Talk About Marriage banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is a marriage forum. I feel safe here so I hope someone can help me with this.

I have a brother who is mentally ill. He is bipolar. He has caused so much pain for my parents and our family it would take me all night to tell all of the awful things he has done.

Here is the latest. He has decided to erase me from his life with the usual sentence: I have decided to get rid of all the negative things in my life.

Needless to say I am hurt. I have bailed him out of jail twice in the last 4 years. One for an assault charge and once for a shoplifting charge. I am so gullible that I believed his lies and stories for so long. He is such a charmer he can charm the birds out of the trees and that is what he did with me.

The shoplifting incident is what hurt me horribly. He swore up and down he did not take a diamond ring from Wal Mart. To my face he cried and told me he did not take it. I stuck by him, went to all his court dates with him. Then a few months ago he told me he had swallowed that ring and sold it after he pooped it out to a jeweler to pay for another ring for his no good girlfriend. I can't tell you what that did to me. He told me like it was no big deal. I got very upset at him, told him I have had it with him and he yelled back at me that he has always disliked my husband and yelled all kind of other hurtful things to me. I left his place and we did not talk for a few months.

He has a daughter and grand kids he barely sees. He is with a woman who has lost custody of her two kids and who fights with him to the point where the police have been involved with domestic abuse incidents. She leaves and comes back over and over again.

He constantly calls my parents for money only to find out he spends the money on illegal RX drugs and then he blames the drugs for how messed up he is.

Today he send me an e mail out of the blue stating he no longer wants me in his life.

Why do I feel so sad? I should be glad to have him out of my life but he is my brother and I can't just forget that.

Thanks for listening. My parents are very old and they have been through so much with him, they are the ones I really feel sorry for. My brother is on disability and my parents give him money which only enables him to act irresponsibly. Bipolar to me is something that can be handled with the right medication or the right behavior patterns and therapy, all which he refuses to partake in.

Thanks for listening. I am crying and I hate wasting tears on him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Hi Diz, you are an amazing sister. You love your brother and stood by his side. You have not withheld help from him......but there comes a time when you have to walk away.

Walk away with the intent of always loving your brother. if he needs a meal feed him and give him nothing more than that. Your conscious is clear and clean, you have done right by him.

Love him from afar and wait for him to come to his senses.

I have a brother just like yours. I have cried over him, helped him financially, and stood by his side. My conscious is free.

It is okay to be sad, he is family and you love him. That why we have tears...its okay to use them once in a while;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I am bipolar and my father and 4 of my brothers are bipolar. I can say from experience that the right medication can make a word of difference. I can imagine what kind of things your brother has put your family through.

You probably know this but.....you cannot help anyone who does not want help. The best thing you can do is give him some tough love. The next time he asks you to help him out, tell him no.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. I have tears in my eyes. This has caused me so much pain.

I have a daughter who is bipolar and I know first hand how hard it is. You wish it was different and you put up with people (like my husband) who do not understand mental illness, who think they can just "snap out of it" and it isn't that simple.

He knows I am here for him. I admit I do need a break from him and will distance myself for my own mental health and peace of mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am bipolar and my father and 4 of my brothers are bipolar. I can say from experience that the right medication can make a word of difference. I can imagine what kind of things your brother has put your family through.

You probably know this but.....you cannot help anyone who does not want help. The best thing you can do is give him some tough love. The next time he asks you to help him out, tell him no.

Yes, I did the tough love with my bipolar daughter. It was the only way to save my own sanity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,945 Posts
I'm sorry DiZ but want to tell you the pain gets easier with time & distance.

My younger brother (age 49) is a lifelong alcoholic who is also mentally ill. He was very toxic to me & my family, so sadly, I severed our relationship about 15 yrs. ago.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,909 Posts
DiZ, if your B has bipolar-1 as you describe, he likely has another disorder as well. A recent study (pub. 2008) found, for example, that half of the bipolar-1 sufferers also have full-blown BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Although I'm not a psychologist, I did live with a bipolar-1 foster son and BPDer exW for about 15 years.

Based on that experience, I describe 12 differences between the behaviors of bipolar-1 sufferers and BPDers in *******'s thread. I suggest you look at it to see if many of your B's behaviors seem to be closer to BPD traits than to bipolar traits. My post is at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiety-depression-relationships/59344-confused.html#post1175425.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,945 Posts
Hi Diz. You're doing what you can. You're mourning loss of how you wish things could be and you have sadness about the way things are and you feel like you have no control to change anything which is true.

I'm glad you posted and we are listening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all again. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

He also is with someone that is very toxic. Like I said she has lost custody of her small kids and is bi polar too. They argue very violently and then the police get involved. She leaves for weeks back to her mom, he is so lonely without her and gets more depressed and then she comes back. A vicious cycle.

I have told him the first lady in his life should be his daughter and I think he knows I am right deep down but chooses these looser women instead. Their relationship is strained.

My folks have a lot of money and I will be executor to their estate and will be responsible for giving him his disability for his rent, etc. My mom is the payee now but she has asked if I will take over when they pass. My brother cannot be trusted with even his disability check. He would probably spend it all on drugs and then not have enough for rent. I want to honor their wishes but can't help but think they are enabling him totally. If he spends his check and doesn't have enough for rent then that is his problem. It may teach him something so we will always be tied to each other in this money issue. That is why I would rather have some kind of relationship with him but if it doesn't not happen I will just have to pay his rent and give him the rest as the will states. It's very difficult.

They also give him money for his cable bill and food and car insurance. This guy is 55 years old and mom and dad are still subsidizing his life. I will have to follow their wishes on this also but if he needs more I am not going to be writing him checks aimlessly until I know what it is for. I told him this and he blew his top and said how dare I talk to him like he is a child and I am his caregiver which is in essence what I will be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
BP is treatable on the right medication. I would stay out of his life until he treats his condition. Tell him he is hurting the ones he loves. I know my illness affects all my friends and family and I don't want to hurt anyone so I take my medication religiously.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,184 Posts
Diz,

Your obvious love for and tolerance of your brother is admirable.

I have not had any first hand experiance with people who suffer from BP but my brother in law has schizophrenia so I do know how hard it can be to try and help those with a mental illness.

The one thing I keep coming back to is that it is an "illness" he did not chose to get it (although in my BIL case deciding not to take his meds does not help). As others have said you can't always help someone who does not want to be helped, that must come from them but you can let them know that you will be there for them when thay are ready to be helped.

As for becoming the payee for his disability cheque (and any inheritance) when your parents pass that is something you need to think about ASAP.

I will leave advise to those more qualified but please accept my prayers and best wishes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,945 Posts
Diz, it sounds like your taking over roll of what mom's been doing and he resents you just like he probably has resented them for many years. Blamed them for him being dependant. It's the way he solves problems by being an emotional bully and steamrolling over you so you'll do whatever he asks. So you'll assume the roll of taking care of him. He doesn't solve problems like normal adults anymore. He's your parent's frankenstein. They've enabled him to be what he's become. At his age all you can do it what you think is right and let everything else fall whereever it may. Chances are he'll learn you don't respond to emotional blackmail and will be easier to deal with after the initial year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Everything that has been said is right on. My parents have created a monster only to ask me to take care of that monster after they pass. I will not do that. When the time comes I will have to ask the lawyer if he can get his whole inheritance in one lump sum. I refuse to spend the rest of my life being his caregiver. Also I will call disability and get my name off as payee of his checks and get his name on. Then he will be responsible for all the money and staying on disability and filling out forms he needs to fill out to stay on it. Disability makes you jump through more hoops now to stay on it with this bad economy. The problem is telling my parents that I am going to do this. I doubt I will even do that. Just do it on my own after. I am tired of dealing with his sh&*!! Thank you again for the wonderful advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Diz, it sounds like your taking over roll of what mom's been doing and he resents you just like he probably has resented them for many years. Blamed them for him being dependant. It's the way he solves problems by being an emotional bully and steamrolling over you so you'll do whatever he asks. So you'll assume the roll of taking care of him. He doesn't solve problems like normal adults anymore. He's your parent's frankenstein. They've enabled him to be what he's become. At his age all you can do it what you think is right and let everything else fall whereever it may. Chances are he'll learn you don't respond to emotional blackmail and will be easier to deal with after the initial year.
You are RIGHT ON!! They have created a monster and he does resent them. They even leave me with money for him in case he gets in trouble. Then they tell them I have it and he calls me for it all the time. For the first time I said NO and it started this whole cycle of him not talking to me. Just because I did not run over his place with the money like I usually do he says I have changed and he is emotionally blackmailing me. He needs to take responsibility for his own money. If he can't pay the rent then that's his problem. If he ends up in jail for a felony and looses his disability that is his problem.

They winter in FL and we are in MI so they leave me with money in case he gets in trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Diz,

Your obvious love for and tolerance of your brother is admirable.

I have not had any first hand experiance with people who suffer from BP but my brother in law has schizophrenia so I do know how hard it can be to try and help those with a mental illness.

The one thing I keep coming back to is that it is an "illness" he did not chose to get it (although in my BIL case deciding not to take his meds does not help). As others have said you can't always help someone who does not want to be helped, that must come from them but you can let them know that you will be there for them when thay are ready to be helped.

As for becoming the payee for his disability cheque (and any inheritance) when your parents pass that is something you need to think about ASAP.

I will leave advise to those more qualified but please accept my prayers and best wishes.
I have thought long and hard and refuse to do what my parents have done. He can have the whole amount and get his own checks. If he can't pay his rent because he has spent it all on his no good girlfriend who is also on disability and bi polar oh well...

He refuses to take any meds. he has a medical marajuana (sp?) card and says a few puffs help him get down from manic but that can get expensive too.

bottom line...I will not spend the rest of my life being his enabler. I deserve to be free and happy from his crap.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,945 Posts
I have thought long and hard and refuse to do what my parents have done. He can have the whole amount and get his own checks. If he can't pay his rent because he has spent it all on his no good girlfriend who is also on disability and bi polar oh well...

He refuses to take any meds. he has a medical marajuana (sp?) card and says a few puffs help him get down from manic but that can get expensive too.

bottom line...I will not spend the rest of my life being his enabler. I deserve to be free and happy from his crap.
The line gets blurry between cause and effect. Does being bi-polar cause his problems or has decades of being enabled made his bi-polar more debilitating or does he merely exhibit bi-polar symptoms from years of coddling. Based on how your parents have interacted with him I know where my opinion lays but at this point it does matter because he's not going to change much and he won't change at all if you do what mom and dad have always done for him. Enabling has a way of making people despise you while your try to help them.

I'm not a fan of the lump sum thing if it's not what your parents want; they want it distributed over time. Maybe set up a trust with the inheritance where monthly payments are made to him and once it's set up you have no part in it anymore and no control. Then wash your hands clean and say you abided by your parent's wishes with their money and end of subject. Show no guilt, feel no guilt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,945 Posts
It's too bad that your parents want you to continue to be his caretaker after they pass. That is too much pressure to dump on you.

I agree with you - give him a lump sum & be done with it.

Finally, don't worry about his future as a potentially homeless bum living on the streets broke. He will survive somehow.

I am amazed that my brother is still alive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The line gets blurry between cause and effect. Does being bi-polar cause his problems or has decades of being enabled made his bi-polar more debilitating or does he merely exhibit bi-polar symptoms from years of coddling. Based on how your parents have interacted with him I know where my opinion lays but at this point it does matter because he's not going to change much and he won't change at all if you do what mom and dad have always done for him. Enabling has a way of making people despise you while your try to help them.

I'm not a fan of the lump sum thing if it's not what your parents want; they want it distributed over time. Maybe set up a trust with the inheritance where monthly payments are made to him and once it's set up you have no part in it anymore and no control. Then wash your hands clean and say you abided by your parent's wishes with their money and end of subject. Show no guilt, feel no guilt.
Yes I guess that would probably be a better idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's too bad that your parents want you to continue to be his caretaker after they pass. That is too much pressure to dump on you.

I agree with you - give him a lump sum & be done with it.

Finally, don't worry about his future as a potentially homeless bum living on the streets broke. He will survive somehow.

I am amazed that my brother is still alive.
They are going to look into a trust fund situation. That will take it off me and he can't go to them to ask for more. It's my folks decision in the end. My brother needs to hit bottom. He has it made. He gets his disability checks, he gets a check from my folks every two weeks to subsidize his cable, etc., he has a nice place. He has nothing to complain about. It's 17 degrees out and I just saw a homeless man riding a bike. Let that happen to my brother and he may change his tune real quick. I just don't want my folks to have to pay someone a lot of money in the trust fund situation. They will have to decide for themselves but I do not want to be a part of it at all. I get a migraine just thinking about it and really deep down I have dreaded it for years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
As you know, the best and most loving thing you can do is stop protecting him. All the money in the world can't save him from some things. Mental illness unfortunately is one of them. Personally, I firmly believe that behavior like his is not a result of the bipolar disorder, but rather comes from his not being encouraged to make a living and otherwise support himself.

If the illness does progress and he becomes hospitalized against his will at some point, his best tools to battle the illness (and the system itself) will be his own resourcefulness, patience, and will-power. If he isn't given the opportunity in life to solve his own problems, it stands to reason he isn't likely to develop these skills.

He may very well need a large sum of money in reserve in case it happens eventually that he truly can't work and needs at-home assistance. This would be the better use of your parents money, in my opinion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thundarr
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top