It's not my partner it's my brother

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Donna Andersen 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #47389


    Hi I joined this community a few years ago after I realized my mother is a narcissist. I have also realized that I have had relationships with at least one narcissist, two sociopaths and someone with borderline personality disorder. Needless to say I have spent most of my life being deeply confused about myself and my family and partners. It’s not something I can discuss with anyone except my therapist because they just don’t understand and probably think I’m the crazy one because I see personality disorders everywhere.

    These days I keep contact with my mother to a minimum but she is 94 so I don’t feel able to cut her out of my life altogether. There is no one else as my only sibling, my brother, lives 2000 klm away. I have decided I’m done with romantic attachments so life has settled down and although not exactly happy, at least it’s ok and not the roller coaster ride it used to be.

    At least that’s what I thought! So I haven’t had a lot to do with my brother since we were kids and only see him about once a year at Christmas.
    He is nearly seven years younger than me so there has always been a bit of a gap between us. He has always behaved like he is way younger than his years and had much younger girlfriends etc. He’s always spent beyond his means and had problems with addictions like gambling and smoking. However he has always been a bit of a charmer and his mother’s favourite. When I first learned about my mother’s narcissism, I read that it’s not uncommon for the sons of narcissist mothers to also become narcissists. At the time, I thought that although he is definitely very self centred and frequently insensitive, he was probably not a full blown narc.

    He had never married or even been engaged, although had plenty of girlfriends. Fast forward to about five years ago and he decides to pursue finding a girl from the Philippines. Needless to say, there were a great many reasons why I and my mother thought this was not a good idea, however he went ahead. He married a girl almost 30 years his junior and had a son in rapid succession. At first it seemed as though it was working out pretty well. They seemed to genuinely care for one another and the little boy is a gorgeous little kid. As I’ve never had children, it was also lovely to have a child in my life even though I rarely saw him.
    As I mentioned earlier, my brother has never been good with money, but my parents lent (gave) him the money for a deposit on a house about 20 years ago. Not long before he got married, after he’d already met his future wife, he decided to sell the house and not buy another. I never could understand why he did this, and even though he never looked after it very well, much less improved it, he must have made a substantial profit after repaying the loan. About 10 years ago, he took a redundancy package from his well paid marketing job and has been in and out of work ever since. He has always been the eternal optimist and was sure another good job was just around the corner, but it has never eventuated.

    He is now 61 and the child is three. They have been renting ever since they married and I have been concerned about their prospects of owning again. About two years ago he got about $45000 from Mum and I worried about where it would go. He always has all the toys, like the latest Iphone etc. even though he has mostly been working low paid jobs. His wife had never worked, but completed a course in aged care and has been employed most of this year. About a year ago, we learned the little boy is on the autism spectrum although high functioning, but needs specialist care such as speech therapists. I have been becoming increasingly concerned about how this is all going to play out in the future as I know his wife is very conscious about financial security not only for herself but also for her family back in the Philippines. She is one of 15 children and they are dirt poor farmers.

    About three months ago my brother tells me she is depressed and has ‘anger management’ issues. Very loud alarm bells started going off in my head! I had to drag the information out of him, but I now know he has spent not only all the money from the sale of the house, but just about every penny he got from Mum. He has no prospects of getting a decent job and has been working as an Uber driver for the last year, which he is now sick of. His wife is really struggling with the aged care work which is very demanding both physically and emotionally. And she is distressed about how much time she is missing out on with her child that she will never get back. She doesn’t even have a driver’s licence, much less a car. She also wants more than one child, which is unthinkable in the current situation. She wants to leave him, but has no money and very little support. She can’t go back to her family because she needs my brother’s permission to take the child out of the country. The prospects for her and the little boy look very bleak indeed and yet my brother can’t seem to understand why she is ‘depressed’. Meanwhile he is going about his normal life like going to the football, playing golf seeing his friends and living his facebook life as if everything is fine! He seems to be out of touch with reality completely and is either unable or unwilling to comprehend that this nightmare is completely of his own creation.

    I have now come to the inescapable conclusion that my brother is also a narcissist. No doubt his wife is going through all the anger, confusion and chaos that these disordered partners create. However I really can’t decide what, if anything, I should do to help. She is a deeply private person, so I know she will be struggling to find support from family or friends. Part of me says I shouldn’t interfere, but I’m deeply concerned for the future wellbeing of the child. Part of me wants to tell her to just get out now before she wastes any more of her life on him and help her to do that, but he’s my brother and he’s very attached to his son. Of course it’s hard to decide if that’s genuine love or just the ‘happy family’ image he likes the world to see. I’m worried sick about it!
    Does anyone have any good advice for me? I’m just so torn about what to do!

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Fitzo.
  • #47407

    Donna Andersen

    Fitzo – You are correct, your brother is disordered — likely either a narcissist or antisocial. You are also correct in that it is not going to be good for his wife and child. He is not going to change and he is not going to live up to his responsibilities. In fact, perhaps he married the woman from the Philippines in order to have someone who works to support him.

    Perhaps the one thing you can do, if you have an opportunity, is to help with the wife’s confusion. I’m sure you remember what it’s like to be totally baffled by narcissistic or sociopathic behavior. When you don’t know that these people exist, their actions make absolutely no sense. If you ever have an opportunity to tell her that your brother is disordered, it could be tremendously helpful. Knowing what you are dealing with is essential for making decisions.

    If you have an opportunity to be the woman’s confidante, it could help. But keep it private. If your brother finds out what you are saying, he will isolate the woman from you. And of course, insist that you are insane.

    If the woman’s first language is Spanish, my book “Red Flags of Love Fraud – 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath” is available in Spanish.

    Now in Spanish! Alertas Rojas de Estafa Amorosa

  • #47417


    Hi Donna. Thank you for your reply. It pretty much confirms my own thoughts. About the only thing I doubt is that he actually married her to support him financially as he always thinks a highly paid job is just around the corner. He’s always been the eternal optimist in every situation and for a while he was lucky and a lot of things fell into his lap. After all, narcissists believe they are ‘special’ and it’s only what they deserve. That all changed about ten years ago and it’s been all downhill since then. Despite this I’m sure he still expects his luck to turn around in some ‘magical’ fashion. He just seems to live in a bubble and can’t or won’t face reality.

    A couple of months ago I did speak to his wife and let her know she could ask me for help if she needed to, but I didn’t spell out my fears that he was disordered. Firstly I wasn’t 100% sure and I was worried it might all blow up in my face. In spite of my past experience, it still makes me feel crazy to discover yet another disordered person in my life. Besides, he knew I was going to speak to her so I had to tread carefully. I had to really press hard to even get her phone number out of him, which I had never had despite them being married for four years! He already accused me of ‘labelling’ people when I told him about Mum being a narcissist. He has always been reluctant to accept this. Do you think that is because he knows he is too? I always wonder if personality disordered people know they are disordered. Of course they would never seek a diagnosis or get any help even if they did.

    I will try to speak to the wife again and see what I can do. It’s tricky because they both work shifts, so I never know when to call and catch her alone and able to talk. If he found out I was offering to help her to leave him it could get very ugly.

    Anyway, thanks again for your advice.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Fitzo.
  • #47419

    Donna Andersen

    Many disordered people know that they are “different,” although they may not know a diagnosis. And many, even when they know the diagnosis, are not bothered by it. They often feel superior.

    Will you be seeing your brother’s wife – perhaps during the holidays? I think it would be better to just kind of fall into a conversation. You are right that you must tread carefully. Calling her to talk about the situation could backfire. It might be better to wait until an opportunity arises.

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