't have a family? I know there are people out there that wish they weren't alone at Christmas but I actually rather would be.  No one at work or am friends with calls me fat or makes fun of my job, so why do I keep coming back each year to go thru this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to: Josiemt82
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 10:53am

No it is not acceptable for a family member (or anyone else) to call you fat--but you have to start standing up for yourself.  If you just want to avoid family gathers that he will be at, that is fine.  Or you could have the option that the next time he calls you fat, you need to tell him that it is not acceptable and you aren't going to take it any more and that is his last chance.  You really have to follow through with that though--because I'm sure he will test the waters but if he does it again, then you really have to get up and leave.  But think about it--would he care if you weren't at family functions?  Would he do it on purpose to cause a scene and make himself feel like he is winning?  Why won't your parents stand up for you either?  I don't think the rude person should be able to get away with making rude comments and then you are called "too sensitive."  Who would like it if someone insulted them?  Maybe you need to tell your mother that you are just going to stop coming to family events because you are tired of being insulted and feeling like no one is on your side and see how she reacts to that.  If she makes excuses for your brother, then you can tell her that it's obvious that she prefers him to you if she is defending him, so then you will know.  Just throwing out some suggestions here.  You can take or leave them if it makes sense to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
In reply to: Josiemt82
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 3:01pm

Unfortunately, this sounds like a pattern within your family dynamic.  You can choose to ignore his comments (by just walking away when he starts, or by leaving), or stand up for yourself, and belittle him back.  I'm sure he actually feels inferior to you because you are better educated and have a good job, so he feels the need to constantly belittle you, to make himself feel better.  I'm sure there are online resources to give you more ideas about how to deal with a brother who is a bully, and a family who thinks you are "too sensitive".  You can only change your reaction to the situation, you can't change them. 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
In reply to: Josiemt82
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 8:35pm

I don't think you are being too sensitive about it. Its probably more about your brother's own insecurities. Does your mother or the rest of the family avoid confrontations? Maybe that's why your mom says you're too sensitive, because she doesn't want to have a confrontation with him if she defends your right to not be called names?

I would probably start by talking to your parents. Explain that name calling and bullying is unacceptable, ask them if they would tolerate it is a neighbor or coworker treated them like that? (if they say yes then it says something about their self esteem). Tell them that you are not going to accept it anymore and that you will not stay at any family gathering where that behavior is tolerated. Ask if they are willing to back you up if you confront your brother. If they won't then you know not to attend the gatherings. You could still visit your parents when brother is not there; and you can leave if he arrives. You can also tell him in a matter-of-fact way that you won't tolerate the name calling (and be ready to leave), but don't get emotional because that's what he's hoping for, to upset you.

If it helps you, think of your brother as being toxic to you. You would not stay in a room with noxious fumes or raw sewage, you would leave before you got contaminated. For your own well being you also choose to remove yourself from the presence of anybody that treats you poorly.

You can try to pretend that you don't have a family but it might be easier to try to accept that you have a flawed family and that you cannot be around some members. Know that many people don't have ideal relationships with their siblings, some to the point that they rarely see them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2003
In reply to: Josiemt82
Sat, 12-28-2013 - 2:38pm

Josie, what your brother says and does to you is incredibly abusive.  It is in no way, shape or form acceptable and you are NOT being over sensitive.  It IS a big deal and I think there is more of a problem in your family by virtue of your mother not thinking it is a big deal and shrugging it off.  My sister used to make fun of me like that and my mother kicked her out of the house!   She warned her several times to watch her mouth.  If your mother does not intervene or continues to disregard your very valid feelings about this, YES, do stop going to family get togethers.  You do not need to subject yourself to that kind of mean-spirited, juvenile, hurtful bullying behavior by your immature, boorish jackass of a brother at all and it is not reasonable for your family to think you should shrug it off.  Enough is enough.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2013
In reply to: Josiemt82
Sun, 12-29-2013 - 8:48pm

Well, I told him I wouldnt put up with it anymore and he kinda of laughingly apologized, I didnt cry but i really wanted to and i think he could tell.  Then everyone in my family went out and I stayed home, so I called a friend and she picked me up and we went out to a bar and had some drinks and I had forgotten my phone In the car.  when I got back to the car i had a bunch of missed calls and apparently they thot that I had ran off and killed myself over it.  It was really weird.  so now he's left town so it seems like maybe he got the message that it really hurts my feelings to hear that? So maybe it will stop, I'm not sure, it was a weird way to have it happen, but also possibly the best since I think they all really thot I had killed myself over it for a few hours and all felt awful and I was just out having a good time having a drink with people that are nice to me.  Weird but good?