Two Toxic Brothers and Every Day Now is Too Difficult

by Cheryl

I understand everyone's stress and pain and frustration here; I live it everyday.


Seventeen years ago, my mother's chronic Epstein Barr virus rendered her unable to live alone. I moved into her home to take care of her. Slowly, her health worsened and for the last seven years, she has not been able to spend the night alone.

She has multiple physical problems, anxiety disorder, depression, and her dementia is worsening. She is 90 yrs old and focuses on worriment and is a chronic complainer. She is often very hard to please and is controlling (she does not want any of my friends to come to our home) but I do my best within reason. She is often without any reason these days.

My younger brother is mentally ill and abusive. He lost everything he had because of his poor business decisions and abusive behavior and became homeless. He has a toxic temper, is controlling and manipulative and he is an alcoholic.

He could not live her, and my mother helped him financially for a while, but he showed no incentive to help himself. When Mom tried to give him less money, he would threaten to kill himself.

Mom's mental state declined. He was arrested multiple times, had a stand off with the SWAT team and was Baker Acted. I reported him for Elderly abuse when the local Council on Aging support group leader urged me to do so.

The stress from his constant emotional and financial manipulation of my mother was going to kill her (and me) if I did not stop him. He HATED me after that and tried to blackmail me for money and left me threatening phone calls. I blocked his numbers and email addresses. I am estranged from him now because he showed me his concealed pistol with a threatening look and screamed at my mother that she owned him money.

Just when I had him at bay, my older brother, who helped me once in a while with Mom (mostly yard work, fixing things around the house, and staying with her once in a while) started to have anxiety and skin problems and he was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance of the brain, and the same mental illness as my other brother--"anxiety disorder."

He began to try to control my every move (what time to come back home and when I could take a break, etc.) and when I stuck up for myself he would attack me with demeaning verbal abuse.

I realized that I had lost my life. My oldest brother's bullying continued until last week on Christmas Eve when he verbally attacked me for watching a movie and having a glass of wine and I finally stood up to him. I nearly called the police. Mom was crying hysterically and yelled at him to leave me alone.

After he left, I drew the line with him with an email --I no longer want him to be around me and will NOT put up with his abuse and he answered threatening to come back with a deputy! I have done nothing wrong.

I've really been at the end of my rope with exhaustion and stress. My bladder was even having such horrible spasms that it was bleeding. It turns out that when my mother is having a dementia attack and I do not do exactly what she tells me to do, that she calls my oldest brother, and cries to him.

She complains about me "humming", "acting happy", or being"mean" to her because I go to the gym or outside on the front porch (I need air and space when she is very demanding and argumentative). I have lost my patience and told her to be quiet.

I am only human, but I have never abused my mother and she is kept clean, is fed very well, and is basically pampered by me and her part time nurses. She also argues with the nurses and sometimes verbally abuses them.

My abusive brother, who is free to live his life is chastising me which such intense disrespect that it makes me ill and I can barely sleep.

I am doing the job that no one else will--taking care of our Mother nearly 24/7! I have a therapist who tries to help me but she tells me that I need to leave my toxic family. I have no means to do that.

There are two joint accounts in my mother's and my name and I could legally take it all, leave and save myself but I am not like that. We are co-tenants of our home--if I leave my home to escape the abuse and stress then I may lose my home.

My brother is trying to stop the 20 hrs. per week of nursing care but without it, I will have a complete nervous breakdown. My brother has a terrible temper and carries a gun.

I set the limit with him in a very brief email that he is no longer to be around me and that I cannot deal with his verbal abuse any longer. He answered with the threat of bringing a deputy to my home to arrest me-- I guess for humming and playing the mandolin, drinking a glass of wine with a movie, having a few dishes in the sink, crying sometimes, and not letting my mother's panic attacks (which bring on bouts of diarrhea) stop me from going to the gym or the grocery store.

I have been given professional advice from Council on Aging to set limits with my mother and leave the house when she screams at me with unreasonable requests and demands.

When she repeats herself over and over and chastises me I am to put in earplugs or wear headphones in order to try and preserve my sanity.

I am suffering from stress and exhaustion. On top of that, I now have serious back problems and I am beyond feeling alone and helpless. I NEVER thought that I would be in this position--with hardly any money, no job, and no one to help me except for professional help that my brother is trying to fire.

I know I have a way out, I can put Mom in a nursing home but my brother is threatening to sue me if I do that. Life is very very hard right now.

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