The Lost Child; Pt. 2
11/17/2013 § Leave a comment
Everything changed my life ten years ago, June 2003, on the occasion of my parents 50th wedding anniversary; my relationship with my Lost Child brother Reggie among them. Now is not the time to chronicle that catastrophe, but I must say something about it; everything that has come after it has been affected by this thing that happened.
To make a long story short — it’s not easy! — my family wanted me to come to the affair as a scapegoat with all my scapegoat baggage so they could blame me for what ever they wanted to blame me for — in public as likely as not.
Like my father before me, I have an ‘anger problem’, which means that when they all gang up and scapegoat me mercilessly, I become angry. Losing my temper is terrible for me, it’s like an overdose of adrenaline and cortisol and leaves me jittery and hyper-active for weeks. So I’d been on an anger management regimen to stay more calm and even-keeled.
But my family didn’t want me calm and even-keeled; the conditions they established for me at the 50th anniversary affair were for me to be jittery, unstable and explosive. No discussion, no conversation, take it or leave it. I said, ”no, I’m not coming to that,” expecting a conversation to begin about what I needed so that I could come. No such conversation ever materialized, and I ended up not coming. No one ever tried to strike up a conversation with me then or since to understand what I was feeling.
Although its been 10 years, no one has yet contacted me again, except my Narcissistic mother, my aunt, and Reggie. I’ve been essentially ostracized and expelled from the family for not submitting myself to their arbitrary abuse, and am now in a state of indefinite self-exile. I have no doubt whatsoever that I am better off this way than as my family’s honorary sacrificial lamb.
So that’s the ‘short’ version. If you don’t understand it, that’s okay. I don’t understand it either. It’s my rolling conversation with the Reg-meister afterwards that is the subject of this post.
He used to be my friend. That changed a month or so before the Anniversary Affair itself. That would be when Mother took over the organization of the affair herself. It was like all my siblings instantly became zombies. My brother said on the phone, glumly, ”We’re not paying for it equally any more. Ashleigh’s kicking in for the whole thing. Me, I’m not going to deal with it; I’m going on a business trip to Serbia and let Ashleigh do everything.” I remember thinking that that’s exactly what Reggie used to do when we were in high school, he’d stay away for as long as he could and leave the family for the rest of us. That’s what a Lost Child is; that’s what a Lost Child does.
With one swift move, Mother turned us all back into lost children. Even me; Reggie as much as told me that a coup d’etat had taken place inside our family but I went on believing that I was still the one organizing the affair and waiting for Ashleigh to get back to me about choosing venues. There was no reason for me to think that; I was in a state of cognitive disassociation.
I didn’t hear from the family for three years after the family affair went on without me. Reggie wrote to me first, it made no sense for me to initiate on this. The first thing he does in the letter is chew me out for not showing up at a private meeting we had arranged. The second thing he does is chew me out for not writing to him in three yesrs. He’s still scapegoating me! The gist of that letter and every letter from him since is that I have no right withholding from him his ‘Narcissistic Supply.’ I wrote, ”You will stop taking advantage of me,” and he replied, ”You have no right to tell me what to do. ”I still didn’t know anything about Narcissism or Narcissistic Family Dynamics. He attacked me yet denied attacking me; he lied and denied lying; he said things to hurt me and denied hurting me, which is Narcissism in a nutshell as far as I’m concerned. I wrote to tell him I was breaking off waiting to him because he was upsetting me and it was affecting my wife. A year later, he broke the silence to write “You are a schmuck,” which is just about the worst thing you can say to somebody in Yiddish. He based that on a letter I’d written to Mother which they had both taken completely out of context. I asked him a year later to apologize for it; he tersely refused.
Then came the Great Earthquake of Northern Japan of March 11th, 2011; the nearest destruction was from two exploding gas depots ten miles from where my wife and I lived. I saw houses and buildings shake off their books; and the brick sidewalk I was on heaved like a bowl of pudding. The tsunami that came into Tokyo Bay was weak. But the Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima was only 152 miles away from us, and for three days all our friends were glued to the TV as if Godzilla himself had waken up.
Email from the United States came in for me from family, for the first time since the 50th anniversary debacle. My wife instructed me not to answer them; she would handle that herself. Like an idiot I read them anyway and started writing back, and soon got embroiled in the same old morass all over again. The only thing I find stronger than exposed plutonium fuel rods is Narcissistic family patterns. The roles of Scapegoat and Lost Child held up, even as waves swept over seven meter seawalls.
Reggie wrote me a letter after the quake that seemed to be conciliatory but wasn’t. I sat down at the keyboard to reply, and found difficult passages woven into the letter. “I feel abandoned by you,” he wrote. ”You said you’re working to reconcile with me. What happened?” he wrote. Around midnight I screamed, ”what do you want from me?” For a long time after, I tried to write replies and found myself unable to. He’s not having a conversation, I concluded. He’s using words to suppress and silence because he doesn’t want to kniw the truth.
That his own mother whipped his ass with a steel wire coat hanger when he was five years old.