I have a problem that I hope you can help me with. It’s a bit personal, so please keep it anonymous.
I love my brother very much, but I cannot condone his behaviour towards women. I don’t want it to come between our relationship, but as someone who has been cheated on and been in a mildly abusive relationship in the past, it pains me to see my brother treat his girlfriend the way he does.
I won’t go into the details of his behaviour, but in general he is a bad boyfriend. If she were my friend, I’d tell his girlfriend to kick him out. But he’s my brother and I never want to see him get hurt, but at the same time I cannot ignore the fact that he is the one doing the hurting.
I tried raising this with our mum, but she can never see any bad in anything he does.
What would you suggest I do? I cannot sit back and witness it any more.
Well done for recognising this problem with your brother and for taking the time to consider the situation yourself.
This could be a tricky topic to raise with your brother but I do advise that you talk to him directly. As you are his sister I would have thought that it would be best coming from yourself as opposed to anybody else. Expect that he may be hurt or embarrassed, therefore his initial reaction may not be what you had hoped for. However, this does not mean that you have done the wrong thing, it may just be that he needs a moment to reflect on what it is you have shared with him. His behaviour is unacceptable and whether he welcomes this news or not, he needs to hear it.
To emphasise what it is you are telling him, you could explain that you recognise these patterns of behaviour because you have been on the receiving side before. Further, be sure to explain to him that you are highlighting these issues to him so that he has the opportunity to do better. As his sister, you want him to be happy, but you can foresee that his relationship will come to a bitter end if he does not take heed of what it is you are saying.
You mentioned that you discussed this with your mum. I would suggest that initially you keep the conversation directly between you and your brother. The more people that are involved, the more likely he would be to lash out with embarrassment. This is by no means a responsibility that is resting solely on your shoulders – in fact, none of this is your responsibility at all. Therefore, it might be a good idea to seek your parents’ help later should he show no signs of changing. If your mum still cannot see the hurt he is causing then unfortunately that is not something that you can redress.
As with most problems in life, communication is the first and most important step. This doesn’t have to be a pressurised intervention – why not take him on a nice autumn walk where you are both relaxed and can speak freely?
I hope your conversation has the effect for which you are hoping. You are a great sister.