My Unemployed Brother Has Dropped out of Society

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 30s. I’m asking for advice about my brother who is two years older than me. He doesn’t work and has dropped out of society.

My brother graduated from a private university in Tokyo, completed his studies at a national graduate school and landed a job at a major company.

However, he quit after one year because he did not get along with people at work, and he also had health problems. He then started his own business, but that didn’t work out either, so he returned home to live with our parents.

My brother has no friends. He has a strong sense of pride by nature, and he tends to look down on people. He seems to have a hard time building relationships. He blames his family and others for his problems.

He does not even work part-time, although he is looking for a job. He has high ideals for a job he wants, perhaps because of his personality or his past career.

My parents want him to work, no matter what kind job he takes, but he won’t listen to them. He won’t hear me out either, saying such things as: “Don’t be arrogant. You’re younger than me.”

I sometimes suspect that he might count on my parents’ pension for his future. How should I deal with my brother?

B, Nara Prefecture

Dear Mr. B:

It has long been said that brothers tend to have opposite personalities. Your brother seems to be an easygoing person who doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to, while you seem to be cautious and take a safe option.

You may think that what your brother is doing is reprehensible, but from your brother’s point of view, he may think that your way of living is boring.

You can’t change a person’s character and basic way of living to suit your own convenience. However, I understand that it is difficult to completely break off your relationship with him, and that you are worried about your parents.

I believe that your brother is aware that he stands in an uncertain position regarding his future. The only thing you can do is to let him do as he wants, while keeping in touch with your parents.

It might be good to tell him that you will have no involvement in his life, no matter what happens. However, you should immediately intervene if he makes your parents’ lives difficult.

You are bothered by your brother perhaps because you might be a little tired.

I suggest that you think about yourself first and enjoy your own life.

Masahiro Yamada, university professor