It's time for Baby Buster to leave the nest.
May 3, 2011 10:28 AM Subscribe
What can I do to help my family break out of a negative relationship cycle?
posted by Kitty Stardust to human relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sigh. My brother is over 30 and still lives with our mother. He lives the life of an 18-year-old. He contributes nothing to the house unless it's food he wants to eat. He barely scraped through an AA degree, works an undemanding job that pays enough to keep him in a new car, computers and music gear. My mom wants him to pay rent and help with the utilities, but doesn't really demand it. He was always the baby and I believe that they (he and my mother) have developed a codependent relationship. She has a high-paying professional job, yet she still does his laundry and makes dinner for him. The house they live in is way nicer than anything he'd be able to afford on his own. Every two months or so they get into a big argument in which he says lots of childish crap like threatening to leave and never talk to my mom again, while she yells at him for dropping out of school or other past actions. Then they both come to me complaining. A week or two later, all is apparently forgotten.
My brother had to attend some court-ordered therapy after a booze-fueled act of drama (he broke his girlfriend's window because she dumped him), but he stopped going as soon as his required hours were up. My mom is a psychologist, so, of course, she doesn't need therapy. I suspect my brother may be a bit borderline because of how alternately clingy and aggressive he is. Oddly, he shares a lot of personality traits with my mom, with whom I haven't historically had the greatest relationship.
The latest drama is that his most recent girlfriend dumped him because he refused to do anything to improve his life. He got drunk and got into a fight with my mom. Now she wants me to tell her what to do about him. I told her to change the locks while he's at work. She says she just wants me to "talk to him." I am convinced that there's been enough talking and nothing short of extreme action will make a difference. Also, he's been ignoring my calls, texts & Facebook messages for three weeks.
My brother's been to jail, to therapy, been through a number of poor girlfriends who've done everything they can to "help" him. He's been on all kinds of anti-anxiety drugs. He's done suicide stunts (I say stunts here because he did it while on the phone with another girl who was trying to dump him, so, obviously just trying to manipulate her.)
He is a smart guy, but emotionally stunted. He has plenty of wit and talent, but very little empathy. My mom has spend many years making excuses for him. She is almost to retirement age and does not want to spend her final years doing his laundry.
I want to help them both, but I think what needs to be done will be shatteringly painful to both of them.
TL;DR: How do I convince my codependent mother and brother to separate?