When you hold the line
January 11, 2016
I’m not my brother’s keeper, I’m not my brother’s keeper, I’m not my brother’s keeper.
Except when I am.
On the heels of That Conversation with Dad, it comes out that everyone has tried to pry Sibling loose from the current living situation, clinging to Dad despite bearing no love or respect for him.
He refuses to leave. He refuses to get help. He refuses to admit that anything is wrong even though he hasn’t held down a job in over 6 years, he hasn’t earned a living wage in 7, and he’s doing nothing day to day but eating, sleeping, bathing, and wandering.
Friends ask after him. Old teachers and mentors have asked what they can do to help unstick him. He’s only intent on telling them his latest big ideas, what they should do for a big splash and instant success.
My older aunt has tried to help. She offered to pay his way through a trade school, tried to talk to him (rebuffed).
My younger aunt has tried to help. She sends food, clothes, offers (spurned) advice.
My dad has tried to push. He’d gotten so far as getting Sibling to the doctor for evaluation, and they determined that he isn’t mentally capable of functioning independently anymore. They scheduled an appointment for him to return and complete paperwork, to apply for assistance, to apply for housing. Sibling decided, even before that first appointment, that he’s fine and doesn’t need help. He doesn’t need housing. He refused to go. Dad tried to force him, and Sibling just disappeared on the day of the appointment.
He respects no one.
He listens to no one.
Only the few rules I set in stone remain. Only I can get him to, even a little bit, listen, or comply when I tell him to clear the yard, pick up after his pets. He doesn’t listen to everything I say but he listens to nothing anyone else will say. I’m the last one who can make anything happen.
It comes down to this: if I want to free Dad of the living nightmare he’s in living with the shambling mess of Sibling, if I want to see anything change with how that part of the family does not function, I have to personally wade back into the fray to physically make Sibling go to the doctor, make him do his paperwork, and make him move out. With no guarantee that any of my time or words will be well spent.
I’ll have to arrange childcare for LB, I’d take hir with but I don’t want him anywhere near hir. I don’t trust him to turn my back on him for a minute. Not because the mentally ill are universally violent as the media and politicians would have you believe but because he specifically has a history of being unpredictable and we used to spar together. I don’t believe for a second that he’s incapable of slipping into a delusion, or even the appearance of the delusion, that we’re 20 years younger and instigating an altercation. Especially when I’m frogmarching him (metaphorically, I hope) to the doctor and whatever else.
PiC insists that I won’t do this alone but my defenses are up, my instincts are pushing him away to protect my family from my family. I have never had help managing my sibling, I’ve always gone it alone – he can behave like a caged beast and it’s safer when it’s only my back that needs watching. I can be as firm as I need without worrying he’d lash out at bystanders. And if anything goes wrong, only I will be hurt.
It sucks but this is how I prepare for a Sibling battle after years of bloody experience. Protect your family, keep them out of the line of fire. Armor yourself. Sort your affairs.
Boy does this ever sound like a hootenanny.