Wedding Woes

Ignore the apology request and decide how you want to move on.

Dear Prudence,

​​Nearly 50 years ago, my older brother gave me a nickname based on a fictional pig that was relatively close to my given name. It stuck until I put my foot down (and fists up) in my teenage years, and I had hoped that it was largely forgotten. My brother died four years ago, however, and my other siblings have somehow decided to “honor his memory” by reviving what was a cruel and hurtful jibe from a not particularly pleasant person. I’ve applied a simple rule: Call me “x” and the conversation is over. But that hasn’t stopped anybody. The other day, my oldest brother used it and I blew up at him, reminded him of how he had bullied me as a child, and warned him that if he ever used that name again our relationship would be at an end. He’s now demanding an apology because I “over-reacted to some gentle ribbing.” Am I over-reacting? Or is this a toxic relationship I should have ended 40 years ago?

— Just Done

Re: Ignore the apology request and decide how you want to move on.

  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Doesn't seem like an overreaction to me. You've made it clear to your siblings that you don't like it, don't want to be called it, and they continue to. He doesn't deserve an apology. 
    banana468charlotte989875VarunaTT
  • mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,

    ​​Nearly 50 years ago, my older brother gave me a nickname based on a fictional pig that was relatively close to my given name. It stuck until I put my foot down (and fists up) in my teenage years, and I had hoped that it was largely forgotten. My brother died four years ago, however, and my other siblings have somehow decided to “honor his memory” by reviving what was a cruel and hurtful jibe from a not particularly pleasant person. I’ve applied a simple rule: Call me “x” and the conversation is over. But that hasn’t stopped anybody. The other day, my oldest brother used it and I blew up at him, reminded him of how he had bullied me as a child, and warned him that if he ever used that name again our relationship would be at an end. He’s now demanding an apology because I “over-reacted to some gentle ribbing.” Am I over-reacting? Or is this a toxic relationship I should have ended 40 years ago?

    — Just Done

    Don't bring up past grudges and throw adult temper tantrums here.  Simply be clear: "I absolutely hate that name, find it insulting and will not engage with you if you continue to use it."  

    Don't end the conversation.   Leave the scene. 

    And also don't apologize.  It wasn't gentle ribbing and do not be gaslit by someone who isn't honoring you.  I'd be quite clear if you opt to have a conversation that you apologize only for the tirade but you absolutely will not tolerate being called a name that you find insulting.  If honoring that is too much for big brother then you know where you stand. 
    STARMOON44VarunaTTmrsconn23
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You told him that if he used it again, it would be the end of the relationship. Stick with that.

    I get the sense that the mean nickname is not existing in a vacuum. You don't have to let your siblings pick on you into adulthood. 
    STARMOON44banana468VarunaTTcharlotte989875
  • I'll make sure to refer to the LW, as LW.  Not Wilbur.

    I would actually go one step farther and tell the whole family that whomever calls me that name one more time is being cut out of my life.

    I would point out that everyone has repeatedly been told how much I hate this name.  And, while they all might view it as gentle ribbing, I have made it extremely clear that I DON'T.  It's verbally abusive and bullying.  So they can either get with the program or stay away.
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    banana468VarunaTT
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