I got back from Germany to the news that my sister in law has breast cancer. That’s the woman who is married to my brother – the man who sexually abused me as a child.
I don’t even know what I think or feel about this, other than that it’s a lot of things. I am impressed that my mum decided not to tell my sister and I while I was visiting her and the baby. It would’ve definitely put a downer on the time we had together. My mum showed some sensitivity in calling my wife to let her know, so she could tell me in person when I got back. That demonstrates that she did actually think about the fact it might upset me. So there’s a silver lining.
At the same time, I’m wondering why I need to know this at all. I don’t have any contact with my brother or his wife anymore. As far as I am concerned, they are dead to me. I hate my brother. And I hate my sister in law for deciding to remain in the marriage and then conceive a child with him, after finding out what he’d done to me when I cut him out of my life a few years ago.
But I do need to know, because this has an impact on my family who I am in contact with. It will impact my parents, my sister, my grandparents, etc., all of whom will be worried and upset by it. It will mean that my parents more than likely will be providing more childcare for their grandson than previously while she has treatment. So they’ll have even more involvement and closeness with my brother – and their relationship with him already makes me feel angry and hurt.
My initial, and admittedly very childish thoughts on the issue are:
- I’m angry that I need to know this information. I don’t want to know what’s happening in their lives – I want to forget they even exist.
- I wish it was my brother and not his wife who’d been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, because I feel that’s what he deserves.
- I hate that people will be concerned for them, will sympathise, will be affectionate and want to help. To me, they deserve none of that.
- It makes me angry that my dad will be sympathetic to her illness, because in his view it is ‘real’ – unlike my illness, which he totally ignores.
- I feel like a terrible person because I don’t give a crap that my sister in law has cancer. I mean it. I honestly don’t care that she is sick and will suffer. What kind of a person doesn’t feel any compassion for someone in that position?
- It’s also like l I have no right to even have feelings about this. It isn’t happening to me or somebody I love. It frustrates me that I am so worked up about it.
I saw my parents on Sunday, as they’d been dog sitting for us while I was away. I didn’t ask them anything about it. I didn’t even bring it up. It felt like another massive elephant in a room that has already got a full quota of elephants. It’s another thing to come between us. I didn’t want to hear their sympathy and compassion for her and my brother. But at the same time, I could tell that they were probably thinking what a bitch I was for not asking about it, not wanting to know how severe it is and what treatment she will be having.
I just want to ignore all of this. I don’t need another thing to work through and worry about right now. I’m already freaking out about having to talk to J in therapy tomorrow about how upset I am with her. This feels like another confusing and heavy issue to add to my already unmanageable load.