My mom has been telling people that my brother is a disappointment to her, and he has found out about it. He is obviously upset, and posted an obscene facebook message regarding this situation. They already have a very strained relationship (my mother was abusive while my siblings and I were growing up) How do I help my brother with the hurt that this has obviously caused him? Should I mention to my mother how wrong it was for her to say something like that? I’m just lost, I have no idea how I can help.

A: What a difficult situation! I would definitely support your brother and help him understand that abusive people thrive on provocation and conflict. The more people react, the more they give away their power. I would support him and perhaps consider seeing a family therapist together (you and your brother) to talk about the abuse from your mother, and how to support each other through your adulthood.

Family struggles in childhood do not have to be perpetuated throughout the lifespan. Perhaps by supporting each other you can transcend the early difficulties and find some detatchment from your mom while having a more rewarding relationship with each other.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral