How to help my parents and brother's estrangement?
I am looking for advice / inspiration because our family has hit rock bottom (at least I hope it doesn't get any worse than this), and I've had no one to turn to. I'm really glad I found this forum to write out my thoughts and share, and hopefully get feedback.
My brother is 28 and almost completely estranged from our parents and me. My mom cries everytime she talks about him, my dad doesn't speak about him at all, and I also cry whenever I think of what's going on.
I'm not sure where to start so I guess I'll start form the beginning....
Growing up was very difficult for him, there was a lot of expectation and pressure put upon him to be perfect. He did "very well" (ie got into a top 10 university), but by sophomore year of college, he became a different person, stopped calling home, flunking out of school, etc. Ultimately my parents told him if he didn't shape up, they'd stop paying for school. He didn't, so they actually stopped paying and he took out school loans to complete his education. My parents were fine with that, as they thought that if he had the financial load upon himself, he'd shape up and realize the error of his ways. That didn't happen and he partied his way through a $200K education (I personally believe he thought my parents would take care of him in the end, as they are very well off).
Since then, he has not been able to land a real job. This has been unacceptable for my parents. They are hardworking immigrants and did everything to see us succeed. Right or wrong, they have always stressed success over everything else. Several years ago, he finally confessed that he'd been playing online poker full time but he said he was over that, and would try to find a good job. That never happened. Then a few years ago, he came home to live with them and work for their company with the understanding that my parents would pay back his school loans. That ended in disaster as he was stealing from my parents so they kicked him out and things went from bad to worse.
After leaving my parent's house, he moved cross country to live with friends. He currently still lives across the country from me or my parents, so we have no idea what's going on with him. He doesn't call, and returns 1 out of every 20 phone calls from me or my parents (actually my parents don't even try calling any longer).
I don't know if he's still gambling, on drugs, in a cult, etc. I don't know who he is anymore and everything out of his mouth (since his college days) is a lie. It kills me because he is *so* smart, talented, charismatic - he could literally do anything he wanted! My parents hate him, say that he is lazy, that there's nothing they can do to help him, etc but it kills me and i feel like they've given up on him.
My friends tell me that he's still only 28 and could change, but I'm scared we'll still be saying the same things when he's 38 or 48.
I am trying to be supportive to him, and also to my parents and just feel so hopeless. Has anyone experienced something similar? Any advice? I know there has been wrong on all sides, but how do we move forward and mend this family?