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When COVID hit the government response began a gradual process of degradation of our business. After the 3 month shutdown and a year of keeping it afloat, I realized that my income had been knocked back down to what I was earning 5-6 yrs prior, and with my increased expenses, the business had become non-profitable.
Luckily I was able to sell the business to recoup some of my losses.
It was around this time my wife and I decided to leave the politically aggressive progressive big city and move our family to my hometown to live with my parents until we could welcome our third child to the world, and I could figure out a way to get our lives back on track.
A few weeks before we made the move, my brother attempted suicide for the second time in his life. (I will also mention that he was an “ADHD” kid and was heavily medicated for several years as a young child)
As the days and weeks went by following his 2nd attempt, I realized through discussions with him and my father that the way my parents handled the crisis was nothing short of terrible. So much so that when my father finally recounted exactly what happened and how he handled it, the only thought that went through my mind was “what the fuck is wrong with you!?”.
In that moment I realized I had to get my brother as far away from them as possible. To make it even more obvious that I had to do so, he was living in a terrible neighbourhood (break ins and murders and drug addicts) and working a terrible job in a low rent factory which was destroying his health. He was just over 200lbs at his heaviest, and essentially never sleeping which has contributed to short term memory loss issues. I should also mention that my parents chose that job for him as well as the house he was living in and never seriously considered helping him change either of them to improve his life.
Soon after, I suggested to my brother that I could arrange the sale of his house, move across the country and he could live with us and take a year off work, and not have to worry about paying bills—to which he enthusiastically said yes.
Thanks to some fellow FDR friends, I found a place in a great neighbourhood in a small town and I began the process of setting up our lives across the country and coordinating the sale of his house to make it all happen.
Since being here, I’ve helped him lose 50lbs and my wife and I have given him advice on where to work and his new job is going well. We’ve also had many conversations about our relationships with our parents but this is increasingly challenging to do with 3 little kids who need us.
He is helpful with our kids, and often plays with them enthusiastically, as well as contributes to cooking and cleaning and buying groceries. But, now that we are living together, I’m observing what his behavioural issues are since I could never rely on my parents to tell me the truth about his struggles (given that they are the ones who caused all of this).
He is addicted to screens, watching and talking about silly cgi movies and has almost weekly bouts of passive aggressive behaviour as well as a complaining/victim mindset—all things I want to keep miles away from my kids for obvious reasons.
The added challenge is that because he was physically and verbally abused by my parents as a child (and verbally abused as an adult) and was “forced” or “pushed” through every level of school by my mother, and had everything done for him, he is now a feminized adult (NAWALT)—meaning he can’t get through the day without lots of entertainment and small talk chit chat, takes almost no initiative on his own, gives up easily, and struggles to take responsibility for his choices.
He has made some progress since we’ve been here, taking responsibility for certain important financial choices, and I do continue to see slow gradual progress.
We have begun to build a cabin in our backyard so he can have his own personal space, and he is contributing to the work-albeit with quite a bit of negative self-talk, and our goal as a family is to eventually move him into his own house, either somewhere in our neighbourhood or two separate houses on an acreage.
I feel like we’ve taken care of the easy part which is getting him out of a bad situation and getting his health back on track, but the more challenging aspects of this are getting him to realize that in order for him to continue to heal, his abusers have to suffer, and that if he continues to use their language, he has not escaped anything.
Any help or direction you can provide in navigating this challenging time would be greatly appreciated.