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Re: a rant about my out-of-control brother... sometimesblue

Posted by Dinah on February 4, 2009, at 22:22:31

In reply to a rant about my out-of-control brother..., posted by sometimesblue on February 2, 2009, at 10:51:55

Do you think it's possible to guide him?

Your parents have some power because it's their house. If they choose to set down guidelines they can do that by telling him that when he lives under their roof he has to abide by their guidelines. If he then chose not to live under their roof, they too would be powerless to influence his choices.

But what can you really do in a practical sense?

If you don't have the power to change him, it makes sense to back off and acknowledge and accept that this is his life, and your parents' lives. They have to be responsible for those lives themselves.

It's not that you don't want to help them. It's just that practically speaking, you have no ability to help them because you have no power.

Given that unfortunate reality, maybe your friend is right. You do have your own kids, and your own family. If your parents decide to do something, you can back them up. If your brother decides to change his life, you can offer to help.

Easier said than done, particularly in a situation where you have been led to believe that you do have power and responsibility. Your parents allowed you, and pressured you, to take on that role. It's hard to shake off that sense of responsibility.

I still struggle with this myself. My parents allowed me to take care of them. Perhaps not my brother, but them definitely. But now I feel some sense of responsibility to stand in their place to my brother. My therapist reminds me that nothing I can do would substantially change my brother's situation until he decides to change his own situation. And confronted with the sheer impossibility of making a meaningful difference, I recognize that I need to step back and stop agonizing about what I should do.




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