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Not sure whether to cut contact with brother

  • 06-08-2020 3:47pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    I'm at my wits end with my brother. He is 30 and lives with my mother and is a drain on her both emotionally and financially. He won't move out or get a job.

    I've always felt a lot of sympathy for him because he has a lot of mental health stuff going on and I know that limits him at times to move forward. We used to be so close, and underneath it all I know he's a great person with heart of gold, but I'm at the stage where I can no longer put up with him.

    He has a massive chip on his shoulder and is full of anger and bitterness. I have asked him to get professional help to address his issues but he won't. He sometimes bombards me with horrible messages about how he hates all people and he's sick of everyone. Some of the things he says scares me. Recently he has pushed his last remaining friend away. This friend wants nothing more to do with him. My brother said: "Maybe it's because I send him loads of messages when I'm angry... but actually I think he just think he's too good for me." He is like a child who never takes responsibility for his actions. There is zero accountability.

    I've tried everything. I've even applied to jobs on his behalf which I realise now of course is pointless. He confided he'd been feeling suicidal lately and I've been doing my best to check in with him and now I can't sleep with anxiety and worry over him. My mother is in poor health and is afraid of him because of his mood swings. It's just not fair.

    I'm beginning to feel like I hate him. He is horrible to be around and every message I get from him gives me an awful spike of anxiety. I am on eggshells around him because if I say one thing that he takes up wrong he explodes.

    I've been thinking of just cutting contact for my own mental health and also to show him that he cannot bombard me with toxic hateful messages and think it's acceptable. But I am probably the last person he has left and I'm terrified he could become even more depressed and do something stupid. I really don't know what to do.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭pennydreadful


    I'm at my wits end with my brother. He is 30 and lives with my mother and is a drain on her both emotionally and financially. He won't move out or get a job.

    I've always felt a lot of sympathy for him because he has a lot of mental health stuff going on and I know that limits him at times to move forward. We used to be so close, and underneath it all I know he's a great person with heart of gold, but I'm at the stage where I can no longer put up with him.

    He has a massive chip on his shoulder and is full of anger and bitterness. I have asked him to get professional help to address his issues but he won't. He sometimes bombards me with horrible messages about how he hates all people and he's sick of everyone. Some of the things he says scares me. Recently he has pushed his last remaining friend away. This friend wants nothing more to do with him. My brother said: "Maybe it's because I send him loads of messages when I'm angry... but actually I think he just think he's too good for me." He is like a child who never takes responsibility for his actions. There is zero accountability.

    I've tried everything. I've even applied to jobs on his behalf which I realise now of course is pointless. He confided he'd been feeling suicidal lately and I've been doing my best to check in with him and now I can't sleep with anxiety and worry over him. My mother is in poor health and is afraid of him because of his mood swings. It's just not fair.

    I'm beginning to feel like I hate him. He is horrible to be around and every message I get from him gives me an awful spike of anxiety. I am on eggshells around him because if I say one thing that he takes up wrong he explodes.

    I've been thinking of just cutting contact for my own mental health and also to show him that he cannot bombard me with toxic hateful messages and think it's acceptable. But I am probably the last person he has left and I'm terrified he could become even more depressed and do something stupid. I really don't know what to do.

    This is a difficult situation and I'm so sorry you're going through it. It sounds like you are being completely drained by it. I'm not sure what I can offer by way of help but I think cutting him off right now would be dangerous given the fragile nature of the situation. Rather, the approach you mentioned about setting boundaries and showing that he can't emotionally dump on you may be better until he is in a more stable state.

    You might be too close to the situation to effectively intervene - do you have any other close family member who could talk to him? Sometimes our immediate family just won't cut it and it needs to come from outside to sink in.

    Without knowing your situation, I suppose the main thing to do is make sure he moves out of those suicidal thoughts (is there anyone you could recommend he speak to? Samaritans even?) and also, make sure your mother is safe. At the end of the day, he is an adult that needs to take responsibility for himself. Your mother is vulnerable so I'd start by talking to her and see what she needs.

    Sorry I can't do more, I hope it gets sorted soon


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,419 ✭✭✭antix80


    Poor chap. He has a toxic mindset. At some point he'll push you away too for the same reason - that you're too good for him. It's a mechanism so he won't have to change himself - actually he can't change because he's basically sick. It would be like telling a cripple to walk when he doesn't have crutches.

    It's definitely not your place to apply for jobs for him - actions like that are damaging.

    So, what to do?

    If he sends nasty texts, phone him. Let him rant about something but don't let him move on to the next topic, and don't him list off loads of past examples on one issue.

    Instead, gently interrupt if you need to and put in simple, non-emotional terms what his grievance is. Acknowledge his grievance - it's not your place to tell him it's not important or what he should do to fix it. Ask him how it makes him feel physically (tension in shoulders, tight chest, balled fists, furled brow etc) . Then ask him are there any practical steps he could take to improve the situation. So.. Try that approach if you want to help.

    I'm assuming he doesn't have hobbies? This might sound ridiculous but try buying him something like a jigsaw or adult colour-by-numbers of something he likes - like a cityscape or landscape, or an animal, or something that reminds him of a simpler time. Maybe even a lego porsche. It's a thoughtful gift, can be given for a birthday or whenever and working on it can be relaxing and rewarding.


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