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My Little Brother Still Has a Grudge Towards Me and My Sister

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On August 18, me and my sister blamed on my little brother (who is becoming a sophomore in high school next week) for hurting a baby name Jay that my mom had babysat a long time ago. My brother carried him, and Jay suddenly starts crying. I and my sister overreacted towards him and start blaming on him. He got mad after that and that’s when he starts to avoid me and give us the silent treatment. I apologized to him 30 minutes later, but he is still mad. I tried to talk to him on Friday for reconciliation, but he won’t listen to me and won’t accept my apology. I tried my best to get my message towards him, including writing messages to say sorry and leave it on the table and even tried to text him (I assumed that he purposely blocked my number), but I don’t think he ever bothered to read it. My mom did talk to him, but he seems like he doesn’t care. His attitude is becoming more and more ridiculous. He doesn’t act like himself (being positive, funny, weird, and get a little upset). The next day, whenever we went to the store, he always found a place to hide and try not to make eye contact and still avoiding us. My sister tried to approach him and said sorry, but he didn’t listen and didn’t even bulge. That’s when I started to give him space and didn’t talk to him since then. Yesterday and today, he seems like he is getting back to his normal self. He talked to my mom and dad pretty fine. But when I approached him, I asked him if he wants to play Fortnite, he shook his head no and didn’t say one word. I am heartbroken that he acts this way and didn’t want to forgive us. I didn’t even have a clue of what bothers him and how can I make it up to him. I’m starting to feel concerned that one day, me and my brother will become strangers. I’m currently feeling stuck and I feel more depressed from time to time. What can I do to make him stop getting mad at me and try to move on with the past? Can you give me a piece of advice on how to make him talk and listen? Thank you.

My Little Brother Still Has a Grudge Towards Me and My Sister

Answered by on -

A.

There is nothing you can do that will guarantee your brother starts talking to you. In fact. Trying to do this may actually be making it worse. Leave him alone for a while and let him stay as angry as he needs to be until he is ready to turn around. You’ve made your apology, followed up with it, and the only time things softened was when you left him alone. I’d follow this fact: things got better only when you paid less attention to him.

Forgiveness involves two parts: unforgiveness and forgiving the other person. People can carry the unforgiveness for a long time, but there isn’t much the unforgiven can do about it. It is inside your brother. You’ve made your amends — now he has to figure out how to deal with the unforgiveness of you. That is on him to figure out.

To put this into perspective person ‘A’ could be mad at person ‘B’ and person B might never be seen or talked to again. For all practical purposes, person B could have disappeared from the planet, but person A would be walking around with unforgiveness. It is a separate set of feelings and actions from forgiving person B. In fact, it has nothing to do with person B after a while because the unforgiveness resides inside person A.

Forgiving someone is an outward gesture, but softening to be able to do that is an inside one. This involves dealing with unforgiveness, and holding onto a grudge. This is for your brother to figure out how to do — or not.

Sometimes holding on to unforgiveness is a way to keep from taking responsibility for your actions. You can stay angry at someone else rather than take responsibility for you’re your part in a circumstance.

One of the best books for understanding forgiveness is Dr. Luskin’s book Forgive For Good, I think you might find it helpful for understanding more about this.

This doesn’t mean you have to ignore your brother. Continue to be kind and supportive and open to him. But I would not pursue his forgiveness as this is likely to be something he has to work through over time.

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

My Little Brother Still Has a Grudge Towards Me and My Sister

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2019). My Little Brother Still Has a Grudge Towards Me and My Sister. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/10/14/my-little-brother-still-has-a-grudge-towards-me-and-my-sister/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Oct 2019 (Originally: 14 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Oct 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.