Today Is My Brother's Birthday

You remember my brother, right? I'm still processing the whole situation, and his birthday is forcing me to think about him today.

I'm not a psychologist, but it seems my family is going through the Stages of Grief as we come to terms (or not) with the fact he isn't the same person he once was. Here are the 5 stages:

1.Denial and Isolation. At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
2. Anger. The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
3. Bargaining. Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
4. Depression. The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
5. Acceptance. This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

I would love to say I have reached stage 5, but realistically, I am stuck on 4. My parents are stuck on stage 1, and my sisters are stuck at stage 3 with forays into stage 4.

I'm not more spiritually aware than my other family members; I've just been burned much more directly by my brother than they were.

When I got divorced in 1996, I borrowed $3,000 from my brother. He said he had taken the money from a home equity account on his condo, so I naturally agreed to pay the interest on the money, as well. I set up a $200 monthly payment with him, which I dutifully paid to him at the beginning of each month.

For three years. I foolishly didn't figure out when the payments should stop myself; I trusted my brother. I didn't think about it until my brother's marriage to Cuntzilla, at which point my parents paid off all of my brother's debts for him and informed me that the "$1,000 remaining balance I owed to my brother would now be owed to them, but I didn't have to pay every month, just whenever I could."

That puzzled me. How could I still owe $1,000 dollars on a $3,000 loan when I'd already paid $3,600? I approached my parents with this information. They told me to consider my debt paid, but they never confronted him about it. That was the first of many times they bailed him out with significant amounts of money.

No one has ever called him to explain himself. Not when he lied and said he leant me $10,000. Not when he makes almost as much as Dilf, yet is constantly in huge debt while our family lives comfortably within our means. Not when he is bailed out year after year after year and suspiciously gets a new job year after year after year. Mysteriously, each and every one of these employers "rips him off" even though each and every new beginning offers such promise.

Nobody wants to know the truth, because deep down they know the truth will hurt and will likely require some action on their parts -- whether that action is getting involved in helping him solve whatever problem he has, cutting him loose so as not to enable him to remain sick any longer, or facing the fact he's not the morally upright person we all thought he was.

I don't know the truth, but I know it can't be pretty. Gambling? Fraud? I doubt it's drugs, just from his lack of physical symptoms. Help me out here, people who have handled a situation like this before -- do I need to know the real truth before I reach Stage 5? Or will I be able to let it go without knowing for sure? Because I don't like Stage 4.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

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