And, anticipating that my oldest brother would once again ignore what I have asked for, and decide to do what he wants to do instead, while including some clever remarks that indicate that he KNOWS exactly what he is doing and why it’s “not REALLY a problem” — a few weeks ago, we decided to be proactive and try to avert this shit for once.
So my husband wrote him an email well in advance, repeating the request, asking him politely not to ignore it this time, and explaining that whatever his little reasons are, they don’t matter to us — in the same way, obviously, that what I want doesn’t matter to him.
Yesterday we got a response that is breathtaking in its arrogance.
He says he will “consider your idea” — how gracious! but that our view is “disordered”. His intentions are good, and therefore his actions are totally not disrespectful. My wishes are not “wise” or “appropriate” and besides, I can just ignore what he sends — it’s easy for me to do that!
Never mind that it’s even EASIER for him to just NOT FUCKING DO IT.
Just for fun, let’s look at the pattern yet again:
- I make a request to someone in my family of origin to change a behavior that causes me pain.
- They tell me how wrong I am and how my request is “unwise” or unnecessary.
- Having justified themselves, they refuse to change said behavior and go on with it.
- I call them out on that rudeness and unwillingness to acknowledge my rights and/or wishes.
- They get pissed off and defensive and yell at me for daring to call them out, or stick up for myself.
Over and over.
(Interestingly, I am also finding another pattern. In steps 4-5, whenever my husband gets involved, speaks up, tries to protect me, my siblings accuse him of having some nefarious motivation. I guess that’s because it can’t be possible that someone just loves me for being me, and wants to protect me, because that’s what love does. Shades of my mother twisting my father’s genuine love for me into something sexual.)
Of course I already have my brother’s email blocked, along with almost everyone else’s, at the ISP level. Of course I know how to do that — I run my own fucking websites. I’ve done everything I can think of to protect myself, and I’m not stupid nor incapable.
But you can’t block snail mail. And I tried setting up a call block on our home phone — which oh-so-easily took me over an hour of being on hold with Verizon/Frontier, and 4 different reps before one was found who knew how the hell to do it — only to find that for some unknown reason, it won’t work on their phone number.
(UPDATE 4/14: I am now up to FIVE separate calls to Frontier and over THREE HOURS of my time, because when it didn’t work I asked them to remove it, and they instead removed our voicemail entirely, which I didn’t even know for almost two weeks, so who knows what fell in the cracks while it was off. GOOD THING THIS IS SOOOOO EASY FOR ME TO DO.
God, it must be sweet to be able to just blithely write off other people’s time and resources like that in order to get your own way. Yes, there are days I wish I could do that too, but then I remind myself that I choose not to treat others as if they don’t matter in comparison to myself.)
Of course, we will be screening calls, as we always do — but it’s still an effort that WE have to make because SOMEONE ELSE is too inconsiderate, not to mention fucking self-important, to simply do what he is asked to do.
Because he wants what he wants, and nothing and no one else matters. Like a little kid.
As I have quoted before: ‘No Contact’ is not a welcome choice that scapegoats make to push family away, but rather a decision of last resorts they are driven to in order to protect themselves from ongoing abuse by family members who refuse to respect healthy limits or behavior.
Also, as I have written before: if it is acknowledged that I have good reasons for my no-contact choice, then it also has to be acknowledged that people in this family have done shitty things to me. And then — GASP — they would have to take some responsibility, and deal with their guilt, for their actions and/or lack thereof.
The real pisser, though, is where he says that he intends to “keep his door open” and continue to “ping” me once in a while to “let me know he cares about me.”
KEEP HIS DOOR OPEN.
BECAUSE WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN IS FOR ME TO COME CRAWLING BACK.
In some fantasy world of his — probably the one he prays about — he still hopes that I will turn back into a good little doormat, and accept all the blame so Susan and everyone else isn’t upset, and I’ll go back to the family that I’m only a second class member of, so he can stop feeling bad about it all, especially his own complete lack of action and power, and my sister can go back to having the whole group under her control, but still ignore me and treat me like shit. GOT IT.
OK, here’s the deal. I would have to be insane to do that. That is not going to happen.
In fact, this one sentence illustrates exactly how little effect anything I’ve ever said has had. It shows that there is still absolutely no responsibility taken on by anyone else for their actions, or lack thereof. It clearly shows that no one has any intention of doing anything except sitting around with their thumbs up their asses, excuse me PRAYING, waiting for me to capitulate and for things to go back to how they were. Except that probably they get to treat me even worse, given all the trouble “I” have caused.
If anything is going to change — as I’ve said from absolutely the very beginning — that change will have to come from THEM. I’ve already done my share of the work. It’s all right here on this blog for anyone to read.
- It will have to include a couple of honest, sincere, public apologies from Joe and Susan, acknowledging exactly what they did to me when Dad died. Also, an acknowledgement of and an apology from everyone else for what they let them do.
- There must be a demonstrated understanding of the scapegoat mechanisms that they religiously use on me; another honest, sincere apology for having done so; and the pledged intention to not use them any more. From EVERYONE.
- It will have to include an agreement that when I ask for things, I will get them, with no argument; and that if this doesn’t happen, and I or my husband call anyone out on such behavior, my word has to be accepted, the behavior has to stop right then and there, and an apology immediately issued.
- It also needs to include some kind of recognition that criticism of basic truths about who I am will not be tolerated. Atheism, childlessness, feminism, and progressive political opinions are beliefs I hold or choices I’ve made that make me happier — they are to be accepted, and not to be looked upon as personal flaws or mistakes I’ve made. I’m happy to discuss them, but only in a respectful atmosphere. I won’t be put on trial for them.
- And, of course, a pony. Because what the hell, none of the rest of it is going to happen either.
So here it is, clear and unequivocal:
Any communication, in any form, from any of my siblings except CEH, or from Susan, to me or my husband, that does not include the above elements (well, ok, not the pony) is unwanted and constitutes harassment. If such communication persists, we will get legal protection. I’ll spend Mom’s money to do it, too. It will be a pleasure.
This is not a joke. I’m done with this shit.
ETA: after all that, I find this hilarious.
Seriously, you went to the trouble of setting up an anonymous email just so you could, in effect, go, “nyah nyah, I’ll show you!” LOL.
I know that on some level, probably the only conscious one, you will claim that you are “just wishing me happy birthday!”
Here’s a hint: genuine, sincere birthday greetings are not sent from behind a wall of anonymity, and do not include “damn”. No, what this is is one-upmanship, and cowardly one-upmanship at that. It’s still harassment, and you’re still an asshole for doing it, even (especially) without attaching your own name to it and having the guts to own it.
Frankly, I’d love to see you admit to and be proud of that act in front of an actual adult — say for instance, a peer, or a boss, or even a mental health professional — instead of the family echo chamber that you all immediately turn to in order to validate each other.
It’s also cute to note that this actually circumvents all those reasons he gave that made it OK for him to do because it’s “easy” for me to ignore it: I could block his email, right? Except that he didn’t use it, so I can’t.
But the very best part of this is that this is the brother who once upon a time sent me an email that said that he was “happy to converse with me on almost any other subject”, but that he “refused to further discuss the family break” with me any more.
In case you missed it, that would be a boundary which he set and which he fully expects me to honor.
I wonder how pissed he’d be if I ignored his wishes, decided I KNEW BETTER, and emailed or called him up a couple of times a year and INSISTED on bringing up the subject?
His boundaries are absolutely supposed to be honored, but not mine.
This is why I’m gone. Call me when you grow up a little and you can act as respectfully towards me as you expect me to act towards you.
Believe me, I’m not holding my breath.