What to do about significant other's unstable brother?
December 2, 2013 8:11 AM Subscribe
My partner's brother, after a lifetime of instability, seems to be getting worse and has recently made threats against my partner and one of the parents. My partner and the parent don't seem that worried; I take this very seriously. What can I do?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My partner's brother, "Mike," 21, lives with one of their parents, "Chris." The facts I know are these:
*Mike has been diagnosed and treated for various physical, mental, and emotional issues and hasn't ever held a real job. Mike has been involuntarily hospitalized before.
*Chris has been "trying to get services" such as public assistance for Mike "for years," but without much luck, for reasons I'm not clear about.
*Mike has alienated most people in his life, and is angry at both my partner and Chris, for reasons that seem mostly due to poor mental health, and in the past has shut off all communication with my partner for months at a time.
*Mike has made some verbal threats toward himself, Chris, and my partner.
*Recently, Mike went into a rage and broke something in Chris's house; Chris called the police and Mike was put on a psychiatric hold, then released back to Chris's house.
*My partner has mentioned a few times about feeling "scared of" Mike. At other times my partner has said Mike "has never been violent" and "wouldn't hurt anyone."
*My partner has repeatedly expressed how complicated the situation is, and how hard it is for Chris to not keep giving Mike second chances.
I take all of this extremely seriously. I obviously don't know Mike as well as my partner does, but based on what I do know, I feel that my partner and Chris are in denial. I totally understand that no one wants to admit their family member could be a threat. But I am concerned for the safety of my partner and Chris; if someone makes a threat, it seems obtuse to pretend it's not there. I alternate between feeling like I might be overreacting to feeling like everyone else is under-reacting, with potentially very negative consequences.
Any practical suggestions would be very appreciated. I'd like to have a heart-to-heart with my partner. What should I say/suggest/request? What can my partner do? (FWIW I live a few hours away; everyone involved is in California.)