Judge Jay-Jay delivers her advice for standing up to a bullying brother

More FM radio diva Jay-Jay Feeney delivers her verdict on your biggest dilemmas

My brother’s a bully

Dear Jay-Jay,

I know family dynamics can be super-complicated, but one of my older brothers is not only a bully, but he’s also gone down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. When I see him, I turn into the little girl that he was once so horrible to.

While I hide how I am feeling from him, it often takes me weeks to feel better. I have been avoiding him but will be in a situation where I’m forced to see him next month. I won’t be able to stop him treating me badly, but do you have any advice how I can handle it and not be so emotionally vulnerable to him?

Maggie, Bay of Islands

Hi Maggie,

Firstly, I am sorry you have lived your life in fear of your brother for so long. That is extremely stressful. You are right too, he is a bully, and he is selfish and narcissistic too. You’re his little sister – he is supposed to care for you and protect you from people like him!

He has control issues and he knows how to push your buttons, so I think he gets a secret pleasure from it. I mean, why else would he do that to his sister?! Unfortunately, people like him do not change, so you are right to be anxious about seeing him again.

Is there any way you can get your other siblings on your team to help deflect his attention away from you or to stand up for you when it is needed? I get the feeling you’re not up for a face-to-face confrontation, but how would you feel about sending him a message or email in advance of the gathering? Would you have the courage to tell him how he makes you feel?

Tell him that you love him and are looking forward to seeing him, but you are not excited about being the butt of his humour or the subject of his ridicule. Ask if he would consider treating you like an adult. It would be nice to be able to hang out with your brother without the worry of being teased!

If you don’t think that will work, I guess the only other option is to try to avoid him as much as possible. Hopefully there are other people there who you can distract yourself with. If he does come up to you, I hope you have the courage to tell him you don’t appreciate the way he talks to you. He probably won’t expect you to stand up for yourself, so please try! I wish you the best of luck.


A problem shared is a problem halved! Send your sticky issues with Jay-Jay – email [email protected].

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