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Brotherís going through divorce and itís hard being his support system.


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Old 22nd February 2018, 12:32 AM   #1
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Question Brotherís going through divorce and itís hard being his support system.

Looking for advice and wondering if anyone can relate.

My brother is going through a divorce. His wife is filing the paperwork. My brother wants to chat for hours venting about how terrible his wife is and how awful life is. I want to be his support system but his conversations are bringing me down. Listening to him vent about how awful his wife is wears me out. Listening to him vent about how terrible life is puts me in a bad mood. He wonít listen to anything I say. Not sure how much longer I can be his sounding board. Am I missing something? Am I helping him just by listening? This has been going on for 7 months.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 12:42 AM   #2
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Can he afford a therapist to "vent" to... Moreover they may offer him some tools to deal with his feelings.

If not, is there any local Clergyman he could talk to.

I can empathize with what you are going through. I had a really good friend who went through a protracted divorce. Eventually, I had to sever friendship as I hit my limit and became upset and depressed because of HIS situation. I didn't marry his wife, but I was suffering all the same and I had to put an end to it.

Tell your brother he can vent for 5-10 minutes and that's it. At that point, change the subject or hang up, as you can't take anymore.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 12:50 AM   #3
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Can he afford a therapist to "vent" to... Moreover they may offer him some tools to deal with his feelings.

If not, is there any local Clergyman he could talk to.

I can empathize with what you are going through. I had a really good friend who went through a protracted divorce. Eventually, I had to sever friendship as I hit my limit and became upset and depressed because of HIS situation. I didn't marry his wife, but I was suffering all the same and I had to put an end to it.

Tell your brother he can vent for 5-10 minutes and that's it. At that point, change the subject or hang up, as you can't take anymore.
I really appreciate your feedback! I want my brother to know I was there for him when we look back on this time 5 years from now. Your advice will help me maintain my sanity and help my brother. Itís a difficult time because I am new to this. Iíve gone through a breakup but this divorce is really devistating for my brother and I donít want to end up complicating my relationship with him.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 12:56 AM   #4
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I want my brother to know I was there for him
You can be there for him, but not at the cost of your sanity. He needs to know you are there and will listen to some extent, but there is a limit.

Your brother will understand.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 4:27 AM   #5
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I really appreciate your feedback! I want my brother to know I was there for him when we look back on this time 5 years from now. Your advice will help me maintain my sanity and help my brother. Itís a difficult time because I am new to this. Iíve gone through a breakup but this divorce is really devistating for my brother and I donít want to end up complicating my relationship with him.
He needs to stop worrying about what he CAN'T control and start worrying about what he CAN control.

Be there for your brother by telling him to take actions that will benefit him:
-Exercise (this is FIRST because it is the MOST important.)
-Yes, reach out to friends and family (within reason)
-Make new friends as well (don't reach out to them about the divorce)
-Clean his home, and himself EVERY DAY (stay busy)
-Take up a new hobby
-Start a journal
-STOP CONTACTING HER
-Don't stalk her facebook/etc... don't message her, don't talk to her.
-Don't talk to her friends or family
-Don't beg her
-Stop being desperate (let her go to get her back is probably the best mindset he can handle at this stage)

IF he's not doing any/all of these things, he should put the phone down and do one of them at LEAST. They WILL help. (I speak from experience.)

I can recommend weight lifting, reading, and journaling most of all. Just open a text document on the PC and start going. That way you're not depressing the people you love and you can make the best of your short time with your sounding-board.

Bad things happen FAST. Good things take TIME.


Yours in haste,
-Stoic
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Old 22nd February 2018, 4:43 AM   #6
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Call his best male friend up and tell him what you shared here. He'll know what to do. Males handle this stuff all the time. We have methods

Your life and stability are equally important to his. None of us are spared rough times of one sort or another. Set your boundary and stick to it. You can still be loving, yet firm. You decide how that goes. It's your life.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 6:06 AM   #7
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I want to be his support system but his conversations are bringing me down. [...] Not sure how much longer I can be his sounding board. Am I missing something? Am I helping him just by listening?
Yes, you are helping him. He is in pain and needs to talk. It's common for a grieving person to wear out friends and family like this. His need is greater than your tolerance. It's not about him listening to your advice. You be the listener, and don't try to fix it with advice. He needs empathy and understanding, not sympathy or rationality, and certainly not a "you should just be over this by now" mentality.

Try to put his need first (within reason). Of course there is a limit as to how much you can absorb. Try to find a balance. See if you can let him blow off steam awhile, then talk about other things. Encourage his other friends and family to be patient with him as well. Try to realize how much he needs this support. It's good that you've been there for him. Perhaps try to taper it down rather than cutting him off short.

I am thankful for having had a good, understanding friend who allowed me to talk it out as much as I needed when i was going through a time. You are making a huge difference.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 9:07 AM   #8
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If he's talking to you on the phone, give him 5 or 10 minutes. Then change the subject to something else. If he keeps coming back to her, just tell him you have to run, you have to go somewhere or do something. That will give him a few minutes to whine, but will save your sanity by putting a limit on it.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 10:56 AM   #9
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Someone I'm close to is going through a very difficult divorce, too. Those of us close to the person are all gathering around to share the support load.

Try to get more people involved if possible.

I have been one of the main supporters in support for the close family member going through divorce here. It has been grueling but, if not for those of us who support, no telling what would become of the person, who has two counselors, also. Divorce can be hell. I would never have imagined how awful it is before experiencing it myself.

What I do to replenish my sanity is to stay in prayer and scripture daily. You'll be amazed at how uplifting it is. Also, it would help your brother immensely. Just read a few verses a day. Why not? It can't hurt to try! You must have a source of life since so much life is being drained from you in listening to your brother. Reading scripture and talking to God (prayer) will give you power, strength and actually pour life into you as if it were water that is alive!

Ever seen a wilted plant perk up when water is poured on it? That's you with prayer and scripture poured into you!

Other things both you and your brother can do to stay emotionally healthy are exercise, eating right, getting your sleep, getting plenty of sunshine! These things really will make a difference in your ability to survive and thrive any tough time!

Sending hugs!
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Old 22nd February 2018, 3:36 PM   #10
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You can be there for him, but not at the cost of your sanity. He needs to know you are there and will listen to some extent, but there is a limit.

Your brother will understand.
i agree. i was the one that could talk and talk about all the crap going on during my divorce.

i had one friend that would say the same thing to me over and over, "let go, let go of the anger. and i start again about all the things i was angry about. all the things my stbex was putting me thru.

we have a thing we do around here now, we set the timer for five mins and you get to rant and rave until the timer goes off, then it's either the other person's turn or you have to change the subject.
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Old 25th February 2018, 3:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wishes23 View Post
Looking for advice and wondering if anyone can relate.

My brother is going through a divorce. His wife is filing the paperwork. My brother wants to chat for hours venting about how terrible his wife is and how awful life is. I want to be his support system but his conversations are bringing me down. Listening to him vent about how awful his wife is wears me out. Listening to him vent about how terrible life is puts me in a bad mood. He wonít listen to anything I say. Not sure how much longer I can be his sounding board. Am I missing something? Am I helping him just by listening? This has been going on for 7 months.
You can only be his shoulder for so long and be loving and supportive. You can only handle so much (emotionally) so he needs to speak to a therapist to help him cope with this divorce and grieve in a healthy way. You can't be the only one he speaks to!

7 months (Just read that now),,, yes it's time for him to seek counseling and want to push through this so he can rid of the anger and pain so he can heal and be happy again.
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Old 25th February 2018, 3:44 AM   #12
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I really appreciate your feedback! I want my brother to know I was there for him when we look back on this time 5 years from now. Your advice will help me maintain my sanity and help my brother. Itís a difficult time because I am new to this. Iíve gone through a breakup but this divorce is really devistating for my brother and I donít want to end up complicating my relationship with him.
I can understand the first few months and the shock of it all him needing to talk about so much with you but 7 months continually is too much. I'm sure he knows you love and care about him but it would honestly help him if he took a break from it all and had some fun with you, his friends and start living again instead of being bitter and angry. Obviously there are phases he's going through, it's just too much to be put all on you. He is your brother and should appreciate what you've done for him already. I can't see him being angry at you for suggesting he seek counseling.
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Old 25th February 2018, 9:14 AM   #13
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I can understand the first few months and the shock of it all him needing to talk about so much with you but 7 months continually is too much. I'm sure he knows you love and care about him but it would honestly help him if he took a break from it all...
Too much for whom? You're gauging his need by OP's endurance or discomfort. These are completely different perspectives, opposite sides of the equation. It's not about her giving just enough to ensure that he continues to think of her as a good sister, or that she feels she can pat herself on the back for having done her duty, at least I don't believe that to be the case.

This is about a loved one in need, a family member, and her giving until it's no longer comfortable and then giving some more. That's when the real giving begins. Altruism, the selfless concern for the well-being of others, helping others whose need is greater even at your own expense.

His emotional pain is intense, all-consuming, perpetual. He needs someone to be there for him, with love, true empathy (vs. sympathy) and understanding. For her it's uncomfortable, inconvenient, time consuming, and not interesting to listen to the story over and over. So yea, it's not her problem, and she could bail on him and say she did her duty if that's the extent of her motivation. But rationalizing that his need ends where her discomfort begins is simply wrong.

I won't go into my spiel on the value of empathy, the difference between empathy and sympathy, or how much more value a good listener is giving compared to what it's costing them... but it's a big deal.

OP, you have to find ways to manage these things, and practice self-care at the same time. But don't underestimate how valuable you are to your brother during his time of intense need. Think big picture, multiple perspectives.
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Old 26th February 2018, 10:00 AM   #14
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It IS hard being the sounding board sometimes, especially when someone is having a terribly hard time moving forward. Yet, you certainly want to be supportive. It may be that he can benefit from talking to a neutral person, like a telephone counselor? Here is a free resource that may help him find his way through the pain and anger of a difficult divorce.
Sending love and prayers he can find his way.
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