Dear brother in-law,
We met when I was thirteen. It was during a very turbulent time. You came into my sister’s life and became a welcome, permanent fixture. My mother loved you instantly. You were a bit of a charmer weren’t you? They both fell for your innocent demeanour. You were so generous. Flaunting and showering extravagant gifts on my sister. Even chasing her for an entire year to prove your love. It was all very romantic. Almost too good to be true. Your gracious and caring attitude towards our mother did not go unnoticed. You went out of your way to help her (something you often reminded her of later on).
Yet, your care and thoughts did not extend further than my mother and sister.
You made no effort to get to know me. I was not under your priorities. Perhaps my sister made it clear that I was of no importance to her therefore of no importance to you. Unsurprisingly, you made no effort with our father either but perhaps, in his case, I’ll let that slide.
Years went by and your relationship with my sister grew stronger. My mother even held you in the highest regard. In many ways you had surpassed me. She never looked at me the way she looked at the two of you. She had accepted you as her “son” and you were at one point, more a part of her family than I was. This was something you and my sister clearly found enjoyment in.
During the divorce, when you and my sister had been together for a few years, you became my mother’s hero, protecting and supporting them consistently. Did you see it from my side? Never. Did you have any empathy? None. You just wanted to remain on that sweet little pedestal they placed you on. The pressure you put on me, the lectures you gave, where was it your place to tutor me on my decisions? If you had built up a relationship with me or made an effort to treat me like a sister, perhaps I would have been more willing to listen to you. However, it was like I was being reprimanded by a nosy stranger.
After the divorce our relationship did not get any easier. You only listened to her; my sister. All her hate, all her anger was allowed. You never challenged her. That is not love as much as you may think it is. Love is not possessive; it does not own. Love is letting someone express themselves to a point, where no one gets hurt especially not the ones you care so deeply for. Your allowance of my sister’s behaviour was your own demise.
Is it love if someone tells you to choose your family or them? Is it love if someone threatens to cheat on you? Tell me this. Did you respect yourself? The wild rages she flew into were accepted. The violent screams and swears were just a natural expectation of her. If you had just said “Stop”. Perhaps she would have. If someone of authority had just said “stop”. Then maybe she would have realised how staggering and inconceivable her behaviour truly was. Were you frightened of her? There is no shame in it. She scared me.
Do you know what you did?
You turned her into a monster. Another being entirely. Gone was her compassion, her willingness to empathise. You made her a martyr, a queen. She ruled over us. Her and the depression.
I have seen it. I know what it is. I know others who have suffered by the hand of it, some who have taken their lives because of it and without a doubt they would be horrified by the way she uses it as a weapon. The endless threats, the terrifying fury was very hard to deal with. Any time I tried, I was belittled for my lack of understanding. The two of you had no idea of my horror at home. Maybe you did, you just did not want to face it. After all, as she had said before, “it was my choice to live with my father”. Yet, we all had to be there for her and her problems.
The last ten years have got to be the worst when it comes to you and me. You should be like a brother to me. Instead, we are total strangers. I feel you know nothing about me yet the finest details of your life were flung on me throughout my adolescence. I know everything about you. Isn’t that funny.
You had what you wanted when you got married. You even cast aside my mother. All of her love was worthless now. The two of you deserve each other. Never have I met such ugly people. You especially are something else. What kind of father keeps their children from their grandmother? What the hell did she ever do to you? It’s bad enough that you have kept their Aunt away from her niece and nephew but their grandmother? She did not meet your expectations did she? Your demanding, shallow, ruthless expectations. Who can?! At some point in your history with this family, everybody had faulted you. You of course, have never faulted anyone!
You are protecting your wife aren’t you?
From what? The big bad wolf? Hold on, I thought that was my father? You and my sister once despised him. You could not wait to dance on his grave. Yet in the years before his death, he became a saint to you. It is madness. Pure madness.
This is a man that hurt your mother in-law. He physically hurt her. This “thoughtful” man insulted your wife, he even called her a “bitch”! Did you forgive him for that? For the abuse and pain he caused? It seems like it. Forget me. You do not care for me but what he did to the two of them was unforgivable.
Do you feel proud of yourself?
You have contributed tremendously in the destruction of my family. Of the people that matter and for that I will never forgive you.