Her brother is a bum | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022



This concerns our only brother, who is already 50 years old and still a problem in our family. I am the eldest of five siblings, and both our parents have passed on.


Our brother is a bum and a liar. He has a wife and twin sons that he is separated from because he couldn’t support and take care of them. He had a job once as a government employee, but he accumulated too many absences and got the boot.


After that, he just went from one relative to another, relying on dole outs from them. He has become a full-blown parasite since our mother’s death four years ago. He now depends on us, his siblings, for his board and lodging.


He says he works in a church congregation in the city but has no salary. Upon investigation, we learned that he has been living in that church for almost a year now for free! We wondered, how could he ask us for money for his supposed expenses? Clearly, he is lying and cheating us.


We’re all barely able to get on financially. With various expenses for our own families, we hardly have enough to support him.


I’ve talked to him many times on making himself productive. All he can say is how we four girls have been lucky to have good fortunes. He fails to see that we’ve worked hard to be where we are and to have what we have. How do we make him change?




Hopeless is, sadly, the word to describe a hopeless brother. At 50 and counting, he doesn’t seem to be courting optimism to his side.


Your brother gives the impression of having had parents who went bananas over his birth, thinking they had gone to heaven after being around four girls. They’ve spoiled rotten this heir growing up, a speculation possibly, but it seems to ring true.


How else could he have gotten on this road to perdition? Becoming this irresponsible, devil-may-care parasite, nonchalant enough to throw away a job that was the lifeline for his family with thoughtless absences? Assuming it was boring work for him, and through a fault all his own, he deemed it unnecessary to get much training or hone other qualifications that would have prepared him for something more interesting.


He also might have been hoping that his siblings would be waiting in the wings to come to the rescue. Maybe it didn’t matter at the start. But when those sisters started having families themselves, money didn’t exactly come out of their ears—thus, this heavy crunch on all sides.


Despite your disgust at his antics, he is flesh and blood. If you can help others, if you feel pity for strays, surely you can make him your family’s main “charity”? Give him simply what you all can spare—nothing more. No extras. Nothing additional for cigarettes, booze or women. With a church roof over his head and regardless of the adjectives you call him, extend the smallest goodness left in your heart, and provide the barest of necessities he truly needs.


If he hasn’t done much the last 50 years, the future looks quite dim from here. His lying and cheating are the tools he knows and needs to survive. While he sees how comfortable you all are, he sees only his past failures. It’s not easy to be your brother’s keeper. But for your late parents’ sake, don’t quit on him—for them.


He has issues possibly no one can fathom and which no amount of talking can resolve.


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