formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Monday, November 10, 2008

Drama Sucks...

Last week was a bad week. Last week the dysfunction in my family played front and center on life’s stage. Does that sound dramatic? Yeah, it does, I know. And I’m not a drama queen by nature, really. But last week was full of drama. And anger. And tears. And sleepless nights. It was Drama with a capital D.

My younger brother and I have never gotten along. Well, that’s not quite true. I think we had a few years where things were OK between us… from the time he was born ‘til he turned 6 or so… and then again when we were about 18 and 19. But it’s been downhill ever since.

I’m not sure exactly where or why things went wrong. We have very different personalities and outlooks – always have. He has always believed that I think I’m better than he is. I think he has always believed our dad loved me more than he loved him. He resents me for not being here when my dad was sick; for the fact that he shouldered a lot of responsibility he felt should have been spread more evenly. I can’t help any of those things. They are his perceptions… but I’ve learned that a person’s perception is his reality, regardless of what reality IS.

Over 20 years ago, I moved away from here. When I lived far away, it was easier to manage our volatile relationship. When he said or did things to hurt me or other people, I could walk away and be gone for months. The tension would dissipate over time, though a divide certainly formed. Hurt stays with you, doesn’t it? You can work around it; you can push it down; pretend it doesn’t affect you. But it’s always there. And it always comes back to haunt you.

When my marriage ended, I came back here and being around my family on a regular basis made it hard to ignore the differences between my brother and me. He is extremely conservative. Extremely. He supports George Bush, believes in the war in Iraq, voted for McCain, likes Sarah Palin, swears Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist, believes everyone in the country should be armed (and then there would be no crime), bought my 8-year-old niece a rifle for Christmas, tells racist jokes, listens to Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly, and is extremely proud of all of those things. He also believes that because I think very (very) differently than he does, I’m stupid and uninformed and I hate America. I believe he is an angry, bitter, intolerant, closed-minded person, who lives in a very dark place; who is willing to see the worst – certainly in me – and in the world as well. We cannot have a civil discussion about anything on which we disagree, which is pretty much everything. And I am as guilty of the animosity as he is. He brings out the worst in me. When we argue, it gets ugly and I get angry with myself for allowing him to push my buttons; for losing control.

Last week, things came to a head. Because of a silly situation that shouldn’t have even been acknowledged, let alone dwelled upon, he accused me of hurtful things; things that were completely ridiculous and false. He never bothered to ASK me about them. Willing to believe the worst of me, he simply assumed I had done something wrong. He called me a liar. And when I proved I wasn’t lying, he ignored the proof. He called me terrible names. He insulted my beliefs. He insulted me on a personal level. He seethed with hate and anger and resentment. He brought 30 years of hurt and pain to the surface. And he ended our relationship. He made it clear that it’s time to walk away.

I have wondered at times if I am the person my brother sees; the person he believes me to be. But then I think of my friends and my family who truly know me; who have taken the time to learn what is in my heart and my head. I think of the amazing people who love me; who trust me; the people who believe in me and believe the best of me; who see my faults and accept them as part of me, but who don’t define me by them. I think of those people and I know my brother is wrong… about so very many things.

And it makes walking away a lot easier.

So here’s to this week… and much less drama.


J Cosmo Newbery said...

So, where did you bury the body?

Diane said...

Shhhhh... I thought we agreed not to discuss that!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Argh! Damn! Sorry!

Lee said...

Good grief! I'm glad I am an only child! There wasn't one thing I agreed with your brother on, with the possible exception of Glen Beck & Bill O'Reilly, who I have never heard of, so should perhaps withhold judgement.

I haven't seen anything in your character to ring any warning bells. There is the issue of camping which is not my natural habitat but I am happy enough to see you go off and enjoy it. And, granted, you have never given me any blogging awards and while this is fine, it is okay, I am sanguine with that, I must admit that I never accept them anyway.

But it is still sad when families implode and emotions can range from anger to disbelief, from bewilderment to grief.

Take care.

Protege said...

To disagree or have disputes with members of your family is very painful, even though this is a rather common occurrence.
Family knows you well and considers your love unconditional. Close relatives dare to challenge you as they believe that “blood” ties are strong and can withstand anything – and that is so far away from the truth.
Additionally, they know you so well and know which buttons to push.
I feel with you and for you Diane, as having disputes with your siblings is never an easy thing; they are after all the people that you have known the longest in your life.
With that said, please remember that you do not need to accommodate anyone in your life who does not appreciate you for who you are; the vivacious, wonderful, kind and free spirited woman that I have grown to like so much.:)))

Distributorcap said...

And I am as guilty of the animosity as he is.

dont do that to yourself. i hate sounding cliche, but as my father says - but you can pick your nose and friends, but not your family.

blood doesnt necessarily guarantee love and roses and candy. the important thing is to just know how you are - what makes you tick and that ANY animosity is not completely your fault.

family guilt is a toughie, no doubt - i dont get along with my sister that well. but time has healed some wounds.

just because he is your brother, doesnt give him license to call you terrible things and a liar etc. sometimes walking about is the best -- maybe time will bring him to his senses, maybe not. but meantime you need to continue to be you - the good person you obviously are.

best to you during a difficult time

Anonymous said...

LOL to J Cosmo ;)

Stuff like this makes me glad I don't have brothers or sisters. BUT my bro and sis-in-law definitely let me understand a part of this. UGH. Family.

I'm so sorry it had to end like that. You should be proud of yourself for the way you handled it. Some people just can't see past the end of their own noses. It's futile (yes, I'm a geek) to try and change them so like you did, just walk away. Maybe one day he'll come around and things can be...normal?

Until then, don't be hard on yourself. From what I've seen of you on here, you're not the one with the issues.

I'll drink to this week being better - *cheers*!

Pauline said...

Thank goodness you don' feel compelled to agree with your brother for the sake of staying a part of each other's lives. Sometimes differences run too deep - even among family members. Better, I think, to have no contact than to have ugly contact.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry that you have had to have such a painful and difficult relationship with your brother. I hate hearing that anyone can harbor that much animosity toward their own sister. Some people thrive on making others miserable, though, so don't let him do that to you. If he can't let go of old drama or quit attacking you on personal levels, he's not worth the lost sleep. One day, probably when it's way too late, he'll look back and wish he'd done things differently.
And in the meantime, you have a whole bunch of people who love and support you and think that you are absolutely wonderful :)

Mel said...

Here's to much less drama this week, for sure! Although you know I'm always there for you when the drama rolls around. Love ya! Melaroni

P.S. it seems like when your drama is down, mine goes up, so let's just hope we both have quiet weeks!

Heinous said...

It seems it's time to let it go. Sorry as it sounds. It's not worth the hassle. Blood relations aren't all they're cracked up to be sometimes. Hugs.

Heather said...

Check out my blog. I cheated...

Jane! said...

I'm just wondering if he has any friends.
What a terrible loss for him... not so much for you.

Ronda's Rants said...

I am so sorry about your brother's and your relationship. I, too have had troubled relationships not just with my brother but with one of my sisters...We have different values and politics! It has at times gotten heated over the years...we can't talk politics! I think some of they do feel that I think I am better...I don't but like you said that is their perception! I try to think about only the parts of their lives I am really proud of...there are some areas of their lives where I am really proud of their achievements! I talk and ask questions only about those areas. I think then they sense I am sincere.
I understand how hard it is though because both parties have to want more and realize that just because you don't agree doesn't mean you don't value some of the things they stand for!
I am sorry you are hurt and I bet he is hurting too!
But..I agree ...maybe you should let go for awhile and try another time to redefine your relationship. :)

thailandchani said...

I believe he is an angry, bitter, intolerant, closed-minded person, who lives in a very dark place; who is willing to see the worst – certainly in me – and in the world as well.

I think you've just about summed it up here. Sometimes the only thing we can do for people like that is have some compassion - and still walk away. If he wants to come out of that dark place, he will one day ~ probably when he's old ~ but there's no reason for you to tolerate his abuse.


Anonymous said...

I think the real question is: Should I hire a hit man? I know people. I'm pretty sure my neighbors are members of the Mafia. Is that insensitive?

Obviously I am joking, and I'm very sorry that this happened. Feuds like this among a family are always hard. I think the important thing is that you do what is best for yourself and Ryan...and take solace in those that truly know and love you. Here's to a better week. :)

Deutlich said...

I'm really sorry you are going through this. It sounds similar to a situation I've dealt with regarding my dad.

And truthfully? Drama does suck and walking away sometimes really IS the best.

Stu Pidasso said...

with eight siblings, I've seen it all girl. But consider each relationship as its own love bank account. you get debits and credits depending on each encounter. After soooo many debits to a love account, people get way overdrawn and a relationship can sour badly. You can cut your brother off or you can keep reaching out without expecting anything back. With enough deposits on your side, maybe your brother will realize that you do actually love him unconditionally like he should be doing to you.

I unfortunately overdrew my love account with my ex a long time ago. Not so with any on my sibs (knock on wood).

Stu Pidasso said...

oh yeah, I am suuuuuch a dork!!! And I am still double I must go zulu. Ciao.

Diane said...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the support and well-wishes. This was a long time coming and it is what it is. I feel better now... the rest of my family and my friends are all behind me and that helps.

And Jane, to answer your question. He has lots of friends. It's not hard to find Bush-loving, gun-totin', narrow-minded people in this part of the country. Sadly.

Ronda's Rants said...

My husband is related to a few there! Tee Hee!

The Odd Duck said...

This reminds me so much of conversations with my father and grandmother that it is not even funny.


hebba said...

So sorry to hear that. You know, friends of mine who listen to talk (hate) radio ALL act like that. Its like, after listening to the garbage for long enough, they forget how to act like real people, how to have real conversations. So they start acting like Bill OReilly and Rush (accuse people of lies, change the subject when others prove them wrong, never let you get a word in edgewise, get belligerantly opinionated over things they don't know about)
I guess let it be. In time, things may work themselves out. But as long he is in this state of talk-radioness, he is more concerned with being "right" than being a good person.
You are a good person. I look forward to hearing from you each day.
Hang in there

Live More Now (LMN) said...

Oh I am so sorry for that pain! The toxicity that certain people bring into our lives makes dealing with them, in the end, .... not worth it. A counselor who I hugely respect and admire, when a friend (who saw the same counselor) suggested that her boyfriend should be spending more time with his family - who was toxic - responded with, "Why? Just because they are family? If they are toxic to you, you can create your own family." It was that simple to him. We can and do create our own families, out of people who sometimes ARE our family, and out of friends. There is a VERY good book on this topic - "How to Hug a Porcupine" with many ideas about how to deal with toxic people in our lives, which sometimes means keeping them OUT of our lives. It will be okay. But I am so sorry for the pain.