16 comments on “Please Come Back, Mr. Scapegoat (the third redux)

  1. Hi Stephen,

    I see it as him trying to “lightheartedly” drag you back to your role in the family. He may want you to feel obligated to respond to congratulate him on his weight loss since that is what loving people do. If you don’t respond he may go on to speak badly of you to family and others for being insensitive and “self absorbed”. Am I even close?

  2. Hi Stephen,

    I agree with Robby and believe he’s using his weight loss, for one, to snag your attention. He may also be improving his “image” by transforming his outward appearance. You’ve been rejecting him, so to speak, and it’s a good time to control some other aspect of his life.

    “I apologize to you if what I said to you upset you, offended you, whatever…” To me this sentence says it all – it’s not any kind of serious apology and just reflects his true lack of understanding for empathy. I think he’s also angry, impulsive, and rude to contact you at all hours to satisfy his needs.

    He doesn’t deserve your loyalty, that’s for sure. On another note… I DO believe that he loves you (in whatever way he knows) and he may need you for many reasons, selfish ones mostly. He’s probably having a lot of difficulty avoiding his own negative image no matter how he tries and he needs validation and praise to feel a sense of relief.

    After a long period of being away from him, I know you will have gone through a real transformation and realize your personal “ness”. Your Stephen-ness, YOU, are separate now and fully functioning, aware, and strong to the point of being in his presence without desiring or needing validation or acceptance from him at all about your experience and life. I haven’t experienced it personally, at this point in my life with my N’s. I’ve read some people accepting that these people are not whole and cannot change or ever empathize or realize how rude they are… and forgiving whatever they will do or say, not take them seriously or allow them to alter your reality or mood. This may take practice & a lot of it to master your triggers, but, I wonder how it would affect your happiness ultimately? Is it better to have a brother or is it better to let him go? I’m struggling with letting my sister go, and so this is a real decision that I have to make as well… I don’t know the answer.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for your comment! I commented on my brother’s most recent contact below, but I wanted to comment on the last paragraph of your post separately.

      First of all, thank you for recognizing my “Stephen-ness”. I love that term! I definitely feel like I’m getting closer and closer to the real me everyday. And you know what? I really like who I am and who I’ve become!

      Your comment about re engaging my brother once his behavior no longer has an affect on me is definitely a conundrum. I have had others that I know in similar situations that have struggled with the same issue. The way I currently see it is like this: Does he add anything to my life? No. Is my life better with him or without him? Without. So if that’s the case, why would I engage him again? There is nothing to be gained from me engaging him again. Nothing. It’s sad, but it’s true. Honestly, if I give him what he wants and restart our relationship, the only person that benefits is him. I would receive no benefit whatsoever. Instead, I would have a reminder of our family dysfunction every time I would engage him, all the while waiting for the next episode to occur. No thanks, I’ll pass.

      Stephen Bach

  3. From the text message I see that he wants to share his successful weight loss with you and doesn’t want to leave it to your imagination, he needs to prove it to you, hence the photo. I find that this also means he has a real and valid reason to expect a response from you, especially that he told you he still cares about you, which means “you must therefore care about me”.
    Did he really say “this is your golden child brother”?
    No it was a faux apology as he did not state what he was sorry for and by giving such a general and dismissive air to it, he totally took any value away you may have found! “But we are brothers” suggests to me that makes it okay for you to take anything he wants to put out by reminding you that
    “I should hope that our shared relationship and honestly my love for you… I have love for you, man…” Now whether this is genuine on his part, and I honestly feel that somewhere deep inside of him is a part of him that feels it, he spoilt the mood totally by saying he “I want you to a least f**king talk to me!” That went from him appealing to you for contact to then demanding contact. Ooops not the best approach from one brother to another.
    “I’m willing to talk whenever you’re willing to talk.” Okay so now he has gone back to being a child that doesn’t know how to communicate with you so it will be a tit for tat situation.
    Finally, what he should have used at the beginning of the call he leaves til last, hoping you are well. My, my, what a passing thought that was!
    Seriously Stephen, I see him as an attention seeking child who is just about stopping himself from going into tantrum mode although he is very close to the edge. He sounds lost and doesn’t understand how to cope without you but is trying to barter with the tools he has to make you sit up and listen …. to him.

  4. stephen, my initial reaction to your brother’s messages is that he sincerely feels bad and wants to reestablish a relationship with you. He lost one brother and doesn’t want to lose another one. THAT would be a normal reaction of a normal healthy brother.
    that said, only you know what your gut is telling you. a narcissist can act genuine and sincere so well that no one could ever tell that they are setting you up for a fall. There is no way I am going to say you should open up the lines of communication because I don’t know the whole history and I am not there. I know that when JC called to say he had been given 6 months to live and he apologized he cried, and sounded very sincere. when he called from the “hospital” he sounded sincere; little did I know he hadn’t called because he was screwing some other woman and not in the hospital at all. when I had my heart attack and he showed up crying because he was afraid he had missed his chance to apologize and tell me it was all his fault and I had no fault at all in the demise of the relationship and he always loved me; didn’t I know that? hadn’t he told? I saw right through his act because I had heard the exact same lines several times in the past and sure enough when I checked his fb after our conversation I found out he had gotten engaged 2 days before.
    Only you know and I think you do know.

  5. Thanks for everyone’s comments so far! Many great insights! I’m going to let it go another day or two and see what other comments I may get before adding my thoughts.

    For more background information, please check out the category “Conversations with the Golden Child”. In this category I have posted all the attempts at contact with my golden child brother since I went no contact with him about 7 months ago.

    Good catch lphoenix! No he didn’t say “this is your golden child brother”. He used his name. I should have put “this is your golden child brother” in parentheses. I have updated the post to fix it.

    • The weight loss is what Narcissists do. They make announcements about themselves. Its all about him. Nothing is about you.
      Still care about you. “Not I love you”. That one statement is loaded. No I. Still care, (not love) still care like I still care about my pet or something non intimate.

      The text is gas lighting, minimization of your feelings. Its designed to get you back for more abuse without your brother validating anything you have been through or taking any responsibility

  6. Many thanks to everyone for all their great replies!

    Here are my thoughts:

    First I’m going to look at what’s not there:

    – Again, there is no acknowledgement of my feelings in any of this. He just wants me to set my feelings aside and resume our relationship.
    – There is no real apology. All the attempts at an apology are hollow and meaningless.
    – There is no acknowledgement of my right to not have a relationship with him if that is my desire.
    – There is no attempt to validate my feelings or my experiences.

    Looking at things in a bit more detail:

    The Text Message:

    My first thought when I saw it was “Who does this?” “Who sends pictures of themselves around to others via text message to show how much weight they have lost?” Did he send the same picture to his entire contact list on his phone? Doubtful. I have seen many people put up “before and after” pictures on Facebook, etc, of their weight loss, and that’s fine, but to send it around in a text message? It just screams “LOOK AT ME!” “LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!”. Furthermore, his weight loss has absolutely NOTHING to do with our impasse. As was mentioned previously, it is an attempt to draw me in to congratulate him and make the focus about HIM and not ME or US.

    The “still care about you” part of the message is not love. As others have said, it’s like caring about a puppy. That’s exactly how my family sees me. I’m a puppy that needs their “care”. I’ve run away from home and now they are frantically trying to find me so they can properly “care” for me. No thanks, I’m doing much better on my own than I ever was in their “care”.

    The Phone Call:

    I found this phone call to be probably the most disturbing so far of the ones I’ve received since going no contact. As others said previously, it’s like he’s holding himself back from breaking into tantrum mode. He wants a relationship with me so that our relationship can be all about him: I can validate him, tell him how horrible it must be to be in his shoes, empathize with the struggles he must go through with 4 children, etc, etc. If I dare to bring up anything I might have issue with, he will tell me he “doesn’t get it” and that I should “never talk about that again”. In his mind, if we are talking again, then everything is back to normal. Hence his comment: “I need you to just f**king talk to me!”. Nothing is to be resolved, and we just get to carry on like the whole episode never happened.

    His comment about his “love” for me has been a pattern throughout. I believe, as others have said, that he does love me in his own way. Unfortunately, his definition of love is synonymous with my narcissist mother’s definition of love, which means that neither of them has a clue what a healthy love relationship is all about. His use of the word “love” is utterly meaningless, and honestly, it has no effect on me. I’m truthfully repulsed when I hear him say the word.

    The final comment of “Hope you’re well” had me literally saying out loud: “Finally, something that actually acknowledges me!”. But unfortunately, as lphoenix pointed out, it was given as an afterthought, and the tone of his voice when he said it actually conveyed that is was more an afterthought than a genuine sentiment on his part. He may as well have said “Goodbye” because that was the level of emotion attached to “Hope you’re well”.

    It seems that the more attempts my brother makes to contact me, the more resolute I am in remaining no contact. There has yet to be any true apology or true attempt to accept my right to my position. And why would I ever expect there to be? I have 4+ decades of evidence that I don’t have any rights in my family, so why would I ever think things would change now? The true benefit of listening to and / or reading his messages is that it is validating for me. I have yet another example of my family’s dysfunction.

    Stephen Bach

  7. Hi Stephen,

    I am always amazed about the apologies… they are never apologies for what they did, only for the effect they had on you. Your brother does the same: “I apologize to you if what I said to you upset you, offended you, whatever”. My family has done the same on many occasions!

    Also the statement: I just need you to talk to me! WOW, egocentric much!?

    This whole exchange is about his needs and has nothing to do with your well-being.

    Hang in there Stephen!

    H

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Harmony!

      I agree, all apologies from narcissists are about trying to control the outcome of the situation. “If I say sorry, then they have to go back to worshipping me, because I apologized!”.

      Another slant is that his “apology” is really an attempt to devalue my experiences. With his apathetic approach to the apology, he is essentially saying that I don’t have a right to be upset about his behavior, and he’s only apologizing because he “has to”. The ensuing statement insinuates that since we are brothers, he gets to say whatever he wants to me and treat me however he wants and I’m required to tolerate it. This is his family programming by my narcissist mother at work, and the same pattern I’ve been exposed to my entire life.

      Sorry bro, apology not accepted.

      Stephen Bach

  8. It’s real simple. Ask yourself, “If I had everything I wanted and needed in life and was truly happy right now, where would this relationship fit in? What would I do with it?”
    Then, do it.
    As any survivor of a NPD family knows, genes do not guarantee love or even safety. But you have to get to a place of self-love and -respect before you can feel the truth of it. If you’re not there yet, visualize it until it no longer feels foreign, do it as if your life depended on it. You’ve got to come first in your own life or all the decisions you make concerning yourself and your loved ones will be skewed.
    You’ve got to take care of yourself even before your kid. Think about it. If you’re shredded, what’s left to give to her, how does a broken leg support a body? Remember, in the case of a loss of cabin pressure, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting small children. You’re not much good to her inert, especially psychologically. This is logic, not narcissism, and she will feel the difference in the two. YOU did.
    Remember, she’s watching you. You are her model for adulthood. The lesson should not be “…and then crumple into a heap on the floor because you’ve given everything away.” Show her how to fill her bucket up with so much love and energy that there’s plenty of overflow to go around. At the end of the day, she will have taken care of everybody and her bucket’s still full.
    But fill your own bucket first.
    THEN decide what to do about your brother.

    • Hi Allthoughtswork,

      You have essentially outlined my chosen path at this point in my life to perfection.

      First me, then my daughter, then family if I so choose.

      Stephen Bach

  9. Hi Just got this from my brother who is 1.5 years younger than me. Austin and Rowland are my two sons who I raised in my own. My Birthday was on the 27th.

    please any comments and feedback.

    David
    I hope you are well. I’ve been worrying a lot about how you are and wanted to reach out.
    I know I can be an asshole at times but blood is blood I guess.
    Mom is not doing so well. As you know she struggles with issues of her own and I don’t really engage. She can’t hear much of what is said anyway and never really appoves of anyboy’s opinions or activities. One thing is for sure is that she is heartbroken to lose you. She also has strong deep love for Roland and Austin. I am deducing this obviously because a Robitaille/Chun would never admit to any of these things. I know if would be a huge weight of of her and myself and Christine if you gave us all some sign that you are ok. If ever there was a time for Roland or austin to reach out to their Grandma. Now would be a good time. I have seen you doc. from Jamaica and have assumed that there are a lot of things I don’t know about you right now. I am not interested in judging, only to know that you are all right. Please give us a sign.
    or a reply to this message as to how you are. I do not want to hurt anybody. I am back in Montreal. It seems T.O. never was for me. I just don’t fit. I want to run away but some how my troubled teens are about all I’ve got.
    I miss you bro.
    Give me a one word reply if you want.
    Thanks
    Bruce

    • Hi David! How are you? I hope life has been full of positive, enriching experiences for you.

      Your brother’s email is very typical of what happens once you go no contact in my experience.

      Yes, he’s been ‘worrying’ about you. My brother says exactly the same thing. He’s ‘worried’ about me. Why? Because he feels that I’ll be lost without his direction and him telling me how to live my life. It doesn’t come from a place of true concern. It comes from a need to control. Furthermore, if I’m not willing to talk to him, he can only pretend for so long that everything is OK. Even if our relationship is very strained versus the current non-existent, he will feel better about himself. Yes, the only person that benefits from our relationship is *him*. There is no benefit for me in our relationship.

      I think his comment “I know I can be an asshole at times but blood is blood I guess” is absolutely textbook. He gets to be as big of an asshole as he would like and you are required to tolerate it since you are family. Curious what might happen if you reversed that statement back to him? You don’t have a right to separate yourself from his “assholeness”; you are required to just tolerate it.

      I think it’s incredibly ironic how he talks about how mom ‘isn’t doing well’ and is ‘heartbroken to lose you’, yet he clearly realizes that she ‘never really approves of anybodies opinions or activities’. He truthfully understands the situation, he’s just too far dug into denial to realize how damaging and wrong it is for him. I sometimes wonder if deep inside that our siblings know the truth and are angry because they don’t have the strength to break free like we did.

      I think his comment about ‘running away’ is very revealing. In my opinion, it shows how damaged he is if he feels this perpetual need to ‘run away’. He’s in some ways validating your removing yourself from the situation. He’s jealous (perhaps subconsciously) that you succeeded in removing yourself. He’s unable to face his denial and the reality of your family dynamic and continues to be a mouthpiece for your mother.

      In one of my posts I stated that *any* communication can be detrimental. Even giving him a one word reply would essentially say to him that you are still willing to communicate with him at some level. In his mind, he wins. You have again let your family behave however they want and are still willing to communicate with them without an acknowledgement of how you have been affected by your family. Maybe it’s not communicating in the old way, but it’s still communicating. They have successfully pulled on the obligation string hard enough to bring you back into the fold.

      Interesting that he would say he’s ‘not interested in judging’ when all the prior emails have been filled with his judgements concerning you. It’s like telling someone you don’t mean to hurt them while swinging at them with a baseball bat.

      It is my opinion that your brother is severely damaged emotionally and doesn’t have the self awareness to realize the extent of his damage. It is my opinion that having contact with him would have to be managed in such away that you are not able to be sucked under by his antics. I feel that, for me, that time may come at some point in the future; a point where I just laugh at their antics and walk away without permitting their barbs to register. It’s sad, but the only way to have a relationship with family is to completely divorce myself emotionally from my family. At that point, what the sense in having a relationship?

      Best wishes on your continued healing journey, David.

      Stephen

  10. Very insightful as usual. I have not replied. I have no plans to reply. I have flagged his address as spam but somehow he gets through.
    This was just days after my Birthday. He does this every Christmas and Birthday like it’s open season on abusing me.

    I think his email is carefully crafted emotional and psychological abuse. He offers up how my Mother feels which is just what I would want to hear and then he discounts it by stating any one with one of our families names would never admit these feelings.
    He spells my son Rowlands name wrong even though its the same name as his middle name and my dead father and his fathers first name.
    There is no real information and what he does state as his feelings are just baited hooks to draw me in with some common themes about my mother.
    This email has been a set back emotionally as it’s stirred up all the darkness from my family. It has also thwarted any denial and desire to blame myself that had been creeping in lately.
    Birthdays are so hard with no family that cares. I’m just trying to get balanced after being blindsided. I can’t ever imagine being able to get healthy with out no contact. I guess that would work in families that are less toxic.
    My brother professes to be a writer. That is his natural genius. Please have a 2nd look with the understanding that every word, letter, etc have all been written with full and meticulous intent.
    thanks
    David

    • Hi David,

      I’m glad you continue to find my insight helpful. If relating my journey to others helps them see their particular situation in a different light, it is definitely a positive outcome of my life’s experiences.

      Isn’t it absurd how our N-families make attempts to contact us at our birthday and Christmas? My family does exactly the same thing. It’s as though we don’t exist until our birthday shows up or Christmas comes around and then they notice we aren’t part of their lives and they feel the need to badger us into resuming our relationship with them. Then when we don’t respond to their attempts, they view it as our issue because we are ‘being difficult’ and ‘ignoring them’. Pathetic.

      I seriously had to laugh. Your brother calls himself a writer? His writing is terrible! Spelling, grammar, structure errors everywhere. A 5th grader can write better.

      I can definitely empathize with you when you say “birthdays are so hard with no family that cares”. Yes, it is definitely one of the times for me when I do think about family. I also remind myself that family birthdays and holidays are something that I chose to leave behind when I went no contact. I’d much rather have peace of mind the remaining 360+ days a year and forego family for birthdays and holidays. I agree, in families with a high level of dysfunction, no contact is really the only way to get well. Yes, in less dysfunctional families contact can be managed in such a way to not be detrimental, but in highly dysfunctional families, every contact has the potential to result in another abusive episode, and the best approach is no contact at all.

      I can understand the desire to blame yourself creeping in. That’s that ol’ family programming at work. Recognize it for what it is. It will help you to understand that this is not your fault and you have no need to blame yourself for your predicament with your family.

      Best wishes on your continued healing journey, David.

      Stephen Bach

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