My brother said to me today that women love to talk to one another. They love to complain. He was referencing a time I spent yesterday with another woman. He went on to say that he doesn’t understand why, but that they do.
I told him that women do talk to one another. That women gain a lot in the sharing of their life, their stories, their current situation. That women find the presence and attention of other women as comforting, helpful, healing. And that it is not complaining.
No matter what I said I couldn’t get him to agree with me that sharing is not in fact complaining. I tried to get him to understand that women, and men as well, can be sharing without it being complaining. He totally disagreed with me.
I have tried at other times to explain to him how helpful sharing can be. Especially when the other person cares and validates what the other person is going through.
He said, I tried to tell you many times already, no one cares to hear you, no one cares to listen, no one cares. I told him; women care. He said, no not every woman cares about you, even in your own family, your sister doesn’t care about you.
I told him I said women, not all women. No, not all women care about me. No, not all women care about other women, specific women, specific groups of women, etc. He said yeah, but you said ‘women.” I said, I said women, I didn’t say all women, I didn’t say all women care about me, I said women care about other women.
Yes this how our interactions devolve. Yes this is how he chooses to interact with me, insult me, and remind me that even my sister doesn’t care about me. Yes he feels some need to devalue and demean me by reminding me that others in my family of origin devalue and demean me.
It didn’t hurt. I think he meant it to hurt, because my sister is no longer a part of my life. However I choose that. I gave her years to change and stop verbally abusing me, rejecting me, and scapegoating me. I made a healthy, healing choice to find a new family instead of continuing to go to family gatherings. But my brother is always trying to remind me that I am still a scapegoat. I don’t accept that. I don’t accept that title. I am me. I am something more than what my family did to me, how they treated and abused me, and what they thought and think of me. I am me.
I have women friends who love and care about me and perhaps I can’t tell you how much that means to me, how much it means to me that they listen to me and validate me, and don’t accuse me of ‘complaining’ when I am needing love and support, advice and caring. And I need that and get that from my friends.
I never used to be able to admit the big gaping hole inside of me where others were supposed to fit in and stay inside my heart. I can only admit it now, because I am loved, because my friends dwell in that secret place in my heart, and that it fills me with so much joy where before there used to be only emptiness in that space in my heart where blood pumps out of my heart and to all places in my body, nourishing me in every way.
Later I realized that I should have included my male survivor friends into my conversation with my brother. But he was only talking about women and so we ended up talking only about what he wanted to talk about.
It has been quite a revelation to find men who are healing, who are good at giving support, who accept others as they are. I had been very wounded by men and was very cautious and worried that trying to have men survivor friends just would not work and that it would never be healing. I was never sure if that would happen. I was never expecting that and it has been such a wonderful surprise on my healing path to find this.
My brother isn’t usually right about much. But he was right about one thing; he doesn’t understand why women or people in general want to talk with others and what they get from that.