Sibling Resentment

3 May

This last week my sister Dinah has been home for a visit from her perfect little married life in Mississippi, and all I’ve wanted to do was send her on her merry way again. I was not excited about her visit at all. If anything all I wanted was for it to end.

She has been gone of 7 months now and every time someone asks me if I miss her, I honestly can’t say yes. The true is with her gone I feel freer, I feel a weight and a burden have been lifted from me.  I no longer have to be her mother keeping her from problem or fixing the ones that she gets into.

But the hardest part of having her around is looking at her and knowing that she had it easier than me because I saved her from the worst of it growing up. I see her and I see the tool that kept me in the abuse long after I was ready to put a stop to it. I allowed Satan to continue to abuse me so that he wouldn’t abuse her. I saved her from that. I hid my parents’ fights from her by putting on the headsets and playing hours of recorded stories so she couldn’t hear them. She had a childhood because I made sure of it. Hers wasn’t cut short by abuse like mine was.

I was reading an interesting post on Target Child Abuse and I realize that, that was/is what has been happening in my family. The post talks about how the scars from this kind of abuse can run deep and are long-lasting. There are a lot of reasons for that. I have included them here with some of my own experiences of them.

  1. As a Target Child the more bad things that happen or are done to you the more you begin you believe that you are bad, inferior or defective compared to your siblings otherwise you wouldn’t be treated with such disrespect, unkindness and disregard. You were made to feel that you were worthless or unimportant. I don’t know how many times I’ve been compare to my sister by everyone around us and been found wanting. This is another reason having her live so far away is nice, she isn’t here to be compared to.
  2. The other Siblings seeing the way that the family (parents and in my case also my grandparents), who are these wonderful, loving, attentive people treat this Targeted child, and they begin to believe that there is something wrong with the Target Child, otherwise the family wouldn’t treat them is such a manner. This attitude of inferiority is then adopted by the other siblings. In my case, my sister feels that everything that she does, says, thinks is the way things should be. She holds me in disdain because I can’t be like her, and yet she has no problems.
  3. Another issue that is common with Target Child Abuse is that to the outside world, the family is normal or even perfect. In my family I call this the “1950’s TV family” or the “Norman Rockwell Family” To the world our family is charming, funny and wonderful. My sister is happy, outgoing and confident. It’s hard for anyone to believe that behind this whitewash veneer is a family with A LOT of skeletons in its closet.
  4. But this is the one that I have had them most difficulty with in the last week with my sister’s visit – The part where I as the Targeted Child am held responsible for the emotional and psychological pain stemming from the abuse. I don’t’ know how many times I’ve been asked these questions – “Can’t you just get over it?” “Can’t you put it in the past and forget it?” “Why must you keep bringing it up?” Once again it because my fault that these things happen to me and that I just can’t get over it and on with my life. My sister even had the nerve to tell me to take a pill so that I could be MORE happy this weekend. Like it’s that simple – take a pill and everything will be happy and rosy. After all I have no right to my feelings, I  just need to sit down, shut up, go along and accept the inconsiderate way the others continue to treat me, with a smile on my face. Otherwise I am viewed as being over sensitive and brooding.  

By the end of my sister’s visit I just wanted her to go away and not have to see her again. I resent being her mom, I resent being her savior, I resent being the target of abuse while it skipped her, I resent her happy life and I resent the way she thinks she can treat me. I RESENT HER.

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3 Responses to “Sibling Resentment”

  1. Sophia 05/03/2012 at 3:52 pm #

    I feel a lot of empathy for you and relate to you in several ways you mentioned in this post. I’ve started going to therapy to help me deal with the trauma of being raised within our religious structure… we can talk about it more in detail when I see you in person, or not, if that’s not a subject you’re willing or ready to dive into… but a couple weeks ago I took an hour away from the kids to sit in the car and write out some of my anger; when I got home my husband asked me what I was writing about, I told him my religious past… his response was “You’re thinking about that stuff again?” with an exasperated look on his face.That was so discouraging. After 10+ years of trying to forget the trauma it is beginning to bubble up We talked later and he was attempting to make light of it, to make me smile or get my mind off of it, but it only made it feel worse. He has since encouraged me to see a councilor and I am gonna join an archetypal self healing group. His support is paramount to my healing, even though he can never understand the how, what, when or why. It’s not easy to go against the grain, and by not wanting to avoid your true authentic feelings, you are choosing a path that is foreign to the way we were raised. Of course they want you to sit down and shut up… it makes the exterior life so much easier, but the exterior… all those ways you are compared to Dinah, are just the shell… the tender flesh inside is what’s true and yours is so beautiful and brave and strong… they are all denying that they even have that inner space that needs to be nurtured. I admire you so much. You are an inspiration to me and my own healing. I can’t wait to give you a hug and look in your eyes and offer you a listening ear and the encouragement of a family member that KNOWS. Love you.

  2. Bourbon 05/04/2012 at 9:22 am #

    I have never thought of it like that before…. target abuse….. you are so right. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

  3. G. 06/06/2012 at 11:01 pm #

    I understand. It was me and
    My brother growing up. I suspect he was never abused. He grew up happy, confident, and outgoing. All the things I’m not. I’ve been told many times to “snap out of it” or “stop being selfish”. I envy his easy life, for I will never have it.

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