Annie's Mailbox: Brother who steals needs to seek help
Dear Annie: I've had a problem with my 21-year-old kid brother for a long time. "Deacon" constantly lies and steals from me, as well as from my mother, other family members and friends. He's not a horrible person, but he has no respect for proper...
Dear Annie: I've had a problem with my 21-year-old kid brother for a long time. "Deacon" constantly lies and steals from me, as well as from my mother, other family members and friends. He's not a horrible person, but he has no respect for property, including his own. He's impossible to reason with. If you accuse him of taking anything, he gets upset and leaves, or screams that he's innocent and we're unfair and he gets blamed for everything.
We wish we could believe him when he says he "didn't do it," but it happens too often and there is usually no other explanation. My mother is ready to tell him he is no longer welcome in her home, but I worry about what would happen to Deacon without the little support we are able to give him.
Is there a healthy way to tell someone you need a break until he gets his act together? I love my brother but am not willing to enable his poor choices. Is my mother's decision our best option? - Brotherly Love/Hate Relationship
Dear Brotherly: Deacon's reaction to these accusations seems almost delusional. It's possible he does not realize what he is doing, why it is wrong or what the consequences might be. If that is the case, he needs professional help, and you should approach him gently about seeing a therapist and provide a referral.
In the meantime, your mother does not have to allow Deacon into the house, although it's best not to reject him in anger. Mom should make it clear that she loves him, but he obviously has issues to deal with, and until he does, none of you can afford to have him around your property.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.