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Is My Brother Verbally Abusive And If So What Should I Do?

by Anonymous

Set Yourself Free

Set Yourself Free

Hi everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read my question; its my first time on this site.

My family and I have been dealing with a lot of turmoil for years but it has heightened lately because both me and my older brother are living at home.

We live in a conservative, traditional, Indian family. My brother is five years older than me. We both went away to different colleges and are now living at home with my parents. I am taking time off work to study for the LSAT (law school entrance exam) and he recently started working again (about 3 months ago).

When we were children, we would fight a lot. He would hit me often, especially when I ate the candy that my mom brought for both of us or if I wanted to watch TV and he wanted the remote. He would hit me all the time for these reasons.

I would try to call my parents when he hit me but he would disconnect the phone lines so I could not call them. When they got home from work, I would tell them he hit me and they would either brush it off or playfully scold him for a minute. He would always deny or lie to them and they would just shrug it off. When they were not looking, he would whisper terrible insults or smile at me manipulatively to show he got away with it.

While this behavior may seem common for siblings growing up, he never really grew out of this behavior. Growing up in an Indian family, he was always more cultural than me. I denied the culture for the beginning half of my life (I am 22 now) and so our family friends and relatives would always think of him as the golden child because he would speak the language, eat the Indian food, etc. As I got older, I started getting into the culture as well.

From an early age, my parents have had issues because of their in laws. My dad's mom has always been very critical of my mom and my dad tended to side with his mom. This caused a lot of arguments in our house growing up.

So anyways, fast forward a bit I am now 22 and my brother is 27. I ended up going to a better undergraduate school than he did and I got straight A's in high school while he was always an average student. My dad has always been more compassionate towards me and my mom has always been more compassionate towards my brother. I never minded this.

Anyways, my brother and I have frequent blow-ups. For example, I was going to study abroad last summer and the night before I left he told me "you are such a sl*t, a who*re, and you should just be a prostitute." He kept spamming me with texts saying I am a horrible person and I am not his sister, etc.

I didn't talk to him that whole summer after that. Then we went to a family wedding where he accused me of having an affair with one of the groomsmen and he made a whole scene at the wedding about it, embarrassing me and my family. He also convinced my parents into believing it. Since I am a girl and my parents are Indian, this kind of news is not taken lightly.

Last year my family went on a trip to India and on New Year’s Eve, I kissed a boy at a club and my brother took a video of it. He showed the video to my parents saying "look at how big of a slut your daughter is." My parents were very upset at me. He also snuck into my room and read my journal and took pictures of it so he could tell my parents what was in it.

He also added my ex-boyfriend on Facebook even though he knew we were broken up. He added my ex-boyfriend at a point when we were not talking.

Last year I also ran into one of my brother’s friends at a bar and he sent a Snapchat of me to my brother. My brother told his friend "Stay away from my slutty sister." He also screenshotted my best friend's Instagram picture of me and showed it to my mom because I was wearing a crop top.

One day his friend came over to my house and I was playing the piano and his friend came up to me asking if I could play his favorite song. In front of his friend, my brother said "why are you such a slut? Why do you have to flirt with my friends? Why don’t you have your own friends?"

My brother's friend just kind of stood there awkwardly. That same night, my brother told my mom to "shut the fuck up" in front of his friend. My brother often speaks like this to my mom as well. He tells her she is dumb, stupid, a bit*ch, should just the f*ck up, etc."

My dad is always working and when we tell him the things my brother says, he says he will talk to him. When he does talk to my brother, my brother is very calm and denies what he says. My dad is usually too tired to care at that point.

Again this year, my brother and I had another blow up. He knows I am a feminist and activist and so he keeps saying how women can't drive, men don't need women to reproduce anymore, women are psycho, feminist is bull, and how men are now under attack in society. My mom and dad are not big on feminism and because they are Indian traditional, they think I am way too liberal because of my politics. My brother also knew I had the LSAT exam last Saturday and he told me I will fail and that I am too stupid.

Last night again my brother said I am a stupid bit*ch. He also texted my mom a bunch of terrible things

What do you make of this situation? What should we do? Thanks for any and all insight. Also this is terribly long…I apologize.

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Dec 12, 2017
Time For A Change
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. You express yourself very well, and I appreciate the intelligence of your writing.

You ask what we (those reading your post) make of this...I'll offer my input, and hopefully others will chime in as well.

1. In response to the question in your title, yes, your brother is extremely verbally abusive. It is also emotional and sexual abuse, and social bullying, based on how he treats you around others.

2. With all due respect to your family and your culture, as a feminist, living with your family, you are asking too much of yourself. I strongly encourage you to find your own place and establish emotional and financial independence as soon as you possibly can.

3. It sounds like you are a victim of gender bias in your family (which reflects a tendency on your entire culture). If you stay with them and try to change their views, you will only create hardship for yourself.

4. Learn about personal boundaries, and find the distance from which you can breathe easily, live according to your own values, and respect the differences of your family.

5. There is no excuse for your brother's treatment of you. He apparently believes he is entitled to greater freedoms and power as a male, and is probably threatened by your intelligence and your success. If you don't remove yourself from close proximity to him, I'm concerned the abuse will wear you down where you start to doubt and diminish your own self worth.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please feel free to comment here, or post another story on this site.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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