Family Issues to do with problematic behaviour
I come from a large family of 9 siblings. Recently I have discovered that my oldest brother has serious bi-polar issues mixed with a real religious obsession for being right and supposedly having "divine" inspiration on any issue. His marriage of 50 years has just fallen apart...surprise surprise.
I also have 2 sisters with similar behaviours without the divine inspiration aspect, and another brother who disappeared for 10 years, has arrived on the scene, and has very obvious intense obsession about his own self importance. Whenever he calls, the total conversation is about himself, his achievements and how great he is....although much of what he says is somewhat inflated in actuality.
I have been very careful with my own behaviours and how I act toward others. I am seen as the "carer" or the most even tempered one by my other siblings, although I am one of the younger ones. I must admit, I am getting a little concerned that these behaviours could be catching. Is this paranoia on my part?? I'd be interested in others' comments
No you are not worrying for nothing. I have had contact from the agency overseas putting pressure on me to take up the assignment. We have achieved significant aid from US and so feeling very pressured...also keen to finish off the assignment I started late last year. I had dinner with my brother's wife tonight. She is off to the USA to visit her daughter and family next month so hopefully that will relieve some of the family drama.
My wife knows I have to attend the training in Melbourne before I go but has not offered any opinion about when I go and for how long
Thanks for replying. I'd be most interested in knowing the type of overseas work you do. I only do a little child sponsorship, and the occasional letters from successions of children have been engaging and welcome.
I'm very glad some of the family situation has lessened, I wish for your sake it was all on an even keel.
My best wishes
I did some work on community based tourism in poor village communities, where I helped set up homestay accommodation for trekkers and backpackers. That helped bring substantial incomes to villages who lived in very poor circumstances.
My most recent one was helping a collective of fish farmers to better market their produce, to link into accepted international quality control, and develop an e-commerce website so they could market their fish products to export countries.
My older brother has been married for more than 50 years. His wife has just left him, because he is so controlling, dogmatic in his beliefs (there two traits have been common to him for years), and whenever we get together he rants and raves and will not listen to anyone else except himself and his issues. Recently he arrived at our place without warning. We invited him in, gave him a coffee and made it clear we are happy to support both he and his wife, but we wont accept him denigrating his wife or children anymore. We made it clear he needed professional help to deal with his mental health issues. He then abused my wife, and after I took him to task about that, he turned and started to denigrate me and belittle me, as not having the intelligence to understand his views and issues. I then asked him to leave as I was genuinely concerned about him imposing his trauma and abuse on our household. I followed up with an email to him, outlining our concerns with his behaviour, how he had isolated himself from his wife and kids (who are grown up and now have their own children), and reiterated that I believe he was mentally unstable and needed professional help himself rather than using his wife and children, and now us, as his emotional battering ram.
His wife has been keeping in touch with us, and her wellbeing has improved markedly since she has moved in with her sister. She is lucky she has 2 sisters, and her children are very supportive of her.
Every so often he leaves phone messages for her, crying, saying he is suffering from "seperation anxiety" and needs her home to care for him. So she has returned a couple of times, only to be ranted and raved at, and treated badly. We have encouraged her to stay clear for a time, while she is consulting with her own psych help, to review her mental state, and rebuild her focus and strength.
I am waiting for him to respond to my email, and to agree to seek professional help for himself, before we make further contact with him.
The rest of my siblings are also concerned about his behaviour and mental state, but are warning me and my wife to be careful not to get too tangled up in all this, to our own detriment.
I would be interested in any comments or insights as to the appropriate position I could take here.
There's a couple of thing's I'd like to say, just ideas for your consideration. Please bear with me while I set out the background.
The first concerns an unpleasant episode I underwent around 9 months ago when a spot was discover on a lung. For various medical reasons a biopsy could not be taken and I had to wait for 3 months to see if it grew (- it did not).
As I'd been an extremely heavy smoker years before I obviously worried abut having cancer, and was most frightened. However as time went on all the things I was worrying about receded and I was able to think the following:-
When I was young I wanted to be in control – to fix the broken, to do things ‘right’.
Now after one (groundless) recent scare I look around and find that I can’t fix everything and there really is no obligation to do so – to some extent I’m relieved of that responsibility, to some extent I never had it in the first place (though custom and ego always told me I did).
My world has shrunk, I try to look after those immediately around me (wife, son, daughter-in-law,grandson) and let all the rest pass by. Even with son and daughter-in-law I leave their lives pretty much up to them.
To some that all up I don't think trying to help your brother will assist any of you, you are right to keep a distance. I would.
Secondly there is a section in the Desiderata (no it's not a religious work) which I try to follow that says
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
I do not think it would help my mental health to associate with such a person, or to be in a grounded enough position to contribute to the daily life of my immediate family.
That's me - YMMV
Well I finally got a response to my email...it was one which apologised for his behaviour and offence caused to me and my wife, and then said he needed me to help him with his sim card to his phone. Whilst I was pleased to hear an apology, it was so typical of him to accompany it with a demand for something. He often rings his wife who has left him, saying she should come home because he needs company, he needs his hair cut, he needs her to cook him meals etc etc. I am not sure he has yet learnt the lesson. He has had one session with a psychologist, after hounding the poor person, when he found out his wife was seeing him.
So I sent a short reply saying it was good to receive an apology but suggested he got to one of those phone repair kiosks in the local shopping centre to help him as I was not good at IT things.
I am being extremely cautious with him as I believe he needs quite a few sessions with the psychologist to sort out his thinking.