A Rare and Priceless Phone Call From My Dear Brother

WARNING: Massive ellipsis use ahead!

Shucky darn. Doesn’t that phone message just make me want to dive into my car and speed 100 miles north to hug and squeeze what’s left of my nearby family into little itty bits?

A little background is in order.

This call came from my older brother who still lives at home with his mother. It’s pretty obvious that she’s still rather deft at pushing people’s buttons. I can only imagine that she threw a passing mention (said by me to her over a decade ago) concerning how my own brother made a pass at me.

Trust me, I know a brotherly embrace when I get or give one and I also know when someone puts their hand on my thigh. A hand on my thigh is not a brotherly embrace. That was, what? Over thirty years ago, I’m quite sure. I remember the exact spot and circumstances to this day.

Now I’m confident that my brother and mother were probably arguing about something and my loving mother managed to throw this in his face to divert attention away from another more important issue. It took a while for me to notice how she does this, but it is a consistent trait that her and my father share. Backed into a corner? Toss out an unrelated emotional hand grenade and get the spotlight off of you quickly as possible. It’s pretty safe to assume that this is what drove my brother to call me. After all, I hear from him about one a year at most. Amazingly enough, I see him even less often.

My brother’s mention of his old girlfriend was pretty hilarious too. Sure, everything she told me is “a pack of crap.” Right down to the police report about my brother’s arrest and conviction for spousal abuse. I’m sure it’s all a “pack of lies.” It’s easy to believe that the black eye she got wasn’t anything at all like the ones I wore to junior high school courtesy of you, dear brother.

The “movie theater” crack is even more precious. My brother and I haven’t been to a movie together since Fellini’s “Satyricon” was playing its first run at the Elmwood Theater. That was over thirty years ago. Where in the Hell the “gave up smoking” bit came from is anyone’s guess.

Yes, I know that my brother had his spirit broken by our physically and emotionally abusive father. My father and brothers did their level best to break mine too. I just refused to permit something like that to happen to me. I didn’t allow myself to be weak enough where my personality imploded and withdrew into a self-absorbed world of twisted shit. Yes, I’ve had every opportunity. Believe me, I gave myself plenty of chances to do the same. Somehow, never having a career or real life just didn’t have the same appeal for me. Go figure. Maybe my resolve to actually have a life is one of the things that led me to vow that, never, ever, fucking again will I speak to my father for the rest of his natural life. Maybe, just maybe, it turns out to be one of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made over the entire span of my years.

Nope, I didn’t go to one of the finest universities in the world like my dear brother. I didn’t piss away such a grand opportunity by taking Icelandic and astronomy. Instead, I trundled down the road to Silicon Valley’s satanic mills, er, silicon foundries and tried to make a life for myself with only a high school diploma and not much else. It took me decades to figure out that my mother and father would rather drive 1,400 miles to visit my oldest brother in Canada rather than cruise the forty miles to visit me. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always called them on their bullshit instead of politely ignoring the rhinoceros in the living room. I’m such a rebel. Being the family’s black sheep is one Hell of an onerous task, let me tell you.

Sure, I lose out on all of the financial support and material gifts my father loves to lavish on those who never, ever bring up what a crappy and violent dad he was. I can’t bring myself to betray my love of life that way. Seeing my father repeatedly spread blatant and outright lies about me only made the decision easier. Maybe it’s part of the reason why I eliminated my father’s last name from my own monicker more than a decade ago. Only my passport shows it and one of these days I’ll get off my ass and obtain the court order necessary to change that too. The children I’m going to have someday will not carry on the name of an abusive and worthless tyrant.

Let’s see, where were we? Oh yeah, this morning’s phone call. What do you think of them apples? A merry lot my family is.

And people wonder why I am a self-declared orphan.

I, most assuredly, do not.

Well, I don’t wonder why you are a self-declared orphan now.

Yikes. I am so sorry that you’ve had such a raw deal in the family department, Zenster.


keep yourself safe and healthy, Zenster

Well, I’m willing to bet most of us come from dysfunctional families - my father was an alcoholic, died 9 years ago and left this world penniless. My mother and only sister live a few miles from me and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t talk to them. You sound bitter, Zenster, and that’s not surprising after what your family has put you through; so - are you going to call your brother back? You may want to think about doing so - on rare occasion, zebras change their stripes.

Or, put in a more eloquent fashion by the Dalai Lama:

Even our enemy is useful to us because, in order to practice compassion we need to practice tolerance, forgiveness, and patience, the antidotes to anger.

Screw em, Zen. They say when a bunch of crabs are in a bucket and one tries to climb out, the others all pull em back in. Same thing is going on here.

Not saying you have crabs…

I did this ten years ago this month, and for the same reason. I was seven months pregnant at the time, about to become a single parent. If it helps at all, it was easy as pie to change, and cheaper than I ever expected. It’s probably more pricey where you are, but here it was only twenty dollars. I had to visit the courthouse three times; once to aquire the appropriate paperwork, once to turn said paperwork in, and once to go before the judge. All in all, I bet it took a total of three hours for all of that (not three hours at one time, mind you–accumilatively speaking).

I chose a maiden name from my Mother’s side of the family (and changed my first and middle names in the deal too). Of course, it sounds like a family name isn’t an option for you at all, but I encourage you to take the time to pick something meaningful for yourself, if you haven’t already.

Family baggage can really suck. Sounds like you’ve found a way to make a life for yourself though. You are to be commended for that.

I’d say ‘move on’ but blonde’s words quoting Dalia Lama made me think. Use your situation to grow, because it’s obvious that you still have anger and a couple of other emotions inside, and until you deal with them you can’t move on.
I have a shitty Father, but he no longer brings negative feelings to the surface when I think of him. A few years ago thinking of him would make my blood boil, so I confronted him and we had a rather heated discussion after 5 or 6 years of not speaking. I thought by doing this I would be able to then start a relationship with him. But after we ‘had it out’, I didn’t feel the need to talk to him anymore. And now when I think of him I feel nothing.
Find a way to not let them get to you whether that be confronting them or…smacking your head against a brick wall until you forget everything.
And seeing as this is the Pit… fuck the lot of them!

I made the decision to disown my own blood-clan just over 4 years ago, now. It’s down to forging your own path clear of the crap they want to visit upon your heart and soul, Zenster. More power to you, mate.

The stand-alone situation sucks at times, but sometimes it’s healthier, way healthier, than trying to swallow the lies.

You know, nothing says “I’m totally gay” more than calling someone out of the blue just to tell them you’re not gay.

Thank you everybody.

No, I’m not going to call my brother back. He’s never been there for me when I needed him at any time in my entire life. The confused and twisted crap he embodies is just about all he has to share anymore. I do not need it. As a result of us never going out and doing things together, we are complete and total strangers today. I can only believe that it’s better that way. My brother is an emotional black hole that will suck the life out of you if he is allowed to.

Indeed, my family is a lot like the old Philippine crab dance. I’ll not be pulled back into their honey bucket of shit any time soon. I’ve had quite enough of the old buddy fuck, trust me. Thanks to the presence of a few truly caring lovers and friends in my life who actually gave a rip about the man inside of me, I’ve learned that I can be a loving person and also be worthy of being loved.

No-fucking-body is ever going to persuade me otherwise.

Without the love of those few women and friends, I easily could have turned into the sort of sick, evil violent shits that my father and older brother are. (“The Violent Shits” would make a great band name!)

Ain’t going to happen. Not now, not ever. No way Jose. Life is too beautiful to get all snarled up in their tangle of malicious vituperous horse shit.

I’d rather die first.

I’m reminded of those Lipitor commercials,

“Hi, uh…I’m not gay.”

Zenster, it sounds very much like you are doing the right thing by cutting your family out of your life. It appears that they have caused you a lot of pain and anguish over the years that continued contact with them will only exacerbate.

However, while you maintain that you will not allow them to hurt you anymore, I am more worried that your ongoing bitterness is actually doing the most harm. It is eating you away much more effectively than your family’s dysfunctional antics could ever manage to do.

Now, I don’t know how you manage to ‘let go of the past’…it’s a wonderful old cliche, but nobody has ever been able to explain to me quite how it’s done. But I do know that time and forgiveness do ease a lot of the pain and hurts that have been inflicted. I’m not talking about forgiving in a ‘Let’s all play happy-families’ again way, more like forgiving those who have harmed you because they are really too stupid and damaged themselves to know any better.

And that’s when you can move on.

Take it easy. :wink:

(and go get some sleep you mad bastard…:D)

Well, then, Zenster, I’ll offer up another saying:
Only the supremely wise and the abysmally ignorant do not change. That’s by Confucius - and if you’re certain you don’t want your family to be a part of your life, tell them so in clear language and move on. Don’t be angry - it causes wrinkles.
Hope you make it through this OK, man.

[line from Orgazmo moment]
“Say, I’m not gay or anything, but I’d really like to make love to you tonight.”
[/line from Orgazmo moment]

I cut my mother out of my life nearly 11 years ago. Best thing I ever did.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. As I told my sister a few years ago, “I don’t hate her. I’d have to care to hate her.”

You sound like you’re well on your way to a good life, Zen. When you get to the point where you can shrug and say, “I wish them well,” then you’ve truly gotten on with your life.

Good luck.

Zenster - You don’t need your family anyway. You’ve got us. :smiley:

Seriously, I wish you well. Hopefully someday you’ll wake up and realize you no longer care about any of this, or any of them, at all.

Zenster, it sounds like you made a good choice. I do second those who recommend finding some way to let go of any resentment or anger–not to go back into the bucket, never that, but to cut the last hold they have over you and for your own emotional peace.

I am, however, getting a signal from the spirit world. Two faint, hardly distinguishable words. I’m concentrating, trying to hear the message from beyond. Wait, here it is—

Unlisted Number

My Dad’s oldest brother drove 1100 miles to stay with his wife’s sister. They were there two weeks. Five houses down the block. I am glad my Dad raised his children differently. I am sure you will raise your children differently also, Zenster.

  • wipes the Coke off her monitor, still laughing*

Usually I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling upon how warped my family is. Isolating myself from them was one of the steps I took to prevent this problem. It was getting this out-of-the-blue call today that brought it to mind. The incredible absurdity of my brother’s phone call begged the issue. What I cannot possibly communicate is the rising tone of anger and hostility in my brother’s voice as he finished his message. What could possibly be more inviting of a return call?

He is most likely no longer a practicing homosexual. Somewhere in Virginia he left a fatherless daughter behind after a relationship with one of the least intelligent humans I have ever met. The burden upon our family that my brother presents is just one more button on the coat. All of the children in our family live elsewhere and the only regular personal contact my father has is with my older brother. I find it intensely ironic that he now gets to witness up close the wreckage of my brother’s life on a routine basis. I doubt my father will ever admit (even to himself) the role he had in crushing my brother’s spirit. Nonetheless, he has a most dire reward and constant reminder of his cruelty. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

I’ll quote TVeblen about having a “heart family.” This is what I have spent the last couple of decades putting together. I have friends that have come through for me in ways that put to shame the twisted bullshit my family so enjoys spewing.

I’ll stick with them. I’ll also make mention of how valuable the support of this particular online community is as well.

Thank you all for your kindness.