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What to do with a toxic family member

Posted by on Oct. 12, 2017 at 11:37 AM
  • 23 Replies
I am 33 and my 45 year old brother has always been the type of funny likeable and outgoing person that everyone loves but he is not responsible at all and has always battled drug and alcohol issues.  I could go on for days with the things he has put me through.  My mother and I have experienced ridiculous amounts of grief helping him over the years while trying not to enable him in his self destructive behaviors.  He had been doing really well for several years, even had a steady job for like 2 years, until he slipped and did drugs that caused him to loose his mind on his Birthday 5 years ago.  He did cocaine and barricaded himself in his apartment where he lived at the time with my ex stepdad (who enabled him to no end in his irresponsibility) and shot bullets through the walls and floors as he claimed he thought world war III was going on and he was trying to protect everyone.  SWAT was called out, some of the bullets entered other apartments, a baby was sleeping in one of them.  No one was hurt, but he was sent to jail, and medically evaluated, but as always he was able to convince the Dr. that there is nothing wrong with him, and that this was just a one time thing.  This always happens!  He needs help and always refuses to get it.  He is incredibly intelligent, and always talks his way out of everything...you have no idea how many situations he has talked his way out of.  This time I wanted to leave him in jail, but my mother begged me to get him out.  I did, and he came to live with me.  For many reasons he is incredibly difficult to live with, and I could not bear to keep him every day so he went back and forth between mine and my mother's house where my sister and her newborn daughter were living. We took turns like this for 2 months, he claimed he was job searching but he was not.  He was eating us out of house and home while doing what he does to drive us all crazy so we started to tell him his free rent was going to end and he needed to get a job and start saving money to get his own place. At that same time my mother and I were discussing pooling the little money we did have to try and get him counseling, and were looking into counselors.  I had a family to take care of, and my brother was already hurting my marriage, but I loved him that much I was going to do whatever I could to get him help.  He agreed to go to the counseling if we paid for it.  

Then, trying really hard to make a very long story short, we found out he had (about 2 weeks prior) gone to the police and told them that my mother had been trying to kill him with rat poison, and trying to make the babies (my sister's infant and my 2 year old at the time) sick with cough syrup.  An investigation by both the police department and social services was launched, police and social workers knocked on my mom's door and turned our lives upside down.  It was not until I went to the police department and begged them to look into my brother's background that they stopped the investigations, apologized, and admitted they found zero evidence of any abuse of any sort and should have looked into my brother before taking him at his word.  Obviously we both kicked my brother out, and he went back to living with my ex stepdad (who had been evicted over the shooting and had just moved into a new apartment).  The worst of the damage really had been done to my mother. I know I am biased but my mother is one of the kindest people you would ever know.  I have never even heard her curse once in my whole life.  She lives a very righteous life and sacrifices to help everyone around her.  That her son would accuse her of these things....while living in her house and eating her food...killed her.  She cried for years.  She still cries. The conversations with my brother after that turned very scary, he was extremely mentally unstable and I felt that it was not safe to have him anywhere near my children.  I cut him off completely.  I told him I loved him but he needed to get help and he needed to take responsibility for his life and his actions before I could let him back into my life. Obviously our paying for his counseling was off the table.  

He proceeded to bad mouth my mom and me to our extended family, going so far as to call 90 year family members across the country to tell them horrible lies about us.  Time started to pass without him, and it hurt, but we all had peace for the first time in years having cut ties with him.  Many extended family members also cut ties with him as they too realized that he was toxic.  My oldest son does not remember him and my youngest have never met him.  Every Christmas and birthday I texted him and told him I loved him.  Now, 5 years later, a close friend of his died and he reached out and texted my mom to say he has devastated.  My mom and I both texted him and told him we loved him and we were sorry about the loss.  The next day I felt prompted, and I also sent him a text inviting him to go to church with my family.  I really took a chance on that one, but I felt like I needed to do it.  He did not respond.  Yesterday my uncle asked me for his number and told me while he doesn't really want to talk to my brother, he wants to reach out and tell him about some medical problems he (my uncle) is having and ask him to make sure my bother takes care of himself.  (My uncle is a bit overweight and having health issues because of it, my brother is severely overweight and unhealthy). 

My uncle sent him a message telling him about his issues and asking him to go to the Dr.  Suddenly my brother started texting both my mother and I saying "Uncle is dying I must be allowed to see him, you cannot tell me go to church or else, you cant keep me away, I have been alone for years because of you and I deserve to see my family."  I reminded him that no one is preventing him from seeing anyone, but that family members have decided until he can make an effort to show he has changed they of their own choosing have said he is not welcome in their homes.  He has the power I also told him that I in no way said he had to go to my church or else, I simply invited him to go somewhere my family finds joy in going. 

He continued sending us text messages accusing us of not allowing him to see his family and forcing him to be alone for years all because he was the only one who sacrificed everything to tell the truth about what my mom was doing.

My mom never did anything - it never happened.  I am not sure if he is lying or somehow believes his sick version of reality, but I do not know how to respond. 

I cannot trust him.  I love him and I miss him, but I do not feel comfortable allowing him around my family.  I do not want him to influence my children, especially because he has a crazy hatred towards my mother, and I do not want to risk them hearing the outrageous lies he tells.  I cant make him change, and I want him to know he is loved, but I cannot bear to not address the fact that he is crazy!  Do I say you are lying but I love you and hope you see the light??  Do I ignore him? I dont know what to do.  
by on Oct. 12, 2017 at 11:37 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MixedCooke
by Bronze Member on Oct. 12, 2017 at 11:59 AM
1 mom liked this
Cut them out of your life
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Oct. 12, 2017 at 1:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Your brother sounds like he may legitimately be mentally ill.  We have had similar experiences with a family member on DH's side of the family.  

nami.org is a fantastic resource for families that have someone suffering from mental illness.  I would seriously look into what resources they have available.  And also be sure to maintain healthy boundaries for your family.

It is a heartbreaking situation, to say the least.  Your mom might find some relief in looking into a support group, it really does help talking to others that are in similar situations.  

Hugs.

Jinxed8
by Silver Member on Oct. 12, 2017 at 3:23 PM
1 mom liked this

I have long ago cut toxic people out of my life, whether they were friends or family members.  Sometimes it's hard but I think it's the best thing for you and your children.

Roo1234
by Member on Oct. 12, 2017 at 3:26 PM
1 mom liked this

You cannot be his audience. I would end contact with him.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Oct. 12, 2017 at 4:46 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm sorry you and your mother are having such a difficult time with his behaviors  =(

SilverSally
by Member on Nov. 2, 2017 at 2:26 AM
2 moms liked this

You cut him out. You can't fix him, he needs to want to seek help. And it doesn't sound like he's there yet, if ever. You need to protect your kids. Full stop. He isn't safe to be anywhere near them. Don't text him anymore. Block his number. It will hurt, but it is the best thing. 

DONNAOPULENTO
by on Nov. 2, 2017 at 3:02 AM
1 mom liked this

I understand, my youngest daughter was not in her right mind.  She was a meth addict.  She went to prison 2 years ago and was to be eligible for parole this coming January before her 31st birthday.  She left behind a wonderful son and daughter any mother would only dream of.   

ray229
by Member on Nov. 17, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Thank you for taking the time to say that, its hard when you grow up and away from friends and you have no one to talk to...that really cares!

Quoting Anonymous 2:

I'm sorry you and your mother are having such a difficult time with his behaviors  =(


ray229
by Member on Nov. 17, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Thank you for taking the time to say this.  I need to hear it!  It is not easy. 

Quoting SilverSally:

You cut him out. You can't fix him, he needs to want to seek help. And it doesn't sound like he's there yet, if ever. You need to protect your kids. Full stop. He isn't safe to be anywhere near them. Don't text him anymore. Block his number. It will hurt, but it is the best thing. 


SpiritedWitch
by Bronze Member on Nov. 17, 2017 at 1:33 PM

I cut out my dad's sister. I even refuse to call that bitch my aunt or attend any family function where she will be. 

You have to decide what is best for you and your kids. That's all you can do. 

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