Siblings: That's Not How I Remember It...
When I was a kid...
There are times I wonder if I will be or if I ever was a ‘normal’ person. I feel at times as though I am so fundamentally screwed up that I cannot blame or do not blame my family members for not wanting to be around me. Of course, I am not always depressed or emotional, but when I have periods or episodes that overwhelm me, I cannot always contain my emotions. I have always been a ‘cry baby’, or according to them, a ‘drama queen’, although, the ones that accuse me of this are and have never been the ones I have fallen apart with or confided in.
I am one of seven kids, but there is several years that separate the oldest from the youngest, so it is as though the first of our siblings were raised by different parents, in a different home, and then me and my brother, who evidently have different memories of our childhood than the rest, and then of course the ‘baby’ of the bunch, who got the best of what our parents had to offer. Of course that is probably in large part to the fact that they were far more ‘experienced’ with raising children by the time they got to her.
The problem is, that when my brother and I talk about our painful past and the not so pleasant memories, the older siblings, don’t quite remember things the way we do. There are events and versions of events that contradict their recollections and or memories, and ours, thus leading to ‘disagreements’ as to what took place and what didn’t. If they don’t remember it or they were not there to witness or hear it, it did not take place. If our versions of our childhood experiences and or memories don’t coincide with theirs, they don’t want to hear or acknowledge it happened at all. Leaving my brother and myself questioning our sanity, our ability to function, cope, deal, and feeling quite often, angry and resentful, because they refuse to ‘validate’ or dare I say, believe it.
This does not mean we hated or hate our parents or detest our childhood, neither does it mean we only remember an idyllic childhood…neither of which we feel or experienced. We have very fond memories, and remember good times, but amongst those good times and fun times and fond memories…beneath those, hidden amongst those times, other things were taking place. Things that were not being talked about, feelings that were being hurt, resentment was developing and growing, and pain was being experienced.
The fact that our siblings were not there or were not aware or did not see or experience them, or that they experienced them and overcame them in their own way or in their time, as they saw fit does not change the fact that they happened or occurred. That we remember things differently, experienced them differently, dealt with them differently, or in our way, or in our time, or by way of our own process, does not change anything. Our versions may never and will in all likelihood, never measure or match up to that of our siblings, which should come as no surprise or revelation, seeing as no two people, experience, deal with, endure, remember, cope with, or interpret, any one thing, the same. Feelings, personalities, and emotions cause and result in variations of how we recollect, recall, remember, experience, and deal with and or share memories of events, and situations that take place or have taken place.
Whatever your opinion is as to how we deal, cope, endure, remember, recollect, and or recall, how we grew up and what we experienced, is just that, yours, so keep it. We are not doubting you, questioning you, or judging you, for your choices, decisions, memories, experiences, or abilities to cope with, deal with, endure, and overcome, anything you have to or had to, or may have to, face. We are not seeking your opinion or approval, advice or sympathy. Support and love would be great, but that is not a requirement as much as it is a request. If you are incapable, unable, or unwilling to manage that, then respectfully, I request only one other thing-you do you and I’ll do me, worry about you and yours, I’ll deal with me and mine. The rule about listening and respecting my 'elders' no longer applies here. I'm forty years old, unless it is love, understanding, compassion, or respect, that you are offering or sharing, I don't want any part of it. My door, my heart, and my home, are always open, when you are willing and able to accept me as I am, for who I am. I haven't needed a 'babysitter' for many years, that may have been the case when I was a kid, however, it is no longer the case now.