Complex family dynamics

Trigger warning: mentions possibility of suicide in the family

I didn’t write about my brother for quite a while, I guess I maybe mentioned him once or twice since I had to leave our family home and move to the hostel back in September. He is not a glamorous person to write about: he is a heavy drinker, this type who prefers to spend money on alcohol rather than food (not to mention house repairs), he showers probably a couple of times a year and has a history of stealing money from both me and my mum, although, up to the time my dad died those were mostly small sums.

I really don’t know how to deal with him, now, when mum doesn’t support him any more. He doesn’t cause me any direct troubles like arguments (he argued with mum a lot) because, I guess, I never tell him to stop drinking. I’d like him to stop, obviously, but I know me giving him lectures is not going to help. He was on detox once but only because my mum organised that through court (it took her around two years). If asked he says he likes drinking, doesn’t want to stop and he has everything under control. One of his favourite saying is ‘I’m one level above everyone else’.

I allow myself to write about him because I know he’s never going to read it. Neither him, nor any of his mates know a word of English and people in my village who could actually read my blog will never repeat to my brother what I wrote about him. I believe it’s important to discuss those matters openly because hardly anyone does, certainly not people who are active addicts and their families are reluctant too, and I can understand why.

I don’t know how my brother came to that situation that he is in now. He used to have some mates who would drink every weekend when he was younger, and, quite frankly, drinking was a very popular way of spending free time for young men at the time in Poland, especially men who didn’t have good education. Yet, those guys are not my brother’s mate any more. It seems they moved on. Possibly they still drink occasionally, I’m not saying they don’t but they found permanent jobs and started families. My brother pretty much only works when he needs money for beer, or possibly for vodka. He also buys cigarettes and some cheap food items of course but his clothes are what he got from others and apart from old type of mobile phone he has no personal possessions.

I don’t know what feelings I have towards him, mostly I want him to disappear somehow, but that’s not a feeling, is it? I don’t know if I love him, although I certainly did when I was younger, I don’t know if I’m angry with him, although I certainly was when I had to deal with him face to face or see the state of the house as he lives by himself. But when I don’t get to see him I rarely think of him.

A couple of weeks ago I started noticing strange feelings when doing some of the Redecor designs: dread and fear when I saw freestanding lamp as a part of the design, one where lampshade appeared to be hanging (I will not be attaching any images in this case). It made me think every time that it appeared like if someone hanged themselves. Where are those thoughts coming from, I thought? And today, after seeing another one of those lamps, I thought about my brother.

It was really scary. How will you feel if this is really going to happen to him? I would most certainly feel guilty for trying to delete him from our family dynamic. It seems like life without him would be easier, but of course I don’t want him to die, certainly not this way.

I called him and told him, the first time today, that I moved mum to the private care home in Studzianki due to overcrowding in the government one and mum’s savings are covering the fees. I thought he would be angry and would start swearing but he just said he already knows. He didn’t express any opinions on the matter of money and said he’s going to cope.

I really hope he will. But I doubt I can do much more than that. He became very skilled in twisting every situation into ‘It’s all your fault and I’m going to show you that, whatever you do, I’m going to ruin my life because of you’.

It seems to me that was my brother’s solution for our difficult family situation. When I was planning how to get out of the house for good, he was planning how to make everyone guilty for the fact he’s not coping.

I don’t know if anything can be done about that now. I don’t feel like I’m the person who can help. Possibly he needs to help himself first but… he has no social support. His friends are men who lost touch with reality the same way he did. Btw, they’re not the same people who he used to mixed with when he was a young adult, as I said those moved on. It’s a village. If my brother stopped drinking, his current mates would start laughing at him and it takes time to prove to other people that he changed. So trying to be sober will only alienate him.

I really wish it was possible but I doubt he’s going to make it and the only option I have is to stop behaving like I want to delete him, so that I don’t feel guilty when something happens.

And why the thought came to me when I saw a particular design of a lampshade? Because we, autistics may not understand our emotions, but we’re good at understanding symbols. Have you ever played the hangman game? That’s how the lamp looked to me.

But it only made me aware of certain fears because I already had them in me, I just wasn’t aware of them. If I didn’t have any worries about my brother no symbol would do anything to bring them on.

3 responses to “Complex family dynamics”

  1. It sounds like a no-win situation. He has to take that first step of deciding to make change. No one else can do that for him or force him to do it.


    1. I wish to be mistaken but I don’t think he would do. I actually even think now that I see him as ‘hangman’ already – no matter how long he’s going to live this is not real life. It’s really difficult to accept that on all levels. I may say I have no hope for him but on some level I have. Even the fact he wasn’t screaming at me about changing mum’s care home gives me hope he’s going to put himself together.

      Liked by 1 person

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