Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Issues

My brother and I have never been friends. He is 7 years older than me. When we were young, he was mean to me. He didn’t just tease me, he was awful. He made me believe that I was adopted and gave me all of the details of the adoption. I was assured that it was true, how else would he have all of the details? He lied to me about so many things. He put me on my pony, at age 3, bareback and then kicked the pony so it would buck me off. He locked me in a shed with a hornets’ nest, after he poked the nest with a stick. He would convince me to play “trust” games, where he would have me fall back into his arms, but he wouldn’t catch me. I would fall down hard; he would just laugh and tell me I was stupid. He would shut off the lights or blindfold me and point me towards a wall and tell me to run to my Dad, that Dad is right there. I would run, hit the wall and fall down. I was so little, my default was to trust him. I wasn’t stupid, I was young and trusting. I was 3 and 4 years old for gods’ sake. To this day, my mom will tell people those stories and laugh and say, “Sarah was so stupid when she was little!”

As I got older, my brother pretended I didn’t exist. I was literally nothing to him. He would walk by me and pretend he didn’t hear me when I would speak. When I got to be in middle school and high school, after he was out of the house, when I started dating, he would come over and tell me what scum my boyfriends were. The more I liked a guy, the more he would rip him apart.

His daughter was born with a disability, and Ashley was born less than a year later, healthy as could be. Then the jealousy kicked in. When my mom would talk to him about Ashley (I lived in the same town with my parents, so they saw Ashley more than they saw his daughter) and he would get mad that they thought Ashley was so great. I didn’t talk to him, so I certainly wasn’t encouraging any competition. As the girls have gotten older, Ashley has excelled in many areas where his daughter hasn’t. The girls email each other and talk on the phone and get along great, I don’t think that there is any competition between them; it’s all on my brother.

My brother is wealthy, mostly by marriage, and feels that everyone who isn’t wealthy is lazy. My brother owns his own business (a cleaning business, not anything huge) and he refuses to hire people of color. He believes that if you are in this country you should speak perfect English, if not, you should be deported. Never mind that our ancestors came here speaking only German or Irish just a few generations ago.

He is the type of person who will hear something and believe it. He will believe it forever, no matter if there is later evidence to the contrary. He believes that Iraq was responsible for 9/11/01 and that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He believes that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He believes that men are smarter than women, and that whites are smarter than any minority. He hates gays and overweight people. He is awful.

Not all people with those views are awful. I, personally, think that they are wrong, but are entitled to their views and beliefs. I have a problem when someone thinks that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong or stupid.

My brother recently told me via email that I have a mental disorder and I am uneducated. When I responded that he was being mean, that I am still his sister, even though we disagree, he told me that he doesn’t care if he offends a liberal and I should never email him again.

My brother has been a bully his whole life. He has been abusive to girl friends and wives and has had restraining orders against him on several occasions. His wife almost lost her kids because of my brother attacking her ex husband.
I look at him and I judge, I disagree with the way he raises his children. I disagree with the way he treats his step children and how even after raising them for 10 years, they are still “not his kids”. I disagree with the way he spends his money and the way he treats my parents. I know I shouldn’t judge, but I do. I usually don’t judge him out loud to others, but judging on the inside is just as bad for my soul. I am hoping that by letting it out to the blogosphere I will be able to let it go. I can’t hold it all in any more.

I look at my husband’s family; I look at the 12 year age difference between Christopher and his youngest sister. His sister is very conservative and believes a lot of the things that my brother believes. Christopher, like me, is very liberal and disagrees with almost everything that his sister believes. They both know this and they still love each other. They can still talk and enjoy each other’s company. They are family.

I was raised in a family unit where we were taught that teasing was okay, laughing at others was okay and they your friends should look like you and think like you. If you disagree with someone, you yell at them. If they talk back to you, you put them in their place with humiliation or force. My family discouraged me from going to college; they all felt it was a waste of money. Even now, as a 31 year old student, my parents don’t understand why I am spending money on school. They think I should be spending the money on other things.

I like who I am. I didn’t for years. I cut myself, drank, did drugs and had sex to numb myself. I had over 20 sexual partners by the time I was 16. I never stayed faithful to anyone, even after I got married for the first time. I didn’t care about my life. Then I had Ashley. I started to care. I decided to go to college, I realized than in order to raise my daughter and help her grow into the type of woman I want her to be, I would have to become that woman myself. I decided that being divorced was better than being in an awful marriage. I decided that I was done with men. Then, I met Christopher. I never wanted to be faithful to anyone until I met Christopher.

I took the chance to start fresh and I have never been happier. My daughter has had the experiences and opportunities that I didn’t get to have. It comes down to this. I like myself now, I don’t like who I was, I don’t like the way I was raised, I don’t like the morals, or lack of morals, that my family has. I became a Christian about 8 years ago and I have tried to live according to those Christian values. So I need to stop judging, I need to turn the other cheek and love my brother. I can’t do that until I get all this crap out of me though. So there you go, you got to read all my crap. I hope you don’t judge me for who I was, or who I am. I am doing the best I can.

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