Everything has me on edge.
A particular phrase of my brothers text message stands out to me and runs repeat in my head. “I am going to take some time away from you and <husband> to ensure I don’t say or do anything I can’t live with.”
My brother, when triggered, can be an exceptionally violent person. Memories of this have been flooding me since he announced he wanted nothing to do with me. Not just memories of last summer, but other times. Times I had forgotten. Every loud noise, any yelling, anybody touching me without warning. All of those things are setting me off. Images dance behind my eyelids. Outside of the house my skin crawls at the unknown. My awareness is heightened. I can’t take my shoes off for fear of not being able to run away. Inside the house, even with <husband> there, my OCD habits are back full force because I don’t feel safe right now.
I feel like an explosion could be around every corner, and my body is reacting before my mind has a chance to catch up. I’m finding it really hard to relax.
I know this is memories of the past. Most of me believes that my brother would never physically hurt me. My husband is around. My parents would hate him (I hope, although they take his side with everything else). Most of my life he has been all vitriol and violent words… not physical action. But the possibility remains, and it has happened before. He has threatened me before. He has threatened me immediately before hurting himself before.
It sounds horrible, but I always felt like he was one moment away from doing something really, really, bad.
I remember spending most of high school split between worry he was going to kill himself and worry he was going to come after all of us. I hated that there was no lock on the door. You never knew what would set him off or when. And this makes him sound like a monster… he isn’t. He is legitimately out of control when these things happen, and I try not to judge. But I have to prioritize myself over him… I am, and it’s throwing everything off.
His explosion at me and my parents last summer is back in my nightmares. It was early morning, I was dead to the world and ready to fly back home, and everything went to hell. I’m taking deep breaths and trying to stay calm, reminding myself I’m safe here, doing things that reduce anxiety, but it’s hard because I don’t feel safe.
I’m hopeful though. There is a certain freedom this disconnect with my family provides. Even though I have no idea what to do next, and I’m on edge, and I feel like I don’t even know who I am. This is painful and it’s forcing me into a situation I imagined time and time again but never had to face.
I am on my own. I have been severed from the pack. They have made it clear I am no longer going to receive any monetary assistance for anything. My brother has cut me off from him and my niece and SIL completely. My parents are talking to me but it’s obligatory and kind of painful.
They have done for me what I’ve never been strong enough to do for myself and my god it hurts. Hopefully I can ground myself in the now, try to feel safe, and maintain my composure and slowly move on to doing some really hard work.
This has been the hardest day so far. I’m glad I have 5 sober days under my belt. I keep telling myself just until tomorrow and then we can reconsider. And tomorrow I’ll tell myself again, just until tomorrow.
The best ammunition I have in this war is to care for myself. To prove that I can do this alone, that I am not going to fall apart and drink and get lazy and collapse without them. That I can do it. I don’t need them. So I’m trying to do it even though it feels like I’m walking backwards through a crowd of people going the opposite way.
I hope I’m strong enough for this.