Warning: Up ahead is a heavy topic, about depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, family issues and abuse.
Though I am Pagan, whenever I think about forgiveness I think of the line in the Lord’s Prayer: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. We are…only human, we make mistakes. We sometimes hurt those we care for, and vice versa. And yet, I have 2 people in my family that I have had a really hard time forgiving.
To stay anonymous, I have changed all of the names.
I have 2 brothers, Alan is 7 years older then me, and Gary is 5 years older then me. When we were little, Gary and I more or less got along. normal bro and sis stuff. played Star Wars, (I was always Chewy and Gary was always Han Solo.) We’d also with put a blanket over the dining room table with a few chairs out and play underthere. As Gary got older, he changed. Didn’t want to hang around with his little sister anymore. LOL. And Alan was hardly around at all. I didn’t notice it then, but somewhere down the line, Gary started having problems. Mental problems. By the time I was in middle school and he was in high school, he began drinking alcohol to self medicate. (There were a few stores around that didn’t check ID, and plus he had older friends that were willing to walk in and get some, for a price.) All I knew at that time, was that a brother that I had more or less gotten along with, had turned into a monster. Scarier then the movie Poltergeist.
(Sorry going to jump off into another subject, but it does relate.)
All thru school, I was always somewhat if not totally in Special Ed. Up until middle school, I was for the most part all day in a classroom with other SPED (Special ED.) kids. All of us would have daily activities with the Regular Ed kids, but nothing prepared me (or probably my fellow classmates.) for middle school. Being one of the advanced kids in my class, I was given the choice to attend the middle school closest to me, or the one across town. I picked the one closest, because thats where my friends (regular ed kids.) were going, and being able to walk home and be there within 10 minutes appealed to me.
The change in class structure was probably the biggest thing to get used to, academically. Classes changing every hour, another teacher, other students. The subjects being alot harder and the teachers being alot stricter in their expectations. Let me tell you if I knew then what I know now…I think I would of picked the other school. But I manage to squeak by academically. Socially….lol. I had a few friends, other girls who felt about as shy and socially awkward as I did. I had started getting my period shortly before 6th grade, and had started wearing a bra in 4th grade. That provided another source of confusion. I mean I knew logically what was happening to my body, but knowing and experiencing it are 2 different things. My parents weren’t really the type to check up with me to make sure I did various things. Well my dad tried, but I learned at an early age how to get around alot of stuff. Stuff like brushing my teeth, taking regular baths, wearing clean clothes. When I got to middle school, those important factors, became even more important to my classmates. My mind was reeling at the concept of having to do all this stuff, and do my homework, deal with hormones, and constant boy crushes.
The worst year was 7th grade. Looking back I realize that I was probably experiencing deep depression. I had had thoughts of suicide (never attempted it, but I think I would of if I was left alone in the house long enough.) I slept alot, stayed up half or most of the night, even if it was a school night. Then I thought I was just a night owl. Read my books, listened to music, or wrote bad poetry or daydreamed. ALOT. I retreated into a fantasy world even when at school. So much to the point that I barely remember middle school especially 7th grade. Again looking back, I think that was a survival thing, may have been one of the few things that kept me here. By this time, Gary’s illness had progressed to the point where anything could make him fly off the handle. Now, it didn’t happen every day, or even every week, but often enough that I began being afraid of being in the same house with him alone. By my sophmore year in high school, anytime being in the house with him there, and my dad or other brother not there, was close to unbearable. My mom was there, and for a long time, her being there meant things wouldn’t escalate to bad. But…she retreated into her own little world and would only come out if we got to loud. Mostly he would say mean things, or get at me for leaving my towel on the bathroom floor, or tying up the phone ,(5 people, 1 phone.)for hours. Sometimes, he would hit me. a punch in the arm, mostly. Unfortunitly thru quite a few of these interactions, my friends, thru being on the phone with them, were witnesses. Having blocked alot of this out, I could be able to say how much of it was really bad, or how much of it was a teenaged girl with the tendency to dramatize everything. Which ever it was, still does not deny the fact that I was terrified of Gary. I didn’t hate him, because I felt to hate someone, you wish them dead, in the deepest darkest corner of hell.
I know now, that what Gary was suffering from is Schizophrenia, with paranoia and auditory hallucinations. Even after finding out about the diagnosis, I (sometimes still.) have had trouble in forgiving him. I mean, he was 5 yrs older then me, he knew better. My parents, for whatever reason, they didn’t want to see that there was a problem. Who wants to see their kid as crazy? And of course the alcohol instead of providing any sort of medication, made it worse. I have, more or less worked thru in forgiving him. I still have my ‘What the Fuck?!’ moments, but I hear thats normal.
Maybe because I am biased, I do not really blame my father for most of this. He worked alot at 2 jobs. My mom however…I cannot help but blame her for not interceding more. For not seeing that she needed to demand that Gary seek medical attention. For not paying enough attention to really any of us, though to a certain extent, she paid a certain amount to Alan, probably because they did develope somewhat of a bond when he was little, he being her 1st born.
A few nights ago, (I don’t remember how this came up.) My dad asked me if a boyfriend had ever hit me, or otherwise got violent. I replied that only 1 guy, I felt had the potential for getting that way, Matt. I don’t remember what made me sure of it, but he had a serious edge to him, that made me uneasy. The fact that he wanted to be a cop, (and later became one.) made me really uneasy. I felt that it wouldn’t take to long to lose control and/or use his authority as a club. That and the fact that he was saying the ‘I Love You’s waaay to fast is what made me break up with him. My dad said (he didn’t know about why I broke up with him.) that he was glad I got out of it, then made a comment about how I never experienced a situation where abuse was a factor. He knew/remembered some of the details, of when Gary was here, but managed to forget alot, and was shocked when I told him that I was terrified of Gary alot of that time.
One of the reasons why I am closer to my dad, then my mom,(other then what I mentioned.) is that my dad is able to admit and take responsibility of his mistakes. My mom, what little she does take responsibility for, she plays the blame game. It does very little good to try and talk to her about her marriage to my dad, us kids, her childhood,etc. So when I see her, (and next time will be soon, to celebrate our birthdays (hers is the day after mine.) so I will have to remember to push all of this aside, and just enjoy her company. Even though she will not accept her role in the events above, she does try now to maintain some semblance of relationships with Alan, Gary and I. I am pretty much the only one that has really allowed her to though, though Alan is now married with a son, so she is alot more persistant, because not only can she spoil her grandson, but there is a perfect person to love uncondionally, and not have to give much up as a result.
OK time to stop there. I think I might later on in the week (or so.) post more about my issues with my family.