Hopelessness is fearlessness. Because without hope there is nothing to lose, and the struggle eases. The exhaustion of striving abates. In the absence of hope, there’s a freedom, a letting go. Not wanting is desolate and liberating all at once.
Wanting and hoping are intrinsically intertwined with defeat. They’re what drives us, yes, but they’re also what tears us to pieces. Longing for something that will never come to pass is an unbearable agony.
It is utterly infuriating then, when there is no way to surrender that longing. Knowing that what I so desperately want is completely impossible doesn’t result in me being able to just leave it behind.
And there is so much I wish I could stop holding and hoping for. Some of it is complete fantasy, but I want to be able to go there. I want to imagine that I was never abused as a child. I want to dream that my family is still whole and my brother is someone who loves and looks after me. It matters to me, this impossible, fictional past. It matters to the point that I am filled with envy when I see my wife with her brother. He’s always been kind and protective. She looks up to him. He is what a big brother should be. He’s what I wish I’d had.
But my brother is a pathetic, piece of shit paedophile. He’s spineless. He has consistently lied to and stolen from my family. His drinking and gambling addictions had a horrible impact on our home life. And all of that came after my parents found out he’d been sexually abusing me. That all happened in the 5 years he continued to live with us after the abuse was discovered. It was hell.
I’ve been into all of this before, but it’s resurfacing now. It just doesn’t dissolve through time, the wanting something different. I guess it’s reared its head again because his wife is seriously ill now. I know that the rest of my family are drawing close to help him; taking care of his baby and being loving and supportive.
I don’t want his little boy to feel unloved or to be unsafe. Of course I don’t. I don’t want him to be near his little one at all. But the love and kindness my family are providing to my brother and his family right now fills me with a kind of anger I can’t describe. I fucking hate them for it. And even more, I hate him for being who he is yet still receiving that love. All the while they’ve become more distant from me, in terms of contact and geography lately. My mum, in particular, has made it clear she doesn’t have capacity to care for anyone else right now.
As much as I try to run from it, the reality of my relationship with my family today is deeply painful. A few years ago, when I found the courage to cut my brother off, I thought I would finally get some support and validation. I hadn’t ever talked about what he did to me, but I took that massive risk because I had this fucking moronic hope that it would change something. I didn’t expect anything from my dad, but I honestly thought my mum and my sister would take my side.
My aim wasn’t to tear our family apart. And that’s one thing I’ve managed to avoid. The family is still intact. I’ve just torn myself out of it. Neither my sister nor my mum were influenced by my truth. Even after they’d heard all the vile facts – and as much as it destroyed me to say those words, the narrative was detailed.
I explained about the flashbacks, the night terrors, the constant fear, anxiety and self loathing. They know about the violent self harm, suicide attempts, hospitalisations, anorexia. And still they don’t take it on board.
Every single day, they betray me.
And I feel that betrayal beat me down again and again. It is black and white thinking, and yes I’m only seeing this from my standpoint, but I cannot comprehend how they can be in a relationship with the man who wrecked my life and love me too. Or do they just not believe me? Or maybe it’s simply because I am not worth the effort, the huge emotional difficulty that it would entail?
I read something not long ago, about how there is no such thing as impartiality when it comes to violence. There are victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. And if the bystanders choose not to side with the victim, they’re siding with the perpetrator.
My mum, my dad, my sister, my grandparents, aunt, uncle, family friends, they’re all standing with the perpetrator. This mass of people who watched me grow up, held me as a baby, celebrated birthdays and Christmases with me, they’re all on his side. The people who I thought loved me most of all stab me in the back every day by loving my brother.
That’s the truth. That’s my truth. Of course they don’t see it that way. They say he’s different now, and has changed. It was a long time ago and I shouldn’t be ‘vindictive’ now (that gem came from my dad).
I want to say fuck them. Fuck them all with their denial and delusion and pathetic avoidance of reality. Fuck them for choosing to ignore the wounds I have to live with every day. Fuck them for even having that choice.
But I can’t can I? I can’t walk away. Because they’re my family and I want to belong with them. I want their love and acceptance. I want them to be proud of me. I long for them to truly hear me, welcome me, and rage for me.
That’s what’s killing me, that awful, pointless, incredibly painful hope for the impossible.
It’s killing me but I’d die without it.