Brother is stealing and lying


New Member
Hi all! I know this is a forum for parents, but I am so fed up with my brother, I needed to search for help. My brother is 21 and has been stealing and lying to my parents, and my sister and I, for a while now. I don't live at home, but I know that his antics are putting a great deal of stress on an already stressful household.

The first thing I can remember him getting caught for was driving while high. Him and a friend were driving to taco bell when he was pulled over. He was driving my dads car, which has the firemans shield, and the cop knew him, so the cop called my father to come pick him up and didnt give my brother a ticket. This is the first of many times my father has saved him from getting in to trouble.

My brother started dating a girl around 18, dated for two years and broke up about a year ago. Now during that time he was fine. He didn't get into any kind of trouble whatsoever. Once they broke up though, it was like a different person was in the house. He took the break up really hard. He was miserable for a long time. We all kind of gave him a free pass to be miserable because we figured he would shake it. Well, he started stealing from around the house. Change out of the change jar, a few bucks out of my moms purse- then it turned into possessions. The wii went missing, playstation games were gone, my sister had to start hiding her stuff so he couldn't find it, it was horrible. And every time he was confronted he lied right through his teeth, with a complete straight and sober face. My parents didn't really know what to do. They wanted to believe him and kept giving him another chance. Then he started writing checks to himself from their checkbook. When the bank contacted my dad, he was furious. They confronted him again, with proof, and he still denied it! It wasn't until my mom threatened to throw him out that he confessed.

So they punished him and what do you know? He stole from his job. He stole from our neighbors. He kept stealing from home. And he lies about everything! And he doesn't get in trouble with the law! One family pressed charges when he stole two of their ipods. He was working for a dog walking company and stole from one of the clients. He lied and lied and lied to my parents. Well, they had cameras and he didn't admit it until my mom said "you were caught on camera!" Then my parents hired a lawyer to defend him! The absurdity!

I recently visited home and told my dad that he needed to let him get arrested. I told him he couldn't keep saving him. He is an adult making these choices and he can suffer the consequences. My dad finally agreed with me, after saving my brothers butt more times than I know. That might seem harsh, but I have tried talking with my brother. Explaining to him that he is breaking our mothers heart, not to mention stealing her hard earned money. He usually breaks down and says he knows, hes just so lost he needs help. So my mom got him help. She sent him to two psychologists and he didn't want to talk to either. We aren't even sure if he went. He lies about so much, we cant believe anything he says. He's lied about going to job interviews, taking tests to get into the carpenters union (after my parents bent over backwards just to get him on the list) and so much more. Even if he is telling the truth, we don't believe him. He has created such doubt in all of us that nothing he says carries any weight. I can tell that frustrates him, but he doesn't seem to understand that he did it to himself.

I'm not sure if its a mental disorder or if it was onset by the breakup. He was such a fun loving kid that never got into trouble. It kills me that he is going through this and dragging my entire family through it to. I think the reason my father keeps saving him is pride. I think my father is ashamed and doesn't want him to get arrested because he knows upwards of 50% of the police in town. For instance, just last week my brother told my mom he went downtown and paid a ticket for careless driving. A few days later a warrant for his arrest was mailed home. What does my dad do? He went to the police station and paid the fines for him.

I had no idea that this was somewhat common with other families. It breaks my heart to write this. I love my brother so much, I can't stand to see him do this to himself and my family. I'm really lost and don't know how to help. If anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated.
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Well-Known Member
DaisyMay, Welcome. I'm sorry you have to be here.

The first thing you need to know is that you can't do a thing to change this. Not only is your brother an adult, but so are your parents, who are enabling this behavior. Perhaps you can get your mom or dad to check out this site? If they keep bailing him out, nothing is ever going to change.

I suspect your brother is into drugs, alcohol, gambling - something. After all, what is he spending the money on? I doubt he's got a new car or clothes that he bought with the money he got from the Wii, right? Not to mention that the lying, denying he did it, is just textbook. My own son pawned our belongings and while he's never admitted to more than pot - which he loves - he once mentioned that he "beat a major addiction" while upset with me. He not only stole from us, he actually helped me look for something he stole! He denied it...even when he was the only possible person who could have taken it.

I wish I had words of wisdom. We booted our son out at 19 after the stealing became apparent and did not stop. It's high time your parents did the same, but, as I said, it's their home. They have to make the decision.


Well-Known Member
Echoing that if your parents want to enable grown brother, there is nothing you can do but talk to them. Its their decision. I have learned we cant change adults who dont want to change or who feel there are reasons they cant change. Your brother does sound like an addict. But only he can change that too.

Talking to people who deny problems or wont change gets old too and in their chaos you can end up the designated bad guy. I would stay out of it. Notice that all the rescuing and help and psychology appointments that your parents did is not changing your brother. They cant change him. He is what he is. And you can't change any of them either. Not one bit. Not by over talking, arguing or has to come from their heads, not yours. People often disregard even the best advice.

You can only change yourself and your reaction to the drama. Learning to detach has helped me in every area of life. If I know I can't control somerhing, I accept it rather thsn going around in circles trying to change what I can't.

I hope you can learn to let go of things you cant change and just try to live your best life possible. Good.luck. (your enabling parents are actually not that rare,)
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