My 31 year old brother won't move out

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by nobodywins, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. nobodywins

    nobodywins New Member

    Hello, first time posting here - sorry in advance for the lengthy-ness.

    I'm not a parent, but a sister living at home with my mother, husband and my 31-year-old (soon to be 32 this year) brother. My mother has had a difficult 2 marriages, my brother was from a first marriage. She gave up everything to have custody of my brother (not knowing laws in this country). The 2nd, was my father - he emotionally and physically abused my brother for the few years of their marriage, making him kneel (an asian thing) in a corner or in the hot sun for over an hour at times for simple mistakes like spilling milk. Eventually my dad left and my brother was left with a lot of anger issues. My mom tried getting him counseling help but the therapist said after the 1st meeting that my brother refused to be helped and that he could not help him. My brother ended up being expelled from HS (for something that actually wasn't really his fault) at 15 or 16 so he finished out HS in independent study. He then went to community college and stayed home....and has never moved out since.

    My brother and mother have had issues ever since my dad left - including but not limiting to: him throwing things at her for pulling the plug on the computer and then getting into a physical fight with her, hitting a hole in the wall because she threw away some of his spam mail (he has pack rat issues), never lifting a finger to help/clean, etc. My mom is a person of faith, and when she prays before her meals, he will purposely talk loudly and make loud noises or openly mock her. Growing up (i'm a bit younger), I never had friends over as I was afraid and embarrassed of what he would do - when I was 13, a friend called in and because my brother happened to be sleeping, he cussed and yelled at her. The entire house is filled with his stuff (boxes he doesn't want to throw away, gun-related items, etc.) - when asked to get rid of things, he just laughs and locks himself in his room. He has extreme thoughts about life/people (this person cut me off on the road, so "they should die") and has a lot of anger issues. This has been the pattern for years. Now, at 31, he has never lived outside the home. Even when I moved out for college, came back home for a year or two and then left again when I got married, he has always been at home. He pays very little rent (although he uses up every space in the house - the 2 car garage only fits 1 car now because of his stuff). My mother, a single-mother for almost 20 years, has always been too tired and afraid to do anything. In the past, when I would try and encourage her to kick him out, her response has always been that he is not "normal", that she needs to show him a Christian-like example and love him regardless. She knows she enables him, but couldn't help still cooking for him (he has never cooked in his life) at times and cleaning up after him - or just leaving everything a mess because she is too exhausted. The car he has was given by her, and yet he made her pay him money when she gave away an old, beat-up monitor he hadn't used in years, "out of principle".

    My husband & I decided to move in with my mom to help her financially (she had gotten a new job that was not paying very much) and also, our hope was to give her the courage to ask him to move out. My brother was overjoyed that we would be paying rent, so "he didn't have to pay so much". He has a decent job and yet does not care that my mom is financially struggling. Finally, another incident happened where she asked him to do something and was upset by his lack of respect. She told him to have a better attitude towards her and he said, respect is a two way street, you set the example. And to our surprise and thankfulness, she finally asked him to move out when she just couldn't take it anymore. She gave him 2 months to get out. His response was explosive - he told my mom she was evil, that she did not love him, that she was telling him to get the F*** out and if that made her sleep better at night then so be it. He told her that she was "obviously" insane for reacting to something so small, and that she will never see him again. He texted me and told me that he had no family and that we would rejoice and benefit from his "misfortune". He questioned why we didn't "try and stop her (my mother)" - and I gently tried to explain all his years of abuse and disrespect towards my mother made her feel unsafe and exhausted in her own home. He seemed to calm down a little when my mom had a talk with him, telling him that living together just wasn't good for either of them and that she loves him to the end of the earth.

    Since then, it has been over 2 months and I believe my brother was hoping my mother would forget about telling him to move out - evidenced by the fact that he has not been packing anything at all. My mom has tried to talk to him about it - he refuses to rent, saying it is not "financially viable" and only wants to buy a home (in a good-neighborhood). We keep telling him that it's not normal to buy a home right away, and that everyone rents. He kept saying that the home he could buy would not be able to fit all his "stuff" and that a public storage unit was "unsafe". He would even joke about being a "man-child". This week, we had a contractor come and fix something at home (something my brother usually does not care about at all and does not pitch in for) and afterwards, my brother asked how much he could pitch in (probably fearful about trying to keep the peace so he doesn't have to move). My mom texted him telling him he didn't have to pay since he is moving out soon. Explosion #2 - my brother came home that night, slamming doors and grunting heavily. My mother sleeps extremely early for work and was upset at all the ruckus he was making - he told her that she was kicking him out on the streets and that his heart was hurting. He told her it was impossible for him to buy a home that could fit all his things - and she told him it wasn't her problem and that it was his choice not to rent. He then screamed, saying, "DO YOU WANT ME TO DIE? YOU WANT ME TO DIE! JUST TELL ME YOU WANT ME TO DIE" and broke down on the ground. She went to bed and he came in our room, and basically cried in a fetal position, whispering how unfair it was, "why him" and had a panic attack of sorts. He was like a small child, asking us if we could get him a "drink of water". He is under the delusion that he has done nothing to deserve this, saying that he has "contributed" all these years and that when I left for college, I was allowed to keep my stuff in my room, free of rent. He kept saying that she was being so "unreasonable". When we tried to tell him we would help him with the moving process, he told us not to mention anything about moving out because it "sets [him] off". We tried telling him that it was do-able for him to rent, that we've rented for years. He responded by saying that it was "our choice" and we "volunteered" to do so, and at "[our] own pace". He kept repeating that it was "impossible" for him to move his stuff (even though my mom is willing to give him another 2 months).

    At this point - none of us know what to do. My mom wants him out but she does not want it to get to a point where she has to force him out or evict him (i'm pretty certain she will never do so, especially being asian). He definitely has some mental health issues, and I am afraid of what will happen if he gets pushed even further. He has a lot of firearms - I don't think he will ever hurt us, but you just never know what a person will do at their breaking point. At a loss and feeling like there is no "good" outcome in this situation.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Nobodywins, I am so sorry for your family's situation.

    It is incredible how one person can torpedo a family's peace and well-being. From what you wrote, your brother has been at home in your mother's house for many, many years. He, for whatever reason, has not "launched."

    Now, your mother is changing the game. He doesn't like it, because he will have to change. He will actually have to get up every day and do something. He is going to fight back----hard.

    He will throw everything in the book at you and your husband and your mother in order to keep his status quo. You didn't say---does he have any kind of diagnosis, i.,e., mental illness, or does he abuse substances, like alcohol or drugs.

    In many cases, the person who behaves this way is either mentally ill or abusing alcohol and drugs.

    As you are likely reading on this site, many of us have struggled with similar situations. My son, who is now 26, abused drugs. he has been homeless multiple times and has been in jail multiple times. This was unfathomable to all of us in our family.

    We finally got to the point where we had to let his actions dictate his consequences. We tried 1000 times to fix him, rescue him, save him, give him yet another chance, but nothing changed. We paid for him to go to rehab, helped him get apartments, paid for college, you name it, we did it. We believed his "stories" and we gave and gave and gave. Finally, he taught us---he taught us---by his continued behavior, that he could not be trusted and he was a liar.

    We finally saw that, but it took us a long long time, because we loved him that much, and we wanted to believe him.

    As I see it now, we finally found the strength and courage to get completely out of his way and let him reap what he sowed. It was not pretty. In fact, it was very ugly and scary to watch, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, letting him go, but today, I believe that our working to let go has been one of the reasons he is now fighting his way back.

    We rob people of their self-respect and their dignity when we listen to their words instead of responding to their actions. There is usually a huge disconnect between the words and the actions. If we will only see it.

    Is your mother willing to make significant changes and set significant boundaries with her son? If she isn't, then you and your husband might as well leave and get on with your lives. If she is, she will have to go against her instincts more than she has ever done in her life.

    Please keep sharing with us. We understand and we know how hard this is. Most of us have fought for years to make this kind of progress. And it doesn't come easy.
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  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am sorry you are going through this, however your mother is the one who has to do this. It is her house and her decision and it's a hard one. Your brother probably will not listen to you.

    I agree that if things stand as they are, it is best to move out yourselves and go on with your life. Your mother will do what she wants to do. All we can do is change ourselves,, not others, no matter how much we love them. Mothers can't change adult kids and adult kids can't change mothers.

    Wishing you luck.
  4. nobodywins

    nobodywins New Member

    Thank you so much for your kind words... My brother does not have any diagnosis, he has always refused to be treated or seen by a therapist/doctor growing up. Thankfully he does not do any drugs and only drinks occasionally. I do believe my mother is willing to set boundaries but I don't think any of us know where to start. She is physically very tired and not that healthy, and she doesn't want to go to the extent of evicting him.
  5. nobodywins

    nobodywins New Member

    That's the tough part... I know that we can do nothing and that it is in my mom's hands - I do believe she wants with all her heart to get him out - she is truly at her rope's end- but she does not want it to get to the point of eviction and breaking off their relationship entirely, but maybe it may come to that?
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    That is 100% up to your mother. You can't know what she will do nor can you do it for her.

    All you can do is take care of yourself. If you moved in hoping to change your mother, you can see that it does not work that way. It has to become HER rock bottom for her to tell him to leave. Some mothers never get there.
    I do think it's dangerous that he is that unstable and owns firearms.That has got to make you feel unsafe. Like you said...he is not stable. You never know.

    Especially if you have children, I would move out and let your mother decide what to do. That is how it is going to turn out will be up to her.
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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Nobodywins,

    I am so sorry for what you are going through with your brother.

    While your brother may be 31 he is emotionally much younger. Your mom had enabled him for many years and now that she has had enough and has told him to move out he does not know how to process it. He has been allowed to get away with not being held accountable for too long.

    It's good that he has a job, that in itself says a lot.

    Ultimately it's your mother's decision as it's her house. You mentioned that he has firearms, that is of great concern. At the very least I would suggest to your mom that if brother is not going to move out that he has to get rid of firearms.

    Is there anyway that your mom and brother could go for some family counseling? If your brother won't go then I highly suggest your mom get a therapist. A good therapist can help her to navigate through this and help her to set boundaries.

    Perhaps you can share this site with your mom. It might be helpful for her to see that she is not alone in dealing with a difficult adult child.

    Your brother is definitely suffering, however that does not excuse his behavior. There are many of us here that did not have ideal childhoods and some also suffer from various forms of mental illness but we all have managed to live productive lives.

    There are no magic answers. We are just a bunch of parents trying to help each other navigate through the waters of having a Difficult Child (difficult child).

    I'm glad you found this site. There is a good article on detachment at the top of the Parent Emeritus page, read it, print out a copy for your mom.

    Let us know how it's going. We care.

    ((HUGS)) to you.....................
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    Hi and Welcome,

    Right now is a very slow time for responses. More people will probably be here later tonight or in the morning.

    As to your question--where to start--I think your mom has already done that. She told him it was time for him to move out. She gave him plenty of notice, and you and have offered to help him move. Your mom has given the ultimatum, now she is going to have to enforce it. I imagine he knows that she won't follow through with her threats and hasn't taken her seriously.

    The only way he is going to leave is if he is forced.

    It is very sad that your mom is abused by your brother, yet she won't allow the authorities to be involved and help her get an eviction. If she won't make him leave, there is not much that you can do.

    Please keep posting. It helps.

  9. nobodywins

    nobodywins New Member

    Thank you everyone - it is really encouraging (but also sobering and sad) to know how many other people deal with difficult children/siblings and the dysfunction/pain/grief it brings to their families. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us - it just seems so far away at times.

    My mom got a barrage of texts from my brother after last night's incident, emotionally blackmailing her and telling her that she is reminding him feel like he doesn't belong in a family & that by telling him to move out, she is essentially telling him to go crawl somewhere and die (and that if he ends up in the hospital from all this stress, it's her fault).

    Thankfully she doesn't seem to be as emotional about these things as she used to be, I genuinely feel like she is more courageous and firm in her resolve now that we are living with her. I even talked to her about possible eviction (thanks to all your encouragement) and she seems to be a bit more open to it than before. Has anything ever gone through the eviction process with a child? How did it go?
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Would the brother agree to three family counseling sessions which would include you and your husband, too? This could be a non-threatening way to begin.

    I think I read that the problem is less that mother does not want son to live with her than it is that son's inappropriate behaviors are scaring her.

    As the brother's explanation for refusing to leave has to do with where he will store his collection of things...would it be possible for the mother to live with you and your husband, and for the three of you to find a suitable apartment nearby?

  11. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Does he pay rent? The process varies from state to state, and if he actually pays rent or is just a "guest". If your mother tells him to move out but then doesn't follow through she is making the situation worse. There's nothing you can do if she won't do what needs to be done. As others have said you can only control yourself. I'd consider moving out of this dysfunctional situation. Maybe contact authorities to see if he's guilty of elder abuse? Really until your mom is ready to do what she needs to do nothing is going to change.
  12. nobodywins

    nobodywins New Member

    Update - my mother wants my brother to move out but is unsure of what to do next. She knows she needs to give him an official notice to vacate before filing for eviction, but the complicated thing is that there is no lease agreement & my brother does pay some rent each month. Is there anything she should do (legally)? How much time does she need to give him to move out (we live in CA)?
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi nobody's good to hear from you. I think what you are asking depends on state law in California. We have some people here who may be familiar with the eviction process there. I'm not familiar with the specifics. Hoping you and your mom are doing okay.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Most Counties will have a Board of Realtors. They have all kinds of information and forms for property owners.

    State law governs landlord tenant relations. Google California Landlord Tenant Law 2015. The California Department of Consumer Affairs has a pamphlet entitled California Tenants, A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights, I believe it is free.
    I am thinking that in the case of danger or even an implied threat of violence, that the normal eviction rules may not apply. Perhaps you might want to consult with the district attorney's office of your county or the sherrif as they are the ones that handle evictions.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Your story is very concerning. I agree with the other poster who said ifyou have children, I would very very very seriously consider moving out of the home immediately. And if he is ever violent, I would immediately call the police.

    Also, if you don't have them at this time, I would get locks for your bedroom doors...for you and your mother.

    I don't know for sure, but it might not be too complicated in terms of what to do next. He very likely needs to receive official notification that you are terminating the arrangement of allowing him to live in the home. You might need to give him at least thirty days notice. You need the advice of a realtor and/or an attorney.

    Other things to consider:
    Family therapy
    Buying a gun safe and insisting that he place all his guns and ammo into the box and have your mother and/or a trusted person on the oustide (better) keep the key. This could be used as a bargaining tool for him to stay another month.
    Help your mother get legal counseling/perhaps there is legal aid available
    Send him an official/certifified letter regarding when he has to vacate the property/but give him sufficient notice (double check with an attorney) Make sure you have a copy of the letter in a safe place, as well as the receipt of the certified mailing.
    Offer some/ a little help with reference to moving. For example, he can use the garage as a storage unit for six months. After that he will have to use an official storage unit. You can draw up a letter of agreement.
    Help him (within reason) find a house to rent. You and your mother can offer to split the cost of moving and hire movers to move his stuff to the new place. In other words, make it relatively easy for him to move. Make it a little more comfortable for him to move out.
    If you think there is any chance of it working at all, you can say that you thought he might actually want to move out before his 32 ??? (next birthday) as a cool way to celebrate. However, it doesn't sound like there is much reasoning with him.

    But most importantly, be very aware of the safety for you, your family and your mother.
  16. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Go to You can get a free phone consultation. There are also plenty of legal aid offices in major cities.
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    How are things going, NBW?

    Let us know how you and your mom are doing.