Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Insults and Family

Being around family is tough. This weekend I went to a family BBQ. My little brother was there and said something that really hurt me. I don’t think he meant it to hurt, or even thought about what he said before he said it. My reaction was to make a joke, laugh it off, and then hide on the back patio for the rest of the evening before leaving the party early.

I am not going to share what he said, but I have the perfect analogy. It’s like a little 2 year old child who comes to you and says “You’re fat!” Except my brother is 21 years old. And though his comment wasn't about my weight (although there were some of those), it did hit me right in the shame-gut.

I was hurt he would think something like that of me. My first instinct was to lash out: “Well, at least I can hold down a job. Well, maybe, but I’ve seen and done more things in my life than you ever will. Well, at least I have manners.” You get the idea.

My second instinct was to forgive him. He’s young and very sheltered and has very little life experience with which to judge. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s just a rude little boy. He meant it as a joke. But thinking on this later makes me not want to forgive him. He is a rude boy. He should know better. He's an adult now and should think before he speaks.

Then last, I faced the truth in his statement. Well, maybe I am? Have I been slowly backsliding and allow myself to become this way? Is this what my family thinks of me? Does everyone think this of me? Is he finally bringing to my attention what everyone else is whispering behind my back?

So now I walk the fine line. Do I let this comment bother me? Do I accept it as constructive criticism? Do I take shame in it and begin to hide what I don’t want the family to see? Do I withdraw from my brother, nursing my wounds and feeding my resentment (aka: here’s your stupid Christmas present, brat). Do I let it roll off my back, and keep the family role as the easy-going-nothing-bothers-me child? I feel as though I’m at a fork in a trail and my decision will affect my future relationship not only with my brother, but with my family as well.
Ahh...family. Just when you think you can't live without them, somebody proves that you certainly can!


  1. My gran always said, you can't pick your family, but you can choose your friends. Could you have a private chat with him and let him know how much his remark hurt? Its easier to mend fences early than let any resentment build. {{hugs}}

  2. I agree with Sandie,get him alone and tell him how much his statement hurt you . Take care of this NOW and not let it fester. Even tho he is young he shouls know better . You tell em!!!!

  3. At 21 he is old enough to know better. But he will never know better unless you tell him that comments like his have the power to hurt and aren't funny. If you love him at all you have a duty to your brother and his future happiness to point out how the way you say certain things can really ruin a good day and cause permanent hurt. I'm sure it won't be pleasant conversation but if you leave it fester then he may compound this thoughtlessness over and over again. He needs to know he hurt you so he can apologise and you can forgive and all move on.

    No one knows how to press your buttons like family. It's hard not to lash out but you need to show him how to be a real adult and talk it out properly.

  4. Tactless and/or mean comments are more a reflection of the person who makes them than the person the comments were made to.

    At 21, your brother should know what to say to people (and relatives ARE people) and that he doesn't seem to know is definitely a reflection of who he is.

    Some people would never say something mean/tactless to a stranger but think it's okay to say it to a relative... I don't agree.

    If you speak to your brother about his hurtful comment, do not take "I was just kidding" as an excuse/out. He hurt your feelings whether he meant to or not... and once you notify him of this, it should NOT happen ever again.

    There are some things that you can use in the future to deflect hurtful comments, such as:

    -Why would you say something like that to me/anyone?

    A little embarrassment at being called on a rude comment could help your brother learn to think before he speaks.


  5. My Grandmother always said, "consider the source" I have a sister who doesn't insult me but is always pointing out how she is better, a kind of one-up-man-ship that is very tiring and sometimes anoying.She is too old to change but the advice above might be helpful. If it doesn't help, don't let it eat you up. We don't have control over what others do or say, but only our own reaction to it.

  6. I agree with Julie. My mom used to say really hurtful things and once I realized you can't control what someone else does/says only the way you react to it, I became much happier. Sometimes you can't, for whatever reason, talk to the person about what they said and how it hurts you, sometimes it is just the way they are. Is it an excuse or justification? No it isn't but sometimes it is what it is. You control your own happiness, any only you. If you think you can talk to him about how you feel then do it. If not, do what Impera suggested and call him out on it in front of others. I agree that a little embarassment goes a long way! Good luck and try not to let it eat at you or YOU will be the one unhappy and he will be the victor! {{{HUGS}}}


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