If this was your son what would you do?

(4 Posts)
MarianneEnjolras Tue 25-Feb-14 20:42:04

He's not my son, he's my brother. Mum is dead, brother has been living near to dad (after a long estrangement) for a year. He started off living with dad but moved out because he couldn't get on with dad and sm. He is now on his way back to this part of the country. The only family he has here are my sister and I. I know he will try and move in with my sister because he can bully her and she feels sorry for him.

He is (only just) 20 years old.
He is chronically lazy, like won't get up till 4pm but won't go to bed until 4am either.
He is a compulsive liar, has been for a loooong time.
Workshy, had a job but was fired after not turning up for work repeatedly.
In the past he has stolen money from my sister, my mum (when alive) and from the place my dh worked, therefore I don't trust him as far as I could throw him.
I strongly suspect some drug use may be involved. He smokes cigarettes but has history of also smoking cannabis (from back when mum was alive - don't know about anything more recent but again, I don't trust him).
He has a strange aversion to washing - himself or his clothes, which is highly unpleasant.
Has been prone to violent outbursts in the past.

He sounds like a very unpleasant character I know, however at the back of my mind I can't help feel sorry for him. He was the one who found mum's body when he was 18. Dad disappeared when my brother was very young. Mum had mental health and alcohol dependency problems, which got really bad when he was about 10 and never got any better. I know he has had a shit life and the people who were supposed to look after him failed him, however my sister and I both had an equally shit start in life but we're doing ok. I don't know what to do to fix him.

Why do I feel like I owe him my time and energy when I already know he will give nothing back?

I wish there was someway to make him better. I think he is showing some of the same issues as mum had and I am afraid he will commit suicide one day.

Liara Tue 25-Feb-14 20:45:35

I'm afraid you can't make him better.

The only thing you can do is be supportive of any attempts he makes to improve his situation.

Enabling him to sponge off you or your sister is not supportive of him improving his situation, though, so you should not spend your time or energy on him unless it is in very defined ways which are clearly linked to his efforts to help himself.

summer68 Wed 26-Feb-14 21:39:22

I totally agree with Tiara. Only HE can make himself better. I totally understand your concerns about suicide - I've lived with this fear too, but I notice some wise words on another post that said a counsellor once asked whats your worst fear and she replied- him killing himself but the counsellor replied that you can't prevent that from happening.
I'm not sure if this helps but it's just my thoughts- let him know you love him deeply ( because it's clear you do) . At least then if he does harm himself you will know it's not because he thinks hes not loved.
It's a very very sad situation for you and your family and you need to take care of yourself. Hugs to you xx

az09 Thu 27-Feb-14 11:06:36

You have to know you can't make him better and also not let him wreck your life or your sisters. Supporting someone like this - I have been trying to support a mentally ill niece for years - is exhausting and draining and you have to contain it somehow. Put boundaries round it so it does not take over your own life and energies. Also important to have someone you can offload on who doesn't mind. I use my husband and sometimes uninvolved friends. I have been through times when I thought I could fix it. I couldn't. You can't. Only he can in the end and you can only support him but on your terms not his.It breaks your heart and I am actually tearful writing this but there it is. That is how it is. Shit really. I really hope he pulls through. Take care. x

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