In writing my memoir, Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey To Love, there were a few things that seem to happen repeatedly. One of the things that kept happening was that I would mention a traumatic event that had happened in my life, and thought that I had already mentioned it in an earlier chapter.
In all of these instances, it was not child sexual abuse that I was confusing for being in an earlier chapter, it was events that I remember as painful to which my brother was involved. During the writing process of the book, I began to realize just how traumatized I was by my brother. Of course, I talk about a lot in the book.
I even speak openly about some issues with my sister and mother, but I remember trying not to say anything particularly harmful against my brother. The truth is, the wounds that I feel as a result of the things that happened in our relationship cut me deeper than many things that I have been through in life.
I have initiated family counseling on several occasions over a very long period of time. In my last attempt to encourage healing within our immediate family I asked again if siblings and my mother would participate in family therapy. My brother has refused. We have all asked him. He continues that there is nothing wrong with him.
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I am still in deep pain over many things that he has done to me, and if no one else showed up for counseling I really hoped that he would so that our relationship would have a chance to heal. Instead, I must keep with my personal standards to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships by any means necessary.
My brothers choice to remain emotionally absent is unhealthy, but I feel that as a writer, and a woman perhaps the only way for me to get real closure is to write it down. When I release this I fully expect to move past the pain and continue my life fostering healthy relationships with people who actually invest their time, and show their love in their actions toward me.
Without further ado……
When I was four and molested I conspired a plan for you to find out and hurt the person who did this to me. You said nothing, and you did nothing. When I was five or so, you put me on the telephone with a girlfriend after bragging that you had a “bad little sister” and that I could curse fluently.
To convince her, you then put me on the phone and told me to curse her out. I did not want to, but I felt under pressure. At six, I remember having holes in my shoes and seeing that you kept twenty pair of fresh shoes so I asked if you could buy me some tennis shoes. Your reply, “I’m not buying you no shoes because you’re too bad.”
When I was eight we got into a fight and you almost choked me to death. From what I hear from the family, apparently you are holding that against me but you were 22! The only reason I did not pass out from you choking me was because our sister punched you in the face to save my life.
On another occasion, you who were built just like LL Cool J put my head between your legs and started beating me, but you didn’t stop. Again, our sister had to jump in and punch you in the face repeatedly until you stopped beating me. I have nothing against spankings or whoopings personally however they must not be done out of anger and with the intention to harm
your a child.
You stole my money that I was saving for mom’s Mother’s Day gift. $60 is a lot to a six-year-old. And then there were the gun fight, the violence against women, and me walking in my bedroom (after you kicked me out) while you were fingering your girlfriend at the time.
You moved girlfriends into the house with their children, and my space was invaded. I had to share my room with children who honestly I didn’t know, and they did not stay around because again, they were just girlfriends. On one of those occasions something happened to me which I have never shared, and choose not to now. You never cared about me. I was always in the way, which is why I was always a fly on the wall. I was an inconvenience.
You were strung out on drugs, and scared the hell out of the entire family. I lived in both fear and hatred of you, not knowing how you would treat me next, or what would happen if you came around. What I did know is that there would be a new girl, and a new pair of tennis shoes.
When I was going to high school, you told me I needed to stop looking like a “Tom Boy”. Notice you did not say I had to stop being a tom boy or I probably would have tried to change myself. But, I immediately stopped looking like one. I had Tamara teach me how to do my own hair, and I tried to start wearing tighter clothes or I should say clothes that fit, when I was not playing basketball. The next time you came around, I asked if I looked better and you kind of shrugged it off with a few snide remarks.
When I came to you at 14 shaking with uncertainty in every inch of my body (you were the last person I wanted to tell because I clearly cared about what you thought of me), and I revealed that I was pregnant, you said with a disgusted look on your face, “I’m not surprised!”
Well damn! I was. You never offered to help me. In fact, I remember an argument later when you accused me of not being capable of raising my child and leaving it for my mother to do. I moved out at sixteen because of you. I wanted to prove that I could raise my own child. I did not want this being held over my head. Never mind that our oldest sister had a child at sixteen, no one ever seems to mention that. And then after I moved out, ma gave up her apartment for reasons that I did not even know about at the time, and that too was blamed on me.
But, when you got into rehab and you decided to change your life, our mother came to me and told me that we had to come together to support you. She did not want me to hold all of the things that you had done to me against you. She wanted you to have a clean slate. She advised that I should treat you like you have changed, and not like the person that you were.
It is hard to tell a child to do this, but I have always felt and understood deeply beyond my years. And, so I got it. I understood that you were going through a program that would help you to overcome your drug addiction.
In response to my mother’s request, I shifted. I, still filled with a painful bewilderment about everything that had happened until this point, chose to join the family in support of your recovery. You never even knew I existed it seemed, unless you were talking bad about me.
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When I got in trouble at eighteen, you came to apologize to me for everything that you had ever done to me. You were responsible for helping me to want to heal from being such an angry person at that time.
I cried a sea, and it seemed that all of the hatred that I had for you began to lift. But you did not change as a person. As it turned out you were coming to apologize to me, as you had many people who you felt you had wronged in order to fulfill your 12-step treatment obligations.
Today, as a woman I write this and intellectually I can say that you do not know me. In fact, you’ve never known me because you have never wanted to. While I do not blame you for my actions, I am not responsible for what I am taught as a child.
I am responsible as an adult to make decisions that would help me to heal, grow and live my best life, which I have done since I turned 18. I made a decision to overcome generational curses of anger, abuse and poverty.
When our father died, you embarrassed me at the funeral. Any time we are in the same place you shut me out, or tell me that my thoughts are insignificant in some way and order me to shut up.
You seem so embarrassed by me but I’m sure that is because of your own personal perceptions. No one told all of you to tell our cousins and extended family members how bad I was. Now, I dread seeing anyone who knows any of you including extended family members because they only talk about me being bad as a child instead of choosing to get to know me.
They are always so surprised that I have any talents like writing, or that I have any spiritual beliefs at all. Part of the ignorance can be attributed to them, but much of it has to do with you and my other siblings never having one positive thing to say about me.
In my adult life, I have called you to connect. You promised to take me to see Chuck Brown for my 21st birthday. I told my closest friends at the time. I could not wait. I was prepared to take pictures. I thought that this was going to be the beginning of me having you as my big brother and people could stop us on the street together and tell us how much we look-alike.
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But no, instead you did not call, you did not show you forgot me again. Months went by, and I finally called to ask you why you stood me up, on my birthday – New Year’s Eve of all days. Your response, a woman called and you forgot all about me. You took her instead.
Every time I ask about family counseling you never want to attend. You always say that everyone else has the problem. Then when you talk to Ma, you say that I’m the real problem. I spent the last few years doing some intense work on myself concerning my family and my stance with the types of relationships that I am willing to accept in my life.
During this last attempt at healing, I personally called you to ask that you attend counseling with us. You said that you’ve done your own healing work with individualized sessions. Those sessions are helpful for you. They support your thoughts and your point of view only, but they do nothing to bridge the gap that has been created by the pain that you have caused me.
I always supported you changing as I mentioned earlier, but you have never ever thought of me any different than the little girl that you hated. And to be honest, subconsciously I wanted to be like you with the exception of the addiction. Everyone always said that we look so much alike that it really was the only thing I held on to that made me feel connected.
Years ago, you discounted me, as you always do saying that I did not have to grow up in the house with our dad so I don’t know nothing about what you all went through. According to the family, you were his chosen child so I could argue, that you have no idea. The truth is, we were both traumatized, in different ways and for you to always view me as meaningless is just as psychologically damaging as your father quite frankly.
And, you never protected me from him. When I as any daddy’s girl would crave to be around my father and did not understand that he was a maniac, you never once prevented me from being around him. I could have been saved from the trauma that I did have when I was around him.
Of course, there are other situations that have happened in my twenties where I have tried to connect with you, and hoped that what you said that day that you apologized was what was truly in your heart. What I understand now is that it was all about you. It is always all about you.
Recently, when I called to ask you about counseling, you gave me your excuses blaming others in the family and saying that you did not have any reason to go because no one should have any problems with you. I swallowed any concerns I had about you going off on me (as you did the last time we spoke – cursing and disrespecting me like a mad man), and I spoke up. I told you that I have unresolved issues with you.
As usual, you did not have time. You said ten times repeatedly, “You want to know how I feel about you, you’re my little sister and I love you.” But you’re lying. You don’t love me. You rushed off of the phone, told me to call you back another time. I did. And, you rushed me off of the phone then too. I am not a child. I have my own set of responsibilities in life, and I’m not going to spend my life chasing you or begging you to talk to me.
So, I sent you a lengthy text telling you just that. Did you respond? No. You called our mother to talk about how absurd it was that I texted you. And I have heard nothing from you since.
You are totally inaccessible. As a christian, we have been taught false teachings about what walking in love is, what forgiveness and acceptance is. There are many preachers requiring us to apply principles that are simply not bible.
While I am required to love you, I am not required to forgive you until you ask forgiveness through repentance. To repent means that you are making a change, turning away from the thing that you are apologizing for in the first place. God would not require us to do something for each other that he has not required us to do regarding himself.
While I have made a conscious choice, a heart decision not to hate you, and to wish the absolute best for you, I do not have to like or approve of how you choose to treat me. I also am not required to keep opening the door on a non-existent relationship.
So, here is my perspective on a healthy relationship. There are two emotionally, spiritually and physically present people involved in the relationship. This means that we contact each other, we make time for each other. We communicate without calling third parties. I have noticed that one of the reasons that I am hated in the family is because I’m not going to call a sibling to tell them how I feel about you. I will tell you. While some people in the family think they live by this, they don’t and that includes you.
Christians also get this wrong too. Walking in love is not just about going into your prayer closet for a person. The bible is clear that if we have an issue with someone we are to confront them, in love.
I am only open to healthy relationships. And while I had hoped that you would come around and attend family counseling so that we could work through all of this, I realize that you are not in a place to do so.
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The bible says that I am to forgive someone seventy times seven times. People mistake this passage to mean that we should arbitrarily forgive. But what is the process of forgiveness? As I mentioned earlier there must be repentance. You haven’t repented but my responsibility for myself requires that I always remain open for the day that you choose to ask for forgiveness, and I will grant it.
I’m tired of trying to develop relationships with people who really do not love me, and do not desire a healthy relationship. I am done with this. This letter serves as an eviction notice to all of the unresolved pain, trauma and deep levels of hurt that I have had continuously by you in your presence and by memory.
I have exhausted my options and I am free. Your choice to ignore and abandon me is indeed your choice and I live with that by choosing to loose you so that God can continue to bring others in my life who love me in an unforgettable, unconditional way.
All I have ever wanted was for you to get to know me as a person, and grant me the same freedom to become who I am without your constant judgment, selfishness, narcissism, and commentary regarding your assumption of who I am. What you may not realize is that everyone has their own life story, challenges that have made or broken them.
I have supported your growth, but now I realize that I have out grown you.
I pray that as you begin your journey in matrimony, the unconditional love that you are shown serves as a model for how you treat others.
I free myself.
What is important to me now, is that I continue on my path to impact lives and leave a mark so others will remember that I was here.
Ressurrection is an author and speaker on subjects surrounding dysfunctional family relationships, healing and prevention of child sexual abuse, and creator of the only online healing program dedicated to incest survivors www.ajourneytoloveyou.com (launch December 31, 2012 11:59pm)
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