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well, that's a turn up for the books, not really sure what to do. Maryz, Vicar, if you're about, your advice is welcome (and anyone else too, obviously!)(59 Posts)
I have just had a phone call from a relative. My brother has just turned up on his door step (he is the only family member to still be living in the same place as when said brother was last seen, nearly 14 years ago).
I don't really know how I feel, or what to think, or anyhting. Obviously I am happy that my brother is alive and well. It has been a worry, as he has what would these days be dx'd as HFA.
My history with him is long (well, durr!) and complex. He lies, steals, cheats, steals some more. the last time I saw him, he stayed with me, under duress I might add, as I had already had enough by that point. It was our mother's funeral. I advanced him moeny to travel to attend, I ran myslf ragged, days after mum had died (I was her carer, and was 22. My brother is older than me, but obviously does not function at his chronological age) organising him a suit, haircut (I paid), bought him a shirt etc. He stole from me again that night, and left in the early hours. I haven't seen him since - a mixture of circumstances (he didn't visit for while - too embarrassed I expect, and then I moved away)
I don't know what to do. How do I even begin to broach with him the fact that (if I do see him) I don't trust him, probably never will. That I won't want him in my house (he is unlikely to leave empty handed; how am I supposed to sk dh to put up with that?). How do I explain it to my children? they do know that in theory they have another uncle, and are young enough at the moment to accept that they haven't met him without question - 'he lives far away' has sufficed until now. If he does come here, he will behave as though none of it ever happened. it's all in the past, not to be spoken of. If I try to bring it up, he will deny it <voice of experience> - he can and will deny things even when caught redhanded.
If he hasn't changed (and why would he have done? he was late 20s last time I saw him, and hadn't done any changing then, despite a lot of trouble - both for him and the rest of his family), then I can't see how I can have a relationship with him. Harsh, yes. but I can't put myself through it again - when I was a student he jeopardised both my degree and my ambitions by stealing from me and from our mum (I had to bail her out, which I could ill afford as a student). I bailed him out time and again, and I can't do it anymore.
Oh, this is all 'me, me, me', isn't it? I know he cannot necessarily help himself. I know he needs help. But he won't accept that help - not least form me, his 'baby' sister .
BUT, he is my brother. He might need help. He certainly was barely able to function independently when I last knew him. I can't not help, can I (if he even needs help, I dunno)
My relative has passed on my phone/email details, and possibly my address (don't know, I didn't ask - I was (and relieved) that my brother had turned up at all), and so at some point I will need to talk to him/see him.
I don't know what to do. I don't know how I feel. Anyone got any advice?
I used to say that my life is like being a tight-rope walker, delicately walking along while ballancing a bar and spinning plates.
It only needs one thing (a slipping plate, an extra teeny load) for the whole thing to come crashing down.
Don't let him be that thing. Really don't. Keep balancing, and if you can stop occasionally, put the plates down, give him a hand and get back up again, do.
Otherwise, please ensure you look after yourself most of all, because if you fall apart so will everything else
[wise and knowing]
and useless at following own advice
That is a very sensible post Polter.
Maryz, do you know The Cat in the Hat?
I've often felt as if my life is like this page.
'I can hold up the cup and the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books and the fish on a rake!
I can hold the toy ship and a little toy man!
And look! With my tail I can hold a red fan!
I can fan with the fan as I hop on the ball!
But that is not all. Oh, no. That is not all...
That is what the cat said...
Then he fell on his head!
He came down with a bump from up there on the ball.
And Sally and I, We saw ALL the things fall!'
Sometimes you go beyond your breaking point without noticing until you fall off.
The trick is to spot it before it happens.
I think you know in your heart what is the right thing to do. Poltergoose has said everything I was thinking but couldn't formulate. I too help my older brother whenever I need to step in; he hasn't done any of what you describe of your brother but the similarity is that my brother is not married and needs support from us, his family. Since my own child's ASD diagnosis, I realise my brother who is a genius and works in a job way way below his intellectual capability, has undiagnosed Aspergers. Long before my own kid's diagnosis, I already suspected my brother was on the spectrum. My child has severe dyslexia and other diagnosis too so your post has really touched me how you describe your brother as being illiterate. In your situation, there is no way I would ignore him when he is trying to be in contact, as he will always be on your mind.
I see my own brother as being kind of my third child, I know he isn't my responsibility and nobody asks this of me, it is just who I am as a person. I can't live a happy life with everything I have and know somewhere out there my own sibling is struggling. And I have promised myself (nobody apart from my husband knows this) to watch over him from a distance until the day I am no longer here. As it is, my husband is very supportive and understands this is a fact of life, he himself helps out certain members of his own family when they need a helping hand.
I also teach my kids to always be there for each other, family is very important to us.
thank you again, everyone. lots of food for thought.
I will try to ring him in a bit <procrastination alert>
Wot Polter said.
Getting dragged into the chaos helps no-one, and will actually destroy any chance of a sort-of-good relationship in the longer-term.
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