10.5 RICK DOBLE'S STORY OF AN ABUSIVE BROTHER MY ABUSIVE BROTHER
Born in 1944, I grew up in the shadow of a much stronger older brother, my only sibling, who was physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually abusive. My brother is the one who taught me the patterns of abuse, as he was put in charge of me when we were kids (!) and was told to look after me. We often shared a room together as we were growing up. I loved him dearly although I always knew something was wrong. I kept hoping that he would grow out of it. Yet I learned to handle his unpredictable moodsand to escape into my own world of books and music and intellect. This became my world outside of my family and my brother where I could be free. As my brother grew older he became more difficult with temper tantrums, sudden and violent mood shifts, accusations and angry confrontations. While my family eventually agreed he was difficult, I was told to ignore his abuse for the sake of peace and to avoid provoking him at all costs.
When I was almost 60, my brother admitted to me in our last ever phone conversation that he wished I had never been born. After I hung up, I knew for certain what I had suspected but refused to believe (denial), that he had tried to end my life more than once. This thought of what had happened over fifty years earlier sent shivers down my spine. I was filled with waves of sorrow that he was so hurt and jolts of anger that he was so evil. In one incident, for example, he had enticed me to follow him to swim across a large pond when I was about eight years old. In the middle of the lake he abandoned me as I started to flounder; a life guard had to rescue me.
On the other hand, my father adored me and this gave me a confidence I would not have had otherwise. Yet at the same time, he was quite abusive to my brother. I found myself in the middle and tried to mediate between the two. I believe my bother was born with other problems as well since cousins and aunts said to me that he was irritable and high strung from an early age.
In the mid-1970s it became clear that I could not continue in any fashion with my brother. At the age of 35 he had put me in a life threatening situation with his reckless driving and then a couple of years later beaten me in front of my mother even though he could not articulate why he had done so. After that I let my family know that I could not be around him for any reason. Of course, as they had done for years, they tried to talk me out of this. Since I was almost 30 at that point and not living close to him, I did not see why I should be around him at family gatherings, for example. My family thought that I was being the difficult person in this case.
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