Can't Seem To Let go Of Anger At Abusive Brother & Dysfunctional Family
Obviously I could write a novel about all this but I will give the RDCV (Reader's Digest Condensed Version) as best I can.
My father left when I was 2, I am the youngest in what was 4 kids, now 3. My oldest brother ODed on heroine. I have 2 older brothers left. My youngest brother who is 5 years older than myself started sexually molesting me when I was 7. My mother was working full time to support us so there was a lot of time I was alone with him. I was afraid to tell my mother, afraid he would beat me up which he always did if I told on him for anything.
One day I was with a friend of mine down the street and I started crying. I told her what was happening and she insisted that I had to tell my mother. Of course I protested and she offered to go with me for support. When I did, the reaction I got was horrible. My brother stood there saying "She's lying, Mom." and my mother just kept saying, "What are you saying?" Instead, she focused on how inappropriate it was that I had my friend with me when I told her. I can imagine how that must have been embarrassing for her but she never brought up the subject again. It was neatly swept under the rug.
I was greatly affected by this. I did poorly in school, had terrible self esteem and got into trouble all the time. Never did she ask me, "What's going on with you?" I was just, "The bad kid."
My brother's abusive behavior continued whether it was physical or mental throughout my growing up and I just stuffed it away so I would not cause a rift in the family. All for my mother's sake as well as my own.
When I was twenty one, my brother and I got into a verbal fight, I had told my mother that he was planning on running her over again by doing things without asking her. He verbally ripped me apart for telling her. I finally lost it. I confronted him about what he did to me and why I hated him. First he denied it. Then he said I wanted it that way.
I started shaking so badly I didn't know what to do. I called my mother at work and told her what happened and stated I could not live under the same roof as him one more day. She said she would support me but the next day came and she told me I needed to straighten it out with him or we could both leave.
So, I left. I had nowhere to go but I would have slept in my car rather than spend another day living with someone that said, " I wanted it that way."
I ended up moving in with a fairly new boyfriend as he took pity on me. I went into a deep depression from there. I had many failed relationships with men, that one included, until my current boyfriend (fast forward to age 35). I almost lost him, except he showed me the mirror and forced me to look at how I kept sabotaging the relationship and that I would not allow him into my heart.
It brought all my anger right to the surface again because I realized then just how badly what my brother did affected me in so many areas of my life. From that point on, I insisted that I never wanted to see my brother or talk to him again. I even asked my Mom not to talk about him to me. I had had enough of putting on the act for everyone else's benefit but my own.
So far, I am happier for it.
Now my mother is aging. She relies upon me for damn near everything because both of my brothers are worthless. They only call or spend time with her when it's a holiday or they need something. This infuriates me. I realize I am still filled with anger and cannot seem to just accept them (including my mother) with all of their faults as she defends them.
Sometimes I think that I will be happiest when she finally dies so I can write my family off completely. Isn't that AWFUL????? I want to be able to let this go, but I don't know how. I know I am not perfect but I try to be the best person I can be everyday.
I am grateful to my boyfriend who stuck with me and helped me to realize what I was doing, we are still happily together. However, he is getting tired of watching me constantly get so upset at my family and tells me to learn to accept them for who they are. I don't know where to begin.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Taarna, and thanks for telling your story here. You are one of the champions. You are a survivor of a nightmare childhood, in which you had no protectors, and were forced to live with your perpetrator. What you experienced is worse than what a POW goes through, who is tortured by the enemy--because you were a child, and no one was interested in helping you. You were all alone, but thankfully you're not alone now.
And here you are, working to have a healthy relationship, and wanting to make peace with your family. After what you've been through, it's amazing that you can function at all. It is clear that you're a good person. That's your doing--your family certainly did not contribute.
I am going to suggest something you may not agree with. I suggest you stop being your mother's caretaker. I think as long as you continue to do that, you will stay angry, wishing she would die, and feeling guilty. The sons that she adores have abandoned her, and when you walk away too, perhaps she'll start to get the message of how she abandoned you as a child.
She is just as responsible as your brother is for the abuse. In some ways, she is more responsible--she was the adult who was supposed to supervise and protect. Your brother was still a kid when he started abusing you--that doesn't excuse it, I'm just pointing out that your mother was the one who was supposed to insure that her home was safe for her children. She failed.
If you can't walk away from her, then at least confront her with all of your feelings about what she did, and what she allowed your brother to do to you. I don't know what her condition is, so I realize this may not be feasible--you decide.
Here is a resource that will be helpful to you. Follow the guidelines you find there, and you will definitely benefit.
Believe in yourself, Taarna. Become a champion to that wounded little girl inside you.
My very best to you,