What can we do when someone thinks they’ve the right to hurt you? - Part-II of sibling aggression
There can’t be anything more terrible than facing the reality of how and why someone abused you in the past.
We can’t go back and change that, while being irreversibly affected by it. To make things worse, the defense mechanisms and rationalizations fall off; you suddenly realize you suffered so much for no apparent reason other than to appease someone’s ego complex!
What can be a greater tragedy than that?!
A very destructive conversation that turned out to be useful.
On an occasion that is very rare, I had an open conversation with my family recently: that included my parents and my sister.
My sister opened up about the intense frustration she felt because she couldn’t beat me up or hurt me badly. Her desire, in her words, was to break open my head!
I just sat there with a stupid smile on my face. I was trying to provide her some relief by letting her talk about her feelings. She was suffering because she hated me and my father.
I must have done something wrong to warrant that severe punishment, one might think. She definitely had her reasons. She put them into three points:
I disrespect her and I don’t consider her feelings.
I think she is stupid, incapable, and weak.
I abuse her kid.
I don’t know if I’d deserve the punishment she wanted to mete out if I committed these wrongs. The truth is, I never committed them.
It starts with my father. He was an authoritarian man who believed in corporal punishments. He had hurt my sister frequently when we were children. His perspective was that he was trying to improve and discipline his daughter, who was a lazy, complaining, insolent child.
Her version was, he hit her and abused her because he hated her.
Where I fit in this gore scene was, I was her younger sister whom he never hit or punished, and showed care and affection towards!
The objective reality stands no ground, at least in my eyes. No matter how insolent, bad, or lazy your child’s behavior is, you don’t mete out cruel punishments but teach them life lessons with love!
In our family, that never happened.
My sister never got the message my father was trying to convey. My mother never intervened and helped her become a better human being.
So, she concluded that her younger sister made her life miserable by behaving in ways different from hers.
Consequently, she brutalised me and found ways to break me (educated by my father himself), so that she wouldn’t have to deal with any change or surprises from me.
And how did that play out in reality?
She broke me physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I don’t know what the term for a behaviour like this is. Other than, of course, evil.
She threatened to kill me if I did anything she couldn’t do. This includes writing, drawing, having hobbies, singing, grooming myself, or showing affection towards our parents.
She proved to me I was stupid and weak. Gaslighted me into feeling ugly and vulgar. She hit me every time I did anything creative or intelligent or empathetic.
She kept me under her house arrest and prevented me from growing by using force, shame, and fear.
If this is not evil, I don’t know what is.
She had two demands.
One, I never become better than her. I always be inferior to her, matter how talented, creative, or intelligent I am!
Two, I be there for her as a thing of amusement, anger release, and a companion who’d never leave.
Only, I left when I was 12. I still don’t know how she coped with that. She just rejected me after that. She abandoned me and found other ‘sisters’ who fit her bill. Of course, she never tried to break them because she didn’t have to. She found people who were better than me in her eyes.
The trauma and control
Fast forward to now, I’ve realized what she had been doing to me.
Have I recovered from it? Of course, not. I just keep on wanting to die and feeling threatened about it. It could be as simple a reason as wearing a good dress or hearing some appreciation!
But I’ve stood up to her now! For the last one year, I have told her to behave! To be good towards the family. That has laid bare her insecurities, the frustration of which she is now suffering.
When she accused me of disrespecting her or making her feel terrible about herself, I was surprised. I never knew she felt that way. In my mind, it was my sister who hated me and made me feel miserable!
She feels ashamed of herself, because my father treated her poorly. She is just projecting it on me and feeling that I am disrespecting and shaming her. It is misdirected anger and shame she never addressed.
Her insecurities are resurfacing, and she needs a fix. She may genuinely want to hurt me again, but she knows she can’t. What will one do about that?
What will one do when they think they have the right to destroy someone’s life for their comfort?
And her last point, about how I treat her daughter!
The major complaint raised about me was that I intervened when she was hitting her child! Therefore, I am abusing her child.
Once again, the question comes back: What does one do when they think they have the right to control, manipulate, and threaten others for their comfort?
I wrote this article for one purpose, to help everyone who wants to help my sister and the likes of her.
She is seeking help for her mental stress now. Many times, when people complain about mental frustration, the problem is themselves, not others! We can’t find peace by changing others but ourselves. It doesn’t matter what happened in your past or present.
Psychologists, parents, teachers, friends, and family often miss this. When someone becomes a victim, ask them to get out of victimhood and take control of their mind and thoughts!
And to not expect others to make their life better for them!