My older brother still won’t leave my parents’ home

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 40s. My older brother, who has a steady income, simply will not leave my parents’ house. He’s fighting with our father over it.

When my brother got his job over 20 years ago, he told my parents things like, “Please let me stay here a little bit longer” and so continued living at home. He’s obsessed with going to concerts and with trains, and all of his daily things like his meals, any cleaning and his laundry are done by my parents. He pays the majority of the daily living expenses for the house, but whatever’s leftover has to be paid for out of our father’s meager pension allotment.

My father says when he told my brother to get out, my brother got really angry and my father laments that my brother lacks any sense of filial piety. My brother seems to only be focused on the now, and I tell him: “What are you going to do about your future? Why not leave home?” But he remains uncommitted. In the past, he’s said, “I’ll leave soon,” but hasn’t then acted on it.

I’ve asked my mother to tell my brother to leave, too, but she said, “I don’t want to be alone with your father.” I’m at a loss here. My father is still complaining about my brother, but I’m just letting it pass. I really want my brother to not make problems for my parents.

A, Tokyo

Dear Mr. A:

I can’t clearly tell from your letter the degree of discord between your father and your older brother. Do you mean the two are continuously fighting? Guessing from your mother’s attitude, it’s not so serious, but I’m not sure.

By the way, you’ve left the house, haven’t you? Your brother is paying for most of the living expenses in the house, but are you helping out, too? Your father is paying for whatever is leftover, but if you as the younger brother are pretending not to notice this, then I think you have no right to harp on your brother.

Your brother is relying on his parents, but he’s also paying many of the household fees. If it’s not enough money, you should all discuss this as a family. Of course, this means you also need to give your parents money. This has nothing to do with your brother leaving or not leaving the house.

You say your brother is causing problems to your parents by being at home still, but why not ask your parents what they’re really thinking. Is it possible you’re simply jealous of your brother for being able to live at home for as long as he has?

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from March 30, 2018, issue)Speech

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