Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend’s Alcoholic Brother Won’t Leave Our Home”

A few months ago my boyfriend’s (much) older brother lost his wife, kids, job, and almost his life to his alcoholism. When he was released from the hospital, he was essentially homeless, so we agreed to take him in until he got back on his feet. The first month he lived here he was fairly quiet and even somewhat helpful around the house. He was going to AA meetings, applying for jobs, and going to job interviews, and he seemed to be on the right track. However, around Christmas time things started to change (I can’t be sure why, but I think it might have to do with him realizing that his estranged wife has no intention of taking him back this time and would be filing for divorce). His demeanor shifted, and he became louder, used more profanity, and seemed to have less consideration for everyone including my boyfriend and me. He stopped helping around the house, he started sleeping all day and then staying up all night while playing video games with the volume up, and he stopped looking for jobs and started looking for a new girlfriend instead.

His mood is constantly up and down and he has, on numerous occasions, shown signs of being intoxicated (though he has only admitted to one “slip” since he moved in). I suspect that he may have bipolar disorder, but he has no insurance so he cannot see a doctor for an evaluation (I doubt he would go even if he had insurance). He pays no rent and gives the bare minimum of his unemployment check (his only source of income) to pay his portion of utilities, yet he buys expensive electronics, cigarettes, and fast food meals three times a day (as well as paying for his “dates”).

I have become increasingly uncomfortable with him in the house due to his mood swings and occasional violent outbursts (screaming, yelling, and punching walls, usually after exchanging texts with his ex) and also increasingly annoyed as my boyfriend and I both work 40+ hours to pay for our home and the extra cost of him living there. He shows no signs of moving out, and since January he has crashed his car, been arrested, invited a complete stranger over for sex, threatened our pets, threatened his other brother with a baseball bat, and had a very scary explicit monologue at the dinner table where he talked about murdering his ex-wife’s parents in front of her with a shotgun.

He has never threatened me or my boyfriend, but I assume that’s only because we have yet to correct him and he doesn’t want to “shit where he eats.” I feel like the minute we let him know that his behavior is inappropriate he will turn on us (possibly violently). I have just been trying to avoid him while my boyfriend and his family have been figuring out somewhere else for him to stay, but I am getting tired of waiting (no one wants to take him in) and would like to resume a normal happy life like the one my boyfriend and I were building before this massive wrecking ball came into it.

My mom thinks I should just move out til the situation resolves, but I feel that could take months. And, honestly, if my boyfriend and I remain together (which I’m sure we will), his brother and his problem will always be a part of my life. Should I just suck it up and confront him? Is there anything else I could do? Some insight would really be appreciated. — Annoyed and Scared of His Brother

Your boyfriend is allowing a man to stay in your home who has violent outbursts, threatens to kill family members, brings strangers over for casual sex, and threatens your pets? Oh, hale no. I don’t care if he DID pay rent — I’d still be saying hale no. But the fact that he doesn’t pay rent and instead spends whatever income he receives from unemployment on gifts for himself or his dates is just a nail in the coffin. Brother or no, this guy needs the boot.

Where does he go? Who knows. It’s not your problem. Oh, but he’s your boyfriend’s brother, you say. He’s family! I don’t care. Give him the boot. He’s a grown adult. He’ll figure something out. He’ll get a job — whatever job he can find — and rent a motel room if he has to. He’ll find a rehab program. He’ll quit spending his money on stupid shit and put it toward getting a roof over his head. He’ll go to his parents’ home or a friend’s home or anywhere else besides your place.

And what do you say to your boyfriend when he says he has to help his brother? You tell him he can help him without enabling him. You tell him he can help him without destroying your home life and putting your relationship, not to mention your well-being, in danger. There are ways to help someone without opening your home indefinitely. And if your boyfriend refuses to kick out his brother, then I agree with your mother that YOU should move out. And don’t continue paying rent either! If your boyfriend suddenly has to be responsible for rent on his own, he’ll think twice about letting his brother sponge off him one more day.

It’s true that as long as you and your boyfriend remain a couple, his brother is always going to be part of your life, which is why it’s especially important to start setting your boundaries NOW. Let it be known that you will not allow someone who refuses to take responsibility for himself stay in your home indefinitely. Let it be known that you will not live in fear in your own home. And let it be known that anyone who threatens your pets or brings strangers into your home for sex or makes comments about killing anyone is absolutely not welcome to stay under your roof.

I would also sit down with all parties involved — your boyfriend, his parents, his siblings and their partners, and possibly the estranged wife — and discuss and brainstorm as a collective group what some options are for getting this troubled man the help he needs. What programs exist in your area for alcoholics? What medical care does he qualify for? You also need to discuss as a group how to protect yourselves. This man sounds dangerous and you all need to know what has been said behind your backs and what he is capable of.

Whatever you do, DO NOT confront this man on your own. Do not stay in the house with him by yourself. Please consider staying with a family member or friend, at least for the immediate future, until your boyfriend kicks the brother out. And when he does leave, change the locks on the doors.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

60 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Morgan February 10, 2014, 9:11 am

    WWS. All of it.

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    • EscapeHatches

      escapehatches February 10, 2014, 1:45 pm

      Seconding – if possible notify your local authorities BEFORE he’s given the boot. Document the threats, document damages. You’ll need all of that in the event that things go sideways as a way of showing a pattern of behavior. His comments alone are enough for the ex-wife to get a restraining order and her parents should too. Everyone deserves to know what’s going on for their own safety.

      When he threatens you/yours – HE IS TELLING YOU THE TRUTH SO LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS. Get your pets out too – he’s more likely to hurt them as a proxy for you guys.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 February 10, 2014, 9:11 am

    LW: I’m with Wendy and your family here, you need to get out of that house. You need to tell your BF that you are moving out, and you can’t come back until this jack ass leaves. He sounds very dangerous, and unstable and that is not something you want to be around.

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  • avatar

    iseeshiny February 10, 2014, 9:12 am

    Yeah, no. Jeez. Fuck that, I say. That’s terrifying. WWS, all the way.

    I’m really curious what your boyfriend says about his brother’s behavior. Have you talked about it at all?

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  • avatar

    TheOtherOtherMe February 10, 2014, 9:16 am

    To the LW: your boyfriend’s brother is not bipolar, he is DRINKING AGAIN. And the reason he’s reluctant to hand over any of his money is because he needs it to buy booze. Your b/f needs to kick him out ASAP. Alcoholism 101. (PS You and your BF need to go to Al-Anon and do some reading about tough love and enabling alcoholics).

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    • Amanda

      Amanda February 10, 2014, 9:25 am

      Exactly. I’ve seen this enough with a family member of mine (and a close friend). He’s drinking again. You cannot make him stop (ESPECIALLY if you’re enabling him). As hard as it will be, kick him out. And when you do – you cannot feel bad. The only one who can fix him is him.

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      • avatar

        llclarityll February 10, 2014, 10:48 am

        You can’t say that indefinitely. A lot of people who have undiagnosed bi-polar disorder or other mental illnesses drink to COPE with their mental illness.

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      • Amanda

        Amanda February 10, 2014, 11:09 am

        This is true. And I’d be more apt to lean towards the issue of bipolar if the whole issue with his wife hadn’t happened. In my eyes (and experience with family) that’s enough for him to relapse. Especially if he thought he was cleaning himself up for her. Now, in theory, he has no reason to. And drinking definetly makes some people violent – it certainly did for my cousin. I’m by no means an expert in mental health or addiction and do think he should see a professional. BUT my last point still stands – he has to want to do it for himself.

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      • avatar

        llclarityll February 10, 2014, 10:50 am

        Here’s the thing that I disagree with: “I would also sit down with all parties involved — your brother, his parents, his siblings and their partners, and possibly the estranged wife — and discuss and brainstorm as a collective group.”

        It is not your place nor your responsibility to do this. Is it in the best interest for everyone to do this? Of course. But you’ve got to understand that family have been dealing with brother for more years than you’ve been in the picture.

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      • avatar

        HmC February 10, 2014, 1:42 pm

        I agree this part seems like kind of a tall order for a girlfriend to take on. I mean it would be a good thing to discuss with your boyfriend LW, depending on family dynamics and the seriousness of your relationship, but you shouldn’t feel like this is something that is necessarily your responsibility to take care of.

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    • avatar

      Lucy February 10, 2014, 9:27 pm

      This x 1000. I think anyone who’s lived with a drunk knows instinctively that this guy is drinking again – if he ever really stopped. Get him out of your house before he hurts you. Have the police on hand if you think it’s necessary. If your boyfriend refuses to throw him out, then for your own safety you have to go, and you also have to seriously consider whether you can stay with someone who will endanger your safety in order to enable a drunk.

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  • avatar

    bethany February 10, 2014, 9:27 am

    WWS 100%.

    It would be different if he were clearly trying to get his life back in some sort of order like he was when he first moved in. But that’s not the case. His current behavior is totally unacceptable and you can’t allow it to happen in your home any longer.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray February 10, 2014, 9:54 am

    WWS. You and your boyfriend need to be on the same page about this. I’m sure he loves his brother, but this is not helping. He’s just enabling him.

    Last year, my husband wanted his alcoholic/drug addict brother to come stay with us after a bad episode. I squashed that pretty quickly. I didn’t want someone unstable with his history and issues living with us. That is reason enough. Those are my boundaries.

    Like Wendy said, if your boyfriend doesn’t agree with kicking him out, then move out for now. This isn’t going away though. It’s not easy to kick someone out, especially family, when they seemingly have nowhere to go, but it has to be done. Your boyfriend can still try to help him from a distance, and without enabling him. But no one can fix him. He’s endangering and threatening others and that’s not okay. Set your boundaries now.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady February 10, 2014, 9:56 am

    A couple of years ago, I had a similar-ish situation: my roommate was dating this guy who scared me and had basically moved into our house. I think someone on here gave me this advice: it’s better to be impolite than to be hurt or dead. Too many women ignore their instincts that someone is dangerous because being rude in the immediate moment is worse than being in danger that you can’t confirm for sure exists.

    Get the fuck out of that house, and tell your boyfriend that his brother needs to leave in order for you to come home. If your boyfriend isn’t genuinely concerned for your and his safety, then maybe you need to consider that your boyfriend doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Make it clear that the brother is not to contact you, and if he does, contact the police. Your safety is non-negotiable, and aside from the violent outbursts, he’s making terrible decisions regarding who and why he brings into your house.

    It doesn’t matter whether he’s bipolar, drinking again, or an alien from outer space. That isn’t yours to figure out; it is his. The part that affects you is his presence in your home and all that comes with it.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna February 10, 2014, 10:33 am

      Yeah I’d leave now (temporarily) and then tell your bf his brother needs to move out. It’s not your responsibility to confront the brother especially when he could get violent.

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      • avatar

        Marcie February 10, 2014, 10:47 am

        Yes, it’s not her responsibility to confront the brother. I also think it’s not her responsibility to get all parties involved together for a meeting about him. It’s a nice thought but really not her responsibility at all.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna February 10, 2014, 11:01 am

        Absolutely. As the brother’s girlfriend, she has no responsibility whatsoever to do this. It’s true that he sounds dangerous but frankly it’s hard to intervene effectively when a person is dangerous without endangering yourself.

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  • avatar

    TECH February 10, 2014, 9:58 am

    LW, I’m just curious how you can say you are sure you will stay with your boyfriend. It’s hard to be so sure of anything in this life. Your boyfriend needs to stop enabling his brother, and make you his priority. Clearly, his brother’s needs are coming before yours here. And it needs to stop.
    Personally, I would have a hard time saying I’m sure I will stay with a boyfriend who enables an alcoholic, and leaves the door open for potentially violent behavior in my house. I would have a hard time staying with a man who allows his brother to threaten people and animals. I would have a hard time staying with a man who lets his alcoholic brother be an emotional and financial drain on your relationship.
    Your relationship is the one your boyfriend should be trying to protect. Not the relationship with his troubled and abusive brother.
    Move out of the house until your boyfriend removes this wrecking ball.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:19 am

      I don’t think its fair to make this about who the BF prioritizes. I think most people who are close to their family would have an extremely difficult time dealing with this. I know I would, and I’d have sympathy if my boyfriend were in this guy’s shoes. Let’s not make it her v. brother just yet, or about picking one family member over another (or gf over family member). That’s not to say the boyfriend doesn’t need to kick the brother out.

      Its funny though that you said she can’t be sure she’ll even stay with the boyfriend, but that the boyfriend should put her first.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:21 am

        What I’m trying to say is I think its good to be supportive of her boyfriend right now, while also being clear that she will have to leave until the brother is out.

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      • avatar

        TECH February 10, 2014, 11:27 am

        I have no doubt that most people would have an incredibly difficult time with this. I have sympathy for the boyfriend. I understand it’s not always helpful to frame things in a “him vs. me” way. I don’t mean to portray it as the boyfriend should “pick” his girlfriend over the brother.
        But right now it does seem pretty black and white to me. He is enabling his brother and allowing this behavior to occur his house. If he continues to enable his brother, I don’t think the LW should stay with her boyfriend, because this will be a lifelong struggle.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:29 am

        Completely agree on the black and white thing. The boyfriend should kick him out.

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      • avatar

        starpattern February 10, 2014, 11:34 am

        I agree with this – I don’t think it’s fair to force the boyfriend to choose one or the other. However, I do think it’s unacceptable that the boyfriend is neglecting the LW’s safety, and I think that’s what TECH is getting at. Once the brother started threatening pets and talking about shooting people the light bulb should have gone off that he is putting his girlfriend in danger by having this man in her home. He is definitely between a rock and a hard place, though.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl February 10, 2014, 10:00 am

    As I read the letter, I kept thinking that the family is enabling this man. LW, he is an adult and older than your BF (and likely you) so everyone needs to treat him like an adult. Yes it is sad that his whole world has crumbled, but it happened because of actions he took! He is completely responsible for fucking up his life and needs to take ownership of that. I agree with Wendy, you need to take steps immediately to get him out of your house. Also, you need to communicate with your BF and his family since you should not be the person confronting this man. I would also make sure you have someone on standby to come change your locks and perhaps speak with an advocate in case he turns violent and the police get called.

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  • avatar

    starpattern February 10, 2014, 10:22 am

    Yeah, dude, WWS. What is particularly concerning is that your boyfriend is so wrapped up in his brother’s crisis that he doesn’t seem to realize he is putting YOU at risk of harm. Of course he cares for his brother’s welfare and wants to help him, but if you two are actually building a future together, he really needs to be making your safety a priority. So, bring that to his attention and then get out of that house until his brother has moved out – it is so not worth the stress and risk.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday February 10, 2014, 10:27 am

    I don’t disagree with Wendy, but one note: if you’re on the lease you’re legally responsible for the rent as well, and can be sued as much as your boyfriend can if the rent isn’t paid. On that note, of course, you could get the landlord to remove the brother from the house if your boyfriend won’t, though that will obviously cause friction between you and your boyfriend.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth February 10, 2014, 10:37 am

    Addicts abuse people. It’s their mode of operation. Regardless of if he is using or not, he is going to continue in this vein of behavior until he gets his life under control. You are not responsible for that and neither is your boyfriend.

    If he is not working, there are a lot of free, state/federal ran programs that can help. He may even be eligible for assistance to complete rehabilitation. However, he has to make that choice. If he won’t, then you guys have to get him out of your home. Change your locks.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl February 10, 2014, 10:42 am

    As PaintedLady said- “It’s better to be impolite than dead.” Go stay elsewhere until he is out of your house and the locks have been changed.
    .
    I have an alcoholic uncle and family has been enabling him for YEARS. Literally since I was a child, so around 20 years, my grandmother has been financing him, clothing and housing him, and covering up/cleaning up his messes (hell she just paid from him to go on a Caribbean cruise!). So, I guess I want to say, it’s hard. Having an addict in the family is hard, especially when they have no intention of sobering up and the family has no intention of stopping their enabling. I’m not saying you should leave your bf over this, but you two need to be on the same page about your interactions and support of his brother if you’re going to hop on the forever train.

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  • avatar

    llclarityll February 10, 2014, 10:51 am

    Here’s the thing that I disagree with: “I would also sit down with all parties involved — your brother, his parents, his siblings and their partners, and possibly the estranged wife — and discuss and brainstorm as a collective group.”

    It is not your place nor your responsibility to do this. Is it in the best interest for everyone to do this? Of course. But are you going to make everyone do it? You can suggest it, but you’ve got to understand that family have been dealing with brother for more years than you’ve been in the picture. The relationship between/perceived loyalties to a sibling bring a different dynamic to this situation.

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    • avatar

      TECH February 10, 2014, 11:03 am

      I agree with this. It is not the LW’s place or responsibility to initiate or take part in a family meeting. There is clearly a family dynamic going on before she ever entered the picture. The great part about dating someone is you get to check out their family before you marry into it or make a permanent commitment. Most people have some dysfunction in their family. However, a man who stands up against the dysfunction and responds to it in a healthy way is worth keeping around.
      Honestly, this ceases to become the LW’s problem if she moves out of the house or ends this relationship. It’s not her family.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:13 am

      I read LW’s letter to sound like she’s on the forever train, not just some relatively new gf who might not stick around.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna February 10, 2014, 11:22 am

        I’d still think it wasn’t her responsibility even if they were married.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:28 am

        I don’t think its her job to deal with this, but I would help, be supportive and join in. That’s what family is for, no?

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 10, 2014, 11:30 am

        Even if they where married, I don’t think it’s her place unless they ask her to join in.

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      • avatar

        TECH February 10, 2014, 11:36 am

        I agree with this. Married or not, I think what’s most important is does the brother consider the girlfriend his family? When my ex’s brother died, his dad suggested that I stand in the receiving line at the funeral. I politely let him know that it made me a little uncomfortable, because I knew his brother didn’t consider me his family. I think it is really dependent on the personal relationship between the girlfriend and the brother and how close they are to one another.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:37 am

        Oh yea, I just meant she should be offering to help.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 10, 2014, 11:46 am

        I guess I’m just thinking about my mom and how the whole addict in the family thing has played out with her. The inlaws have really taken advantage of her willingness to help, and made her do the “dirty work” they are too chicken to do. It’s a shitty situation for her to be in, and sometimes puts a wedge between her and my stepdad- so yeah, idk I’d just stay out of it but be supportive to the bf.

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      • katie

        katie February 10, 2014, 12:24 pm

        i also read it as a forever train situation, and so it would not be out of bounds at all for the LW to suggest this, even organize it. i would say, though, to stop there. the LW can be a catalyst to change here, but leave it ultimately to the addicts immediate family -for no other reason then to keep yourself out of the drama!
        .
        also, i think this is a great suggestion for the LW simply because the addict is living at her house- she has a very personal stake in this guy getting some sort of help and ultimately out of her house.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest February 10, 2014, 11:02 am

    Yikes! Please listen to Wendy. I totally understand wanting to help your family (or your partner’s family), but this isn’t helping him and no one should help someone when it risks their own life!

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope February 10, 2014, 11:06 am

    He’s threatening to shoot his in-laws? Please tell me this guy doesn’t actually own a gun.

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    • othy

      othy February 10, 2014, 11:15 am

      I also hope that his ex-wife and her lawyer both know that he’s making threats like that.

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    • avatar

      starpattern February 10, 2014, 11:58 am

      Oh, good point. LW, if you’re a gun-owning family (including air soft/BB guns), take them with you when you go to stay with someone else. If you stay in the house despite the advice, at least get any weapons out of the house and have a family member safely store them for you.

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  • avatar

    blink14 February 10, 2014, 11:48 am

    From experience, it is incredibly difficult for a family or close friends to cut an addict off. I witnessed my ex’s parents give him a place to live, food, clothing, spending money, and he landed in jail for violating probation and was kicked out of two different court mandated rehab facilities later that year.

    LW, you need to have a very serious conversation with your boyfriend, because this ultimately comes down to your safety and his. The brother is volatile and is most definitely drinking again. He’s preying on his younger brother because he knows he can manipulate the situation to his liking. If your boyfriend seems unable to make a solid choice to kick his brother out, you need to tell him that you are going to move in with a friend or family until this guy is out of your house. If your feelings of being unsafe and possibly being threatened verbally or physically in the future don’t sway your boyfriend’s stance, then I really feel that he will not be able to stop enabling his brother now or in the future.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark February 10, 2014, 12:23 pm

    I disagree with Wendy and agree with the LW’s mother instead. (Sorry, Wendy. But this guy IS obviously unhinged — so your stage an intervention advice strikes me as naive…)

    Instead, LW: Get. Out. NOW!!!

    Look, this guy is obviously “not well” and the minute you kick him out all of his hatred and rage will IMMEDIATELY shift to you. He will blame YOU… This guy is a textbook murder suicide just waiting to happen.

    Your boyfriend? Fuck him! He put you in this situation. This is HIS mess. He needs to sort it out. So for now? Save yourself. Get the fuck out. NOW!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy February 10, 2014, 1:12 pm

      I’m not naive. You just didn’t read my reply carefully. I actually DID tell the LW to “get out now.” I told her to stay with a family member or friend until her boyfriend kicked the brother out. And I never said anything about an intervention. You’re mistaking my suggestion for family to get together and collectively brainstorm options for troubled man as an intervention and the two are completely different things.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark February 10, 2014, 3:46 pm

        Oh. I see. Check it out though — you have a typo — you use brother where you meant to use boyfriend. That is why I mistook your powwow for an intervention. That and the use of All Parties… All this implied to me that you want to do this with HIM there…

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 10, 2014, 4:08 pm

        Oops, you’re totally right. Fixed now, thanks.

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  • katie

    katie February 10, 2014, 12:30 pm

    LW, there are two courses here, i think… one, is that your boyfriend and you are forever train passengers, and his problems are yours and therefore you have a stake and a say in this. the other is that you are more casual partners and you do not see yourself on the forever train. if you do not see yourself on the forever train, leave. read BGM’s response and do it.
    .
    if you are on the forever train, you need to make a plan of attack *with your boyfriend*, and that is the key. you cant make this into a me vs. the brother situation. you need to sit down and have a long and serious talk with your boyfriend about not just the immediate problems here, but the problems with his brother that will exist forever. you need to understand your boyfriends motives, his own boundaries, what he will and will not tolerate, where his lines in the sand are, ect. then you both need to agree how to handle this and do it. i think that organizing the whole family, including the estranged wife, to talk about options is a good thing. it will at least get the conversation going, and you can have an audience for his behavior towards you/in your home, and you can remind everyone that he is everyone’s responsibility to help, not just you and your boyfriends.
    .
    if nothing else, at least start calling the cops when he gets violent, at least then there will be a paper trail for something…

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark February 10, 2014, 12:48 pm

      Even if it IS the forever train? For now — she should get off. That’s the great thing about a forever train. You can always hop off and then jump back on at some other station further on down the line. Also — I think that her calling the cops simply puts her in more danger than it’s worth at this point. She should move out NOW. Regardless of her feelings for her boyfriend…

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      • katie

        katie February 10, 2014, 1:11 pm

        well, i mean, i definitely wouldnt fault someone for going that route! that is totally a good option.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones February 10, 2014, 1:49 pm

    It is important that you find a place to stay where you feel safe. It is important to feel safe in your own home. Your BF’s family needs to take care of this. It should not be on you. WWS.

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  • LlamaPajamas

    LlamaPajamas February 10, 2014, 1:52 pm

    LW, this makes me really, really worried about you. You should definitely take everyone’s advice and get out. Once you’re in a safe place you can assess whether your relationship with your boyfriend is salvageable and, if so, what your next steps will be. But you really, really need to get out of that house ASAP. And make sure the ex-wife is aware that he’s made threats against her. I wish I could give you a hug right now.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray February 10, 2014, 3:20 pm

      hi buddy.

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  • avatar

    Essie February 10, 2014, 4:12 pm

    LW, I know your BF is under terrible stress right now, with his brother falling apart in such an extreme way. It’s a terribly painful thing for his whole family.

    But: he should have been the one to tell you to stay someplace else until this is resolved, and he should have done it a long time ago. And I have to say I don’t think a lot of him for putting you in such a vulnerable position, allowing such a sick, violent man to remain in a house he shares with you. You’d think he’d have some impulse to protect you from this much danger.

    Until and unless his brother is out of the house and the locks are changed, you need to leave.

    You. Need. To. Leave.

    Today. Now. Pack a bag and get out, and tell your BF that you’ll be back when big brother is gone and the locks have been changed.

    Oh, and yes, absolutely, tell this jerk’s ex-wife that he’s made threats against her. ASAP.

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    • avatar

      Essie February 10, 2014, 4:27 pm

      And I’ll just add that this situation might get me off the forever train with this guy. I’m not saying that I’d break up with someone just because they have a family member in this condition. But the way BF handles this situation is important. And right now, he’s handling it really badly, with a serious impact on you. If you marry this guy, are you sure he won’t cave and let big brother crash there again in the future? What if you have kids? You want them having to deal with drunk Uncle Crazy Pants living in the spare room, threatening their pets, and maybe them?

      OK, let’s say big brother is all talk, he’s not really violent, he’s not dangerous. Even without all of that, it’s been a wretched, miserable, awkward few months with this guy in your house. And it would have been nice if BF had said to himself, “yeah, he’s family, but I can’t inflict this mess on the woman I love.”

      All I’m saying is, once you move out (let’s say temporarily), watch very carefully how this situation plays out, and how BF and family handle it all. Think of it as a window into your potential future with this family.

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  • avatar

    mmcg February 10, 2014, 4:27 pm

    In addition to the general fabulous advice to get out now (if for no other reason so that if/when your bf kicks him out you’re not the reason and in a position to take the blame) I would augment the advice in a couple of ways…

    1. Call al-anon or a similar organization for yourself, encourage your bf to call them as well

    2. As crazy as it may seem, call a domestic abuse hotline or similar resource for guidance and support for yourself. You’re in a situation primed for domestic violence and they may have good insight on how you can safely leave, even temporarily, and ways to talk with your bf about this abusive situation (bc that’s what it is)

    3. When you do leave TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU!!

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  • avatar

    Ammie February 10, 2014, 4:52 pm

    Get out, like everyone said. Also, take your pets when you go. Your boyfriend can see them again when the crazy pet-threatener isn’t in the home anymore.

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  • avatar

    Lo February 10, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Wow. This is just scary. Read this letter to yourself and imagine it was an email from a good friend. I’m sure your response would be something to the effect of 1) pack your bags now you’re crashing with me for the foreseeable future and 2) is everything ok with you and your boyfriend? I’m worried about you.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 10, 2014, 7:29 pm

    I’m mad late to this, but here are my thoughts: I know it’s hard loving an addict, especially when that addict is a family member, & of course LW’s boyfriend feels like he needs to protect his brother, be there for him, not kick him out on the street… etc… but I do not—do NOT—understand why there is any stalling here (aka, the waiting for someone else to take the brother in).

    LW should not feel like ~she~ needs to do ANYTHING. The boyfriend should handle this—it’s not “choosing” a girl over family, once that family member is unhinged & violent, making threats against pets & his ex’s parents. I’m not a black-and-white person, but this is a black-and-white issue, so yeah.
    LW, what is your boyfriend saying? If he feels just as unsafe as you do—good, then you’re on the same team. But if he’s like, “oh, I know, Bro is lazy… crazy… we should def find him a new place soon, yeah” then you aren’t on the same page at all. I really hope you are together on this, with different timelines for a plan of action? If that’s the case, you can come up with a plan of action together, where the timeline is “he leaves immediately”. And if the case is, well, you’re on different pages, then YOU follow everyone’s advice to leave immediately instead.

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  • avatar

    Angelicamb March 31, 2014, 5:41 pm

    The brother sounds like he has borderline personality disorder; common in alcoholics and definitely dangerous.

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