I am hoping through the miracle of the internet I can give my family the support they need to make the right decisions about how to improve their quality of life. If you have any insight or experience in a similar situation, I’d appreciate your advice.
Let me introduce you to the players. KEEP IN MIND, ALL 4 LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE.
1) My Grandma is 84 years old and spends the majority of her days immobile, knitting or watching television in her favorite chair. She’s a fantastic woman who was the only girl out of eight children and who raised four children with her husband. Both she and my grandfather worked many jobs and wore many hats to make sure they could provide everything for their family. My grandfather passed away eight years and my grandma now shares their house of 40 years with my Aunt, my Mom, and my Brother. She is quite stubborn when it comes to the best course of action for her family and sometimes neglects to consider future consequences of her actions in the present. This is all done with the best of intentions, but I do see this being a common theme in my family, myself included. The habit of confronting problems with only the short-term result in mind is mostly noted in the family’s course of action with my Brother.
2) My Brother is 21 Years old who has honed his ability to masterfully manipulate people. I regard him as a smart but lazy individual who has adopted the philosophy that the world owes him something. My parents got divorced when I was eight and he was four, and the two became caught in their litigious and emotionally charged battle. My Mom became deeply depressed and felt guilty for her sons experiencing the hurtful dismissal of their father. As a result, she catered to our every whim with the hope that it would result in happiness. My Brother and I soon learned to manipulate the situation for everything it was worth and take advantage of our mother’s insecurity. However, I grew out of that stage when I was about fifteen; my sibling has continued to be a parasite on my Mom’s leniency and trusting nature. Whether the cause of his behavior is organic or a result of his upbringing, I view my Brother as being a highly emotionally disturbed individual.
My Brother has been expelled from nearly every school he attended for disruptiveness. He lives at my Grandma’s house, having taken up residence in what used to be her living room. He lives in filth, accumulating piles of unwashed clothes, food, and dirty dishes all over his room. The offensive smell that emanates from his room, due mostly to the dirty dishes and unclean rat cages, permeates the entire downstairs.. He treats my Grandmother, Aunt, and Mom awfully and does everything in his power to incite their rage, hatred, pity, but above all, attention.
He is emotionally and verbally abusive, cursing at these women who never use profanity and manipulating their good will at every possible opportunity. He owes my Mom approximately $15,000 in court fines. He had been sent to jail multiple times, mostly for failing to pay tickets, but also for speeding, driving while suspended and DUI. Each of the five time he has been detained in jail, he has wept over the phone to my Mom, Grandma, or father, and one of them will eventually bail him out. He has caused several thousands of dollars worth of damage to the house breaking doors, windows, and walls. He drains every penny from my Mom, who gives it to him out of guilt that she is to blame for his sociopathic tendencies.
She has tried to cut him off financially and make his responsible for supporting himself, but continues to pays for his food and his commute to work on a daily basis. She doesn’t know how to stop. She legitimately wants him to leave her house but fears that anything more than just screaming at him, such as telling him to leave, changing the locks, and, if necessary, calling the cops, would be un-motherly and cruel. Recently my Brother stole $400 from my Mom via her checking account, and my Mom was livid , ready to kick him out ”once and for all.”; I can’t count the number of times this empty threat has been issued. He came back, cried, and blamed his addiction to cocaine for his actions. In addition to use of this drug, he also was a former dealer of marijuana. He promised to get better and my Mom once again believed him. It was about 20 hours before the cycle started again. My Brother is cancerous to our family, but they are too caring and enabling to provide his with the type of love necessary to work through his emotional and behavioral problems.
My father has pretty much been out of the picture since he divorced my Mom. Don’t get me wrong, we see him on average of once per two months or so, but the visits are generally awkward and void of familial closeness. He’s similar to my Brother in the sense that he really only cares about himself. He doesn’t remember birthdays, he never sends gifts, and he’s pretty selfish all around. My Brother never recovered from their divorce and hates the fact that he doesn’t have a father.
3) My Aunt, who is my Mom’s older sister, and my Brother are mortal enemies. She was diagnosed with Chron’s disease early in her life and remained at home for the majority of her younger years. She married an abusive man and had two children when she was in her early 20s. She and her husband divorced while her daughters were still young and the result on her children was similar to the situation between me and my brother; while the elder sister moved on from her father’s absence, the younger one remained obsessed with her father’s abandonment. The older daughter married her high school sweetheart, whom she loved very much. He died tragically at the age of twenty-seven, leaving behind his wife and their two year old child.
The younger daughter dated and married a man who has proven to be unmotivated in life, boorish and violent in manner, and, as revealed recently, addicted to coke for the last ten years. All of these things have weighed heavily on my Aunt’s psyche. After such a dismal experience with her first marriage, my Aunt finally found love with a man around fifteen years ago and was married to him for a year. A tragic car accident abruptly ended this companionship. Losing her beloved husband was the final notch in the long line of misfortune and poor decisions that have plagued her life. Now she’s almost 60 and has lived in her parents’ house for the majority of her life. She has never had a steady job because of her illness and now lives in a permanently paranoid feat that the universe is going to get her.
Her days are spent going to church, watching television, and making crafts. Recently, she has also begun to work part-time for her daughter. At home, she is always miserable; mostly this is due to the way my Brother treats her, but I think she simply feeds into his games. She will get upset at the drop of a hat…she sometimes gets upset by the way people look at her- everything that anyone does is a personal attack. I cannot stand to watch the news because the majority of what they do is for ratings, editorializing instead of reporting. -My Aunt, however, takes every word from the news to be strict truth, which I think feed into her sensationalized perception of the world. At the end of the day, she’s a glutton for drama and misery, yet I can see that perhaps she’s only reacting to the events in her life.
4) My Mom lost much of her confidence during and after her divorce. My parents separated during my Mom’s battle with breast cancer, which only is more of a reinforcement of how my father is only for himself. She is a smart woman, but living with my Grandma and Aunt has dulled her wits slightly. She also has adopted some of the ideals of her family, including the notion that things cannot be changed and situations cannot be improved. She’s so caught up in the battlefield of my Grandma’s house that she no longer thinks rationally. She would much rather ride out the misery than make serious changes in her life to make things better. She feels that kicking my Brother out of the house can only be done by asking him to leave; she is too scared and riddled with guilt to take any further actions He drains her both emotionally and financially but she will take no steps to alter her situation for fear of what would happen to her son if left to his own devices.
It is my opinion that he needs to be removed from the situation. My Mom agrees with this but will not abandon him or leave my Aunt to care for my Grandmother by herself. Although the house is small and bursting at the seams with people, my mother is very alone and doesn’t have a person to go to for advice except me. I live across the country and only see them a couple times a year, and my answer is always really tough love along the lines of ”Never give him money for anything and kick him out immediately with police help if necessary.”
If anyone has any insight or needs more information, please let me know. Thanks very much.
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