The dichotomy feels strange:
to be who I am — to know I have mental illnesses and fully understand why I have them
and still recognize completely that my sister, despite our shared history of abuse, is responsible for what has happened in/to her life.
There can be no absolution when you refuse to get well.
I live a life of total wellness today – getting to this point was difficult, arduous, exhausting and painful, but the alternative – losing my family – was unthinkable.
My sister has chosen to lose her family, and I will never understand that …
in part because of where I know she has been – I know what her childhood was like. She should, today, value her own family above all.
I told her two years ago if she didn’t get help, she was going to lose everything;
she was going to wake up one morning and realize it has been years since she has seen her daughter – her only child,
because there is a limit to the amount of emotional abuse that child would be able to take, no matter how much she loved her mother.
I explained that her husband, who loves my sister to this day, wouldn’t be able to live with her toxicity forever, either – nor should he have to
and I offered to do whatever she needed – go with her to the hospital, stay with her, go to therapy with her – whatever it took,
but she said no, she didn’t have time.
I told her it was OK – that I understood. I told her how much it sucks to have been beaten and violated as a child and then have to relive it all, to face it again, in order to get well …
I explained that it was completely acceptable for her to blame Ed and Pat for the illnesses and addictions she was battling …
but she couldn’t blame them for the abusive way she was treating her family now — she owned that; it was, and is, all on her.
The latter pissed her off – left her cold, distant, cruel and vehemently defensive; of all the people in this world, I should have understood.
The truth is I did …
and I didn’t.
Not having a real family as a child has made me fiercely protective of my wife and children and the wonderful life we’ve built together – and when they told me they’d had enough, that they couldn’t take anymore – that they were leaving if I didn’t get help, I got help – I checked myself into the hospital that day. Getting well, and staying well, became a moral imperative for me.
I do understand why my sister is sick.
But I will never understand why she chose to lose everything she has ever loved and valued rather than get well – like me, she finally had everything in life that matters.
I recognize that she made a choice – she had all the support and love she needed to face whatever she had to in order to get well.
She could have known a happy ending, but she chose tragedy.
A tragedy she owns from inception to end.