Self-Help

With Peter Rosenberger

May 17, 2019

Abusive Brother Blackmailing Caregiver

“I’m tired, depressed, and angry.”

That’s how the conversation started with a caller in Oklahoma who called our show, Hope for the Caregiver

Digging a bit deeper, she revealed that she is the youngest child (56) caring for her mother who has dementia. She has an older brother who is a drug addict, but this caller feels he was coddled and enabled by her mother for years. Her father passed away years ago but was himself an abusive alcoholic.

Burdened with resentment as she cared for her mother while feeling threatened by her abusive and addicted brother, the caller reached the end of her rope. Although she owned the home where her mother stayed, her brother threatened her repeatedly and wouldn’t leave the property while Paula tried to care for her. Asking why she didn’t get a restraining order, she replied that legal advice told her that she had to give him proper notice, and she continued to dance around the issue of confronting her brother. Then, our caller also revealed that her brother was a felon who also had a shotgun. Inquiring about her reporting him to authorities, she resisted even though she tearfully stated, “I’m living on the edge. It’s like living with my dad—he was so abusive like my brother.”

Through sobs, she admitted that she felt afraid to report him to the authorities, even though he as an addict and felon in possession of a shotgun—because her brother threatened to expose something about her.

“I used to be a lesbian and he’s threatening to bring all that out.”

She went on to share that she is a born-again Christian and no longer a lesbian, but her brother threatened her with exposing what she referred to as her “checkered past.” Understanding the core issue, I gently said, “Let me tell you something about our Savior.”

“There is nothing that you have done that Christ is going to bring up and start labeling you. That comes straight from Satan. In fact, the name ‘Satan’ means accuser.” Charles Spurgeon once stated that when “we stand before God we stand as Christ —because Christ stood before God as us.”

Hearing sniffles through the phone line, I added, “I want you to hang on to that thought for a minute. Do you understand that you have a Savior who took on every bit of your checkered past and sexual brokenness and bore it? You are not being blackmailed with anything because you have a Savior who is your advocate now.”

“Your brother is messed up. He is dangerous. You’re trying to honor your mother and father—although your father was a drunk and abusive—you’re still trying to do the right thing. But you’re going to have bring in some hired help—and that’s law enforcement. Let’s get you to safety.”

Advising her to call the local police, I reiterated to her that a felon with a drug problem and firearm is a game changer. Her safety was more important than any damage her brother may do to her reputation. Although fearfully (and tearfully), she agreed to do so.
This caller, and many more like her, live with legitimate danger.
Calling a radio show for caregivers, she learned more about the love of Christ. The shame of her sin kept her perilously close to a dangerous situation. Yet, she left the call with a greater understanding of salvation, redemption, and the love of God.

This is why we have a show for family caregivers.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

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