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Family Loyalty


I have no family loyalty, my siblings and I are scattered and I am not even aware of their locations or status. My parents are dead, my stepmother is a living corpse somewhere.
MY family is my wife and kids and their kids and I would do anything for them. I will do anything to keep them from falling into the lack of family decisions I have had to make.
If you cannot trust a parent to be a good parent to you or a sibling, what can you trust them to do? Maybe to fall when airborne and to sink when in water, thats the level that I put parenting. It's a force of nature to care for your kids. If you can't do what should be natural, what can you do?
the answer is lots of things. They can drive, vote, earn, beg for foregiveness etc. One thing they cannot do? Be trusted, even when being guided by a force of nature.
This is all so sad. @RussellSue, I am in no position to give advice, so just my feelings on being the scapegoated defector in my family, possibly analogous to your sister.

My brother and I talk and my brother and our parents talk, but I don’t talk to our parents. So he feels stuck in the middle, or has. Last yr he started having glimpses of memory from our childhood; previously he did not remember anything the way it happened, even to him, even in front of him. He believed until last yr that I’ve never loved him and he didn’t understand why I didn’t. I’ve always loved my brother- always. We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives since middle school. Our parents played us; my brother’s version of me is a twisted fantasy story. I was not allowed to know my brother. Or my mother.

Anyway, from the perspective of the outsider, I do honestly feel a bit slighted by my brother now knowingly choosing to remain in communication with our parents. It’s just my feeling and not a judgement on him. I do understand why he does,and he needs time to sort out what he’s just now figuring out for the first time. I don’t envy him in his Herculean task; I started working on my trauma when I was a teen, when I realized I was being abused, which was after I was forcibly removed from my parents home by ambulance and made a ward until I turned 18.

But personally I’m not sure how long I can tolerate the cognitive dissonance of split-loyalty. Maybe until I die? Sooner? It’s similar to when I narrowly escaped the abusive x with my children; there were people who then said to me that they wouldn’t “take sides.” My thought in my own life: Hm interesting; you happily sit on the fence of abject horrific abuse? Okey dokey; good to know.

So for now, my brother just doesn’t know enough to make decisions even for himself and his family regarding our parents, and I get that and don’t begrudge him being very cautious. I don’t know what it’s like to be suddenly at 40, remembering a few incidents, let alone the cascade of consequences of myriad ones that I am still figuring out. I know the things I’ve not blocked out, and my brother is just starting to remember.

At a point though- not sure what or when that is- it stops being acceptable to have tea with the enemy. It’s starts looking to the worse-off one (? Who knows really) like turning a blind eye to unpunished war crimes. Not that you are at all- you know the situation. How would I feel if my brother knew all of it consciously? I’m not sure. I think I’d toss him into the same pile of gross where my parents live in my mind.

How does your sister feel about your acceptance of your mother in your life? Have you and your sister teamed up to be on each others’ sides while allowing for you to take responsibility for caring for your aging mother if needed?

I don’t know what it’s like to be in your position, let alone with the complex dynamics you are navigating; im sure you’re doing a good job and considering everything. It just seems really hard, and I’m sorry you’re in this shit-soup.
Thread starter #16
Our parents played us; my brother’s version of me is a twisted fantasy story. I was not allowed to know my brother.
How does your sister feel about your acceptance of your mother in your life? Have you and your sister teamed up to be on each others’ sides while allowing for you to take responsibility for caring for your aging mother if needed?
I am sorry you have had to go through this with your brother. It's hard. My sister and I have been on again and off again since I was 12 - only in the last couple of years realizing that it mostly wasn't about our relationship problems but what we were taught.

My mother did a lot to mess with our heads about each other, too. I grew up thinking my sister was a ditsy 80s slut-monster. My sister apparently grew up thinking I was a hyper-intelligent sage. There were reasons for these labels but my mother really stuck them on hard and we did not know each other, either. I was 39 before I knew my sister had an IQ over 80. It turns out she is obviously highly intelligent. No one told me.

My sister's 22 year old man-boy is autistic. As he has gotten older, she and I have both adopted the notion that my mother is, as well. Mom almost never fully adulted but was supported by her parents who helped raise us except for 2 years that ended with her kicking my sister and I out of the house when she was 15 and I was 12. She also "retired" at 38 (right after some sort of hush-hush breakdown) which is a fancy way of saying she met an older man and he retired, taking her with him. They live on 60 acres of off-grid isolation where my mother's greatest joy is throwing food to hundreds of chipmunks. It reminds me a little of a rat ally movie since she has no other friends.

That said, my sister has a lot of empathy for my mom. She feels badly for her even though she isn't able to forgive her. That said, I think she actually somewhat prefers that I am in her life so she doesn't have to worry that she's disappeared into a cave somewhere to starve in the cold. I think that if my mother weren't obviously disabled, my sister might feel hostility toward me to accepting things as they are. I think she knows that I see my mother's behavior as wrong but also incomprehensibly simple. I don't know that she can comprehend the sexual abuse of her daughter even 30 years later - it's not an easy excuse but a real possibility and my sister gets that.

Nevertheless, sometimes my mother's basic lack of empathy is outrageous and makes me really want to be rid of her. And I feel like my sister ought to want me to even though she probably doesn't want me to most of the time. I often feel like I should back out even though I am not sure she is able to really think things through.

My sister has offered financial support for my mother as she ages but acknowledges that I will probably be the caretaker. She can have our dad. They talk but I don't talk to him. She knows about his abuse toward me but I don't begrudge her for talking to him. He suffered a brain injury before we were born, so that story isn't a lot better.

I often do wonder how my sister can trust me while I maintain ties with a woman who basically treated my stepfather's molestation of my sister as him having some skanky mistress (when she was all of 10). It's deeply disturbing - the whole thing.

It's crap. It's always been crap.

But I am glad that I do have a good relationship with my sister now. She is the only person in my family I have a good relationship with. I guess I worry about messing it up but I think she understands not that I tolerate the abuse my mother directed at my sister but that I tolerate the simple child that didn't grow up even when her children did. It's kind of like loving a person with Down's Syndrome even though they kick your dog. I love my dog but this person has a problem and I get that, too.

I have gone on far too long. Thanks for sharing your experience. I may not have ever realized how warped other people's perceptions of their siblings can be.
@RussellSue, I don’t think you went on too long at all; thank you for sharing this. I didn’t realize how sibling relationships can be so weaponised until recently either. It’s a strange relief to know that abuse tactics aren’t so unique or varied that we can never find someone who relates. Not much consolation. But I do hope you and and your sister can find solace and strength in your relationship.

I hope my brother and I can one day too. We had our first real hug last March, and after not even seeing each other for 12 yrs. It was a wonderful visit; I really like him and he’s totally worth waiting for through the storm he’s entering. It amazes me that somehow we both became caring parents and kind people, though I am much more obviously damaged. It may take a while for him to talk with me about any more of it.

I loved reading that you and your sister have truth-talk between you about your childhood(s). It’s inspiring.
Thread starter #18
I loved reading that you and your sister have truth-talk between you about your childhood(s). It’s inspiring.
It has definitely been helpful. Thanks. I hope you are able to get there, too. I'll admit that we still have some baggage but things continue to surface.

She apologized to me recently for following my stepfather's lead in being an asshole to me when we were kids. I have a cleft lip and palate and had a serious speech impediment and hearing problems when I was younger - these things were a terrible embarrassment for my stepfather and my sister took some of that on. I was surprised to realize that she had acknowledged that this happened and obviously felt very badly about it. She kept saying life was already so hard for you. I cried and cried. It was definitely a healing experience and turned those images I was fed about her upside down. My mother saw my sister as my abuser - my stepfather has yet to be named.

I feel like as we get older, we are better able to recognize that we were there together. We are the only known survivors. Everyone else was in a Little House on the Prairie delusion putting on blinders to the stacks of whiskey bottles and cocaine. As adults, we both have cPTSD and we are both trying to work through it. This has been the single healthiest family experience I have had in life. It's definitely been worth hanging on for.

My best to you and your brother. I hope you are able to share lots more real hugs.
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