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Woman Balks After Parents Ask Her To Take Guardianship Of ‘Mentally-Ill Addict’ Older Brother

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Just because we share blood with other people (i.e, family) that doesn’t mean we’re beholden for life to them.

But a lot of family members seem to feel differently.

Sometimes one has to put one first, even before blood.

Case in point…

Redditor FuqItWhyNot wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for refusing to take guardianship of my brother?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My (30 F[emale]) brother (36 M[ale]) is a mentally ill addict, and has been for his entire adult life.”

“He lives in absolute squalor, and does not have any sort of income.”

“He and his GF both live on her disability check.”

“My brother steals from everyone and cannot be left alone in any of our homes.”

“My parents approached me recently to discuss having my brother formally committed to an institution to be evaluated and helped.”

“I work in the mental health field and explained to them that involuntary commitment is not easy, and if successful, will destroy any relationship you have with the family member.”

“My parents spoke to our doctor who is willing to sign off to be evaluated if someone agrees to be his guardian and trustee.”

“My parents have criminal records so they can’t, and my 2 younger sibs (22 M, 28F) are in University.”

“I have forbidden my parents from bringing this up to them.”

“My parents have asked me to do it.”

“I spoke to my husband (32 M) and we agreed that I can’t do it.”

“I work full time and we’re trying for a baby.”

“This would be too much stress, and liability.”

“My parents blame me and say I’m TA for not supporting my brother when he needs me.”

“And that it won’t be that stressful, as they will help me.”

“They also keep saying it’s ‘temporary’ no matter how many times I’ve explained that these guardianships are actually quite difficult to get out of.”

“AITA for not taking this on?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA and don’t you dare feel guilty for taking control over your life and doing what’s best for you and starting your new family.”

“Most you can do is give him and them resources.” ~ nextdoorsomeone

“Do not do this to yourself.”

“My mom wanted me to open my home to my alcoholic brother for reasons.”

“Husband and I were working full time and had a toddler.”

“I told her no way, and she gave me the I’m so hurt speech, and ‘but he’s your brother!'”

“Years later, I know we chose wisely.”

“My folks had already been his safety net when he failed to graduate high school and had to repeat his senior year in a public school, then flunked out of college, and again when he went bankrupt in Texas.”

“They moved him and his wife/kids back to our home town and bought him a house.”

“And AGAIN when his wife divorced him for cheating.”

“My dad was done at that point.”

“But my brother then knocked up the casino waitress he’d been cheating with.”

“And that child, through no fault of his own, was being raised by a man who was working for rent because he was in default on child support payments for his other three kids and couldn’t take an official job cause the state was after him.”

“There’s more awfulness, but as the only son, he was my mother’s golden child.”

“Though her four daughters provided more love, support, and security, and demanded so much less in affection and financial assistance, than her son ever did.”

“My sisters went to local, inexpensive community college and went straight to work.”

“I got a full ride to a four year, worked all four years, and went to work full time five days after graduation.”

“My husband and I paid for our own wedding, and the last money I asked her for was 215 dollars needed for the full price of a gift for my husband for the wedding.”

“Paid her back a month later.”

“Fortunately, that ingrained preference for male children finally died out in my generation.”

“My oldest sister is still her primary caregiver, P[ower] O[f] A[ttorney], and actual living saint in her 70s.” ~ catsasss

“NTA. Get a state appointed POA… in my opinion.” ~ Darlin_Nixxi

“Don’t do it.”

“My cousin is in the same boat.”

“My mom stupidly let my aunt talk her into guardianship.”

“It is permanent unless voided by a judge.”

“Expensive and mentally exhausting.”

“You become the responsible party for expenses, medical, housing, and safety.”

“If he burns down a halfway house or chases a neighbor kid with an ax (yes my cousin did both) you are the responsible party.”

“It is a nightmare and your folks are either lying or unknowingly trying to get you to commit to a lifetime of struggle with his care.”  ~ stuckinthedryer

OP had some info to share…

“I work in the system.”

“The government’s POA waitlists are insane, and private POAs are the closest things I’ve met to a criminal in my field.”

“To be honest, I don’t trust the government POA is very much either.”

“They often put finances before the well-being of the client in my opinion.”  

Reddit continued…

“NTA and definitely agree. State appointed POAs and guardians being criminals. The movie I Care A Lot is eerily true.”  ~ ObsoleteGraffiti

“NTA – You are not an AH for not wanting to take on such a responsibility with such a huge emotional toll.”

“At the end of the day you prioritise your partner and future family first.”

“It’s unfortunate your parents cannot do this due to their criminal records.”

“But honestly it’s their own problem that they’re now seeing the results of their own actions.” ~ juiceboxfriend95

“NTA. My ex BIL is mentally ill.”

“It has been 40 years of halfway houses, cops, hospitals, involuntary commitments, more halfway houses, rinse, repeat.”

“There’s something every week.”

“I’m so glad that’s not part of my life anymore!”  ~ Evening_Produce1070

“NTA. It sounds like you have a good husband looking out for you.”

“Your brother will just have to find some other option because you and your family are not it.”  ~ SillySammySoap

“NTA. When I read your parents said they will help you, I thought fat chance.”

“I do not believe, for one second, they would help you.”

“Once you were guardian, all the responsibility would fall on you.”

“Your parents won’t help.”

“They would likely be glad to wash their hands of your brother.”

“Involuntary commitment is not some cure all.”

“If your brother doesn’t want help, there is actually nothing you can do, to force him long term, to manage his mental illness.”

“He has to want to get better.”

“I have a sibling who is mentally ill and she doesn’t want to help herself either.”

“There is little we can do.”  ~ KarenMaca

“NTA: and I am so sorry you are going through this.”

“I have a very similar brother.”

“It’s not a good place to be.”

“I can tell you what I did: my brother has an open invitation… once he finishes rehab.”

“And then he can stay with me, if he lives by the rules of the house.”

“My brother has not chosen to take me up on this offer.”

“And probably never will.”

“That’s sad, but not my fault.”

“You have the right to live your own life.”

“Go live it guilt free.” ~ JennJennBunny

“NTA I wouldn’t either.”

“He is not your responsibility.”

“You have a life to live not to spend it in someone who is likely to only bring hardship.”

“Plus you really would need your spouse to be in agreement because of the amount of stress it would bring to the marriage and life.” ~ Noxx_Nyxx

“NTA Your family is in a very tough situation, but it’s not your responsibility to fix things.”

“I don’t know the situation.”

“But if your brother can get help that will keep him from being committed against his will your parents should be aiming for that.”

“It sounds like they have no real idea of what the system is like.”  ~ Strangelingincarnate

“NTA. Don’t do it if you don’t feel comfortable doing it.”

“As some of the other people on here have said.”

“It’s very stressful, puts more responsibility and liability on you if something were to go wrong.”

“And financially it could be detrimental to your own family if you end up having to pay for all his care.”

“Since you will be signing contracts putting yourself on the hook for all of it.”

“If you choose not to do it, there is no reason for you to feel bad/guilty for your choice and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

“Its your life and you gotta start thinking about your own family that you are trying to start.

“Good luck!”  ~ Massive-Moody

Well OP… Reddit is in your corner.

Taking on another person’s life as a responsibility is complicated.

You’re allowed to put you first.

Keep your head up.