I’m home alone on Thursday night, packing for a family vacation. My brother and my parents have already left; I’m flying down the next morning with my grandmother, who has needed someone to accompany her since her surgery last year. When I step into the bathroom to brush my teeth I am NOT happy with what I find there—my brother’s full tube of Colgate, my crusty, empty tube of Crest, and the ripped-open box of what would have been my new toothpaste. I scream and throw the empty box at the wall.

A week ago, I accidentally locked my brother and his friend out of the house. I opened the back door to the house and when I went back inside, I locked the door out of habit. When I finally figured out what ha happened and let my brother back into the house, he stared at me and hissed, “Ohhhhhhh. Maiiyyyyyyy. Godddddddddd.” He later told me that his friend had said, “This isn’t the first stupid thing she’s done.”

Not too long ago, my brother made a huge deal of me dropping a glass of water while I was talking to him in the kitchen. It was my fault—I gesture with my hands when I speak and I’m relatively clumsy, so I spill or knock something over about once a week. Every time he makes a comment about my mistakes, he makes it clear that he thinks I am stupid by rolling his eyes, lowering his chin and recounting every other time I’ve messed up. I’m not just clumsy or spacey, his expression implies, but a special kind of stupid that only I could be.

I send my brother a text: “W T F why did u take my tube of tuthpaste when u have a FULL TUBE and I JUST GOT BACK FROM WALGREENS” followed by about one million texts saying “O M G,” “Never talk to me again,” or “Easily the stupidest thing you’ve ever done”—all verbatim reactions he’s had to similarly small mistakes I’ve made in the past. He texts back three words: “Get a grip.” I’ve lost. ♦