Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 11:14:07 AM

Title: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 11:14:07 AM
Well, part 2 of Kendo's family adventures from the holiday season. I got to see my dear stepbrother Jack and his family, which doesn't happen often, and got to spend some one-on-one time with my brother. During the visit I was strongly reminded of why I don't call more often.

My brother is a sweet, kind, and generous man. He is a Grade A dear, and very likable in most respects. The problem is that he has some very fixed ideas about religion and other things, and enjoys lecturing. He has given up on converting our dad to his particular branch of our mutual religion, but he thinks he can still get me. When I try to explain my positions (which are generally similar to Dad's), my brother tends to assume that I am being a parrot, not that I am a 26-year-old woman who has been studying our holy book since I was 3, and that I have reached my own religious conclusions. I have studied his branch, and do not feel theologically comfortable with it, as I reached different conclusions from the same text, but I am not in my denomination simply because I was raised in it.

Besides this factor, there is also generally personality and political views that he feels I only have because of Dad. He still views me as a gentle and timid 8-year-old who was being beaten on a weekly basis by a mentally ill older sister, and the fact that I have grown up rather bold and brash is an alarming development, and one to be lectured on. He does not think me being a take-charge woman who loves to debate vigorously on a variety of topics is my true self, but that terrified rabbit I was when he met me was who I really am and who I'm meant to be.

I have grown up, and while I am similar to my Dad in a lot of ways (and my Dad is one cool guy, so there are a lot worse people I could emulate), I have my own opinions. In many cases, I just found what Dad said made the most sense when weighed against the other options. I admit I got a bit snappish with Jack when I was taking out the air mattress (he asked if I knew how to do it, despite the fact that I had told him the night before that I had slept on one for several months in college) and told him that I was not 8 anymore. I understand there will always be a Big Brother to Kid Sister protectiveness, but it's frankly insulting to be told that I am a parrot or that who I was when being abused was "more me" than the me who does not have to deal with abuse. I want to have a frank talk with my brother about this (and not snap at him again), but how do you politely tell someone they are being insulting, when they aren't being passive-aggressive and are obviously trying to come from a place of love?
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: NyaChan on January 02, 2013, 11:19:52 AM
I think this is a conversation that would be best had after the upsetting events and should be as candid as possible.  As he is coming from a place of love, it seems he is blinded and deaf to your response in the moment and some space could be useful.  When talking, I think you should:  Make it clear that this is entirely about your relationship with him and has nothing to do with any other members of your family (maybe even let him know that they don't know how you feel and don't know this conversation is happening).  Tell him that you find his words - give specific examples - insulting.  Explain your positions, make it clear that you are not willing to justify them now or in the moment when you are socializing.  Tell him what you need him to do in order for you to stop feeling insulted.  Make it clear that this behavior of his is preventing you from enjoying his company, but also that you very much want a relationship with him.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: artk2002 on January 02, 2013, 11:36:59 AM
Just say what you said in a non-snappish voice. This is one of the times when an "I message" may be best:

"Jack, I feel insulted/disrespected/hurt/twitchy when you say that all I'm doing is parroting Dad/incapable of managing an air mattress/being untrue to myself. I am an adult with my own opinions and skill and you must respect that." You can add "I understand that this is quite a change from the timid, beaten 8yo that I was, but people do grow up. Please respect me and my opinions as an adult."

The formula is really saying how you feel, what action of his is producing that feeling and what you want him to do.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: BeagleMommy on January 02, 2013, 01:43:25 PM
I like Art's wording.  I'm guessing there is a wide age difference between you and your step brother.  He may always feel that you are that timid 8-year-old.  It's hard to realize that the children in your life grow into adults.  Says the 47-year-old woman who's father still calls her "Kiddo".
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 02, 2013, 01:45:17 PM
Just say what you said in a non-snappish voice. This is one of the times when an "I message" may be best:

"Jack, I feel insulted/disrespected/hurt/twitchy when you say that all I'm doing is parroting Dad/incapable of managing an air mattress/being untrue to myself. I am an adult with my own opinions and skill and you must respect that." You can add "I understand that this is quite a change from the timid, beaten 8yo that I was, but people do grow up. Please respect me and my opinions as an adult."

The formula is really saying how you feel, what action of his is producing that feeling and what you want him to do.

Great advice.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: VorFemme on January 02, 2013, 02:35:59 PM
"I'm not an eight-year-old little girl any more" comes to mind.

Followed by "I'm a married woman with a family and a MIND of her own".

Then lots of bean dip.

But I'm the "big sister", so I rarely get this from my brothers.  Even if they are five to eight inches taller than I am.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: audrey1962 on January 02, 2013, 02:59:15 PM
I go by the mantra, "don't tell them, show them." Show your brother you're an adult by being who you are: an adult.

I realize that's simplistic and I don't mean to be dismissive of your post. That's what's worked for me. I hope it works for you. Good luck!
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: gemma156 on January 02, 2013, 03:27:06 PM
I concur with the last poster.  To address your brother on this issue as an adult, don't argue with him on it, don't get into a useless debate with him on it, don't get emotionally worked up on this issue.  When he brings it up again state we've already discussed this issue and move on without acknowledging it again, and change the topic. 

Should he not move on in the conversation with you, inform him as he is having troubles focusing on communicating well today, you'll leave him to rest and go and catch up on some more important things and leave the area and go and do something else.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 03:35:28 PM
I go by the mantra, "don't tell them, show them." Show your brother you're an adult by being who you are: an adult.

I realize that's simplistic and I don't mean to be dismissive of your post. That's what's worked for me. I hope it works for you. Good luck!

The problem is how I'm showing my adulthood seems to be bringing on the lectures that I've changed and making it clear that he disapproves of it. He's almost 9 years older than me, which may be where he's getting this nostalgia, but I don't understand why seeing me happier, more confident, and more secure is worse than seeing me as an abused child.

I like art's wording too, and I'll have to try it the next time I talk to my brother and he starts up on how I've changed or how I need to reconsider his religious branch because obviously I have only rejected it because Dad does.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: audrey1962 on January 02, 2013, 03:39:49 PM
The problem is how I'm showing my adulthood seems to be bringing on the lectures that I've changed and making it clear that he disapproves of it. He's almost 9 years older than me, which may be where he's getting this nostalgia, but I don't understand why seeing me happier, more confident, and more secure is worse than seeing me as an abused child.

Can you give an example? I'm a bit confused by the bolded and an example could help me understand.

ETA: I also really like gemma156's advice.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: poundcake on January 02, 2013, 03:49:23 PM
I like art's wording too. The tough thing about this problem is that you cannot make anyone see you as something. You also have this combined with religious doctrine which is predisposed to try to make you see or do something else. Big Brother is seeing you as a potential convert and his religious doctrine has trained him to view you that way. You can't change that any more than he can make you accept his religious views.

Instead of trying to make him see you as a grown up or acknowledge that your views are independent, focus instead on what you can control. "Brother, I don't enjoy these conversations/I don't feel comfortable discussing my spiritual beliefs. Let's consider the subject closed" and bean dip.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 03:52:16 PM
I've got some problems - the economy has kept me from finding a good job, and I'm single and childless so I can't pull the wife/mother card. But I am finally working in my field, and working hard in it. I'm not very focused on romance right now. My "adult" self has mostly been being confident, outgoing, and trying to make sure that I know what I'm talking about on every subject that I engage in discussions with. I'm on the "tough" side, which I wasn't when I was little, and I think that bothers him a lot, because he brings it up whenever I make a reference to lifting weights, shooting targets, or enjoying stereotypical "man" things.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: breny on January 02, 2013, 04:01:26 PM
I've got some problems - the economy has kept me from finding a good job, and I'm single and childless so I can't pull the wife/mother card. But I am finally working in my field, and working hard in it. I'm not very focused on romance right now. My "adult" self has mostly been being confident, outgoing, and trying to make sure that I know what I'm talking about on every subject that I engage in discussions with. I'm on the "tough" side, which I wasn't when I was little, and I think that bothers him a lot, because he brings it up whenever I make a reference to lifting weights, shooting targets, or enjoying stereotypical "man" things.

Don't engage when he criticizes you or talks down to you. "Hmmm," "interesting," "ok," or even (I love this one) "you might be right" (with the thought that he also might be wrong) are all acknowledgments that don't start a discussion. Silence works as well. If he brings up a subject you do not wish to discuss, simply ignore it. It takes practice and you'll make mistakes, but you can do it. You have to remind yourself that you can't control how he feels but you can control your reaction to it.

What does he bring up about "man" things? If you give us some specific examples of things he has said, we can help you plan your future responses.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: mj on January 02, 2013, 04:02:17 PM
As an older sister, I can tell you that watching your younger sibling go through tough times can be nerve wracking.  It's hard to break the habit of trying to be protective, even when they seemingly come out on the other end just fine.  I learned how to bite my tongue when one my younger brothers would jokingly say to me "I'm 25! Jeeeez, MJ"

Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: wolfie on January 02, 2013, 04:06:16 PM
I go by the mantra, "don't tell them, show them." Show your brother you're an adult by being who you are: an adult.

I realize that's simplistic and I don't mean to be dismissive of your post. That's what's worked for me. I hope it works for you. Good luck!

The problem is how I'm showing my adulthood seems to be bringing on the lectures that I've changed and making it clear that he disapproves of it. He's almost 9 years older than me, which may be where he's getting this nostalgia, but I don't understand why seeing me happier, more confident, and more secure is worse than seeing me as an abused child.

I like art's wording too, and I'll have to try it the next time I talk to my brother and he starts up on how I've changed or how I need to reconsider his religious branch because obviously I have only rejected it because Dad does.

I would consider flat out stating that. Say "Jack, I was scared and unhappy when I was 8 years old. Why would you want me to go back to that when I am happy and content now?"

and then listen to what he says. maybe he doesn't realize exactly what he is implying.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 02, 2013, 04:08:53 PM
I go by the mantra, "don't tell them, show them." Show your brother you're an adult by being who you are: an adult.

I realize that's simplistic and I don't mean to be dismissive of your post. That's what's worked for me. I hope it works for you. Good luck!

The problem is how I'm showing my adulthood seems to be bringing on the lectures that I've changed and making it clear that he disapproves of it. He's almost 9 years older than me, which may be where he's getting this nostalgia, but I don't understand why seeing me happier, more confident, and more secure is worse than seeing me as an abused child.

I like art's wording too, and I'll have to try it the next time I talk to my brother and he starts up on how I've changed or how I need to reconsider his religious branch because obviously I have only rejected it because Dad does.

This disturbs me. It sounds as if he wants to continue to see you as an abused child. Does he get some kind of power-trip off of this?
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 04:17:49 PM
What does he bring up about "man" things? If you give us some specific examples of things he has said, we can help you plan your future responses.

He asked me last time I visited if I was trying to be Dad, and that he and Dad had noticed that my sister and Grace and I have both tried to emulate our father (Dad denied this - he says he tends to tune Jack out when Jack starts lecturing). My brother definitely doesn't mind the intellectual pursuits - his wife is a physicist. But if I talk about how much iron I'm pressing, or good grouping, or talk about military history (especially the parts like genocides and torture), he starts up on the "Is this the real you? You were such a girly-girl when you were little", except I was a weight lifter and knew more about torture than your average college student as a little girl.

From what I've gathered, it's fine for me to be smart and geeky. It's fine for me to be into science fiction and some video games. But if I'm into something our Dad is passionate about, then I'm not being true to myself. He has also been rather vocal that I should teach elementary school instead of high school, even though I do not want to (I admire those who have a gift with small children, but I don't have it). I don't know if that's part of his religion (women should be meek and submissive), or if he genuinely thinks I like the things Dad's into only because Dad is into them, not because Dad introduced me and I think they're fun. My brother has always had a bit of eyebrow-raising that our sister is good at car repair and enjoys it.


I think the abused child bit was because he was coming over on weekends and not spending a huge amount of time around me when I was little. He saw me as gentle, timid, and happily off in a world of my own (often because the real world wasn't much fun to face). Fluttershy, for the My Little Pony fans. I think he still has this image of a dreamy little girl in a field of flowers, singing to herself, without wanting to face the ugly reality that I was that way because I never knew what would set my sister off before she began getting the help she needed. He thought he was seeing happiness, when he was generally seeing terror.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Sophia on January 02, 2013, 04:33:39 PM
...but I don't understand why seeing me happier, more confident, and more secure is worse than seeing me as an abused child.

This is some pretty good wording right here. 

I think when people are not listening to your perfectly clear words, you need to be more forceful and more emotional.  Sometimes people don't listen until they realize that what you are saying matters. 
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 02, 2013, 04:41:32 PM
I can kind of relate as I was quite a bit like Fluttershy as a kid too. Well sort of a mix of Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy. A few close friends but very introverted and dreamy with my head in the clouds most of the time and seen by family as being sweet, easygoing and non-confrontational.   You should have seen the surprise in my family's faces when they learned I got inked as I just didn't quite fit with their idea of someone who would do that.  And I was like that for the most part until a few years ago when I grew a backbone thanks to my best friend.   Who I have mentioned on the site before as being like a big sister/mother to me and she's admitted herself she'll always be a problem solver. 

Which means when I mention a problem I'm having, she will start telling me how to handle it even when I don't ask for help solving it cause I actually have an idea, and then will tell me "You really need to solve these things yourself, you're too old to be told what to do."  ::) 

I've started with a "Actually that's what I was thinking of doing" or "I was thinking of doing x, but yeah, your solution could work too." so that she will see I'm working on a solution myself but am open to suggestions.  Or when she hears of someone being offensive towards me she gets even madder and more upset than I was in the first place.   Recently she admitted that she has a hard time shifting her perception of me from the meek thing she met about 5 years ago to the more mature and confident woman I am now.

As for your brother, that makes sense if that's the reason for his perception, have you told him before "I was acting like that because of sister, and once she was able to get treatment, I felt safe to be more like myself." Did he know you were being abused or is he just having a hard time connecting the dots?
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: breny on January 02, 2013, 04:48:53 PM
"Is this the real you? "
I'd answer that with "Yeah! Isn't it cool?" Sidenote: This is my response to family/friends when they tell me I'm weird.

But if I'm into something our Dad is passionate about, then I'm not being true to myself.
My gut reaction to this is that he's jealous that you and Dad have more in common than he and Dad do. My response to the "emulating Dad" comment would be "Why wouldn't I want to emulate (or be like) Dad? He's awesome!"

Sometimes you have to point out the absurdity of someone's observation to make your point.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 02, 2013, 04:56:50 PM
"Is this the real you? "
I'd answer that with "Yeah! Isn't it cool?" Sidenote: This is my response to family/friends when they tell me I'm weird.


I always say "Thanks!"  Though I don't get called "weird" nearly as much as I used to.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: TootsNYC on January 02, 2013, 05:19:32 PM
(Dad denied this - he says he tends to tune Jack out when Jack starts lecturing).

I think you should KEEP emulating your dad!

Give up the need to have Jack agree with you or approve of you.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Calypso on January 02, 2013, 07:03:42 PM
I'm assuming Jack knows about the abuse. If he doesn't, can you tell him about it? If he does, call him on it: "Jack, what I hear you say when you go on about how I was such a 'girly girl', is that you liked me better when I was a scared, helpless, unhappy kid dealing with being afraid all the time."

I suspect he'll then protest that that isn't what he meant at all, to which you can say, "If you're the same person you were at age 8 in every way, I'm very surprised. This is who I am; why  not stop telling me how it's not what you expect, and get to know the true person. I think you'll like her; she has the good taste to like you!"  8)
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 02, 2013, 07:30:05 PM
(Dad denied this - he says he tends to tune Jack out when Jack starts lecturing).

I think you should KEEP emulating your dad!

Give up the need to have Jack agree with you or approve of you.

Heehee! I agree! Your dad sounds like a cool guy!
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Dr. F. on January 02, 2013, 07:37:14 PM
What does he bring up about "man" things? If you give us some specific examples of things he has said, we can help you plan your future responses.

He asked me last time I visited if I was trying to be Dad, and that he and Dad had noticed that my sister and Grace and I have both tried to emulate our father (Dad denied this - he says he tends to tune Jack out when Jack starts lecturing). My brother definitely doesn't mind the intellectual pursuits - his wife is a physicist. But if I talk about how much iron I'm pressing, or good grouping, or talk about military history (especially the parts like genocides and torture), he starts up on the "Is this the real you? You were such a girly-girl when you were little", except I was a weight lifter and knew more about torture than your average college student as a little girl.

From what I've gathered, it's fine for me to be smart and geeky. It's fine for me to be into science fiction and some video games. But if I'm into something our Dad is passionate about, then I'm not being true to myself. He has also been rather vocal that I should teach elementary school instead of high school, even though I do not want to (I admire those who have a gift with small children, but I don't have it). I don't know if that's part of his religion (women should be meek and submissive), or if he genuinely thinks I like the things Dad's into only because Dad is into them, not because Dad introduced me and I think they're fun. My brother has always had a bit of eyebrow-raising that our sister is good at car repair and enjoys it.


I think the abused child bit was because he was coming over on weekends and not spending a huge amount of time around me when I was little. He saw me as gentle, timid, and happily off in a world of my own (often because the real world wasn't much fun to face). Fluttershy, for the My Little Pony fans. I think he still has this image of a dreamy little girl in a field of flowers, singing to herself, without wanting to face the ugly reality that I was that way because I never knew what would set my sister off before she began getting the help she needed. He thought he was seeing happiness, when he was generally seeing terror.

Does he know this? Would saying something like, "Wow! Don't remind me of how I was at 8! I was MISERABLE then, and I much, much happier and truer to myself now than I was then! Thank goodness that phase didn't last." work? Or maybe, "I like being like Dad to some extent. It took a lot for me to find that aspect in myself, and incorporate it into the rest of my life."

Just some thoughts.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 02, 2013, 07:47:51 PM
When he brings up how he thinks you're just emulating your dad, you can say, "I like what I like and I won't apologize for that. I don't know why you keep bringing up it and keep expecting me to be someone I'm not. I'm definitely not who I was when I was little, and that's a good thing. I hope someday you can recognize that."
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: CakeEater on January 02, 2013, 07:48:20 PM
Sometimes when you see someone as an adult when you knew them as a child, it's just a complete surprise at how much time has passed and how different/grown up that person is. People can tend to harp on it more than they realise they're doing.

If Jack is a genuinely nice guy, I doubt that he really wants to you to return to a miserable state. I suspect that he's just expressing his surprise at your change in interets, and it might be the same if you had been into 'boy' things as a child, and been more interested in girly things as an adult.

Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: chibichan on January 02, 2013, 08:50:52 PM
I like Art's wording.  I'm guessing there is a wide age difference between you and your step brother.  He may always feel that you are that timid 8-year-old.  It's hard to realize that the children in your life grow into adults.  Says the 47-year-old woman who's father still calls her "Kiddo".

Ha ! I'm 54 and when I stay at my parent's house I get this :

Me ( returning from the store at 4:00 PM ) : " Hi everybody - I'm back ! "

Dad ( deadpan ) : " You're in for the night . "

Me ( silently rolling with laughter ) " Yes Daddy . "  ;D ;D ;D

Considering the fact that I will do as I darn well please and he knows it - I LOVE this .
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 02, 2013, 09:02:32 PM
Heehee!! My granddaddy would stay up till his little girls came home even when they were just visiting him.  He couldn't sleep till he knew everyone was safe.

I'm told even the day he died (4th of July of 2001) he waited till all 3 of his girls, son in law (my dad) and grandson (brother) were home before he finally let go...

My bff calls me "Kiddo" sometimes, or "child".  It doesn't bother me since it's not often and is done affectionately.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 02, 2013, 09:13:12 PM
"Kiddo" is one of Dad's highest terms of affection.

And my Dad is awesome. There are so many epic stories of his life that I'd love to tell a bunch of them here, since he thinks no one would read his autobiography.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: magician5 on January 02, 2013, 10:29:09 PM
I know you love to debate, but the problem you present is one that can best be solved by not debating with your brother. This sort of debate is notoriously impossible to "win" with anybody ... it would be easier on everyone, and kinder to your brother, if you restricted the debates to the virtues of your local football team.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: poundcake on January 03, 2013, 03:00:42 PM
I know you love to debate, but the problem you present is one that can best be solved by not debating with your brother. This sort of debate is notoriously impossible to "win" with anybody ... it would be easier on everyone, and kinder to your brother, if you restricted the debates to the virtues of your local football team.

This is exactly it. You can't "make" brother see you've grown up through discussion or debate any more than he can "make" you accept his religious beliefs the same way.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Sophia on January 03, 2013, 04:18:21 PM
Did anyone else notice the irony in Brother's stance.

1)  You stand up for what you think and do not conform with my thoughts.  Bad!

2)  You do not stand up for what you think and conform to Dad.  Bad! 
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 03, 2013, 04:28:23 PM
I know you love to debate, but the problem you present is one that can best be solved by not debating with your brother. This sort of debate is notoriously impossible to "win" with anybody ... it would be easier on everyone, and kinder to your brother, if you restricted the debates to the virtues of your local football team.

I guess I'll just have to start nodding and tuning out when he starts up theologically, because I've explained my position very clearly. I know his theology teaches that he's saving me from horrible things, but I disagree with him, with examples from the same text. I've tried pointing out exactly where I see my view supported, but he tells me I'm reading it wrong, because it supports his view. So I know it's running in circles, but eventually he gave up with Dad, so I'm hoping he'll get to the point where he gives up with me.

I think it's bad that I have Dad's theological opinions because Dad isn't one of the correct thinking, where if I had my brother's thinking, it would be correct.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Ladybugs on January 03, 2013, 08:00:50 PM
Kendo bunny,
Hi I'm new here as of last night....I skimmed over your post here , I didn't read all of it but it sounds somewhat similar to my situation with my sister who is very intelligent and kind of acts similar..I have a health condition diagnosed a few yrs ago which my family was supportive of. Then last year sometime she got this idea, probably after reading something on the Internet, anyways she got tis idea that I was mis diagnosed and told our mom about her ideas. Since our mom sees her as almost infallible, she quickly adopted my sisters belief as her own. Although several medical professionals diagnosed me with this , sis says she knows better and has pulled mom along in her beliefs. Any attempt in the past I made to say sorry, but my docs said this....she replies with well, they don't know everything. I'm your sister, I know you

I don't know it just seems to be kind of similar

I just wanted to say I know somewhat how your feeling and how it feels to be gas lighted this way (if that's what gas lighting is, someone else mentioned it in my post, kind of being discredited by someone else who insists they know better
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: VorFemme on January 03, 2013, 08:17:07 PM
Kendo bunny,
Hi I'm new here as of last night....I skimmed over your post here , I didn't read all of it but it sounds somewhat similar to my situation with my sister who is very intelligent and kind of acts similar..I have a health condition diagnosed a few yrs ago which my family was supportive of. Then last year sometime she got this idea, probably after reading something on the Internet, anyways she got tis idea that I was mis diagnosed and told our mom about her ideas. Since our mom sees her as almost infallible, she quickly adopted my sisters belief as her own. Although several medical professionals diagnosed me with this , sis says she knows better and has pulled mom along in her beliefs. Any attempt in the past I made to say sorry, but my docs said this....she replies with well, they don't know everything. I'm your sister, I know you

I don't know it just seems to be kind of similar

I just wanted to say I know somewhat how your feeling and how it feels to be gas lighted this way (if that's what gas lighting is, someone else mentioned it in my post, kind of being discredited by someone else who insists they know better

Gas lighting is from an old movie - someone who is gas lighting you is trying to make you think that YOU are crazy (insane) and their intentions are NOT the best, either.  (Haven't seen the movie and it's been a while since I looked up the synopsis.) 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036855/faq#.2.1.5  - link to a synopsis

So - even if the big brother or lawyer sister aren't trying to "gas light" you - they are certainly trying to undermine your peace of mind and make you follow their vision of what your life should be.

Which is not very nice of them...even if they have the best intentions in the world.  Perhaps both of you need to order the industrial sized tubs of bean dip.  And leave quickly to talk to someone else if they refuse to allow the conversation to be redirected.

Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: sevenday on January 03, 2013, 10:15:55 PM
There is really no room for debate, in my opinion, when it comes to this situation.   He firmly believes you are misguided and must be brought back 'to the light,' and will keep doing so until he is discouraged in some way.  Your Dad got through by not being worn down, so you will need to do the same.  You might say to him, "I realize this is an important subject for you, but I am not interested in discussing it.  I have thought carefully and independently about what beliefs suit me, and do not appreciate your insistence that I'm 'brainwashed' or just 'parroting' Dad's beliefs.  It's frankly offensive, and I'm not going to listen to it anymore.  Please do not try to talk to me about this again."  And then tune him out.  Leave the room/house, turn your back, begin talking to others, continue reading and ignore him, etc when he starts in on the topic.  He will likely complain that you are being rude, at which point you can point out that he is also being rude by continuing to bring up subjects that you have told him point blank not to discuss with you.

The upside of this treatment is that you can do this in a public location as well as at home.  If he's in your home when he starts, I would not think twice of attempting beandip/ignoring, and if he gets mad, politely escorting him to the door and sending him home.  It's not embarrassing to me because I'm not the one with the problem, it's the other person.   Just keep it up even though you are ready to strangle him because he's so inconsiderate of your choices.  Eventually he will realize that it really IS that big of an issue for you and will make a choice accordingly.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Twik on January 04, 2013, 09:27:50 AM
"Sorry, not interested in discussing this," sounds like the best option when he starts nagging you.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: TootsNYC on January 04, 2013, 09:31:23 AM
I know you love to debate, but the problem you present is one that can best be solved by not debating with your brother. This sort of debate is notoriously impossible to "win" with anybody ... it would be easier on everyone, and kinder to your brother, if you restricted the debates to the virtues of your local football team.

I guess I'll just have to start nodding and tuning out when he starts up theologically, because I've explained my position very clearly. I know his theology teaches that he's saving me from horrible things, but I disagree with him, with examples from the same text. I've tried pointing out exactly where I see my view supported, but he tells me I'm reading it wrong, because it supports his view. So I know it's running in circles, but eventually he gave up with Dad, so I'm hoping he'll get to the point where he gives up with me.


I think you need to give up before your brother does. DON'T try to get him to agree with you.  When he starts, say, "Bro, I don't want to debate this with you. Let's not spend our visit on this. Are you guys going to take a vacation anytime soon?"
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: White Lotus on January 04, 2013, 03:10:29 PM
"Bro, I love you, and you were the best big brother I could have had when I was 8 and miserable, but I am all grown up now and thinking for myself.  Tell me about (some work or hobby subject that fascinates him, as in...) the snow pack on the backside of Ski Area.  Is Chair X open yet?"  Repeat until he gets the drift.

And maybe let him know that when he does X, Y or Z he does it just like Dad, not because it is just like Dad, but because it's a good way to do it.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on January 07, 2013, 04:04:33 AM
I had a brain fart sorry.

When you were 8 and hurting you WERE with the church.

He wants you back at church.

I don't like your Bro. Something is really OFF about him.
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: atirial on January 07, 2013, 05:06:50 AM
I was thinking something similar to Dragons 8 Cactus, but I don't think he's doing it maliciously, just that he hasn't put the pieces together yet himself. Telling him that you're disturbed he likes the way you behaved at the most miserable time of your life, and thinks this is the real you, might make him see the problem.

To be honest though, I doubt anything you say will make an impression if he thinks he's doing it for your own good (particularly if it is a religious charge).
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on January 07, 2013, 06:04:48 AM
I had a brain fart sorry.

When you were 8 and hurting you WERE with the church.

He wants you back at church.

I don't like your Bro. Something is really OFF about him.

I was never with that church. I was always with my church - he converted to his church in college, and his church teaches that they are the only ones with the correct doctrine. It's one of the things I dislike about it, besides other theological points that I won't get into here. I've only tried talking to him on doctrinal points to show where I have reached different conclusions, not to try to convince him that my theological decisions are better, but how someone can know the same text and read something different.

His doctrine does sweep mental illness under the rug - he does not like talking about the fact that our sister is not well, and that she was a nightmare to live with before she began getting the help she needed. He doesn't think it should be brought up, and he doesn't really know the full extent of what she used to do, because he was not living there. He'd see some after-effects, and he knew she would bully me some, but he didn't really put it together until I came right out and called it abuse. He even asked if that was too strong a term until I began enumerating some of the things that would happen when he wasn't around.

So I am not going to operate on the level that he is malicious, or that he thinks I'm the crazy one, or even that he thinks I'm not intelligent. He's coming from a place of love, but it's misguided. He is concerned with saving my soul, and is not really content that it's already saved. He does not realize that me being somewhat "masculine" and outspoken instead of shy and retiring is how I want to be, and how I am when the threat of being beaten for it is removed. He does not realize that I can be like Dad without trying to be Dad, because I disagree with Dad to his face when I feel a need to, and Dad appreciates that he has raised an independent-minded woman. In general, he just hasn't realized that I'm 26, not 8, and the time for preaching and guidance that I have not asked for is over, especially if I am not making bad choices (or if the only "bad choice" I am making is which church I am attending).
Title: Re: How to tell a big brother I've grown up?
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on January 07, 2013, 08:44:41 AM
Aha Moment. If this is the 'Church' I think it is, Only thing you can do is refuse to debate/ play/talk about....... at all.

I don't think he is malicious either. But something in his phy is screwed up.

You will never win this Debate, Don't play