Adult sibling living with my family

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Brothers Keeper, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Brothers Keeper

    Brothers Keeper New Member

    Not sure where to start with this, but here goes...there are all sorts of articles and advice for parents of adult kids, but I am a sibling having to care for my older adult brother (40 years old). He lives with me, my wife, and our infant daughter. He has been living with me for the past 5 years or so. He did work a little bit (for about 6 months), but has had back issues so he says he "can't" work now, but doesn't qualify for any disability. I have also taken on caring for my terminally ill mother. His function was to care for my mom while my wife and I work and our daughter is in daycare. He has unresolved emotional issues with my mom, so they didn't get along, and with her need for care increasing, we had to put her in a facility. My brother does very little to help in the house, is borderline emotionally abusive (was full out emotionally abusive with my mother), is very passive aggressive, and is addicted to pain pills for his back issues. I started providing care for him when he told me he unsuccessfully tried to end his life. He has not tried to get any better, does not work (nor does he plan to), and does very little to help at home. When my mom got sick, that took priority, so we just let the situation with my brother be. My wife and I walk on egg shells because we don't want to push him and have him completely stop contributing, but we are nearing our wits end. I feel like if I don't take care of him, he may try to hurt himself again. He is very smart, but I think he is emotionally stunted...he reacts like a 12 year old when his feelings are hurt (pouts, hides in his room, ignores us). He gets his feelings hurt if we don't fawn over what little he does in the house, or if we don't ask him about what he needs when we are out and about. We have enough money to live comfortably, but we have busted our behinds to get there. We are in family counseling, but he lashes out in sessions saying how we have slighted him, and he becomes very emotional. I have tried for several years to encourage him to go for individual counseling, but he has refused. Now he says he is trying to get in for counseling, but has not gotten an appointment in over a month. I am not afraid for our safety, but I don't want to send the message as my daughter grows that it is okay not to try. I'm curious if anyone has any experience with something like this, or what I should do. We are preparing to take a hard line and lay down some serious rules, but I don't want to be responsible if he succeeds in hurting himself. I don't feel like there are any resources available for us. My wife is amazing, and has been very supportive so far, but it has been a steady decline of him extorting us emotionally to get his way. I no longer feel like I 'owe' him anything, but I do love him and want him to want to get better. Any advice?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    why do you feel you have to take care of an abusive brother who takes pills, wont work and doesnt even show kindness to you ill mother? it is a me a puzzling one. is he good for your kids?

    I would send him packing. He is a big boy and has not improved in your home. Maybe he needs to be on his own, even if he refuses to take good care of himself. That is his responsibility, not yours in my opinion. if he wants to not work and be homeless or in a shelter, he is old enough to make that choice. He can collect welare, Medicaid and other government programs. Msny of us have done this to our own kids, hard as it was, because we could not tolerate the behavior at didnt help them or us. And most of thise kids were shown the door in their 20s, not at 40. Your brother is using you without any remorse for taking from you. He may have a pwesonality cant fix that.

    Others will come along. I know this isnt what you wanted to hear...
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Hi Brothers

    You and your wife sound like very kind and loving people. I think you are being taken advantage of in your own home.

    I would give him 30 days to move out. I would not want some 40 year old man living with me and my husband under any circumstances and certainly not the ones that you describe.

    You and your wife and your daughter deserve to have your own home. You do not owe your brother anything. If he wants to take his life, that is on him. He cannot hold you emotionally hostage.

    I agree with SWOT above. A lot of us have been putting up with this from our barely adult children and the reason we sent our son packing is because we DON'T want to live the way we had to live with him in our home. We love him very deeply. We created him!

    Good luck to you.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think you need to attend some NAMI or Alanon meetings. He is abusing you, and his threats of suicide are nothing but emotional blackmail. If he EVER threatens suicide, call 911 and INSIST they take him for evaluation. Suicide is not a joke, and you cannot prevent it if he chooses it. You CAN insist he not use the threat of it to abuse you and your wife and daughter. Don't EVER let him watch your daughter, not for a minute or an hour - you don't know what an addict will do.

    Give him rules and 30 days to get out of your home. Having him there is not healthy for you or your wife or your daughter. You have done enough, no matter what he says. It is time for him to "man up" and quit taking advantage of you, period. And he IS taking advantage of you. Be prepared for the manipulation to go into high gear when you set rules and a move out date. Don't give in to it, no matter what he does or threatens. He couldn't even help with your ill mother, what good does he contribute?

    I have a daughter with physical problems who lives at home at 21. She doesn't have a regular job, because due to her physical problems working is very hard. She is good natured, does all she can around the house, and is working to get better. She CONTRIBUTES what she can, as often as she can. She will often work herself to the point of making her illness worse, and she does it so that she can help out, even when we ask her to take it easier. The difference between her and your brother is that my daughter works to help out, to contribute and to make life easier. She doesn't focus on herself, and she doesn't ignore the rules, ever. She knows that if she did, our patience would be short as she is an adult.

    NAMI has classes for relatives of the mentally ill, and alanon is for families of those with drug/alcohol problems. Both can help you with this and give you support. It is time to reclaim your home, stop walking on eggshells, and get your brother to stop freeloading off of you while making your home unpleasant.
  5. Brothers Keeper

    Brothers Keeper New Member

    Thank you all for the responses. I think I feel like I owed him because he had more severe abandonment issues from when our dad left when we were kids. I developed a relationship with our dad later in life, and he never did before my dad passed. Ive tried to convince myself tat our situation was "normal" for so long that it was hard to look at things objectively. I have found information on a "transition home" locally where I hope he can get the help he needs. I want to clarify that he does not use drugs illegally, they aee perscribed, but they are very strong and he is obviously addicted. I genuinely appreciate the input, its nice to feel like im not crazy!
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Brother, I'm glad you found us here. I think within these pages you will find the support you need.

    You may be his brother but you have taken on the role of parent in trying to care for him. He is a 40 year old man who should be taking care of himself.

    Your brother is making a choice to not move on and work through the issues he has with your mother. He is choosing to stay in the victim role and it's working well for him. He can use his victimization to manipulate you and other people.

    You have made it to easy for him. My suggestion is that you and your wife sit down and write out some very clear boundaries and expectations. then sit down with him and go over things. Of course I suspect he will retreat because that way he doesn't have to deal with reality. This is where you will have to develop thick skin and tell him these are the conditions of him continuing to live in your home and if he can't then he will need to find other living arrangements.

    The sad thing is, your mother should be the one staying with you. She's the one who really needs someone to care for her.

    It's time to CRUSH the eggshells! You have worked hard to have a home. This is your home and your brother is holding you hostage in it.
    It's not lost on me that you love your brother and you are concerned for him but he's 40 years old. If he truly has back issues then he should be able to apply for disability. He may have to apply a few times but again, if he truly has back problems he should be trying.

    I completely aggree with susiestar. She has given good advice here.

    Your brother is manipulating you and the counselor. My son used to pull this all the time when we went to counseling. We finally found a counselor who would not put up with it. How have you slighted him??? You're letting him live with you and he does nothing.

    I admire that you want to help your brother but your "helping" has turned into enabling. Think 10 or 20 years down the road, where do you see yourself? Do you still want to be walking on eggshells in your own home.

    There is a very good article on detachment. Below is the link. Keep in mind, detachment does not mean that we don't love the person, it just means that we will no longer allow that person to use our emotions against us.

    Hang in there! Keep posting and let us know how things are going.