I received the below email from my brother a few days ago. I have been no contact with him since our phone call about a month ago where he felt the need to spend two hours very late at night telling me what to do with my life and to just “get over” my past. I documented our discussion in Golden@2300 in the related articles below. I did bump into my brother at a mutual friend’s birthday party about two weeks ago, but we only exchanged pleasantries. When he tried to start a conversation about our differences at the party I firmly told him I didn’t want to discuss it and walked out the door.
His email (in italics) and my comments (in lavender) ->
I hope you are well brother. Happy to talk to you at any time. I do love you, and I care very much about you. Yes, you care about me continuing to fulfill my scapegoat role, because if I don’t fulfill that role, you might start being scapegoated, and you subconsciously are aware of that.
I’m pretty sure I pissed you off soundly when I last called. That was not my intent. I’m sorry if I hurt you, but I also felt hurt by what happened between us over the last few months. I’m sorry, but…. which means I’m not really sorry and truthfully I feel justified in my behavior. I sincerely mean that. I tried to explain why. I cannot understand what your continuing issues are with our family as hard as I try. It’s because you are so steeped in denial that you can’t possibly understand. I have tried to help by listening for decades and setting you up with counsellors multiple times including now. You don’t need to see the counselor if you don’t want, but I truly feel like it may help you. I strongly feel that you are tied down by these issues and have been since we’ve known each other as adults. This is true, I have been tied down by these issues. He obviously does not approve of how I am dealing with it. How I deal with it is my business. It’s not his job to tell me what to do! Ironically, he needed to take the time to list all the ways HE felt HE had been supportive of me, not once asking what *I* thought *I* might need to help me get beyond my family issues. I understand where the issues started -what I don’t get is why they are so raw decades later. I’m concerned, as I said, that you missed an opportunity for truly exploring these painful issues for you and learning to grow beyond. I certainly don’t feel that I missed the opportunity! I’m still working on myself every day! I’m not working on myself the way HE would recommend so that means it’s wrong. This is exactly the way NM would approach this topic. “if you don’t do it my way, then you’re doing it wrong”. Furthermore, he truthfully has NO IDEA what I’m doing! We have only seen each other about 4 times in the last 6 months, and every time was in a group setting.
In addition, I am struggling greatly with (NM and my stepfather) and their issues. I know you’re not involved there but that weighs greatly on me. It frustrates me that I have to bear it alone, without (my deceased twin), and without you. I know you can’t be involved, but I’m reminded powerfully of all of these issues every time I talk to Mom. Could this powerful reminder actually be you coming face to face with your denial about our family? Seriously, how badly does a parent have to treat a child for their child to want nothing to do with them as the parent approaches the end of their life?
I’m going through a very deep depression and struggling hard to keep my shit together. I am so terribly hurt by (my twin brother’s) death, and the full impact continues to sink in. This statement is so amazingly hypocritical it’s mind boggling! His twin died suddenly about 18 months ago. So he can be in “deep depression” about that as long as he wants but I’m not allowed to be affected by being robbed of my dignity as a human being during my childhood and beyond at the hands of my mother and father? I typically don’t like profanity but this statement is a serious WTF?
In the end, we are brothers, and I’m allowed to tell you my side even if you don’t like it. Patently untrue. If I don’t like it, I’m not required to listen to it! I don’t think I’ve ever been stern with you or tried to be anything but supportive before. These were issues that I was struggling with, and I felt and still feel that I needed to say what I said. Well, then we have nothing to discuss. We are still brothers, and you can disagree with what I said and tell me to screw off if you want. Yes, and going no contact with you is me telling you to “screw off”. I’ll still listen and be there if and when you want to discuss or move on. No thanks, I’ll pass.
I noticed that we’re no longer friends (on a major social media site). I’m a bit taken aback by that – noted it after I saw you at (the birthday party). I’ll be honest, that hurt. Doesn’t seem right to me, and tells me how upset you are. I got the message. No you didn’t, and this email makes it obvious that you didn’t get the message.
I love and care about you (Stephen). I mean that. If you need a break from me, that’s ok. I didn’t know I needed your permission to go no contact.
Life is really short man. We both know it too well. Yes, it’s too short to waste it on people that don’t treat me with respect, even if those people happen to be family.
Its truly a pretty amazing email. He really throws on the FOG (Fear / Obligation / Guilt) heavily to try and get me to do his and NM’s bidding. Everything from telling me how he’s the only one supporting NM to how he’s been so supportive of me to how much he loves me to the fact that he’s in deep depression.
Honestly, getting me to reassume the scapegoat role is definitely in his personal best interest. He will soon become exposed to scapegoating behavior by NM if I stay no contact with her and he’s the only one that has anything to do with her.
I do really appreciate that I have gained the ability that I can see right through the FOG now. I was never able to do that before, and would take the FOG hook deep in my gullet and go running back into my role. I actually found an email I sent my mother about 10 years ago during the college Christmas incident (see “So You Want to Go to College?” in the related articles below) where I told her I didn’t want anything to do with her. I didn’t make it stick that time. This time it is definitely sticking. It seems my method of working on myself is actually working for me, even if my method isn’t working for my family. But then why would I expect my method to work for them?