Close relative has m.s. - does little or no exercise - eats too much.

He could get on the exercise bike easily - could go swimming but doesn’t etc.

Weight is gradually piling on - not good to carry excess weight.

Big row - I called him a selfish b------, he said I should leave him alone and stop bullying him.

But he’s not helping himself!

Am I a bully?

I’d say yes you are.

Perhaps you adopting a more caring attitude towards him would get better results…nobody should feel bullied.

How would you like it?

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Yes I’m afraid you are. He hasn’t asked for your opinion or advice so do as he asks. Back off.

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I agree with Rosina and Poppy. He’s the one living with MS. He should be allowed to choose what to eat and what (if any) exercise might help. You are bullying him.

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I suppose it depends on how often you mention the issue and the tone used. Raising the subject once and expressing concern is fair enough, but if he doesn’t want to play, then that’s his choice and not for you to convince him of the error of his ways.

While I tend to agree that lifestyle changes can make a difference, you can lead a horse to water and all that.


bully or concerned frustrated relative?

only you two know the answer to that. no two folk with ms cope/deal with it the same. families certainly cope with such a diagnosis in an abundance of ways, none of which are right or wrong only different.

take care and keep talking with each other no matter how difficult that may seem.


but in a subtle way isn’t he bullying us? He makes no effort to keep going/active and sooner than later we are going to be involved in physically caring for him. He weighs a lot!

I am not sure if you are bullying (that is down to the receiver of the messages) I am guessing that you care but that the two of you need to work out a more productive (less confrontational) way of communicating.

As a “boy” of 56 with MS, I too eat too much and do not exercise enough, despite being smart enough to know better. If people who cared about me pushed me too hard to do the smart thing I might feel bullied and just dig my stubborn heals in. The best way for me to get sensible is in noticing the benefits for myself if I do the smart thing. The other incentive that works for me is the embarrassment involved if I fall and need loads of help to get up.

Good luck in finding easier communication. Mick

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Bully? I don’t know and would not be so quick to judge as some of the previous posts. I see your row probably stemmed from a concern for him and frustration at situation. However theres a similar conversation raging on a wheelchair forum I’m on…obesity does not make things easier on the joints, heart mobility. Catch 22 I’m afraid. As whammel said: you can lead a horse to water…

Frequently family/friends can see a truth but the individual can’t. And they will NOT act on that. Sometimes the need to change has to come from the person involved. So when he falls and the ambulance has to be called cuz you can’t get him up or has a heart attack…well then the message may hit home.

Meanwhile a gentler tone maybe? Offer to join Slimming World with him?


Yes you are bullying and bossing him, what has it got to do with you what he does really? its his life. its good you care, but really if he is happy leave him be. the more you go on the worse he will do the opposite.

If you did it to me i would tell you were to get off lol. Actually my sister is always sending me links on how exercise is good for you etc etc blah blah, and it drives me mad. I know she means well but really I care about myself, and I look after myself. EXERCISE I flipping well wish lol.


I applaud your courage in asking that question on here, Anon. Even though you’re anon.

For me being a bully occurs when there is a power imbalance in a relationship and the stronger party uses that to be unpleasant to the weaker one. I have no idea whether this is the case here or not, so I have nothing to say on whether your behaviour was bullying behaviour.

What I would suggest is: if you actually want to help your family member to take better care of his health, you need to listen to him, not tell him. If you need to vent your frustration, go to the gym or something. Of course, it is also possible that he is winding you up deliberately, and has ‘won’ by getting a rise out of you. If so, don’t play that boring game: it isn’t going to help anyone. Again, you will be the best judge of what is going on there and what is the dynamic between you.



Thanks for the responses I’m the OP. - Looking at Alison’s response - it doesn’t follow that the one who may appear to be the weaker one is in reality the weaker one. Someone described it as ‘the tyranny of the weak.’ Just because someone has m.s. doesn’t by definition make them a nice person - some people with m.s. like some of those who don’t have m.s. are thoroughly selfish and self-centred.


This relation of yours doesn’t want to do any of the things you mention. His choice. His lifestyle. He hasn’t asked for your help or advice. He has asked that you leave him be and stop bullying him. He obviously doesn’t want you bullying or controling his life so you should just respect his wishes.

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OP here tbh I feel this close relative is bullying me.

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your last sentence in post 12 is spot on.

theres nobody on here that knows anything about your unique situation. we all try to look at how we would cope/deal with situation as u describe but reality is only you two can find a way to get through life. i sincerely hope that you both find your way through this-whatever the final outcome.


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I actually find this thread to be really quite interesting. Obviously we none of us know the OP or the person with MS, so ultimately our opinion is irrelevant.

The thing that I find interesting is that communication has hardly been mentioned. A few of us made knee jerk reactions. It seemed as though OP was trying to dictate the appropriate behaviour of the PWMS. This may, or may not, be the case.

But it appears that the whole subject has been told to us in a rather confrontational and bossy manner. This could be what the PWMS is reacting to. Maybe if the subject had been raised in a more loving, caring, ‘us against the world’ way, there could have been less negativity and argument.

Clearly it’s a bit late now, but if the OP approached the whole business in a more loving, caring way, perhaps it wouldn’t have degenerated into a row.

If you suggest perhaps ‘we could all be fitter’, ‘maybe we could go on a diet?’ ‘perhaps I could help you with exercise?’ it might not have got so heated?

Clearly you have your relatives best interests at heart, so perhaps those of us who initially decried you as being a bully should think about the other responses (Ellie, Whammel, Reddivine, Alison) and consider that you yourself feel put upon / bullied. The fact is that it’s not a happy or healthy way to live, either for the PWMS or you.

I do hope you and the relative with MS find a way to heal your relationship and hopefully to persuade him to try and do more physically and with regard to diet to help him have a fitter and more controlled relationship, with his body and MS.


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well you can fight back cant you? why dont you suggest taking him swimming, or to the gym. I would love to go swimming even mentioned it to my sister and still waiting after TWO YEARS. still not gone. I really think your trying to have the last word on this either way, and perhaps you need to just accept your relative for who he is. doesnt sound to me like you actually like this person.? I agree with your post above having MS does not entail us to be horrible but when your in pain and tired all day your patience snaps and it sounds like his has.

when a dog is fed up of being fussed or petted they show signs and warnings, i dont think your actually taking any notice and this relative is snapping at you like a dog would and warning you to back off.

I would have thought you would have your own life to deal with and have things you can be doing?

Dont throw it back at him as we dont know the real story and he isnt here to defend himself.