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enmeshed brothers
November 25, 2001
7:34 pm
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turnip62us
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He there,
Anyone dealing with a husband who is completely enmeshed with his own brother? My husband, who I'll call J., and I have been to hell and back, recovering from an extremely unhealthy marriage. I was the compliant one; when he said jump, I asked, "How far?" He controlled; I submitted. After many years, we've developed a marriage in which we are equals; I'm not claiming that we never have a set-back, but it's generally quite good.
Here's the clincher: He is still completely, 100% in charge of his brother's life. His brother, G., is 29 years old. G. has no life outside of J. He's never even had a girlfriend, and has always worked for my husband. J. treats him like an idiot, like a child, like a moron, and G. complies. He has no identity of his own. He's not the least bit handicapped, mentally, but sees himself as completely incompetent. He knows he's stuck in adolescence, and being ruled by his 40-year-old brother. He does NOTHING without J's approval, and J. knows where he is at every moment. If G. happens to go to Walmart without first telling J, and J calls and finds he's not home, he worries and frets and hunts him down till he finds him. It's a bizarre, parent/child relationship, and G. is ready to get help. Does anyone know of a book that addresses this? Most address couples. And many speak to those who are verbally coerced, and J. doesn't need to coerce, because G. obeys, immediately, and every time. Any suggestions?

November 25, 2001
7:50 pm
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SuzyQ
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The 11 year difference does suggest more of a parent/child relationship than a brotherly one. What's with the abusiveness? How did you get through this with your husband? What is/was your father-in-law like? Is your husband the oldest child? Were there others in between? Sorry I'm asking so many questions. I can't think of any books off-hand that directly address this. I don't know if codependency is an issue or not. Was your husband expected to be parental to his brother all his life and were his parents unavailable? It sounds to me like your husband's past issues have surfaced through adulthood. Fortunately, the 2 of you got through them. Sounds like the 29 y.o. needs to establish some independence and some time away from big bro.
Good Luck!

November 25, 2001
8:05 pm
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turnip62us
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SuzyQ,
I agree that 11 years is a pretty big difference, but I'm sure you agree that one adult should never, ever try to parent another adult. When it comes to their father, it sounds like he was an alcohol abuser especially when my husband was young. J's the oldest, in a sense. What I mean is that there was a daughter first, that the mom gave up for adoption. Nine years later, J. was born. Then a middle brother, who still lives with the dad and has never had a relationship, kept his own checkbook, etc, even though he's around 35. Then came G., the baby of the family, who was born with a bad heart. Nearly died a couple times. He was protected and coddled by the whole family, and when the mom died, she told my husband, "You take care of G.!!" So he does.
It would be difficult to explain how J. and I got through it all, without writing pages and pages, though I would be willing too, if it would help someone else. I have a strong faith in God and prayer, and I didn't give up. I fell into the old patterns many times, but generally, I never gave up till I learned to be a complete person. It's wonderful that J and I enjoy each other now, but as I'm sure you understand, it's awful seeing him continue to dictate someone else. Thanks for your reply!

November 25, 2001
9:38 pm
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deshong
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Turnip,

Hi, One really awesome book that does address families and emeshment is called Boundaries by John Townsend and Henry Cloud. They are excellent psychologists. There are even workbooks and they have a Bondaries in Marriage and Boundaries for children book and workbook. I highly recommend that he get the workbook also because the questions are great. I have worked through them myself. They also hold Boundaries seminars accross the country. They should have a website some where. They are also Christians and have a live call in talk show called Newlife Ministries live. I believe the website is http://www.newlife.com or .org.

November 26, 2001
12:21 pm
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Molly
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You can do all the research that you want, but I doubt that you'll have much success in effecting the relationship. Its gone on for way to long, and your just going to look like a nagging wife. This is something that started way before you came into the picture, and until they have tired of the dynamics they won't do a darn thing to change it.

November 26, 2001
9:24 pm
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turnip62us
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Thanks everyone.....Molly, I see what you're saying, but here's the reason I feel I should do something, even if I only hand him a book and never say another word. Someone did it for me when I was 29. I remember I was soooo frustrated with my marriage, but couldn't put my finger on what exactly was wrong with it. Then one day someone gave me a book about controlling people. I remember thinking, "Oh my God, this is my life." I was practically in a state of shock, and knew right then that my life would never be the same. It was like that book gave me permission to fight for myself, cause it identified the problem. I guess I want to give G. what someone else once gave me-- the info. I needed. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm going to get that "Boundaries" book...I've heard lots of good things about it but had forgotten about it!

November 27, 2001
2:16 pm
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Molly
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I agree with the blood thicker than water, however tainted it is. When I want Sybil to read a book I just leave it in the bathroom. Right on the counter.

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