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January 16, 2013 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Looking for experiences related to reconnecting with estranged family for very limited purposes.

Friends, I need your counsel to maintain my zen. A very mentally ill brother --the only immediate fam I keep in touch with -- is in a slow motion crisis. He is in a group home, but his behavior has become at times hostile and confrontational. Simply put, he is a beat or two away from going back to jail. Which would be better than death by cop, but that's an option, too.

For a zillion reasons, I have cut off contact with all members of the family. Prior to that, there have been confrontations so heated it was like bombs going off in my head. I need to keep my temper. But I also need to marshal resources on my brother's behalf.

But, here's the rub: as per my bro's caregiver, there seems to be some nexus between some of my bro's worrisome behavior and his interactions with other members of my family. I have not once in the history of time been able to go yo not cool to my fam without answering fullisades of fireworks. But these are things I would address -- when you, family member, does x, it hurts my bro because why.

What I want: to avoid my family. What I need: to help my brother w.o needlessly antagonizing anybody. Yes, I have left a message with his case manager. I will reach out to any other member of his treatment team I can.

I've left things vague here but given my most recent convo with his caregiver this is not some phantasm of my mind manifesting because of years of family aaaahfucknomakeitstop. What I am less sure of is whether interacting with my family will help things, even if I am noncharacterstically saintly.

I am in therapy, my therapists opinion is to go through my bros treatment team and leave my fam out. But my gut is gnawing somewhat at this -- I feel like a less than good person for not at least trying once again to be yo not cool. Is there a version of yo not cool that will penetrate even terribly dysfunctional family relationships?
posted by angrycat to Human Relations (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Back far far away and let his team handle it.

Call his team daily and be totally up their ass about doing their jobs and getting dysfunctional persons away from your bro.

If you get involved directly with your dysfunctional family, I GUARANTEE whoever you get in contact with will do the exact opposite of whatever you ask, because that's just how dysfunctional people operate.

Go through the professionals. That's what they are there for. Keep in close contact with them.


My best to your brother. I hope he turns it around and remains safe.
posted by jbenben at 3:34 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Not unless you're willing to face the fallout. Is there a way to get your family out of your brother's life? Is he young enough that you can work on having him permanently removed from the family's care? If he is already permanently out of there care, can you work with his caregiver on getting restraining orders or something similar?
posted by windykites at 3:36 PM on January 16, 2013


I feel like a less than good person for not at least trying once again to be yo not cool.

You absolutely don't need to feel like a "less than good person" for this. Clearly, you care about your brother and his well-being. Your family is not at all receptive to the "yo not cool" strategy, and their behavior when you attempt to be diplomatic indicates that they don't deserve such courtesy. It's OKAY to have boundaries.

Consider this: if you had a friend who immediately launched a "fusillade of fireworks" whenever you indicated that something he/she did was not okay, you'd not want to be friends for much longer. People aren't allowed to treat you like utter shit just because you're blood relatives.

Is there a version of yo not cool that will penetrate even terribly dysfunctional family relationships?


Well, kind of. It's called ignoring your dysfunctional family, choosing not to deal with them, and instead interacting with the professionals who are responsible for your brother's care. It's what they're employed to do.

Best of luck to you. Remember to take care of yourself, too.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a similar but not at all equal situation with my mother. Some time ago, I had some conversations with her siblings about this, as I felt I could use the help and support they in theory could provide. That turned out to be very, very wrong, not least because they are also (diagnosed) crazy, and now I spend time trying to convince my mum to not speak with her siblings.

What I have learnt:
I can not achieve a perfect situation. This will always be difficult, and there will always be negotiations.
I can not entirely ward off the other crazies in my family. They will be there, and rational arguments against their crazy proposals will not always win.
I am not responsible. I can do my best and I can use all my powers and means, but at the end of the day, I can not prevent my mother or her siblings from doing crazy stuff, and I am not legally responsible for what they do.

One difference I can make, and I do: before I took over, with my mother's accept, she got a really bad treatment from the doctors and the general health-care system. When I arrived and took part in all consultations, the service upped more than a little (otherwise my mother wouldn't have accepted my meddling). People who are mentally fragile often get really bad treatments even in the somatic part of the hospitals. Just by being there and asking questions, you can improve the quality of life for your brother.
posted by mumimor at 4:28 PM on January 16, 2013


Thanks all -- these are things I really needed to hear -- it disengaged the rising panic over ungovernable circumstances. I will reach out to his treatment team persistently and hope that something somewhere works.
Thanks again.
posted by angrycat at 4:47 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


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