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My brother may be a sociopath

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by Tashok, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Tashok

    Tashok Member

    I'm mostly just looking for a place to vent.

    We're both living at home, unemployed. I've been fighting severe depression and unable to find work; he recently got kicked out by his now-ex and is also unemployed. He doesn't usually have problems finding construction work in this area, but after a few months at a new job he'll just stop showing up and gets fired. This is my first bout of unemployment and it's really messing with my head. I was living on my own until my savings ran out, and I moved back home. I also help take care of my disabled father, and my brother and I are both helping get my parents' house ready to sell - in his case because he's being paid by my mother, in my case for free because they're letting me live here rent-free while I try to get back on my feet.

    I'm not certain he's a sociopath, because I only see him in one specific context - that is, when he's around me - but I wouldn't be surprised. He blames me for his behavior, and my mother tends to waffle between agreeing with him, and agreeing with me that he's dangerous. I'm older than him by 2 1/2 years, and when we were teens I was diagnosed bipolar after a prolonged stint of misdiagnosis and dangerous mismedication. (My therapist at the time has since lost her license.) I was a terrible sister and a horrible person to live with for my whole family back then - angry, moody, depressed, self-harming. I lashed out at everyone around me, and that included him. I also got a disproportionate amount of our parents' attention at that time, which I imagine was difficult for him. That was 16 or 17 years ago and I've since tried to make amends, but he isn't interested. Fair enough, nobody can be forced to accept an apology or forgive - and it's hard on him too because I have a doctorate, while he's a high school dropout. When he can be bothered he's a pretty good carpenter and my mother loves to brag about us both but I think he still sees me as a rival.

    So these are the recent behaviors that I'm dealing with -
    1) Heavy drinking, almost always accompanied by violent outbursts, such as smashing my things or shooting a bb gun at the walls of his bedroom. (The rest of his guns he theoretically disposed of, since as of his 2006 felony arrest he's not allowed to own any - though I found a receipt for two handguns from a gun show dated 2008, so I think he's probably just hidden them. He does openly maintain a large knife collection.) He's not supposed to drink (probation) but he does anyway, constantly.
    2) Multiple arrests - drunk driving, drugs - including stealing prescription medication from both me and my father. (My mother partially blames us for not locking our meds up more carefully, which is true - usually I lock my door but in this case I left it unlocked when I went to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.)
    3) Animal abuse - nothing I can prove, but I heard my normally very quiet cat screaming bloody murder, found him shut into a room with my (laughing) brother, and afterwards my cat hid for three days and wouldn't come out - which is very unusual, he's usually highly sociable.
    4) Theft, from me and my parents, of a number of different things. Basically anything that takes his fancy.
    5) Destruction of property - most recently he deliberately destroyed my laptop, prying the back off, shattering the casing, and removing pieces with what looks like a large screwdriver and a hunting knife. (He got into my room because I'd rushed out when I heard my cat screaming and didn't take the time to lock it behind me. My two cats have since been locked in my room 24/7 for their own safety.)
    6) Multiple threats to my person - for instance, he stole a survival knife from me and told me if I took it back he'd use it on me.
    7) Multiple instances of him trying to convince me to kill myself. It's common knowledge in my immediate family I'm suicidal. He came close once, but most of the time it has the opposite effect; I get pissed off and decide to stay alive just to spite him.
    8) Lying. Incessant lying, even about stupid, silly things. Sometimes about important things, such as when he gave my dog a big bowl of stew, and I when I found out I asked if there were onions in it because onions are toxic to dogs (which I told him when I asked) - he said no, but when I asked my mother she said the stew was full of them. I was able to induce vomiting in time, thankfully. I since did the math and if it wasn't a fatal amount it was close.
    9) Frequent temper tantrums. He flies into a rage over anything and everything, and will start throwing things, screaming, etc. The last one was over my father eating his two day old leftover macaroni. Which my parents had paid for. My brother threw the TV remotes across the room hard enough to shatter them into multiple pieces.
    10) Mild physical violence towards me. Nothing worse than shoving and threats, usually, but then again I'm not dumb enough to let him catch me alone. Also I 'm almost as big as he is so I think he knows he'd have a fight on his hands. I may be a pacifist and a Buddhist but I dated a taekwondo instructor for three and a half years and he knows I know some self-defense, so I don't think he wants to push it.
    11) Constant mess. I know this one is a mild annoyance at best, but I'm constantly finding myself having to clean up after him. I'm tempted to just leave his messes, but if I don't clean them up my parents will have to. My dad isn't well, and my mother is overwhelmed in general and it's not fair to her to have to do so much extra work, especially since they're kind enough to let me live with them while I'm trying to get my life back together. Also, a lot of what he leaves out is food - my dog is an adept scavenger and he leaves out a lot of things that could hurt or even kill him if he ate them, such as chicken bones or cereal with raisins in it. As a veterinarian who used to work in a veterinary ER I've seen what happens to dogs who eat things like this and I'm not willing to risk that happening to my dog just to make some petty point about whose responsibility it is to clean up.

    If he does something big again (like hurting my pets or destroying my new laptop) I will probably call the police. He's still on probation from his latest arrest (he's yet to go to jail for more than a day or two - he's white, middle class, my mother hires him good lawyers, and he's spread his arrests over different states so each one treats it like a first offense and gives him probation) so if I call the cops on him it's possible he will actually go to jail, but I worry if I do that I'll be kicked out of the house for it. I'm working on leaving anyway, this is obviously an untenable situation, but it's taking time - in part because while I have friends I could stay with, I would probably have to leave my pets behind to do so and I'm not willing to leave them unprotected. The need to keep myself, my pets, and my belongings safely behind locked doors doesn't really make moving out any easier, and I worry every time I leave the house that he'll just wait until everyone's outside or asleep or whatever and kick my door down. He's done stuff like that before. My parents keep swearing they'll kick him out, but they never do. My father is unequivocally on my side, but he's my mother's baby boy and no matter how bad he gets he finds some way to mitigate it, usually by blaming me, and she always relents, even though she's flat-out said he's probably going to seriously hurt someone someday. If I push, I'm the one who gets in trouble and I have to be careful until I'm able to move out on my own terms.

    Anyway, it's been a really bad day and I just needed to get it off my chest. My friends are incredibly supportive but I'm not going to wake them up at 2 in the morning to complain about my brother again. I'm worried I'm becoming a stuck record. I was trying to channel my frustration into something productive, boxing up my things and getting rid of anything I felt I could live without, but I sprained my ankle a few days ago and I can't stand on it any longer tonight. I know this is a super-long post. Thanks for listening.
  2. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    Gosh that must be a hellish situation to live in. I would suggest you got out as quickly as possible. This is highly toxic to you to live under such horrendous circumstances. You must be under constant stress.

    Is there no one else you could live with until you get a job and get back on your feet? It must be difficult to even concentrate on writing a job application there.

    Please take care of yourself hun. You're too precious to put yourself in this situation.
  3. Tashok

    Tashok Member

    Thank you. =) I've had friends offer to put me up for a while, but there's only one (my best friend and her husband) who could accommodate both me and my pets, though it would be difficult. (I have two cats and a dog; two of our cats would fight like crazy and one of her dogs is highly aggressive towards my dog.)

    To be honest, the prospect of staying with her scares me worse than living with my brother. I've had two roommates in my life, one in college and one in grad school. The college one and I are still close friends, but the grad school one and I were friends until we started living together second year. It ended up being a really rough year for me (school stress, fiancee and I broke up, financial problems) and a stressed, depressed, broke bipolar girl is not exactly a fantastic roommate, especially when the other roommate is in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, has a literal millionaire for a father paying her way, and is disgustingly mentally healthy. I loved her to death, still do, but it was really hard to hear her complain about things that (to my mind) were no big deal. I responded by withdrawing, mostly, and being irritable far more often than was truly warranted. We only lived together a year, after which she more or less stopped talking to me.

    I'm scared to death that if I live with my best friend while I'm broke, unemployed, depressed, etc etc history will repeat itself and I'll lose someone I've been friends with since ninth grade. Even my mother can barely stand living with me and she's sort of biologically obligated to love me. I also don't want to cause my friend extra stress, financially or otherwise. (The college roommate was sort of a fluke, I think, and college was literally the happiest I've ever been in my life so I wasn't so difficult to be around.) I've been job hunting for a long time now and there's no real reason to expect a sudden change of fortune. Oh, did I mention I have an anxiety disorder? Yeah, I'm terrified. =(

    I'm probably going to be moving in with them in the next few months anyway, despite my fears, because I won't have much choice. So I guess it doesn't matter much. But thank you again for your kind words. I needed to hear that today.