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How to respond to my Ignorant Brother?

Community Member

Ive suffered panic disorder, anxiety & PTSD since my hubby passed 6yrs ago.

After having what began as a normal conversation about helping my mum prepare for selling her house, my brother turned on me.

Started about money and I said im sorry i cant help her more but i work minimal hours for my health.

His response was "Dont even get me started on your phantom health issues ffs, shit happens, it sucks sometimes, move on. No time for that. Move back to earth"

Obviously he was already frustrated but i got so upset that my own brother referred to my mental health like that and ceased the conversation (after saying he was ignorant)

5 Replies 5

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


I'm sorry about the loss of the husband, and what it has meant for you.

The stigma's still so real. But maybe that's all it is for your brother.

Maybe he needs some direction to pages like Beyond Blue, to understand more what is happening for you, and that is REAL, not something your making up.

He should at least be willing to learn. Although, it would be nice if he had already started to do so without needing to have prompting after a big fight.

Hope it goes well. x

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear SNDGRDNqueenie~

Welcome here to a place where nobody will say 'get over it' or similar. We have all had to cope with our own mental health and far too many of us have had to deal with thoughtlessness, ignorance and just sheer prejudice.

Unfortunately such attitudes are not limited to strangers, but sometime family members too, and that can hurt the worst.

I've PTSD and anxiety plus had bouts of depression so I have a fair idea of what you have to try to live with, and if you are managing to go to work at all - even part time - then you are doing better than many.

You are obviously someone that does try to see the good in people, your comment understanding your brother was already frustrated shows this. However do you have anyone to support you? A parent, other family member or friend you can talk with, who will understand and want to support you? It's a very real help.

Talking of support and help. May I ask if you are under any form of treatment for your PTSD and anxiety? I found I was quite unable to improve without medical help and would recommend it to anyone in that situation.

Perhaps later on you may be able to talk to your brother -I can't say - and explain the hurt he has done and the things you have to battle with. If he is prepared to then as Bridgeridoo says have him look at the pages here on beyondblue, in The Facts menu above, this gives a great deal of information on the causes, symptoms and treatments for anxiety and PTSD too.

I hope you do have support, please always feel you can come here


Community Member

Thank you... I do realise stigma is always there but still cant get my head around family saying that crap.

I am getting treated, seeing a psych and have been on medications for several years.

To be honest, despite the karma it may ensue and thebfact i typically would not wish it upon most, i just want him to have one big panic attack... just one...

Just so I can say "now imagine having those sorts of feelings daily for years... do you still consider it a phantom illness?"

People just dont know til they are in that position.

Dear SNDGRDNqueenie~

Yes It's something I've felt at times too, whether people looking at me getting out with just a stick at a disabled parking space, or feeling I'm incapable of serious reliability because of MH issues. Then I think would I really want to wish my condition on them? - If I'm in a bad mood the answer is YES!

Later on I calm down, but it's a nice fantasy.

Some people are imprisoned in their prejudices, which often come about because of shortcomings in their own lives, maybe your brother has money worries and feels the pressure of responsibilities.

It can be hard to be patient and understanding when others are being deliberately insensitive and hurtful.

How do you get on with your mum?

One of the reasons this place here is so fantastically popular is like experience. You simply cannot explain what one goes though with anxiety or depression or other mental illness to someone that has never had those feelings. By the time some health professionals have racked up years of treating those with MH problems they will know what behaviors to expect, but even then they will not truly know the feelings - unless they suffer themselves of course.

I'm very glad you said you are receiving professional support, as I mentioned iI found it very necessary.

I'm glad you are talking about it, at least here we understand


Dear SNDGRDNqueenie

Hello and welcome. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. It's not easy to get over the loss of a partner of many years and grief can last a long time. I hope the rawness is fading and you can remember him with smiles and happiness from your marriage.

It's sad that your brother felt he needed to say those unkind words to you. Was this the first occasion it has happened? It doesn't make it OK of course but if it was the first time he may, as you suggest, have been very worried or upset about other matters. However it has hurt you quite badly and stirred up your feelings about the lack of empathy. Not a good situation.

If you paste this address into your browser it will bring up Beyond Blue's PTSD section.


I am sure you don't need this information but maybe sending for the material here and giving it to your brother may help. There is no charge. Beyond Blue is such a well respected organisation that it would be hard for your brother to deny the validity of the information. If he does read it then perhaps one day you can sit down together and talk about these things. I'm not very hopeful of this approach as it takes a long time for attitudes to change, but maybe this can be the beginning.

Maybe this is a topic for discussion with your psych. I can appreciate how hurt you felt as we have all come across stigma in one form or another. Having the opportunity to look at this situation and manage your emotions can be very helpful. I know it sounds like you are the person hurt and yet you are the one who must do something about it. The difficulty is that you can only change yourself and your attitudes. Giving others information may start them on a journey of discovery but it will not help you.

In the end it is how you choose to see the situation and deal with it. I do understand having been in two similar major situations during the past five years. I found it's no good bashing your head against a brick wall, as they say, even if it is nice when you stop. The best you can manage is to find a way of accepting your brother's rather unlovely attitude without causing yourself further pain. Your psych can help you with this.

I would love to know how you are going so please continue to write in.