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Question
Posted by: Emma | 2018/04/24

When is enough enough?

My partner and I have been together 4 years. I would say I'm not that close with his family, although I have tried my hardest to be for his sake. In the 4 years we have been together I have been through 3 suicide attempts made by my partner's younger brother. The last one being the worst which effected me quite badly and I suffered some post traumatic stress. After the third attempt of suicide we had a family meeting where we each had a chance to say how we felt to the brother in question. It was decided he would get the help he that he needs and he assured us he would. He saw a therapist maybe 3 times and decided that was it and that he was fine. He also has fallen into the same patterns that we all know so well by now. I am at the point in my life where my partner and I are talking about settling down and starting a family. I feel that if this brother doesn't want to make the effort to help himself and keep putting us through hell then why should I keep being there for him. I will have a family of my own to think about soon and I do not want to worry about what could happen with him or when it could happen like I am doing now. I feel like worrying about him as taken over my life pretty much. I am tired and have reached my limit. When is enough enough? Am I being unreasonable?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2018/04/25

Hi Emma,
Let's see what other readers have to say about this type of situation. Worrying about a guy like this is usually of no help.  And if he can't be bothered to make use of the expert resources that were made available to him, then he must not expect other people to sort out his messes for him.
He sounds like a guy whose house is on fire, who waits for others to call the fire brigade, and then sends the fire-engine back when it arrives,  but complains of getting smoke in his eyes.
We all have a responsibility for self-care, for recognizing when we are troubled, in whatever way, for getting appropriate expert advice and help, and for working hard to get better.  It is good for family members to make it clear that they will be available when it is appropriate for him to be helped.  But they can't do it all for him.  It's fine to show concern, but none of you should be so busy worrying about him, so as to negatively impact your own lives. Don't allow yourself to be so upset by his "suicide attempts".
Encourage him to see his therapist and work with them, and remind him that you have your own lives to lead.  There's a real risk that by being too sympathetic, by too earnestly trying to protect him from the effects of his own bad decisions, he can be encouraged to form a life career of being a victim, feeling awfully sorry for himself, and expecting others to keep on rescuing him.
Search online and read up about the concept of Tough Love.

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