Gotta start somewhere

I’ve been missing my brother lately, missing him in different ways than I used to. He was my protector from the moment I came home from the hospital. My parents used to always remind me how important I was to my brother. They would say he acted like I was a huge gift brought for him and he really was protective over me. He was always telling everyone I was his Sissy, which is probably how I got that nickname.

As we got older he continued to protect me, often without me knowing. To this day almost 14 years after he died I still have no clue about the things he protected me from. I’m slowly learning he protected me from abuse, although he wasn’t able to protect me from all the abuse, I am realizing the amount he did take was far more than I could have imagined.

Often in the years of our adulthood, we’d get drunk together and he would take his arms and put them around me and say “You have no idea how much I protected you” and he would say it over and over but he wouldn’t tell me what he protected me from. I somehow knew in my gut, the things he protected me from would be shocking and unbelievable and enough to tear my family apart.

He was my protector and I knew if I ever needed help he would be right there in the blink of an eye. A few months before he died we were talking about our childhood and how messed up it was and I confessed to him that I had been molested by an uncle of ours when I was a little girl. He somehow knew and was infuriated by it. I’m not sure if he was more furious that it had happened or who it was that molested me but he ended up calling that uncle in the months before his death. He called me after he called the uncle and told me about the conversation, he said he wanted our uncle to know he knew what he did to me and he would never forget it.

To this day that same uncle takes pride in the fact that my brother called him before he died. You see my brother was pretty good at knowing things without saying he knew. He was pretty deep and he didn’t speak directly, he almost spoke in puzzles that you’d really have to spend time on to know what he meant. He, like my grandfather, wanted others to think, to use their brain, so while he didn’t come out and say “I know you molested my sister and if I ever see you I will kill you”, that was the message he was trying to relay to our uncle.

There were a couple instances where I had to try to explain what my brother meant by calling the uncle after he took his life, once to my mother and once to my father. Neither one of them believed that I was molested. My mom rolled her eyes and let out a big pshhh and my dad acted like I didn’t say anything so I stuffed it back down like I had done my whole life. Even after becoming an adult my parents still refuse to believe anything awful could have ever happened to either of us.

I should have known then that something was amiss with my family. I should have known that his suicide stemmed from something that was much deeper than his failing relationship with his wife. I don’t think I recognized the signs of a toxic family then because of the amount of protection he did provide for me. It took a total of 8 years after his death for me to start realizing something was very wrong with our family.

This is the first time I have publicly expressed that I was molested, let alone documented it. I know what happened to me. I remember it like it was yesterday. I’ve carried it with me for almost 45 years and I don’t want to carry it any longer, so I’m going to put it down. It wasn’t mine to carry as I was a child. My story is real and there were some seriously shitty things that happened to me during my life that I went through alone because my family showed me quite early they couldn’t be reliable.

This is the part of my blog where I start telling my story. It’s time for me to stop worrying about what others think because those same people looked the other way when it came to my care as a child. The people who were supposed to protect me didn’t and it was detrimental to my development. Telling my story and how I was raised is the way I gain control over my life as an adult because the little girl inside of me deserves to be heard. The little girl inside of me deserves to be seen, she deserves to heal so her own children can heal, be seen and heard. The generations that come after me deserve to have a different life than the one I experienced. Different than the life my brother experienced. His children deserve to have a different life and they deserve to know what he went through as a child so they can do what they need to do to heal as well as my own children.

This is the part of my story that will hopefully give others the courage to heal and explore their own lives. I hope others find comfort in my story. I hope others can find the courage to break free from abuse and realize that not everything is what it appears when it comes to toxic family dynamics.

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