Some relationships are very easy to put a label on. They are easy to define or to put in a category. The one I had with my brother when I was a child could be labeled as toxic. We behaved terribly towards each other. We hardly got along, and even if we were getting along in the beginning, it always ended in a quarrel with one person crying. Most of the times that person would be me. My brother cried only once when I yelled at him and told him he was disgusting. We were in the car arguing about something and I started to yell at him. He would yell back “I am not disgusting”, and but I would just repeat it louder and louder until he burst out in tears. Right then and there I felt like shit. I still do even to this day. I did to him my interpretation of what was being done to me, so I knew exactly how he felt. I wanted to run away at the exact moment. Whenever I remember it I still cry and have regret. I was a mean person. It was all I knew. I gave to everyone what I was receiving and because of that I didn’t have many friends and was very lonely. I don’t remember a lot of what happened between my brother and me when we were younger, but the parts I do remember were horrible. I was being mean to him and he was equally as mean to me.
Everybody liked him more than me and allowed him to get away with anything. He knew it and wasn’t afraid to use that against me. He would steal my money from my saving, destroyed my toys, eat the majority of my food when it was to be shared equally….normal annoying brother stuff. But because of the hatred I had for him from birth, and the fuel that was added by my family (except my father), my feelings were much exaggerated, hence my actions were. I remember pushing him off a high wall once when he was two years old, beating him with a belt when he was around six years old, and doing things to deliberately hurt him. Nothing about our relationship was good. Well nothing that I can remember.
When he started high school, I started college. For the first two years after moving on to our new schools, we only spoke when we saw each other. He went to live with my father as it was closer to his school and I was in another parish. He would return to my mother’s house on weekends and I would come only if I had to, which was only during the major holidays. So basically we only spoke during Christmas and summer. I don’t know what happened in my father’s household or during his junior years in high school but my brother changed. He changed so much that he was almost out of control. He and my father did not have a healthy relationship at all. My father even asked me, my mother and my sister, on separate occasions, to talk to him. And that was the point when I became interested in his life. I started texting him and talking to him regularly. I wanted to have a good relationship with him and help him through whatever he was going through because I know first-hand that dealing with our parents was no easy task, and he was alone with them. I didn’t have anyone to help me get through it so I wanted to help him.
Of course he resisted. At that point in my life, I still thought I was perfect and without blemish. The blame was all on my family and I was the victim. But the truth was I still had issues to resolve. Toxic habits to get rid of. My entire mindset to change. I was still a hot mess. So as one would expect, we still had a hard time getting along when I tried to reach out. He would hardly talk to me and I would just keep pushing to get through to him. Until one day, I decided to stop. I ceased trying to help him. I was like, screw him and his life, I have mine to live. I have my own problems (which I will talk about in another post). I even remember one day we argued so bad that I wanted to literally kill him. I was ready to go to prison. I was so angry I didn’t care. When I calmed down, I said to him, if this incident happens once more, I won’t call you my brother and you shouldn’t call me your sister. That would be the end of our relationship as siblings. And it was no joke. It was not just something said out of anger, it was a decision that was carefully made. I made it clear to him that I don’t tolerate disrespect from anyone on the streets so I won’t take it from anyone in my own home. And to our surprise, that was the conversation that got us on the right track. Our attitude towards each other changed. We started to address each other like strangers, which ironically was what we needed because we were more respectful to each other and gave each other space. Our relationship improved and it laid the foundation for what we have today.
My brother has taught me so many things. He made me see me for who I really am. I was not a nice person. I was the mini version of my mother on steroids. I was impatient, manipulative, spiteful, bossy, judgmental and so much more. He revealed this to me and I didn’t like what I saw. I then made the conscious decision to change myself. He also realized what his faults were and started working to change them. I also learned that I was a terrible communicator. We both were, so we practiced mindful and purposeful communication. We also had a problem with honesty and having each other’s back. We worked on that as well. Our toxic relationship was changed into a mutually beneficial relationship where we are both growing and thriving. We are helping each other to break the shackles that have been placed on our minds by society and our parents. We are breaking generational curses and learning to find our own way to our true self-expression. We are getting bigger and better because we now truly know that united we rise but divided we fall. Together we are mastering the art of….BEING ALIVE!