My annoying brother

He deliberately winds me up, and puts me down in front of other people. 

He loves getting a rise out of you, says our elder. Don’t let him see that he’s got to you.


Dear EWC

My brother has treated me very badly. My brother messes with me when he can. He has always been like this. He has had this kind of behavior for a few years until now. It had never changed. He purposely disrespects me and continues to do things which I don’t want him to do. We had a jar used to contain water which was kept in the fridge so we could have cold water to drink. One time he didn’t put it back into the fridge. I told him about it. From now on he purposefully did not put it into the fridge. Just left it at the table. I told my parents about it. They just say never mind. One time while I was eating at the table, he went to the fridge, took out the jar and used it in front of me. And put the jar on the table and went back to his room. Now he knows that he keeps doing it. He doesn’t do it because he forgot or he thinks it no big deal. There is a time where I saw him not closing the door when using the toilet. So kindly told him not to do it again. Because obviously I don’t like seeing other urine and all. From that moment on he keeps doing it. He pretends he forgot to close the door. When he knows I will pass through the bathroom door, he will just go to the toilet and keep the door open. There are many other cases similar to the two I mentioned above. He did all this because he knows I don’t want him to do it and I don’t like it. 

Another main problem with his behavior is that he likes to make passive aggressive comments. What I mean is he made a comment intent to make fun of me. Embarrassed me in front of others. To put me down. Make me feel bad. But when others hear it they can’t really tell what it means. They appear to be normal comments. I talk to my parents about it, they either think it doesn’t matter or don’t want to believe he did it. I know I can receive different kinds of advice on how to best deal with this situation. But if I can I would very much like to ask how to handle this problem by standing up for myself and enforcing these boundaries and making these boundaries stick.


Linda replies

Lots of siblings can have these types of issues. Their behavior is deliberately annoying or attention-seeking. You will find in life that it’s always best to choose your battles wisely. If the issue is just a minor irritant, perhaps not voicing how you feel to your brother would be best. The problem, as I see it, is he’s getting a negative reaction from you, which is exactly what he’s seeking. Often times a sibling whose behavior is like this, is actually jealous for some reason and so they try to get to you and make you unhappy. Or he may just get some cheap thrill out of irritating his sister and making her angry. When you complain to your parents it’s just fuel for his fire. Sadly, right now, what fuels him is getting a rise out of you.

When you respond to one of his passive, aggressive comments and he sees he’s gotten to you, he gets satisfaction out of that. Whenever possible, act as though whatever he’s saying or doing isn’t even phasing you. If he’s not getting the desired response out of you, then he’ll soon grow weary of the game. Brothers in particular can see this as a contest between siblings. When you respond in an upset or angry manner, you make him the conqueror and you, his prey.

If your brother does anything really egregious, you might try surreptitiously recording it on your phone or take a photo if he can’t see you doing that. It can then become evidence to give to your parents if what he’s doing is truly worthy of their intervention. The reason they are sort of “blowing you off,” as they say, is because what you’re telling them is likely a minor problem from their perspective. They aren’t choosing his side; they just don’t find it worthy of their involvement.

When I was growing up, my older sister tortured me endlessly throughout the years and we fought constantly. I look back now and wonder how my mother ever tolerated our constant bickering. Sibling rivalry is as old as time. One day, believe it or not, you will look back and laugh at all the things your brother did to “get your goat,” as the old expression goes. 

Long story short, stop being such an easy target for your brother’s mischievous and annoying personality. If he doesn’t get the desired result, he’ll soon grow tired and move on to something else. Choose your battles with him very wisely. Whenever possible, ignore him altogether. He’ll eventually outgrow his immaturity and one day become a brother whom you can enjoy. It may take a while but it will eventually happen. 

The more boundaries you attempt to set, the more he’ll ignore and disrespect them. Your greatest power lies in making him think he hasn’t gotten to you. Try it and you may enjoy seeing the tables turn.

Article #: 484154

Category: Family

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