My f***ing family

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.




10 Comments Add yours

  1. How’s about you stop beating yourself up for how you feel about this? I’m interested, why do you say your responses are childish? I can totally see where you are coming from and I don’t see the reaction as childish in the least. In fact I think what you’re saying makes complete sense given the situation. I’d feel annoyed and angry about it.

    What I would say, is that although this is taking up headspace right now, try and use your session tomorrow to help you and that means dealing with the relationship stuff and hurt that J has caused first and foremost. If it were me I would find it very easy to avoid the therapeutic relationship stuff and talk about the family frustrations but actually that’s not going to help you feel safe and settled. Without doubt, talk about it but don’t let it get in the way of processing your feelings, talking about your needs, and sorting out your therapy. Look after you first.

    Honestly, feeling such a teenager right now and Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ has just come into my head. Why is everything so complicated?? Why can’t things just be easy sometimes?! Big hug to you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really great advice, couldn’t have put it better myself x

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Laura says:

      I suppose that whenever I feel angry about things I instantly accuse myself of being childish, because an adult would be able to let go and not react. There’s also a part of me that knows I am entitled to feel whatever I feel, it’s just the critic part is bigger and louder.
      You’re totally right about my session today, this would be the perfect excuse to avoid talking to J about what’s really important right now. At the same time, I actually don’t want to talk to her at all. The struggle today is going to be getting words out at all – or even just getting myself to the session. I’m feeling super resistant.
      Ha Avril Lavigne – the perfect teen angst soundtrack! x


      1. Would an adult be able to let go and not react? So far as I can tell being human with a few extra on the clock doesn’t somehow make you passive and more able to let it go.

        Go tell that critic to go do one. Perhaps yours would like to hang out with mine and we could send them on some ‘never to return’ trip. I suspect there are a few others who might like to send their critics to join with the trip!

        Look, I know the session today isn’t going to be easy and I understand not really wanting to go, but the sooner you bring the hurt you feel to the room it can be worked through. If you need to write it down or even have your post on your phone to hand over.

        Your feelings are valid and I know it’s going to be tough as no doubt this makes you feel incredibly vulnerable.

        Take care X

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ‘Extra years on the clock’


  2. DV says:

    I think all of what you’re feeling is reasonable. It doesn’t make you a bad person to not feel sympathy or compassion or anything much at all for a person who has contributed to making your life a misery – it’s not like you’re actively harming her or even wishing her harm. I reckon I’d feel much the same if it were me, it’s not that she doesn’t deserve care and sympathy, it’s the inequity and hypocrisy after you not getting it when you needed it (and are still needing it).

    And it IS an unfair burden on you for them to expect YOU to do any sort of emotional caregiving of THEM around your SIL’s illness, which is basically what it boils down to them doing by giving you information about her illness you don’t need or want. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks DV that is validating. I feel very unreasonable over this and all the therapy stuff at the moment, so it’s nice to hear you say that. x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bethanyk says:

    It seems like another weight that is not yours that you do not need put on you and you do not need to carry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      It is indeed. I just wish I had a choice not to care!


      1. bethanyk says:

        Awful situation to put you in!!!!


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