Posted by: Concerned sister | 2004/10/17

Depressed unemployed brother

My brother is 38, unemployed, lives with my parents (my dad still works and is supporting him) and is very depressed about his situation. He will tell you every reason under the sun why trying whatever you suggest will not work. My dad needs to do Tough Love, but empathises with him too much. Where can we go for advice or guidance? How do we handle the situation? My parents are getting older and worry about him terribly when they have enough worries of their own. How can we get him to grow up? (this is a toughie!)

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Our expert says:
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Mindful's mesage is hopeful, here. It's hard to get a job, but not impossible, and it's just to easy for him to lie around and expect other people to care for him. At least he ought to be put hard to work at the house, doing the washing, cleaning, cooking, and all the odd-jobs --- after all, he alone has the time to do all that. It could help him to remember what it feels like to actually WORK, and he might come to prefer a job.
And, as with Mindful's sister, he mustn't be allowed to be too fussy. He should be prepared to start with ANY job, from which he can work his way up towards whatever he prefers.
And don't take on the role of making all the suggestions for him to shoot down --- it's HIS job to find ways of getting a job and independence, not yours. Ask HIM what he is going to do about it, and encourage your parents to set him a deadline, not to far ahead, by which time he must make alternate plans and be living elsewhere.
There's nothing nasty about confronting such a person with the facts of reality. Sooner or later Reality will impose such facts on him / her and usually much less kindly.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mindful | 2004/10/18

Dear Concerned Sister,

My sister was exactly the same! She used to come up with every excuse under the sun why she could not work...and it was much more fun to her to lie in front of the TV all day and at my parent's expense. She's finally got a job. She's earning minimum wage, not nearly enough to get by on, but at last she's found something that she loves, and I think along with experience, she'll start earning more. I think what happened in our case was that my dad was suddenly retrenched, and my mom was told at the end of last year that she was going to be re-deployed. Suddenly her fountain of money was drying up and I think she came to the realization that she had to stop sponging. I used to beg my parents to be tougher on her, but they said that I was nasty! I hope your brother finds his feet and motivation to work soon, as for your family member, Jackadee Jack!

Reply to Mindful
Posted by: Jackadeejack | 2004/10/17

I have exactly such a person in my family.. also about 38.. though he does have a job. He haven't grown up, depressed ja.

Hope someone can help us out here cos Ive run outa ideas long ago.

Reply to Jackadeejack

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