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I had a conversion during college. I had 3 years down toward my degree, but my conversion led to me seriously consider the priesthood. Partially because of that, and because of financial considerations, I stopped school and came back home to start trying to pay off my loans so I could try a vocation.
   I realize now that there were always some things messed up, but right about the time I came home, my younger brother’s life fell apart. Heroin addiction, arrests, threats of suicide, etc. My family was torn apart. I handled the whole situation terribly. My siblings took the tough love approach. My parents enabled him. I originally agreed with the tougher approach as well; I was going to move out, but I was too weak. I questioned myself. My parents’ defense of their own position wore on me.
   I went back and forth. And in my uncertainty, I just ended up doing nothing. I shut down.
   Your website has helped a great deal; has helped me see many things in a much more clear light, even when what I often see isn’t pretty.
   But in my uncertainty, I am still doing nothing. I am still not sure what to do.
   My brother has been clean a year. But I think mostly because of the medication he was taking. I know you have to start off slow, but my parents still enable him. My mother makes him special meals, my father basically admitted to having given up on trying to get him to help out around the house, etc. He basically just plays video games all day. He also displays some major anger towards religion (Satanic tattoos, etc.). I have almost no relationship with him.
   Should I tell him why I have almost no relationship with him? I want so badly to just tell him, “Don’t expect me to have a relationship with you when you disrespect our parents with your laziness and ingratitude. Don’t expect me to have a relationship with you when you blatantly disrespect Our Lord,” etc. Is he too fragile on account of his addiction to say this? Should I just let it go? Is the small amount of improvement he has shown actually quite significant for what he has gone through which I just don’t understand?
   Also, how (if at all) should one fraternally correct their parents? Is it my place? I don't mean just in relation to the things above, but other stuff too (especially when for so long, you haven't said anything).
   In general, I am torn between a feeling that I should be more firm, detached, (almost harsh). Say what’s on my mind and how I feel and they can take it as they will.
   Another part of me believes it would only make it worse to act like that. “Let it go, and just try to show ethusiasm and joy, and hopefully they can see that and that’s the best witness you can provide right now.” (I just also feel that this is like lying somehow, like its me saying “everything is okay”).
   But again, my uncertainty leads to me doing nothing. As you mention on your site: lack leads to desire. I sense so much lack from the past few years. So much inactivity, paralyzed by uncertainty. The desire to undo it all kills me. How I can start a new? (I am still looking for a job to try and move out) I feel so paralyzed.

Outline of the Answer
• Introduction
• The Consequences of a Failed Father
• What to Say to Your Brother
• What to Say to Your Father
• The Spiritual Battle

Wrom what you have told me, I think that your thoughts about the priesthood were an unconscious excuse to quit college. In my opinion, this is a manifestation of your particular symptom of procrastination. Moreover, in your symptom you have something very much in common with your brother: your father.

The Consequences of a Failed Father

If you read my webpage about the symbolic role of a father, you will see quite clearly two of the many consequences of a failed father; one consequence is addictions and another is procrastination. Thus your father is the cause of your familyís dysfunction; he fails to be a leader and a guide, and he fails to stand up to and correct your motherís timidity.

Nevertheless, blaming your father will get no one anywhereóat least, nowhere pleasant.

In your conversion you saw the light of your fatherís failure and were drawn to God the Father as the only hope for guidance in your life. Conversions, though, require hard workóa lifetime of hard workóand you are just at the point of starting that work. Learning to witness the faith—gently, not ruthlessly—will be one aspect of that work.

What to Say to Your Brother

Therefore, you could tell your brother about the truth of your relationship. You could say something such as, ďI understand your emotional pain because the cause of your pain is our father. He has been lacking as a father and has failed to provide us with proper guidance. I suffer from the same pain, but it manifests in a different manner: for me itís procrastination, and for you itís addictions. Your addictions and the self-sabotage that go with them are an unconscious way for you to inflict your anger on our father. Your anger, however, will not make our father change, but it will destroy you. Right now you are on a collision course with hell. Until you see the truth of that, there is nothing I can do for you. If I said anything more, I would be wasting my breath. So, until you decide to change, I will keep my distance from you. But I will be there for you if you ever become serious about changing and want my help.Ē

What to Say to Your Father

As for your father, itís unlikely that your saying anything to him will make him change. Still, you could give him a copy of my webpage about the role of a father and say something such as, ďThis might help you in the difficulties you are facing in our family. Up until now you have been a weak father, and my brotherís addictions are the result of his anger at you. The only way for you to help him is for you to radically change your behavior. Itís all up to you. But remember that being a real father comes from allowing Godís grace to flow through you; so even if you feel afraid you can still do it. Thereís nothing more for me to say. Iíve seen the true light; I converted to the Catholic faith, and I will follow that path on my own. But I will be there for you if you ever become serious about changing and want my help.Ē

The Spiritual Battle

As for you, grow in faith and learn to witness it. Take up the great spiritual battle against evil, but remember that itís not for you to fight with your own hands; the strength flows through your hands from God and it doesnít belong to you. Fight all battles with love.


Who wrote this web page?


Recommended Reading
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips in book form.


Falling Families, Fallen Children by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Do our children see a mother and a father both living in contemplative love for God with a constant awareness of His presence and engaged in an all-out battle with the evil of the world? More often than not our children donít see living faith. They donít see protection from evil. They donít see genuine, fruitful devotion. They donít see genuine love for God. Instead, they see our external acts of devotion as meaningless because they see all the other things we do that contradict the true faith. Thus we lose credibilityóand when parents lose credibility, children become cynical and angry and turn to the social world around them for identity and acceptance. They are children who have more concern for social approval than for loving God. They are fallen children. Letís bring them back.

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