If you don’t have a bruises, black eye, or broken bones, then you don’t have anything to complain about. Right? Wrong!!! Although my scars are invisible, behind closed doors I’ve been subjected to inexcusable behavior from my siblings. Family may be the ties that bind us, but it should NOT lock anyone into a permanent gut wrenching, stranglehold of contempt & emotional abuse. Sharing genetic material is NOT a license to abuse others ‘carte blanche.’
I’ve been caught in an unspoken pact: What happened in the family stays in the family. Put up & shut up, so you don’t rock the boat. I was taught to conceal anything that might be the slightest bit ugly about our family since childhood. I was expected to show love & respect by not saying anything, being the bigger person, or letting it go. I’ve suffered silently for years. Many relatives & close friends don’t even know or suspect the emotional abuse that I’ve endured. Even in the general public we’re taught over & over again in subtle & not so subtle ways that it’s socially unacceptable to expose any information about our dysfunctional family to outsiders. The message remains the same, “Remember as far as anyone knows we’re a nice, normal family.”
I’ve been labeled the outcast, scapegoat, or black sheep, so that my siblings can project their sense of inferiority, dance around the real problems, & toss their unwanted psychological garbage my way. Hiding behind the cloak of Christianity my sister use spiritual abuse to build herself up & attempt to manipulate me into a guilt trip. I’m ashamed & embarrassed of my siblings, who persecute, humiliate, manipulate, & condemn me. They want me to pretend everything is perfect, wearing a mask to conceal the truth. Why? Because the key to their abuse is isolating their victim. By forbidding me to speak of our estrangement, I’m kept in a prison carefully constructed by them. Their reputations remain untarnished while they lash out at me behind close doors, play the role of victim to others, or making vague, anonymous, disparaging comments & judgments about me through social media.
With the taboo that estrangement carries, I rarely feel safe enough to show my true pain to outsiders. Sadly as long as my mother is alive, my siblings will continue finding a way to reel me back into their web of emotional abuse. Slowly, I’m finding the strength to shatter the silence & expose my siblings. But it’s still hard to get around the stigmatism surrounding estrangement. Many people dodge the subject including my own mother or assume you must have done something to deserve such treatment. Despite the emotional abuse, manipulation & guilt heaped on by my siblings, deep beneath the surface lingers a fundamental need for a secure & loving relationship with them so that my mother will not be party to the collateral damage. The desire to be around my immediate family in unity will always be there, but it’s really a desire to be around a healthy family. Unfortunately my family doesn’t fit that bill & this sanctuary will forever be inaccessible to me, because sometimes bullies are home-grown.