When I started drafting this blog post, I did not know it was going to be as long as it has been turning out. That is why I decided to split it up and turn it into a series that looks at only one family relationship I have had trouble with; my brother. This series will focus on a subject I don't want to hold in, and can't hold in any longer. However, these are things that I do not want to verbally talk about, or maybe I just can't get myself to physically form the words with my mouth. In any case, I'm gonna try to let this confusion in my head become something coherent for you to read and discuss.
From The Cosby Show to The Simpsons
The house I grew up in was ideal, but the house I look back on in my memories has become tainted and the characters are almost unrecognizable to me anymore. I grew up the youngest of 7 in a blended household that I grew up believing was a very safe and loving place. My closest sibling is my brother. In fact, of the 4 brothers I have, he is the only fully biological brother I have; meaning, I have a step-brother and 2 half-brothers. I looked up to my brother, and he was very, very protective.
As it turns out, this relationship with my brother has been the best and worst relationship I have ever had with anyone... EVER! I never knew it was the worst relationship until recently. If I examine my own thoughts at different occurrences, then I have the mentality of someone who experienced emotional abuse, and he has the characteristics of someone who is emotionally abusive. He was very protective of me, but it was with the mindset that No one messes with my little brother... except me! I remember him keeping others from taking advantage of my youthful willingness to please, but then he exploited that much worse.
I have endless stories of the things I experienced at my brother's whim growing up, but I'll limit them in this post to only 1:
In my brother's senior year of high school, I was in 7th grade. I was not dumb to how intense he was. While watching the TV one afternoon, he asks me if I want to walk down the street on a hot sunny day and shoot some hoops. I knew I shouldn't have, and I tried to resist. I told him that I didn't want to because I didn't want it to turn into a basketball lesson from him. He assured me it wouldn't he said he just wanted to shoot around, and wanted me to go with him. As a little brother who wanted to shoot as well as his older brother I was enticed, but still reluctant. Only shoot around, nothing else? I asked hoping for the best. He, of course, assured me that we would only shoot around, and I agreed.
Soon after arriving, the shoot-around turned into him barking out orders and yelling while I was stuck listening and trying to perform a left-handed hook shot. There came a point, when I was practicing free throw shots, and when I missed one, I had to do push-ups on the black asphalt. Why didn't I say no, and leave? Why did I stay and take the punishment? We were being raised in a militaristic household with a chain-of-command, and I was not allowed to say NO to my older siblings (it would be like disobeying a direct order from a commanding officer), and he exploited this. By the end of this boot camp-like practice session with Sargent Brother, I had blisters on my palms from doing push-ups on asphalt that you could see the heat rising from.
Conveniently, my brother has no recollection of this event, but you can see why I remember it so vividly. It was not a sad day for me when he graduated and moved out. This is not the only thing that I experienced from my brother that he has forgotten, and he tries to imply that I'm making them up, like they never happened. Like these meant nothing to him, and aren't even worth remembering.
My brother believes that the ends justify the means, and he is a great manipulator. So when I excelled at basketball, he suggested that he had a hand in it.
Part 1 Wrap-Up
My family has done more to hold me back than to help me succeed, and I don't know how I made it out with a decent head on my shoulders. I do have deeply-ingrained defense mechanisms that keep life at arm's length. But after coming to realization that this relationship was emotionally abusive, I have been able to start letting go of some of the anger I hold towards him; anger towards someone means that they control you, and I'm done being controlled.
Thanks for checking this out, I'll have the next part of the series up sometime this weekend.