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How do I help my brother and try and keep myself sane?

(3 Posts)
2girls2love Fri 21-Aug-09 15:47:25

My brother has never been the happiest person and has had some really bad times in his life, I suspect it's depression having been there myself. He's in his late thirties and really wants to settle down and have kids but it hasn't happened yet.

Just recently I was really pleased because he had finally got a job after being out of work for a number of years and had started seeing a new girlfriend. But having just spoken to him - he's come home early because there was no work for him to do, I think the company is suffering in the recession - he's sounds really down and I'm really worried about him. The problem is that he won't talk about his problems until the s* hits the fan he just gets angry and defensive and in the past I've helped him out financially and hopefully emotionally. Now I feel really down and simply don't know what to do.

Part of me feels really angry with him and wants him to 'get on with it' and the other part is worried that we are on another downward trend. I simply don't have the emotional resources at the moment to deal with it as my life is not a bed of roses at the moment. I'd never forgive myself is something bad happened to him but I can't be forever running round after him.

Any practical tips to help someone who doesn't want to be helped?

MamaKaty Fri 21-Aug-09 18:56:33

Simple answer? No.

The sad truth is that you cannot help somebody who does not want to be helped.

I'm sure most of us have watched people we loved and care about doing things that we know are not good for them - but you cannot help somebody until they want to help themselves.

You obviously love your brother: tell him (or send him a note?) and tell him you love him and that you're worried about him; tell him you'd love to offer a listening ear if he needs it, and then see what happens. If he wants to get on with it - let him do that; remind yourself that you have to look after yourself too. If he does open up to you, listen to him, give him whatever advice you can - but don't make it your own responsibility.

You already know that you can't forever look after someone who is, after all, an adult, with the right to make his own choices no matter how healthy or not. I think what you really need to do is practice being gentle with yourself.

I hope things don't get worse for him; and I hope you remember to take care of you.

Best wishes

2girls2love Mon 24-Aug-09 11:03:14

Thankyou for your wise words Katy sorry for late reply as I had no PC access over weekend. I think I already knew the answer but it helps that someone articulates it for me.

it is hard being a big sister, as you always feel that you should be in that role - it makes me want to be so careful with my dd1 to make sure she isn't cast in the same role as I was.

I will tell myself that I'm not responsible but when you love someone it's hard not to try and make it alright for them

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