Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Coping with the loss of a loved one.
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Chris210
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Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:12 am

It's been several months since my younger brother died and I'm still not really sure how I'm feeling. It wasn't sudden or unexpected. My brother was almost 40 years old and had been an alcoholic and drug addict since his early 20's. We had fallen out years ago over something that seemed important at the time but was really a culmination of years of struggle and strife. I completely disagreed with almost every aspect of his lifestyle. If we had been on speaking terms, it would've mostly been arguments.

I had to write his obituary and I couldn't think of a single good thing to say. To remember something good about my brother, I'd have to go back to when we were little kids. Here is a guy who had no respect for life - his own or others. No respect for those who loved him. He stole and lied over and over again and hurt those closest too him. I can't help but feel like he hurt those closest to him because they were the easiest targets. He hadn't held a job . . . ever - but he died with several thousand dollars worth of drugs in his possession that were bought with money that came from stealing family heirlooms. That was the tip of the iceberg, too.

He had liver disease but he kept drinking. He lied about it. Hid it. Our Dad would ask me to play Private Investigator and search his room but I refused. I figured if he was going to lie about it then he was good enough a liar to get away with it. He even started to use crystal meth in his last months. He died with a meth pipe in his hand and a glass tube of heroin . .a big one . .near his bed. The coroner said he only had meth in his system.

In his last months he was completely paranoid and delusional from liver disease. He took apart our Dad's computer and smashed the hard drive. He tore wires up from under the house. He talked constantly of people watching and listening. This I mostly heard because our father told me . .not because I was in communication with my brother. Our father bought, whole-heartedly, into the the enabler model. He gave my brother a place to stay, begged him to get into rehab, lined up jobs for him, etc. I took the opposite approach and had nothing to do with him and, after years of telling our Dad that his behavior was more harmful than helpful, sort of disconnected from them both.

I got married, had kids . .basically went on with life but my Dad and my brother were essentially absent from it all. My brother by my choice, my father by his refusal to separate from my brother. I would invite my Dad to come and see his grandkids and he would tell me he was afraid to leave my (adult) brother alone. Afraid he would steal from him or go on another bender. In fact, I'm almost positive that my brother died as a result of a bender that started when I actually did convince our Dad to come visit us and leave my brother at home. I bought tickets for them both but my brother starting coming up with various excuses not to come so I convinced our Dad to come without him.

Now my brother's dead and I still don't know how I feel about it. Anger is a given. Relief, sadness, depression, hopelessness . . .are all other feelings that I'm dealing with.

So all this has left me feeling "bruised". I've never been one to confront feelings head-on. I'd prefer just not to have them, lol. That's not reality, of course . .and I don't know how I feel about my brother's death. I definitely feel angry. I'm angry at him still for being such a jackass. I'm angry at our father for being such a text-book enabler. I'm not sure if I feel sad or relieved or what else except angry. I do feel like I'm doing an excellent job of not taking my anger out on my family but they do notice something is off with me . .that I'm quicker to anger . .I don't act angry towards them but I'm quicker to just go off by myself, etc.

Going off by myself and moping is unacceptable - I've got 2 very young kids and a wife and they need me to be there for them. What can I do to let go of my anger?

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by grateful » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:06 pm

Hello. Welcome to the Forum. I am so sorry for the many losses you have endured and the pain that has accompanied them. My heart goes out to all of you as I've been in each of your shoes.

As the mother of a son with this disease, as the sister of sibs' with it, a now deceased x husband, and a father that I loved dearly but also experienced as enabling my sibs and my son until he didn't anymore, I have thought the same things you are thinking and I have felt the same things you are feeling. Unlike you, my father is deceased. My son and sibs are living. I know that can change in an instant, so I try to cherish the times I can be with them and I do what I need to do to keep my distance to protect myself and the rest of my family when the disease is out of control.

What has helped me work through a lot of my feelings after losing the relationships I really wanted to have and had actually enjoyed with my son and my sibs has been meetings, having a sponsor, working the steps and finding a home group where I know myself to fit. It has also been helpful to me to attend a grief support group (many are free and one was very helpful to me when I experienced a sudden death in my family.)

This disease is a killer. Not only of the people we love who have it but it can kill us, too, especially without the support of others who have been through this or are going through this. I am glad you are here. I hope you will continue to come back and find a meeting in your area, too.
Seek beauty

Chris210
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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:53 am

Thanks, Grateful . .I really appreciate it. There's certainly an element of unfairness to it all. Like . .why should I have to go to meetings? I did everything possible to protect myself and my family from this. I am a researcher . .I did what you're "supposed to do". But I realize that what you're "supposed to do" is realize that you can't change another person's behavior - you can only choose how much you let it harm you. My Dad is an old man - he will never change and nothing can be accomplished by confronting him. There's not even a reason for him to change, anymore - the problem is gone.

I just wish it could've had a different ending. I wish for the "Hollywood" type ending - where my brother realized how far he'd gone astray before it was too late. Where my father could've realized how screwed up he became in all of this. He is over 70 years old and he's been living with an addict for 20 years. They got into physical fights - even threatened to kill each other. It never made sense to me why my Dad didn't just kick him out or my brother just decide to leave. I'm very hierarchical in my thinking - and somewhere near the very top of my pyramid is not getting into physical confrontations with people I live with.

It's probably something I'll never fully understand. I don't know if I'm the type to go to meetings . . . but I do know that I will not let anger get the best of me. I'll see a psychiatrist if I have to.

Mostly I've just been trying to figure out a way to safely express myself. I think just getting it out in some way will help. Just talking about it with people who might have been through something similar.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by River Rock » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:32 am

For me talking it out helped to cleanse me
And not build on the bitterness. Working
My own program of recovery ,meetings, sponsor
Steps changed my life. We can be bitter, or we can
Be better. Bitter seems a waste of time , now that
He is gone. I always say I won't let addiction
Take two of us down. Your father did all that
Stuff , enabling etc and the outcome was the same.
You can see from this that is not the answer, look
How much he has lost, which is exactly what you
Will be doing if you stay bitter. It helped me to get
Acceptance that it is a disease, and while we don't
Need to condone it, it helped me to see that it
Is how they choose to manage that disease, makes
The outcome what it is or isn't. I didn't choose that
Lifestyle, so I choose to move on with my life. The
Things your brother did , while selfish as they
Seem, are quite the part of an addict. They are
Desperate. Hope you keep coming for you and
Your family. He's gone, serves no purpose to
Hold on to anger directed at a sick dead man .
Start a new journey of recovery for you and
Your family. Forgive your brother, not saying
That it's OK what he did, but cleansing you
To move forward. I assure you, he suffered his
Own misery.
River Rock

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by MarieW » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:04 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. Watching a loved one kill themselves slowly with drugs and alcohol is a special kind of hell. I know there is a chance I will lose my son to this disease, as I have already lost a 25 year old nephew.

What is important to know is that there was nothing you could have done. Nothing I do or don't do seems to have any effect on whether my son uses. Like you said, any effort to reason with him would just lead to arguments and bad feelings.

What working this program has done for me is to teach me to accept my son as he is. My son also stole jewelry and heirlooms from me. I do not accept that behavior, but I do accept him. It's hard to explain the difference, but it help me let go of the anger. He has a terrible disease. He did not ask to be an addict. I know he hates it. I love my son, I have forgiven him. That does not mean that I trust him or that I will ever allow him to be in a position to steal from me again.

I started going to meetings and working a program to find out how to help my son. Then I went to learn how to live with an addicted love one. Now I go to learn how to live, period.

Keep coming back.
The only wrong way to work this program is to not work it.

Chris210
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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:17 am

It's been a few days since I've been back - it takes something out of me to even come here. I appreciate the advice. I do feel better, actually, just putting my feelings down on this site. I can't talk about it with my Dad, for obvious reasons. I can't talk about it with my wife since I've shielded her from most of this. I just have to kind of pretend it didn't happen - which, on a certain level, is fine with me. But easier said than done.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Melissa » Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:23 pm

Dear Chris,

I am very sorry for the loss of your brother. My family knows your heartbreak.
I lost my son 1/29/16 to a drug overdose.

While I could see his downward spiral, there was nothing I or anyone could do to stop the freight train.

What I have found is comfort in a local grief group. I hope you will find help for yourself as you work your way through the grieving process.

(((hugs))) I understand. You have my deepest sympathy.
Melissa
___________________________
On the path to discover the peace of God, which transends all understanding.

Chris210
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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Wed May 04, 2016 2:50 am

I've been feeling much better since I posted this. Somehow, just getting it out made me feel better. I can't really go into detail about my feelings with anybody I actually know. I just have one more thing to deal with - the scattering of my brother's ashes. I still can't feel like I give crap. I just owe it to him because he's my brother. My Dad, though, is trying to make it this big thing. I can't tell him that I really don't give a crap. That I haven't had a positive thought about my brother in over 10 years. That the last thing I want to do is travel to this place and scatter these ashes but I'll do it . .just as quickly as possible.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by april79us » Wed May 04, 2016 5:39 pm

Hi Chris, I am brand new here, but wow your story resonates with me. I too have a younger brother addict and super enabler parent. I also relate to the anger so much!! I want to punch my brother in the face constantly. I am sorry you lost your brother and didn't have a chance to maybe see him heal and reconnect. I think talking about most problems helps to relieve a lot of the stress. Maybe when you scatter the ashes you can try and remember a time that wasn't awful with your brother.

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Enraged at Addict, Different Kind of Anger?

Post by sabinesavoy » Thu May 05, 2016 5:08 pm

Hi,
I hope this anger is appropriate to vent, as I am furious with my addict for ruining our lives. This is my second Nar Anon meeting. I cannot find one near me tonight or I would be on the way.

It is so hard for me to accept that addiction is a "disease" when my addict somehow develops laser like clarity with matters involving MONEY or somehow he can hustle money.

Everything else is lost in a drug haze, but he becomes strangely focused and uber competent when he can benefit, be it food, money, or his "junk" collection.

It is hard to accept this is not a character defect. He LOVES to get high. He shows NO REMORSE, other than crocodile tears, when faced with the catastrophic chaos, misery and heartbreak he has caused.

I don't know how to process this person...other than a conclusion he is just bad. I know I will probably receive an internet beat down, but that is where I am. I am at a loss at his actions. And I am repulsed by his pathological lying, hustling and jaw dropping selfishness. Disease or just plain ole bad seed.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by sabinesavoy » Thu May 05, 2016 6:10 pm

And I have been studying my literature and that I have no control over this....path he has taken. That I did not cause it and cannot cure it.

However, I don't believe he can remain in my life....IN ANY FORM...and me keep my sanity.

I really hope someone comes on and can chat. He leaves me feeling like there is lead in my bones, and shards of glass in my heart.

Contact with my addict results in almost non functioning....bed rest, staring at the ceiling, dazed. Then researching on the Internet...while he is out getting high, seemingly (by actions) not worried about my well being at all. He is NOT worried about my well being. He is only worried about being high and staying in frenetic contact with the drug culture...the "friends" who would pick his pockets as he lay dying. (He had a heart attack and the "friends" disappeared with his drugs and roll of cash, and never called 911. The hotel maids found him. This did not deter him.)

It is all so pathetic, and I feel pathetic for expending so much energy on someone who expends so very little on me.

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Your Anger is Completely Validated and Understood.

Post by sabinesavoy » Thu May 05, 2016 6:31 pm

I am new to this forum, but I completely understand.
He was tearing apart things because of the meth. That is what they do when they are tweaking. I have hundreds of hours of direct observation of this idiotic and paranoid behavior. Meth is a neurotoxin. Once they really start rolling on it, you cannot reason with them in any manner.

I think part of what is hard about this wonderful program, and I mean that sincerely, is that calling it a disease lets the addict off the hook for grotesque behavior. Your father had to miss out on your life, and your children, because your brother wanted to get high...to the exclusion of all other obligations, responsibilities or people's lives.

This will probably get me an internet beat down, or banned from the forum, but I believe it is a way to simply cope (terming it as a disease, i.e. they have no control) in order to swallow the horrifying realization that people we love have rotten character, and have chosen to ruin their lives, and our lives, and they don't care about the consequences.

I think the language and the model helps us self soothe and clings to some threads of sanity at the unfairness of it all. But at the end of the day, the addict destroys our lives so they can get high. They can stop. But they choose not to do so. Because they like being high.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Sun May 08, 2016 4:21 am

I was thinking tonight of when the last really positive memory of my brother is - it's almost 20 years ago when we went on a camping trip together. That's part of what kills me . .it didn't happen fast. He had lots of warnings and chances. I don't know that he could have stopped - but there were a lot of things that were within his power that I disagree with. Over the course of his addiction, he "preyed" on many people - friends, strangers, etc. He didn't have to do it to our Dad. That was a choice. I use the word "preyed" but he wasn't violent or anything. He betrayed trust, though, at every opportunity.

I always assumed people on a nar-anon forum would be the ones that were more aware and involved. I was neither. I knew it was bad news and I distanced myself. There were a handful of events I could relay... I always hoped he would recover somehow. I knew he was a liar but he said he was doing good and sounded ok on the phone the rare times I would talk to him. I don't want to go into details but, shortly after his death, I became aware how disillusioned I had been.

The thing is, I know that he was actually not a *bad guy*. He was not an evil person. He was a weak person and, ultimately, a sick person. My Dad is probably just as sick . .and just as likely to never recover.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by Chris210 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:24 am

I have been doing a good job of just disregarding everything - but tonight I had to talk to somebody I hadn't talked to since before my brother died and I had to tell them about it. I found myself being pretty matter of fact about it. Their first question was "was it his liver"? They knew about his alcoholism. And I said "Yes. He was doing heroin and meth at the time but if his liver was healthy, he wouldn't have died".

Very soon I will leave on the trip to go scatter his ashes. It's taken a while just because it's far and it's hard to get enough time off work and away from family, etc. My Dad is, like I said before, making this whole big thing of it. He's visiting family and old friends. He'll be there for 2+ weeks, etc. I'm taking the selfish/unhealthy approach. I'll drive there (2 days) do the thing and drive back. To me, it's not a vacation. I really don't have any happy memories of this place and I don't care to stay any longer than I have to.

I think I'll get some closure from scattering the ashes - but really it's just forgetting about it. There's nothing to say, do or think and, after this, there won't be any lingering obligations around it. Respect for the dead is a phrase I've been clinging to - there's just nothing to say. It is what it is. Can't say anything good - refuse to say anything bad. In real life, that is - thank God for this forum and the ability to occasionally shoot my mouth off about it - or else I would probably go insane.

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Re: Still feeling angry over loss of younger brother

Post by grateful » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:47 pm

I'm listening, Chris, and sending you understanding, support and a cyber hug.

I, too, am an older sister with sibs who have this disease that is destructively progressive. I, too, have had trouble feeling my feelings at times in relationship to the many losses that we've all endured because of this compulsive and nasty disease. I did blame myself for some of it because I was their older sister and thought that maybe I had done something to cause their suffering but I learned in the program that I didn't cause it, couldn't cure it and couldn't control it no matter how much I loved them and wanted to help them. My parents did the best they could, too, to ride the waves of something over which they, too, were powerless no matter how much they loved them all. Unfortunately, all of us were affected by a disease that none of us asked for or did to ourselves. It just was and is what it was and what it is.

I wish you the best that life has to offer you and much peace as you continue to go through this challenging and painful time in your life. Keep coming back.
Seek beauty

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