Horrible family situation - WWYD?(9 Posts)
This may be long and complex, so I apologise in advance.
Background: My little brother (21) has Asperger's Syndrome. Before I start, I should point out that I do not think that his ASD is the reason for his awful behaviour, but at the same time, I do not believe you can separate the two. Everything is black and white to him; he is right and you are wrong and if you don't like it you can get lost. Because he is the youngest, and because his ASD made his school life a huge challenge, he has always been protected and sheltered by my mum (and me, I'm 9 years older so have always 'mothered' him too). He and my dad have always had a strained relationship (personally, I think my dad is on the spectrum too) to the point that, after an argument a few years ago, my brother has practically cut him out of his life and only tolerates his company for the sake of my mum, whom my brother adores. My dad tries really hard with my brother, tolerates his rude and selfish attitude in a way that he would not from any one else, helps him out financially etc but it makes no difference to my brother - in his mind they argued and now dad is dead to him. Even though the argument was trivial and both were at fault.
Anyway, my brother managed to get a flat from the housing association. He has no job and lives on benefits (his ASD means that he is not very employable - if a manager tells him he has done something wrong, but he thinks he is right, he quits because the manager 'is an arsehole who has got it in for me'). He is mixed up with a bad crowed, he smokes weed and walks and talks like he is some sort of 'gangsta', even though his upbringing couldnt be more different. My parents are working class, but we have always been well fed, well looked after, taken on holiday, bought the latest gadgets etc. They bought us up to work hard and be respectful. Because he lives off of benefits, my parents have furnished his flat for him. They buy him food every week and regularly supply him with new clothes and shoes when he needs them. Mum finds little jobs for him to do so that she can have an excuse to give him small amounts of money or top up his phone credit. There have been several arguments about his weed smoking so mum tries not to give him cash so that he cant buy it.
Anyway, to the actual problem. My mum found out a week or two ago that my brother had stolen money from them. She had a large amount of foreign currency left over from a holiday. She decided not to change it back and instead save it for the next year. It was in an envelope in the bedroom that my brother stays in when he goes to visit. He had been taking small amounts of the money here or there over a period of about 3 months. In his words 'I was wrong to pinch it, but I always feel so bad about asking to borrow money so I thought I could pay it back'. He stole £300. He knew he wouldnt be able to pay it back. My mum told him that he would have to pay it back and was going to ask him for a few pounds a week. He got all upset and left the house pretty quickly. The next day, he turned up with £300. My mum (and I) have asked him where he got the money from and he keeps trying to say that he had it stashed away. We know this is a lie - its just not possible. So, either he has sold the television and games console that my parents bought him for Christmas (this would actually be the best option), or he has borrowed it from someone and has no real way of paying it back, or he has done something criminal to get it. My mum is terrified that he has gone to a street lender or ripped someone off and will end up getting beaten up or killed. I am too, but I am also so fucking angry at him. He stole from my parents, two people who give him everything. When he told me what he did he acted like it was just a little mistake. He told me in a 'what am I like?!' kind of way. My mum will never, ever turn her back on him no matter what he does and he knows it. She hasn't told my dad because he will go mad and there will be another argument.
I, on the other hand, was so angry that I wanted to slap my brother and tell him to stop acting like an arsehole. I didnt though, because I know that if I did he would just cut me out of his life without a second thought. He doesn't have any kind of family obligation, it wouldnt upset him to lose his sister because he doesnt think like that, his brain simply doesnt work that way. I am scared that if he cuts me out of his life I couldnt help him if things got really bad (which I know they will because of the way he is living his life).
So, how do I help someone who is so fucking impossible? I am so scared that he is going to end up dead in a ditch. Either from drugs or violence. But, at the same time, he is horrible. He doesnt care about anyone but himself. He hurts the people who love him the most. What do I do?
I feel for you. I also have a brother who has (undiagnosed) issues and is always getting in trouble...and I have a Mother who bails him out.
You have to distance yourself...emotionally. It's not your son...your Mother will make her own choices regarding him and you can do nothing about it.
My brother keeps losing his homes and then moving in with my elderly Mum...it's shit as he's grumpy, bossy and a pot head but it's HER choice.
She's totally in charge of herself. Your Mum is too.
Sorry no advice, sounds a very difficult situation. Bumping for you, and hopefully someone better will be along soon.
My daughter, who has AS, is around the same age as your brother. Stealing like this is more common than you would imagine. They know it's wrong, in the same way as we do, but there's some sort of disconnect between knowing it's wrong and feeling it's wrong. This makes it very hard to resist temptation. My daughter has taken us to hell and back over the years. The only thing that has finally made a difference is some intensive CBT with a psychologist who specialises in ASDs. But for that to work, she had to want to change her behaviour as much as we wanted it. Thankfully she did, so things are much better now.
If I could find out where the money came from I would. I do not know his friends or have anyway of contacting them. To be honest, Im terrified he has borrowed it from a street lender and will end up being beaten up or worse. I just hope that if he has done something stupid like that he might tell me so that I could help him. I know I probably shouldnt help him, but I dont want him to get hurt. Despite everything he has done, he is very vulnerable.
When he was 18, a friend of his showed him how to apply for social housing and he was given a room in an awful, dirty flat share. (This 'friend' had already had his application refused, so 'helped' my idiot of a brother - who did not need a flat because he was living rent free at my parents house - to get 'his own place' and then lived in the room with him for 6 months. This friend even forged a letter to the housing association pretending that he was my mum and had kicked my brother out of the house) My brother moved out without even telling my mum. Just left. My mum had a massive go at him (she is the only one who can without him going off on one) and refused to help him. 6 months later he came home with his tail between his legs, having lost loads of weight and had a real struggle. My mum made him promise to clean up his act, he went home for a few months and my mum helped him to get on to a training course to try and help him get a job. She helped him with his application to get a flat (the way he is with my dad meant that an argument is always just around the corner, they are best around each other in small doses). When he got his flat my parents decorated and furnished it, paid the deposit, bought his TV license. It was supposed to be his fresh start. Then he does something like this. All through his life he has been challenged regarding his behaviour. The problem is, since he has become an adult, he just storms off and goes missing for days and weeks. He does not understand social conventions, he cant read emotions, has no empathy, no sense of impending danger. He is incredibly naive and very vulnerable because of his ASD. He is also very entitled and an arsehole. I think that is what makes it all so hard.
My brother is very similar and has stolen off my parents over the years. He is now 44, we very rarely see him. Your anger is understandable, but I took the decision for my sanity not to get emotionally invested in his problems any more. I went to see him last year and he was sofa surfing as he had just lost yet another place to live due to his drinking. I felt like my guts had been ripped out. It was so stressful. But I couldnt really help him. We have all tried. Distance yourself emotionally IMO. It sounds cold, but it is the only way I could cope.
There is very little you can do to help him, I suspect he is not vulnerable enough to get support from Social Services or some kind of supported housing.
All you can do really is support your parents and try to protect them from the fallout as much as possible.
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