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To Sam

my brother

I'm 16 years old and my 22 year old brother calls me and my mum bad names. He often gets angry and breaks things. He threatens me and once he trashed my room . I have had a good childhood however the past year has been difficult, I keep asking mum to make him leave but she always forgives him, I don't know what to do.
Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for writing to me.

It sounds like the way your brother behaves can be frightening for you and I’m wondering if your mum may also be feeling scared. It’s wrong for your brother to call you names, make threats and break things. This sounds like emotional abuse and it is wrong. No one has the right to abuse you verbally or to make you feel uncomfortable by the things they say.

As your brother is an adult you might also find some of our information on domestic violence helpful. You and your mum both deserve to feel safe at home. It sounds like you might find it frustrating when your mum forgives your brother. You don’t tell me how you and your mum get along but perhaps you could think about writing a letter to her to explain how you feel. You could then show her this letter. Other young people have told me that doing something like this has helped them start conversations about difficult issues like the one you are experiencing.

I’m not sure if anyone else knows about how your brother behaves at home. If you have any other relatives you feel close to, maybe you could talk to them about this. Another way to get some support may be to talk to a teacher or another adult at school about what's happening. They have a duty to make sure you are safe at home as well as at school. You may also find it helpful to read our tips on talking to a trusted adult. If you’re not sure about letting anyone else know about what is happening, you could talk to a ChildLine counsellor. They will usually keep what you say confidential. If you'd like to, you can read more about how our confidentiality works.

It sounds like you’re not quite sure what to do. It’s good that you're talking about what’s happening. It's also important to remember that you are not responsible for the way your brother behaves. If you speak to a ChildLine counsellor they will be able to support you and talk about different options you have. You could also have a look at our message boards to see how other young people have coped in similar situations, or post your own message for people to reply to.

Take care,
Sam

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