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I (34) am living with my dad and older brother (45) who has several undiagnosed mental health issues (arguably narcissistic personality disorder, hoarding, extreme paranoia)...the only joy he seems to get is yelling at my dad. COVID has made him so much worse. It gets so bad, I wonder why the neighbors don't call the cops.


I would move out but it would mean no longer being allowed in the home (my brother is incredibly paranoid about COVID and has not been out of the house in over a year, he even gets angry if my dad takes the garbage bin outside). Since COVID, I take care of my dad's bills, his meds, getting groceries delivered (I still have to wipe groceries down to calm my brother's COVID concerns). Dad used to do all this himself in-person, but COVID means using computers and automated phone systems, which he isn't great at.


Here is the thing: my dad has a second house that is close by. He initially got it when my mom was alive, because they could no longer stand living in the same house with my brother. Dad says it's my house, but I am not allowed to live there. We go twice a week to check on it and stay a few hours for respite, but that's all. My dad will not move back there and he won't explain why.


Here is another thing: my brother has his own house. My parents bought it for him so he would leave the family home without them having to evict him. When my mom got sick, he moved back in to "help take care of her." He took that opportunity to never leave. He received a hefty inheritance when my mom died so there is no financial abuse. My dad will not evict him. When my brother lived alone, he essentially became malnourished despite my parents bringing him food and him being financially secure. I believe my brother's inability to care for himself plays a large part into why my dad won't evict him.


I just found this forum today. Most seniors in this situation seem to want intervention or are not mentally competent. My dad doesn't want intervention and is usually (outside of COVID) capable of caring for himself. I believe if I send someone to check on him, he will deny any abuse and I will have made things worse. He is a massive enabler but he is still my dad. I used to go to therapy and all my therapists would say "leave, you can't save him from his own choices," but I don't know how I can live with that guilt.

"...Dad says it's my house, but I am not allowed to live there..." Just because he says it's your house doesn't make it so. Your dad sounds like he has his own control issues. He controls you but doesn't control your brother. Do you see that?

Your family dynamics are dysfunctional. And you are enabling things to remains dysfunctional by dancing to the tune your father and brother play. You cannot change their relationship. You can only change your relationship with your father. It sounds like you are unhappy in your living arrangements, have sought therapy, and don't follow the advice of your therapists.

You say your dad is "a massive enabler" but you also are enabling both your dad and brother. The sooner you recognize that you can only control your choices and your behavior the sooner you may see the wisdom of therapists telling you "leave".
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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You say, "I used to go to therapy and all my therapists would say "leave, you can't save him from his own choices," but I don't know how I can live with that guilt."

If you will not take the advice of all of your therapists to leave such a dysfunctional household, what advice will you take from us on this forum?

Your father also has issues that you're refusing to acknowledge. If one of my children were to treat me the way your brother is treating your father, I would kick them OUT of my life and tell them not to come back until & unless they got help for their problems and could treat me with respect. That your father chooses to ACCEPT the abuse is HIS choice and his problem. You can't fix that.

You are allowed to have a life of your own without playing into this dynamic your father & brother have created. Guilt should play no part in your decision because you did not create the problem these two are perpetuating. Maybe they both enjoy the drama. Have you considered that?

Whatever you decide to do, do something for YOURSELF. Dad's a grown man and capable of moving into the other house he owns. He's also capable of telling his son ENOUGH of the abuse, and to move out.........it's up to HIM though. You can't make these two men change. All you CAN do is help YOURSELF now. I hope you do. You are worth it!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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You have ZERO control over what your relatives do.

You have 100% control over what YOU do.

You need to move out.

You need to move on.

You can't care more about your dad's situation than he cares about it himself.

If you are interested, contact your local chapter of NAMI.

Otherwise, just move on with your life; therapy may be useful if you want to break these patterns.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm sorry for your situation. It's hard to walk away from someone you love when they're damaging themselves. But you don't want to be a co-enabler for your brother.

One thought I had while reading your post was that maybe brother should get attention he most definitely WON'T want: report him as a danger to himself and others (a senior, you).

Why can't you live in the other house? Is there a legal basis? What would happen if you moved into your house? What would happen if you and Dad go there and stay? How could Brother force you to return if he's afraid of leaving the house?

Definitely contact Adult Protective Services and lay out your concerns about the mental and emotional abuse being heaped on Dad. Seek legal advice about the houses - who are named on the deeds, etc. I suspect the barrier to moving is psychological, not legal.

It will be hard, whatever you do; but you'll want the peace of knowing that you did all you could to help Dad and yourself. And Brother, too. There's tons of support here on this forum so please come back, often. Make full use of the site.

Prayers and hugs for you.
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Reply to ravensdottir
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First of all, your questions are difficult for anyone to answer. I have a bipolar disabled daughter and have lived with it for over 20 years. Be respectful to your Dad. Show him kindness and love. He may not want the help. But he needs it.

If your brother will not get the help that he needs - then let it go. You can't change it anyway. Try to separate yourself from him (if he doesn't want help). Try to stop the interaction between your brother and your Dad. Protect your Dad. Many people tried to tell us to be tough and others tried to tell me to be kind to the point of confusion. Neither was very helpful. They made me feel quilty about every choice I made. This is not helpful. "At the end of the day, all you can do is your best." Take care of yourself FIRST. You cannot control them or what they do or say. Your Dad needs help. Start there. He will not accept your help until he trust you to do it. Even then he may not. Sometimes all we can do is try and then let it go. I know that sounds hard. Because it is. It took me two (2) years to let go of my daughter that I could not help or change. Thankfully, she got the help that she needed and is living independently now with few problems.

I wish you the best and hope that above all else; you take care of YOU FIRST.,

Susanne
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Reply to Silverlining101
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I understand your feelings. I had to walk away from the same sort of situation. In my case I was in an abusive home growing up, then an abusive marriage. I got help. My family did not. During the pandemic- they got even more crazy. When they resorted to their sick old ways- I had a choice to make. Either I throw away the good in my life and fall back into place in their sick world or let them go and stay in the good place that I had worked to get to. I do it with love. It hurts. It is sad. But I have a future worth caring about and protecting.
I wish you so much peace. I hope you receive the strength and support and guidance to help you through this hard time. And I hope you find your way to what makes you happy.
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Reply to SylviaW
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Please don’t take on guilt for your father’s choices. He’s enabled the situation to an extreme degree for a very long time. Being of sound mind does mean he gets to make his own decisions, even bad ones. Would it be possible to have someone who your dad respects the opinions of to be at the other house when you take him to chance on it? He needs an intervention that can’t come from you and may only possibly work even coming from others. In the end, save your own health and sanity, if dad won’t listen and likes the mess he’s made leave him to it and make a positive life for yourself. I’m sorry for the situation
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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If your Dad is capable of making his own decisions it seems he has already made them. You say he doesn't want intervention, and is caring for himself and that he doesn't wish to evict your brother.
Were I you I would move out, find my own job and living quarters, and call APS to do wellness checks, telling them what you have to us about your brother's mental deficits and the hoarding.
This isn't something you can do anything about on your own. So take care of your own life.
I agree with your therapists. They have given you good advice. As to guilt, you are not a felon, so that is the wrong word. The G word you want is grief. Do know, not everything can be fixed. It is often easier for us to stay in a tormented situation rather than to learn new ways for our own lives.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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We have a situation in my family where there is a strange abusive codependency between and adult and their adult grandson. I had to call 911 due to hearing the abuse over the phone earlier this week.

When the RCMP followed up with me, they said they often see these sorts of relationships and it is like an abusive marriage where the abused often will not leave nor press charges.

It seems like you are part of this co-dependant relationship too. At 34, you should be living your best life, working, in a relationship, perhaps a family of your own, not feeling trapped by your brother's mental illness.

One question I have for you, you say you wonder why the neighbours have not called the cops. Why have you sat by and not called the police? Why do you feel it is the neighbours responsibility to call them?

You feel guilt at the thought of leaving, but what are you feeling by sitting by and not reporting the abuse?
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Reply to Tothill
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BurntCaregiver May 1, 2021
Tothill,

I'm sure you know the reason why most people who live in a house with an abuser don't call the police themselves.
It's fear of what happens then the cops leave or when the abuser comes home from the police station. They have good reason to be afraid too.
At some point helpfather will have to call the police on her brother. His abusive tyranny in the house towards his elderly father and his sister has to stop. I hope for her sake she has another place to stay after the cops come and that her and the father follow through on charges.
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You said that your Dad would not admit to any abuse? Perhaps he can't accept that it is abuse? Does he feel guilty and thus enables his son? How about documenting it? Write it down, video it etc. and show it to your Dad or turn it in. Your brother needs help (does he need medication?), your Dad needs protection and you need a break. Hugs to you.
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Reply to anereus
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