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To want to know what's going on with my brother?

(9 Posts)
AJ65 Tue 21-Nov-17 14:17:49

So, it's a long story, but here's the bones of it.

My brother is 4 years older than me and I believe he has mental health issues but we can't talk about it unless he's actually having a breakdown.

He's never held down a job for more than a few months and only scraped a 'pass' degree as a mature student. For years he wanted to 'make it' as a musician, but although he was briefly in a cover band touring the NW of America in the 80s that hasn't really come to anything.

He lived in a foul bedsit in KingsX for many years, and when the building was finally demolished he moved quite close to me, but we only really saw each other at family events at my house or my Mum's (he became estranged from my father about a decade ago). When that became untenable he moved to my Mum's place in a market town in Wiltshire.

When he has a breakdown or becomes manic my Mum relies on me, but when he's stable, she won't even acknowledge there's an issue and if I try to raise it with him, I'm pathologising him.

This is becoming more of an issue because my little family (hubby and DD) are moving to the States in a few months and my Mum is desperate for us to 'build bridges' despite the fact that I feel like he's burned all the ones I've build, despises my husband, and has no interest in my daughter (11 going on teenage).

I'm not sure how to deal with this when I'm closed out of any conversation about what's going on with him.

redexpat Tue 21-Nov-17 14:27:36

Could you give your mum examples of bridges that hes burned? I would also be asking her if she has had the same convesation with him.

sizenines Tue 21-Nov-17 14:30:11

Your DM's way of coping is to pretend everything is ok with DB unless there is a crisis. She is desperate for 'normal' and can't see beyond her own issues, meaning that it's going to be hard, but not impossible, for you to persuade her to take counselling and get to understand how she can support DB as a parent. For you, at this stage, there is advice from mental health organisations and charities for families so I suggest that as your first port of call.

AJ65 Tue 21-Nov-17 14:33:20

Thanks redexpat, but not really. We had an enormous row a few years ago when I suggested we share an allotment (I had money and knowledge and he had time) and he started getting into 'who would get what' before we'd even planted anything. My Mum's response was, 'I've spoken to him about it and I don't want to get in the middle so I don't want to hear what you have to say.'

AJ65 Tue 21-Nov-17 14:35:08

sizenines - we tried family therapy after my Dad died, but it just made things worse and he refused to attend the last session. I have some quite painful memories from that.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 21-Nov-17 14:39:17

That makes it sound like he is the Golden Child who can do no wrong. It sounds like your Mum has a very fixed idea of an ideal relationship that should exist and wants you to be the one to make it happen - just as she does.
You cant fix this situation. He may have bi polar disorder, but until he gets a diagnosis and sticks with the treatment nothing can change with the family dynamic.
You may be able to keep things on a superficial level but I dont think thats what your Mum wants from you.

AJ65 Tue 21-Nov-17 14:45:49

DJBaggySmalls - I can see that, but it's never going to happen and we're going to leave and it will be just the two of them. And she's getting older and I worry about how she's going to cope and what will happen to him when she dies and I feel vaguely responsible, but what can I do?

Whatsoccuringlovely Tue 21-Nov-17 14:48:47

Nothing love. Your mum has chosen her role and he may have too if he won’t scceit help. You concentrate on your own little family and your new future.

AJ65 Tue 21-Nov-17 15:01:22

Thanks Whatsoccuringlovely - it's a bit complicated in that we are moving to the States partly because my little family wants to be closer to her (my Mum's) bigger family...

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