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Unstable brother, elderly mother and cutting ties

79 replies

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 05:43

AIBU to go NC with my brother?

My brother is nearing early 40's has adhd, aspergers and a long history of mental health problems (psychosis at one stage)This is life long from severe anxiety in childhood to The psychosis aged 18. He does not work, has no friends and has been extremely violent and aggressive in the past. Smashing doors in the house screaming and shouting, threats to kills BIL in front if his kids. Really awful behaviour but we have always put this down to episodes of being unwell. He's had medication inpatient stays etc. Now he's adamant he's coming off medication and wants nothing to do with mental health team GP etc.

He live with my elderly mother who tolerates all behaviour. He will keep her up for hours lamenting his life's sorrow. All the bad stuff that's happened to him, how people treat etc. He will also have rages where she is on egg shells around him. His behaviour has.meant family do like to visit. Myself included. I have 2 young DC who I take with me evey visit because they love their grandma and vice versa. However this.has meant they have witnessed a few of his rages. I get them.out as quick as I can and away at the time but I know its affected them. That's the background.

So He stopped talking to me about 4 months ago as he decided he couldn't trust me that I was up to.something eetc. I Wasn't its paranoia. This was hard for he would.always contact me (not necessarily in a good way, but if he was upset or needed to talk rant etc) I did not enjoy these calls and they often left me very upset, took me away from my work or kids but I thought it was helpful in that he would at least leave my mum alone and give her peace. Not so it turns out as I would often hear he had been going on about the same thing with her for hours. I was very unwell last year myself entally because of him and his behaviour. I developed an eating disorder and was severely depressed because if him. No one in my family knows this but i ended up in therapy. So when i got my head around him not talking to me and began feel better he suddenly decided to start talking to me last night, in front of the kids. He ended up starting to accuse me again of not being able to trust me etc which the kids were hearing so I immediately said to the kids lets go and get in the car and go home. We live over 2.hours.away and it was about 8pm. Kids were crying they didn't want to leave but I could see where it was going. Anyway when they were in the car I had it out with him. He and mum then said not to go. He'd be quiet and to stay. upset and had spent the day basically.telling me how she doesn't want to be alive anymore, what she wants for her funeral and it absolutely heart so I stayed for her
I'm crying now because.she is so broken emotionally and physically right now and this upset between me.and helping
It feels like.she is in her finally months/years and is just sad with life. We lost my dad a few years ago and she's never really got over that. I promised him I'd take care of them both. But I can't. He won't let me help and mum is in a codependant relationship with him.

What do I do? Need to be there for my mum.bit can't without having some interaction with my brother who is unwell mentally at times and generally a very difficult personality. I feel so torn and lost with it.

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Am I being unreasonable?

85 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 05:48

Sorry for all the errors, speed typing as need to get this out there. I'm heading back to my home today and I need to decide if I tell my mum that's it . I can not visit anymore and put a firm line in the sand so speak. It will break her heart if I do but I honestly can't take this anymore. I was shaking last night and so distraught.

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GaspingGekko · 25/09/2022 05:56

Oh OP this sounds awful. What a terrible position to find yourself in.
Would there be any possibility of meeting your DM away from the house? I mean going to her house to collect her, and spend the day out, or even possibly back to your house for a night? Would she be open to that?

SpinningAlwaysSadly · 25/09/2022 06:00

You’ve raised such an important issue (or set of issues) around what happens to adults to mental health or neurodiversity issues when they stop being kids and young adults and become actual adults.

Whose responsibility are they? It does tend to be mothers who stay the course the longest, while growing older themselves of course and seeing the years tick away. Family members have their own family lives and pull away but feel guilty for it.

There is the square root of f*ck all support in the community / from the state, and the family member with the issues and the rages carries on carrying on.

It is an incredibly hard conundrum and I’m not surprised you have needed therapy and I’m glad you’ve accessed it.

What are your gut feelings on this? What’s the family support like in general?

MumCanIDoThat · 25/09/2022 06:06

Firstly you need to stop taking your children there and exposing them to such traumatic and upsetting episodes of him doing this. That is extremely
irresponsible of you no matter how much they love grandma. You say this is affecting them but clearly ignoring that. You need to get adult social services involved as this sounds to also be a dangerous situation that your dm is living in. Your db is beyond help , you have to accept that. Can your dm not come live with you?

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:19

Thank you for replying and your understanding. Belive me when I say I know its absolutely wrong of me to bring my children but it breaks my mother's heart nit seeing them. She gave everything for us and I fell awful for not seeing her. I've tried to stay away but she has been in hospital this week and had her birthday so I thought as an exception I'd visit.with them. Big mistake.
Your.right there is no support my brother. He tried for years to work with the cmhts but nothing of use came except.medication which he steiggled.with side effects. It is left to my mum.

I've begged her to me she won't. Feels bad leaving him. I came to the understanding that this was her choice to stay with him and I would make mine to.stay away. But then she got sick. I cant cope with losing her .just so distraught lying her crying and don't know what to do in the morning. She wants to her papers are so when she passes I can arrange her funeral
I can't do that. I' bits.

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Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:21

I thought I'd got myself together but i haven't. I've failed my dad. Failing mum brother. Failing my kids. I just want to give up

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mrsbitaly · 25/09/2022 06:23

How absolutely awful for you and your mother. Does your mum get any support with him? Is she safe? Are the visits able to be a day out or a stay at yours. Maybe your mum could do with the break?

I think you could cut ties with your brother if it's affecting your mental health and your children being upset when seeing the episodes. But as above still have separate contact with your mother. It must be very suffocating for your mum. Are adult social care involved at all?

Hope your OK OP big hugs 🫂 being sent to you

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:25

Sorry, family support is none existent. Only 2 other sisters who live near by but do not come around or get involved with him. One keeps in touch with mum bit at a distance. Mum doesn't understand why and is often upset DS doesn't visit.

I feel once mum is gone, he will be left alone. He was sectioned a couple of years ago and that image of him haunts me to today...

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Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:27

No support at all for mum. All teams discharged him as he won't work with them.

Thank you for th hugs and support you've no idea how helpful it is

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SpinningAlwaysSadly · 25/09/2022 06:33

Is your mum very ill, OP? Or is she catastrophising?

Do you have her permission to speak to anyone about her?

Please don’t feel like a failure. You’ve been dealt a really crappy hand of cards here. You are absorbing far, far too much guilt and it’s making you unwell.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:40

She was in hospital unable to walk. They think it was the Arthritis flared up in spot. But it made her think more about the end hence wanting to tell me her wishes.
I could speak to her gp but he knows the whole history was DB gp for long time. There is nothing they can do as she is choosing to live with him he won't accept help but I genuinely don't know there is anything they could do.
We tried to get him supported living to get his own place and he would not engage. Just feels like mum is destined to have such a shut end of life

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Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:41


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Fraaahnces · 25/09/2022 06:42

Okay, I am saying this as someone who has been through this and out the other side. Your mother has chosen to continue this dynamic with your brother. Whatever her reasons, it was entirely her choice. You can’t change it and you absolutely can’t fix it. You need to ensure that YOUR mental health is strong for you and your kids.

I think you need to tell your mum that you will never be around him again for the sake of your kids, and neither will they. If she chooses not to leave your brother at home to visit, then she is making the decision to miss out on seeing your kids. Your mum is absolutely not helpless in this situation. You have been programmed to try and fix things because you are the next intended mother figure for when he IS too much for your mum or she passes away.

Despite me making it very clear that I wasn’t going to be available as a stand-in parent to my brother, when my mum died, he would ring and rant at me for as long as I could handle it before hanging up on him. I noticed I became increasingly anxious when my phone rang and that he was becoming more and more aggressive. I told him to never call me again. It is more than six years since then and he has tried fishing for my number from relatives and one bloody gave it to him. He sent a scary photo of himself for my birthday. I have had to tell my family GP not to share information about me or my kids and have had police involved.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:42

Oh god clearly not able to type today...shit end of life

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rookiemere · 25/09/2022 06:50

Hugs OP, sounds like a very difficult situation for you.

Couple of things. Every time I visit my DPs now DM shows me the folder with details of all their savings accounts for when they pass away. It gives her a bit of comfort I think, to have that organised .

Secondly I would think your DM does understand why your other Dsis doesn't visit with your DB being there, and on some level does understand why your DS doesn't come. I'd be a bit blunter with her and say you simply cannot expose your DCs to that, suggest alternatives- could you take her for a drive for example?

But ultimately she has chosen to support her DS at the expense of her own relationship with the rest of her family. Not an easy choice at all for her, but you have to put your DCs first as well.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:52

@Fraaahnces sorry to hear you've been through this. I think youve hit the nail
on the head. Mum is choosing this as hard as that is to accept. In therapy thats what i realised. But how do you reconcile that? It'll mean not seeing my mum in person again. She doesn't like to keep things from him so if I visited she would tell him and then it would cause her grief with him so she'd discourage it. She doesn't drive amd too ill for long distance public transport.

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sandgrown · 25/09/2022 06:54

I really feel for you OP. It’s such a difficult situation. I think you must insist on seeing your mum away from the house for your children’s sake but please don’t cut her off. She is trying to care for everyone and probably feels very isolated herself. If anything happens to your mum your brother will expect you to step up so set the ground rules now.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 06:57

@rookiemere that's comforting to know others do that as a reassurance. That's what she said, just in case so you know where xyz is. But my god telling me where she want to be buried, what food she'd like...totally broke me.

I'm too good at minimising the impact this is having on my kids. They always ask when they can see her but they can't without him being here. When he was not talking me he went off gor a few days and I came.down and it was wonderful without him.

The benign kn tenterhooks when the phone goes and it could be him is so real.

Thank you allnfor taking time to reply. It helps me think what I can do.

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rookiemere · 25/09/2022 06:57

I wouldn't make any big pronouncements this morning about seeing or not seeing her again. Focus in getting your DCs home safely and take some time to reflect when you are home.

madasawethen · 25/09/2022 07:00

YANBU to go no contact.

I agree with the PP that your mother has enabled this to go on at everyone else's expense.

Keeping him at home has not benefited him or anyone else in the family.
He should have been placed in either a group home or some other institution years ago where he might have been able to have some friends, more structure and better for him all around.

Your mother is too far gone and likely suffers some trauma from dealing with him all these years.

Don't bring your DC around there anymore.

Get social services involved.
When she passes, something will have to be done for him anyway so might as well do it now.

GloriousGlory · 25/09/2022 07:03

I've been on your shoes, it's bloody tough. Firstly, the sectioning, you need to forget how bad it looked, it was for his own good. No one gets sectioned unless they're extremely unwell.

If he stops his medications, his behaviour will take a downward turn, he will be sectioned again. If he is admitted to hospital, you must refuse for him to return to your mothers. Be absolutely adamant that the situation is not sustainable, do not agree to even one day back at your mums.

Now, what ended up happening in my family, we had to get a court injunction to remove him from my mums house, my mum didn't speak to me for months but then finally conceded that it was the right thing to do. She was being abused abs if this was her husband, she would've divorced him and it was not right that her DS was doing it. It was not helping DB to have these rages, it was making his illness worse and it was making my mum ill. He continued to phone my mum, which was fine as she could put the phone down if he started shouting etc.

He got housed as he was now homeless and a vulnerable adult.

It's really hard work and your mum needs to understand that to help him she must do this. Once he's out of the house and not torturing her, which is what he's doing, the sleep deprivation through hours of interrogation is torture, her health will improve.

Your DB will cope with living alone, he may get an assisted living home, if that's required.

Services are very stretched and you're going to have to keep strong about what's required.

I was appointed "closest relative", not next of kin as that was my DM. So I dealt with hospital discharges and I could call for a mental health assessment (which always led to a sectioning), if I felt necessary.

My DB died fairly young, he was having an episode and two days before his death I managed to get him to agree to be admitted to a psychiatric ward, he spent 36 hours stuck in a&e then he got transferred, he then suffered a massive heart attack and couldn't be saved. My DM had already passed away by this time.

Honestly making sure he lived away from DM was the best thing for both of them, but a lot of heartache at the time..

Good luck.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 07:08

@rookiemere good idea. Only hope he stays asleep till I'm gone.

@madasawethen I think she's trauma bonded. The years and years of him wearing her down. She will not give up on him, ever. I know that. So I feel I have to step away. But Seeing her only on camera, all by herself when I call is so gut wrenching. I tey and go about my things but she is always, always on my mind. More than mh DH which is telling.

I don't think I'm over what I've been through in my family but just always normalised it as family stuff. This feels far beyond normal family stuff. Dong want this for my kids

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Badsox · 25/09/2022 07:15

Your brother is Neuro diverse and mentally unwell. You should not be taking your children to the house if he is unstable. You need to speak with your Mum and sisters and work together to find a place for him to live in the long term where he can be helped and your Mum can visit but will know that he is being looked after. Unfortunately, by not sorting this when he was
Younger he will find it very difficult. For what it is worth, his life is quite horrendous and his family dumping him off is brutal. He is ill and it is best for all of you to work together to fight his corner because he can't do it himself. If you do this now, your lives will ultimately be much easier. Your Mum choses this because she loves her ill and disabled son and good parents feel very guilty about putting their disabled adult children into residential care even when it is the best thing for them in the long term. If you all support her and she sees good options it will help you all to move forwards. So no, don't go non contact. Support your Mum to make better decisions for you all.

Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 07:16

@GloriousGlory sorry you've been through this too.

I know that getting him his own place away from mum is the only helpful long term solution. I've tried so hard. When he was sectioned with the team we just about got him an interview at sheltered housing and he said 'no' and it all stopped.

I know it needs fight but honestly mum is a shell of the person she was . he's wearing her down so badly she's not got any fight in her now. So so sad. I live a few hours away, work and have the two kids. My DS will not get involved to help with liais with services he's berated her too much. I do understand her situation.

The only she wants to consider now is downsizing to a 2 bed with him , so when she's gone he has somewhere to live. FfS she's going to go and now one will be there with her but him. Bits that's all she want. She's so sad but I can't get through to her. If i involved social services he will be mad.

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Harmonyrays · 25/09/2022 07:21

@badsox the problem is he was undiagnosed until adulthood. Always dismissed as the naughty kid in school when he had underlying difficulties that were not picked up. Mum and I fought for years with school and mental health. He was diagnosed aged 20. Hes angry about this, this is where thr distrust for authority comes from. He was labelled bad by school and college and basically chucked out for struggling and being different. I understand how difficult this was for him. This is one of the reasons I've stood my and let soany things go. Always put down to him.not well or struggling and trying to help him through but it's so so hard. Especially now. Unfortunately it would only be me and mum that up a plan for his future but he's not in a place to be able to discuss this with me. So I hear from mum and it never gets resolved.

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