Ladies and Gentlemen: My Brother

Dear Internet,

Because when it rains, it pours. Obviously.

My brother and I have had a tumultuous relationship stretching back to our teen years, but we’ve more or less made it work within the last few years with us living in the same city. When TheSoonToBeExHusband and I split, I started tapping those veins of people I’ve helped in the past financially to get some monetary relief as I was not bringing in a reliable income due to my writing sabbatical.

By this I mean, my brother.

I have a lot of open credit but after finally getting my credit in a really good place within the last few years AND not having currently having reliable income to pay it off every month, I was loathed to depend on credit to get me through the next six or so months.

So I asked him for a loan of $3K with a promise to return it back doubled when my divorce settled.

This was in late August.

He agreed to “whatever he could afford” and we were to meet up that weekend. Plans changed and near weekly, I’ve sent him a variation of the following text: “I’m leaving in X weeks. Please come by and pick up your generator and if you can, the money you can lend.”

For weeks he either ignored the text OR responded I needed to make shit right with our mother. I wish her the best of luck and wish her a long and happy life, but I have no intention of making up with her. This is why I grabbed a screenshot with the October 3 date in addition to today’s exchange, as proof of his lack of response.

In his late teens and early ’20s, he “borrowed” thousands from me to pay off his then credit card and medical debt (close to $15K).  Later, I also loaned him money to help with the deposit of his house. In 2005/06 when he needed money AGAIN because I was so weary of lending to him without making a dent in the past debt, I have a letter signed by him that was witnessed by a third-party with his intent to pay all of it back with interest.

After a few half-hearted payments he stopped, despite years of promises he would pay it all back. I didn’t even want all of it back or even half, just SOMETHING to show good faith.

Shortly after that, he started the training on becoming an electrician.

He now makes nearly $100K a year. He has a near or slightly over 800 credit score (he brags about it, how I know these things).

He has recently purchased a 2014 or 15 truck, cost was about $55K. Last year he bought and paid off (or nearly paid off) a $10K boat.

He also spends thousands on the restoration of cars and other big ticket hobbies.

So I would have thought that me asking for $3K (or anything really), given my own earning power (I made $62K a year while at my old MPOW. I’m now applying for jobs in my new area like mad that are all in the same range) and my credit history is top notch and how much I’ve loaned HIM over the course of his life AND WITH INTENT TO PAY BACK DOUBLE — would have been some kind of, “Hey. Lisa isn’t going to fuck me out of this.”

I was apparently wrong. But I’m not surprised.

Below is the text conversation from today. His last pot shot to me (not in the below exchange) was, “so get on twitter and report to the masses how bad a person I am.”

You asked and I delivered, dear brother. Don’t say I don’t keep my promises.

(Click for the full image. It reads left to right, top to bottom.)

mybrother

x0x0,
Lisa

P.S. After this exchange, I went through and unfriended his dormant FB account (he activates and deactivates depending if he’s looking to hook up with someone or not), people I’m related to by blood, and any of his and our mutual friends. Some of them were feeding him information because he knew things that were only published on FB when his account was dormant at the time.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013

Precious or costly things

Dear Internet,

I often feel like a spectator to my own train wreck of a life.

After years in the making, my mother and I broke up on Sunday. I spent much of the afternoon and night writing about it, only to find that I could not wrap my brain, and apparently my fingers, around the whole episode. Thousands of words were written and thousands were tossed aside.1 Instead of the world lifting from my shoulders, I felt the guilt that often hides in the shadows and was now dancing around my peripheral heart with glee. My heart itself felt like it was tightening so hard that I could not breathe.

The cumulation of our break-up, for me, was the realization she may have lied to me about something very big. After getting over the initial shock of, “Why in thee fuck have I not thought of this sooner?”, I felt my entire world crumble and I was instantly emotionally drained

Her potential lie has two consequences:

  • If what she told me was indeed a lie, then she not only poisoned me with her hatred against my father, but she ruined my relationship with him; whom I’ll never get a chance to make-up with since he’s been dead 12 years.
  • If what she told me was not a lie, then why did she never protect me, ever, from that danger?

What started down this road of holy fuckery was putting the connections together after her birthday lunch earlier in the day. She and I were buffered by TheHusband and my brother, ensuring that we barely spoke a word throughout the entire strained meal. After, I spent the better part of the afternoon obsessing over how thin our links had become to the other in the last year; with TheHusband wondering loudly, and quite rightly, why I had not broken the connection long ago. I steadfastly believed, until the very second I did not, I could not be that girl. I could not, no matter how horrid our relationship was, give up on her as a daughter. I did not want to be filled with regret after she was dead for missed chances and opportunities for maternal connection. I was barely on speaking terms with my father when he died and it has haunted me for over a decade on everything I may have potentially lost with him and I did not want to go through with that with her.

I’ve never known a time when she said anything even remotely kind about him. As I got older, I started piercing together some of the mistruths she had told in relation to him and of course to me, and rationalized it was all due to, at various times of her life, depression, being bi-polar, or general bitchiness about her divorce from him. But whatever reason she may have had for what she said, in this particular instance, could only come from pure evil and I could not rationale away what she did any other way.

When that connection was made, that I knew she had lied to me in the past and that this one event that shaped much of my teenage years and beyond could also potentially be a lie, the bond between us was finally broken.

Just so we’re clear, there was a long period of time in my ’20s when she and I did not speak. However, since the death of my father in 2000, I have tried desperately in vein to work things out with her. And in the years since then, anytime I’ve tried to tell her or even just to discuss my thoughts and feelings about our relationship (good or bad), it usually boils down to she either telling me if she hurt my feelings, she didn’t mean it and she’s sorry or that I’m insanely jealous of my brother (because it is always about him) or she claims she never said whatever it is I’m supposing telling her she said. There is no real discussion, catharsis, emotional break throughs or fuck, even understanding.

In the very near future, I will be removing myself from her legal documents and transferring that over to my brother. I will be canceling and/or removing her from any accounts or services she may use through me.

While I know I may be revisiting this again and again in the future to work out feelings, she no longer exists in my world.

TTFN,
Lisa


1. The baby was not quite thrown out with the bathwater just yet. I have been using, daily, Day One for all of my personal journaling needs. Since I have it on all my devices and machines, it syncs seamlessly with iTunes and Dropbox. The tossed aside content was added as Sunday’s journal entry and will probably remain there until I feel braver discussing it publicly.

Conversations About Mother (part i)

My brother and I are not on cordial enough speaking terms to the effect that we do not meet up, speak/text or are even Facebook BFFs. Our only connection is in regards to our mother, and even then contact is either brief moments filled with monosyllabic conversations or heated arguments that result in a lot of shameless threats thrown from both sides.

TheHusband, who finds my brother to be a gigantic asshole and refuses to allow him to step foot into our home until my brother apologizes for several unsavory things he’s said to me, did agree that any kind of “family” gathering should be done in a neutral location to keep the drama to low murmur. This is done to appease mother who continually harps and makes noises on “Why can’t you all just be civil to one another?” whenever my brother and I begin to bicker. Mother, however, seemingly and innocently forgets that much of my brother’s and I intolerance of each other has been started by her in some way and additionally while complaining about our sibling behavior, chooses to ignore the fact that she’s not spoken to half of her own brethren (she is the eldest of seven) in nearly five years for various infractions only known to her (and of which she can never explain when asked). Regardless of historical nods, my frustration levels skyrocket whenever a tentative olive branch is swung out to greet him, my brother will consistently denounce any kind of gathering, neutral or otherwise and effectively cock blocks any kind of civility I attempt to share when planning “family time,” regardless of how desperate my mother is to have it.

Therefore to save my sanity and have less dealings with my brother, family celebrations are now split in half for mother, who spends half her time with me and the remaining with my brother.

It is no surprise for this past Mother’s Day, I told mother that she should make plans with my brother first and then we would do our plans around those plans with my brother were made concrete. A day or two later, she tells me that she and my brother were having a mid-day meal at the retirement villa and that after, she’d like to come to our place to hang out while TheHusband and I gardened, followed by meal and game playing (Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit). Because it was her day, I also told her to pick the meal which to her meant giving me the breakdown of a four course (but very simple) meal, which TheHusband and I shopped and prepped for the day before. As mother no longer drives due to neuropathy in her feet caused by diabetes, additional timing is taken into consideration when scheduling events with her. I made it very clear to her that due to my work schedule the following day, it would need to be an early night and that since dinner would take about 1.5 to 2 hours from prep time to table, we would like to eat in the later afternoon with her tucked up back home at a fairly reasonable hour. She agreed.

With surface history of the dealings with my brother mentioned, I was not surprised upon receiving a call from my mother an hour before I was to pick her telling me that my brother could not make it to the mid-day meal (of course) and that instead, he was picking her up in the mid-afternoon to go to a party that was being held in his honor (his birthday was last week). With no thought to our feelings, plans, or prep for the meal she informs me that she’s going to this party. I asked her to call me if she was going to be arriving later then 5pm so we could plan accordingly. She in fact didn’t call until 6pm and was terribly surprised to find out that no, I was not picking her up and no, we were not having dinner as planned and in short, no, we’re not celebrating Mother’s Day with her. I made mention to dropping off some items of hers at her house the following day and hung up.

The following day, I kept to my promise and dropped some goods off at her apartment that I had ordered for mother from Amazon. Mother looked emotionally beaten and was clearly visibly upset. While I sat ramrod straight in a chair, pissed at how rude she behaved the day before, she proceeds to tell me with fat tears running down her cheeks that my brother spent the most of their time together the day before berating her for her behavior. Why was she not fast enough with her cane? Why is she so slow? Why is she not doing a million things at once like she used to do? My brother then apparently bragged that the people who were throwing him the party considered him as a second son (their own son died in a car accident in October 2010 and he and my brother were quite close) and that he wanted to be adopted by them. My brother is 32. On Mother’s Day, my brother used his time with her to talk about her failings, her missed actions and how horrible she was as a mother and did absolutely nothing else.

I struggled with two things that day: One how best to approach mother diplomatically in regards to her own fairly atrocious behavior and secondly, to not get caught up in the mother/brother drama that has pervaded me for nearly my entire life. I succeeded in the first but failed in the second.

This is a gloss over the day to day workings of my immediate family, which accounts for the partial disjointedness of the writing when attempting to explain in the shortest amount of time possible a second in a dysfunction that has been ongoing for decades. Much like that day when I sat ramrod straight in the chair, upset and angry for her behavior towards me, I could feel the undertow pull of her laying down the guilt no matter how much I fought against it. The unspoken listing of her wants and needs, rejecting the possibility that she’s ever done anything wrong is strong. How dare I criticize her when clearly my brother offended her the most with his behavior? Obviously, she should not want to live if we both think she’s the most horrible mother in the world!

I realised then I had two options: Instead of writing short stories where the mother is always violently killed, I would end up murdering my own OR I could start writing publicly about my family to get the tale out into the open. At the very least, it will keep me out of prison. At the very most, it will serve to help articulate years of feeling inadequacy for being born and save me thousands in future therapists bills.