I am watching this terrible show on HBO. Or, I should say, I think it is terrible–it is campy and overly dramatic. The dialogue is lacking, and the plot spirals back upon itself in a way that is annoying. And yet, I keep watching it, because I have run out of truly good shows to watch while I work out at home.

The show deals with substantial childhood abuse (emotional, verbal, alcoholic), and we see the main character as an adult looking back on all of this trauma. She slowly realizes that her childhood memories are colored in a way that allows her to tolerate them and deem the people in them “good.” As the show unfolds, she realizes that events in her past are different than she remembers. She starts to see these “happy” memories from her brother’s perspective and realizes how damaging and traumatic they were for him.

I resonated with that. Or, at least, I guess I did, because I was compelled out of seemingly nowhere to text my estranged brother. The last contact I attempted to make with him was at least a year ago when I sent him “one last” email saying that I presume he doesn’t want to be in contact with me, but I would appreciate the closure of hearing that from him. No reply.

So, I texted him yesterday, and I’m surprised by how much I’m still ruminating on it today. I knew he would not reply… but, still. He has an iPhone (as do I), and the message sent in blue and then changed to green awhile later, saying it was “sent as a text message.” I know that he has blocked my number. I know that he doesn’t see these messages. I know that we are over.

And still, it hurts. I can logically understand that he probably feels that I abandoned him when I went away for college–he was left to bear the brunt of abuse at the hands of my parents. I left and didn’t look back. I know that I had to, for my own sake. But, it must have hurt. I don’t know if my broken self could have done anything differently at the time, but I know he was hurt.

The thing is, I was hurt, too. I still am hurt. I can say that I’m sorry for his hurt, but I am not necessarily regretful of my own actions. I needed to get away to save my own life. I know that he sees my life and my and my husband’s successful careers, or beautiful children and our smiling family portraits… and he probably sees what everyone sees–that we are blissfully happy. And, we are. But it doesn’t change the immense amount of trauma in my (our) past. I know that he sees our parents in my life and probably assumes that I’ve forgotten, forgiven, or otherwise swept their sins under the rug. Maybe I have in some ways, but basically I made a choice between what hurt and what hurt worse–what was bad and what was worse. I decided to establish new roles and new titles, new ways of interacting wherein my parents aren’t any longer my parents–they’re my children’s grandparents. Because that’s what I can tolerate.

I don’t know whether I’ll ever get the chance to say these things to him. I don’t know whether it would matter. I don’t know that would be “better” than this–what do I want?

All I know is that I still feel sad.

Day 45.

Published by Quitter

I’m a college professor, wife, and mother of 2 small kids. I’m on a recovery journey 20 years in the making.

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