Post # 1
I love my future Brother in law. He is a fun, energetic, creative and exciting person to be around. But, right now, I am really struggling with my relationship with him.
Part of my issue is that I am an only child and have never had a sibling relationship. Now that I am marrying my wonderful Fiance, I am gaining a brother and a sister. Future Brother-In-Law and I are the same age and have somewhat similer personalities. Because of this we get along very well and have been good friends. Unfortunately, he has been struggling with depression (which he denies) and is begining to exibit behavoirs that indicate the beginings of alcohal abuse.
Fiance and his siblings grew up in a loving but emotionally disfunctional family. Both thier parents were alcoholics, their mother a depressive alcoholic and their father an silly, absent alcoholic. Fiance took the responsibility of “protector” for his siblings (twin sister and younger brother) and has stayed in that role even after their parents sobered up. Fiance and Future Sister-In-Law have matured well and is now able to communicate and cope with their difficult past. Future Brother-In-Law has been having more difficulty and it has been displaying some troubling behavoirs. The problem is, when Fiance tries to talk to his brother about his behaviors (putting himself in dangerous situations while drinking, expressing feelings of extreme hopelessness and possible suicidel ideation) Future Brother-In-Law claims that we are over reacting and have misjudged him. Because of FI’s protective big-brother feelings, he is easily swayed by FBIL’s claims and is very quick to appologize for his concern.
I am not able to do this. I am very concerned for Future Brother-In-Law and still feel hurt and angry about past experiences with him. While he claims to be doing “better”, he has experienced some level of exstistetial crisis 80% of the times we have seen him. This can vary from crying about feeling sad/numb/hopeless to all out black-out-drunk sobbing and self-distructive behavior (trying to run away from us in a blizzard while extremely intoxicated, talking about wanting to step in front of a train). Every time this happens, we get his calm enough and sober enough where we can safely put him to bed, and he will deny his feelings the next morning, claiming that I/we are “overreacting”. I am a therapist, so I recognize these episodes as possible sympoms of a much bigger issue, but I am not sure how to handle this in my personal life. Not only is he my friend, he is going to be my brother. I cannot force him to get help, but I am not sure how to approach this situation given our relationship and the complexity of the problem.
Anyone else out there marrying into an alcoholic family? In-law issues? Denial? How are you dealing? What can I do?
Post # 3
My older sister has struggled with alcohol and abuse and mental health issues for about 10 years. The biggest thing I have learned along the way is that you can’t make someone get help if they truely aren’t committed to it. Unfortunately this is a life long condition with many ups and downs. The best thing you can do for your Future Brother-In-Law is to be there for him when he needs support and to let him know that you both believe he has potental to do good. Everyone talks about “hitting rock bottom”, but to be honest people with these conditions can get there over and over again and have to make the decision to work to get better. At those times justmake sure that he knows how much you all love hime and would do anything to help him.
Post # 4
mrskesslertobe, thank you, that helps. I think a large part of this stuggle is my own frustration with the situation and my ability to see it from an outsider’s perspective. I tell him how much I love and care for him every time we see him, but when I see what his actions do to Fiance, myself and our friends, I feel angry and afraid for him. I suppose I need to accept the situation for what it is, out of my control, and move on as a supportive figure for him. I just don’t want to see him self-distruct.
Post # 5
It is really hard. for many years I was the only one in my family that would admitt or address the fact that my sister really had a problem. I was told by my dad that I was overreacting and that she was just being young. Finally after her 4th DUI and being in the hospital related to her mental health issues did anyone else talk to her about this. there were times that she would call inthe middle of the night and couldn’t even understand her and then noone would hear from her for weeks, not knowing if she was even alive.
I learned that me telling her she needed help andtrying to get her help when she wasn’t ready didn’t help her. She agreed to go to AA and you know what, she made friends that she would go and drink with. What did help though was giving her someone to talk to when she needed it and letting her know that there are going to be times when she is going to makea mistake, but that we will still love her.
Also talk with your Fiance and others affected by this and encourage them to get help too. It is really hard on the families surrounded by this.
Post # 6
Fiance has been seeing a therapist for 1.5 years and it has really helped him sort out his anxiety and family issues. I am planning on begining my own therapy in the coming months as well. The only thing I can control is my own reaction to the situation. I think the family is begining to aknowledge the situation, but there is still a lot of secrecy and denial around Future Brother-In-Law and the family history in general. Thank you for helping put it in perspective. It’s not about me, its about him, them, and I need to be responsible for my own words and actions.
Post # 7
He sounds like he’s been in crisis mode already and chances are it is likely to happen again unfortunately. I would suggest the next time he is in danger to himself to have him hospitalized, maybe that will be the wake up call that this is not healthy. Outside of that there’s not much you can do unless he’s willing to change or wants help or acknoweldges that he has a problem. But, you can talk to you Fiance about possibly bringing up to his family the seriousness of the situation and that ignoring it can be dangerous.
Post # 8
Al anon is a great place for family members of alcoholics.
Post # 9
My Future Mother-In-Law is an alcoholic and a recovering drug addict with some serious mental health issues. I really dont have that much contact with her, though. Fiance does not have much of a relationship with her and since he lives out of state now, I don’t see any of his family.
Post # 10
One thing I’ve learned about alcoholics is that they often black out and don’t remember the events that cause their friends and family to worry…
Is there any video of him acting out under the influence?