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When family are triggering -what to do?

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Im  recovering from AN and am doing so in a very isolated way. I don't really have any family--my parents are both deceased and my brothers and i are not close. In fact i actually only have contact with one of them on any consistent sort of basis. However, even he and i have been drifting apart--he can be abusive ( this manifests in extreme put downs...him calling me an anorexic effiing loser etc) and some things he says can be very triggering.

I spoke with him last night and this "triggering" business happened again. He's single and talks to me about women all the time. He says things like "omg she's so hot..she's got this young, super tight body that is so hot". Or he'll describe another woman as "fat" or with a bit of a belly or some such other thing. For some reason i find these comments upsetting and somehow "triggering". He objectifies women and when i point out that things like intelligence and humour are important he just laughs and says "yeah but there HAS to be physical attraction--looks ARE important." And then he gets annoyed with me for pointing this out.

How can i handle this and let him know that i don't appreciate his speaking in this manner? How can i let him know it's not helping my recovery? OR should i just stop contact with him....he's making me uncomfortable.


7 Replies (last)

er..gosh..doesn't anyone have a suggestion?

First of all, I'm sorry that you don't have much of a relationship with family. It must be really difficult. 

Honestly, your brother sounds like someone who couldn't possibly be a good influence to anyone. He knows what is going to be triggering yet he does it anyway, and on top of it he bullies you. Siblings aren't supposed to call one another "anorexic losers" and if they should never happen again. That's cruel and spiteful. 

Do you really think that he'd care if you cut off contact with him for any reason except for selfishness? No one is benefiting from your continuing to speak to that jerk. No one. 

In my opinion, he's only being destructive and you need to stop letting him do this to you. Maybe someday he'll realize what an a** he's been and will make amends but right now you need to focus on yourself.


I cannot say I am in a similar situation, but I can comment on highly, highly unsupportive family. 

Your brother sounds like he has his own mental issues that are not being addressed. Low self-esteem can manifest in such violent behavior, as well as inadequacies about his own body image or even personality. Something, perhaps, may in his life have triggered such a personality flaw to cause him to be so body-oriented- just as something happened with you to trigger your anorexia. Perhaps his idea of having 'control' in his life is, instead of weight loss or calorie counting or exercise or severe calorie restricting, was by putting down women or objectifying them by their bodies- the worse they feel, the closer they will want to be to him. Typical abusive nature. Sad but true. 

For now, I would say to cut off ties with him until you are doing better in recovery. Find a friend you can rely on or someone else who is close to you. Sometimes, family is not the best thing for us mentally if, ultimately, something (or someone) in our family is the root cause or trigger to the chain of ugly events to lead to anorexia or some other dangerous eating disorder. 

Just a thought though... He could just be a jerk.

Thanks guys for all your support. I think i WILL say something to him the next time he makes these remarks about women's bodies---i mean it just is NOT an appropriate way to speak to a woman--whether she's your sister or not.  I know this is generalising but i often feel that most men feel this way about women and when i feel that way it puts me off recovery.  Weird hey?  I will also though just try to keep my distance.  


I know old post haha. I believe beauty is subjective. People will interpret beautiful bodies in a different light. People will even interpret "tight bodies" differently. Some men may find women with higher BMIs to have a tight body and others may find women with lower BMIs with a tight body.  I mean I agree that to be with someone the physical attraction has to be there. Again, physical attraction is also subjective. You are not a standard of their views Ignore your family members comments because their views are so biased. you should not listen to their idea of a beautiful woman. he may have this narracistic attitude and follow the Western media.

it is his imagination of what is defined as sexual (fake, plastic, cosmetic srugery) and it has nothing to do with reality of sexuality - Elliot Hulse

7 Replies