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May 11, 2015

Acceptance


My brother and I don't have a strong sibling relationship. I think it all started with how we were brought up. Between a (somewhat) larger gap in our ages which meant we never went to the same school, and parenting lifestyle differences between us; things were never equal.

I was the first born. The overachiever. My parents were strict with me and taught me the meaning of a dollar. You work hard, you can achieve great things, but you have to roll up your sleeves to do so.

My brother was the second born. Just under four years younger than me. He had nearly free reign to do what he pleased, because, you know, "boys will be boys." When he started dabbling in drugs, my parents seemed concerned but ultimately turned the other cheek. When he started lashing out, my parents retaliated with too much love and affection, rather than playing hardball like I was used to.

I don't blame them for treating us differently. Who the hell knows what they were up against.
Maybe I was such a handful that they were worn out and decided to just loosen the reigns with him.
Maybe it was too much. I was the mistake, after all.
A beautiful mistake, my mom says, but an oops they weren't quite ready for.

My brother's lifestyle choices have been affecting my parents a lot in recent years. And in turn, I have watched bouts of depression that I can't understand and a lot of unloading to me. I get mad. I try to reason with everyone, to make everything right and let everyone see the real issues.
It's tiring and taxing on my mental state. It starts to affect my relationship with  my husband.

So a few months ago I let my brother have it. In some not so eloquent words, I finally just said everything that I had been thinking for years. The disappointment, the sadness, the anger, it all came out in one massive fit.

I was tired of seeing my mom cry.
I was tired to see my dad at a loss for an answer, and watch him slip in and out of depression.
I was tired to see the financial and emotional strain on them all because of him.
Because they love him so much they are blinded by his burden. They allow it.

After that spell, we didn't talk for months.
Until Mother's Day.
My parents have both been concerned about our feuding, but I just couldn't let go of that disappointment.
I swallowed my pride and reached out to him....for them.
Now, I did admit I overreacted that day I lashed out, but my feelings about the situation have not changed.  I believe, whole heartedly, in living an honest life.
Do good and you get good things.
Life, REAL life is so hard. Nothing is truly handed to you (unless there is family money or some other inheritance that is literally handed to you).
Everything Mark and I have we have worked hard for. Not just with our jobs, but in our day to day.
We were able to build and buy and upgrade and enhance our lives how we see fit because WE did it ourselves. No one handed us that silver spoon. My parents scraped together enough money to get me into college, but the rest was up to me. Mark started his own company at 18 and moved out.

I do not agree with being a passive bystander to life.
I do not agree with doing an illegal thing to make money fast just to get ahead briefly.
I do believe in Karma.
I do believe that you allow your parents to be parents and shelter and protect you until you are an adult, but then you get out and find your own way.
I believe in not being a burden to your parents. Learn your own life lessons. You won't repeat them if you get in trouble and learn the harsh reality of how much a lawyer and court fees are.
Trust me.

But no one is perfect.
People fall. And if no one is there to catch them. Then what?

So I am trying acceptance. I am mentally removing myself from that situation as I don't really have much say besides whining on the sidelines about "how things should be."
We talked for the first time in months. It was tough and swallowing my pride isn't easy.
But we all worked together for that day, for my parents.

I accept that we are so, so very different. But he is my brother. And family helps family.
I accept that life will help him find his way, even though it's not how I think it should happen.
I accept that I can't change his life, I can't teach him to be proactive, and I can't stop my parents from being who they are.

Because I have my own life and dreams and goals to reach for. A lifestyle that people look at bizarrely because it goes against the norm sometimes, too.
And that's okay.

2 comments:

  1. I hear you on this one, loud and clear. A place of acceptance can be very hard to get to when you don't agree with the situation, but, sometimes it's literally the only option aside from going insane by it all. I'm sorry for the struggles your family has had!

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  2. It's so crazy that you're writing this right now. We are going through the same thing with my brother in law. He hasn't gotten to the point yet where he has hit rock bottom or even caused my in laws too much distress, but we can see it getting there if they don't put their foot down. Mike and he have gone years without talking in the past, and living under the same roof mind you, and I'm trying everything I can to prevent that from happening again. Good Luck. I'll be thinking about you.

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