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In fear of brother's mental health

  • 26-08-2020 3:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    Without going into too much detail, I feel I need to preface this by explaining I was previously in a relationship with a man who showed many similar characteristics to my brother. (Depression, social withdrawal, anger, manipulative tendencies)

    He was abusive, he isolated me and threatened and attempted suicide multiple times as a means to manipulate me. It was hell on earth and at the time I felt trapped but eventually got out and I'm doing better now.

    My brother has never threatened or openly manipulated me however I know he can be subtly manipulative, and he is chronically depressed, angry, and withdrawn. I've done all I can to try help (we as a family all have) but he won't do anything at all to help himself. I've begged him to seek help from his GP for his mental health but he refuses. He won't get a job or socialise.

    Because of his mental health issues I am haunted by the fear he will take his life. I think about it every day. My anxiety lately is through the roof. I can't tell if this is a fear grounded in reality or if I'm projecting my past experiences onto him.

    He is needy, emotionally immature, and unable to function as an adult, at 30. Unfortunately I tend to feed into this as I'm afraid if I don't he'll hurt himself.

    The other week he messaged me to say he'd ruined his dinner (he always does this) and could he borrow money for a takeaway. I told him I'm actually a bit broke myself at the moment, and asked if he could just throw on some pasta?. He told me he was too pissed off to cook anything else but he understood and he'd just go to bed hungry and depressed. I was exhausted, it was 10:30pm, but I made him dinner and drove to him to give it to him because my anxiety kicked into high gear thinking of him going to bed depressed. I asked was he ok and he started ranting about something trivial that was annoying him. I barely got a thank you, but a few days later he messaged to say thank you and he really appreciated it.

    He drains me but I'm afraid if I don't respond or pick up his calls he'll kill himself.

    As I type this out I can hear how irrational it sounds, which is helpful as it's helping me see that I feel as though I'm back in my relationship and maybe that's whats at play here.

    I just don't know how to break free of this fear and anxiety. I have nightmares about him. I can't shake the anxiety. I think I need counselling but its just so expensive. I'm not sure what to do or what advice anyone can give me, I'm just tired of feeling this way.

    Thanks for listening.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,055 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Where are your parents in all this?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭tara73

    How come you are so afraid he will kill himself? Did he ever mentioned it? Sorry if it sounds harsh, but for me it actually sounds more like he's a lazy, manipulative guy who knows you will fall for his BS.
    Just the one example you've given, it sounds incredible, he phoned you at 10:30 pm he threw away his dinner and if you can lend him money for a takeaway? Is this/he for real?
    I bet you've many more examples of stunts like this from him.

    I most definetely think you are taken for a fool here by him. Please wake up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭ray giraffe


    Make a list of ways in which you'd like to help him, and another list of tasks you don't feel comfortable with.

    Make it clear that you really want to help him move to a better position, but not by doing X,Y, Z.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,457 ✭✭✭✭Kylta

    I think you need to look after your mental health and make your brothers mental health a secondary issue, I say this because it seems your the one suffering from anxiety, stress and everything else. Maybe your brother should get counselling. If you don't look after you nobody else will.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,706 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    'Because of his mental health issues I am haunted by the fear he will take his life. I think about it every day. My anxiety lately is through the roof. I can't tell if this is a fear grounded in reality or if I'm projecting my past experiences onto him.'

    As pp said, you need to look after your own health first.
    You know the instructions you receive on a plane, about putting on your own life jacket before trying to help others. This is what you need to do.

    Your concern is understandable, especially given your experience. Family dynamics can also contribute to the feeling that one person must be looked after, regardless of the cost to others.

    But this is not healthy for you. Talk to your GP. Seek counselling for yourself. Yes, as you have said, it's expensive, but it's worth investing in your own health. It could help you to break this pattern and find ways to deal with your anxiety.

    All the best.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 974 ✭✭✭Psychiatric Patrick

    OP, ir is very hard to know what advice to give about him with seeing your brother.

    Does he really have health issues or are you thinking he does because of your old boyfriend?

    As other have said though, look after your own mental health.

    I have mental heath issues and have one sister out of many that I get along with. She is very supportive but there are times where she'd a message something like "and what is wrong with that" or "shush watching a movie" and over time I came to realise that I actually was manipulating her for a bit of sympathy. I still find myself doing it but most times I have stopped myself.