O Brother(s), wherefore art thou?

People are always surprised when I tell them that I am not an only child. See, when people have siblings they at least mention them in passing, right? Or when you ask them about their family, they will tell you about their parents and any brothers or sisters they have. When they ask me? If I know them well enough, I will tell them that my parents have passed – I may even mention the half-sister I have on my dad’s side who lives in Canada.

In truth, I have four half-brothers, and two half-sisters. And the only one I speak to is the aforementioned sister in Canada. The joy of being born to people who had families before you, eh? My dad had three children from his first marriage, two sons and a daughter (Canadian!Sis), and two children from another relationship (my brother known as K, and my other sister that I won’t talk about). Mom had just one son (we’ll call him T) and I grew up with both him and K. They’re ten years older than me, and as a child I worshipped them.

K was always troubled, his home life with his mother sounded horrendous, and yet he always lavished love on me whenever I saw him. I was always his baby sister who he adored – so much so that he struggled as I grew up. He freaked out when he found out I’d had my first period at age 11, and felt it was appropriate to have a go at my mom for buying me training bras the year before that – in the middle of Mom’s 50th birthday with family and friends in attendance. He hated my first boyfriend because he thought I was too young to be dating, and he went into total denial about a particularly traumatic event in my childhood that I never really forgave him for.

For all that though, he also had a very soft side. When I had my first breakdown back in 2012, he was so heartbroken to hear what I was going through and tried his best to be there for me despite his own troubles with the law and whatnot. He couldn’t quite understand what I was going through, but he was there nonetheless.

Compared to K’s warmth and softness, T was cold and hard. He had his own problems as well, but that seems to be the theme of my family. In my life, I can count how many times T has actually hugged me;

  • When he found out about another traumatic event from my childhood and vowed to protect me from anything like it again. He didn’t.
  • When my dad died.
  • When he got married to his second wife.
  • At my mom’s funeral – he didn’t hug me when she died because he saw her body in the hospital, and ran off, leaving me alone in the family room.
  • BONUS: I forced a hug out of him when I was 11 and he bought me Pokemon Blue.

Like K, he struggled with my growing up – he would go through my magazines and tear out any mention of sex. He’d cover my eyes whenever a sex scene came on in a film. He had a go at me when he found out I was on the Pill at 16, despite having been with my boyfriend for over a year and wanting to be safe.

He never liked the fact that I suffered from mental health problems. I think it reminded him of the fact that our mom had mental health issues when he was younger, forgetting that I had to deal with mom when she was ill as well. He hated it when I spoke about my meds, or my appointments – and if he ever caught a glimpse of my self-harm scars, I swear he’d shudder.

The only thing I ever wanted from T was his love and support. I never felt like I got that.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m writing about this. Well, it’s just over eight weeks until I get married to my wonderful Other Half, and you’d think that my big brothers would be a part of that day, right?

What if I was to tell you all, that my brothers haven’t even met my Other Half in the two years I’ve been with him? Because that’s how long it’s been since I last saw them both – aside from a tense chance encounter with K in town over a year ago. I have not seen them properly since just after Mom died. They both swore to me that they would take care of me after she died, that they would look after me and be there for me.

Neither of them came home with me that night – nope, the Other Half did, despite having only been dating for two weeks at that point. If I’d gone home alone, I would have killed myself. As soon as I saw my mom’s body, I knew I was going to kill myself, so did Other Half and my cousin, who was there at the hospital with me. K was nice enough after our mom died, and T took me to sort the funeral and whatnot – although he couldn’t come in the house because it reminded him too much of Mom.

…how the hell did he think I felt living there?? It was like living in a fucking mausoleum dedicated to my parents!

The funeral was done with and we all went our separate ways. And that was that. Aside from the odd Facebook message here and there, I didn’t see them again. I have nieces and nephews who are growing up not knowing who I am. I made it very clear on Facebook that I was struggling – and I had the same empty words I’d had from them my whole life – “We’re here if you need us.”

Of course I fucking needed them. My family was dead, I was dying slowly inside and I was scared and alone in the world – I needed my big brothers to be there to protect me from everything.

Aside from said chance encounter with K, where he went on to tell me about how hard things had been for him lately – this was as I was heading to counselling, before my BPD diagnosis when I was scared that I might actually be schizophrenic – and I just walked away from him. I was so angry.

I gave it some time before I eventually reached out to them both. I waited until this year when I was finally strong enough to approach them.


K in blue, myself in purple.

Notice how it’s all my fault that we don’t talk, and it’s up to me to let him be my brother? The trend continues with T’s message.


T in red, purple is myself once again.

Once again, everything is my fault. How can you push someone away when they’re not even talking to you? I sent them both replies to their messages and heard nothing back.

They both keep an eye on me via social media through other people. They know I’m getting married, they know that I reunited with Canadian!Sis after eight years estrangement (another story) and she met my Other Half, they even knew when Shandy died – and neither of them got in touch with me. I tell them both about my illness, and neither of them wanted to know more, or even offer me love and support – just blame.

It’s taken me a long time to accept this, but with my impending wedding getting closer, I’ve decided – I don’t want or need my brothers in my life. I haven’t needed them for a long time, and I will never need them again. Their children won’t remember me, and as much as I’ll miss them growing up, I need to cut myself off. I am better off without them. Maybe I always was?

If they showed up at my wedding – not that they would, that requires too much effort of course – then I would have to be held back as they’re escorted out. The anger I feel for being abandoned overrules the sadness by miles, and I wouldn’t want to get blood on my wedding dress.


About Claire

Well-groomed tomboy. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I hide it well.
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One Response to O Brother(s), wherefore art thou?

  1. Pingback: Be kind to your kids, damn it | All Mouth, No Spoons

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