4 weeks ago - last edited 4 weeks ago by Claire-RO
First things first, I want to get this out of the way: I am not a parent. I am a 20 year old woman asking this question on behalf of my mother.
My younger brother is 14 years old. He has always been headstrong and rather difficult to handle from the time he was a toddler. In 2011 (I was 12 and he was 6 at the time), our parents separated and went through a very lengthy and sometimes hostile court case, which my mother always tried to keep away from us. Neither myself or my brother have contact with our father anymore (our own respective decisions).
In recent years, my brother's behaviour has progressed from being difficult to outright abusive. It began by him, about age 10, habitually telling my mother she was stupid and lazy, that she did nothing for him and was too selfish to provide properly for him. He told her that she was useless because she doesn't drive, and that she didn't make enough money and her job wasn't good enough. He is constantly demanding to know what my mother earns (she refuses to tell him).
For the past two years, this aggression and abuse has manifested itself in more physical forms. He is now constantly punching doors and walls, throwing TV remotes (among other things), kicking walls. He says things like "Just shut your mouth! Seriously, just shut the F up!" at my mother and me whenever we try to reason with him, and has in more recent months begun to threaten violence: "I swear I'll smash your face in!" "Careful or I'll drag you to the F-ing ground!".
A week ago, he grabbed my hand and tried to pry my phone from my hand when I threatened to audio-record one of his outbursts, and ended up bruising my wrist.
Numerous counsellors, both from his school and private, have fallen through because they have told my mother "it's up to him", or "it's his decision to come see me". This has become increasingly frustrating because he is quite happy to go without help so long as he is able to continue his habits of aggressive and intimidating behaviour. In fact, he has told us on more than one occasion that it's our fault that he acts this way and that we deserve this treatment from him.
I, myself, did not have a particularly negative relationship with my brother as we were growing up, but it has become toxic now that I try to stand up to him more often when he is being cruel to our mother. I have begged her several times to get the police involved (even if it's just a community warden to explain to him that his behaviour is unacceptable), or start the process of seeking some kind of residential treatment programme, as having him live in the house is making the home environment so unbearable. I have also looked into moving out myself but have run into financial difficulties as well as the dilemma as to whether or not it would be responsible to leave my mother alone in the house with someone so hostile toward her.
I am at the end of my rope, and honestly don't know where to turn. My mother is receiving so much abuse but is reluctant to follow through on any serious consequences (beyond restricting his access to play station, wifi, etc. although this never lasts for long) as she understandably wants to protect her son above all and feels as though getting outside authorities involved means she has failed as a parent. She is a single parent and has done nothing but give all the love and provisions any child would want to both my brother and me. Although I'm aware that no parent is perfect, and the separation between her and my father wasnt in the least bit amicable, my mother has done nothing to warrant this kind of abuse from my brother, and I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the situation at hand. I try to talk to her and show her how things have gotten so out of hand, but she doesn't want to admit to the severity of our situation.
Please help, any kind of advice is more than welcome!
4 weeks ago
This sounds like a really difficult situation for your whole family, and you are right that yourself and your mum don't deserve to be abused. From what you have said you are really worried about your mum and your brother as he is not getting the help that he needs. It is so hard being a single parent and your mum sounds so resilient.
I know you spoke about wanting your mum to call the police and if you are worried about everyone's safety that makes total sense, it is understandable that your mum might be hesitant about doing that for fear of the repercussion for your brother. It sounds like both you and your mum are really trying to do all that you can to be there for your brother.
I know you spoke about neither of you have contact with your dad anymore, I was wondering what other supports your family has? Is there someone that you brother really trusts that might be able to talk to him or spend sometime with him?
1800Respect is an Australian service that provides confidential information, counselling and support that you may find helpful.
It is really brave to share what is happening for your family, we are here to listen
2 weeks ago
My family experienced a similar type of behaviour at the same age with my son. It has been a long and difficult experience. I have a few suggestions that may help.
1. You and your mothers safety, both physical and mental needs to come first.
Try to get your mum to seek some support. Reach Out has a great online counselling program available for free. It will provide her and you with strategies to help when your brother is abusive. That is a start.
No one, (including any family member) should have to tolerate the abuse you have described. Any tolerance or attempt to appease the perpetrator only seems to embolden them. It is not okay.
2. Find out what the rules are where you live with respect to Restraining orders.
For example in Western Australia there is a family violence restraining order available.
I would start with a visit to the local police or one of your local community support group. We found the police to be very supportive and understanding. They are at the front line dealing with these issues all the time.
3. Ensure you start by looking after yourself. This way, you can best help your mum. The support services in this forum are a great start.