As the end of another year, in this realm of existence approaches, it is getting easier to separate the delusional from reality. Through my whole life all I ever wanted was an acknowledgement that I lived through an abusive, destructive, and terror filled childhood.
Most of my life my three older siblings ignored the subject and if I tried to start a conversation about it, I was met with comments about growing up and being a man. It took me years to figure out that while all four of us had the same parents, we were raised by different parents. My brothers, were all separated by just over four years. I was an after thought. While they aged between 8 and 12, I was born. When things got tough they had each other to lean on, I had nobody.
My parents alcoholism didn’t take serious hold until the two eldest moved out and the other used the house as a place to sleep. The three oldest enjoyed taking summer vacations, renting a cabin for two weeks in New Hampshire. While I was there I don’t remember it as either good or bad because I was to young. My brothers enjoyed boy scouts. Church activities with being altar boys, and other things that families enjoyed doing together. My parents were actively involved in our church activities themselves with helping with bingo and the Holy Name Society.
Yet, as the boys got older their involvement became less and less. And alcohol slowly became their new god. Think about it, my mom was an alcoholic and was out of control. My dad was an alcoholic and was out of control. And they were in control of me.
A few years back, shortly before his death, my oldest brother did acknowledge that I had the worst childhood. That we couldn’t compare parents and that mine was filled with terror. Think of that, he used the word terror.
I’ve held a lot of anger and resentment towards my brothers. Which is kind of sad. Growing up they were my idols, they could do no wrong. Now I look back and see that they too were Damaged Merchandise.
One brother served in Vietnam, making our family proud. Yet within a year of being back home dad found a pound of cannabis in his bedroom closet. Another came home for a holiday why from school and during one of mom’s drunken episodes, he promised to never come home again. For her he never did and as such left me behind as well. A brother I have not seen in 40 years.
The other brother who can recite words they said with great clarity and things they did. You’d swear my parents were royalty. On a high pedestal they were place and to this day they sit. Yet, he seems to forget his own misdeeds. Nearly burning down the house because he passed out in bed smoking a cigarette. In the morning, the first thing I saw from my bedroom window was a smokey mess. Wasn’t sure what it was and it wasn’t until later I learned what happen.
What’s comical about this one is how much hatred my mom had for him. Yes, you read that right – hatred. She constantly berated him, yet if you talked to him, you’d swear he was talking about Mother Theresa.
My anger and resentment towards them runs deeper. They were old enough and on their own, yet they did nothing to get out of that mess. They sat back and watched a child cry in fear and they walked away. I wonder if that is part of the reason we aren’t close? Maybe, they can’t look me in the eye, because of what they knew and what they let happen to me.
If they knew what happen to me when the lights went out and everybody was gone, or even had an idea that it happen, then they are in more pain than me. If they knew and did nothing then I hold them partially responsible for some of the things I did growing up. I’m not deflecting responsibility for my actions. At the end of the day, I am totally responsible for my actions, yet I wonder what might have been different, if just one brother went to the police and told them what was going on. Or if one brother went to an uncle and asked for help.
As Christmas season approaches, the greatest gift I could receive is a gift I’ve been waiting for. The gift of acknowledgement. Got it from one brother, I wonder if the other two will ever swallow their pride and say I’m Sorry. What a beautiful gift that would be.