AIBU about my struggling brother?(55 Posts)
I had a very complicated and difficult childhood (that is putting it mildly). About 5 years ago I decided to cut off all contact with my parents. My brother had left home about two years before, but was still in sporadic contact with them and the same with me.
The last time I saw him was 6 years ago when we ran into each other on a bus. We spoke for about ten minutes for about 12 months after that we very, rarely sent a couple of Facebook messages.
Our relationship trailed off for two reasons. First of all my life was very full, at the time I was uni, I was leaving with my now fiance, was working part time and I have always had a very active social life. The second was that my Brother is VERY unreliable. He was forever losing his phone (or not paying his bill and getting cut off), misplacing his bank card , going weeks on end without glasses and forgetting his social media and email passwords. All of this meant it was extremely difficult to stay in stuck. Eventually I gave up. I don't blame him for the relationship ending it was just one of those things.
Fast forward to about three weeks ago. My brother adds me on Facebook and messages me. We swap a few messages and it soon becomes very obvious that his life is pretty crap. When I asked him how he was he said 'exsisting but not living'. He told me he was ill (but not what with), he was on the sick and could not cover his bills and if he took much longer off work he'd lose his all together.The way he was talking I knew he was hankering for somewhere to stay. I spoke to my fiance and a couple of very close friends (that I consider family) at length about it and it was just not a possibility. For a start I don't even know what is wrong with him, he might just need somewhere warm and safe or he might need care, I really don't know.
When he realised this was going to happen he stopped messaging me. That is until he popped up last night. This time tell me how awful his financial situation is again. He was saying things like ''If I could just have the overdraft cleared for me' and 'I'm hoping to go back to work next week, if I just had the cost of my travel covered until I get paid again'.
He was definitely hinting for money. I screenshotted the messages and sent them to a friend saying 'He is asking for me' then accidentially sent it to my brother too.
He then starting saying 'I would never ask you for money, it would be a waste of time' When I asked why he said 'You would never give me it. I am sorry I am annoying you when have such a perfect life'
I the sent him a tonne of practical advice as to what he could do. If he did them all he would have a real way of getting out of his situation.
He then just said 'I'll leave you alone until my life is better'
The thing is I feel incredibly guilty. It is true that I have a pretty great life, I have a cushy job, I have a nice home, earn good money and have fantastic people who care and support me. I also have mental health issues due to my childhood and know his presence in my home could break me.
AIBU not moving in him and not offering financial help?
Maybe your the only person he has and this is his time of need. Personally I would help my DB out if I could. I could understand if you had fallen out but if not I don't understand why you wouldn't help you db at a time of need.
YANBU not moving him in but YABU not helping him in other ways,
The thing you did accusing him of asking you for money wasn't kind - if you don't want to help, don't, but don't be unpleasant about the person too by spreading rumours and then letting them find out about it. Cruelly humiliating.
He is clearly after money, and I would find out a bit more before you hand anything over so you don't end up a cash cow, Having said that, if you aren't going to help, be honest now. You'll have to say it loud and proud, which won't make you sound like a nice person, but something tells me you'll be ok with that.
Didn't you post previously? I think the unanimous vote was no to cash. .
YANBU. I would be wary too.
I think offer lots of practical help, emotional supprt but no money x
In my opinion it basically boils down to whether you can afford to help him.
You both had a shitty upbringing and people cope differently with those things.
I'm in a similar position in that my childhood was less than idyllic (although not abusive) and my sister hasn't done as 'well' as me to those looking in.
My DH is extremely kind and generous so suggested (after we paid a few bills to get her out of trouble) giving her some money every month when I was trying to work out what I could do.
I can spare the money and she doesn't have to worry about some bills. It's being a sister.
However I wouldn't allow myself to be taken advantage of and she never asks me for anything else.
You need to weigh up if your help could make a measurable difference or if it will enable him in an unhelpful way.
I do see what you mean about the message and I do feel bad that he got it. The person I was speaking to was a very close friend, however I was being cruel.
I did tell him yesterday that money was going to happen.
The reason why I can't give him money (realise that I didn't really specify) is three fold. First of all I am getting married this year and I do not have a great deal to give.
Secondly, my brother is horrendous with money. For instance if I paid off his overdraft (plus bank charges etc), gave him money to get to work and even gave him some to live on, he would be back in the same position within a couple of months. If I gave him a lump sum, he would buy a games console, if I gave him bits and pieces here and there, he would buy takeaways and DVDs.
Thirdly, he would then expect it all the time. If I did it once it would never end. He would just do whatever he wanted knowing I would bail him out.
He is 28 now and he needs to learn how to handle things himself.
He isn't your brother. You should help him with all you can.
Wow! So your brother was a product of the awful upbringing ( that causes you to have a mental health problem) and yet you cut him zero slack for ending up in a crappy situation. And you're sitting there with your cushy job and great life and you won't even spring for the cost of a travel card so he can get back to work.?There's absolutely nothing you can assist him with financially.....even on a once, never to be repeated offer? You sound pretty cold to me .....sorry YABU.
Don't screen shot his messages and send them to a friend with comments - that is cruel. He has written that to you as a personal communication, not to be shared and criticised. If you want to discuss with a friend at least write a separate message!
Definitely don't ask him to stay.
I don't think it's mean to not offer money. Depends on your circumference and the relationship. If you have decided not to offer money I'd end any fishing conversations early on. So when he started hinting say you need to go, speak to you soon etc. Rather than letting him carry on dropping ever larger hints.
Maybe he needs his sister..and as you are obviously both products of an unhappy family scenario, it may help. You can still reach out without becoming a benefactor.. Just sayin
Don't help him. You don't actually have much of a relationship and he seems to only contact you to hint at you giving him money or accommodating him.
What about spending some time with him face to face. Meet for coffee or a drink. Have a chat.
You were bang out of order discussing this with your friend, let alone sending her screenshots. That's a bit "Mean Girls". It sounds like you realise that this was a horrible thing to do though, so hopefully you have apologised to your brother and promised him that any further correspondence will be private between the two of you.
However difficult it was for you growing up, presumably it was just as difficult for your DB (obviously I'm making an assumption there, so apologies if I'm wrong). He is really struggling by the sounds of things. Can you honestly not help him at all? You say he'd waste any money you gave him, but he may have changed a lot in 6 years. Could you not buy the travel card rather than giving him cash? He's your brother and he needs you. If you can help him get back on his feet then that would be the decent and kind thing to do.
I don't truly believe anyone accidentally sends people messages about themselves.
Deep down you wanted him to see it.
Just be honest with yourself and him. You don't give a shit.
YANBU. Offer whatever support you can realistically cope with. Reading between the lines, I don't think money will help him, and it sounds like having him in your house would be to much for you to cope with.
OP, I feel for you. I have similar situation with my DB. He's older but very irresponsible with money, often getting himself in to bad financial situations, usually of his own doing.
His contact is very sporadic, usually only when he is after money. I would say YADNBU.
Just because he's your brother, does not entitle him to financial support from you. Your not close, you certainly don't owe him anything. You have been there and offered practical advice, don't feel obliged to help him.
As you have said your not 100% certain of his situation. I know this would seem heartless to those close with their siblings but speaking as someone in a similar situation, its frustrating having to bail someone out who won't learn from their own mistakes.
If he is that bad with money giving him money is enabling bad behaviour. Sort it like giving an alcoholic another drink. It's not loving to bail someone who is constantly irresponsible out.
Honestly if I were you I would continue to give him emotional support and advice where you feel able. But honestly you are not responsible for him. He is an adult and has made a series of choices that has led to his situation. Don't feel guilty. You had a shitty upbringing too and made different choices that is why your life is the way it is.
I'm sorry but I disagree with previous posters and definitely think you are not being unreasonable.
You hadn't seen him in 6 years, had a chance meeting on a bus and then sporadic contact for one year. In the last five years he hasn't bothered with you nor you him. He then suddenly pops up when his life is shit and it's nothing to do with wanting a hand out?
He might be your brother but that doesn't automatically mean you are obligated to help him, especially given the circumstances and the fact that you know the money won't help.
If he didn't need you for all that time he doesn't need you now, you're not an interest free, last resort bank.
People who have said I do not care- that is not true. I didn't care I would not have given him the practical advice that I did.
I really do feel sorry for him and I am very said that our childhood had impacted him the way it has.
The way Facebook messenger works means if you share a screen shot it kind of stays on the screen until you go out of it (which the caption attached) I did not lock my phone properly and knocked it whilst getting on the train.
The message was sent entirely to him in error.
The message was not sent to my friend with any malicious intent. This is one of my closest friends who I speak to everyday it was sent to show the situation and ask for advice.
With my brother it is also very much 'give him an inch and he'll take a mile'. If I bought him a travel card it the requests would not end.
This is not the first time I have got my brother out of trouble. When I was 16 my brother was due to be thrown out of uni. He was terrified,but did not show up to meetings that were arranged to solve it, didn't speak to his lecturer, he did nothing just buried his head in the sand. I wrote to his tutor explaining what his upbringing had been like and when to see him (it wasn't local either) begging he give my brother another chance, he did for my brother to mess it up not long after.
When I was 17 he was made homeless, due to a number of just really stupid decisions. I gave some money then, got him a place to stay, got him a job and also helped him make a couple of friends. Not long after the money was gone and the friends very soon after.
There have been other situations that I have got him out of my and my cousin has done the same.
It is not like I have never helped him. He has never thanked me for anything, he has never made the most of what he had and he has never tried to solve something when it goes wrong. He just buries his head in the sand and waits for someone to clean up his mess.
I can assure you I do genuinely care and I am genuinely sad that he is at this point in life
I feel for him. You don't speak about him with much affection, which is a shame. Presumably he was also influenced by your less than ideal upbringing.
That said, financial support may not be the most constructive support you could offer.
Agree with Sailor
I don't think people have any idea what it's like having relatives who expect you to repeatedly bail them out, when they won't help themselves.
Protect yourself OP, because no one else will.
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