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Health & Fitness

With Peter Rosenberger

August 21, 2019

Living With Her Boyfriend While His Drunk Brother Lives in Her Home

TRANSCRIPT:  

Alright, we're talking about resentment today, and a lot of folks deal with this issue. It is a brutal issue that affects caregivers; it cripples us; it really does.

A lot of people think if I could just get so-and-so to stop acting this way, then I can be okay, and it's all going to be good. But the problem is not the person we're taking care of, the problem is ourselves, and it starts with us.

We can learn to be at peace no matter what's going on around us, and scripture confirms that throughout all of Scripture. Paul and Silas ...never forget... they were in prison around midnight it says.They were been beaten, I think they were stripped naked and beaten, and around midnight they were singing hymns in prison. (Acts 16:23-26) 

Alright?

Wrap your mind around that for a minute. Many of us as caregivers are up around midnight, dealing with all kinds of stuff, and I doubt we've been beaten and I kind of doubt we've been singing hymns. What do they know about Christ, that we need to know, that's going to sustain us?

 

Peter:                 Rebecca in Georgia, Rebecca good morning, how are you feeling?

Rebecca:            Good morning. I'm pretty good.

Peter:                  Tell me what's going on with you.

Rebecca:            Okay, I'm kind of on the fringes. My boyfriend has a brother, who has been an alcoholic slug all of his adult life. He hasn't worked in 20 years, he's been living off his mother for, and he lived off of her for about 15 until she died. The money in the will was given to my boyfriend to dole out amongst the siblings, especially for his brother. Because he can't handle the money, it would have been gone in a month. So when the mother died, he was about to be put out on the street.

And so we went up to get his brother and brought him down to Florida where we live. We put him in a room at my house; I'm living with my boyfriend two miles away. So we put his brother in a room in my house, he still has no responsibilities. He's 59 years old, and my concern is not for the brother as much as my boyfriend. Because my boyfriend will often say I hope he dies, I can't wait till he dies. And I know that's really not true, I mean we went all the way up to Massachusetts to get him so that he wouldn't be out on the street.

But he has this resentment, because his brother will not help himself, and he does give us a hard time. And he costs my boyfriend money as well. And his brother's money from the trust is about to run out, and I think that resentment is just possibly going to push my boyfriend over the top. Because then he will be supporting his alcoholic brother completely. I don't know what to do for them.

 

Peter:                  Well, I don't know that you can do anything for them, but what I can ask you is a couple of questions. One of them is, is your boyfriend's brother still drinking?

Rebecca:            Oh, yes.

Peter:                  Okay. When your boyfriend, and there's a couple of things too went on here. First off you're living with your boyfriend, right?

Rebecca:            Correct.

Peter:                  All right, so let's put that in a box that we will deal with in just a minute. But your boyfriend is enabling his brother, okay. Why should your boyfriend's brother stop drinking? He's got somebody who's taking care of him, he's got resources, and alcohol is more important to him than your boyfriend.

Rebecca:            Because his mother made him promise to take care of his brother.

Peter:                  His mother's no longer a factor here, she's not doing it. And those promises, those are artificial restraints.

Rebecca:            This was actually in the will; they had a certain amount of money. And he's giving him his money slowly, because of his mother...

Peter:                  Right, but does he have to live with him?

Rebecca:            What do you mean?

Peter:                  Is it in the will that he has to live with your boyfriend?

Rebecca:            Oh no, he doesn't live with us, we have provided a shelter for him. He is in a different house, but he has shelter. He was about to be put out on the street, so my boyfriend took him in so that he wouldn't be out on the street.

Peter:                  When you say, take him in, where is he?

Rebecca:            He is living in my house, which is like two and a half miles away. I have a house, but I'm not living there anymore.

Peter :                 Okay. So you and your boyfriend are living together, and your house then is being used by your boyfriend to house his drunk brother.

Rebecca:            Correct.

Peter:                  What part of that do you think sounds really good and normal?

Rebecca:            Only the fact that his brother is not out on the street, and he would probably be gone by now.

Peter:                  Well, is it okay for him to be on the streets?

Rebecca:            He wouldn't be able to survive.

Peter:                  Well, sometimes you're going to have to let go of somebody, and trust that they have a savior and you're not that Savior. Why should he stop drinking? Why should he stop this lifestyle of his as long as he keeps having a place to stay and food and money?

Rebecca:            Exactly. But even when he didn't have those things, he was on the street.

Peter:                  So here's the picture you've painted for me this morning, Rebecca. You've got a guy who is enabling his drunk brother, who's living in a relationship with his girlfriend, but he's not willing to commit to a marriage with her. And you're the same way with him; you've got a lot of dynamics going here.

And all of this is going to get into one big enabling mess, and it's affecting your relationship with your boyfriend, which is not on really great grounds as it is right now anyway. I mean you guys are participating in a relationship that's not a healthy relationship, living together that's not biblical and that's not a healthy relationship. If you listen to this station enough, you know this.

But we'll put that over here on this side of the table, and on this side of the table, you've got a situation where you've allowed this is your house. I'm not one to give out a lot of advice on the show, because what I try to do is trying to point people to safety and say here's what safety looks like.

And in your case, safety is going to look a lot like you going back to your house, kicking that guy out and letting your boyfriend deal with him. And when your boyfriend deals with that in a healthy manner, and he's ready to come back and have a healthy, spiritual, godly relationship with you then you guys can talk. But in the meantime, you're embroiled in something that is not yours to be embroiled in. You have no commitment from this guy, or to this guy; you're letting a drunk guy stay in your house.

 

Rebecca:            Well we do, there is a commitment, but there are circumstances why we are not actually by paper married.

Peter:                  Well, there may be, but the point is by paper ..that's your house that a drunk guy is staying in, right?

Rebecca:            Yes. But that's not the resentment part of it; the resentment is not mine.

Peter:                  I understand that I get that, Rebecca. My question is still that, why are you giving up your house to go live with the guy, so that his drunk brother can stay in your house?

Rebecca:            I moved in with him two years ago, we just went to get him. He lived in a whole different part of the country, but he was being put out, and he was going to be on the street. No money and on the street, and my boyfriend didn't want him to have to deal with that, so he went up to get him and brought him down.

Peter:                  But it seems awful convenient that he could stay in your house.

Rebecca:            Well, that's because his money is not going to last much longer.

Peter:                  How long will his money last?

 Rebecca:            It was put into the will that my boyfriend was to dole out the inheritance to his brother because they knew it would be you know gone in a couple of months.

Peter:                  Yes, I get all that.

Rebecca:            About another year and a half left.

Peter:                  So what would your boyfriend do if you didn't have a house?

Rebecca:            He'd have him in our house, where we're living now.

Peter R.:             And is that your house, or is it your boyfriend's house?

Rebecca:            I'm living in my boyfriend's house.

Peter:                  Right. So it's not our house, it's his house. Right, I understand, I want you to hear the concept here. You're not staying in our house; you're staying in his house. Do you own any part of your boyfriend's home?

Rebecca:            Okay, this is kind of judgmental to me.

Peter:                  I understand, you called me, though. You called me and told me that you got a drunk boyfriend's brother living in your house, and you're calling you and your boyfriend's house our house. But your house is actually over in another part of town, I understand. But you're in a very vulnerable position that is depending upon the goodwill of your boyfriend, correct?

Rebecca:            It depends on what?

Peter:                  The goodwill of your boyfriend. What if you guys break up, what happens?

Rebecca:            No, the brother will be put in, my boyfriend would take his brother out of my house and put him in his house with him, and I would go back to my house.

Peter:                  Okay, then you go back to your house?

BREAK

Peter:                  Welcome back the show for caregivers, about caregivers, hosted by a caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger, bringing you 33 years now 34 starting today, of experience to help you stay healthy as you take care of someone who is not. And I want to go back; we lost the caller. But sorry right into the break, I was trying to unpack a lot of things here, but I want to go back and touch on something.

You've got somebody who is an alcoholic, because of the way the mother set this thing up basically because this guy has been enabled, he's 59 years old. And he is dragging down his brother, who is causing all kinds of frustration for his brother who is dealing resentment. Well his brother's girlfriend, who lives with him, is concerned about the resentment eating up her boyfriend. And yet what's happened is this guy's alcoholism has created its own vortex if you will, it's sucking everybody into the sickness.

Whereas a healthy relationship would be, this girl and this guy, this man, and this woman choosing to be committed to each other, getting married and living a healthy life together. Instead, she's let her house go to the drunk brother of her boyfriend, and she's living over here with her boyfriend, calling it our house but it's not our house. It's his house, she has her house, and this drunk brother is in the midst of it. Do you see how sickness can do this, and it can distort our thinking?

The problem is not just necessarily her boyfriend's resentment, which I'm sure he has. Most people who are involved in any kind of relationship with an alcoholic are filled with resentment. But the problem has gotten so exasperated, exacerbated, it's exasperating, but it got exacerbated because they've chosen to come up with a solution, a workaround if you will, to deal with the drunk brother by letting her own home go to this guy, and she just moves in with her boyfriend.

But if she and her boyfriend break up, if their relationship goes south or something happens with them …then you've got this drunk brother over here in her home, and this guy his sickness is pulling both of them [his brother and his brother’s girlfriend] into two very dangerous places.

And she heard judgmental.

But I'm saying, “You're in danger.”

 “You can call that judgmental if you want, but you're in danger because you're at the goodwill of your boyfriend. And if something goes south between the two of you guys, you're going to have to kick this guy out of your house, and you're going to hope he'll leave without causing a lot of problems.”

And then you see how convoluted this can get? Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. And this brother is not healthy, and this brother's drunk brother is going to continue going this way because he doesn't have any reason to stop.

Nobody's putting any kind of barrier to this guy; he's not going to be desperate enough to stop. And you can resent him all you want, but he's not going to change. The only thing that's going to change is the one brother who is watching all this, is going to get more resentful, and it's going to affect him more. And it's going to affect this relationship he has with this woman, who obviously he has a great deal of feelings for. And she obviously has a great deal of feelings for him.  And they've got some kind of arrangement. They've kind of figured out to do a workaround instead of just looking at this drunk brother and said “Hey! “Enough is enough, you're a drunk, we'll put some money towards rehab and that's it!”

But this mother set up the will somewhere and everybody's thinking they got to do this and this and this, no. And sometimes you're just going to have to let people fall down and get hurt so that they can start asking for help. And then the two of them can get their relationship back on a healthier plane.

Let me just ask you all this question; I want to ask you, women, a question:  

When is it a good time for you to walk away from your own house …this is YOUR house …to move in with a guy when you do not own that house so that his drunk brother can stay in your house?

And when does that make sense?

What are you looking for out of a guy when you think, “Hey, I got an idea let's do this: ‘Let me take your house, and put my drunk brother in, then you come over here to shack up with me!?’”

 Is that something … is that a thing now for women that you think that's okay?

Maybe I'm just too old; now I guess I don't know.

But is that a thing?

Is this working for people now?

When you have somebody that is a drunk, that can't handle money, and so you say, “Hey, I really like this guy, but his brother is just a slug (that was her word). I’ll let him come live in my house while I go shack up with his brother, and this will work out.”

888-589-8840. When I point this out, all she hears is judgmentalism, and I'm saying, “Whoa, do you not see how dangerous this is for you?”

This is a dangerous place for this woman. And I'm asking you guys to step back a little bit and think, “Is this a good thing?”

I'm not telling you how to live your life, I'm just asking you, “Is this a good thing?”

And when she refers to our house, it's not our house; it's his house. She has her house, and now she's got a drunk guy living there.

This is what happens when we allow sickness and all these things in it to distort our thinking. We can get incredibly disoriented in this, and we'll start making business decisions, financial decisions, emotional decisions, physical decisions, and we're trying to work around a sickness.

The brother is sick; he is not healthy.

Guess what?

His brother that's taking care of him is also unhealthy, and it will keep doing this, it will keep going.

Alcoholism has no mercy; it will consume your home; it will consume your finances; it will consume your health, it will consume your spiritual health, it will consume everything about you. Alcoholism …addiction… has no mercy, and you have to treat it as such. And you have to be ruthless with it.  

You tracking with me? 888-589-8840.

Evidently, there's a lot of people that want to weigh into this kind of stuff, that's just lit up. Greg in Louisiana, Greg, how are you feeling?

Greg:                   I'm doing well. How are you doing?

Peter:                  Well, for a man of my age, and limited abilities, I think I'm okay. Tell me what's on your heart and mind?

Greg:                   I have 15 years clean, a little better than 15 years clean and sober, and enjoyed the conversation that I heard. I agree that the alcoholic brother is being enabled. And I heard a little bit, I mean I'm driving I caught a little piece of it, so I didn't get the beginning so I can't pretend like I know the whole story.

But I did catch the part about there was a will, and so they feel as though they have to continually pay this brother, and they might not see it, but that's enabling him. It would be a better situation; I think that you referred to this; I was kind of in the middle of other things going on also. But if they were to withhold the money, not take it, but withhold it, it's still the brother’s money.

But withhold it, and say after you get in recovery and get your life turned around, then the money is still there it's yours, but I can't give it to you right now to kill yourself. Because you know alcohol will lead to jail, to mental institutions and death.

 

Peter:                  Well, that would be the normal thing, I mean that would be the healthy thing to do, but I don't think they're making a lot of healthy decisions at this point. And again there's a lot of enabling, and you're right on the money. And Greg by the way, congrats on 15 years of this all right.

Greg:                   All right, well, it's all about Jesus Christ, there's no way I could have done it on my own. Tried that, been there done that didn’t work.

Peter:                  You are absolutely right! Buddy, I appreciate you calling in, and thank you so much. This is Hope for the Caregiver; this is Peter Rosenberger. We'll be right back.

https://al-anon.org/

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Peter:                  Welcome back to the show for caregivers, about caregivers, hosted by a caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger, bringing you three-plus decades of experience to help you stay strong and healthy as you take care of someone who is not.

We've been talking about resentment, but it led us all into these convoluted messes that we can get into as caregivers. And they can …because we will make all kinds of decisions that make sense to us in the middle of it.  But we're not getting an objective clarification about where exactly are we “in time and space.”

I go back to what happened with JFK Jr., I think it was you know it was 20-something years ago this month. I think it was, but it's been I think it's around this time of year. And he was in his plane flying his wife and his sister-in-law, and they were going up to Martha's Vineyard, I think. And he was flying visual but not instrument; he wasn't instrument rated on this plane.

And so, he was looking out the window and just seeing the horizon, and that's fine in the daytime on a clear day, but this was at night. And I think there was a lot of cloud cover.

And you could get very disoriented on a plane, for those who've been up in planes you know this, in small planes and so forth. (In large plane you get disoriented!) And if you look out and trust your eyes, and what your senses are telling you, you could become disoriented, and it turns out that's exactly what happened.

And he flew into the ocean and killed himself and his wife and his sister-in-law.

And this is what happens to us as caregivers when we're in the relationship with somebody who is chronically impaired, particularly if there's addiction or alcoholism involved. It leads us into bad decisions.  I mean really bad decisions! Because we're not listening to an objective voice that says “Hey, are you sure you're in the right place here?”

And we get all bent out of shape about it, and then we start resenting people who are telling us …like the lady said to me, “I'm starting to hear a lot of judgmentalism.”

I'm not being judgmental!  “How is this a good thing? “Are you sure you're in the right place here?”

And if you're in the orbit of an addict, I promise you this thing will go just coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. And you will get so disoriented, and you will make horrible decisions.

Financial decisions, moral decisions, business decisions, personal decisions, health decisions every part of your life will be affected by this because it disorients you, you get lost in this thing. And you don't know which way is up, which way is down and next thing you know you're flying right into the ocean, and taking everybody, you love with you. This guy somehow convinced this woman to move in with him so that he could use her home to house his drunk brother.

Raise your hand if you think that is a good scenario!

Who here thinks that's a good scenario? Particularly for this woman, who I don't doubt genuinely loves this guy. But is she looking for her best health interest in this thing, is she really thinking of herself healthy-wise? Not selfish wise, just healthy wise. Is this a healthy decision?

This is what happens when addiction comes into our stuff, and we get all convoluted.

And somewhere in all this thing, at the bottom of it you have to kind of dig through it, right at the bottom of this thing, right at the foundation there's sin, and that's the reality of it.

So again, I'm the crash-test dummy of caregivers, I have made some of the most horrible, boneheaded, awful decisions in my life. And I smell dead ends, cul-de-sacs, and catastrophes quickly because I'm very familiar with the territory.

All right, Jim in Texas, Jim good morning. How are you feeling?

Jim:                     Good morning. I'm doing good. How are you feeling?

Peter:                  I'm just precious!

Jim:                     I worked 22 years of mental health; the Lord saved me when I was eight years old, that's around seven years old. I was baptized at 9; I was brought up in a pastor's family. So I know, I know exactly what these people were going through when they're talking about this. Enabling is one of the most diabolical factors that handles a person's life. I see that I saw it every day with the people I worked with at hospitals I worked in. I saw it firsthand in the people that I dealt with.

There are many phases of enabling; there are six different roles in the enabling process. But the primary one is the chief enabler. This is the one that makes sure everything is in order, for the alcoholic to continue his drinking, his or her drinking. Alcoholic to continue his drinking, the drug user to continue their abuse.

Peter:                  Well, and that's exactly what happened in this case, this guy he has no impediment whatsoever to stop. Until he runs out of money, and then maybe he'll stop.

Jim:                     He'll find another user or he'll find another enabler.

Peter:                  Of course, he would. When they run out of enablers, they usually ask for help, or they die, or they get locked up. Well, Jim, I appreciate very much the call and thank you for sharing your long experience and wisdom on this thing.

You're absolutely right, let me go quickly to Paula in Oklahoma, and we'll try to squeeze this in here before the end of the hour. But Jim's actually right on the money there, and they will go through enablers.

His addiction is driving this thing, and this is why I've included this in the whole caregiver conversation. Because when you're taking care of somebody, for example, which has you know physical disabilities, or even you know Alzheimer's or any kind of thing. Where people look at okay, we understand that diagnosis, we get it. When you take care of somebody like that, there's a little clearer-cut path even though it's still kind of murky.

But when you're dealing with addiction, man it is absolutely mind-numbing what it does to people and their decisions. And there's a lot of shame, and there's a lot of guilt, there's a lot of obligation. I talk about the fog of caregivers fear, obligation, and guilt; every caregiver gets lost in this fog. This caregiver’s boyfriend is lost in the fog; he is obligated and guilty fear, obligations, and guilt.

He's afraid the guys going to lose his money, he's obligated to his mother, and he feels guilty if he does something different. Fear, obligation, guilt and he gets lost in that, and somehow he has wrapped this woman into his life and said okay here, let's just use your house to put my drunk brother over here, and we'll do this, that's what happens we make this kind of decisions.

Paula in Oklahoma, I'm going to squeeze you in real quick at the end. Paula, how are you feeling?

Paula:                 Well I'm doing better, we talked. I think it was last year. I told you about my brother and my mother, and I do have bitterness sometimes, but I keep your book right beside my bed. And I think you said it's not obligated to do it, that's not helpful it's that we want to love the person. Is that what it is? I can't remember.

Peter:                  Its stewardship.

Paula:                 It's stewardship, that's it. Because I just gave the book to another lady that I work with, her father died, and now she's caring for her mother. And I said I want it back, and I'm going to buy her asset, but I just wanted to give it to her.

But I just wanted to say that I do still have a little bitterness, but I say that prayer almost every morning in the front of your book, and that helps me so much.

Peter:                  Well, that prayer is the caregiver’s prayer. But you know what Paula; you know we're always going to deal with this probably until Jesus takes us home. It's not a situation where it's one and done, and so don't beat yourself up for it. That's why we go to Christ; we need a Savior. And I am so proud of you, Paula, you made my day.

HFC_Cover_3d.png

Paula:                 I just wanted to let you know that I'm doing so much better, but I do kind of fall back. You know I take two steps forward and fall back.

Peter:                  You know, hey welcome to the club.

Paula:                 And where is that caregivers, I didn't catch it, but I do have you on my email. But where is it at?

Peter:                  Which one, the podcast?

Paula:                 No, the caregiver convention or conference?

Peter:                  Oh, that's going to be in Richmond, Virginia next Friday in Richmond, Virginia. It's going to be a special conference there; I'll be speaking at. But if you can get to Richmond, that's great, but you may not be able to make it to Richmond. But Paula let me just say, I remember your call, and after I hung up with you my heart hurts so much for you.

And I can't tell you how great it is to hear you and to hear just the pep in your step. And I know it's not everything you want it to be, and I know you still go

t difficult days ahead of you, but you sound so much stronger. And this is what we do as believers; we keep building each other up so that we can be stronger. We're never going to feel better about this, but we could be better, and it sounds like you are in a much better place than you were a year ago.

Paula:                 I am better. And I also to have a sister who is addicted to pills and her husband is continuously enabling her. And I used to fight that and thinking I could save her until I just was like I give her to her husband and to Jesus.

It's not my job to save her; they're going to fall and bleed I have it posted on my mirrors, quotes that you put in my bathroom mirrors are posted almost everywhere. White water walk, I mean I'm out walking, I exercise every day. And I take trips; I live your book.

Peter_COVER1.jpgPeter:                  Well, Paula, so do I, and I have to go back and read it myself. You've made my day Paula! And I tell you what I'm going to do, don't hang up just going to get your information. I want to send you a copy of our CD too, okay?

Paula:                 Okay, thank you.

Peter:                  Just because you made my day. So don't hang up, we're going to get your stuff here.

Hey, listen, everybody look down at your hands, if you don't see nail prints this isn’t yours to fix, okay? If you don't see nail prints, this isn't yours to fix; we have a Savior.

Hopeforthecaregiver.com.

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