I wrote the poem Being A Scapegoat some time after this conversation. It was my way of saying it again, because the first time I was given time to articulate it, it meant nothing. It was the first time I could say it clearly and put it out into the world, asking someone to care.
My sister and I were in a car. We were on a long car ride and it’s purpose was family related, so perhaps she was receptive to hearing me. I don’t know what was different. Usually I would bring these abuse issues up and my siblings would not listen, would not respond, and would not care. It has been heartbreaking for me.
This day she listened. She let me explain what being a scapegoat in our family felt like, what it did to me as a little child. I tried to explain it’s impact further in my life.
She interrupted me. She said well you can stop right there. She said I think I never understood before. I think that I only have a tiny idea of what you went through and never have before. I think that I don’t want to know more. I think I don’t want to understand this much. I don’t want to talk about this any further.
I never got one of them to listen before. When I would try they would stop listening even when they were in the same room. They would walk out either emotionally or physically. They didn’t want to know.
I never got one of them to respond before. Not really. They would give me all their positive thinking pep talks, or try to diminish my pain or invalidate me. They never spoke from their heart. They never saw me and what they all did to me and spoke to that pain, to my humanity, that I mattered.
What I didn’t ever realize is how heartbreaking it would be for one of them to listen and respond and still not care. I don’t think that I even contemplated that would ever be possible. I just never envisioned it.
I had tried for years to get her to understand boundaries, respect, survivor issues. I had tried to get her to care about me. Her and I had never been close.
She was the third person in my parent’s marriage. Though that cost her a great deal, she also received and coveted the special child designation. I was the opposite, I was the rejected child.
She spent time with my brothers, showing a marked preference for them over me when I was a child. I always thought that if only one of them had wanted me, it would have changed my life forever. None of my siblings wanted me.
Less than three months after this conversation, with many emotional and verbal abuse incidents I severed contact with my sister. It was a self-defensive act. I needed to be loved and treated with respect. I never got that from her.
Her home is where all the family members go to for family gatherings. I still see three of my other siblings, though that can be quite problematic, i.e. drug suggestion by brother. I see one of my adult nephews. The rest don’t seem to have the inclination to see me.
Since I don’t see her I don’t go to any holidays there. I am alone for each of them. Even those holidays that were lonely, barren, and joyless were wonderful days compared to attending family gatherings.
So since the holiday came around recently, the old pain has risen to the surface. I’m sure it will be sad in August as well when I stopped seeing her because of a week of vicious verbal abuse that culminated on our mother’s birth anniversary.
And it still breaks my heart that someone heard my pain, knew my pain, and it didn’t matter, not one little bit.