I believe in the therapeutic and transformative value of writing, and I’m a big proponent of telling your story. Today, I’m happy to share an essay that was submitted by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. I hope you enjoy it. If you have a story you’d like to share, feel free to send it to me using the “Contact” link in the menu bar.
When my twin brother got married, I made him a big scrapbook. Full of pictures of us growing up together, it took me a lot of time and money to make. I put in pictures of him playing sports, us playing soccer and wiffle ball in the backyard, us opening presents on Christmas morning. I put in pictures of our childhood dog, pictures of us graduating high school together, and pictures of us holding hands as babies.
I also put in pictures of his soon-to-be wife (we had all gone to college together and he had dated her for years.) I was happy for him. Happy that he was marrying her and happy that he was happy.
But I also cried a lot in the year that he was engaged, and I cried a lot in the hotel room after his reception. Sobbing, ugly crying. I didn’t cry at all on my wedding day a few years before. It was his wedding that made me realize what I was losing.
A month after his wedding, I finally started seeing a therapist. In the many years since then I have a learned a lot about my abusive family. I have learned a lot about myself. I have become a better person.
I have learned a lot about the cycle of abuse, and the roles people play in abusive families. I am lucky I got to be the scapegoat, the one who got the extra abuse.
My brother, although also abused, was the golden child. Golden children usually aren’t the ones who go to therapy and figure things out. Scapegoats are the ones who tend to do that.
My brother refuses to listen to me talk about abuse. My therapist says he has picked up our parents’ narcissistic personality disorder. As much as I don’t want to, I see it.
My brother and I do not have much of a relationship. He spends a lot of time with his in-laws, who live near him. We are not involved in each other’s children’s lives.
To me, it feels a little bit like a death. He is alive and well, but we have missed out on so much in each other’s adult lives. Stuff that we can never get back, even if our relationship miraculously improves, which it probably won’t. People with narcissistic personality disorder tend not to change. And it does no good to talk to them about anything.
I am learning to accept what I can not change. I have my own family. My own friends.
But I miss my brother. I miss the little boy that I used to play card games with, the boy who I used to play King of the Mountain with in the snow. The boy I fought with, the boy who forgave me when I broke his new favorite Christmas present (a wrestling rink for his WWF action figures.) The boy I grew up with.