July 29, 2014

Knowing When to Walk Away...

I'm sorry I disappeared.  We've had quite the busy summer.  2 birthdays, 2 christenings, applying to school, marathon training, etc...  But I'll catch you up on all of that in a later post.  This post is about knowing when to walk away from someone in your life.
Josey at My Cheap Version of Therapy wrote this fabulously honest post (you can find it here)  And it really couldn't have come at a better time for me.  As some of you know my family is riddled with addiction issues.  Well some might disagree...but...anyway... 
If you have followed my blog for awhile you are familiar with my oldest brother B.  His drinking has been an issue for a very long time for me.  And it really came to a head when we were in DC on Lola's cycle.  So 4 years ago his drinking became such a problem that it started impacting my life and my relationship with him.  The night before I lost baby B, brother B called drunk and belligerent screaming and yelling obscenities at me.  I was so riled up when I got off the phone I shook all night!  And subsequently I ended up in the ER at 6 am the following morning hemorrhaging and losing baby B.  My brother B didn't call with condolences for over a month, and then when he did call it was so.."y'know sorry to hear about y'know!   Suffice it to say our relationship has been very strained since this time.  But I've always been the bigger person and smiled through it. 
At this time my brother was on his second divorce.  My parents were again buying another woman off.  I'm not kidding either.  Now let's fast forward to 2013.  B is now in another relationship.  She is also a drinker.  She has 2 children.  We have met a few times.  Her children are lovely.  She is rather difficult to talk to.  She is very condescending.  If she disagrees with your point of view on something she will argue till the cows come home.  Apparently you are not allowed to have your own opinion.  We met up with them one night while my brother was coaching a lacrosse team (7 year olds).  They were both very drunk, my brother was slurring his words, and embarrassing himself in front of all the parents of his team.  I advised her it would be a good idea to take him to their room and get him into bed.  She said to me "I'm not his mother, if he wants to stay up he stays up."  Oooookay?  So I realized right there this woman does not have my brother's best interests at heart.  And being a drunk herself can not make good decisions for either of them. 
Anyway...they got engaged last summer.  Great!!!!  (sarcasm)  So now we are all faking being excited for them, when no one in the family supports this union.  Everyone knows B has a serious drinking problem.  Whenever they challenge him on it, it turns into a blow out.  And my parents run to the rescue.  This came to head last September when my 2 brothers got into a monster blowout at 4am in the morning.  B had been obnoxiously drunk at my brother's birthday party and said some really nasty things about my brother T in front of all his friends.   The fight was actually to stop B from driving from Ottawa to Toronto at 430 in the morning falling down drunk.  They had to wake my parents up to stop the fight which in turn escalated into a physical altercation with my 66 year old father.  Making the matter worse when B got up and snuck out of the house the next day, my parents left their grandchildren and followed B home!!!!  Talk about enabling bad behaviour.  They bought him lunch and filled up his car!  (my brother has a job where he clears $120k a year!)
Suffice it to say the 2 boys have now not spoken since.  We have not been together as a family since 2012.  Well I made the bad mistake of thinking I could try to get them onto civil ground.  We were hosting a christening/birthday weekend here.  I had wanted my other brother and his wife to be god parents for Lucy (we were going to ask them when they got here).  But they were reluctant to come because B was going to be here with his fiancé.  Who by the way has said she will not marry him until this rift is fixed, however, she doesn't want to know the details of what happened, as and I quote "The past is the past!"  Okay drunk ass, not really.  Anyway I sat down and drafted an email to my brothers about how our family is fractured and that is very important that we try to find a common ground as we are all each other has.  There was no blame or bitchiness.  It was written purely out of love.  And I was asking for the same respect I have shown each of their families over the years. 
The response I got was incredible.  B and his bitch (yes I will call her that now) called me screaming and yelling.  And my other brother...nothing...no phone call...no rsvp to the party...nothing.  On the day of the party I was pulling the pork with friends in the kitchen when B and bitch walked through my door without saying a word to me.  They go right into the back yard and start drinking.  Gob smacked!!!  Anyway I ignored them as best I could.  Bitch made a few snide comments. 
The next morning I read Josey's post.  And I sat outside, smoked my cigarette (I know whatever I smoke!) and cried.  And cried and cried.  I have tried.  JD and I have tried to enlist the help of the family on a number of occasions to try to get my brother some help from his drinking.  To no avail.  He's been in trouble with the police on many occasions, and my parents have 'magically' (with money) made it all disappear, because heaven forbid he would lose his job, then where would he be?  Well he'd finally hit rock bottom which is what needs to happen.  Josey's post hit me so hard.  My brother has drank for 20+ years in excess.  With a damaged kidney.  On the highest dose of blood pressure medication he can be on.  He is a ticking time bomb.  My other brother T drinks 5-6 beers per night.  I am not going to pretend that all of this is okay.  From neither brother. 
I can not allow this into my life anymore.  B is too unstable.  It's not fair to my girls.  And he has used me a punching bag for WAY too long.  I am walking away.  I refuse to love him to death. 
My other brother...well...I have no words...my heart broke...I don't know why he doesn't want to be involved in our lives.  But obviously he doesn't.  So I am going to stop the hurt.  I am going to give up on having a relationship with either brother.  And I am giving up on trying to get my parents to see the light.  (after b and bitch crashed our party and were incredibly rude, my parents left here and went there for dinner and apparently had a lovely time!!!)
Maybe this explains why I've been so silent.  I haven't been in a great state of mind.  I've done a lot of soul searching.  Is it me?  Am I unlovable?   Am I such an awful person that my own family doesn't want to be a part of my life? 
In the end it doesn't matter.  I know who I am.  I like who I am.  I'm proud that I have made it through some really hard shit in my life and never once did I turn to alcohol or drugs...okay maybe a puff, puff pass here and there...but nothing like what I see within my own family.
Maybe walking away isn't the best thing.  But at this point after battling this issue for over a decade with him (we date the start of the problem at the age of 20 and he is 42!) I'm out of options.  And I can't shoulder the stress of caring more about someone than they care for themselves. 
I'll end now as I've written a novel.  If you got through it...Gold star for you!

Much Love!

Josey...thank you for being so honest.  I read your post to my parents that morning.  I hoped that maybe hearing your sister in laws story it might wake them up.  It didn't.  I know I scared them and made them think about the physical damage the drinking is doing, but I don't think they will accept there really is a problem until we bury my brother.


J o s e y said...

I read this blog yesterday at work and started crying so I had to shut it down and come back. I honestly still don't know what to say, but I wanted to let you know that I'm glad my sharing of Jaime's story helped you feel a little less alone in all of this. It's so hard to know what the "right" thing is to do in the situation. You definitely need to protect yourself and your kids though. I'm so sorry this has been so tough and that your parents are enabling the drinking. Someday they will regret that, I am sure of it. :(

S said...

It's not you. You aren't unlovable. We are some of us, unfortunately, born into families of people who are too busy with their own dysfunction to treat us the way we should be treated.

I am sorry you are dealing with this in your own family, but for what it's worth, I think you are in the right to take whatever actions you think are necessary to (emotionally) protect yourself and your children from your brothers' behavior.

It's too bad that your parents can't see that their "help" is actually causing more harm than good.