The Talk and Tricks of the Mind


I don’t know what started it this morning, the talk. Nothing was different. I walked into the same picture I always do, but for some reason I couldn’t let things go unsaid.

Let me back up a few years to the point where Dad and Al were still living together. I would say the words that described most of Al’s life from a teen on are; anger, fear, hatred. A pretty sad way for a teen to live when this is supposed to be some of the most fun years ever.

Dad never accepted that Al was different. Dad had his own issues and the only way he felt he knew how to deal with his insecurities was to take it out on Al. I have seen Dad yell, walk a way, shake his head, talk badly about us kids. I have seen Al red-faced, fists drawn, tears flowing, fear in his face. I have seen all I care to see.

There was a golden or rotten rule as I call it in our home. Mom and Dad were the boss. I could argue or try to but I could guarantee a slap in the mouth for sassing. My opinions really didn’t matter to them, they were in charge. As Dad said, he paid the bills, it was his house.

Now move forward to when Dad died and Al had his heart attack. Our sister is from another planet I will say because God would not like if I said what I really thought. Family turned their backs on us because of money. I ended up taking care of Al from the day he had heart surgery.

Now today, six years later, I have carried so much sadness because I am the one who sees the depressed face. I am the one who is not spoken too. I am the one who can’t fix what Dad did.

So day after day all these years I have walked into his bedroom with a smile on my face and a good morning to you when I get Al up. When the time was that Al could walk and M.S.A. was not even heard of, I made very sure Al got to experience life as he should have as a teen.

I did so many things for him. Now wait a minute, don’t think I want a pat on the back because I don’t. I did and do what I do for Al because he is my brother, I love him. I am not going to say there is a kindred bond between us. That was never allowed. Al and I spent our bonding days sitting on straight chairs with one toy and not allowed to speak. How could we bond, but I do love my brother.

I would and will do anything for him possible but sometimes, such as today, it just gets to me too much. The understanding side of me that tries so hard to over-look the lack of any feelings towards me just surfaced and boiled over like hot water on the stove.

At least once a month I give in and let my feelings be known to who ever will listen. I hear the same thing over and over. You are his sister, you are not his friend. He isn’t going to treat you like he does his friends. You won’t get the smiles or conversations.

OK, I get it but I don’t like it. It hurts, I am not going to lie. Although I do everything in my power to make him realize I love him it doesn’t work. I will go for weeks trying to push aside the hurt, then it comes out again.

Today, I was bathing Al and I just had this sick feeling. Inside I was bubbling over with thoughts of I do everything for you and all I get in return is tears, snotty nose, anger, no smiles.

Should I go on? No, because then it once again sounds like I am doing something for a reward. The only thing I ever have asked from Al is that he just lets me know in his own way that he loves me too.

I had him almost completely washed and I just put down the wash cloth and sank on his bed. I looked at him but he didn’t look at me, he never does. He has never looked at me when I speak to him. He will smile at me big if he knew I was taking him to an antique store or to Wal-Mart to get a new car.

It always reminds me of when I was young and I was a good girl. I would get rewarded for being quiet by getting a sucker. So this morning I just told him flat-out I wanted a smile. He ignored me. I asked him if he was having pain, he said no.I asked him if he got enough to eat, he said yes.

So I fell into my familiar trap. “Why are you so depressed-looking then. Why no smile? No pain, belly filled, cleaned up and clean clothes.” He responded with ” I don’t know.”

I edged further, my deep questions. ” Why don’t I get a smile, just one like your friends do? Why don’t you chat with me like you do everyone else?”

His response was tears and runny nose and then finally he said, ” Because you and I don’t get along, just like Dad.”

Well that was sort of a big deep void for me because I couldn’t fix what Dad had done. I was not allowed into family issues until after Dad died. I have explained to Al for six years that I am not Dad, that I loved him. I have told him numerous times I take care of him because I love him. I told him that no sister/brothers get along all the time. I told him that I get tired just like he does. That it makes me sad just like he does to see this illness doing what it does.

It didn’t matter. He sees me as Dad. He and Dad didn’t get along at all. His life was hell in his eyes, so the times that Al and I disagree, Al carries it for life. It is me, Dad and me, me all the same person.

He cried harder knowing he didn’t really understand why he feels the way he does. I think his mentality challenges doesn’t help separate the truth from the actions. So I am still back at square one. Nothing will change. I get a little hard inside, telling myself not to get so involved. Just take care of him, do the best I can and be done with it. I tell myself to quit going out of your way because you are never going to get it through his head that a sister and brother can argue but that doesn’t mean that I am Dad.

I know this is personal, I know you, my friends can’t fix it, but I swear on my grave, I am having pain in my hands today from Diabetic Neuropathy, my body aches from tugging to roll Al over and I just don’t need a headache on top from crying, so I wrote.

Al when he was little

 

47 thoughts on “The Talk and Tricks of the Mind

    • I am guilty of not visiting you as often either. With him being home five days a week now my time is more consumed. I am lucky to like so many blogs that I really love to read. I do wish things were different but they are not. Hug and love my friend

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  1. I don’t if this will help, but what Al is doing is called transference. All victims of abuse do this. He couldn’t get fight back with your dad. It’s not personal. I would say you will feel a lot lighter if you let go and don’t try to fix it. It takes years of therapy to work through something like that. I’m sorry it’s so painful for you.

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  2. I know you don’t want a pat on the back but I am sending one anyway. Sibling stuff can be difficult. My family is pretty okay but there are issues(there’s 8 of us). I am oldest and my sister is 15 months younger. There has always been some kind of tension. In the last couple years I have asked her about it and what she was thinking just wasn’t true. I tell her I love her and am sorry for not being a friend as teenagers. I deal with it differently now that I know her feelings. Our parents did not help our situation. It’s not perfect but it is easier now. I would continue to talk to Al like you have done and let him know you love him as you did. Our childhood experiences make us who we are but it does not have to define who we can become once we have that knowledge. Sorry for long comment but it still comes up with me also.

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    • I think Al’s past with his dad is so embedded in him and with his mentality he will never change. I get so upset with myself because I eventually give in and let the hurt rise and say something to him once again. It causes great stress within me and he doesn’t like to talk about it either

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  3. All I can say …is your feelings are OK to have…Al probably doesn’t know why…he feels the way he does…or he just can’t explain it…Understand the hurt…
    I have an older half brother…who treats me different…always visited my brother and sister…but, not me…I’ve tried but, finally figured there was just no use…When we see each other we just act as if everything is normal…which to me it is not…
    It hurts I tell you…when I hear of him visiting with my sister and asking her out to eat…
    so I pull it up and just go on…
    What’s funny…is that when I was taking care of our Mom for 5 years he came by often…Evidently it wasn’t for me!

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    • it is so hard to understand why people treat us the way we do. I put way too much importance on the word family. Too many Leave it to Beaver shows. It does hurt, it hurts real bad, but I will always continue to love Al and take care of him the best I can

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  4. the damage that is caused when the void of the heart is left unfullfilled, Al is lucky to have you, but we all have needs, i sometimes put on music to soothe and to enlighten, maybe you should use music therapy on Al, have a good cry and remind yourself of all the good you do, you’ll soon be smiling

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  5. Sibling closeness is not something I know about either, I mean my sisters and I got together three years ago after being 23 years apart, I have brothers I never see and one that has nothing to do with any of us. That is why I think regardless of how Al is with you the love you have for one another shines through all of your experiences together and now the illness may be distorting things and people in his mind. Hugs my friend big hugs!

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  6. Oh the pain you both are living with, my heart cries for you both. then the way you are doing what is right, out of love, and still not getting Al’s smiles, so tough! The one thing that is sure is that we can not be therapists for our own kin, you just have to keep being the grown up and act like you think is right. Al’s problems have nothing to do with your way of being, he is traumatized by your father, it could take the time you do not have to treat. Perhaps you must leave it. Perhaps you know a minister that could help Al placing the anger and hurt where it belongs, it could be too late. He will be comforted and made whole in heaven though. You need to talk to someone though, who helps you let go of what you can not do. Al is hurt and afraid and does not dare to trust you, but that is not your fault. Love, Solveig

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    • You said everything so right. You understand. My issue is walking a way. I have had Al in six different therapy offices and each time they start to get comfortable enough to talk about Dad, Al explodes and ask us to leave.

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  7. We cannot change what happened in hte past now what is happening now, but we are always here to listen and pray. Our way of helping! I do hope it gives you the love you never had! Love you Terry, mega hug! ♥

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    • I am not the one who can’t change, Al is, and Al constantly reminds me of the past and his feelings. I have accepted the past and moved on years ago. Hugs my friend

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  8. I have read the other comments, and I can only reiterate what they have said. You are you, and you care. You have this thing inside you that cares. You don’t want a pat on the back, but you want some recognition from him. For him to say you are doing a good job. For him to say “yuh, you is gooods” I understand why he won’t, why he can’t. It’s locked inside him that every member of the family is going to be like him. He feels alone, and I know that makes you feel alone as well, maybe more so. It makes you feel that you are doing something wrong when you are not.

    It is so unfortunate that he is like this, and that he can’t see you for who you are, and not as the child of his father. I am sorry, I don’t know what else I can say. I would make it better if I could.

    I did send his card today though

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    • yeah, some days I just hate having it crammed down my throat that he thinks I am Dad. Other days I can brush it off. It seems though that when I get tough after he has broken me I am not as compassionate. I am more the caregiver and not the sister. Eventually I slide back into the sister role setting myself for a hurt again later on. I wish I could just brush it off permanently. Thanks for sending Al his card my good friend

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  9. Terry, I agree with the others; and this is only to be fixed by God. You have and are doing more than most would do. As I have said before, my brother and sister do not know I exist. Years of me trying to have a decent relationship with either of them always turns into a fight. Finally, God showed me to let them go emotionally to him. We can’t make people love us; but God knows our hearts and will bless those who show it especially when it isn’t returned.

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    • You are so right Cathy. I hate that he constantly shows me that he thinks I am Dad. I moved on from this years ago for the most part. Dad was who he was, but Al, just won’t let it rest, and every once in a while it just stirs me up good. Thanks for understanding Cathy. Hugs

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      • Terry, you are such an inspiration to so many because your love for Al is unconditional. God will honor that for you over and over. Al doesn’t understand and maybe can’t separate the two. Ask God to show him you are not ur dad. I truly admire your consistency in caring for him. I would need a screaming room.

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      • instead of screaming, I write. I think you have a very good point. Al can’t separate Dad and me, the real key to solving it. I go for weeks letting it slide and then either I don’t feel well or I am tired and it surfaces again

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  10. being a carer is such a thankless task, and you dad it seems did so much damage as mine did with me. A man from the war and typically male of the era, I have four brothers and a sister and I was the one he decided not to like. I was a long haired hippy, and guitar player he did not me as a person. forever insulting and calling me names. My mother stuck for me but to no avail, But Terry like your dad, he caused more mental damage than one realises at the time of these events. So what i am saying I can relate with what you say, I have heard all these words by my dad. My mother on the other hand was an angel. That I believe you to be, a strong sensitive person, so maybe a little blessing.. take care my friend. Gerry,

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    • It is nice Gerry, to have you understand so well. Although I wish you didn’t. No one said parents do great jobs. Many parents don’t even know the word parent. I just wish Al could see that I love him. It seems so little to ask but it must be a giant issue for him. Hugs my friend. I like people who play the guitar!!!

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  11. This is so terribly hard Terry. I sort of know what it feels like because for years Anthony would brighten up for other people but not for me. I hope you know deep down Al loves you very muchxxxx

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  12. Oh Terry – I wish I could hug those painful hurt feelings away from you & from Al. Keep taking it one day at a time. Keep the faith & don’t give up (I know that you won’t). Maybe one day if you are feeling up to it – you make different entrances & one day he will smile. Or – give him a happy face 🙂 & post them by him. Just thinking out-loud. So- pardon my goofy ideas if they seem lame.
    {Hugs} to you & Al

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  13. *big giant hugs* oh terry I am so sorry. I wish al understood all you do for him and I wish you could get a smile from him. *hugs* may I have your email address so that I can (finally) send Christmas cards to you both? Mine is yornma at yahoo dot com. 🙂

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  14. No one but the Lord knows what you, and Al, go through on a daily basis. So I can only speak from personal experience. I am the first to admit if I was in your shoes, perhaps I would think differently.
    Throughout my life I have learned that I cannot control what others say or do. For me to desire what others refuse to give me only results in anger and depression. However, if I choose to let go of those things that I desire from others, and center my life on simply making sure is that I have trusted in the Lord and that I am doing what He would have me to do… that is where the only true satisfaction and joy lies, regardless of what others may or may not do.
    .
    My prayers continue. May the Lord bless you.

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