In a heart-rending tale of family competition, the Original Poster (OP) navigates the waters of rivalry with his stepbrother. From stolen interests to veiled deceptions, their bond tests its limits, culminating in a tense evening that reveals deeper emotional scars. Will their relationship stand or shatter?
OP recalls a significant change in their life: their mother marries another man, and a stepbrother enters the scene. Both families unite, with the adults in apparent happiness. At the age of 8, OP and the stepbrother start their new shared journey.
A Tale of Two Personalities
While the two kids grew up, differences in their personalities became evident. OP was more relaxed, while the stepbrother was fiercely competitive. Their opposing traits often balanced each other out, leading to an equilibrium.
High School Rivalries
High school brought new challenges to their relationship. Stepbrother started competing with OP for everything they cared about. He made moves on OP’s friends and even on the girls OP liked, leaving OP feeling edged out.
Learning from his past experiences, OP started keeping his interests a secret. Anytime he expressed fondness for something, the stepbrother would overshadow him. This secrecy became OP’s defense mechanism.
The Martial Arts Saga
When OP started learning Taekwondo (TKD), the stepbrother couldn’t resist but join. Despite OP’s genuine love for it, the stepbrother’s athleticism and dedication helped him advance faster. This led to OP’s eventual withdrawal from TKD.
Strings of Discord
Similarly, when OP took an interest in playing the guitar, the stepbrother followed suit. Once again, OP felt edged out from something they loved. Their personal space and interests are constantly invaded.
OP tried addressing this rivalry and invasion of personal space. However, every attempt was either dismissed or belittled. OP chose to overlook it for the most part because the brothers got along in so many other ways.
The boys’ parents remained oblivious or indifferent to OP’s feelings when he tried to point out what was happening and express how it made him feel. He realized that if anything was going to change, he would have to make it happen.
OP found solace in his friend Alice, an exceptional artist. The stepbrother never managed to infiltrate this friendship. But, a slip of the tongue one day led OP to claim Alice’s art as his own, which created a new desire in his brother.
The Art Heist
One day, some of Alice’s drawings go missing from OP’s room. The stepbrother showcases them in a local art gallery, taking credit. OP’s lie inadvertently encourages the stepbrother to gain fame from Alice’s work.
Deceptive College Days
To create a smokescreen, OP lied about his college courses and said he was pursuing graphic design, when in reality, he secretly took up weightlifting and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. True to form, the stepbrother pursued graphic design based on the deception.
Both grew up and carved out their career paths. While OP found joy in a field he truly loved, the stepbrother ventured into graphic design, influenced by OP’s lie. Their lives continued to be a dance of influence and reaction.
A Memorable Evening
David’s birthday brought about a change in dynamics. OP, dressed sharply and bearing expensive gifts, enjoys a heartwarming evening. David, their stepdad, expressed genuine pride in OP, a moment that almost brought tears.
Tension in the Air
As the celebrations progressed, the stepbrother joined late. Witnessing OP’s camaraderie with David, jealousy brewed. During the party, OP showcased some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves with David.
Later, during a conversation with Alice, OP narrated the evening’s events. Alice, shocked by the depth of their rivalry, expressed her disapproval. She felt OP was unfair, robbing the stepbrother of genuine opportunities.
Was The Brother’s Behavior Appropriate?
Seeking clarity, OP shared the entire saga online. Responses flooded in, with people sharing their perspectives. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “I believe that your stepbro made a choice to get into graphic design. You didn’t make him sign up for college at gunpoint. He has a serious case of upmanship with you, probably to get more affection from his dad and to prove he’s better. That’s on him.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “He made his own choices. If he doesn’t like his current career, it is up to him to change it. If he doesn’t make any changes and is unhappy, that’s on him, not you. Good for you for managing to create a life that he couldn’t hijack like everything else.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “But you should have tried to see how far he’d take it. You should have said you were interested in proctology instead of graphic design.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “At the end of the day, he still chose that path himself. Even if he did it copying you, that was still a conscious choice he made. And you said he didn’t seem like he seemed unhappy either, so I mean. I think you’re fine here.”