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I am bossy to my brother. How do I get him to listen and trust me again?


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I honestly can't think of anything to fix our relationship. I am on my phone right now. Sorry about any accidental errors.

My brother is autistic and he's so used to being defensive when ​​​​​I pick at him that now when I tell him to stop doing something (for whatever reason) he gets overly defensive and yells.


How do I get myself to think before I speak? How can I repair his relationship with me?


My mom suggested telling him my feelings but I'm not one to do that. Also it seems really hard to get him to stop or to do something when I just tell him what I feel like. I'm High functioning autistic and he's lower functioning, but that just means we both have sensory needs that contradict each other. He likes to chew the skin under his nails (he's also anxious) and I can't stand the sound of it. He likes to turn his music loud (my room is next to his) and I can't hear myself think with it on.


And no matter how many times I ask him not to, he's not going to listen unless I'm bossy with him - even that doesn't work sometimes. That's what I tell myself, but I wish there was a better way. I need him to listen because my parents don't always catch the unsafe/unhealthy things that he does. Hes only a year younger than me, but he acts maybe twelve? Like, thirteen on a good day. He also has developmental problems. Mine are less pronounced. I act more like a 17 yr old.


Ayway, the end goal is for him to trust my judgment enough to listen, and respect my feelings (when I tell him those along with a question). I would go to my parents but sometimes they need to go places, and if we are always fighting, how can I ever be left alone with him? Also, I want to start repairing our relationship now, before my parents are dead and gone. He won't ever be left alone, not with his impairments.


I hope someone can help me, and give me some ideas for helping our relationship!


His name is Ben, btw. X3

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Hey Techy-Nature!


Thank you so much for sharing. Wow, you’ve got a lot you’re working on. You have your own needs, and then you’re trying to show compassion for/tend to your brothers needs, and then you want to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your brother.


I think it’s really mature of you to recognize the issues in your relationship, and desire to make things more functional.


As with anyone you might have to live with, now and in the future, your needs must be heard. You have the benefit of understanding most of your brother’s needs... so it might be worthwhile to come up with some ways to help your brother use more appropriate things to satisfy his needs (things that won’t be disruptive to you, or other’s he will be around). Your parents might be a huge support in this way.


What you might have guessed is that all this needs to be done at a one you’re not overwhelmed by stimulus. Have conversations with your parents about a plan to modify behaviors is a crucial exercise. Speaking with your brother to try to help him understand why it’s hard for you to concentrate when there’s loud music, etc. requires patience. Having your family as support is really important. You don’t have to do this alone!


I’m sure your family wants you to be successful—

and certain modifications would be incredibly helpful. There might be creative ways for you to get your needs met on your own (sound canceling headphones), or practicing phrases you can use to tell others your needs in even the most stressful of situations.


You and your your brother are a team in helping this relationship work. And you don’t need to be the “parent�— I know you want him to just follow what you say, but if he doesn’t understand and empathize with why things need to change, they never will. Help him understand you! ... but, again, it definitely has to be during a time when you’re not feeling overwhelmed.


I hope this helps.. but let’s keep talking about it!


Wishing you all the best.



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  • 2 months later...

Hey Willow,

Sorry for the late reply, I had to chew on (think about) what you said... I guess I was also waiting to see if anyone else was going to answer my plea.


I am an adult, just so you know. My parents are in their late fifties, and both of us are in our twenties. Does the "not a parent" rule still apply?


I'm assuming yes. I've been trying to find the right time to talk to my parents and brother. I'm thinking of talking to them tomorrow, after breakfast. I guess I've been putting it off because I don't want my Nana in the conversation, she sleeps a lot but I fear she is just resting and she can hear everything we are saying. I don't really trust her that much. She's got dementia of some sort and she often times has no idea what she is (or we are) talking about... Plus I guess I just don't really want to spill my guts to someone who I don't trust. She goes to bed pretty early, but then I feel like parents are too tired to really talk, and they just want to vedge (relax after hard work) and I'm just having a hard time justifying to myself bringing them into this. Is there any way to just talk to my brother? It would be infinitely easier... Maybe someone else could mediate? Um... I'm thinking he would listen to my cousin Deanna. He really respects her. My older brother Justin also lives nearby, but I don't think a face- to- face meeting would be any good... I could see about a video chat for either or both of them. Honestly, I guess it just comes down to the fact that I don't respect my parents that much... and I don't want to involve them in something that we can resolve by ourselves if possible...



Edited by Techy-Nature
Edited the time of talking to parents.
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Hey Techy,


I understand that you may not want to bring your parents into the situation.


I think getting Deanna to mediate sounds like a really good idea, could you write him a letter today about what you want to say while trying to be non-judgemental and empathetic.


Try and state in bullet points what is frustrating you. As you have stated he is lower-functining ASC and therefore therefore reading your signals about getting annoyed with him may be really hard for him and he might not have picked up on this which could be causing the misunderstanding and you arguing with eachother. So make it really clear and concise for Ben.


Why don't you respect your parents do you feel? Is that something we can talk about together?


If you'd like to practice writing something to ben today you can write it here.



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  • 1 year later...

Okay, apologies for the necromancy, (it's been an entire year wow), but again, I needed to think and observe what exactly the problem was. Sorry it took so long... XD

I think the problem with my parents comes down to neglectfulness. My Dad is not only schizophrenic, but also he has narcolepsy and has a lot of trouble staying awake (Not to mention the fact that he's basically a big kid, he's not the responsible one at all). My mom was injured in three car accidents and can barely move, and when she does move it hurts her back and neck to the degree that she gets headaches and the muscles(? not sure it could be tendons or nerves) in her back seize, and she has to bend over and stretch her back and neck. She also has extremely stretchy cartilage, so her bones move really easily into bad positions for her muscles and nerves. Dad is getting to the point where he can't be her chiropractor anymore because the bones in his feet are collapsing (I don't really know what's going on with his feet but it's pretty bad), and he also had to have surgery recently to fix his spine near his neck. He was in a neck-brace for a long time. Not only that, but they botched the surgery and now one of his disks in his spine is unaligned with the rest, so they have to go in again to fix it.

So, to summarize, they don't move much. I'm the one doing all the leg work for them, and that includes with my younger brother. I'm the one who checks on him periodically, I'm the one who goes to look for him when he wanders off, me. me. me.

They don't do much of anything because they can't move. So I end up being the parent. Ben respects my Mom, but he doesn't respect me. This is a problem when she can't move almost at all.

Besides that, recently Dad has been leaving for My Nana's trailer during the week (it used to be just the weekends. Now it's not. ugh) to fix it up. Mom and Dad have been thinking of getting a divorce, I think, especially with how much he's been gone and how much they've been fighting at night and sometimes during the day.

I actually suggested getting a "fake" divorce, but still living together because we're all on SSI and when you're married, you get a LOT less money and you also can't work as much. I hadn't seen the signs that they were not getting along at that point, and there was a completely awkward silence as they digested the information. And then Dad said something like "Mom and I have more problems than you think" to me, and I tried to say it wouldn't be a real divorce, but uh...

Yeah, that went nowhere fast. I don't want my Dad to leave, but at this point it might be inevitable... :(

Anyway. Also, Deanna is a she not a he. She's also gender-fluid so she doesn't mind if people use male pronouns as long as she's dressed like a male. I think we can just use neutral pronouns for them for now. ^_^


Besides that loaded question and answer, I think making a bullet point list is a really good idea, thanks for that. I'll definitely see if I can message them when I make the list. I think I'll go ahead and observe some more though, I've got to write down what I am annoyed by from Ben for a while and then I can write it here.

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  • Ditch the Label Staff

@Techy-Nature Hi! Really glad to have you back after that break. Feel free to write anything here and we can kind of sense check it for you if you would like. Apologies that we mis gendered Deanna too - we'll definitely keep it gender neutral from here.

One thing thats jumping out to me is the lack of support for you through all this. I know life is often complicated but you seem to be taking on a huge amount of responsibility for everyone. Do you have any close family friends / relatives that could help out and ease the pressure a bit? There may be local authority help that you can get, even if for a few hours a week so you can get a much needed break too.


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