This is a question stemming from a dream I just had. The dream very much matches life though.

One of my brothers was picking on me like I grew up being picked on. But later I had a challenge that had to be faced. It was going to be though because I needed my weapons and my guitar (It was a dream remember, fighting or playing in front of people is a challenge) as I was going to face this challenge my brother that was just picking on me was there. I said, "What are you doing here?" He said, "I'm going with you. I'm not going to let you face this alone!"

I woke up, but this is the way my brothers are, they both would help or support me if they could, I know this because they have tried helping me at times.

Now here is the hard part to understand, how could you stand up and protect or be there for someone you always picked on. It brought you joy to pick on your brother, so how could you stand up for your brother?

When you pick on someone it means you don't like that person. But they act like they love me as a brother, this doesn't make sense to me and actually highly bothers me.

One day the brother I just dreamed of told me at a picnic that he and my oldest brother used to fight and pick on each other all the time but they didn't take it personally like I did. He said it was just stupid kid stuff and meant nothing. Yes they did fight, at least I was only picked on by them but I was the youngest.

This is emotionally conflicting, hazing hurts then to suddenly get support from someone that convinced you of your not being good enough is very confusing!

Maybe that is why because they know I can't handle things myself because I am not good enough and they recognized that as children?

Please don't degrade my brothers as a response. I don't understand myself, but I will stand up for them too.

asked 23 Jan '14, 16:12

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 23 Jan '14, 16:24


wade, growing up with siblings sets up competition for parents attention. often picking on one can be looked at as a sign that they are worthy of our attention even if societal standards sets up the concept of competition for , as if only one can have

(24 Jan '14, 16:13) fred

@fred Thanks, I never considered being picked on as being worthy. I always thought of being picked on as either not being worthy or something wrong with me.

(24 Jan '14, 17:32) Wade Casaldi

@Wade Casaldi - seems that some people "pick on" others in a misplaced effort to make them stronger. To get them to stand up for themselves. Not saying that happened to you.

I attended a private military school growing up. Initially water scared me. This was obvious to a group of older classmen who threw me in the deep end of the pool to teach me to swim. I didn't like it, but I did learn to swim.

(30 Jan '14, 19:13) Dollar Bill
showing 1 of 3 show 2 more comments

When you pick on someone it means you don't like that person.

The conflict you feel is probably because of this premise - which I'd say isn't entirely correct. In some cases it is true - but in many it isn't at all true (even possibly the opposite, especially when younger).

I was an older brother and I regularly picked on my younger brothers. Occasionally even till the point where (depending on the brother) they either broke down crying or became angry and attacked me. Typically by that point I'd stop and maybe feel bad until the next time. I never had any real ill intent or malice though, and I suppose even now don't fully understand why I did it. All I know is it amused me greatly - and thinking back on the memories right now actually still amuse me.

I would say there is some archetypal identity of "older brother" and I just identified and fell into that - and it happens to include the teasing younger brothers. From my observation of a lot of other families it is quite common.

And it wasn't just with my brothers...I'd also pick on all the girls I liked when younger. Many guys when hanging out together will throw "friendly jabs" at each other...and I'd say, the closer people are the more likely they are to do that.

Teasing to me, seems to be a (for some people) natural way to interact with others and can be completely removed from whether they like or dislike the person - in the same way that someone could just be a polite person who is polite to people whether he likes them or not.

Despite all of that teasing (which I don't do so much nowadays), I always loved my brothers and still do. My youngest brother is truly one of my closest friends - and we see each other pretty much every week. And I am very proud of both my brothers.

I'm not your brother, but if I were, even though I picked on you I still loved you. I never meant to hurt you even though it seemed that way. I definitely didn't want, and wouldn't let other people tease or do bad stuff to you if I knew about it. I'd also be proud of you for who you are and for some of your accomplishments in karate and other areas.


answered 23 Jan '14, 17:36

Liam's gravatar image



@Liam Out of all the years on IQ, I had never read an answer that meant so much to me. I carried this all my life and could never ask my brothers this. But your response could be an open letter to baby brothers everywhere. I don't know if you are older or younger than I but I do know you stood in for my big brothers and now I actually feel I finally understand and much of that pain seems gone now.

Thank you so much +1000 for you.

@Jaianniah thanks for encouraging me to write this question.

(23 Jan '14, 23:58) Wade Casaldi

@Liam- Thank you for helping Wade soooo much! You have no idea what an effect your answer had on him...the effect was very profound and he feels so much better about his past. Thank you! ♥

(24 Jan '14, 00:11) Jaianniah

@Liam If there were an "Emotional Upliftment Award", this answer would totally win it :). Excellent! And I'm an older brother too and I agree that this is true :).

(24 Jan '14, 00:33) releaser99

@Liam - I just love it when you show up. I am a younger sister, and it felt very good to read this. Thank you so much. The way you wrote that last paragraph.... very powerful, @Liam. Very beautiful. Says a lot about you. :)

(24 Jan '14, 15:50) Grace

Wow, thank you all. I'm a bit gobsmacked and not sure how to reply, but I do appreciate it.

@Wade and @Jai You're both very welcome. It really was my pleasure to write. And thank you Wade for the gifted points.

@releaser99 Thanks. Nice to know I'm not the only annoying older brother here.

@Grace You're welcome and thank you. I tend to enjoy it when I show up myself.

(24 Jan '14, 19:46) Liam

@Liam This boiled on the stove long enough. Best answer, you had this coming.


(04 Feb '14, 21:54) Wade Casaldi

@Liam Thank you so much, you will be happy to know, my brothers confirmed this! They have been looking out for me and I didn't even know it. All this is healed for me now!

(05 Feb '14, 22:52) Wade Casaldi

@Wade Casaldi - :D. I'm so glad. Good for you!

(05 Feb '14, 23:01) Grace

@Grace Thanks Grace, yes my oldest brother said to me that my other older brother said, "Wade thinks we hate him, because we always picked on him as children" He burst out crying and said, "He loves both of us, and that hurt him a lot to hear." We hugged and healed something I carried for years. Liam was a big help and made me ready to be healed, ready to hear my big brothers.

(06 Feb '14, 02:43) Wade Casaldi

@Liam @Grace @Wade Casaldi- I have to say that it brought me to tears to see Wade and his brother Jim hug and tell each other how much they cared for each other. It was actually an entire evening if healing, with Jim telling Wade things that Wade never knew were going on. It turns out that Jim had been behind Wade all along! We had a great night last night just talking. It as exceptionally healing! ♥

(06 Feb '14, 09:03) Jaianniah

I'm glad to hear it, Wade.

(08 Feb '14, 15:16) Liam

This answer deserves a "bump". It's a great example of the amazing things that can happen in this remarkable place.

(20 Nov '14, 22:48) Grace
showing 2 of 12 show 10 more comments

Whatever the reason is, it probably has an evolutionary basis.

This is purely conjecture, but a little bullying from your brother can toughen you up, while him sticking up for you is a form of protection, so both behaviors could be seen as beneficial for perpetuating the species.

An easier phenomenon to understand is what happens to some mothers who love their children and want to be with them, but who are repelled by their children when they get older. This parallels with the teenager's desire to explore their world and expand their boundaries; it is nature's way of kicking them out of the house and getting them to grow up and become self-sufficient.


answered 23 Jan '14, 18:10

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 23 Jan '14, 18:10

@Vesuvius this is a very thought provoking answer, yes it could be why this seems to naturally occur.

(24 Jan '14, 00:02) Wade Casaldi

When one looks at nature and animals that have siblings we see what we would call bullying amongst these siblings. As an example kittens one minute they are pouncing and biting each other the next they are grooming and sleeping .

(25 Jan '14, 04:59) ursixx
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