I feel like I’ve lost my brother.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi, I’m 15, and I feel my brother has betrayed me. He started stealing things from our family and at first, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but then he admitted to my face that he had stolen from me. We were very close before, so this realization hurt me. I started feeling depressed, and sometimes cried at night. I have mostly got over this, but I still feel depressed thinking about it and I feel, that in a sense, I have lost my brother. Even after talking to one of my most trusted friends, I don’t know what to do about the situation. I would like to start trusting him again, even just a little bit, but I don’t know how to trust him anymore. Please give me advice!

A:I have to wonder why your brother would steal from you in the first place. Have you considered that maybe he is in trouble? It could be that stealing, arranging to get caught, and admitting it, is your brother’s way of signaling the family that he needs your help. Instead of talking with your friends, I think it’s time for you to talk with him and with your parents. A brother doesn’t usually hurt a sister he is close to unless there is something else going on.

Please have a heart to heart talk with him. You can let your brother know that you understand he wouldn’t hurt you on purpose and that you miss him. Tell him you are worried that he is trying to tell you something. Offer your support. See what happens. If he is the brother you thought you knew, he just might respond to loving concern.

I also want to remind you that you don’t have to handle this all by yourself. Your parents are probably also concerned. You could share this letter with them as a way to start a conversation about how to help your brother.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Oct 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). I feel like I’ve lost my brother.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/08/1056/

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