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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1153
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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Hello - I am 26 year old male now struggling with a sibling

Customer Question

Hello - I am 26 year old male now struggling with a sibling relationship with my older brother. My brother is roughly year old then I am. I am currently single, but involved in a relationship that has now morphed into a friendship. I am looking for other dating partners and currently feel in a more vulnerable position. Sometimes I see all of these attractive looking females and feel as if I am missing out so many of them look beautiful to me. I am a kind and warm person in excellent shape and attractive. I don't have a large group of friends, but a few very close friendships. I am proud of the steps I have taken to “put myself out there more” in the past weeks, but it is a slow process. My relationship with my brother is complicated because I can't help but compare myself sometimes even though I don't want to :( He is recently single after breaking up with his girlfriend. It's harder for me to hear about times when he has dates or is doing activities. Unfortunately, he is a very negative person, attempted suicide, trapped in tons of debt and blames others for his own decisions. He is working full time and making a significant salary. He is living at home, I am paying my own rent as my job is 2 hours away from my parents house. He today just called to ask if he could sleep at my place one day during the week as he did another activity with a friend. I was not invited of course. I felt as if this was an attempt to use me. I know he lives farther away, but still. All of this is causing stress with the relationship I have with my mother. I feel as if we cannot be as close. She informs me of what my brother is up to. She means well for me and all of us. It's just a interesting time in my life, I have some great things going on, saved up 45grand, nice job, and trying to explore my life and improve. It's just hard now with my family, I wish sometimes I could switch them off. I know that sounds mean or cruel. I don't know what to do. Should I distance myself more from my family? Any insight you have is appreciated.

Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 10 months ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

It's quite normal for people to compare themselves to others. However, it

Dr. L :

can lead to hurt feelings and misunderstanding. In a way,when we do that kind of measuring it is like saying: the only way I can feel good about myself is if I am equal to or better than that person. The problem here is that there is no fair or just way to judge that other person. What are you measuring? How are you measuring?

Dr. L :

What you wrote about your brother was that he was negative, tried to commit suicide, up to eyeballs in debt, lives with your parents, just broke up with a girlfriend. Why in the world would you see him as more successful? Having more going for him then you? Why would you want him to be the measuring stick against which you judge yourself? From what your have written..your brother sounds quite unsuccessful in life!

Dr. L :

What he seems to have going for him is friends and activity. And..he also has a mother who is doting on him, a free place to live, a fulltime job, a significant salary. Apply this against his big debt, no significant relationship, no home to call his own....hmmm...

Dr. L :

As to your mom, tell her that you love your brother and would prefer that you and he manage your relationship without her input. Yes...she means well. Yet both you and your brother are old enough to not need her being the voice.

Dr. L :

As to distancing yourself from you family. Yes, I think that is a good idea as it seems that you are needing to spread your own wings and that, for now, family pressure represents unnecessary pressure. Take a break from them.

Dr. L :

Your brother wants to crash at your apartment. While it seems like a reasonable request, you don't seem to be in a place where that feels comfortable. As I said earlier, take a break from the family so that you have more breathing room. Tell your brother the truth...Your request leaves me feeling used and unappreciated. If you were coming to town to see me and be with me that would be one thing. Your using my place just because it is convenient for you doesn't interest me.

Dr. L :

It's your life. You get to call the shots...no matter what Mom wants or what your brother wants.

Dr. L :

I await your reply.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. I appreciate the insight. I really could benefit from a service like this where I can talk to someone perhaps biweekly or weekly. Do you have a website? I have blue shield blue cross insurance, I prefer online communication like this to office visits as I am better with writing out my feelings.

Dr. L :

I am glad you found my response helpful. With JustAnswer Experts are under contract to work directly in this online chat format and cannot work "offline" or individually. I am sorry.

Dr. L :

You are very welcome to continue to post new questions to me and for us to continue in this format. Each new question would essentially be a new "appointment".

Dr. L :

And each time you would have to pay for the previous question before you started a new one.

Dr. L :

I await your reply.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1153
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. L and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

 


I must write the truth down and tell it to someone :) That is how I feel right now. The truth is I have been failing for some time establish relationships or friendships with new people. It is frustrating to me since it seems some of these struggles may be occurring due to influences from my family, current relationship with them and my lack of a solid support system. I also have never personally been naturally motivated or really felt the confidence to commit to a personal relationship with new people. The only time I can think of when I was open was as a freshman in college. I was very free and open minded at the time (was also on paxil-bad side effects though).


 


In college, I definitely interacted with many people and was well liked. I was in a long term relationship with someone for years and am now her best friend. She is in a slightly complicated position with me as we help each other out even though we are not together as a couple. I lend her money if she is in a bind and she provides companionship for me when we hang out. We enjoy the time we spend together.


 


It's interesting since I am always able to go out places even by myself. Whether it is the beach, nightclub, mall, wherever. It's hard for me to admit this, but I wonder if I am always holding back slightly. It's hard for me to understand why. I wonder sometimes if its from the influences of my family or my turbulent years before college.


 


There are two people in my life who are definitely overbearing. My mother and my bother. Unfortunately, they are a part of my support system or people I talk too. It's difficult, but the probable best thing I should do is replace the role of these two individuals. It's hard for me to do that since my mother is a great person, but is in our business way to much. My brother is simply needy and that is toxic in itself.


 


I live by myself in my own apartment I guess that’s why sometimes I just have the urge to talk with someone even if they probably aren't the best influence on me. It would be hard for me to let go of my ex who is now a close friend of mine.


 


My ideal goal would be to have a few set friends and be able to explore new relationships. I wonder if you have any insight or advice for someone in this type of situation ? Any book that in particular could help?


 


I know that's asking a lot, don't expect anyone to solve my personal conundrum in one response haha

Expert:  Dr. L replied 9 months ago.
Hello,
Glad to hear from you! It seems you have done some soul searching since the last time we chatted! Good for you.

I like your ideal goal...it is a very healthy one and very achievable.

The predicament you write of: finding and making new friends so as to develop a healthy support system...is a question on the lips of many, many people of all ages. Most of us have a very small number of friends that we trust, depend on, share the same/similar values and beliefs, and that are easy to be with. Your ex seems like someone in this category and you are fortunate to have maintained this type of relationship with her.

I do think it is best to keep your mother and brother in that category of mother and brother rather than depending on them as friends. In your own words, mother is intrusive and brother is toxic. Keeping them in their proper role would be important.

One of the most popular and well-read book on friendship and relationships is:
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carniege. This is an old, old book...but it's popularity is undisputed. I would encourage you to give this a read.
Also...take a look at the work of Deborah Tannen (http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/). She has a number of great books on how men and women communicate. I think you will find this quite interesting, and helpful.

One of the best avenues for finding new friends is through volunteering. If you haven't explored this option...please think about it. You can find volunteer work by looking on the city website where you live, listings in local newspapers, postings at your local library, or checking out non-profit agencies in your community.

Since new friends are more easily built when you share the same interests or hobbies...think about those things that you enjoy doing...and see what groups, classes, or organizations there are in your community devoted to these activities or interests.

Let me know what you are thinking after you read this post.
Thanks.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Thank you for responding. I have checked out the book How to Win and Influence people and agree it has some very useful ways of thinking. Definitely a better mindset.


 


I'm currently looking into volunteer opportunities in the area to see what I can find.


 


I was briefly engaged in online dating, but pulling away from that again as I find it is filled with more negative emotion and game playing rather then relationship building that is real from the start.


 


I will probably ask you some more questions in the near future. Thanks again.

Expert:  Dr. L replied 9 months ago.
Hello,
Glad you were able to take a look at the book. Like I said..it's an oldie but it is highly recommended all these years later.

I would not recommend online dating unless you are on a site that is highly endorsed by people you trust and that you have some data that it is successful.

Take care!

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