I wanted to share even though there are so many similar stories, you’re not alone in cutting someone out of your life to keep your own happiness and sanity intact. My brother is textbook. Schizophrenic for 8 years now since 2015 with multiple psychotic episodes but not violent. My Mom locked him out once before she died in 2019 ¶ and my Dad in Fla locked him out twice. 3 mental health/hospitals in 3 different states (NY, NJ and Fla) and also a missing person in NY and Fla. Will not stay on meds and will not get consistent counseling. He is literally dead to me and not the person I once knew. I have whole heartedly thrown in the towel as he tore my family apart and my 88 year old Dad is still dealing with this circus which is beyond tragic. Do not feel guilty for walking away from someone who doesn’t want help. I tried like hell multiple times, no more…you have to put yourself first eventually. I hope this helps someone out there wrestling with this shit sandwich of a situation. Wishing you all peace and all the best.
Brian, thank you for writing this supportive message. In my personal experience, we siblings of neurodiverse people can be quite harsh with our siblings. I have two siblings with bipolar and I remember the years of struggling with them and their issues. Oh they still have issues, I just shrug a lot more and agree with them in conversation as opposed to trying to reason with them. My life has been great improved by distancing myself from their never-ending problems.
Taking care of a family member with neurodiversity is not for everyone. Anyone in such a support position unwillingly should remove themselves as much as possible and feel free to live their own life.
One of the first lessons they teach at Family to Family is to prioritize your own life and the lives of the other family members.
Hi. I’m a sibling, too. Your heated words hit my ears/eyes hard but on reflection, I do believe you’re right: we all have a right to think, feel and respond any way we want to. I’ve typed some things here on this forum indicating I have run the gamut of emotions and responses, everything from dropping out of the life of my brother for years to going back and fully engaging with his care, to then over engaging and then having to dial back for my own health, to being angry at my parents and the entire situation, fuming against all the organizations/medicines/treatment plans that are supposed to be helping…and to embracing the responsibility and opportunity to assist my brother on his journey in the ways that I can. But I take it week by week. And of course it must be allowed for us siblings to have any and all reactions to what is a very, very hard situation all around.
Except that because my brother lives with my parents, my siblings and I come back to help fix their destroyed house every year. Family gatherings are at my siblings places and me being the primary caretaker for my brother (until recently) has made it so they can focus on their own families. In exchange for taking on that responsibility, they have given me a little apartment where I fortunately only pay utilities and for my own groceries. It is a stretch for them to have me in their house but I do my best to stay helpful and unobtrusive. Their kids help remind me of things that are worth living for.
My brother has been committed before and we are doing everything in our power to make sure he cannot come back to my parents. They have suffered some horrible personal violence and health problems from chronic stress because of him and he tends to be violent toward others when he is not mumbling to himself. (He also refused medication until his most recent involuntary long-term commitment.)
As much as I love kids, I am never going to have any because of my brother. As it is, I’m getting past the window where other forms of disability are a valid concern and knowing about the risks of heritability (or my desire to not put anyone else in harms way anywhere near my brother) the amount of sadness I feel is vastly outweighed by the relief that any chances of having a mentally ill child will not happen so long as I don’t have kids or adopt.
The violent letters sent accusing me of horrible things (that I can’t do, what with being several hundred miles away with no other form of access to him other than snail mail) is enough that I’m having cases built against him and grounds for MANY different security measures. Not just for myself but for the rest of my family. Moving out of his reach is one of my long-term goals. Nothing and no one will ever convince me to take care of him again.