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'AITA for ignoring my brother and not caring that he's "changed" since bullying me?' UPDATED

'AITA for ignoring my brother and not caring that he's "changed" since bullying me?' UPDATED


"AITA for not caring if my brother has "changed" and feels badly about how he treated me growing up?"

I'm 19M. My brother is 21 and is my only sibling. I realized I was gay from a young age and came out at 14. My parents were supportive from the get-go but my brother was absolutely not. He tried telling me I wasn't or that I was just trying to get attention and tried to get me to "change my mind."

When that failed he called me a freak, diseased, said I was going to hell (even though we aren't that religious) and made it clear he didn't want a relationship with me. He outed me at school (my friends already knew) and tried to get others to join in but no one really cared and nothing much changed.

Needless to say, I vowed to limit contact with him as much as possible, but the comments continued until he moved out when he turned 18 for school. I've since gotten into a great school and have completed a year and a half. I'm in a relationship, my grades are the best they've ever been, and everything seems to have fallen nicely into place.

My brother sent me a Facebook message back in August. He started by apologizing for how he'd treated me, saying he was depressed before and was stuck inside his own head/fell into the wrong crowd online that reinforced his bitterness towards others.

He said he'd gotten treatment for his depression, feels more confident than he has in years, and was on the upswing and wanted to meet up to repair our relationship. He said he was proud of me for being gay and supported me and apologized for taking so long to make it known.

I didn't respond. Nor did I respond to his happy birthday message in September. Then he started texting me saying he understands if I'm still hurt but that's he'd love nothing more to make up for the hurt he caused. I haven't responded to these either. Here's where my boyfriend says I'm TA. Over the holidays we were all back at my parents' house. I had a great time seeing my family, except him.

Each time he'd ask about me or try to talk to me I'd give him one-word answers or clam-up. He offered to get a game for me as a gift but I declined. He pulled me aside to apologize face-to-face, reiterating the stuff he said before but I also cut that short and walked away. Meanwhile I talked with my parents like normal and was very open with them about the happenings of my life, typically within earshot of him.

The day we left I said my goodbyes and found him by my car crying. He said he understands why I'm closed off to him and that he regrets how it turned out, wished me well and went inside. I told my BF about this when I got back and he's pissed and called me an AH. BF says it's clear my brother feels badly about how he used to be and he's changed and that to throw that all back in his face is a dick move.

My parents agree and say he's a good person but ultimately feel it's up to us. Personally I've gotten so used to the idea of not having a brother that I don't know if there's anything left to salvage. He made his choice to sabotage me then - is it really my problem he regrets his actions now? AITA?

What do you think? AITA for refusing to forgive his brother for what he did when they were younger? This is what top commenters had to say:

Demo_Bec said:

NAH. But I think you're cutting your nose off to spite your face. Your brother is putting in the effort to seek you out, honestly apologise and admit he was wrong, and rebuild your relationship. You're right in that he's not entitled to your forgiveness, but later in life it's possible you could bitterly regret rejecting this olive branch.

50M3K00K said:

We need a "YNT" option for "you need therapy."

wobblebase said:

NAH at this point. He's outgrown being an asshole, be glad for that progress whether or not you want him in your life. But you'll always have a brother - it's a question of whether you interacts with or acknowledge him.

You guys are young now, but some day you'll be older, your parents will be gone, and the only person who will share the good (and bad) memories of growing up in your family will be your brother. So maybe think some more on whether you really want him out of your life forever.

Virulencer said:

YTA. Isn't this the best case scenario? A bigot had a change of heart and regrets their past actions. That's the goal with every bigot I come across. He cannot change the past but he can try to make up for it. You don't need to forgive him, but it might be worth hearing him out to see if he really has changed.

CinePhileNC said:

YTA. You are getting a second chance with someone who seems to really really want to make amends. As someone that had a pretty shit relationship with my brother growing up, it completely changed when he went to college. We are extremely close now.

It's often said on here that you don't owe blood relatives anything. That's very true. But man, it makes life a whole lot easier if you do have family you can count on. I get still being angry, but maybe it's time to let go. Life is much easier and better when you don't hold on to that hate.

Want to know why your BF is backing off now? Because he's seeing that if the two of you ever got into a real bad fight (and it'll happen) there's no chance of getting through it. You're showing him that you will never forgive anyone. Think about that.

downwithlegacy said:

YTA. I’d be careful with your current attitude. Your vengefulness and immaturity are clearly off putting to your boyfriend (and for good reason) and I don’t think it will be an uncommon attitude if you switch boyfriends. Life is hard, for some people more so than others,

and it’s great that your life has gotten better, but the fact that being cruel to your brother gives you “joy” shows you haven’t really moved on and aren’t actually apathetic about the situation. I think your life is probably just better superficially, and I think itd be good for you to try to forgive your brother.

MikkiTh said:

NAH Only you know if this is really unforgivable but it sounds like it might be worth going to talk to a professional to sort out. He was awful as a teen & you can certainly want to keep him at arm's length, but it sounds like he might actually have changed and I would say it is worth at least considering accepting the olive branch.

Reactions are mixed, but most people seem to think NAH (noone's an a$$h@le here). Do you agree?

A few months after his original post, he shared this update:

The tldr of the last post was I had ignored my brother's attempts to have a relationship with me after the homophobic sh!t he threw at my when we were younger. I'm glad to say that's no longer the case. A little after my last post I texted him that I appreciated his words but that his actions had really hurt me and that I needed time.

He texted back he understood and to take as much time as I needed. He also thanked me for reaching back out to him. I spent a lot of January and February in self-reflection and trying to figure out what I wanted. Lots of people in the last post said I needed therapy and I agree I likely did.

I never ended up seeing a professional, but I got really into some guided meditation and calming exercises I saw on YouTube. Making a habit of it helped me realize how much weight I was carrying and has helped me start to let that weight down. I still have some ways to go but I can feel my empathy growing and I like that. I went home for spring break and saw my bro for the first time since Christmas.

Long story short, we spent a lot of time hanging out and our relationship is recovering. We've had some hard conversations, cried, shared a couple joints, etc. and I came away from the break feeling much better about everything. And since each of our schools have closed down due to the pandemic, we're both at home and doing our classes remotely and hanging out on the down time.

I want to thank those of you who said I'd probably regret cutting him out because I can tell you were right. My brother isn't perfect and did many things to purposely hurt me, but people can change if they want to and he did. I wouldn't want to be judged by my lowest point and I'm working on not judging him by his.

I finally have my brother back and forgiving him has helped me feel better in ways I didn't realize I needed. Thank you.

Tl;Dr: forgiveness is a hell of a drug

EDIT: To answer some common questions: no, my bf from the OP and I are no longer together, but for separate reasons unrelated to the original post. We just wanted different things and were at different stages of our lives but it was a parting with minimal hard feelings. I don't consider his reaction to be manipulative - it wasn't a hard "do this or we're through."

Why my brother did it? There's no one reason. He was in a dark place and dealing with a lot of issues in a bad way. He was ignorant about a lot of LGBT stuff and relied on that ignorance when it came to me. It took a while and going off to college/meeting new people for him to begin questioning a lot he believed,

and since getting help for his unresolved issues it was a step by step process until he saw how wrong he was. He said he didn't even realize how what he was doing was hurtful a lot of the time because he was so in his own head and had some really bad influences on the internet reinforcing his mindset. I can understand that and I love how far he's come.

Why didn't our parents intervene even though they always had my back? They did a lot of the time but most of what he said/did wasn't in their presence and I was not one to go running to them each time I was the victim of something. They are good people and I hold no animosity towards what they might have done instead.

I'm thinking about showing my brother this and the previous thread so he has a better understanding of how I felt about this and may update later on how that goes. Also, I just want to say to others out there who feel they've been repeatedly wronged by someone to the point they want to cut them off that I know exactly how you feel.

But the fact is people CAN change, if they want to. And even if they do, you're under no obligation to welcome them back in your life. But if you can find it in your heart, I'd strongly encourage you to give them a fair shot at doing so. People do messed up things, sometimes many times or for many years before they they realize it and feel remorse. We're all only human<3

Sources: Reddit
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