Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
I believe that I an help you.
I understand your situation very well as you have articulated it quite clearly.
I understand your dilemma in wanting to protect the wishes of your brother and of your mother, while trying to shelter the pain of rejection from your children.
yes, that is it
Your children are old enough to understand that there is mental illness in your brother and mother.
She is helpless, dependent, and very fearful.
yes, they certainly are. my husband and I have always expressed this to them.
Your brother, it seems, has a bit of a personality disorder, perhaps with elements of Paranoid Personality Disorder, but more likely of Schizoid Personality Disorder.
I mentioned to my daughter that I left this message for my brother and that whatever his answer may be, we must respect it. Yes, my mom is exactly this.
yes, this is what seems to be the disorder my brother has.
He has so much to deal with, I generally comply with what he asks, as I wish not to add to the stress this situation creates.
Let me give you the official criteria, from the psychiatric manual DSM-IV, the "bible" of diagnoses, for Schizoid Personality Disorder. I want you to see if this fits.
Give me a few moments while I copy and transmit it from my file, please.
To add to it, my dad is a wonderful man. He had always been my brother's best friend. He was so good to my mom and to everyone. Now he is basically gone and they are watching him daily slipping away, needing 24/7 care. It is a very difficult situation as I know you understand.
I am sorry. That is so sad for all of you, and so hard to watch him deteriorate.
Thank you. I always remind my children that it is not about them, not about my brother/mother not loving them. They are ill, they cannot help how they feel or relate to things. They are doing the best they can.
Here are the criteria.
Diagnostic Criteria for Schizoid Personality Disorder
A. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of , a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, another Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
Note: If criteria are met prior to the onset of Schizophrenia, add “Premorbid,” e.g., “Schizoid Personality Disorder (Premorbid).”
This is NOT schizophrenia.
My mom does come to my house very occasionally, she texts and emails my kids. I have tried to help them understand that this is her way of relating to them. She loves them and we all have to accept certain things in life. if this is the way they are able to see her/communicate with her, it is a good way, just not what they want. Unfortunately, in life, we cannot always get what we want, and oftentimes realize that what we wanted was not good for us in the long run. It would be very difficult for them to see my dad as he is now.
Does your brother meet four or more of the criteria?
yes, he does
not all of the criteria, though 4 or more, yes
he understands his condition, he knows himself well. doesn't wish to see drs or take medication. did when he was a teenager see therapist, had a brief period in a psychiatric hospital and took medication. my dad talked/listened to him always, as he did for my mom with her fears/angers, etc.
In that case he is diagnosable. I sent you this document so that you have something "official" to show your children so that they can understand that your brother has a real diagnosable condition. His behavior, then, does NOT reflect on his feelings for them.
There is no medication for this condition.
thank you very much.
Your mom is doing her part to stay in touch, and this is the optimum circumstances for now.
i have been looking on and off to try and find a description of my brothers condition.
i will definitely use this tool to help my kids understand.
yes, she certainly is and I agree, thank you. this is exactly what i tell them.
i will continue to tell them the same.
It would hurt your children to see your dad, but they must understand the process of dying, because they will face it all of their lives. They will develop compassion for him and it will make the grieving process easier and more understandable in the long run.
He will not just disappear.
i feel badly for having even sent my brother the message about my kids wanting to see them. i really am the one person other than my parents that he trusts as much as he is able to trust anyone. i am hoping that he will accept the message as informative and not as a request for something that is so difficult for him to succomb to.
yes, this is true. my son just lost a friend, 16 to a terrible freak accident this summer and we have lost a few young persons in the past year that were close, not so closely related to our family.
Your brother is intelligent an he understands that families have needs to be together at times. He may not like it, but he could understand an accept it and accommodate it once in a while.
yes, he is very intelligent. yes, he could and so possibly the message will open a door and we will be able to go visit with the kids.
I think he can be reasonable, and put up with the discomfort caused by his condition, or even leave the house for a little while if he feels overwhelmed.
to the kids credit, they really want to see my dad, regardless of how he looks or seems. they love him and want to be with him. it is i who was trying to rationalize my brother not accpepting their wish to visit as it being better so the kids don't have to see my dad as he is. they wish to see him in whatever condition he may be in.
he would not leave the house, as he is the sole caretaker of my dad. he will stay with us and go about doing what needs to be done as we are there.
You will have to work with your brother's strict demands.
yes, i certainly will and i do. thanks so much for your help, most especially for the description of the condition you provided.
Your children sound wonderful and intelligent and I believe that once they understand that your brother has personality disorder, the focus will sharpen.
You are so very welcome. It is always most gratifying to me to be able to help.
they are, thank you. thank you, XXXXX XXXXX exactly what i needed to provide them with.
I shall keep all of you in my prayers.
You have put a big smile on my face.
Warm regards XXXXX XXXXX and your family. I wish you all the best.
and i will keep you in my prayers. yes, you have done the same for me.