Admin’s note: I received this post today from a YAR member. Though it is not normal practice to post unsigned articles here, I made an exception in this case due to safety concerns.
Every time my brother sabotages family plans or punches another hole through the wall, I just think that maybe all this is happening to me because I need to increase my sense of compassion…or to remember to concentrate as much energy on the tiny personal things as well as the political things. I don’t know.
He’s mentally ill and has a huge sense of entitlement, and he’s angry almost all the time. He scares the living daylights out of me. He has made our home an unsafe place to be, and manipulated my parents through brute strength and threats.
He shows the traits of an abuser, calling his girlfriend on the phone, demanding to know where she is and what she is doing. He can’t go to another state (where she lives) because he’s has one warrant out for his arrest (domestic violence) there. He has to stay in the state he’s currently in because he’s got one felony and is currently on probation.
One of my parents says I should put more distance between myself and the family, because they know he is a stressor…(I haven’t been dealing with it well, it’s shot my anxiety through the roof). However, I have just recently come to that stage where I really care about my parents, and worry about them and their wellbeing dealing with my brother. So I don’t want to put distance between us right now. My 21 year old brother has robbed me of my parents. All we talk about is him. We are all so tired and worn out. It has seriously affected the sanity and operating ability of one of my parents. I feel sick to my stomach because I don’t know how all of this is going to end.
I try to meditate on love, the impermanence of everything, and I remember that Jesus died for my brother. That Jesus loves him. That God loves him. This is really helpful. But I wonder what I can do? And I wonder what the connection of the political and personal is here.
For those of you who work and live in communities with people who are angry, mentally ill, don’t have financial education, and formerly committed violence crimes…do you have advice on how your community handles this? Does anyone else have a sibling that causes them a lot of anguish? How do you (as siblings or in community) deal with this stuff theologically? Are there support groups for this kind of stuff?