Sometimes All You Can Do is All You Can Do

I’m thinking here about the siblings issues we’ve talked about.  I asked about yours….let me tell you about mine. I have a brother who doesn’t speak to me or our sister. He simply wants nothing to do with us.  There was no big argument that set it off.  He just has issues…(I’m a therapist, how can I not  think this way?). His childhood basically sucked. Our father criticized him relentlessly,  and favored his girls. Lavished his girls. With love, affection, and material things.  I basked in my father’s attention, and had no time or interest in my brother, 6 years younger than I.  I have no happy memories of him at all and I’m sure its the same for him…he was just the pain in the butt little brother…

It never grew to more than that….Then  my father died when we were young adults and  my brother began to drift even further away…literally across the country…meanwhile I got older, and sick, and began to belatedly appreciate the importance of family. I tried reaching out to him so many times…verbally, letters, sending photos of his neice and nephew who he has no interest in….but it was too late. He told someone that he really just has nothing in common with me…At first I thought that was ridiculous ! Nothing in common? We had the same parents! We grew up together.

But then I thought about it some more and realized that wasn’t true at all. We did not grow up together. We never connected or bonded. We experienced our childhoods and our parents entirely differently.  Too late, I grieve for the relationshp I could have fostered with my little brother. I envy women with brothers now. I am so pleased that my son and daughter are so close.  I grieve for what never was with my brother, and also for what never will be. He just doesn’t want it.  So as much as I yearn for it as a woman, and believe in it as a therapist, the reality is we can’t always mend relationships. Or in this case, start one. Sometimes all you can do…is all you can do…


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7 Responses to “Sometimes All You Can Do is All You Can Do”

  1. undercanopy Says:

    You should not give up. There will be times when he too feels the need to reconnect with his loved ones — you included. If you continue to open your heart to him, I’m sure the day when the bond rekindled will come sooner than you think.

  2. amberfireinus Says:

    Thank you for writing this posting. Its really difficult to get through the emotions and logic processes of a relationship like this.

    Your family isnt necessarily the people you were born to. That is simply an accident of biology or God’s plan for whatever reason. Your brother obviously needed those experiences somehow in his life and will gain benefit at some point.

    My brothers too although we grew up together, we grew up in completely different worlds. My eldest brother was the golden boy, athletic and popular. He was funny and charming and everyone’s friend. I was the driven student/geek. I was the one who always achieved, and made everyone proud around me. There wasnt much left for my little brother. He got stuck with the role of whatever was left over. So he took up the mantle of black sheep, I dont give a shit about the world. He was the one that we were all sure was going to land himself in jail.

    Our worlds are still at opposite ends. I grew up, became successful and moved into the life that was expected that I should. My eldest brother kinda ended up like the high school football star that never really got anywhere or did anything with all of his talents etc. Now he’s middle aged, struggles for money, his personal life is a mess and he is firmly in the middle class zone. Surprise of all surprises, my younger brother has made huge strides in his life. He is doing very well for himself financially after getting himself together at age 30. He’s married to a nurse, and they have a nice home. He never did go to jail either. Still, he plays the bad boy and has lots of anger inside of him that just exudes from his being. He has issues with Alcohol and drugs but of course cant see it. Instant asshole just add alcohol.

    I have written to you before how they both see me as being the princess in the family. Suddenly I live this perfect life never ever having had to work for a thing. *eyeroll*

    I look at our lives and we have absolutely zero in common. Even our moral base and values are different. Sometimes its even hard to have a conversation with them, because of their prejudice towards me and that I couldnt possibly understand the common man sort of deal.

    For some reason I still try to make it work. I do everything to try and prove to them that I am normal and down to earth. Why is this I wonder? Why should I have the need to prove myself to these two people who I rarely get a chance to see?

    Dont get me wrong. I love my brothers. I love them both dearly. Each one has a specialness about them that I cant even begin to describe. To be very honest, they both love me more than any other woman in their lives. They are both beyond protective of me even now. Heaven help any man who would even think to look at me the wrong way. There would be no where for them to hide. Of this I am positive.

    Im trying to come up with some kind of middle ground about my feelings for them. Im trying to figure out how it is I can have a satisfying relationship with each of them and get past the old tapes. I have yet to manage to do so, but will let you know if I do.

    Great post.

  3. harietfromthehills Says:

    I was the pain in the butt little sister. Big Brother was smart, talented, athletic, motivated,…..he was all of it and then some. He escaped home at the age of 16 to get a better education. I was seven years younger and did not understand.

    I was told I was a mistake. Told by my mother that I was not planned and just happened. Grew up in the 70’s raised all the hell I could and tried to make everybody as miserable as I was while living up to my labels. My Father tried to help me thru it. The way he explained it was my brother and I were two totally different people with different talents and he was proud of both of us. Brother was the engineering genius and I could survive in the woods with a pocket knife and a fishing pole.

    Big brother saw my hurt, he reached out, I tried to accept but have never felt like I fit in. He lives in a $1,000,000. neighborhood and I live in a house trailer in the middle of the woods. I am glad for my brothers success in life. He is a good man.

    I am happy to live in my house trailer surrounded by nature and the love of my husband and children. The last child is about to leave for college, but she is here for now. I treasure our time together.

    For years my brother has tried to reach out to me. It really touched me a few years ago when he wrote a letter telling me he had not been the best brother he could be and he apologized for failing me in so many ways. We get together about once every 3-4 years. He has only one daughter to marry off now, so who knows when we will see each other again?

    I Love my Brother and time is running out. I need to get over myself and have a relationship with him before it’s too late. I think reading this has inspired me to call him tommorrow. Hard to believe Christmas and New years passed and we did not even speak. For me all I can do is let the person, who my brother is, know I do love him.

    This post made me think and decide to step forward.

  4. psychscribe Says:

    harietfromthehills, your post absolutely made my day! thank you!

  5. psychscribe Says:

    amberfireinus, yours was a great post as well. thank you.

  6. psychscribe Says:

    undercanopy, i think you’re right. in fact, i’m thinking of sending him this post, along with the ps i wrote to it.

  7. OrSoSheSaid Says:

    Wow, is all I can say. I am 7 years older than my youngest brother, and I can completely relate to what you said as well as what harietfromthehills said.

    My mom actually told me that my youngest brother was not planned. She’s also always said he is different from myself and my middle brother who is only 2 years younger. When this is mentioned it’s always a sort of why couldn’t he be more like the two of you thing I have for some time now felt that my mother saying and expecting this of him has made him become a sort of outcast in the family, and I feel simply horrible about this. I am angry with her and also with myself.

    I feel lucky in that he has not pulled away from me in the same manner as what you are currently experiencing. I hope that you are able to connect with your brother for both of your sakes. Your words have encouraged me to reach out to my brother and try to connect and build a better relationship. Thank you!

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