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Help or run?

Community Member
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this.
This is difficult but necessary.
It may be a common story, and if so, I hope there are some techniques and advice you may be able to offer.
The nub is that my family is under siege from my youngest brother. He is violent and although I have no qualifications in psychology, he appears to be suffering from severe mental health issues.
He has abandoned two wives and four children and left them in dire circumstances.
In late 2020, he appeared in my elderly mother’s town in NSW after abandoning his second family in WA. My mother was in care after my nieces found her in a coma in her home. From that point she needed 24/7 care for her physical and mental health.
When he arrived intown, pulled her out of that care and brought her back to her home, against medical advice, family requests and during COVID lockdown.
In September 2021, he abandoned my mother after some brutal behaviour to my her and my niece. He also tried to take over her finances, but my mother held strong and didn’t hand them over.
After the one more final abusive attack, my mother landed in hospital, and he abandoned her. When I spoke with her, she said she was heartbroken.
My mother has just died.
He now spends his time tormenting his ex-wife and children in WA with accusations to local police in WA that his wife has killed the children. Six times so far. The children’s mother is strong, but they are all frightened.
He has also turned his focus to my two brothers who lived near to my mother and supported her as much as they could. I live about 600 kms from the town.
We all are still stoic, but his cruel and malevolent behaviour is draining.
Now, less than two weeks after our mother’s passing, he is demanding money from the will.
He has a violent record and an existing VRO in WA. He represented himself in court in WA and failed, but he continues to mentally abuse his children and wife in WA via email, phone and Zoom.
Personally, I am feeling drained, but am trying to support my brothers and their families and my sister-in-law and children in WA by listening. I am driving the 1200 kms to meet and speak with my brother in NSW on a regular basis.
We are all torn, as our youngest brother is our brother, but he is so hostile and toxic that we are caught between wanting to help him and trying to get away from him.
Do you have any advice?
Thank you for reading.
6 Replies 6

Hi Rich06,

Welcome to the forums, we are so glad that you've shared this here. We hope you find some comfort in hearing from the lovely community members, many of whom will be able to relate to what you’ve been through.

It sounds like you've been working really hard to support everyone around you, and we can hear you're feeling really drained. It's so important to take the time to look after yourself when supporting others, so we're really glad you could post here and share what's going on for you. There's some tips and suggestions for looking after yourself while supporting others here, on the Beyond Blue site. It might be interesting to have a look through while we wait to hear from the amazing community here on the forums once they see your post.

If you ever want to talk this through with one of the Beyond Blue counsellors, feel free to give us a call on 1300 22 4636, or reach out through Online Chat here.

Thank you for sharing this and giving this community a chance to offer you their understanding and advice. We’re here to listen and offer support, and you never know how your story might help someone else.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Rich60,

I am so sorry to hear your family is struggling with this issue and I'm very sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. It must be so conflicting having someone you care about and are family with, also be so problematic and harmful to people you love.

I agree they sound as though they are struggling with some serious mental health issues, but probably are not in a place where they will accept help easily...

While I know you care deeply for them, in the interest of everyone's safety, is it possible for your siblings to get a restraining order?

I think any kind of distance everyone can establish from him the better. Even if that means considering moving further away... would that be something your siblings are open to?

The other thing I would say is that the ongoing stress of this for all of you must be so draining, I would highly recommend all of you look into some mental health support yourselves. Just to process, vent and work through it with a professional. It's commendable how strong you have all been through this, but your wellbeing is 1# priority so please do take care of yourself however you can.

Let us know how you are all getting on when you can.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Rich60,

It is drilled into most of us From birth that we are loyal to our family and look after them at all costs, and that can be a tough habit to break. But things become impossible when that family member is toxic, manipulative and downright abusive. My dad has a brother who was like that, my dad tried over and over with him but there was always explosions, incidents, and he did a lot of reprehensible things, like terrorize his first family (threatened to harm them and leave them homeless), and then his second family before he abandoned them too. My father tried for many years, like you he supported his brothers abandoned families as best as he could, while also trying to support his brother but the level of drama it constantly brought was untenable and he eventually drew a line in the sand and cut contact. The problem is that some mental health conditions like schizophrenia etc are recognized but a lot of people with narcissistic personality and domestic violence pathologies seem to really fall through the cracks and seem to operate in that grey area where they behave in a morally reprehensible manner but they haven’t yet committed any crime. I watched my father go through it, and he was certainly more peaceful when he made the decision to withdraw contact, despite having some regrets that he wished things could have been different, he got to the point where he realised that it was what it was and his brother would never change. You are probably at that point now or close to it.

Community Member

Thank you Sophie.

Just your response helps.

Community Member

Thanks Banksy92.

I'm the lucky one here. I live about 600 kms away from my youngest brother, but unfortunately my other brothers and their families are third generation locals.

Our conflict is that our youngest brother has been away for about 10 years and has returned to wreak havoc. My brothers and their families can't move, and we discuss almost daily how we can continue to live with this increasing dark shadow over our family.

My brothers and I are normally upbeat and love to laugh...but this one person has inflicted so much mental anguish and what appears to be a real threat of violence, that that joy has been nearly erased.

Sorry to sound so dire, I am working at trying to overcome this, but this guy is relentless.

I really do appreciate your care. That is a great help.

I'll keep looking for answers.

Thank you so much.

Community Member

Thanks Juliet_84.

That's good advice and I think you are right; I'm almost ready to say no more to my younger brother. I can't speak for my other brothers or their families, but there is only so much I can do before behaviour it impacts on my children.

My younger brother has hurt and abandoned so many people when they were venerable; he is doing again while we are mourning... but as diabolical as his acts are, we (my brothers and I) are hard pressed to abandon him.

We'll work it out.

Thank you for your help and story.