Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I think my brother needs more help than he’s getting. He’s mid-40s

and lives with our mother. He’s gay but that’s not the problem. He

works in an elder care home; it’s a job, not a career, but it does

provide a steady income and benefits. Our mother provides room,

food, utilities, everything that comes with home. All David has to pay

for is his car and eating out (which he does a lot of) and to pay down

his debts, from college (which he finished late) and from a wild

lifestyle (which he claims is over, but the debt remains). Today he

showed up at my door ranting about our mother, and about how he

can’t take it anymore or move on with his life while he’s “stuck with

her.” Really what he wants is a vacation to Key West and some time to

blow off steam but doesn’t have money to pay for it (God only knows

why). I think he was off his meds, starting which helped him get

straightened out five years ago. I was worried that he might go crazy

around my mother, who has a bad heart. He’s in counseling but I don’t

think it’s working.



Dear Sis:

I assume you talked him down from the immediate crisis. Start by

talking to him again, when he’s not/less agitated. Have a list of issues

you want to discuss and work with him to set goals for each: paying

down his debt, saving for vacation, perhaps getting a new job, but also

planning how to move out and become an adult. (I’m assuming your

mother doesn’t need him in the home.) Being in a child-like state for

too long will inevitably lead to built-up rage. But what you’re

describing sounds over the line. Ask your mother if she feels safe and

if not, help get him out of her house sooner.


Ask if you can go to a counseling session with him, so there’s someone

else hearing what you want to say to him. If he says no, email or call

the counselor and express your concerns in detail. While s/he might

not agree to meet you on your own, my guess is that what you say will

get heard and will influence the treatment plan. No matter what, keep

in touch with your brother and take his emotional temperature