All in the family.... (long... sorry)

I am the oldest of 5. I was diagnosed undifferentiated Sz when I was 17. I’m 29 now.

I have three younger brothers and a kid sister. The kid sis is the youngest sibling and my ever present side kick.

My 17 year old kid sis and the 20 year old youngest brother have been having a very rough relationship lately. He’s been out of rehab for almost a month now and he’s been taking all his anger out on my 17 year old kid sis. He’s trashed her car, made her work life a living hell, left horrid letters on her car, blamed her for all his problems, and knowing she’s anorexic has been making damaging comments about her weight.

My kid sis has been holding tight to her optimism. She’s changed work locations, and schedule as to not come in contact with him any more. She’s ignored him, gently cut family contact with him, simply bowed out of stuff that he was going to be at too. She’s told me NOT to take sides that this is between her and John, and not the whole family vs. one or the other.

Last night was a break in a very odd way. The two of them ended up face to face at a different brothers house last night and it was the weirdest “argument” I’ve seen in a long time. He raged at her again and then swung into… “But I love you, why are leaving?”

Then he got angry at her for leaving and told her to go, just never contact him again, but then didn’t let go of her wrist. It hit me, this is how his relationship with her has always been. John has ALWAYS been this way.

But it’s been hidden under years of alcohol. Now that the alcohol is gone this is coming up again.

We thought the impulsive and reckless behavior was due to the alcohol but that’s gone now and the behavior remains fully in tact. He too has been self-harming “artistically” (meaning, he’s cutting in to himself but doing it in designs of spirals and tribal art) He looses it and rages at the drop of a hat on our sister and then ends up almost in tears on a different brothers door step full of remorse and confusion.

He’s been calling other brothers in a full blown panic that he’s being abandoned by our kid sis, his long time buddy, but then he does stuff that she has to leave or end up very hurt. He has written her over 100 letters in this last month and he calls her all the time. She doesn’t take his calls and I just get rid of the letters he leaves. Which I guess has accidently been adding to his feelings of abandonment and making him more extreme in his reactions.

There he stood in our brother Jack’s house and went from tender and saying he loved her with all his heart in the first part of the conversation to being angry at her distancing herself from him that he hated her with all his soul by the end of the conversation.

This has all the smattering of a bigger problem, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Of course He’s not going to get help yet. I’m just trying to get some ideas of what sort of creature we might be dealing with.

After last nights “I love you, I hate you, fine, just go away… don’t leave me!” freak out… It’s time to encourage some professional help. He’s in rehab so he does think he’s getting help.

I told him “You need to talk to someone” He said, “I’ve just started AA, I am talking to someone.” But an AA sponsor is not the same as a professional.

No panic here, people are safe, just asking for ideas while trying to bring in some pro help.

Firstly I think the best advice is what your sister said which is “NOT to take sides that this is between her and John”. Trust me, that’s the best advice, it will keep you both from flaring up.

Also, you got to see that your brother is making an effort. He is in AA and he has a sponsor. Trust me AA is very beneficial as a form of therapy. I was in it 5 yrs ago and it did me the world of good. Personally I found it better than any psychiatrist.

Anyway as I said your brother is trying to face up to his problems. He is doing something about it and he is in AA. Hes going in the right direction and therapy is all about going in the right direction.

Anyway, hopefully things will improve and do take your sisters advice and NOT take sides.

Thank you for that.

Not taking sides, I love them both. But my inner bell is just ringing like no other. If my kid sis gets into her head that there is something serious here, she will try to save him all by herself.

That’s what she does. She is the lifeguard and the lifeguard is NEVER off duty. (and she really is a lifeguard as her job.)

I am proud of him for sticking with treatment. But again, after all his emotional swinging my inner bell will not stop ringing. There is something happening bigger then no alcohol.

What you are describing reminds me a lot of how my son used to be. Transferring all of his own negative emotions onto me, calling me names etc. Then he would call his grandmother and tell her how mean I was, of course, leaving out his part to play in what happened. A lot of woe is me… Since he was refusing to take responsibility for his own actions then everything was everyone else’s fault. He would push me to the point that I really did have to get away from him then it was “Why are you leaving? You’re my mom and you are supposed to…” I still left.

From your own recovery you know that sometimes the people that care for you have to set boundaries and refuse to be treated certain ways. The responsibility of his actions are on him and he needs to realize this. I’m wondering if there isn’t something else going on. Just as you self medicated maybe that is what alcohol is/was for him and now that the alcohol is not there he is falling… and from the sounds of it falling hard. Sometimes that fall is needed. When things are still going really bad for him and kid sis is not involved with it then maybe he will have to take a look at what is happening and realize that he does need help.

when other people mention this I can completely agree. I can be logical and think it through.

But when I’m not on the outside and this sort of feeling hits… it’s a feeling. I’m relearning my feelings, but it’s just another twinge that tells my brain that I’m still waking up. Before, this never used to bother me. Riley and John have had this relationship for a long time and I passively watched it play out with no care what so ever.

Now, I hate it and I want to do something. It’s hitting me bit hard how much I want to do something. I am scared for John a bit. Last nights wild swings and panic really let me see that he’s not writing these letters and doing all this with a sound mind and body. He’s crumbling.

It’s really hard to stand by and watch my youngest brother start on the same path I’ve been on.

This is how my son behaved for many years before he had his first psychotic episode. Do you think your brother might be in the “prodromal period”?

Wow, 28th of February back when this happened.

Yep, my brother had a major psychotic melt down the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, was involuntarily hospitalized and has been diagnosed with bipolar 1. He’s stabilized now and will be getting out soon. He lost his apartment and his fiancé so he’ll be staying with our parents. He was placed on 6 months medical leave with his job, so he has that to come back to in September.

I’m so glad that harassment came to an end. It was hell to watch and it really hurt our kid sis who adored her partner in crime. Now, I don’t think she adores him so much. But she said she’d be willing to try for some family counselling to start to repair the damage. It’s going to be so awkward when those two chipmunks face each other again.