Who Needs Enemies…

… when you’ve got family. SERIOUSLY.

About a month ago I butted heads with my sister-in-law and then she pulled my brother into it and he said some things that, well… kind of gutted me.

I rallied with a bunch of self-righteous anger that I directed nowhere and then did my best to not come into contact with either of them. Which sucks because I love seeing my nephew and baby niece.

Well my folks got babysitting duty this weekend while the brother and sister-in-law went out of town to “properly” celebrate St. Patty’s Day. So I got to spend a lot of time with my niece and nephew. Awesome.

But then I had to see the brother and sister-in-law when they picked the kids up. It was uncomfortable and awkward and has left me sad. And I’m pretty sure they’re oblivious to the whole thing.

Part of me thinks I should just swallow this incident down and pretend it didn’t happen, he didn’t say those things. But then I start remembering all the other things I’ve swallowed (my whole life)… outright disdain and shame directed at me from my brother, looks of disgust, other hurtful comments, blatant acts of manipulation, broken promises, and many favors not returned.

It’s finally occurring to me that my brother doesn’t like me. The people pleaser in me wants to try harder to make it impossible for him to not like me. The pessimist in me is saying it’ll never happen. The realist is saying let’s look at all the facts. It’s also finally occurring to me that my little brother is selfish. He’ll railroad whoever he must to get what he wants. He’ll target a persons biggest insecurities, spewing venom, and incapacitating his target. Somehow he zero’s in on where he can do the most damage and doesn’t even blink when he yanks the proverbial rug out from under them.

I’m tired of being a target. I’m tired of being manipulated by him and sucker punched by his hateful comments. I’m tired of being naive about him. Unfortunately he’s poison. And I want to put as much distance between us as I can.

Then there’s my niece. My brother wouldn’t be complete without being a pig and he loves that he has a trophy wife and likes her dressing slutty. I’m afraid of what message that is going to send to my niece as she’s growing into a young lady. Between his disgust of fat and like of slutty… scary. Scared for her and her little heart.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post now. My heart is heavy. I don’t like familial tension but I know I can’t pretend it’s okay for him to continue treating me like this. If anything, I need to nut-up and confront for the sake of my niece. And okay, for the sake of my own self.

I’ve always been cowed into silence when hurtful words have been cast at me. I don’t like being silent. I want to be able to fight back and not be so utterly devastated. But you know how sometimes you never have a good comeback in the moment… that’s how my life has always been. How do I change that?

How do you deal with insult and injury cast upon you? Do you shutdown when insults fly? How can an introvert fight back? Can a girl really “nut-up?”

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