It’s been a while since I’ve done more than pictures of our life and article links. In 2019 I’m going to write. A LOT more than I did in 2018, sometimes it will be super personal like this, sometimes it will be fun life-on-the-farm stuff, sometimes it will just be returning to my creative writing roots. Watch out, here I come…
So I was listening to yet another #MeToo story on NPR and the woman was talking about how it was so hard for her initially to call out her abuser, because the abuser’s mother was someone she was close to and she related it to “being like ratting out a family member”. She ultimately publicly came out of the shadows to name her former music professor, as others have, and he is no longer with the school, but that one part of her comment stuck with me.
You see, I’ve not been talking about a recent bunch of events on my blog – yet I have so much to say, so much to share, and it’s just so…ugh. It’s taken me a week to write this blog post, so here goes…
I haven’t had a relationship with my older half-sister for a number of years (while I grew up with her in my mother’s home and considered her a sister, I now refer to her as her true biological connection to me, half-sister, as I don’t believe she fits the connotation of what a real Sister is in my life anymore). We were close for many years but her addictions to alcohol and cocaine (and probably other things I don’t know about) were things that were a large part of it. She had gotten AA-clean, collecting coins and the like, then as many do, lied about being clean to those around her (I actually got “schooled” by her when she claimed that “clean” and “sober” weren’t the same thing, basically with her mindset that since she wasn’t doing coke anymore that she could use the term Clean even though she was still drinking like a fish).
More back story:
Years earlier, when I was in my late 20’s and living in Seattle, she had ‘fessed up while under the influence about how her first husband had molested me when I was staying over at her house when I was around 10 years old (to understand the age thing, she’s 7 years older than me and got married right out of high school to this guy…oh and let’s just say when she met him he was working at the local porno book store and during their marriage he had a mattress in the back of his van. She was with him for I think around 12 years, then divorced and married another guy who was Mr. Straight And Narrow, then cheated on him with his best friend, then went back and forth between the two, then after a series of other relationships, married Mr. Fellow-AA-Member who was also a hoarder and divorced him a year or two later. She has since come out of the closet.). She never actually apologized for not protecting me from him, just wanted me to “not hate her”. I shared what she’d said with my mother who was the epitome of soulless towards me, with no shock or worry for me or anything like that, actually feeling sorry for HER for that relationship. In fact, no one in the family got upset for me or showed they gave a shit that this creep came into the room I was sleeping in and did horrific things to me and then told my ‘sister’ how it turned him on…it was as if they’d always known and didn’t give a damn. Who knows, maybe they did.
Returning to the original back-story:
So anyhow, after my divorce from a nasty lying alcoholic who humiliated and conned me for years, I was not about to allow this kind of negative energy in my life, so when she jumped off the wagon and went off on me and started in on the manipulation, I told her I could not and would not be around her while she was in this state, and that she could let me know when she was truly clean and we could go from there. I also reminded her about the 9th Step. (Oh did I mention that I learned years after the fact that she fucked one of my best friend’s husband? Yeah he was a hairdresser and she and my mother both went to him and while my mother was getting a mastectomy she and him fucked in his car on the way to the hospital. She told me about it like it was just some random guy she’d hooked up with, not that it was my close friend’s husband, so of course it was without any sense of remorse as to what she did). As you can imagine, she came back saying nasty things and I ignored her.
Fast forward a couple of years later, during the holidays:
I came home to find a poinsettia on my front porch and a card. It was from her, saying she missed me and hoped I might be interested in coming by Mom’s house for Christmas Dinner. Then she signed it with her name and BRIAN. I thought it had to be a weird coincidence, but it sunk deep in my gut and I texted our older brother (my half, her whole) who lives in another state and asked him if he knew anything and he said…yep, she’s dating her ex-husband and “ew”. You see, Brian is the first husband, the one who molested me. So not only was she back with an admitted child molester (who no one pressed charges against before the statute of limitations ran out, and as far as I know he has a daughter from another relationship), my brother knew it and my mother and stepfather were welcoming him into their house.
But this isn’t actually the core of the reason I’m writing, believe it or not.
After my brother told me this (he never came to holiday dinners as his wife detests our mother, ha), I ignored her. Shortly thereafter she began texting me and, clearly drunk, harassing me about why I was ignoring her. I finally responded, called her out on the glaringly obvious decision she’d made to welcome this fucking creep back into her life, and her response was not an apology but the following, after claiming she had broken up with him because she’d heard it upset me so much (wtf, is THAT the only reason why?):
“How can you not forgive me when you forgave __(insert our brother’s name)__ after what he did to me?”
I responded asking her what she was talking about and she would not say. I told her something along the lines of go get help, then blocked her number. I then texted my brother with her implication that he abused her in some way, and he responded immediately with anger saying how messed up that was and that he would not be speaking to her anymore. He’s never been a man of many words and we’ve never been all that close (he’s 12 years older than me) even though I’d tried many times to get to know him better, and so I just kind of left it at that. I wasn’t tight with either of them, I had no one to talk to about this beyond my partner, so I just moved on.
As a side note, she decided to come out to me via text on my 40th birthday and then at the same time wouldn’t come to my birthday party because the restaurant “served alcohol” and same thing for our wedding a few months after that? Yep, all about her. I’ve never given a shit whether she’s gay or straight, and always assumed she was a closeted bisexual for years, so it wasn’t anything stunning. It was curious to me that on my one special day a year she chose to reach out to me and not wish me happy birthday but to make sure I knew she had a girlfriend. Whoop dee doo.
Several years later, in late 2018, she reaches out to me, this time on LinkedIn. Through the grapevine over the years I’d heard that after getting fired from her longtime City job and going into an inpatient mental health facility, then decided to go to college and get her degree. In Social Work. Working with Kids.
It’s one thing if someone gets clean and wants to help others get clean. It’s a completely different thing if someone is living this kind of life and thinks the best job for them is helping kids. But, whatever, it’s the least of my concerns in this post.
So anyhow, she wants to reconnect with me. So I (gently, believe it or not) remind her of our last “conversation” (her nasty texts) and she (still on LinkedIn, a professional networking site) goes on about how what’s past is past and that she shouldn’t have brought me into “what happened between the two of them years ago”.
Yeah, because when you allude that you were molested by a mutual sibling it should have remained a secret.
My response to her was this: if you want to connect with me, you need to be transparent, and that I was not interested in a relationship if she was going to play games like our mother so enjoys. She said she didn’t want to discuss details on LinkedIn, so I gave her my email address. Mind you, I did not give her my phone number as I’ve blocked her for years and it takes more than this to get me to disclose this.
So she emails me… and completely ignores the elephant in the room and decides to focus on talking about herself, her job, her girlfriend, her new town (ironically she was going to move to the town my husband and I are now live in, but turned the job down to go to the opposite end of the coast). I give her a brief benefit of the doubt and open up about our struggles with infertility and loss of our baby. I tell her how our mother abandoned me on the single worst day of my life to be with her new boyfriend. I asked her how her relationship is with our mother.
You think this did anything? Nope.
Completely ignored the subject. Managed to say a few words of sympathy about Henry, but no questions, no sharing, no nothing.
She reached out to me after years and has nothing to say.
So finally I brought it up. Again. Because I’m not going down this road without the truth. Because I’m not going to attempt to rebuild a relationship that is not based on complete and total honesty. Because I believe that people should do the right thing and because I believe that I should be able to make my own decision about my older brother, one based on facts and not insinuation.
And she refused. She refused to put it in writing whatever happened. Even though she reached out to me on a professional networking site and acknowledged on that that something happened “between them”, suddenly in private email she clams up…and says it’s about trust and that she needs to create boundaries and all kinds of other crap excuses. Someone who has betrayed you in the biggest of ways, without apology or attempt to turn things around and do the right thing… then tries to tell you that YOU need to basically earn her trust.
Well, fuck that.
In a way I guess it was a strange sort of relief to know that she hasn’t changed one bit, and that the older she gets the more I see that she is exactly like our mother. Completely self-absorbed. We always want to hope that people will change, that they’ll finally apologize, that you’ll have a relationship.
During this whole month or so of her emails she always signed them off with “I love you” and they always felt so incredibly artificial. Hell, she signed the Christmas card with her and the molester’s name with “I love you.”
Does she have any idea what real Love is?
Me, I gauge love on behavior, not genetics. Because I gauge love on how you treat the other person and how you respect and genuinely like who they are… not because you grew up in the same house. Because I gauge Love as something that’s a two-way street. Because I gauge Love on… LOVE.
So, I ended it right then and there. Just with my mother back in 2016, she came back into my life to show me that she was still the exact same personality, still manipulating situations to benefit herself while refusing to be honest with those they supposedly love. With these two, the only relationships that are important to them are their romantic ones. Everyone else is just to fulfill their egos.
I said, if you’re not going to be transparent with me than this is not a relationship. I said, if you can put in writing what happened, if you can’t be honest with me, then we’re done here. I said, I’ve had enough of her betrayals, from Brian the molester to her fucking my best friend’s husband to her inferring but never confirming the most horrible thing one could ever imagine about our brother – leaving me in the lurch as to who this man is…and ultimately, who she is. I’ve had enough of these emotional mind games. Her mental health issues are not something that I am responsible for or that I need to choose to allow its effects into my life.
And yet here I am, writing about it, not using anyone’s names, protecting that confidentiality, showing the basic respect for them that they never gave to me. Interesting how that works isn’t it?
So I’m digesting. And I’m fine. As fine as one can expect to be. No really though, I’m fine. My family is my husband, my friends, this farm we call home.
That’s what Love is.