My 32-year-old bothers is a former Meth addict. He has been clean for few months. He’s been recently arrested for driving on a suspended license and for possession of a controlled substance. After he got out of jail he showed up at my house uninvited and demanded me to support him because he was homeless! We live in a rural area and I could not ask him to leave on foot in winter. I am disabled with early onset dementia, seizures, autoimmune disorder and PTSD, and my husband has military related PTSD. We are on edge constantly because my brother says he will not leave our house even though he has a misdemeanor warrant. He is a pathological liar, and blames me for being a bad sister, because I would not help him get off the streets after our parents died! He has been smoking weed since he was 15 years old, did mushrooms, drank and now Meth. He used my husband’s credit account without permission, put us in 10k debt, he blames me for not helping him with money and I left him homeless. Last year I broth him to my house tried to help him, I bought him brand new clothes, but he stole at the store. So I drove him back to CA. See, my parents use to take care of him financially, he lived with them and now he wants me to support him. We can’t afford him! calls me names, hits himself on the head when mad. He tells me to shut up when I tell him to turn himself in for his warrant, he constantly yells. He refuses to listen and disrespect me. My husband won’t throw him out, because he is family. I don’t know what to do. We live in NV and his warrants are in CA, so he says he won’t go back, because he doesn’t want me to leave him homeless there! I really don’t want him at my house! We have been estranged for years and now he wants to make me feel like I am a bad sibling and it is my duty to take care of him. I’m too sick to think straight! I feel like everyone is taking advantage of me because sometimes I forget things. I feel like a victim. Am I wrong for not wanting him around? Thank you!
A. You have problems. Your husband has problems. As adults, it is your job to solve your problems. Would it be right to ask your brother to take responsibility for your problems and to solve those problems for you? No, because he has his own problems to deal with. He only has so much money and so many hours in a day, to solve his own problems and he may not have any extra money or extra time to work on your problems. Knowing all of this, it would be very wrong of you to ask him to take responsibility for your problems and spend his time and energy solving your problems, rather than his own.
If it is wrong of you to ask him to spend his limited time and money solving your problems, then it is wrong of him to ask you to spend your limited time and money solving his problems.
You must find the money to pay for your electric bill, your house payment, your medical costs, your taxes, your car insurance, etc. You have very little money left at the end of the month and the little you have may be needed to be applied to next month’s bills or for an unexpected expense.
It is the universal expectation that parents raise children to maturity and from that point on, the child is expected to care for him or herself. If you were to assume the responsibilities for your brother’s care, the same responsibilities that your brother has refused to accept for himself, who would take care of your brother if you became disabled or died?
Your brother has done a poor job of caring for himself. He has chosen a life of irresponsibility, drug usage and prison. He is now siphoning off your life resources, the very resources that you and your husband need to survive. Remember, it is your brother’s choices that has caused him to prosper or to suffer. He chose to use illegal drugs and that choice has lessened the quality of his life. He chose to commit criminal acts that resulted in his imprisonment. He is not a victim of life. He is the victim of his own choices. Anyone who makes the choices he’s made, will find themselves living a similar life.
You and your husband have made your own choices. Apparently, you did not choose drug usage or to become a criminal. You have prospered more than your brother, not because of better luck but because of better choices. If your brother continues to make bad choices, there is nothing in this entire world that you might do to actually help him.
By including him in your life, you have reduced the quality of your life. You have less time, less money and less happiness. Even with those sacrifices, how have you actually helped him them? In reality, the sacrifices have done no more than given him a place to hide from the law and the small amount of time before he is once again imprisoned.
The choice is of course yours. We all have a limited amount of time and money that we can devote to helping others. By all means, spend that time and money helping others and surely you will be doing God’s work upon this earth. However, spend your time and money wisely. Do the most good with what you have to spend. Buy the most good. Do the most good that you can with your limited resources. Good luck in the future and with your choices.
Dr. Kristina Randle