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Constant problems with brother

  • 13-05-2020 10:50am
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Hi Everyone,

    Posting anonymously and looking for advice with this situation. Have thought about it and thought about it, can't decide on the best thing to do without a fight.

    I've been renting a room in a house for the past 2 years as I worked locally here. My little brother in his 30's was forced out of a houseshare (not for the first time) and began living in his car. He works full time. Approaching the winter I was worried and convinced him to move in to a spare room in the house, which he did begrudgingly as if I was forcing him to do what I wanted. He saves money like a miser and negotiated a lower rent with the landlord, who was doing me a favour allowing him move in. He never does any chores willingly or spontaneously, and becomes resentful if ever asked to do something. He has blinkers on about buying a house the past 2 years and his life revolves around it. He gets angry if challenged on anything. It's been difficult living with the guy. He seems to be extremely selfish and obnoxious. There have been a lot of fights where I'm always the first to make peace. I do this because otherwise I end up taking the full brunt of things he doesn't care about, such as paying electricity bills and upkeep etc. It runs deeper than that though. I worry about him surviving in the world. He gets confused when speaking with people and struggles to see things from another person's point of view, which gets him into arguments. He burns bridges a lot without even knowing. I've taught him how to cook simple things numerous times but he seems to forget it quickly, reverting back to fast microwave food. If I say anything about having shown him something before or telling him the same thing again, he gets angry with me. He eats the same meal over and over which might turn other peoples' stomachs. He orders food for home delivery and gets angry if I mention it might be nice to at least acknowledge the person delivering and thank them - he has stockpiled lots and lots of canned food and toilet roll. He spends his life in his room with the window blacked out on the computer or lying in bed for 12 hours. He only ever seems to make conversation or says hello when he knows I am about to cook food or needs to ask me for something. I've come to the conclusion he is just extremely lazy.

    I don't work locally anymore and recently bought a place closer to my work. I had said to him repeatedly that were I to buy something, the landlord would likely ask him to move on. He intimated that is illegal and he would fight the landlord. He has not made any attempt to find anything. He has tried to buy a house but made a mess of it. I constantly advise him on what to do but it doesn't go in. He has his own ideas and I feel he doesn't value the hours and hours I can spend helping him. When I bought the new place I asked him to come for a look and help move a few bits of furniture, it was the first trip to it after purchase - I had to turn back because I could sense a massive argument was brewing. You'd think he would be happy for me on a first visit to a newly purchased house that's taken decades and a lot of graft to achieve. I again patched it up with him. I will be moving on in a week or so and

    I know what you're all thinking. Cut him loose and let him start learning. The thing is I don't know how now. There is space for him at the new place, but I feel if he were to move in he would never move out. He is allowed to work from home until September. I want to get on with my life. But I know what he is going to do if I don't offer him a room. He is going to cause hassle for the landlord and start a fight. When he does get formally evicted he will move into his car. Don't get me wrong, it is nice sometimes having him around to chat with, he's my brother after all. But I know I am stopping him from learning about the world and becoming independent. He lived with my parents up to about 5 years ago and since then has done very little without support. He has always been a little slow, most things have to be repeated, and often explained to him, common phrases go over his head, I actually believe him to be very high functioning autistic. He says and does things that would be expected of someone 10 years younger. Even dresses that way. It has really felt recently like a teenager resentful of a parent situation. He's just so behind on everything. My dad always said I would need to mind him. I get sad when I think about the reality that we may never be as close again, and certainly will never live together again. But still, I have ambition and a life to lead.

    Thanks for reading all the way to the end - What would you do?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭Xterminator

    Here is a question for you. What do you want to do?

    Not what does he want, etc, but what is your preferred option here. Do that, let the grown adult live his own life and you live yours. Your not cutting him loose; your living your own life.

    Its not your problem if the landlord decides to move him on after you leave. Its his.

    If you own your own house and he asks for a room, then deal with that request when it is made. If he doesn't ask . . there is no problem. If he does - you decide what suits you best.

    Your worrying about what might happen, and what his resppnse will be. Dont. What ifs and buts will not improve your own happiness. You have let him know with plenty of notice what your plans are, Very nice of you. time to cut the apron strings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,039 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    What would I do?

    I would stop enabling him.

    I sure as HELL wouldn't be letting him move into my new house.

    I would ignore what your dad said about having to mind him.

    Your brother is not your responsibility. There really is no more to it than that. I know this is a family dynamic that has been in place for years and changing these things is a helluva lot more easily said than done, but it bears repeating - YOUR BROTHER IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

    Where have your parents been in all this over the years (apart from telling you to look after him)??? It sounds like they have failed both of you.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 119 ✭✭mdudy

    you are a big part of the problem op - you should not be enabling him this much. It seems as though you want to - why care about if he gets into a battle with the landlord?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,055 ✭✭✭Emme

    OP well done on getting your house. I would strongly advise you NOT to offer your brother a room. If you do he still still be there in 10 years time possibly insulting your friends when they come to visit.

    If you keep bailing him out he will keep expecting you to do this for him. He works full time so he must be able to function reasonably well socially when he's there.

    Move on with your life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 880 ✭✭✭Rachiee

    Do not let him move in with you he will never leave.
    He may well end up having a very difficult life, eating nothing but take away, getting into arguments, finding it difficult to maintain accommodation but so be it.

    He isn't your responsibility and some people just have really really terrible life skills but they get by, they aren't as happy as people with good life skills but they survive and he will too, it's not your job to fix him and it's likely not possible

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,009 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    I constantly advise him on what to do but it doesn't go in.

    Stop advising him. He doesn't want your advice. You are infantilising him. You call him your "little brother in his 30s". He's not your "little brother". He's a man, in his 30s. Maybe there are undiagnosed learning difficulties there, but that was up to your parents to deal with at the time, and now as an adult it would be something he would need to look into himself if he wants, you could maybe suggest it to your parents, because he is not going to listen to advice from you.

    You need to stop hoping he'll be someone other than who he is. If he only eats microwave meals, as a man in his 30s he is entitled to make that decision. You can't live his life for him. You can't follow him around clearing up his messes, and the more you do it the less likely he is to even attempt to do it.

    You need to move on. Maybe keep a watchful eye on your brother from a distance. You can't change anything about him. He is either incapable of change or unwilling. It sounds like you are not qualified to offer him the help and guidance that he might need. So you need to point him, or your parents in the relevant direction. GP would be a good start.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If your brother needs help, it should probably be professional.

    What you've been doing up to now hasn't worked, so don't keep doing it. At one point you said he's just lazy, and at another you said you think he might be autistic. Neither of those are something you're equipped to fix.

    Reading your post, I couldn't help but feel for your brother. I realise he's not fully able to take care of himself, and causes a lot of problems, but I'd imagine he must feel so powerless. It sounds a bit like he's constantly being made feel like he's not doing things right. I understand why you don't want him living in his car, but things like explaining stuff to him all the time, making him cook differently etc., sounds a bit overbearing. I know your dad said you'd need to mind him, but you don't. Honestly it sounds more like you're trying to fix him than mind him.

    Maybe it would be better for you to just try to stay in his life and be his sibling rather than trying to actively change him.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,654 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    "Have thought about it and thought about it, can't decide on the best thing to do without a fight."

    Just wondering what you mean by the above, a fight with whom? Your parents, who seem to have handed over responsibility for your brother to you? Your brother? Your own conscience?

    As previous posters have said, he is not your responsibility. I'm sure you are a very caring sibling, and the family dynamic, particularly fostered by your father's comment about looking after him, is not an easy one to break free from.

    However, I echo those who suggest that you don't invite him to move in.
    I also suggest that you give counselling a try, to unpick why you would feel obliged to do so, and to help you to walk away from the situation.

    I wish you all the best, I think your intentions were good and caring. But you deserve your own life too.

    Again just to quote your own words 'But still, I have ambition and a life to lead'.

    You absolutely do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,001 ✭✭✭Tork

    I agree with what everybody else has said here. You're enabling your "little brother". That has to stop and now is a good time to draw that line in the sand. For reasons best known to themselves, your parents don't appear to have proactively sought help for your brother. Did they ever have him assessed? Was the option of sending him to a special school or to sheltered work ever floated in your home? Some families are a bit weird about accepting they might have somebody with special needs in their house. I get the impression that this happened in your family and now your parents have got you lined up to take on their problem. Even at this late stage, I wonder would it be worth talking to his GP. It's an awkward one because he's an adult and there are doctor/patient rules applying here. But if he is somebody who you can see going back to live in his car, somebody needs to check him out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,420 ✭✭✭splinter65

    OP your brother needs help that you're not qualified to give him. He probably doesn’t need a lot of serious help but professional help is what he has to get.
    You’re coming from a loving place but it’s quite possible that your recent involvement with him has exacerbated his condition. This is what happens when amateur loved ones try to help a family member who needs a lot more then love and “guidance”.
    If you invite him to live in your house it might end up that he’s beyond any kind of help, professional or not and it will CERTAINLY end in your brother/sister relationship being rent asunder forever, and possibly causing a major rift with you and your parents when you go to court to have him removed from your home.
    Just go now to your new home and leave him to get on with it. It’s such a shame that your landlord with whom you’ve had such a good relationship will end up struggling to get him out. But no good deed goes unpunished and he won’t be persuaded again so easy.
    If he doesn’t think he needs help then nothing you or anyone else says or does will change his mind. The only chance of him changing his mind is if he hits rock bottom and decides that he wants to live.
    If he reaches that point and turns to you for help then by all manner and means look for the help for him, but don’t let him into your house.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    My take on it is that you genuinely think you’re helping, but you’re actually boxing your brother into a corner, and making him feel even more badly about himself.

    You might not agree with his choices, but what gives you the right to boss him about that? You’re assuming the role of a very bossy mother. Granted, with good will, I think. But you don’t have the right to dictate your brother’s life choices.

    I think you’re way too involved in his life. Unfortunately I think your upbringing has conditioned you to be so. You both need to separate. And you need to stop treating him as though he’s your ‘simple brother’

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12

    Has he ever been tested for Aspergers? could be worth looking to, if he's diagnosed with this or something similar he will get appropriate supports.

  • Yeah, I'd say be careful about letting a brother you don't get on with move in..I let a brother move in with me when he came back from travelling.. I couldn't say a word to him, he'd fnck me out of it..he thought he could trash the place pretty only lasted about a month, but I was actually traumatized after it.. the fallout from it kind of set my life down a more unpleasant path.. you don't want to come to regret your kindnesses..

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    best thing you can do for your brother and your legal situation is find your brother a bedsit and move him into it as you move out. if your brother refuses to go and digs his heels in you will be probably be named as a co-respondant in the eviction court case as it was under your lease he moved in - expect hefty solicitors fees and a lot of hassle. You can sooth your conscience towards him and in a sense remove yourself from the issue at the same time.

    No doubt there is a strong sisterly bond there and a need to do the right thing by him - he sounds very bloody minded and determined and no doubt will continue to function, making his decisions and moving along in securing his lifes goals and doing as he wishes with or without your advice/ intervening. You have done your best

    +1 for not being guilted into moving him into your house - I have been slid into traps by this kind of guilt before and IMO it will end extremely badly for you. Where are your parents in this - its not really good enough for them to disclaim him onto you - you are a daughter not a carer or mental health staff and are also ‘entitled’ to a happiness,
    normal living conditions, clear mental health and hope for your future. He sounds as if he is totally entrenched in his behaviour and ways - no doubt you will always love him but what chance have you for peace, security, pleasure, a relationship with someone or to ever have a family of your own or a child if your adult brother is barricaded into your boxroom behaving like a tyrant and melting your head with his attitudes and oppositions and defiance and antisocial and selfish behaviour.

    what should you do? Make your own way without him - he is a 30 year old working man who has no respect for you, for your opinions, for your relationships or the trouble and stress he has brought to you or the people you have involved in helping him.
    - Find him a bedsit or grannyflat to rent
    - or move out his stuff when you are boxing up
    - drop him at your parents - he can sleep in his car or on their couch or he can find a new rental - there are plenty of cheap managable whole houses with commutes on daft .
    -- don’t let him destroy your new future and your landlords
    - take your responsibility and direct it towards those two - he is not the only person in this equation requiring help but is the only one refusing all but prepared to destroy everyone around him to have his selfish way. there are people who are like this - it dosn’t mean they have autism or aspargers - they are totally selfish, and pandered to and happy to be a taker their entire life so they can have their way and behave as they want.

    By the age of 30 this is not going to change. You need to start protecting yourself and stop believing that you are responsible for this adults decisions or for his choices. You are responsible for the mess you have created directly in other people lives as a consequence of asking favours for him and you need to take responsibility for this and fix this and make sure he moves out or that you move him out - that IS your responsibility.

    I’m sorry for all these issues at a time when you should ge mist happy when getting your new hime - you deserve better.

    And NO -you are not your brothers keeper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,994 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    Has he ever been tested for Aspergers? could be worth looking to, if he's diagnosed with this or something similar he will get appropriate supports.

    First thing I also thought so to, I'm an aspie myself, but to be honest it could be one of many disorders going on there, it's a job for the professionals anyway, and it ll be difficult to get him there also. Best of luck op, that's a difficult one

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,326 ✭✭✭alta stare

    OP i would suggest there is something deeper going on with your brother for him to be acting the way he is. It may seem like he is selfish, arrogant etc but that could be related to something way deeper than anyone knows. I have seen this kind of behaviour from my own experiences with a family member where his actions were because of a more serious event in his own life. For a long time he acted strange, he appeared selfish and self absorbed. He constantly had all these mad ideas about doing things, going places, knowing certain people etc yet he always ended up doing nothing.

    Eventually the truth came out and it put things into some sort of perspective. It went some way to explaining his sometimes irrational selfish behaviour. It helped explain the reasons why he acted fine one minute then was the opposite the next. It became clear he felt the need to project out a different persona because of what he had kept buried in his own life but sometimes he projected it out so much that it wore him out and he became what we saw as an ignorant self absorbed selfish person. The reality was that he had suppressed an issue which played with his emotions and mental stability for a long time.

    I guess what i am trying to get at is to try and look deeper into what may be going on with your brother. He may have a very good reason for his behaviour which to you and others will only make sense if something were after happening to him. Obviously i am not saying there is something up im just trying to give a different perspective. I hope all ok and i hope you can sort things out with him and for him.

    Unfortunately sometimes when we do help people who act the way your brother is. We do so because we care yet as others have said we end becoming enablers. This is a very tough place to be and at some point you will have to show tough love, you should do your best not to feel guilt over doing such a thing as it is an important step in helping anyone in need. If you keep bending over backwards for him you yourself will eventually end up worn out yourself. The key is to find the right balance. Know when to show care and compassion, know when to show some tough love.

    As i said earlier look deeper and you may find the root cause of his behaviour or perhaps you wont but it is damn sure worth a try. I hope you manage to help him in the best way you can. Do not give up on him. Good luck with it and remember to keep looking after yourself. Dont get bogged down by his problems alone.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,009 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    You also need to consider that your brother simply doesn't want to know the things you are intent on teaching him. He has a car and a full time job, so when he wants to he CAN learn and retain the important stuff. He learned the rules of the road. He learned how to drive a car, he passed his test as competent to drive. He works full time so has learned and retained the necessary skills and experience needed to do his job.

    He doesn't want to know how to make "simple meals". He's happy with his microwave ones. In fact I'd guess he knows full well how to make these simple meals. Simple meals really aren't that tricky (the clue is in the name!) he just doesn't want to make them.

    You need to accept that you are not responsible for him. You are not his parent. You are not a guardian. He is not your ward. He is an adult man, who it appears can live independently, even if lots of people don't agree with his methods. If you move him into your house he will live with you for the rest of your life. Doing nothing that you think he should do, and everything you think he shouldn't. And he won't be all that bothered, but you'll be worked up into a state over him.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,281 ✭✭✭CrankyHaus

    If you let him move in to your new place you're basically going to be running your own little sheltered housing Institution for the rest of your life. This will create significant difficulties for you achieving your own life goals.

    It will also keep your brother in a state of arrested development.

    If he needs such serious help then it should be professional. He may not, and may grow without his worse behaviours being enabled by you.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh. You deserve praise for looking out for your brother and he's lucky to have you as a sibling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 976 ✭✭✭LimeFruitGum

    Don’t involve him in *anything* to do with your new home. Not even to carry a box into the hall. You are under no obligation to invite him over for a cup of tea, if you don’t particularly enjoy his company.

    You are definitely not obligated to offer him a room. And anyway, if you didn’t like him as a flat mate, imagine what it would be like dealing with him as a landlord/lady? Don’t even go there, please. Just be matter of fact, you generally don’t take your flat mates with you when you buy a place.
    You have already helped him out with the current place, it’s up to him after that. It will be a mental shift from telling him “you need to do x” to “I’m doing x, I’ll leave Y up to you”.

    My sister doesn’t even have my address because I would never get rid of her or her boozy mates trying to crash at mine if she did, so I get it. It’s hard and she has called me a c*nt & a bitch for years, but I have peace at home. Me bending over backwards to help her isn’t going to stop her drinking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭ray giraffe

    Your brother's behaviours are exactly what one would expect in Asperger's Syndrome. (now considered part of Autism Spectrum Disorder)

    If he receives a formal diagnosis, he is in a stronger position should he need future support.
    My understanding is that there is very limited support available for Asperger adults within the public health system.
    There are a few professionals available for privately-paid support.

    Best Wishes.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,488 ✭✭✭bb1234567

    Seems like a terrible burden your parents have placed on you. He is not your responsibility, they are the people who chose to have the child, if he is anybody's responsibility he is theirs.You and your brother did not choose to be born, but your parents chose to have children they would responsible for, even if one of those children have issues that prevent them from becoming fully self sufficient. Are they ill/too old to care for anybody currently?

    Whatever about looking out for him, I just wouldnt not be able to do what you have done if they could not at the very least remain polite, respectful and thankful for all you have done for him. Being incompetent and slow I can handle with quiet frustration , but not the attitude, there is no excuse for it. He doesn't deserve to have as good a sister as you. Even if he is autistic, it does not excuse being lazy , rude and an unkind person which seems to me what he is like by the way you have described him. It seems like he is just weighing you down, the most you can do is advice, he is a grown adult, you can't force him to change. I know plenty of autistic people and they are sweet, easy to get along with,your brother just does not sound like a very good guy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 447 ✭✭Pixied

    Did you ever hear of situations where the siblings live together all their life and never marry? That’s where you’ll be heading if he moves in.

    So what if he fights with the landlord? That is between them to sort out.

    You will spend your life turning down people & opportunities because of him. He will probably not even notice.

    I feel you should probably seek counselling and talk through why you are not putting yourself and your happiness first. New home, new start.