• Reaching Families Project

    Online Support for People Who Care About Someone with a Mental Illness

Raising my brother

Moderator: AndrewBCSS

Forum rules
Postings here are publicly visible and searchable with search engines. If you would like more privacy, you can post in the private forum instead. Please click here for more resources including in person support groups, newsletters and referral information.
User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: 09 Feb 2015
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Outside Canada
City or Region: Northern New York

Raising my brother

Unread postby Jamiller73185 » 09 Feb 2015

My brother is 15 now and he has been living with me for over 3 years. He is mentally handicapped and has a "mood disorder" which together, is only half the battle. My mother raised him for the first 11 years (I being 14 years older, moved out when he was 2 and I did not see him much) and he was allowed to do and say whatever as he pleased. When my mom passed away, my brother was swearing (every other understandable word) and destroying things including toys, furniture, walls, household items... Just name it. He was also wearing adult diapers because he was not toilet trained.
Fast forward to now.... My brother can speak and most people understand what he is saying. He is fully toilet trained and can do basic things for himself ie: bathe, use a microwave, make a sandwich... The problem is that he hates me. He tells me everyday. He still destroys everything he can such as holes in his bedroom walls, his mattress and box spring have been replaced countless times. The mortar on my house our lawn furniture, cabinet doors, the other kids things. Game systems and paddles... just everything. He shows no remorse for anything he does or the awful things he says to me or the rest of the family. He goes to counseling and is on medicine to help but there has got to be another way to help him stop the really terrible things he does. The rest of my siblings don't have anything to do with him for the most part and when I try talking to them about our problems I get told to "just give up and put him in a home already" I promised my mom that I wouldn't let that happen. Not to mention he is my brother! How could I do that? I feel trapped in the sense that I feel like I can't help him to "grow" anymore and nobody else wants to try... I guess the point of all of this is that I need some good helpful optimistic advice.... Please

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 1298
Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Relationship: Other
gender: male
Region: Lower Mainland BC
City or Region: Vancouver
Location: British Columbia

Re: Raising my brother

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 11 Feb 2015

Hi Jamiller,
I am assuming you have legal guardianship of your brother? Can you take him in to get assessed - get his medications and treatment re-evaluated so you have a present-day sense of where he is and someone to ask about his chances for more improvements in behaviour. I find that it's helpful to have accurate information to make good decisions. It also sounds like some respite care would be helpful if you don't already have that, such as people to come in and give you more of a break than you are getting, and who can see how things are and give you someone to share that experience with.
It sounds like your mother had a way of coping with her son's condition that is different from yours, and you get to make choices based on more accurate, present day information than what your mom had. I think that just like it is important to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting a child on a plane with theirs, that it is important to make sure you have what you need to thrive so you can help others to thrive. Some people find that they can be more fully there for an ill loved one if they can find a way to get outside of the daily power struggles by having their loved one live elsewhere. You might find that with some safe space to yourself you will have the breathing room and energy to put in the same love, dedication and care you are putting out now, toward the goal of getting him farther into health that you would be able to now and have the result of making his life (and yours) better than it is now.

Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.

Return to “Siblings of Persons with a Mental Illness Group (visible)”