Am I My Brother's Keeper?
March 29, 2011 7:03 AM Subscribe
My brother is on the brink of homelessness. I know no one but him can improve his life, but he doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation. How can I not enable him in this situation and still live with myself?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My brother is almost 30 years old. He is morbidly obese, chronically underemployed, lazy, phobic about a lot of things, and a hoarder.
What's gotten him into trouble with his landlord is his lack of general maintenance of his basement apartment. My mom helped him clean it for three days at the beginning of the month to prevent the landlord evicting him. (The notice of eviction was verbal, not on paper, which I doubt would hold up in a court in my home state.)
She told me she spent 18 hours on his apartment and that barely touched the problem. (Mom also told me not to let on to my brother that I know what's going on... I'm fully aware that my mother is a master enabler.)
The landlord told my brother he would come back early in the month, but my brother hasn't seen him since. I spoke with my mom last night, and she said she feels conditions have deteroriated back to unacceptable levels, and she would be back at his apartment tomorrow to clean again before April 1.
So he's not out of the woods yet with his landlord. My mother said that if he were to be evicted, my parents wouldn't take him back in. He lived with my parents for three years after college and made no moves to try and move out until my parents found this apartment for him in our hometown.
I'm married and live three hours away in another state. My husband has said if this eviction comes to pass, we could take my brother in, but my brother would have to make some BIG changes to his life for me to agree to this. I love my brother, but I don't want him to just exist in my basement for years on end, which is what I see happening if he lived with us.
Is he depressed? Probably. He refuses to get therapy. He had his thyroid removed 9 years ago, but is not taking replacement thyroid hormone and refuses to get his TSH and T4 levels checked. (I also don't have a thyroid and I know that going without thyroid hormone hurts one's motivation.)
He refuses to do a lot of things, citing his finances, but can find the money to buy a video game system, pay for cable TV, or buy a book. He works, on average, less than 20 hours per week as a security guard and substitute teacher. He's been a security guard for 8 years and a substitute teacher for 5.
I'm at my wits end with him. I've tried to help him, I've tried not speaking to him, I've tried being honest with him, I've tried being mean, I've tried being nice. I don't know what to do.
(tl;dr: My brother is facing eviction from his apartment. My parents have said they won't take him in. I live 3 hours away and don't want to take him in either. How do I live with myself as he faces a scary situation?)