Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Have a Brother

From the ages of 0 to 22 (when I met my DH and began my life with him), no two years have ever been alike from after age 4.  Sometimes we lived on the west coast, a little bit on the east coast, and a couple years in the middle of the country.  Sometimes my NM was married.  Sometimes we lived in a house vs. an apt.  She barely made an income until I was age 11 and then at one point she became very wealthy (her own career/business).

I have a brother two years older, and growing up and we were close.  As my NM would tell others (enviously), we were "as thick as thieves".  My brother would tell me that we have to stick together.  We were close because we had each other during all those years of change.  Then, after I got married in my mid-20's our complete different-ness  began to show, but the love was always there.  I think the biggest bond was knowing we had been through the same family growing up.

We don't talk anymore.  Like others I have met through their blogs, there came a point, and for me that was only about two years ago, when my brother (who is bipolar but never maintained a job and has no money for prescription drugs or other help) drew a line in the sand.  Looking back he had developed interests in only himself.  I became increasingly aware of him using my grandmother, always asking her for $$, being able to live in a rental home she owned and not always paying her, and increasingly speaking to my NM to get her to help him get more $$ from my grandmother and discussing his entitlement he felt he had to a home she owned.  This behavior is exactly like my NM.

Finally I told him that I did not agree with his way of thinking.  My NM reached out to him and told him she would get him $$.  My brother has always been in awe that I have been a responsible, married, working outside the home, mother of three.  he says he has no idea how I do it.  He also knows that DH and I know all of his episodes of leaving town unannounced to me or anyone, leaving bills behind for innocent families to pay, quitting jobs when he had them less than a year.  People always like him.  He is smart--he could sell anything.  I have always loved him and still do.

Last year he began to repeat words of my NM to me such as, "You don't return calls to your own mother."  "You don't drive (you know that 10-hour drive) to visit her with your kids enough."  Then when I would call him from the car (my only alone time--it is when I call my best girlfriends), he'd get paranoid and ask why I never called him from home--Did my DH not want me to call him, he'd ask.  Absurd.  I did not return that call to him.  I realize now that my brother is also always about himself.  Never asked how I was--just like my NM I could put the phone down and let him go on and on about himself.

And then he rejected me one year ago.  He went into a rage that I did not return his call and I think he chose to reject me in lieu of my perceived rejection of him.  He left me a screaming vm that I no longer had a brother and then he mailed me a goodbye letter with any photo I'd ever sent to him of my children, and us.  He also called my DH a loser.  My DH has always been polite to him and would welcome him when through the years my brother would show up with maybe two hours notice to us (except for when he lived in my GM's house for many years, my DH has always been a wanderer).

Sometimes I notice my kids, especially my oldest, resemble him physically, or in his gait, or in his sports interests and it is too bad that my brother is this way and that my kids have one less uncle.  I know why he is this way--he had it just as bad as I did growing up and as an adult, being told he is worthless, etc.  He was the scapegoat but when I started having kids things shifted and he became golden.  As years go on and my GM is getting very old and one day my NM will too, I am sure we will then be forced to talk.  I could ask my NM for his phone changes all the time and his jobs and address in different states changes frequently......but right now it is something we don't speak of. 


  1. Could have almost written this myself. Painful to loose someone you once loved so much. Hard to grieve and move on when you know they're still out there somewhere and one day you'll literally have no choice but to interact.

  2. Wow, I am sorry that your brother grew up to be like that. You must miss the brother from your childhood so much.