To think I am making a mess of this(82 Posts)
I would hugely appreciate any advice on dealing with this situation.
I have a brother who is 37 this winter. He has always been 'difficult'; he has, I suspect, undiagnosed ASD. In addition to this, he's had serious mental health problems including one voluntary admission to a psychiatric ward 4 years ago.
To be honest, I find my brother difficult to like, most of the time. He has little by way of a sense of humour and the things he does find funny are bizarre, mostly involving someone else's misfortune or discomfort in some way. I guess because of this he has hardly any friends. He hasn't worked much either. He has a professional qualification but received a conditions of practice from the associations professional body 6 years ago due to his health. This was finally lifted 2 years ago and he got a job, but it didn't work out. Then he got another job, but the inevitable happened. So he's 'used' his qualification for two and a half years in total.
He is quite whingey and prone to theatrics. He fell down when we were skiing and made such a huge, embarrassing fuss - bellowing in 'agony' and moaning and whining. He falls 'ill' with alarming regularity - one of the points made to him when he had a conditions of practice made against him working was the size of his medical file and the fact that there was suspected Munchausins syndrome, something he hotly denies. I can't explain the number of times he's ill - so ill he can't possibly get out of bed, yet clearly he can because he goes to the doctor.
He constantly wants to 'come round', I suspect as I'm the only form of human contact he has, yet when you try to suggest stuff he could do he just says 'yeah, what a GREAT idea!' then doesn't do it. He brings up inappropriate topics of conversation up - talking about a cocaine addicted, prostutute using friend of his at an 18th birthday party - everyone knew this friend. Pointed out his mate might not want a load of young girls knowing this fact but he was just spluttering and giggling away to himself. Doesn't see this is the reason he has no friends at all.
He's never had a girlfriend, he desperately wants one but ... Always looks scruffy. Always wearing stained, too big clothes.
I want out. I want to stop being associated with him. I want to be non contact.
But how the HELL do you do this, in practice?! Do I just say 'I can't fucking stand you? Leave me the hell alone and stop coming round here all the time!' We have property we jointly own (our parents are dead and left us an inheritance.) So how to go about this?
Also I don't like him, but ... I'm all he's got. And I know he can't help being who and what he is but I'm so tired and ground down by it.
You will have to cut financial ties in order to go NC.
Embarrassment is perhaps not reason enough to go NC. Being sonwone's sole support is challenging though. Just don't be with him in widely social situations for a start.
Have you posted about him before here? He makes long trips across to come and see you? I think maybe it should be about setting firmer boundaries - can you get him to visit you only on set times? It sounds horrendous, but I think I would try to grit my teeth through monthly visits tbh. Maybe others could advise about getting an autism diagnosis and support from adult services.
It sounds very difficult but I agree with pp that boundaries, in terms of when you see him and also what behavior you will and won't accept, may be the way to go.
Mellow, he has done in the past, yes. Boundaries don't exist. They just don't. Yesterday he went into my bedroom ffs - it's as if he thinks we are still 12.
He refuses to get a diagnosis.
He is your brother and he is unwell. I think YABU.
He's never going to get better, though, Lavender.
I understand that, I just think think that him being unwell is a harsh reason to go NC.
But I don't want to go non contact because he's unwell.
I want to go non contact because he roars with laughter at people being hurt and humiliated; I want to go non contact because he invades my personal space; because he embarrasses me; because he drains me. So many reasons. Fuck all to do with him being unwell.
How sad for both of you. I would guess that he has rarely supported you in the way that you would hope for in a brother. I can't see, though, that it would be easy to sever contact - he clearly has an expectation that he can wander around in your house.
Perhaps, though, you could say no next time he wants to come round? Without knowing about how you and he live your lives, I can't suggest a good excuse: but I am sure you can think of a reason why it isn't possible for him to come round. Nasty illness, major plumbing problem, other social engagement - any of these?
And go for a long walk or to somewhere you can scream without being overheard, and just pretend he's there and yell at him for half an hour - to get some of this out of your system.
I don't think YABU at all, but it isn't easy to solve.
Sometimes I do say no - sometimes I'm genuinely not in or busy.
But - tomorrow? Wednesday? What about the weekend? He can't just let me BE.
I'd say you don't have to go full no contact, but if you can manage it, low contact.
Stop him coming in your house - be conveniently busy or just about to go out when he shows up. Agree to meet somewhere further away and neutral. Make sure you have some sort of caller ID on your phone so you can decide if you take his calls or not.
You are going to have to be firm, whether he likes it or not. Decide how many times you can cope with seeing him in a week and tell him that. If he wants to see you more often then you just have to say - no! Be firm, be strong. Practice saying - no.
Having said all that -
There's a high chance he wont accept the boundaries how ever strong you enforce them. Warn him that it's low contact or no contact at all.
It's tough, especially as he's a close relative, but at the end of the day if it's affecting you to the point that you're drained and your own health is suffering, what choice do you really have? I don't think you're being selfish.
I am sorry that you find yourself in what must be a really tough situation.
But I can't do low contact. He won't let me. I need to get away from him, and live my own life, I need to.
The thing is, either you are going to have to be brutally honest with him (and I use the word 'brutally' in all senses) or else you will have to find a way of coping with him. I am sure you realise that it would be well nigh impossible to completely sever contact. You would have to separate the finances first so that there was no concrete reason to be in touch: and that in itself would cause you stress and effort.
I keep re-reading your sad last para - "I'm all he's got". I can see that there's still a bit of you that wants to know how he is, where he is and what he is up to.
Does he understand when you are angry? If he has overstepped the mark - eg personal space - is there ever a time when your reaction makes him stop and think?
He hasn't a clue, and I doubt he'd care. He can feign sympathy or another emotion - usually in a ridiculously over the top manner - 'ooh, lost my earring!' will elicit a monotone 'Oh No Oh I Am Sorry How Awful!' but nothing sincere.
I'm trying to cope. But I feel like he's like he is fucking Birnam Wood creeping up behind me constantly and I can't get away, it's always like this. I was always XXX's sister and I still am. I'm 33 for gods sake!
I'm sorry op, it sounds like you've reached the absolute end of your tether. If low contact is a non starter then no contact is your only option. But you need to give yourself permission to do it.
Which is worse - continuing to be made stressed and exhausted by him or the guilt of no more contact with him?
I just can't deal with the drama. I want to be happy. Not miserable. Not being dragged back to a dirty house with dirty clothes sitting watching life go by.
But he does those things BECAUSE he is unwell.
I don't think you understand Lavender. He does some things because he may have ASD - that's not being unwell by the way - but if he won't get a diagnosis and accept professional support what hope have I got?
Sorry to sound a bit harsh, but I had a friend whose family made his life a living hell. In the end DH and I sat down with him and had quite a strong talk about it. In the end, he just needed someone to agree with him that they were really that bad and he was better off dropping all contact. He felt bad, still does a bit, but he's a very different person now, much happier.
I agree with you op - you can't go on like this. The no contact doesn't have to be forever either, but you need some time away from him. Take it!
Hope it all works out.
If you told him he couldn't come round until he had got a diagnosis, what would he do?
He'd probably ignore that Scary - it wouldn't make him get a diagnosis. He'd probably get shouty and offended, then two days later would have forgotten my instruction.
I'm sorry I just can't get my head around not supporting a family member because of an illness.
I haven't said that Lavender!
Nowhere in my OP or subsequently does it say I am not supporting him because he is ill.
He is rude, crude, boorish, inappropriate, lazy, dull and demanding.
He is also depressed and may be ASD, but anything he could do to help himself - he won't.
Come again and tell me where I am not supporting him because of his illness? What illness?
Incidentally the illness was self induced, which I didn't include and makes me hugely sympathetic - hard to accept your own actions have fucked up your own life - but still.
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