Letter to a Loved One

I never thought I’d write this letter.  But here I am.  And it makes me very sad.  I love you.  Always have, always will.

Yes, I’m very, very angry with you.  You have hurt me deeply when all I did was state that I had a right to my own thoughts and speech. You are trying to turn your wife and our parents against me.  This anger is only partially to do with your recent actions, it is fueled by years of crap and cruelty and I’m rising up out of the ashes of my love for you and flying away to something better.

All my life I have loved you. In our teen years we had our differences and struggles and perhaps that is when this pattern began. I look back in my memory and can’t really put my finger on when this animosity towards me started.  I had thought for a long time it started when we moved out of our Capital Hill home to the northend because for years you brought up how I ruined your life with that move. And how much money I cost the family when you discovered that the family home sold some years back for a million dollars.  I have always been reminded of that and always felt sorry for that.  I was being stalked by a rapist and a killer who is in prison for killing his girlfriend when he threw her out of the car on the freeway.  Scary guy. We had to move.  But you didn’t know that then, I can’t remember what I told the folks.  And it did disrupt your life.  It disrupted everyone’s life.  But I do not hold responsibility for that, I was a frightened kid.  And your life changed in many GOOD ways because of that move. But the glass is always half empty with you.

I think, however, that it began earlier than that.  For the past 40 years my memories of our interactions consist of the following epithets from you, some times more frequently than others, but very constant especially in the early years.

You said I’m:

  • ugly
  • stupid
  • a bitch, a witch
  • sick
  • selfish
  • an embarrassment
  • ruined the lives of others
  • a freak

Every day, every time, I enter my room where I live right now, I see the patched hole in the door that was made by your fist when you tried to attack me physically. The nastiness came from you constantly.  When I was old enough to move out and away, it became less and we did what we could to be close.  We wrote letters.  And we started to heal.  But the old messages were always there, waiting.

You tell the story of the time I chased you off the early home roof with a knife. This was long before we moved. Yes. Yes I did do that. But when you tell that story you fail to include that for the previous 6 hours you had bullied me, poked me, and did all you could to drive me insane that day.  You got what you wanted, I got crazy, and then were surprised at the results of your actions.  Being surprised at the results of your own actions follows you to this day.  I never wanted to use that knife, I just wanted you to take me seriously for once and STOP. Just Fucking Stop. And that is what I want now. Just Fucking STOP with The Mean.

You have put me down, called me names, told me I’m not welcome, unwanted, hated me because the parents loved me more (OMG get a grip), that I’m pretty much the last person on earth you want to be associated with.  Scattered here and there with some good when you’re in a generous mood.

A couple weeks ago I walked by when Dad was on the phone with you and he motioned me to get on the other line. The folks always try to get me to participate in their phone calls with you, they want the entire family talking together.  I think it makes them feel like we’re all in the same room.  I always decline because I understand that you want your time with them. But this time I didn’t and the first sentence I spoke you made it very clear that you were only talking to DAD, in fact that is what you said to me. I’m talking to DAD.  You didn’t want me.  Still. So I hung up quietly and went about my business.

  • You let me know you think I’m going to steal the parents estate, what’s left of it, when they are both gone. You’re making the folks sign a notarized contract for money loaned them, I can only assume so that when they die you can claim it out of their estate.
  • You let me know that I’m not welcome in your conversations
  • You tell me I’m inappropriate in front of my own friends and then seem to get even madder because I write about it
  • You gave me some money, I didn’t ask for it, you gave it to me.  You’ve never let me forget it.
  • You lent me some money, and you harp on that constantly.
  • You’ve made it known, to my face no less, that you didn’t want me moving in to the parents house because they couldn’t afford the higher water bills from my showers. OMG.  Can you not see how mean that is?  Did you think I wouldn’t understand what you were telling me?  And when I asked what you wanted me to do about it all, you told me not to talk to you any more and hung up on me.  No contact for three months until I made the first move.

And yet I know you love me regardless of your treatment of me.  I have never treated you that way.  This is hurting me. It’s hurting the folks.  I don’t know what it’s doing to you but you’re certainly poisoned, have been for a very long time. So I think it’s hurting you too.  In fact, I think you are one of the most hurt people I know.  Very wounded and I think it goes back to your birth.  Wounded and feeling as though you are always in a corner you lash out at those who love you most because we always come back.

I know that over the years I have bent over backwards to let you know how much I care, how proud I am of you, how much I want you to be happy.  I tell everyone about your photography, your beautiful work, your beautiful family, your beautiful life.  I write that I adore you. I had chosen to forgive and forget all of your transgressions and you know better than any other how severe some of them are.  I’ve lied to our parents so that they always see you as a wonderful healthy and happy man.  You tell me I’m ungrateful, that I don’t value your gifts.

Well, fuck you.  I’m done.  I’ve spent years trying to overcome those ugly messages that play in my head.  I am not ugly, I am smart, I am not a bitch, your own wife says I’m kind. I’m not sick, I’m talented and healthy and human. I have not ruined the lives of others and have done what I can to heal where I have done harm to others and myself.  I did no damage with that FB post but you did plenty.  If you had known it was your last chance would you have handled it differently?  I’m not sure you could have because I don’t think you believe yet that it was your last chance, don’t think it’s sunk in what you’re losing.

I am a good healthy lovely woman. I have many friends who love me just as I am. But it’s no wonder that when I’m having a very difficult time I need to hear that I am loved.  You need it, I need it, we all need it.  I’ve been told by you all my life that I don’t deserve it. That is the one thing we need as much as air, food, and water. We need love.  Just because I can finally ask for it does not in any way make me inappropriate.  What is inappropriate is your constant need to shame me.  In public, in private.  I am not sick.  You are.  You are eaten alive with resentment and fear.  I did nothing wrong, Dad and Mom even encouraged me share with my friends, they understand more than others how much Dad’s illness is going to affect all of us.  You could have asked but you attacked. And you did it several times. Write. Delete. Write. Delete.  Write. Write.Write.Write.

I am not sitting here waiting for an apology as you told the folks. It will be a long time before I accept one and it will be conditional.  If it isn’t the apology I want it won’t be accepted. No more fucking around, no more me sucking it up all for peace, just so I can get a little grudging love from my brother.

I have grave doubts that you will be able to make the amends that you owe.  I hope one day you can because it will mean that you have begun walking the road of recovery from your own sickness and that is all I have ever wanted for you.  Your happiness.  If you come to me with amends it will be because you have finally started loving yourself. Your deep inner sadness and self loathing causes me so much pain simply because I wish you could see that wonderful part of you like I do. Yes, I still do. I still love you. But loving you, admiring your talents, does not mean I have to be a part of your life and take your shit.  I would do anything I could, and HAVE done anything I could, to make that better for you. It was never enough, how could it be, it wasn’t what you really need.  But I can’t try any more.  Only you can do that and you don’t think you need to.

I’m so very sorry but I’m done.  I will no longer give you the way to hurt me any more.  This is the last straw.  There is no turning back from this one.  You’ve stepped over the line for the last time.  Now you will learn to live with this.  Right now, this seems like no big deal to you I’m sure.  You’re mad at me and all justified you think. But one day you will calm down and start thinking about what you have lost.  And you may or may not be able to start doing something about it, to fix it, to take responsibility for your part in this game.

Go run your little world…

Good bye, adieu, arividerci, sayonara, piss off.

2 thoughts on “Letter to a Loved One

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