If you know me or have been following this blog for any length of time, you know I don’t have close relationships with any of my family members. My kid brother and I are the closest, we all like him, in fact. He’s the main reason the rest of us see each other.
My sister thinks I’m an unsafe bitch who’s always being condescending. Regardless of if I say, “Hey, I love you and I hope you’re okay.” It’s translated to: “I hate you, now die.”
My oldest brother scares me. He looks like if a scrawny white boy could join ISIS.
My second oldest brother and I used to be very close, in fact, there are many hard copy and video journal entries I’ve found lately where I list him as someone I can always rely on. I haven’t felt that way in several years. I feel quite the opposite today, honestly. That he is unreliable, inconsistent, argumentative, hurtful…
The partially reasonable, partially unfair, list goes on.
He wants to rebuild our relationship. I’m not entirely sure I understand why. He loves me, he says, I’m very important to him. I don’t understand that either. I understand love, I understand relationships, I don’t understand loving, familial relationships.
I can have different boundaries, lower expectations, take the high road and be kind. My best friend doesn’t understand why we can’t relate. He’s an only child. It’s hard for him to watch us interact, to listen to us talk about each other, to see us both want a relationship and make little effort to be in a constructive one. Especially when he’s seen me have constructive conflicts and relationships with multiple other people.
My brother tells my best friend how much he loves me, and my best friend tells me. I believe it when he tells me, but not when my brother does. It’s sad how resentment can clog your ears and petrify your heart. I don’t take my brother seriously. He’s always jumping from one extreme sentiment to another, one crazy belief or goal to another.
I have a difficult time respecting him. Hearing him. Trusting him. Not feeling disappointed in him. Loving him. Liking him. Tolerating him.
I hate that I feel as though I have to “tolerate him.” We’re not just free to love each other, have to wade through 26 years of crazy, stupid shit. I’m almost 26. I’m unattached, didn’t even get a stupid plus one to my cousins wedding, and I’m too stubborn to be kind to my brother when all he wants is to try to be friendly every so often.
Yeah, he’s late and he’s preoccupied and scattered and sometimes defensive, but he’s gentle and loving and encouraging. He’s supportive in a way that’s overwhelming, a little too excitable, and a tad exhausting, but he loves me. He loves me a lot. Why am I so reluctant to work on a relationship with a person who loves me so much?
I’m afraid of being disappointed. Let down. Hopes dashed. I’m afraid of letting my family, any one of them, creep up into my life and hurt me again.
He doesn’t want to hurt me, I know, I’m being unreasonable. I’ve grown markedly in the last few years, and I am perfectly capable of accepting my brother where he’s at, setting reasonable expectations for our relationship where he can’t disappoint me, being kind and loving him and navigating any power struggle scuffles that crop up.
It doesn’t even have to mean I’m “letting my family back in to hurt me.” He can just be a person I spend time with sometimes who I love, he doesn’t have to be the composite of the pain caused to me by my entire family. That’s wicked unfair.
I forgive myself, even my parents [almost] why shouldn’t I forgive him? He’s way less awful then them, and he’s really, truly trying. It’s not my job to judge him. I don’t judge myself for being all fucked up by my parents [anymore], why should I hold him to that impossible, unfair standard? We deserve a functional relationship. We deserve to relate.
I’m going to try.