**It’s hard for me to write these posts about my family. I love them, and we’ve had some amazing times together, but there are painful memories too. There are issues I haven’t worked through just yet. Writing about everything helps me to process it. Sometime I’ll have to share some happy family memories haha. I promise there have been, and continue to be, some really good times together.**
I just listened to the song my brother wrote about his friend that passed away and his best friend who killed himself almost 2 years ago…I started bawling. There for a while I thought I might lose my brother as well. I was so angry just thinking about it. I just wanted to punch him or never speak to him. I resented him. I didn’t feel sadness I just felt so much anger towards him. This anger confused the hell out of me.
A couple months ago I had to do my first intensive at my University. This intensive was just that–intense. Basically a week full of counseling your peers and being counseled back. We just kept switching roles and practicing techniques. But we had to talk about our real shit. I held it together pretty well for a while. I talked about things that weren’t too terribly difficult to talk about. Like having ADHD, and a shooting at my University (ok that one is pretty intense because the shooter was one of my best friends and it was a crazy time, but I’m pretty healed from that and so it wasn’t an emotional thing for me to talk about). I talked about a lot of random shit, but the last day…I was so emotionally and physically exhausted from the week that I broke down. Shit got real. I fought so hard all week to not get this real. I knew it was going to happen. I could just feel it.
I told the student counselor that was going to be “counseling” me that I was going to talk about some family stuff, but that I didn’t want to go too deep. I just wanted to warn her and to make sure she wouldn’t probe further into things than I wanted her to.
But…I just went right ahead and started getting all deep and ridiculous on my own. So I talked about how moving home has been difficult because I take on this burden of taking care of my mom. I feel like I need to fix her and make her healthy. Like, it’s my mission in life–to heal my mom. I finally realized why…through this counseling, actually. I have this burden on me because of my childhood. As I’ve mentioned in my post I Remember. and What is a “Calling?” When I was 7 my mom tried to kill herself. She also found out she has Dissociative Identity Disorder. My family then uprooted, left our school, church, family, whatever else that made up our entire lives up until this point, and moved in with my dad’s parents. My dad then chose to become a traveling evangelist (<–wrote about that in What is a “Calling?”).
My brother got to be the angry child. He was the one that got to “rebel” and all that shit. I had to be the one to hold shit together. I had to be the one to see our mom hurting herself…to have to go and comfort one of her alters. I had to become the adult. I had to be the parent. My dad abandoned us. In the name of religion.
All of a sudden after discussing this stuff it hit me. This is why I’m angry at my brother. He doesn’t get to kill himself. He doesn’t get to put us through this. He doesn’t get to put ME through this. I thought, “I can’t take care of you when I’m taking care of mom!” My entire life, I’ve put this burden on myself to save everyone.
Once I realized this is where my anger was coming from, I no longer felt that anger. I understood that this was not rational. I was not in charge of saving my brother. I‘m not in charge of fixing my mom and helping her to become healthy. Those burdens do not lie on me.
I felt like I could finally breathe again. Or maybe for the first time ever. In my life I’ve gone from being horribly sick from birth to 3 years old to about 4 years of (what I remember to be) complete happiness, to my world being completely rocked and taking on this “savior” mentality.
I’ve always been drawn to people with mental health issues, I mean I’m studying to become a counselor...so. It’s just a part of who I am. I love people. I want people to be ok. I want to help people heal themselves. But I’ve also noticed myself shutting emotions and feelings off towards people who are hurting. I just feel anger and frustration. I finally know where it’s coming from.
It wasn’t right for this “burden” to be placed on me. It should not have happened. My father shouldn’t have left us all of the time. My brother not only got to be the angry child, but he also took his anger out on me. I was called stupid, idiot, retard, dumb, etc. and told that everything I did, everything I liked, everything about who I am is stupid. I heard all of this for the entire 4 years we lived with my grandparents. 4 years. Taking care of my mom. Dealing with my dad being gone most of the time. Dealing with a brother who took out all of his anger towards our father out on me.
I have always been SO close to my Papa and he is seriously one of the very best people I have ever been so blessed to have in my life. But one of the worst things from this time, that I will never be able to erase from my memory is my Papa saying, “You know why your mom is gone all of the time?” (She was receiving counseling from our pastor at the time and would be gone all day until really late at night), “why?” I asked, “because she doesn’t love you anymore.” That will never leave my brain. He said he was just kidding, but why say that to a kid? I knew better though.
But if my mom, who is gone for a few hours every day, doesn’t love me anymore, what does that mean about my dad who is gone for weeks at a time? I’ve always been analytical…It’s who I am. I’m a Virgo-it’s what we do. So if you don’t want me over-thinking shit, don’t say stupid shit that can be over-thought.
If I could go back in time and give little Rae some advice, I would whisper in her ear, “you don’t have to save them. You’re allowed to be a kid. You’re allowed to be sad and angry. You’re not alone. Don’t feel guilty for questioning things. Don’t feel guilty for your brother’s anger because his anger doesn’t belong to you. You can’t actually make everything all better. Love them. Be there for them. Care for them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. But don’t try to save them.”
It’s not your job to save everyone. Take that burden off of yourself.