Tag Archives: haunted

My brother: Chapter 3: ME.

That phone conversation sent me into the dark place… that place where I go when I feel emotionally trapped.  I’ve been to that place oh so many times over the years.  I’ve lived there for months at a time.  I don’t go there very often any more, but when I do, I go with a new awareness that makes the pain deeper, and therefore shorter lasting.  There was nothing I could say… nothing.  Anything I said would have made me look like the ass hole.  I couldn’t believe the tone in his voice, the matter-of-fact way with which he spoke… the absolute void-of-emotion conversation we were having.  He was leaving to go back across the ocean in less than 24 hours… no desire to see your sister who is one of the greatest people you’ve ever known???  No NEED to see her and hug her and say thank you, I love you, one more time?  No.  Nothing but a slight obligatory tone indicative of a family member who is obligated to appease another family member just by showing up when is expected.  And then my mind started spinning…

Of course he was acting distant to me now that he’d come home and my parents were completely and amazingly supportive of his situation.  He’d called them and told them and given them a few days to think it over before he called back to tell them he was coming home to marry Rachel.  I finally spoke to my mother about it and her word-for-word comments were these,”I mean, what are we supposed to do, but be supportive?  We can make a big deal about it and worry about what everyone will think, or we can just accept that this is what it is and love them and be the supportive parents that they need us to be right now.  It could be a lot worse.”

Pause still for shock and awe.

My jaw nearly fell off my face.  After a few seconds of speechlessness, I managed to tell her how proud I was for her and how right she was.  I told her I was proud of her three times.  She acted surprised… and finally said, “Well, ya know, we’ve been through a lot, Ellie, and we aren’t going to be the kind of parents that aren’t there for our children.  I can’t tell you what some of my cousins went through with their families and the lack of support they received.  We’re just not going to do that.”  She talked a little bit more but I tuned her out… I told her I was proud of her for the last time and we said goodbye.

I shared this apparent awakening with an old friend and was able to laugh about how I feel that I have a right to take credit for some of that obvious emotional growth and development that has occurred in my parents… I like to think I broke them in with my bi-racial marriage and all.  They ignored my husband’s existence for 2 years and lectured me about how they’d burn in hell before they had black grand-babies… they told me at the age of 25 that I had no “idea” what I was doing and that I “better stop it now” before it’s “too late.”  Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what they meant by “too late.”  They never reacted well to any situation I found myself in.  They were never supportive of me in my darkest hours when I needed them the most.  As proud as I was of them for the way they were handling this situation, their ease and acceptance just dug the knife they planted in my heart many years ago in just a little bit deeper.  That is a pain that is profound and very energy consuming to cover up when they are around.

So, here was my brother, home and spending time with my mom and dad who completely and almost immediately embraced him and the girl they once said they could not stand.  They surrounded him with the love and support he needed almost immediately, as he said they would.  He told me, “they don’t have a choice, they’ll love her and be supportive of her because our family is amazing and that’s what families do.”  It has taken me years of therapy to realize that they very much do have a choice when it comes to what kind of parents they choose to be.  I am finally beginning to understand this. Parents always have a choice as to how they will react to their children.  Herein lies the “ME” part of this chapter.

In my frustration, I tried calling my parents, no answer.  I tried calling my sister, no answer.  I just could not bring myself to seek comfort from my husband, who had the knowledge to offer the most compassion, but lacks a general ability to actually show compassion, which presents an obvious problem. But, I decided to tell him anyway because quite frankly, he was the only one who knew the history and sometimes I just can’t be bothered explaining it all, nor do I want everyone in my life to know the drama that is my family.  I explained to my husband that I was feeling hurt by the entire situation on multiple levels:  hurt that my brother was showing no interest or even care about whether or not he saw me before he left the country, hurt that my parents had shown him such support and love when I never have been able to receive that from them. I told him that if it were not for me and all of the things I “put them through,” this would never be.  His response did not shock me… he told me “Don’t even take it there, Ellie.  Don’t even take it there. This isn’t about you or your parents…”  I stopped him and calmly explained that the situation involves me because of the bond I have with my brother.  I explained that I am allowed and should be granted full permission in my own house to feel things as I need to feel them as I adjust to the situation.  I explained that he must understand my shock and awe at my parents behavior considering that I had received such opposite behavior from them on multiple occasions in my life.  Certainly, he could understand that?? Apparently not. So, I told the blog. 😉

They finally came by; it was after their dinner reservations, around 9pm.  I’d just put my son to bed.  As soon as I saw him, all the anger and hurt I’d been feeling all day naturally disappeared.  I hugged him and told him to please keep in touch once he was back home.  I’m a bit of an over protective sister at this point and I do recognize that I have some adjusting to do, but who wouldn’t?  


My brother: Chapter 1: Shotgun

My brother just had a shotgun wedding.

1. shotgun wedding
where one or both parties are forced into marriage due to an unplanned pregnancy
– Urban Dictionary

Everyone must know what that is, but for some reason I felt the need to google it.  Gotta love the Urban Dictionary.  So, I have a new sister-in-law!  That I barely know!  This is all fine and well.  My brother and I have always had a unique bond and I’ve always felt that he has some kind of 6th sense when it comes to me.  Well, maybe not always.  He came to live with my husband and I for a while after he almost drank himself to death and could not go home to live with my parents because after 3 times of this happening before, they finally shut their door to him.  My husband and I were happy to welcome him into our home with just a few adult rules, including “no drinking” for the alcoholic who wouldn’t admit he was an alcoholic.  My mother begged me not to let him live with me, swearing up and down that it would ruin our relationship.  “That’s impossible,” I’d tell her, “Me and my brother have a bond that no one understands… it is impossible to ruin.”  He lived with us for four months and witnessed a lot of the same problems between me and my husband that we still deal with.  At one point, he made the gigantic mistake of inserting his 2 cents into the “problem” that he presumed he understood.  He’s always really looked up to my husband for many reasons.  He said to me, “Sometimes you just have to let things go.  I hear you talking about the same one issue over and over and it’s exhausting.  That’s one of my pet peeves!  I hate it when people do that!  Just let it go!”

Maybe that was the point things started to change… but over the course of the last month he lived with us as he completely ran out of money and as a result became very anxious and unappreciative, he finally told me to “Shut up” and that was it.  I told him to get out.  My brother and I hadn’t fought since we were kids.  Adult fighting really is so much worse.  I hated it.  I had hated the last two months he was with us, because he had turned into someone I didn’t recognize again.  You can never really know a person until they live with you, though.  It’s the truth.  Living together as children, again, is very different from living together as adults.  He would sit on my couch and watch South Park and Reno 911 for hours.  I would come home from work, at a job I could not stand, and he’d be on my couch, laughing as if he didn’t have a care in the world.  I’d find myself asking his permission to change the channel on the TV that I paid for… the channels on the cable plan that I paid for.  He had ultimately no respect for what we were doing for him towards the end of his stay. And, much to my mom’s heartbreak, it definitely did ruin our relationship for a couple of years.  He never called me.  I didn’t exactly seek him out either, it was pretty hard to swallow the disrespect in the end mostly because I had never experienced anything but the utmost respect and friendship from my brother.  When he finally got himself back together and moved back in with my parents, he would always call my sister first if he needed to come to our town, which was quite often as he was prepping for the NAVY and had frequent check-ins.  It was painful – I’ll never know if it was painful for him because he has re-entered a shell over the years.  He pokes out now and then, usually when he’s drunk.  I’ve gotten an email or a phone call about how wonderful I am and how much he loves me in the last two years since he’s been in the NAVY now.

The latest call that made me think he was truly “back” involved the latest news.  He was drunk, and shaky and scared out of his mind.  The details don’t matter – what happens next does.  My brother and I have a wonderful talk and he admits for the first time that he knows he’s an alcoholic and that it is harder for him not to drink than it is for him to drink.  He tells me he is afraid of failing and afraid of screwing everything up – afraid of not being man enough to raise a baby or be a good husband.  He tells me all his fears and I pump him with the confidence I know he needs although inside I am crying in my fear.  I was so honored that I received that call; that he had reached out to me first.  He told me that he loved me and that he knew I would know just what to say to make him feel better about things.  I told him that I would do anything to help him because he had always been there to help me in my darkest hours.  I relied on him for my only support system many times.  And, he’s my little brother.  But numerous times when my mom and dad did not have the emotional capability to mother and father me the way they should have, my brother stepped up and did his part to be sure I knew I wasn’t alone.  The fist time I ever experienced major depression and felt trapped (because I pretty much was) in my parents’ dysfunction emotionally and physically, my brother invited me to go on a date with him… out of the blue.  He just asked me one day if I’d let him take me on a date.  It was honestly the first genuinely no-strings-attached nice thing anyone in my house had asked of me for as long as I could remember.  So, I said yes.  We rode the bus to the movies downtown, he bought me a single red rose, and we even held hands.  People probably thought we were actually on a date, it was so sweet.  I’m sure my parents gave him money and admired his gesture… they had told me just weeks before that I should consider how my depression was affecting my “little brother.”  It didn’t seem to be affecting him at all; he seemed to simply understand that I was very, very sad.  Sad enough to want to end my life.  He understood that I needed some positive human interaction.  He probably saved my life that night.  I’ll never forget it.  I didn’t really understand why he was being so nice to me – he was only 14 years old and I didn’t comprehend how he could be so tuned into the situation.  Especially, because my parents obviously had no regard for his emotional intelligence because they had no concept of “emotional intelligence” at all themselves, and certainly a 14-year-old child could not have the ability to think rationally for himself.  We’ve surprised our parents, many times over the years.

About 3 years later, I had to be hospitalized because I calmly explained to my roommate that when she left to take her exams the next day, I was going to take my entire bottle of Ambien sleeping pills and call it quits.  I was scared to call my dad to ask for the insurance information required for my stay, so my roommate did it for me.  I am pretty sure I have an idea of what he said to her that day, but she never told me.  She just told me “Your dad’s an ass hole, no wonder you’re here.”  Somehow we managed to get the insurance information, which means someone was able to convince my dad that I actually was in need of some serious medical intervention… that depression is actually not something people just make up for fun or boredom.  What I didn’t know at the time was that my brother was home the day my roommate called him and got to witness and hear out loud my father’s thoughts after learning that his daughter had been hospitalized for wanting to end her life.  I would come to learn that the words he first uttered were “What are people going to think of our family?”

Eight days later, my family was required to come in for a family meeting so that the doctors could be sure that I was going home to a safe environment.  Here’s out that played out: two therapists sat in the room with me as my family entered one by one, a small room full of chairs placed in a circle.  I stood up to greet them but every single one of them walked past me without even acknowledging my existence, except for my brother.  He was last to come in and he gave me the biggest hug you can imagine.  Again, he’ll never know that hug saved me because there’s no way to verbalize that to someone.  I’ve told him many times how much it meant to me… but there is no way that he could ever know how powerful it truly was.  It will not surprise you that approximately 60 seconds later, the head social worker/counselor looked at me and asked me to come outside the room.  “That was all I needed to see, honey.  Your entire family needs to be committed, save your brother.  You’re the sanest one among all of them.  We’re not going to have that meeting because what I just witnessed was enough for me to know that it is not safe for you to go home with them.  But you are ready to go home; do you have anyone else who you can stay with for now?  Is there anyone that you can call?”

And there it was… maybe for the first time in my life… some solid validation that I needed in a major way.  There were actual reasons for my depression, particularly this episode, that had nothing to do with my family.  They just couldn’t separate themselves or their need to “keep up with the Joneses” long enough to comprehend what was actually happening and what horrific parents they were proving to be in this particular situation.  But, my brother could and did.


Courage and Cravings

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
― Maya Angelou

Blogging can be lonely as hell.  So can marriage.  Let me tell you, I don’t know what keeps me writing or fighting sometimes.  Is it courage?  Or insanity?  What makes me so scared to start saving money and making this divorce happen?  What makes me believe that there could still be hope?  I feel these days like I’m slowly coming apart at the seams despite my incredible determination not to.  I believe it’s just exhaustion… shear exhaustion.  Exhaustion from years of trying to explain myself and the problems to my husband.  Years.  YEARS.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ― Dale Carnegie

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher

“Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.”
― Samuel Johnson

He is trying.  I can tell.  In the last few days there have been some signs of a fundamental change.  I know it will not happen over night.  The only problem with it is that it is so incredibly late.  I want to feel grateful and relieved and “back to normal.”  I want to crave him… but I don’t.

The only thing I crave these days are my dreams.  I’ve been having recurring dreams of the one that got away; rather, the one that almost was.  The one that was my best friend.  The one that wouldn’t leave the room unless he knew that I felt at least better… until I felt understood and heard.  The one that could hug me and make the world disappear.  In my dreams, he’s been doing that.  He’s been hugging me, and I’ve finally been able to feel his intimate touch and his lips against mine.  It has been my saving grace in the middle of the night… compensation for the lack of affection and security I feel with my husband.  A good friend told me that he is showing up in my life to remind me that it is possible for me to be loved that way – that it’s out there.  Of course, I spend a lot of time (too much time?) imagining that he sometimes dreams of me as well… that he wonders if he made the right choice.  I wonder if he thinks about me and longs to know what it would’ve been like to grow and travel the world with me.  It seems like he’s living the life I was meant to live, somehow.  Whatever the reason he has come back into my life, even if only fantastically, I am so grateful for it.  I am grateful for those dreams that feel so real I wake up feeling comforted and loved.


Fears.

I have decided to list them.  So I can get over them.  It is high time I kick this blog in the ass.

#1.  People will judge me and label be as an unappreciative, close minded person and wife.  (I am not, by the way.)

#2.  I will be wrong sometimes, and I will sound like a fool.  (I will, and it will be fine)

#3.  People will think I am crazy.  (Hard when you’ve been told in many ways by the people closest to you that you are… when you clearly aren’t.  And, by clearly, I mean… well you’ll find out)

#4.  My marriage will survive this and I will regret things I’ll say in this blog.  (I don’t believe in the cliche that you should never say anything you’ll regret.  That’s bullshit.  We say things we regret all the time.)

#5.  My marriage won’t survive and this blog will haunt me!  (I am easily haunted)

#6.  My marriage will remain stagnant and I will be writing this blog for the rest of my life.  (No…. I WON’T.)

#7.  No one will read it.  (So what?  It’s for me, not for you… well… that’s not true the entire thing started b/c I know there are plenty of angry bitches out there just like me!)

#8.  I will get stronger.  (The stronger I get, the more sense life makes.  The more sense life makes, the more happiness I know I can have… the more I know I can have… the more I want.)

#9.  I will look like a coward who just can’t leave.  (He really is a wonderful man.  I am just utterly unsatisfied and unwilling to accept his lack of interest in growing with me.  I just want to be loved in little ways and big ways and all the time.  I want to feel loved.)

#10.  I fear that I am truly 50% of the problem.  I know I am part of the problem, but I’m wildly convinced that after all my therapy and self-help, I must only be 20% of the problem now.  That 30% cost me a pretty penny.  And, they really are quite pretty when you really look or photograph them.  😉

That is enough fear.  Time to write.