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My Brother,

From downstairs I could hear them arguing again. My mother and my brother argue all the time for many reasons but the main cause is because my brother has Aspergers. So anyway, I fould this website as a result of a google search 'how to cope with an aspergers sibling'. That was about 10 minutes ago. I don't know why I feel compelled to write my story, but here it goes...

My brother; the boy who read me stories when I couldn't sleep, the boy who taught me how to do my first flip on our trampoline, and the boy who drives my family apart. He is 18 years old, and he has regressed to an almost childlike state these days. As you can imagine, this brings a huge amount of stress on my parents which then causes arguments between them two which then causes stress for me. I really try not to make it about me, I don't want it to be about me, not that I could tell them how this affects me anyway. I'm not great at the whole 'lets talk about feelings' stuff and neither are they. They're pretty distant as parents go.

My brother left school at around 14 (I can't remember) without any qualifications because he couldn't cope with the constant bullying he suffered from everyday, just because he wasn't like everyone else. I feel awful because sometimes, I'd wish he'd just be 'normal' at school as I had to take some of his torment also. At that time, we didn't know he had aspergers - I just thought he 'had issues'. So now he stays at home all day, everyday. He never leaves he house and I really mean never, I think he's left the house about 3 times in the past few years. Yes years. But even more shocking is the fact that he doesn't leaev his bedroom, except to use the bathroom or to get a snack (he won't make himself meals) from the kitchen. All my brother cares about is playing computer games. We've tried to limit his use, but this usually leads to shouting and physical violence (yes, he has attacked my mother and myslef on many occasions. I have stayed awake many countless nights in fear that he would go too far. If only you had seen the pure anger in his eyes.)
He doesn't know how to communicate with anyone properly which obviously leads to misunderstandings and more shouting.
 
Being totally reliant on other people to do everything for him, is not helping him - even I know that, but my mum just gives into him saying 'he doesn't mean to be like this' I know it's not his fault, I understand that but I just, I just can't be in this environment. I have my own things going on too.

The pressue is too much. My mother and I were watching something on the Tv (whatever it was it slips my mind) and she turned to me and asked me to look after my brother when she's gone. She was crying. I didn't know what to say... I feel awul thinking that I don't want to do that, but I want a life too.
I know that that's all in the future, but I'm only 16, I don't want my future to be decided for me already.

I apologise for how badly this is written.
I'm no expert on this, far from it. I don't know what to do and I certainly don't know how to cope with him. My family have been torn apart. My parents are on the brink of seperation and my brother doesn't even know he has aspergers.

FadedMarks FadedMarks 16-17, F 4 Responses May 8, 2011

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I feel like I wrote this story myself, I have EXACTLY the same situation as you

It's comforting to know you're not alone, ♥.
I wish I could offer you some help, but I myself do not have the solutions. However, I can offer my support.

well I wouldnt know what to say but take from someone who is the sibling not with aspergers but my mother has asked my mother to do the same for me when her and my dad are gone I have epilepsy and autism and I feel guilty that my mother would ask her to do something like that because I do want my sister to have a life and she succeded with that and she move out when she was 18 so Im happy for her but the bullying it really didnt bother me more like when they were laughing at me I would just keep my eyebrows up like if I was sad but smiled I knew what they said were lies and since my mother knew their moms who would sit with my mom and talk then I would easdrop on their conversation and get info on those kids and when they bullied me I hurt them with the most painful thing of all the truth especialy in front of their friends yeah my dad found out eventually and took me out of school never sent me back of my mother said that she knew I wasnt a cold hearted teen that what drove into saying those things my autism she said no matter that if I dont care what others think of me theres still the autism which allows me to feel what other people are thinking usually its the energy like if I felt someone was judging me on how they look at me sends an energy vibe and a bad if its judgement then the energy would feel dark it might sound strange but the autism isnt the only thing I had to learn to tollerate its also the epilepsy the seizures I have to tollerat those as well.But my sister Im happy she's living her life and she was able to get away so if you ever need anything or to talk to someone Im here.<br />
<br />
Larry

Hey Larry,
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to reply but I still really appreciate you sharing your story with me. I can say that reading what you have had to say has given me an insight into what my brother may be feeling and I thank you for that. From the experiences you've shared, I admire your courage and strength and I'm thankful that you offer your support.
I know that what I've said about not wanting my brother to hold me back from the life I lead in the future is somewhat selfish, and I'm hoping he will be as understanding as you.
Kate.

Thanks for replying, it feels like someone is actually listening.<br />
- I can really relate to all of this, especially the thing about your how your sister is in a conversation. My brother is just like that when I retell conversations we've had to someone else. Also just recently I have been studying for exams and I find getting my parents to ask me questions and I'll answer out loud or discuss the answers really helps however, my brother always gets involved and often argues with whats in the textbook! It's very stressful as you could imagine.<br />
I really wish I could help you answer the questions you need answering but I guess Im just as confused by it all.<br />
Kate,

Hello FadedMarks <br />
<br />
Thank you for your post. It expressed many of the same emotions I feel in regards to my sister. She is my little sister. I grew up just knowing her as different. We never had the benefit of a diagnosis. With no diagnosis or way to understand my sister’s behaviour my parents were strict with her. If they were not strict life was a mess and she could be out of control. With rules there was some structure to our life. I understand their choices; they had another child’s wellbeing to consider. I am not sure if it would have been better to know or not know. Not knowing meant my parents expected my sister to behave as everyone else did. She was told to make eye contact, she was told she had to get up and do chores, She was told that she had to communicate and be polite. It was not easy and she rebelled all the time, but it was simply the expectations. Today she has a job and she manages. The point is, if we had been given a diagnosis maybe they would have been less strict and maybe that would have been worse for her. I am not sure. I really do not know the answer to this question, but considering one doctor suggested institutionalization at age 5 for aggression. My parents already had time out and restricting favourite toys when there was an outburst figured out and could not imagine putting her in an institution and they chose to keep her at home. <br />
<br />
Our struggles now are with how to communicate effectively. My sister will often only comment in a conversation to criticize and argue about a point of fact. If I ever summarize her position in a discussion, rather than quote her directly this will cause her to go into a rage, saying “I did not say that”. I explain that I am not quoting her but summarizing the discussion of the last 10 minutes, but she is anxious about that. She will also recall things very differently to the rest of us and argue about her recollection. <br />
<br />
Only knowing that she has AS for a short time means we have lots to learn. We are not experts. Sadly my dad is dead, and my sister often listened to him more than anyone and my mom is burned out from the constant conflicts. The conflicts are minor, but constant. My mom one day was washing two plates and two mugs in the sink, my sister asked, why are you not using your dishwasher? To which my mom said, with only me it takes days to collect enough dishes to fill the dishwasher and it’s too costly to run the dishwasher for only a few things. My mom said she will use the dishwasher if she has a family dinner, but not just for herself. To which my sister stated.. That’s stupid and makes no sense!!! Of course my mom does not enjoy being told she is stupid and wrong. These are the sorts of ongoing tensions that are constantly created. How do we navigate through this without my mom, who is in her 60’s feeling attacked? How can my sister learn better approaches? Do we need to just accept and allow her to act this way, or avoid being with her? <br />
<br />
Zenny