Ive been thinking lately about how I have become the type of person that I am. The type of person who constantly falls for the man with control issues, conditions, how I put myself in these situations where Im vulnerable, or the scapegoat, or the victim. I realise it all stems from conditioning by my brother.
I am the youngest and only girl of 3, in Bowenian family psychology this labels me with the position of the little star, the baby and the princess. My middle brother taking on the roles of the black sheep and the clown for attention. My oldest is the achiever, the experiment, thinks he’s better than us, distances himself, there is a 10 year age gap between him & me, we are worlds apart. My mother went into labour with me on my middle brother’s 5th birthday, something he has never forgiven me for, I took his mum away from his birthday party and took all the attention off him, not only that but I now have a birthday the day after him taking away the specialness of his day forever. From that day on he resented me for stepping on his existence and he did everything from that moment to make sure I knew I spoiled it all for him.
My Mum would tell we how she would just get me off to sleep as a baby and he would scream at the top of his lungs to wake me up for no reason at all. I remember being about 2 and him putting me in a cardboard box and taping me in telling me he hated me and was going to get rid of me & was going to send me to the rubbish dump, leaving me in there until I was exhausted from fear & crying and probably starved of oxygen. He used to try and drown me in the bath pretending it was a game of who could hold their breathe the longest but really he was holding my head under trying to make me stop moving. One afternoon he and my older brother and their friends had built a den in a tree in the woods behind our house, he and my older brother were babysitting me but the den building was more fun so they left me in a bush while they built this den. To get me up into the den they rigged up a bucket on a rope, stuffed me in the bucket and tried to hoist me up to this badly built platform, of course the bucket tipped over and I fell into a particularly angry patch of nettles. He told me if I ever tried to go to the den or the woods on my own that the crows would attack me and peck out my eyes, I could never walk the woodland path, I would always have to run it with my arms covering my face. There are a million scenarios like this all traumatic to a small child.
I would sometimes go into his room for comfort to go to sleep and he would use the torch to make animal shapes on the ceiling, but they were never nice animals that would protect me, they were always huge scary ones that were going to come after me and eat me, leaving me even more terrified than I was before I went in his room. One night when I was about 5 I had a polyester nightdress on and I had gone in his room because I was scared and he had shook the man made fabric of my candy striped nighty in the dark making the static of the polyester crackle and spark in the darkness and told me that I was going to catch fire in the night, that those sparks would make me go up like a bit of dry paper so Id best not move just in case, I didn’t move or sleep all night. My Grandmother would give us cod liver oil capsules and he would hit me making mine pop in my mouth, the rank fish liver oil covering my tongue making me sick. When I was 7 we had moved into our new house he begrudged me having a bigger room than he so he told me that the rats and snakes would find their way into my room and while I slept they would make their way under the duvet and eat me! Or that the hues was full of ghosts and monsters that lurked in the shadows and fed on little girls. I could never get to sleep in that room and from then on would cry for my mother to lay with me until I went to sleep and only after I had lined the edge of the duvet with an army of stuffed animals making sure there were no gaps for the snakes and rats to get in. He would spit in my food, knock over drinks, belittle my ideas, steal and hide my toys. He told me everything was poisonous, everything would kill me or hurt me or he would. My respite was my grandmothers house where I could stay alone with her, safe from him.
Im terrified of sharks, not helped by the movie Jaws, and facilitated by the actions of my brother on a family holiday to Greece. I was 9, he was 14. He always had to look after me on family holidays, something he loathed doing as he always had me tagging along with him. He would bury in sand, covering my face and laughing at my distress. If we went in the sea he would throw seaweed at me and tell me it was poisonous and after the release of Jaws in 1975 he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to tell me there was a shark about regardless of if we were in a public swimming pool or an ocean. This particular holiday we had been given a dinghy to play in he begrudgingly let me join him in the dinghy and he rowed us off out into the clear blue sea. We got about 500mtrs out when he demands I get out of the dinghy or he was going to punch me, so I jump out and as I hit the water he yells “Shark!” I hear shark & swim like an olympic swimmer to the shore only to hear his peals of laughter behind me with the odd “come back” as he rows back to shore fearful I was going to drown and he’d have the blame. Anytime I went near the sea with him there would be a shark incident and I would be petrified to swim.
That same summer he took me camping, he and one of his friend had erected his tent in a clearing of ferns on the mountain, so my Mum asked if he would take me with him one night, so she made me a sleeping bag out of two old quilts and off I went camping with him. He told me to go to bed as soon as we got to the tent and to not make a noise, so I did, when it got dark he told me he had to go back to the house for some supplies and left me in the tent on the side of the mountain in the dark on my own. Minutes later there was something clawing on the tent and a silhouette of a huge man with an axe loomed on the canvas accompanied by a gruff voice whispering he was going to kill me, I started screaming, I wouldn’t stop, of course it was him but I screamed so much and wouldn’t calm down he had to take me home.
As we got older it didn’t change much, constant abuse, he used to threaten to tell on me, blackmailed me, belittled me, ridiculed me for how I was growing up, offered no brotherly advice on relationships or being a teenager and would try and cause as much of a problem he could if he could anytime he could, we fought constantly, ignored each other as much as possible, I would hide from him. At 13 I foolishly borrowed a shirt off him one afternoon and as I walked up the hill from our house he drove down in his car that I never ever had a lift in, I didn’t ask and he didn’t offer, he spotted his shirt, stopped the car and ripped it off me telling me never to borrow his stuff again. I had to run back to the house in my bra covering myself and crying.
I snapped not long after this and one day having been given the chore of sorting the family washing I took a kitchen knife to his pile of clothes and stabbed tiny little holes in everything, he blamed my Mum, who could only imagine the little holes were caused by something in the washing machine. I started giving a good as I got. He hated me even more. But I had my small victory and the kitchen knife, from then on he always had holes in his clothes.
He traumatised me my whole life until he moved out when he was 21.
Now as an adult am I looking for that trauma? Looking for the constant fear? conditioned to be traumatised? Is this why I choose damaged broken men because their behaviour mimics my brothers treatment of me? Do I like the fights, the battles, the drama? Is it a normal state for me?
I am going to profile my partners, see what you think…..