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Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

« The Process of Processing | Main | Blessed »
Saturday
Nov102012

Family Complications

Well I didn't see this one coming. Tonight our household attended my niece's housewarming party, and as soon as I walked into her living room I saw my younger brother, with whom I've been estranged for about 10 years.

He and Sissyface share the same father, the man who sexually violated all the girls in that House of Incest. Sissyface and I have always been close; I haven't ever been close to my brother, for no particular reason. The problem now is, he's a dead ringer for my stepdad. Same features, same laugh. My heart sunk the moment I laid eyes on my brother. 10 years ago he told my mother he wanted nothing to do with me or my sons. I still don't know the reason. And then tonight there he was, sitting in my niece's living room with his grown daughters and wife. The last time I spoke on the phone with his wife, she was ice cold. This was before I got the message that my sons and I weren't welcome in their lives, so her coldness--where before she'd always been friendly and effusive--puzzled and hurt me.

Much to my surprise, my brother stood up and hugged me. He's lost a bunch of weight, just shy of looking gaunt. There is a sadness about his eyes. He's more soft spoken than I remember.

His wife, in true blurting-everything-out-form said to him, "Don't you think Beauty looks just like your mom? She looks just like her."

My brother nodded, and added, "And sounds like her too."

I sent Sissyface an evil glance which translated meant, "How could you let me walk into this unprepared?"

The thing is, everyone there knew I have no relationship with my mother, so for my sister-inlaw to point out my resemblance to her was a tad bit insensitive.

I caught my brother gazing at me throughout the evening. I couldn't interpret his interest. Sadness, for all the years we've missed out on? Or what?

He related how he remembered when he was about 6, and suddenly I wasn't living at home anymore. I was 15, had just reunited with my biological father, and finally, in a sudden burst of audacity, told my mom I wanted to move in with him.

"One day you were just gone," my brother said. "No one explained anything."

Well, I could hardly say, in front of his family, my niece, my sons and grandkids, "I guess I just got tired of your father raping me every time I turned around. There wasn't any good way to explain that one." Also, does he even know about the abuses? Maybe he does and that's why he looked sad every time I caught his gaze.

Then one of my sons showed him the tattoos above his knuckles, which resulted in my brother talking about my stepdad's tattooed knuckles.

"They spelled out Hold Tight," he said. "At least I think so. For some reason he got mad whenever I wanted to read them, so I never got a good look."

I got plenty of good looks, I could have told him. His hands were all over me, all the time. And yes, the tattooed knuckles spelled out Hold Tight.

Stepping onto my niece's tiny back patio to smoke, a thought struck me. If my brother and I reconnect, I'll probably finally offer Mom forgiveness and reconnect with her too.

I'm not sure what that means. I'm confused. I don't how to feel about any of this. Though I hold no grudge against my brother, and in fact found myself liking him more and more as the evening advanced, I just don't know how, or if, he fits into my carefully constructed life. Who is he to me? Aside from our biological bond, is he anything to me now, all these decades since my truncated childhood?

I heard Sissyface later in the evening tell someone that Mom is coming to visit in December. Ah ha, I thought with a deepening sadness, that will be when we have our talk. I'll come over here to this house, and insist that we're left alone. Then I'll tell Mom I forgive her. Why though? Because she's old. Because she can't change what's behind us. Because it's the right thing to do. Is it?

For me the evening passed in a daze. My brother's wife and daughters warmed up to me once they saw that he was being friendly. That helped. But still the evening had about it a sense of the surreal. I felt as if I were acting an unrehearsed part in a play. I wanted my brother and his family to see how I interact with my sons and grandkids, and see for themselves that we are just people, like them. We're not freaks or anything, so really there was never any reason to cut us out of the picture. I hated feeling as if I needed to prove that to anyone. To feel as I have for so much of my life the need to excuse, or explain, my and my kids' place in this world.

Can we ever be good enough, just the way we are? Can our lives have value simply because we have life?

I've no idea where any of this will lead. My brother and I hugged again when they left, but there was no talk of getting together, or staying in touch. I'm not sure if that's because they were scurrying to get inside their car because of the cold. Maybe there isn't anything there for us, it could be that too much time has passed. And I think I'm ok with that, at least I want to be ok with it. I am weary of pursuing those who don't value me enough to put some effort into maintaining a relationship. I've done that too many times in my life.

As for my mother, we'll see what happens with that. I don't want to be impulsive. I don't want there to be some big family drama if I do decide to mend those fences. I can already imagine some thinking, Wow, Beauty finally came down off her high horse and let Mom/Grandma off the hook. Like this has all been my doing! Oh already I'm beginning to regret a reconciliation I haven't even fully decided on.

Will any of this break the dam inside of me, releasing decades of pent-up emotions? Will I, finally, cry?

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Wow, this is all heavy! I sure don't feel this means you need to forgive your mother. I hope you're doing okay after such an unexpected and triggering surprise.

November 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKali

Oh Beauty. I hate that no one warned you they would be there so you could be prepared.

My first reaction was that maybe he didn't know about the abuse. If your abuser didn't abuse him, and he wasn't sharing rooms with any of the sisters, he could really not know (or not know for sure). And then at some point, someone could have used his confusion and pain at your "sudden departure" in his childhood to turn him against you by telling him who knows what kind of lies about you.

BUT. that is just a possibility. And I don't know, even if it is true, if it changes anything. Like you said, "Who is he to me? Aside from our biological bond, is he anything to me now, all these decades since my truncated childhood?" Maybe he isn't. And that is okay.

I don't know. I'm tempted to erase all of this, because it is such a BIG situation, and I'm not sure if any of the above is helpful.

So let me just say this. You and your kids have great value in this world. And you shouldn't be put in a position to prove that to anyone.

As for your mom, I have no advice (and you probably don't actually need advice), I will support you whatever you decide to do.

November 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracie

Kali,

It was one of the weirdest nights of my life. Not traumatic, as it would have been if it had been my mother sitting there unexpectedly. But just plain weird.

I sometimes think I have no emotions. I don't really have any feelings towards my brother one way or the other. I felt myself drawn towards him throughout the evening, in a yearning sort of way, but I can't really say I love him. I'm just so confused.

November 11, 2012 | Registered Commenterbeautifuldreamer

Tracie,

It didn't even occur to me, when I received the housewarming invitation, that my brother and his family might be there. Normally this is something that would've crossed my mind, and it would've been enough to keep me from attending.

I don't think even Sissyface knows how much my brother is aware of regarding our childhoods. He wasn't sexually abused, but I remember when he was about 3, watching in horror as my step dad threw him against the garage door for crying. For sure he has his own issues with his dad; I just don't think he knows the extent of what went on under that roof. And I'm not sure it's my place to inform him.

I'm having trouble processing all this. I don't like surprises to begin with, especially ones of this nature.

Thanks for your support! I don't know where this will lead, if anywhere. It could be another dead end. Last evening I felt a stab of longing as I visited with my brother and his family, the longing of one who has been left out and, just for once, would like to be included--to be desired and one of the chosen.

I imagine when December rolls around I'll be put, once more, into the uncomfortable position of being the only non-participant in family get-togethers. This is getting mighty redundant, yet I don't want to initiate a reconciliation with my mom just to avoid being the odd man out. Bleh, seems I can't win no matter what I do.

November 11, 2012 | Registered Commenterbeautifuldreamer

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