An Especially Different Unhappy Family Story
May 22, 2012 12:00 PM Subscribe
My mentally ill brother may not be doing so well. I'm estranged from the rest of my family. How to address? Wall of sad text within.
posted by angrycat to Human Relations (6 answers total)
My brother has paranoid schizophrenia and lives in a group home. He is supervised most of the time. When he is not doing well, he gets himself arrested by demanding money and waiting for the cops to show up. He has spent a good percentage of his adult life in jail -- maybe he feels he would be safer there somehow during the bad times.
He has never articulated his bad feelings, beyond repeatedly asking, "Do you pity me?" At times, he just asks this question, over and over again. When he is feeling better, he is good -- he jokes, talks about T.V. shows, meals he's eaten he's enjoyed, asks me about my life.
It's my speculation (based on zero expertise) that the 'Do you pity me' question is related to/ is a precursor to/ the episodes where he can't handle X Y and Z and tries to escape it, usually by getting himself jailed.
But, there's more. I'm estranged from all other members of my family. This is something that took place after a long period of bad acts, preceded by many earlier periods of bad acts. My lack of contact is something that my therapist supports. I am in agreement with him. He especially believes that I need to avoid a relationship with my mother. I am in agreement with him.
But my mother is legal guardian of my brother.
My therapist has advised me in the past to contact his M.D., go around my mother, and tell the M.D. what's up, if anything. I feel really uncomfortable with this. Part of this is the violative nature of such a thing, given she is his guardian.
The other thing is that it might backfire in ways that would cause my brother stress. My brother recently told me all the family is telling him that they have no idea why I will not have relations with them (not true). He was, to some degree, stressed by this. In the past my mother told him about some heated language that had occurred in another family fight, contextualized by 'look how awful X was to me.' My brother then was to some degree stressed about this. I say 'to some degree' because it is hard to tell what his emotional weather is, but when he presses a point, as he did in both cases of family gossip, it's unusual. If I do something w/r/t my brother of which my mother disapproves (like talk to his M.D. w/o her knowledge/involvement), her wrath will be mighty and no boundary will she observe.
The bottom line is that less stress for my brother makes him safer. I trust nobody in my family to handle this responsibly, unfortunately.
I call him once a week. In two of our last three conversations, it was "Do you pity me?" x 1000. I am alarmed.
Do I go to his MD (as my therapist advised in the past) and the group home people, and let the chips fall where they may when my mother hears of it? Alternatives?