Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
DB sectioned and blaming family / aggressive(69 Posts)
Would love advice from anyone who has experienced similar. DB sectioned in March. Has bipolar and severe addictions (hard drugs and drinks excessively) Is late 20's and has never held down job for longer than a few weeks, left school at 15 and can't maintain own accommodation so lived with our elderly parent but trashed house, had drug binges there with others. Was aggressive and behaving unpredictably, hence section but DB is being very aggressive towards his family. We have all helped as much as we can in the past but with children of my own now I'm actually sick of it. DB is manipulative and only calls for money. He had a sad childhood, we all did though.
How do others deal with this? I have tried to emotionally detach as my priority is my kids (1 and 3) and I have a demanding job. Toddler says she is scared of DB. Im sympathetic to him but I just don't think you can let childhood experiences take over and need to let go. DB dwells but isn't interested in therapy. Just wants to be able to live rent free with parent, fed etc free of responsibility and for family to give him money when benefits spent. No desire for work or any kind of positive future. Very angry at us all for not allowing this to continue. Any advice welcome. Parent has enabled in the past which I have always tried to stop but now handouts are expected.
I don't think Bipolar Disorder is something that occurs through being 'enabled'. Nor do I think it is a result of 'letting childhood experiences take over'. Do you actually understand that it is a mental disorder? I'm sure it grates when you're so close to it and he doesn't seem to be trying to help himself but you sound like you have no understanding of it whatsoever. If you can't be supportive I would step back completely and let other people make their own decisions.
I agree with Smilla. OP I get that this is unpleasant and wearing for you, but bipolar is a serious mental illness. It goes way beyond being enabled. His behaviour is not his fault. He needs serious, lifelong treatment. I hope he gets it.
I'm talking about the addiction being enabled. I am also saying that he doesn't think he needs treatment and shouldn't be where he is. Have either you had a family member like this? I really only need advice from those who have because otherwise there is little understanding or concern for the needs of carers.
DB does talk about the past a lot but that is nothing to do with bipolar, just a separate issue as is the drug addiction. They all amount to hard work for families though and he is hitting out at those closest to him. DB is very manipulative and it is making elderly parent ill. Support from MH services has only come since being sectioned. Families (it's not our fault either as much as it is t his) are expected to take on a lot of care to the detriment of their own lives.
Any advice from those with experience would be great. How did you deal with it?
Smilla it more than 'grates' to have someone in the family with complex problems. How trite. How patronising btw to suggest I don't understand. As a family we have done all we can to understand and support. I get the impression that you have never faced even the slightest adversity. Flumpty 'unpleasant'? Do you get what it's like to love someone and have them be abusive towards you and your children and yo be manipulative to get money for drugs? How disempowering to suggest that none of his behaviour is his fault. You can make a choice to get help. Jesus, I hope neither of you two work in any kind of caring profession. DB has been ill for ten years and we have coped wonderfully and been incredibly supportive, financially and emotionally. Recently, there has been a crisis point where he was aggressive and threatening to elderly parent. Do you have any sympathy for this 72 year old widower?
Sorry OP l can't help but hope someone comes along soon who can.
My uncle has bipolar and severe mental agitation from a very shit childhood. My dm tries to be there for him but l know it does wear her down as it's so emotional for those that care.
My cousin was also diagnosed with bipolar 5 years ago and tbh apart from the odd lapse is doing really well.
He is in the right place IMO and one would hope that he would get the care and help he needs. Under no circumstances should he be allowed to return to the family home until he has help / treatment/ support that he needs. It is easy to say he would be better in familiar surroundings etc but he has threatened once , and I think you are right to have done this. Of course he is abusive towards you as due to his illness ( and addictions) it is what he knows and is the easy way ...I doubt the road will be a short one and I hope for you all that he does get to a position where he can live with his illness and he can get as much support and help as he needs.( and so do you and your family).
He needs more support than you and your father can give him. You have coped for 10 years and you've had enough, I totally understand that.
Detach as much as you can and live your own life and encourage your father to do the same. And encourage him to refuse to have DB home for his own safety. DB isn't your responsibility. There is help and treatment available for him but if he chooses not to engage or accept treatment that's his choice, he's an adult.
If your father still has him home then that's his choice, you don't have to condone it or get sucked into a situation that isn't of your making. If your father refuses to have him home then the hospital SW will have to find him somewhere.
Our family have been where you are and the best decision we made was to detach and leave him to it. Eventually he sorted himself out, accepted treatment and found supported accommodation and now has a good relationship with all of us.
Thanks stoned it really is wearing for family. I could deal with supporting the bipolar but once the drug taking lifestyle took hold it became really difficult. Difficult enough as it was! It's hard to support someone who doesn't see a problem and doesn't want to change. DB was happy with his lifestyle but that lifestyle involved stealing from family, trashing parent's house, intimidating money out of family, emotional blackmail etc and generally using everyone and alienating those who genuinely cared. the drugs are more of a problem than the mental health problems but I get that they are related. Self-medication to an extent.
People can absolutely do well with mental health problems but you need to look after yourself and take meds or therapy or whatever works. Glad your cousin is doing well.
We have had suicide and deaths by OD in the family history too and that is always hanging over us so I think we have been too soft in the past.
Mythical thank you for your encouraging words. I think that's what I needed to hear. I ring DB twice a week but he refuses to speak to me and then sends abusive messages and Facebook posts about how I have ruined his life etc. He recently called asking for money and for me to visit so I transferred £100 (as he is abstaining from drugs due to section, wouldn't otherwise) and booked last minute v expensive train tickets, arranged childcare, booked three days off work (not easy, boss really not happy) and accommodation only to have DB ring back once I had transferred the money saying not to come. I thought he was making progress but he just wanted the money. This is the sort of thing he does. It's exhausting.
I think you're right. We need to detach so the mental health and social services do what they're paid to do. It has all fallen to us and I live four hours away.
So glad your own family member sorted themselves out. Really gives me hope.
I think you can either carry on like you have been doing, or you can detach and concentrate on your life and your children.
You won't be a bad person for detaching, you've done what you can, but from the sounds of it your brother is never going to change.
Yes, bipolar is a serious mental illness, but not all people with bipolar are violent addicts, far from it. The ops brother still holds responsibility for his actions, and from the sounds of it will not accept that he needs help.
Just saw your post rosa. He won't be allowed back to family home. All we want is for him to agree to treatment but he's just angry that we have put a stop to former lifestyle and that he isn't now free tondrink all day and inject drugs. Thanks for your kind words.
Sorry you're having a really hard time op. don't blame yourselves for being soft, it's only natural and unfortunately your concerns are totally justified, he is at risk of those things.
How about instead of sending money, helping him out with groceries or something instead? That way you aren't abandoning him or facilitating the drugs? Are they really self-medication?
The sad truth of it is that a lot of the time drug addicts need to hit rock bottom to find the motivation to change.
unspecial that's how I feel. We had a shit childhood in many ways but I want it to end here. I want my children to have a normal childhood and with DB the way he is, I don't want him around them as he frightens them.
You've nailed it, not everyone with bipolar are like my DB. Many lead normal lives. It's the lack of motivation, drug addiction etc that are the real problems here but his mental health problems play part in those things.
I have done mrsrisotto. I visited last month with a bag of food and magazines etc. it was just easier in this instance to transfer money. I don't think he is able to get hold of drugs in the hospital. I hope not as he will have built up resistance so more vulnerable to OD.
You are right about having to reach rock bottom. DB just can't seem to see that it isn't our fault. He's more lucid now drugs are out of system and he still says this.
"We need to detach so the mental health and social services do what they're paid to do".
Put in firm, higher and consistent boundaries for your own self and stick to these. Ultimately you can only help your own self here.
Family are often too close to the situation to be of any real use, not that the addict wants their help anyway (only their money instead which he will use to self medicate).
He will only make progress of his own volition (from anyone other than the person concerned are attempts doomed to failure) and he may not ever change. The person who was and is your brother, is no longer there.
Do not send him any further money either, infact I would not contact him in any form. Items like groceries could well be sold to pay for drugs, he will not use those.
The dangerous thing about that, is the risk that he stops taking drugs, reduces his physical tolerance then accidentally overdoses by taking an amount that would have been fine before. I hope he knows that. Is he in touch with a drug focused health service? I know we have one in Birmingham and there will be similar services in London, don't know about where he is based though. I'm guessing he's not exactly keen to engage though.
Taking the blame himself is probably too painful, but it isn't really important whose fault it is now. He is where he is so he needs to think about how he wants his future to be. I don't think you're the right person to talk to about this stuff though! And he won't talk to others at the moment so, I guess I agree. Try to detach yourself a bit, emotionally at least. There's a phrase in carers AA which might help you: "You didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it."
My personality disordered BIL continues to blame others as the architects of his misfortune (his parents mainly along with his brother) but the truth is that he made these choices. He was also a very troubled adolescent (the roots of all this started during that time) and left school without any qualifications.
Parents have and continue to enable him; he has no job (cannot hold down any job for very long) and lives at home now with his mother. His parents objected to his being sectioned so it did not happen (not that sectioning BIL would have made any real difference but it would have got him out the house for a month). He uses his elderly mother, people and doctors to get what he wants; he is a master manipulator and plausible on the surface.
All you can do for your own self is help you and emotionally and physically detach from this before you become even further bogged down.
Attila. I know. I shouldn't have transferred that money. I feel like I moved a boundary there. You are right. I think it's just because we know DB is telling anyone who will listen how awful we all are and have abandoned him in this psychiatric ward and I can imagine his addict friends and the other patients agreeing with him and fuelling that anger. I think I wanted to do something tangible that proved I was there for him.
I think I will stick to a weekly call to the ward which he can respond to if he likes and transfer my attention to caring for parent and communicating with hospital staff about care plan etc.
You are right, he has to want to change and it has to come from him. He will always have bipolar but he can change the other stuff.
I appreciate your reply. As the first two replies to my OP demonstrate, there is often disregard for carers and families and it's assumed we have boundless energy and reserves to care for ill family members. But we don't. We have our own lives and the stresses of work, children etc are hard enough as it is.
That AA quote is very useful msrisotto thanks and yeah, I worry about the reduced tolerance. A common cause of OD.
BIL sounds just like DB Attila. DB didnt care for studying and also left without quals. DB also enabled by parent. So horrible to see but you know it comes from love. Same with the manipulating etc and can come across as pleasant when he wants to, eg when social services etc been involved in the past.
He needs professional help.
It astounds me that he's been living like that with no regular professional support. He needs regular contact with mental health and addictions workers.
A word of warning- there is a very high risk of suicide the month after being released from being sectioned. Often support services aren't put in on time and people slip through the net. Be careful he isn't release until they have arranged a proper support plan for him to live in the community.
You may also want to see if there are any local advocacy services to help you through the process.
If it was just drug addiction it would be easier to detach but because if the mental health problems I can't. I also feel that I would be judged really harshly and it would appear that I have 'abandoned' him.
It's not families that make the decision to have someone sectioned it's doctors. In these days of NHS cuts it's very difficult to get someone sectioned, they have to be deemed without mental capacity to make their own decisions or a danger, and not necessarily a danger to themselves - my dd was released after a section 136 to a place of safety after 12hrs following trying to kill herself because she was deemed to have the mental capacity to make decisions even if those decisions included to hang herself from the banisters by a rope.
Anyway, that's just to illustrate that you can't just ask for someone to be sectioned to those who think you can and your brother needs to understand that it wasn't in your family's authority to make that happen.
I'm with those who say that you should detach completely. You can tell him that won't have contact with him until he's clean, illness aside. The drugs will be exacerbating the MH issues (I'm sure you already know this!) so you might find it within yourself to re-establish a relationship with him when he is drug & alcohol free as his MH will be much more manageable. You don't have to of course, it depends on your tolerance levels and ability to leave things in the past which are entirely personal boundaries which you are entitled to have.
But please don't give him any more money, what does he need money for when he's in hospital anyway? Is he likely to go from the psych ward to s rehab facility?
Hi OP - I am glad you responded to the initial very critical and unsupportive comments. Your brother is engaged with very destructive life choices and his main aim is to continue that and blame others for it - which is classic behaviour for an addict with no motivation to change. He cannot get the appropriate treatment for bipolar until he is out of a destructive drink/drug/binge lifestyle. These are facts and not judgements about him or how difficult his history was. He is manipulating all of you to get what he needs from you. Telling people very critical things about you is just something that he understands will bother you and give him leverage to manipulate you further. He may also believe what he says.
Your brother's behaviour is dominated by his addictions. Addiction is common for people with bipolar. It's nontheless a very destructive choice. You are right to step back, hold boundaries and protect yourself and your family from the fallout as best you can. No one, mental health professionals or anyone, can really help him until he decides to help himself.
Thanks Athena. I have already enquired about advocates. They don't have any working there. I am disappointed with the lack of professional help too but you don't have to engage if you don't want to when living in the community. Notbbenefits bashing here but DB is just handed a responsibility free £300 a week which he obviously has always spent straightaway. On drugs for hm and 'friends' That is halved now in hospital. I do think there should be an element of having to engage with services if those benefits are linked to your mental health problems. There has been no support at all.
I will ensure support in place oncebsection is over Athena, thanks.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.