Ask Amy: My brother is constantly bragging about his wealth


Dear Amy: Throughout our childhood, my mother consistently used my own achievements to push my brother to be better.

I was two years younger, a year ahead in school, bolder and more fearless than him in every way. Mom made it a competition between us to help him overcome his fear. She burned it until she died.

My brother and I are now in our late 40s. We are both successful, but have made very different choices.

I turned down lucrative opportunities to prioritize my children over work.

He and his wife did the opposite. They both put their careers first and neglected their child. I ended up taking care of my nephew a lot over the years to make up for it.

These days my brother takes every opportunity to blast his success to me. He tells me how much money he makes, how much his wife makes, how much money they have in the bank, etc.

I try to be a better person and ignore it, but it’s exhausting. He never asks about my life and what I care about.

I wouldn’t trade my life and the strong bond I have with my children and their son for all the money he has, but how can I change the dynamic?

I know he is only bragging to me and not to our other brother. At this point I am considering cutting him off completely.

Am I overreacting? Why does this bother me so much?

— Irritated Little Sister

Annoyed: Imagine how it would feel to be told that you are never “enough.” This is the script your mother wrote for your brother.

He’s trying to flip that script and establish that he’s finally won your lifelong competition. I suggest that you – the bold and confident – be brave enough to let him off the hook.

Basically, I suggest you try to take the air out of this by gently surrendering.

You can start with: “You talk a lot about your wealth when you’re with me. Why?”

You could try saying to him, “I know Mom always puts us in a competition. I can only imagine what it was like for you. But I think she would be really proud of your success. I hope you don’t feel like you have anything left to prove.”

Only do this if you really want to try to change the dynamic.

Dear Amy: I am 76 years old. My husband died eight years ago.

Four years later I moved to be near my son and grandchildren.

I left a small town where I lived for 58 years, a church I loved, and many friends. Two of my grandchildren are now in college.

I pick up the youngest from school every day. We do a lot of things together, but he is almost 12 and becoming more independent.

I am active in my church here and have a few friends, but I still long for my hometown. I taught there for 34 years and then took care of my parents and my husband.

I have looked after my grandchildren for 21 years, keeping them after school, on weekends and taking them on longer holidays.

I want to move back to my hometown, but I am afraid that I will feel guilty for leaving my grandson.

I feel like time is slipping away and would like to have some time to do what I want while I still can.

Do you think I should stay here for my grandson or should I move back to my beloved hometown?

Guilty: I think you should do something – for you. You can start by taking a longer trip to your hometown – perhaps staying in a rental property or with a friend.

I hope they will encourage you to freely make the choice that is best for you. After decades of taking care of others, it’s time to take good care of yourself.

Dear Amy: I recognized myself in the letter from “Nice Guys finish last,” there is a soft as a landlord.

After 25 years as a landlord I finally hired a property manager and it was the best thing I ever did. It was worth the money not to have to deal with the problems that arose. And they were “the bad guys!”

Soft: It helps to remember that this is essentially a business relationship — on both sides.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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