How to help my brother

Since young, I always felt like my older brother cannot control his emotions very well. When he gets angry, he gets out of control such as as smashing things and once he even kicked our house’s artificial wall and punctured a hole in it… Now he is 25 years old and he is staying with his girlfriend. From what I heard from him, sometimes his emotions can be so intense during their arguments, he would like to smash things or even punch the wall which resulted in him hurting himself. Some of the things he has smashed is his ipad he is using for uni and even a monitor… I guess he does not want to physically harm any humans, so he uses items instead to relieve his stress/anger.

This is definitely not normal and I wish he is able to seek help but he is not very receptive about the idea of seeking professional help. I have been telling him for months that he MUST seek help and this is not normal. He always tells me that he won’t ever do it again and yet time and time again, his anger cannot be controlled.

When he isn’t angry, my brother is a very happy and carefree person. So he likes to ease everyone into thinking that he is fine and that everything is normal… When we bring up such topics about seeking help when he is in this happy/carefree state, he would happily brush it off at first until we get into his nerve again and tell us that we are trying to ruin his image. He also told us that if we keep on mentioning things like his problems and telling him to seek help, he would get even more stressed and his studies would be affected. He is now in his final semester of Uni and is about to graduate soon. I am just very worried about his future, as he might turn into an abusive family member in the future or he might even harm himself further during these anger episodes.

Please give me advice on how my family can help my brother and how we can convince him to seek professional help without triggering him.

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Hello there @spreadlove

Thanks for coming on and sharing about your struggles. I hear how much concern that you have for your older brother, and that shows more how much of care you have for him (kinda like your username) and his wellbeing given how his anger responses appear quite intense.

You’re worried of the effects of his anger towards the people close to him as well as his studies, though he tries to release his anger on things and not hurt others. You’re able to observe this and trying to offer him a channel to seek help although he appears to not be as ready for it, as compared to the family…

Typically emotions serve as a messenger on how we feel about a situation, which provides information about what we seek or could be short of. In this case, your brother’s anger is experienced and expressed in a manner that I wonder might not exactly address his need fully. Also, though his anger is expressed, is the initial issue regarding it (e.g., boundaries crossed, perceived to be treated unfairly, feeling hurt, etc.) resolved? :thinking: What is it that he really needs that is not met?

I hear you about the option of professional support as you can see the value of reaching out. Perhaps he can also reach out to people that he feels comfortable with and trust to help him open up more to the possibility of talking about it. Perhaps having an open conversation (using open-endeds question like, “How are you coping with studies? How are things at your place”) where everyone is calm, might get to hear from him about how he really feels and then getting yourself heard by sharing your thoughts and feelings with I statements: I think/feel … because… and I would prefer that (what you would like done instead). This way, you can get your concerns across and in a manner that your brother can listen and understand clearly. And hopefully this non-judgmental stance helps him to get his thoughts and feelings across in a similar manner.

Additionally, here’s a list of resources of professional services that you can check out:

  1. Samaritans of Singapore (1-767)
  2. James Cook University Clinic
  3. NIE Wellness Centre
  4. NUS Clinical & Health Psychology Centre

I hope this helps you a bit and let us know how else we can support you in this. :slightly_smiling_face: Take care!

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Sounds like anger management issues. Does he recognize that it’s hard for him to control his anger?

Maybe when he is happy, can set some ground rules with him that he shouldn’t be smashing and damaging stuff - and if he does, then he’ll need to go see a professional with you.

Or actually if you wanna try take things in your own hands, maybe can find and share alternative ways to cope with the anger? How do you cope with your own anger - maybe can share that with him and see if he’s willing to try?