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Help me help my brother

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Well the other day I was cleaning my little brothers room and to my shock i found a box under his bed full of barbie dolls. Most of them were undressed and had a shoe lace on their neck. He also cut their hair and their dresses, and some barbies were missing I don’t know what he did with them. I also saw that many of his action figures also had rope like string on their neck. Then I decided to look at his drawing in his sketchbook and he draws females hanging from the neck, or their neck cut and a male figure by them. But the most horrific thing that I found out was that I believe that he was trying to hang himself by the neck in the closet. There was a rope in the closet and the closet rod bent and on the floor. I confronted him about what i saw and he said that he was trying to make a pull up that is why it was bent. But I just don’t believe him. I also asked about the dolls and the drawing that he made and he said that he doesn’t know why he likes to hang dolls from the neck. Well my brother is a very shy boy with few friend, he has social anxiety and also stutters. He is also a very caring child that would never hurt a thing, it is not like him to do this things. My family decided to take away his BB gun and his violent video games, because we don’t know if this is what caused this behavior.

I have known for a while that there was something going on on his head because he looks depressed and he has started to isolate himself. The other day I asked him if he was happy and he said that he wasn’t, that really concerned me. But never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that he was doing that with my sister’s dolls. Another thing that I am concerned about is that he likes to watch Investigation Discovery, specially the episodes of serial killers. Well I am not going to let him watch them anymore. I don’t know what to do, if this behavior is abnormal or if its just because he is curious about the opposite sex. He just doesn’t want to tell me anything about it. What should I do to help him, and how do I get him to talk to me about this behavior.

Help me help my brother

Answered by on -


Your family is lucky indeed that you are the kind of person to get alarmed by what you are seeing. You are absolutely right to be concerned. This is not normal behavior. Yes, often boys fantasize about violence and play violent video games. Yes, 12-year-old boys are often fascinated by sex. But when a kid shows this many aberrant behaviors and is withdrawn and unhappy besides, it’s time to get worried and get moving.

The most helpful thing you can do is to let him know that you love him. Then get him professional help. However well intended you may be, you don’t have the training or the expertise to talk to him more than you already have. Even if he were to start to tell you about his inner thoughts, you don’t have the experience to know how to interpret what he says.

At 27, 7ou are certainly old enough to be regarded as one of the adults of the family. I hope your parents listen to you and work with you to get your brother the help he needs. He should be taken to a therapist who specializes in work with adolescent boys. Whoever makes the appointment should share the information you’ve described in your letter so the therapist knows how serious the situation really is. Then do whatever you have to to get your brother there.

Please don’t wait to take action. Your brother has told you he is in deep distress in the only way he knows how. Take him seriously.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Help me help my brother

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Help me help my brother. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.