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at the risk of enabling the toxic behaviour

Community Member


Thanks in advance for your thoughts. I am not close to my brother and I am considering trying to renew the relationship by reaching out to him regularly and asking how things are going in his life.

The problem is that he is pretty abusive to our mother, and blames her for everything that has gone wrong in his life. Also, whenever we get together as a family, there ends up being a massive, scary, blow-up, of his causing and most people in my family are scared of him except for my father (and to some extent, his kids).

I feel like I could help him by being a listening and empathetic ear, but I don't have a lot of self-confidence, and I am scared that I will just enable his bad treatment of my parents, or end up getting stuck in the middle.

The consequences of not reaching out now are that we may never become close. And I will lose the opportunity to share with him how powerful therapy can be.

Does anyone have any insight?


3 Replies 3

Community Member

I think you should reach out. Sometimes the people hardest to reach out too, need it the most.

It may not help or it may not make your relationship better but it is worth a try. You don't want to regret not trying. Family is worth the effort.

The abuse toward your Mum is not good. However, I don't think reaching out to him will enable his behaviour. You don't have to agree with what he is doing or even his opinions to try and form a relationship. Getting stuck in the middle might be a problem but you can manage it by just refusing to get involved in their fights. I'm a parent and I would want my children to have a relationship even if I was struggling with abuse from one. I want what is best for them. Your parents will understand that you still don't condone his behaviour if you explain it to them.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi stepintomypower,

Wellcome to our forums!

I believe that wanting to be closer to your brother is a really powerful thing to do and that you want to listen to him is a great step forward.

Sometimes brothers and sisters seem to fall apart because one sibling isn’t very happy about the way that sibling behaves or treat others.

But I can see you want to help your brother.

Hopefully in time you can build a relationship with him and in the future your brother may be able to see you as a guiding light and see that he can improve himself by doing the inner work.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Stepintomypower, sometimes we compare what our parents have to say to us, but once we develop our own personalities, then we are entitled to disagree with what they tell us.

Parents can and are able to rub us off the wrong way and when we know this is going to happen, then an appearance should only be short before any conflict begins, otherwise, it disrupts everyone.

You can only have an empathetic ear with an understanding only until the words he says, agree with your thinking, outside of this, then you need to be trained on how to handle this yourself.