Since proXimity posted about his friend being addicted to WoW, it made me think that maybe I should post because my brother is one of the extreme cases. I'm not sure of whether or not there's any advice people can really give, I mean, until the other thread came up it didn't even occur to me to ask for advice because at this point I've reached a resigned point of general helplessness.
My brother was addicted to a Dragonlance MUD when he was in high school. This resulted in him dropping out of high school for several years, and he was able to eventually graduate late after going through a considerable amount of effort.
He went on to college and got addicted to WoW. After his second year he was kicked out for having too low of a GPA and failing his classes. He moved back in with my parents who supported him while still pressuring him to either get a job or go back to school. Initially, he went to the local Community College but after a semester he dropped out of that too to play WoW and to download anime. This was...6 years ago? Fast forward to today.
At this point, he is 27 years old. My parents have moved out of our old house and are living elsewhere but they continue to pay the bills for it and to give my brother enough money to pay for food and transportation. From a completely objective standpoint I guess I could see it as a pretty cushy life, not really having to work or do anything but stay home and do whatever you want to.
When I've talked to my brother, he's said he isn't as into WoW anymore but still plays. He seems to spend a lot of time downloading large masses of media files (music, movies, anime, whatever) and occasionally raiding. My parents used to pressure me a lot about, "Why don't you talk to your brother? Can't you make him get a job? Maybe you can talk to him (implication: and fix this)." He no longer has any friends in the area IRL that he can talk to face to face and I'm very aware of this so when I talk to him I try not to harp/bring up him finding a job or doing something with his life. I feel like he gets enough of that from our parents and if I started doing it then he wouldn't really have any family he'd feel open enough to talk to at all.
I live about a thousand miles away now and have for several years. My parents have backed off in their phone calls on getting me to talk to him and magically fix things but my suspicion is that it's because they also moved away and are kind of ignoring it as a problem. Overall I'm pretty conflicted about the whole situation:
- Obviously he's my brother and I want him to do well and be happy. I don't get the impression that he's all that happy with where he is right now, but at the same time it seems like things are decent enough for him that he doesn't really feel the drive to change things.
- I worry about my parents, my dad retired a year or two ago and my mother is probably going to retire in the next few years. They've always been very conservative so financially I think they'd be fine if they only had to worry about themselves, but if they have to support my brother as well I'm afraid that he'll essentially drag them down with him and it'll screw up their lifetime of saving up to retire. Not only that, the vibe I get is that my mother feels like a failure because my brother is a stay at home deadbeat and my father is ashamed. When they talk to their friends or colleagues and everyone is talking about what their kids are doing I've heard them generally clam up and change the subject.
- This feels selfish, but part of me worries about what will happen when my parents eventually pass away. If my brother is still a deadbeat then, what will happen to him? He's family and I feel like there's an obligation there, but at the same time it makes me feel angry in a sort of, "Don't you dare show up on my doorstep and expect me to take you in, I'm not a pushover like our parents! Move your ass and get a job!" way.
- Particularly during the holidays when I see my family again, I feel like that's the time that my parents turn the pressure back up to "fix" my brother. This is very stressful and makes me angry and resentful; in addition, it makes me feel like they're blind to any of my accomplishments in life because they don't really see 1 kid that got out and is doing ok, they see 1 kid that's "failed".
There have been a number of incidents over the years that have occasionally seen my parents calling me to complain about my brother's antics. An example of this would be him getting his own credit card, purchasing himself a new computer, and having it shipped to my parents' house. When the computer arrived my mother happened to be in town and she also was there when it was delivered. She asked my brother who was going to pay for it when he had no income and he told her, "You are." After a prolonged argument with him and I assume a lot of yelling/screaming, she proceeded to call me up to tell me all about it and to ask me what she was supposed to do.
Currently, things are in a holding pattern - my parents visit my brother in the old house during parts of the year and he does some chores/housework for them to justify them paying him stipends of money. I only go home to see them once a year and when I do I get slammed by the "You should talk to your brother" and the toxic/tense environment. My brother continues to stay in the house not looking for a job, not going to school, and not doing anything.
What should I do? Should I do anything? Is there anything I can do? This whole situation isn't a sustainable one, but no one really seems prepared to change it.
tl;dr: My brother is 27 years old and lives in a house owned by my parents. He dropped out of college, has no job, and doesn't try looking for one. My parents pressure me to "fix" his situation but won't kick him out because he's family. The whole thing is stressful and I feel like I should be helping or acting or doing something but I don't know what to do.