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When a family member steals....

Discussion in 'Family Life' started by Krystal, May 14, 2012.

  1. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    You all know that there have been recent circumstances that have forced me to move back home with my mom and grown younger brother.

    I had many concerns about moving home: dogs, cleanliness, smoking etc. But my biggest concern was my brother. My brother has the mental capacity of a 12 year old. Now before you laugh and say "dont all men?" I have to stress....he LITERALLY has the mental maturity of a 12 year old. In 1996, my family endured a devastating gas explosion in our home. My brother suffered 3rd degree burns over 70 percent of his body. He was 12 at the time.

    Fast forward to present day. He looks like an adult, talks like an adult, and for the most part seems like an adult, but the trauma "stunted" his maturity in many ways. At 28 he has no control over his temper, whatsoever. He has zero impulse control, he is a compulsive liar, he has no regard for other peoples space or belongings, no respect for other people or authority, and he has developed a gambling problem. He lacks the maturity, dicipline or self control to hold down a job longer than a few weeks. \ IT didnt help that my family, myself included, allowed this to go on for a long time because, "we almost lost him once."

    About a year and a half ago, I allowed him to stay in my apartment to look after my pets while I was gone for a week. I come home to find my bedroom drawers gone through and money stolen. At the time, he blamed my stepbrother.. I brought it up to my family, Only to be chewed out and threatened with disownment for even SUGGESTING that my brother would steal from his own family. 6 months ago, after spending $200 on him at a casino, I left him alone in my apartment only to coem back and find that he had stolen my house cash, my kids xmas money, cleaned out my kids piggy banks and emptied out my husbands change jar. Again, I brought it up, but was shot down again by my family.

    Since moving into my mothers house, however, the thefts skyrocketed. Hiding things was useless, he would just ransack the place until he found it and it got to the point that I actually had to buy a locking cabinet to lock up my money, wallet , and valuables. Ive come home to find that someone had tried to jimmy THAT open. I have to keep my kids piggy banks locked u. Finally, though, a couple of months ago, after cash began disappearing from my mothers purse and medication, cash and jewelry were coming up missing from my dads house, my parents FINALLY admitted that they thought my brother was stealng to feed a gambling habit. FINALLY. A look back a the previous couple of years, we finally lined out a pattern of theft and lies and we realized that this was a VERY serious problem. Finally.

    Recently, my poor mother ended up in the hospital having emergency bowel resection and she has been bedridden. We went to order ostomy supplies the other day only to discover that her bank account had been drained at the casino. She almost threw him out. The same day, I discovered that my great grandparents' wedding bands were missing, as well as one of my moving boxes (Im not fully unpacked yet) containing many items of value, including jewelry. Its one thing to steal from your sister...but to steal from your sick mother???

    My family is at a loss as to what to do. He obviously has a problem but because he is unable to accept even a small amount of criticism so I could see an "intervention" going VERY badly.He lies to everyone: Myself, my parents, his friends, his doctors. He faked having CANCER to get friends and family to give him money. He will not accept blame for anything.... much like a spoiled 12 year old. My mother is ready to throw him out and my dad refuses to take him in. I think it would be a good wakeup call but he is completely incapable of caring for himself. Talking with my dad, we have even began discussing the possibility of pressing charges if it keeps happening. Jail is better than homelessness. That would be a VERY VERY difficult decision.

    I know they say that family comes first, but what if family can no longer be trusted? We cant even trust him with $20 to go to the grocery store....he spends it on scratch tickets. This is a problem that is spiraling out of control. Im terrified of what could happen in the future. Have you ever had to deal with this in your close family? What do you do?

    He gets away with what he does because you guys let him; therefore he can. Stop letting him, and problem solved. Stop making his problems, your problems.
  2. MikeD

    MikeD Administrator Staff Member

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    First, why don't you all stop enabling him. If he can't be trusted with money, then don't give him any. Not even $20. If he can't be trusted with anything, then toss him out on his own and disown him until he can un-screw himself. You say your mom is "ready" to throw him out? You mean after ALL of this, she hasn't already?
    WacoFan likes this.
  3. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    We've stopped enabling him. He get ZERO money from anyone. Everyone in our family has been told not to give him money, including cousins. If I were my mom, I probably WOULD have thrown him out, but I cant speak for my mother. This is her only son.
  4. MikeD

    MikeD Administrator Staff Member

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    Thats a good start. If he's keeping up, which it sounds like he is, then your mom needs to toss him out. The problem is hers if he's living with her.....especially if he's being the way he is still. Or ship him off to jail. That's where everyone else goes. The options are pretty limited, it sounds like.
  5. MQAAord

    MQAAord Scheherazade Staff Member

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    If he truly is still suffering the effects of a previous "injury", then he needs to be in medical treatment. He is a danger to your family, he can't be trusted. If it were my brother, I would be taking the steps to have him committed. It sucks, but he can't stay with family any more. :(
  6. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    My mom doesnt deserve this. She doesnt need this right now either...she needs to focus on getting better. She and my coddled him for years, gave him everything he asked for because in all seriousness, the boy nearly died. Its sick that he feels that the world owes him something.
    I think at this point it is coming down to her concience. Its weighing on all our minds....how do you just put family out on the street? We are a close knit family....those who havent been directly involved in it would have a very hard time understanding. I havent told her about the conversation I had with my dad yet...about prosecuting....but if money keeps coming up missing, its going to have to come down to that.
  7. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    I dont know if its directly related to his injury but I definately get the feeling that he thinks the world "owes" him something.
  8. MikeD

    MikeD Administrator Staff Member

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    Its definitely not easy. But what other options are there that haven't been exercised yet? Your family is at wits-end, or at least should be. Likely well beyond. Amber's idea is another option too.

    Sounds like he thinks the world owes him something. Maybe he's just a narcissist.
  9. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    For the record, my brother does has VERY visible and obvious scars. He also suffered nerve damage to his right leg which causes him to hobble.
  10. MikeD

    MikeD Administrator Staff Member

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    While that sucks, what does that have to do with anything related to the problem at hand?
  11. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    I dont think narcissist is quite the right word. I think that he just lacks the mental maturity to be rational. He acts, veyr much, like a 12 year old boy. He sees a bag of potato chips on the counter...you tell him they are for the kids and to leave them alone, he takes them and eats the entire ag when no one is looking. He borrows your car and you tell him that he HAS to be back by a certain time and he shows up 6 hours late and makes up an elaborate, drama filled reason as to why. He sees a $10 bill laying on the counter, he immediately takes it without even stopping to wonder why its there.
  12. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    Could tie in to why he thinks the world owes him something. Its sad, when he was younger he was VERY inspirational....he helped get the first Childrens Burn Camp established in Missouri. He organized Fundraisers for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. He volunteered at the Mercy Burn Center counseling families of critical burn victims. about 5 years ago, his entire attitude changed.
  13. Itchy

    Itchy Well-Known Member

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    Wow, very tough situation. The sooner you can get yourself out of there the better. From what you wrote that seems to be the cleanest answer.
    Any idea what triggered the attitude change 5 years ago?
    Tough to love someone who is a complete thief. He will have serious troubles when he has no choice but to be on his own.

    In the short term, if your room in the house is indeed your own, maybe a strong door and capable lock? Make sure you have an escape route that does not include that door however. I would think a handy man could install it fairly inexpensively. Good choices at home depot. Think front door.
  14. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    Ive wracked my brain. The only thing I can think of is that 5 years ago, he was living in Oklahoma. I think that is at least what got him bitten by the gambling bug. He lived on the outskirts of several reservations and there were a million tiny casinos. He got really lucky ALOT and walked out with big wins in excess of $1,000 on several occasions. Those 10 slot casinos are alot different from the big riverboats we have in STL, though.
  15. MQAAord

    MQAAord Scheherazade Staff Member

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    A gambling addiction can be every bit as serious as an alcohol or drug addiction. The brain's chemical response to the "high" of gambling is actually very similar.

    He needs help, help you and your family can't provide yourselves, and that is hard [I know!] to accept, but he needs to get out of the family house and into a recovery program. He will not get better without professional help.

    Nothing changes, if nothing changes...

    That being said, it comes down to HIM wanting to change. Until the time comes when he is ready to change, he won't. He is the ONLY one who can bring about the change within himself. Now, that doesn't give him license to steal all your families money! And that behavior is the reason why he has got to be removed from the family home.

    I know it's hard, and it's really really easy for people on the internet who aren't there living with you to tell you what you "need to do". Nobody understands fully what you're going through, except you. I wish you & your family the best.
  16. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    Well, the proverbial excrement has hit the turboprop around here.

    The missing moving box, which I had suspected all along he had stolen, was located in the trunk of his car. It was empty except for a few peices of junk jewelry, a few photos of my kids, and some of the paper that I had used to wrap everything in. My class ring, my bracelet I recieved for my high school graduation (my parents were going through a VERY bitter divorce but they were able to come together and be civil long enough to pick it out and buy it for me), my wedding ring, (all were in my jewelry box, which was wrapped up and packed all together) along with MANY incredibly sentimental things: my jewelry box that I recieved for my Sweet 16, my flight attendant wings and scarf...the only part of my uniform that I saved, the wooden cigar box that belonged to the Captains dad, my vintage patterns from my grandmothers sewing cabinet, the pewter dragons that were a gift from a friend who is no longer with me, an antique powder box and an opal ring that belonged to my step-grandmother.

    This box was the first box to be removed from my apartment...it was the first one on the truck (in the cab with the friend who was driving) It was the first box unloaded and the first box brought in the house. I never thought for a million years that ANYONE in my family would have stolen a random moving box. When confronted, he first claimed that he found the box "on top of my stack of empty boxes and took it to put trash it" and then "I didnt steal it but I can tell you who did." Ugh.

    Unfortunately, my mother is allowing him to stay. Even after he repeated stole cash from her, cash from me, cash from our dad and stepmom, cash from friends and neighbors, cash from my moms boyfrie, drained her bank account of hundreds of dollars, stole and pawned her grandparents' wedding bands, stole and pawned her fathers watch, stole money from his sister and neices, and stole and pawned completely irreplaceable possesions from his sister., he gets to stay. My mom gave me the option to leave because "she wont throw her child out on the street."

    I have few choices...Captain took everything...money, property, savings, EVERYTHING when he moved in with his 18 year old mistress. No matter how I try to spin it, I cant afford to live on my own and no one else in my life can take in a mom and two kids. Im stuck.
  17. ATN_Pilot

    ATN_Pilot Socialist Pig Member

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    I understand her not wanting to throw him out. It sounds like he has a problem, and throwing him out on the street won't solve it. What he needs is help. Your family should get him to start seeing a psychiatrist immediately. A medical professional will know a lot more about how to help than a bunch of pilots on a message board.
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  18. ProudPilot

    ProudPilot Aeronautics Geek

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    Well, at this level, psychological treatment really is the best course. Counseling is just too light. It's harsh, but he basically needs a more global view of himself and those around him. The gambling is allowing an addiction and reclusive behavior that doesn't just harm him, it harms the whole family. That is when it becomes an issue that needs treatment. If you attempt it, it will be seen as a personal attack and lack of love from his family which will seriously harm any future relationship. I'm really not sure on the law where you are if you can forcibly commit a family member for gambling addiction. The answer usually if it harms someone. If your mothers health or your family safety is in jeopardy, you can basically have him put into treatment right away whether he wants to or not. Otherwise, yes, he has to go willingly. Usually start with family therapy. As it progresses, you will get help in confronting him and hopefully get him to admit that life would be better with these things treated. The goal is not to change him, but for him to understand how these things hurt other people. We're all fine with him hurting himself, that's personal choice, it's when that choice forces others to suffer for what he is doing is a problem. Treatment will try to have him learn self control, a more global view, and how to build healthy habits. Nothing is ever perfect but there are ways to get better. I hope you do get help.
  19. Krystal

    Krystal Dispatch Betty

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    Easier said that done though. We cant FORCE him to see a counselor. Another family member came to talk to him. She,too, suffered from a severe gambling addiction and tried to talk to him. It didnt end well. He had one of his skank girlfriends pick him up and we havent seen him in two days. He is also uninsured, relying on medicaid to pay for basic health care. We wont be able to afford private conseling ourselves and the government wont pay for it.

    Mom HAS told him that he will have to stay somewhere else when I am home....I refuse to be under the same roof as him. Hell, I stayed two nights with my first husband when I found out about the moving box. I;ve looked but I cant find any local support groups for FAMILIES of gambling addicts and from what Ive seen, there arent that many non profit groups in the area for gambling addicts....plenty for drug/alcohol but not for gaming.
  20. web265

    web265 Well-Known Member

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    It may be time to prosecute! This may, depending on where you are, lead to a pre-trial intervention program that might include counseling as a requirement. (Depending on eligibility which is usually based on prior criminal record).

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