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FrozenRobot7 Offline
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Leaving a sibling in a toxic place - July 17th 2021, 09:32 PM

I know I am certainty not the first and won't be the last older sibling to deal with the guilt of being able to leave a toxic household but leaving an older sibling behind. This past school year I left for college but returned home for the summer. But after how mentally taxing this summer has been, I don't plan on returning home anytime soon for my own mental health. But, I still have a 12 year old brother at home and am struggling with the guilt of leaving him behind while I leave.

I have tried my best to give him some resources and tools to better navigate the home, but he is still only 12 years old and he doesn't have the maturity to deal with all of the complex situations going on within the home. While at college I often video chatted with him and I think that helped, but I was still only seeing a miniscule part of his day. But, the thing that put my mind at ease slightly was the fact that I would be home for 3 months this summer and would be there for him during that time. But now that time is quickly diminishing and where I am ecstatic to leave, I am also very worried about him and how he will navigate the household on his own. While I have tried my best to help him and give him the tools he needs, I still feel an immense amount of guilt for leaving him in that toxic situation.

Does anyone have any tools or resources that come to mind? Or ways I can limit the amount of guilt I am harboring about being able to leave?


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Re: Leaving a sibling in a toxic place - July 25th 2021, 06:24 AM

Hi Danni,

Thank you so much for reaching out and I'm sorry that you haven't received a response yet.

Firstly, I want to say that you are a very thoughtful older sibling to look out for your brother. I can understand why you would be so worried - you probably wouldn't want him to be navigating all the toxicity at home at his young age. However, you need to do what you have to do; if you feel that you are in a better place mentally when you're away from home, you need to focus on that.

As for keeping an eye on your brother, there are a few things you could do:

- Be in regular touch with him. It could be a video chat like you used to do while you were at college. That way, he will know that you still have his back.

- I don't know if he has a phone, but you even if it is not possible to chat via video call, you can remain in contact with him through texts on a daily basis. I find texts a really convenient way to keep another person updated about the smaller events in my day-to-day life, especially when video calls/phone calls tend to focus on the more important matters.

- Find someone reliable who can keep an eye on him. It's important that your brother has someone older, more mature whom he can trust and reach out to while you're away at college. Perhaps you could get in touch with his teacher at school? You could explain your home situation to them and share your concerns. Teachers really go the extra mile to keep an eye on their pupils, especially those who might be in need of extra attention due to their home atmosphere. If I were to think of a reliable adult who could take your position (someone other than a family member), I can only think of a teacher. Of course, if you happen to know a family friend or relative in the neighbourhood who can look out for your brother, they can also be a supportive figure. You can be in touch with this person as they update you about how your brother is coping while you're not at home.

These are some suggestions I can think of right now. Overall, being in constant touch with him will show him that you're there for him if he ever needs it. Additionally, having a reliable adult who can look out for him will be an additional form of support for him and a source of relief for you as well.

Take care and feel free to PM me if you have any questions!!


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