Doctor’s Note: today’s letter includes discussions and descriptions of emotional and verbal abuse.
I’m not sure if this is the kind of question to take on, because it’s not about me specifically, but about my brother (30) and his girlfriend (29). They’ve been in a relationship for about five years and to be blunt about it, my brother is a horrible person. I really like his GF, she’s cute and funny and a great cook. But my brother’s relationship with her is terrible, he clearly has no feelings for her, and instead only wants somebody to bully / cook and clean for him / have sex with.
One of the most concerning things that has happened recently was a short (2-3 day) breakup due to the fact she is putting on weight. I think it is important to state up front that my brother is a weightlifter / bodybuilder and he works hard and is very vain about his own looks. He boasts about how easy it is for him to up or down his weight at will. The girlfriend is not incredibly overweight, maybe a little chubby and she dresses well and always looks cute. Not long after his break-up, get-back-together routine, we spent a weekend together soon after at my mother’s house and I couldn’t stand watching the way he was controlling her life in relation to her weight. We all went out for a coffee and it was brought out with a cookie on the saucer. He took it away from her and gave it to somebody else. Whenever we went out to eat, he dictates what she orders, and throughout the trip he forced her to go on walks. A few years ago a mutual friend of ours had bariatric surgery and for dinner they’d only eat a can of tuna. He once told her to start eating a single can of tuna for dinner too, stating “If they can do it, why can’t you?”
Another thing which was concerning during the trip was the constant negging. If me and my mother complemented her, he’d tell us (in front of her) not to, so we don’t give her an ego. If something ever went wrong (he didn’t pack a jacket for the trip) he’d blame her (even though he’s working at home and she’s working onsite). He’d constantly be ridiculing her and putting her down – it was an incredibly difficult thing to watch.
Not long ago, I looked after his cat and he said that his GF would cook me something to thank me. I told her that ‘despite what he says, that wasn’t necessary’. But she went and snitched on me, and I got a message from him that said something like “She’ll do what I tell her to do.”
I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m afraid that if I approach her again about it, I’ll get a similar result as last time, and I may end up burning my relationship with him. But they’re starting to talk about marriage and to be frank – she deserves better. How do you think I should approach this?