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continue working on transforming, transcending, my relationship with my brother


Recent activity

FairlyFearlessCan't say I've done this, but I'm definitely DOING this

Things are unbelieavly much better since the mediation.. I think we are both just astonished.

I decided to move this from goals to “I’ve done this” (even though with Relationship School matters the class-work always continues when I realized I was about to send him a genuinely cheerful how-are-you, here’s-an-article-I-think-you-would-enjoy emails.

Really… this astounds me. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlesswell, we sent off an agreed-upon JOINT email

to all the care-givers et al on my aged and mostly difficult mother’s team… first time we may have ever stated anything unified. Quite remarkable. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessFrom Code Orange to ... Code Green? Maybe a dark green, but STILL

I just rewrote this goal, which used to begin “take the deep bitterness I feel towards my brother…” Our mediation was, I believe, successful… not that everything is kiss-and-make-up or that we reached too many tactical decisions… but communications were opened up, grievances aired, and agreements made about how to deal with our way-beyond-impossible-91-year-old mother.

I’m still processing this, but it really went much better than I could have hoped.

First off, I was quite astonished that he agreed to come up and do this… he has been dismissive, angry, condescending at the very idea of therapists/counselors/mediators, etc etc etc, and underneath probably scared out of his mind (feelings are not his preferred melieu). But he did. To me, this demonstrated that, whether he admitted it or not, he did have a stake in wishing to heal our relationship, and though I was jittery and anxious, I still had to give him that… that he was making the effort.

And, after some dance on his part around “I’m only here because you wanted it,” he finally copped to that: “How many sisters do I have?” An UNBELIEVABLE statement… I can’t recall his ever saying anything remotely that affectionate before.

Let’s see…

  • We agreed that being a victim, blaming others for one’s problems, feeling “a sense of entitlement” , and sinking the hooks into others indirectly was part of our family’s behavioral legacy, and while we could see it and loathed it in our mother, it was much harder to admit that we also had many of those same behaviors. But unless we admitted to that and were willing to see that, how we could we STOP it, and how could we cease blaming each other? (There was one situation in which we both felt that we had been greatly taken advantage of by the other, and I think we both had legitimate reasons to feel that way. And I think we both AT LEAST admitted that we each had legitimate reasons. But that it wasn’t productive to stay there.)
  • We expressed and shared a lot of our frustration with our mother and her situation, and came up with a strategy to keep her from playing us against each other.
  • Perhaps most important, to me, is this. My brother has a harsh and awful assessment of a situation in our past, and my role and my late husband’s role in it. In fact, all three of us did some good things and some bad things, made some wise and some foolish decisions; all of us bear responsibility. My brother has selectively forgotten or whited out his overlooked responsibilities and broken promises, as well as those my husband and I met with flying colors. He has then taken these selective memories and totalled them up in an analysis of what happened and who he thinks E and I are/were, that is just plain wrong.

I accept, though reluctantly and regretfully and sadly, that he believes his version of reality, always will, is not going to change. I have for a long time. But I also believe that this is no more or less than his version of reality… not objective truth, any more than mine or anyone else’s can be (the Rashomon syndrome).

A deep sticking point for me… the one at which I felt terrible rage… has been his refusal to extend me this same courtesy and respect. It’s never been “You have one view and I have another and we disagree,” it’s been, “I am right, I know not just exactly what happened but have an understanding of motivations which you lack. And you lack it because you are naive at best or a scheming rip-off artist at worst. This proves that, as has been true our entire lives, I am superior to you… as indeed my income bracket as opposed to yours would bear out.”

The huge breakthrough for me was that he finally came to see that it was just no more or less than his perception, as mine is mine. Once he gave up the condescendion and superiority and agreed that there was little if any objective reality, we could agree to disagree… as equals.

I can’t say how big this was and is for me.

So. We shall see.

This is all I can do for now. I’m going to go eat dinner, watch a movie, decompress.

THANK YOU for the good vibes so many of you 43T’ers were winging my way.

ff 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessOy vey is meir

He was supposed to come up yesterday, but (talk about Acts of God) his train out of NY got cancelled due to the power-outtage, so it’s been postponed to today. Email from him last night griping about how he wasn’t able to get first class train ticket for today (unlike yesterday) so “that will give me a good excuse to be irritable and intractable.” Oh, great.

Plan is:

  • he arrives late afternoon, is picked up by mediator, they drive to my home for dinner, we talk about “what we’d like to accomplish.” Then, mediator drives him to his motel.
  • Tomorrow, I drive to the town where the mediator lives and where my brother’s hotel is, and we meet, from 9:00 am till about 11. Then he leaves, back to NY.

How this will come out, I have NO idea.

I’m trying to just:work with the jumpiness and soften.

Now, to vack downstairs, set the table, work-out, shower, last minute prep on dinner, run to market for heirloom tomato, and (theoretically) CHILL OUT.

Well… dinner will be good.

Want to know what we’re having?

(No, Humble Pie and Crow are not on the menu.)

IMAGE: David Hockney bouquet of marguerites… speaking of chilling out. I will put flowers on the table tonight, too. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessThis is the week he'll be coming up for mediation

Fortunately (???!!!) our always-demanding mother has been completely, off-the-charts, over-the-top insane this week… since we are jointly responsible for her, sort of, we can always commiserate on this…

Well, we’ll see.

I’d really LIKE to be able to like him / love him freely. He has these inconsistent pockets of goodness. I think he’s borderline Asperger’s too. I feel some compassion for him.

At times. But BOY has he screwed me financially, and the sudden rage-fits are mighty hard to take…

So we’ll see.

Stay tuned. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessHere's a question. Or two.

Do I believe this is possible?

Am I willing to do my part, willing to release this old, old pattern into something new, willing to take the hit for my part in it (no matter how big his part is), to stop justifying? 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessmediation end of this month

I feel anxious about it.

Love and anger, love and anger. 8 years ago


We actually are in the process of setting up two mediation sessions. I am REALLY amazed and pleased and surprtised about this (and yes, sure, a little trepidatious). We shall see.

I also, in an e-mail where my brother again TOLD me to do something in the line of a time-consuming favor (rather than ask, and certainly without a please), responded in a measured but truthful way, saying how much I reacted against the tone of this and similar directives in the past.He actually apologized and used a “please” in his next response.

Is it possible and realistic to have some hope here? 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessI wish more was happening with this

Maybe I should let go. Let go of my feelings, accept that he won’t change, just try not interacting with him at all. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlesswrote him again to remind him I'm not going to go away

It helps that he went on a nature hikle/retreat in death valley and someone who was along (in this totally random collection of people) KNEW ME! 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessOn hold --- like on voice-mail eternal hold

or so it feels.

Having agreed to work through matters, he has squeaked to a halt at my last email suggestion.

Fish or cut bait?

It seems so stupid to send cute internet jokes et al when there is the GIGANTIC rhino standing in the living room. 8 years ago

FairlyFearlessOkay, here goes

I just sent an email to him suggesting sibling eldercare mediation.

I think the odds are poor that he will engage in this, but I have tried (in a calm tone).

If he is unable or unwilling to do this, I believe I will have as little contact as possible with him, and I will work on the transcendence/utilization as above by myself, in therapy (and less formally in discussion with friends).

There are no other siblings and neither of us have children. If we are unable to salvage something positive, however sporadic, that is the end of the line for blood relationships. 9 years ago

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