View Full Version : Dealig with Overbearing Brother I Live With


cwf1986
10-12-16, 09:43 PM
Background:
Unfortunately because I can't find a good job, I have to live with my mother at 30 years old. I have lots of education and have and am making many many applications and some phone calls but no such luck at the moment. But that's possibly another thread.

Recently, my sister in law couldn't do her job anymore over grievous safety issues at work. She was a prison guard and in recent months the prison became severely understaffed and full of new incompetent guards.

Now both she and my brother live with my mother.

The Problem:
My brother is trying to take the role of boss/father/authoritarian over me and has stated it outright. He's 33, I'm 30 so there really isn't that much different in age. I don't have a family and am single. In the past when my ADHD was untreated I lacked the ability to recognize this issue and fight it.

I know that this is not his place and make sure he knows that I know this. But he continues to press the issue.

He also takes out his anger on me. If he has trouble with his boss or wife or anything, he takes it out on me by trying to belittle me by speaking down to me in a way I wouldn't speak to a stray dog.

He will also tell me things like I don't do anything and I'm lazy when in fact I clearly do as much around the house as him and in the past have worked many many more hours than he ever has. It's clearly a lie meant to belittle me further

I also believe he's taking out his frustration of having to live with our mom on me too.

I have stated the above to him outright and when confronted starts to pretend there is something seriously wrong with me.

I have little recourse. My mother is the one providing shelter for him so he won't take his rage there. His wife will take sex away and if bad enough even leave him if it got bad enough as she does have family support. There is little I can do.

My mother has stated to me that he is not authority of the house, not man of the house, and that this house is neutral grounds. Granted, she won't take measures to enforce this, but she won't hinder my efforts to defend myself from wrongdoing. She is extremely conflict averse. At least she doesn't deny this issue which is progress for her compared to her past. So this is all up to me.

I believe I know where this behaviour comes from. My father was a narcissist as a result of a peter pan complex. Diagnosed by a psychologist. I strongly believe that the narcissism is something that was passed on to my brother.

I say this because I believe that taking this role makes him feel big and in control and I'm the one he's picking on because I'm the most vulnerable.

He did not expect as much resistance as I'm giving him. Before being treated with ADHD and anxiety, I was much more passive and had much more of a victim mentality. Since treatment, I have made many efforts and had successes in taking life by the horns. Including fixing boundary issues.

I was able to simply speak frankly about the boundary issues with my Mother and she has become much better and in turn I have been able make progress in a healing process from a nervous breakdown many months back.

I believe my brother will continue to fight me.

At this point, I'm just about to totally and completely write my brother off by avoiding all contact and completely ignoring him on all levels. I'm at my wits end and don't see other options. If I have to do this, I want it to be a last resort.

Does anyone think there are other options available to me?

BellaVita
10-12-16, 10:20 PM
I'm really sorry you're going through this.

You have the stress of looking for a job, and on top of it you are being emotionally degraded and put down by your brother.

If I were you, minimal contact with him is probably best for your mental health. Him treating you so poorly might be causing a delay in you getting a job, since it is probably wearing you down.

If you could find an option to live *anywhere* else - a friend, other family member - then that would probably be good to get you out of that toxic environment.

Keep working on finding a job and get out of there as soon as possible. Heck, even try to move far away if you can.

In my experience (I grew up with a sociopathic father and narcissistic mother), this sort of treatment only gets worse over time.

Going no contact with my family is the healthiest decision for myself I've ever made. I'm finally taking steps healing from the lifelong abuse. It's been close to 3 years now and my life has only been improving.

I'm glad to hear it sounds like your mom is a nice person, perhaps only stick to talking with her. She might be having trouble enforcing the "neutral grounds" thing because she might have had "training" and learned from your father not to speak up and to be submissive. Try to learn your brother's schedule and avoid him whenever possible. Begin packing up so that when you find that job, and you make enough to rent a place, you can move out asap.

Also word of advice: If your brother is the type of person to tighten his grip on you/let out more anger on you once he finds out you're moving: don't tell him when you're going to move. Just quietly get up and go. You might want to even refrain from telling your mother, in case she tells your brother. You can have a long talk with her after the move about why you chose not to tell her and explain how it was so you wouldn't get treated worse and have more stress on you caused by your brother while you were moving out.

Another idea: while searching for jobs, perhaps leave the house and bring your laptop/needed items and set up at a coffee shop somewhere to send applications. Or any place that has wifi and a lounge area/chairs etc. That way you can get away from your brother and do your stuff in peace. Bring earplugs or headphones if the environment is too distracting, and if your brother messages/calls you put your phone on airplane mode.

I hope you can get out of there soon. :grouphug:

20thcenturyfox
10-13-16, 12:42 AM
Satire and ridicule have a long and honourable history of poking fun at those who set themselves up as being annointed...especially when overt criticism would be harshly punished.

This is how Voltaire and Moliere first became famous in the time of Louis XIV. You couldn't put your finger on anything they wrote as being disloyal. But their works were irreverent as hell; people would die laughing when their superficially respectful language painted a picture of pure ego, pretension and foolishness, whether about religious hypocrisy (Tartuffe, Candide), medical pretensions (the Hypochondriac), etc.

But you don't have to write a whole book or play. For example, what would happen if you just started saying "Yes, Bwana"? Or, "Thank you, Bwana, for coming here and setting everything straight"? (Bwana, being from Swahili for "master.") The more you can stay "in character" and lay it on thick, the more devastating the effect.

So ADHD being what it is, you might want to start out soft, and only when he starts being overbearing. And only ramp it up if he does. If he backs off, reward him by giving it a rest. Then the next time, you can dust off your humble African routine once again.

cwf1986
10-13-16, 02:05 AM
Satire and ridicule have a long and honourable history of poking fun at those who set themselves up as being annointed...especially when overt criticism would be harshly punished.

This is how Voltaire and Moliere first became famous in the time of Louis XIV. You couldn't put your finger on anything they wrote as being disloyal. But their works were irreverent as hell; people would die laughing when their superficially respectful language painted a picture of pure ego, pretension and foolishness, whether about religious hypocrisy (Tartuffe, Candide), medical pretensions (the Hypochondriac), etc.

But you don't have to write a whole book or play. For example, what would happen if you just started saying "Yes, Bwana"? Or, "Thank you, Bwana, for coming here and setting everything straight"? (Bwana, being from Swahili for "master.") The more you can stay "in character" and lay it on thick, the more devastating the effect.

So ADHD being what it is, you might want to start out soft, and only when he starts being overbearing. And only ramp it up if he does. If he backs off, reward him by giving it a rest. Then the next time, you can dust off your humble African routine once again.

I did love Candide many years back in my French Literature class.
Hmmm.... I like it.

I don't know so much if I'll go into the African routine, but boy in undergrad when I lived in Northern Louisiana which is deep Deep South I sure learned a lot humor that could be relevant.

Yes masta yes masta, I'ma gonna pick that cotton so good masta :)

And I've kind of done this already too. I remember at one job where they pushing us way to hard. I started whistling "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and others started to and the manager finally back off some ha!

Well... dunno if this'll work, but it's worth a try.

anonymouslyadd
10-13-16, 02:12 AM
I would try to stay away from him.

BellaVita
10-13-16, 02:17 AM
I did love Candide many years back in my French Literature class.
Hmmm.... I like it.

I don't know so much if I'll go into the African routine, but boy in undergrad when I lived in Northern Louisiana which is deep Deep South I sure learned a lot humor that could be relevant.

Yes masta yes masta, I'ma gonna pick that cotton so good masta :)

And I've kind of done this already too. I remember at one job where they pushing us way to hard. I started whistling "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and others started to and the manager finally back off some ha!

Well... dunno if this'll work, but it's worth a try.

Just a note of caution...

Your brother, who you obviously know better than any of us, may respond to this technique by treating you worse.

Whenever I tried standing up for myself (I'd never attempt what has been suggested to you by the other member - that would've been dangerous in my situation) I would only get more abuse in return.

Just, think about it before you decide to try it.

He might retaliate and make your life even more miserable.

Pilgrim
10-13-16, 02:24 AM
If your brother has issues about his living situation that's his problem.

cwf1986
10-13-16, 02:32 AM
He's not physically dangerous. And there definitely is good in him. It's just this attitude of his is enough to make me avoid him if the behaviour continues. He might try to manipulate my mom against me, but I know she's too smart for that. He's not particularly good at that kind of thing and ends up showing his cards while he thinks he's being sneaky. And it's pretty uncommon for him to go that route.

In the past, I've never been good at setting boundaries because I've been taught by my mother to always lay low and be passive. By doing this, I effectively let people think these kind of behaviours are okay with me. But since treatment for ADHD, I've had the capacity to recognize this issue and its implications. Thusly, I've been establishing boundaries.

It isn't hard for me to imagine that this might be a shock or surprise to some people around me so I think I'll give it time. Also, my brother lacks emotional intelligence in some ways compared to his other abilities so it might just take him some time to figure this out and accept this. Best case scenario here.

Worst case scenario would be that cease all communication with each other forever.

My dad was never physically abusive. He was negligent. Part of it was his personality disorder, part of it was the bi-polar.

BellaVita
10-13-16, 02:48 AM
At least he isn't physically abusive, but what you've described here is clear mental abuse:
He also takes out his anger on me. If he has trouble with his boss or wife or anything, he takes it out on me by trying to belittle me by speaking down to me in a way I wouldn't speak to a stray dog.

He will also tell me things like I don't do anything and I'm lazy when in fact I clearly do as much around the house as him and in the past have worked many many more hours than he ever has. It's clearly a lie meant to belittle me further

I also believe he's taking out his frustration of having to live with our mom on me too.

I have stated the above to him outright and when confronted starts to pretend there is something seriously wrong with me.

Taking his anger out on you, treating you like crap by belittling you and speaking down to you, calling you lazy and saying you don't do anything, and then when confronted he says there's something wrong with you (gas lighting) - that is all very obvious forms of mental/emotional abuse.

Please don't underestimate the kind of effect this can have on your well-being - mentally and physically.

You say "there is definitely good in him" - to me that sounds like rationalizing his behavior. His behavior is not okay. It doesn't matter if there is "good in him" if he continues to treat you like crap.

You might not realize it now because you're living with and dealing with it, but this kind of behavior of his is seriously unhealthy and harmful to those around.

You might have become so used to his poor treatment of you that you just explain it away or think it's really not a big deal.

But it is.

Mental/emotional abuse can be just as damaging if not more so than physical abuse alone.

He's probably draining your energy and mental resources but you are so used to his behavior that you don't even realize it.

I hope that you do take action - whatever is best for your situation.

Don't feel guilty if you do end up going minimal/no-contact - you deserve to live in peace and not have that toxic behavior causing harm to your mind and well-being.

sarahsweets
10-20-16, 04:38 AM
Because you are stuck living there for now, the only boundaries you are able to set is your level of interaction with him. Avoid him,dont engage, move away. Thats all you can do at the moment. If you lived somewhere else I would have suggested you state your boundaries and then demonstrate them by action, but you are stuck there with him. Dont make a thing about avoiding him by stalking out of the room when he comes in. Do the avoid/not engaged thing quietly to protect yourself.
This is so toxic that if there is anywhere else you can go I would get the hell out of there asap.