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aibu not to take care of my brother

(92 Posts)
Tigerpaws57 Tue 12-Apr-16 18:43:56

Would really appreciate an impartial perspective on this please. I am the youngest of seven siblings now aged mid forties to early fifties. As youngsters we were all quite close apart from one brother - J - who was always quite insular and never really had much of a relationship with me. As we grew up, we all moved away from our home town in Scotland. My siblings all live within an hours drive of each other but I have been in London for past 20 years, so haven't seen much of the others (too far for them to travel here apparently although I have gone back up to Scotland each year) but we have seen each other at christenings/weddings etc and send christmas/birthday presents (apart from J). J has been married to P, a very cold and unfriendly woman for many years and they have lived a very different lifestyle from mine. They both had good, well-paid jobs, a nice house, fantastic holidays, no children, very heavy drinkers and made no secret of the fact they had an open marriage and both had affairs. They never showed the slightest interest in my life or in my three children - not saying they should have but illustrates the depth of our relationship.

A few years ago, the alcohol started to have a serious impact. J lost his job, they lost the house and moved into rented accommodation. I did not see or hear from him for a couple of years but found out last year that he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness - he may last a few years but there is no chance he will recover. I flew up to visit him and was really shocked to discover how they were living. The flat is squalid and dilapidated and both he and P have become really lax in terms of personal hygiene. They were both bad tempered, critical of everyone and everything and clearly there was no love left between them. I admit that although I felt very sorry for J, I was quite relieved to get away.

Since then I have kept in touch by phone. It now seems that P has left J and gone to live with another man, leaving J to cope with his condition on his own. Obviously he is quite vulnerable and it is likely that he is not attending hospital appointments or taking his medication appropriately.

Last week, one of my other siblings contacted me. She lives an hours drive from J and has been visiting him for an afternoon once a fortnight since P left. However, she more or less told me that it was now my turn to do my bit and that as I am not currently working (was made redundant last Christmas and still considering what to do next) and as my youngest is now at university, she thinks I should bring J down to London to live with me for "a while" so that I can support and supervise his medical needs.

I do feel very sorry for him but also feel horrified at the thought of having a bad-tempered, alcohol dependant, unhygienic, middle-aged man who in truth I hardly know coming to live with me. I also dread that if he does come to London he will not want to go back up to Scotland and there will be no-one there who will be keen to have him back. I had been looking forward to a new future for myself with the children away, more time with my DH and perhaps a new career and I can now see that all disappearing. I know I sound like a selfish, miserable person for not wanting to take care of my brother. Perhaps I am. What do you think?

Areyouquitemad Tue 12-Apr-16 18:47:27

Hi OP,

I don't want to cause offence but really, this J is nothing more than what a distant cousin would be. Would you do all that for a distant cousin, of whom you have had no relationship?

I may get a lot of bashing for this, but family means much more than just blood sad and I think your sister was very cheeky to even say it as a fleeting comment.

Fanfeck Tue 12-Apr-16 18:48:10

YANBU at all. I wouldn't dream of it either.

ENormaSnob Tue 12-Apr-16 18:49:43


Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Tue 12-Apr-16 18:50:21

And let's look at this from your DH's perspective: "AIBU to not want my wife's alcoholic brother moving in with us?"

No, You're not being unreasonable. But do tell your sister that she's not responsible for your brother either.

expatinscotland Tue 12-Apr-16 18:50:31

'However, she more or less told me that it was now my turn to do my bit and that as I am not currently working (was made redundant last Christmas and still considering what to do next) and as my youngest is now at university, she thinks I should bring J down to London to live with me for "a while" so that I can support and supervise his medical needs.'

I think you would be fucking cray cray to take him on and if I were your husband, I'd tell you we were through if you did this and burdened our lives like this.

Your sister has a helluva cheek.

You tell her NO in no uncertain terms. 'It's not my 'turn' do anything. He's not my responsibility. He's an adult who brought this on himself and I will not turn my life upside down for someone I have pretty much no relationship with. So he's not coming here 'for a while', nice try!'

Fishface77 Tue 12-Apr-16 18:51:32

No way!
And I wouldn't feel guilty either!

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 12-Apr-16 18:52:07

Yanbu that is all

Witchend Tue 12-Apr-16 18:52:37

I wouldn't have thought he'd want to move away from everyone he knows anyway.

Timeforabiscuit Tue 12-Apr-16 18:52:37

Sibling dynamics are a really tricky thing, but no-one should get thrust into a caring role like that! Especially a terminal illness.

If you don't want to do it, don't. No need to feel guilty, it's not something you want to under take.

Navigating this with other siblings is tricky, but understanding where he is with his dependency, his prognosis and actually what your brothers wishes are in all of this are a good place to start.

Iliketeaagain Tue 12-Apr-16 18:52:52

YANBU. Being a carer for someone you love is hard, being a carer for someone you hardly know, even if he is your brother would be nearly impossible to bear.

It is not "your turn". There is social services which need to be taking control if your brother can not.
Did you sister have pressure put on her by the rest of that family to visit him / care for him that she now feels everyone else should take on, or did she decide she should herself?

Sparkletastic Tue 12-Apr-16 18:53:25

No. Just no. He is responsible for himself and he has made his own choices.

misswrite89 Tue 12-Apr-16 18:53:28

I would personally take him in and do all I could to get him help but I appreciate I'm in the minority and that I probably shouldn't do it, but I would because I would do anything for family.

But, objectively, OP YANBU and you shouldn't feel any obligation to take him in.

Didiusfalco Tue 12-Apr-16 18:53:40

Your sister can expect all she wants, but it absolutely does not mean you have to do it. I think that's the kind of commitment and upheaval that should not be asked/expected of anyone, but only freely offered. Say No. And repeat.

sonlypuppyfat Tue 12-Apr-16 18:53:54

He's your brother not your child, YANBU at all

biddy53 Tue 12-Apr-16 18:55:03

No - YANBU -don't even consider it.

ScarletForYa Tue 12-Apr-16 18:55:46

She's been visiting him for an afternoon every two weeks but she thinks you should take him to live with you!!

The cheeky cow. Tell her to get a grip.

harridan50 Tue 12-Apr-16 18:55:56


stonecircle Tue 12-Apr-16 18:56:30


Greydog Tue 12-Apr-16 18:56:36

No - he's an adult, he wanted to live the life he did - not your responsibility. You "owe" him nothing

TooGood2BeFalse Tue 12-Apr-16 18:57:20

After seeing how hard it was for my dad to care for my mum (who he ADORED) throughout her illness and eventual passing, I would say YADNBU unreasonable. I would be concerned about the impact it would have on your marriage - I know mine couldn't cope well with your situation.
So sorry your brother is unwell OP, but think you and your DH should be your priority

expatinscotland Tue 12-Apr-16 18:57:32

She goes and sees him one afternoon a fortnight, but expects YOU to have him FT and become his carer. That is some brass neck on her part. Don't feel guilty. But make it clear, you won't be taking care of him. Don't feel guilty about that, too.

OTheHugeManatee Tue 12-Apr-16 18:59:24

Nope, sorry. He did this to himself.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 12-Apr-16 19:00:47

You would be stark, raving mad to do this. You really, really would.

OliviaStabler Tue 12-Apr-16 19:01:00

Don't do it. You are not selfish, your brother is self destructing and nothing can stop that apart from himself.

Concentrate on your life and that of your family and do not be pressurised into relieving someone else's conscious.

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