My older brother is my hero. He has ALWAYS been there for my sisters and myself when my parents could not be.
He is my biggest inspiration and my biggest teacher. He is a noble guy.
The problem began when he started dating his current girlfriend. My sisters and I can’t stand her.
She is extremely materialistic, and she is always asking my brother to buy things for her.
On top of that, she makes many demands of him in front of my sisters and my mom and me. I think that clearly shows a lack of respect for both him and his family.
One time my sister tried to “defend” my brother. She thought that she was helping him, but my brother became extremely angry with my sister, and not his girlfriend.
A few months later he moved out, because it seems like there were always problems between my sister and him. Of course, I miss him terribly.
Now, every time my brother visits us, a new argument starts once we start speaking about his girlfriend. Most of the time, he leaves and he is upset.
I know it’s wrong for us to point out her many faults to him, but it hurts us to see my brother with a girl like that. She is constantly taking advantage of him, and we don’t like it one bit.
What should we do? I want him to break up with her, and for things to be like they used to be. How can I accomplish that?
Signed, Angry Sister
Dear Angry Sister,
You are not seeing this situation clearly at all. You are so focused on your dislike for your brother’s girlfriend, that you haven’t been listening to what your brother has been trying to tell you.
He obviously cares about her a great deal. It is very hurtful for him to know that his family doesn’t like her.
He could not make this any clearer. When you girls would not stop criticizing her, he finally had to move out.
You still didn’t get the message. Whenever he comes over, you start in again. You and your sisters must stop.
You say he is your hero. I believe that. However, there are two things that you must consider.
First of all, you think that you are protecting him, but you are hurting him. You are not helping him at all.
Secondly, if you don’t stop this behavior, you are running a big risk of losing him. He may decide to refrain from coming home to visit you.
So,stop being critical, and start being nice to her. She is the one that he has chosen to have a relationship with. You are showing him disrespect, not the other way around.
She may end up being your sister-in-law someday. Or, he may at some point break up with her. That is his decision, not yours.
So, back off, and show him the love that you feel for him.
I am sure that you are aware that the economy is in a downward spiral. My father owns a restaurant chain, and it is doing very poorly.
While my father has always had anger issues, he has recently gotten out of control. He leaves the house every morning, and comes home around 9 p.m.
I have honestly begun to dread hearing the sound of the key in the lock. The second he walks in, he starts to yell at us.
Either the lights are on, and he doesn’t like it, or we aren’t done with our homework and he thinks that we should be.
He always finds an excuse to be verbally abusive, and take out his personal issues on his family.
I don’t know how to confront him, as he has such a temper. I’d like to talk to him when he is in a good mood, but I don’t know how I can make him change, or get him to listen.
Do you have any suggestions for how I can ask him to stop being so mean?
Signed, Upset Daughter
Dear Upset Daughter,
I’m sure that your dad is under a lot of stress. He is working very long hours, and he has real financial issues.
However, that is no excuse for him to verbally abuse his family. He is just plain wrong to do it.
You can try and talk to him when he is calm, as you suggested. Let him know that you love him, and care about him, but that it is very upsetting when he comes home and begins to yell.
It is possible that he will change. However, I’m afraid it is more likely that he will not.
I suggest that you stay out of his way. Do your homework in your own room if you can.
I know this is a very unpleasant situation for you, and I wish you the best.
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