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Siblings are constantly annoyed at me

(15 Posts)
anonymousdaisy Wed 10-Jun-20 17:06:12

For context I am a student back at home with my parents, 2 brothers and sister. I am finding it hard at the moment as my two brothers are home too because of the lockdown.

I just wanted some advice regarding a particular dynamic between me and my brothers. I may be in the wrong in some of these scenarios so I would really appreciate your honest opinions and advice. I have tried my best to describe the situations without bias.

Basically, nearly every time I speak to one of my brothers they will get annoyed or angry at me. It doesn't happen between my sister and brothers as she is much more assertive than I am. I'll describe a couple of scenarios.

Last night I cleaned the kitchen. My brother then went and cooked his dinner and left it in a mess - frying pan on the side, food packaging on the side, surfaces messy, etc. He does this kind of thing all the time in the kitchen and usually I ignore it. However this time because I had literally finished cleaning the kitchen I decided to speak up as it felt disrespectful. This brother is known for being grumpy so I was deliberately cautious and polite as I spoke and say "please can you tidy up after you have eaten as I cleaned the kitchen earlier". He agrees and then goes and eats his dinner. Afterwards he starts putting his trainers on to go for a bike ride so I presume he has forgotten and I again remind him in a light-hearted way and he replies by shouting at me "I f-ing know. I was just about to", he then tidies up which included loudly throwing the frying pan into the sink and then goes out, slamming the door on his way out.

This situation occurs with him all the time. I am torn because on the one hand I think that maybe I am nagging him and being annoying. However, I don't think asking him to clear his mess up after I cleaned the kitchen is unreasonable? But maybe I was unreasonable by reminding him? If someone reminded me of something like that or if I said it to my sister I/she would just say "oh yeah, thanks for reminding me" and that would be that but he gets annoyed. I think that is what I find so hard, knowing if I said it to my sister it would not be a big deal and if someone said it to me I wouldn't think it a big deal either.

It also happens with my other brother but he has autism. The other day he asked my DF a question about the printer in the study whilst I was in the same room, I spoke up and answered his question as I had been using the printer for my university work whilst my DF has never used it. I knew the exact problem he was having as I had experienced the same thing. He got annoyed at me for answering as he wasn't talking to me and told me to mind my own business and stop interfering. On the one hand I think I was just trying to help? But, on the other hand, I think well yeah I guess I was interfering in a conversation that was not addressed to me so I resolve to myself to not do that again. I also understand his autism makes his thinking quite black and white so he was speaking to my DF only and not me. However he then won't just say "I wasn't asking you" and leave it at that, it will end up being a 10 minute lecture demanding I tell him why I thought I could answer a question not intended for me and he will keep pressing and pressing until I admit to him that I am in the wrong.

I have done a lot of introspection and observation of my behaviour and at times maybe I do come across as bossy. However, I do bite my tongue a lot when around my brothers to try and ensure I don't nag them. It is just hard because a comment I would make to my sister is not acceptable to them. I feel like I leave nearly every conversation with them feeling like a horrible person.

I know the situations I have described are just small little things and seem quite petty of me to bring up but they illustrate the wider picture of what interactions between my brothers and I are like. I also feel embarrassed coming on here talking about arguments with my brothers like we are all children so I apologise for that.

OP’s posts: |
Cadent Wed 10-Jun-20 17:17:28

YANBU. Sounds like they have you pigeon holed as the less assertive ‘doormatty’ sister and will do anything to ensure you keep that role.

Stop doing anything for them, don’t clear up after them, don’t try and help them. They have chosen this dynamic not you.

What would have happened if your parents had seen the mess your brother left in the kitchen? Please don’t tell me they expect their daughters to clear up after the boys?

But yes, you’re not bossy, they’re twats, ignore them and pity their future partners or your parents if they end up living at home well into their 40s.

JustC Wed 10-Jun-20 17:27:56

YANBU. they have pegged you as the one who takes it. Not goingvto get into ASD btother as i am not knowledgeable enougb on the matter. But with other one you were to soft from get oo in that particular situation. I would have just said, make sure you clean up as I just cleaned. When he 'forgot' I would have said the kitchen wasn't going to clean itself, is it. But I tend to be quite assertive and sarcastic, not sure if beat combo 😁

BadgersAreReal Wed 10-Jun-20 17:28:36

It's so hard not to fall back into the roles we played as children when back in the family home (it still happens with me and my siblings now and we are in our late twenties/early thirties!).

To me, it doesn't sound like you're being unreasonable. It sounds like everyone has reverted back to type and is acting quite immature in some of these scenarios.

I would say continue as you are. Don't repress your personality (it doesn't sound like anyone else is) because that could end up having a very negative impact on your mental health.

And definitely don't clean up after anyone else's mess, that's not your job.

anonymousdaisy Wed 10-Jun-20 20:00:01

@Cadent My parents most likely would have just ignored the mess. My brothers don't contribute towards household cleaning, they just presume my parents will be along afterwards to clean up after them. I clean of my own accord because I am using a communal space and it is the right thing to do, I don't wait to be asked. I will just keep to myself and avoid them from now on.

@JustC I used to be more assertive with them when I was younger but I think over time I have learnt not to be. I think it is because when my parents see my brother shouting or slamming doors they presume I have done something awful to antagonise him and they make me feel awful about it. If I was more assertive in that situation my brother probably would have stormed out of the house, turned his phone off and stayed out for hours which would worry my parents and I would get the blame for it. I have also had one brother walk into my bedroom and crack my mirror after he got annoyed at me so I have learnt it is better to be passive rather than assertive.

@BadgersAreReal Yes it definitely feels like we are falling back into those roles! Apart from when I was a child I could be the bossy sister without worrying, but now they are older I am more intimidated by them. I think I am already past the point of repressing my personality. Whenever I see one of them half of me is listening to the conversation and half of me is analysing whatever I next plan to say to check whether it will annoy/upset them.

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JustC Wed 10-Jun-20 20:43:49

OP apart from keep being assertive if you can , I don't know what to say. Maybe let him leave the mess behind for parents to find, so parents can see what a useless fecker they have grown? Sorry, I know he's your brother and you still probabily love him despite these skirmishes, I've just happened to meet some guys who went on to be like this in relationships because they were never taught better. Hugs

GrumpyHoonMain Wed 10-Jun-20 20:49:04

I think your brothers very likely both have MH conditions judging by the overreactions you described. If I were you I would leave.

category12 Wed 10-Jun-20 20:49:38

Sounds a sexist as hell household. When you can move out, do, (and don't pass on the dynamic if and when you have dc of your own).

MaverickDanger Wed 10-Jun-20 20:53:08

My brother is like your first one, this is why am I very low contact with him.

If I do need to communicate with him, I go via my parents and avoid dealing directly with him. It’s the only way I’ve found to reduce the conflict.

Gutterton Wed 10-Jun-20 22:00:32

Sounds like kindness and respect are not family values.

Where are your parents in all of this? When you were growing up how did they manage lead the household and manage conflict?

What’s their RS like?

Both of your brothers are ignorant bullies. Nagging is a misogynistic term. They hold the power 24/7 with their brooding grumpiness and threat to erupt - your parents facilitated this.

Why did you need to be bossy as a child - was it because your parents fell short on their adult responsibilities?

I would stand my ground calmly but choose your battles to be calmly assertive. If there are no ground rules in the house - I wouldn’t bother trying to put any in. Work around them and then move out and on peacefully with you your life.

EllaEllaE Wed 10-Jun-20 23:53:54

My brothers don't contribute towards household cleaning, they just presume my parents will be along afterwards to clean up after them.

Yeah.. this is the problem, not you. They are annoyed at you because they think boys shouldn't have to clean things. Which, as others already said, is sexist as hell.

tbh, this is your parents fault - although as they are close to adulthood, they could figure out for themselves that this is problematic, and do something about it, if they wanted to. Not your fault - once you leave home, it will also not be your problem.

Also: If you date men, make sure you don't repeat the pattern you've been brought up with. Take stuff like this as red flags.

EllaEllaE Wed 10-Jun-20 23:56:41

Also, this shit here: However he then won't just say "I wasn't asking you" and leave it at that, it will end up being a 10 minute lecture demanding I tell him why I thought I could answer a question not intended for me and he will keep pressing and pressing until I admit to him that I am in the wrong. ? This is not autism. This is a dude being a dick. Autism does not make you a horrible person. Your brother was being unnecessarily mean.

Tappering Thu 11-Jun-20 00:27:46

Your living situation sounds utterly miserable. As a PP pointed out, being autistic is not a free pass for being a dick. Your other brother sounds aggressive. Both of them know exactly how to make you back off - and consequently they've trained you to modify your own behaviour (keep quiet, don't answer back).

Move out. And do it as soon as possible.

Aussiebean Thu 11-Jun-20 07:50:47

Read up on family dynamics particularly the ‘scapegoat’ see if that rings any bells.

I’m cross at your dad for not stepping in and telling your brother off for being so disrespectful. Shame on him.

anonymousdaisy Thu 11-Jun-20 17:45:40

@JustC I will definitely work on being more assertive. I can see the effects of this family dynamic bleed into other facets of my life as I am a people pleaser and quite a pushover.

@GrumpyHoonMain I definitely agree

@category12 It is quite sexist, yes. I have spoken to my parents about how I feel they treat my sister and I differently but it never really changes anything. I am definitely really conscious of my family dynamic and observing how I think it has occurred so that when I do have children I don't reproduce that dynamic.

@MaverickDanger I think that is what I think will happen in the future to me too.

@Gutterton I have a really poor memory of my childhood even though I am young but from what I recall a lot of the time I would get blamed for arguments.

My parents never really enforced boundaries or discipline with us. I think they let things go for the sake of an easy life. As I have gotten older I have realised that what I thought was just easygoing, carefree parenting is actually pretty toxic. A couple of years ago my brother went into my bedroom and smashed my mirror because I had annoyed him and there was no response to that by my parents. Sometimes my brothers have sworn at my parents and been disrespectful and again, no response to that. They both hate arguments and conflict so would rather let them calm down and then my DM will usually go to them and say "are you ok? Do you want a cup of tea?" and then it's all forgotten about. I hate that their fear of conflict stops them from addressing things. Sometimes when I was a teenager I would speak up when I saw that happen and tell my parents that they should really stand up against my brothers and tell them that they shouldn't talk to them in that way and the argument would then turn to me and I would be told off for interfering whilst my brothers would not still not be told off for the original thing. Now I just let it go and ignore it.

I wouldn't say I was overly bossy as a child, just the usual way a sibling will tend to boss younger siblings around. However I was parentified to provide emotional support to my parents. I always felt much older than I was and felt guilty when I would act my age/like a child. For example when I was 5 I really struggled settling into infant school and would cry in the mornings and I remember being told by my Dad that I wasn't being fair to him and my DM as they already had so much on their plate to deal with with my older brother and my baby sister. I think that kind of dynamic resulted in me being almost a third parent which is why I think my brothers are disrespectful towards me. Sorry I've gone off on a bit of a tangent.

Thank you for the reminder to not bother trying to put ground rules in as I think I needed to hear that. I have visions of this being a home where we are all respectful of each other and that is just not the way it's going to be as it's too late to change behaviours that are so deeply ingrained.

What does 'RS' mean please?

@EllaEllaE Yes I definitely think sexism plays a huge role in this. Even on the rare occasion that they are asked to clean something they purposely do a poor job so that they won't be asked to do it again. Also yes, I am really conscious of all these 'red flags' to avoid so I don't repeat this dynamic in the future.

@EllaEllaE @Tappering Regarding the autism, I apologise if I implied that autism makes someone act like that. I just used it for context to understand why he was annoyed with me answering a question not deliberately addressed to me as he takes things like that very literally. Obviously autism is no excuse for his response (although my parents would disagree).

@Aussiebean I have just read about the scapegoat and some of it definitely resonates, particularly being blamed for things. I read one description and it made me realise how anxious I am at home that I am going to do something wrong like leave the oven on or forget to turn the kitchen light off at night and be "told off" for it which is ridiculous. However on the other hand I was parentified which I think made my siblings resent me as they thought I was the "favourite child". I think I embraced being parentified and tried to be as helpful as possible to try and get attention from my parents as they were more focussed on my other siblings. Like I remember when I was 11 I used to clean the downstairs of our house whilst my parents were out to surprise them which in retrospect I think I just wanted them to give me some attention. I still do that kind of thing now. I think individually this kind of thing is fine and "just a nice thing to do" but when it is a pattern, like it is with me, I think it hints at something deeper. I have never made that connection before until reading about the scapegoat so thank you. Even doing those kind of things I never really get that praise or appreciation. Like when I won an award at sixth form my DM just quickly said "oh that's good" then asked me how she could word the status for Facebook to brag to her friends. I realise now that I have been trying my hardest to be the 'golden child'.

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