I'm feeling pretty on edge right now, just messed up. Not a great way to feel on a Sunday night before a long work week (or anytime, I guess). Why are families so fucked up so much of the time? I had a decent weekend; I went to the beach, I talked with people over a beer, it was good. I called my Grandma, she was sad because she hasn't spoken to my brother in 3 years (I haven't in longer than that) and she was wondering if she should invite him to Michigan when she goes this year. I said, what could it hurt? At least that way he'll know we still care, we're still here. I occasionally reach out to him myself, never with any sign he's seen the message, but I keep doing it. Then my mom tells me, my grandma called and said when she'd tried to reach my brother, my dad answered and told her my brother isn't doing well and had been to the ER recently because of his drinking. A) Why the fuck would you tell a 97 year old woman that with no background info or preparation?? B) Instead of telling idk his MOTHER??? Or his sister?? C) the only reason he drinks so much is because he spends his days with a narcissistic abusive trainwreck of a human who hasn't managed to hold on to any of his other victims so...I was so mad (and a little tipsy from the beer). I almost called my dad, I haven't spoken to him in 5 years, but sometimes I get so angry I feel like I could do it, but I worry I will just resort to flight or freeze instead of fight, which has always been my MO in the past. I couldn't do that, so I called his sister, my aunt, who I have rarely spoken to since I accused my dad of abuse. I have never been so open with her, I told her how worried I was about my brother, I told her what living with my dad had been like and I point blank asked her if she believed what I was telling her. She hedged it, but she clearly doesn't, or at least doesn't want to. And I am sad to say that a part of why she doesn't is because of how I handled the situation (I don't blame myself - I was straight up in survival mode and making a compelling case to my relatives about why they should believe my allegations was not a major concern at the time) and also how my mom handled it. She didn't believe me at first and tried to convince me that it had been someone else, which she shared with my aunt and who knows who else? There is a lot to the story that my aunt told me that I had never heard from my mom, and things that were said that I never knew about or had any say in. My mom came around eventually, and it has been really hard for her to be out of contact with my brother, but hearing things from my aunt's perspective, it seems like she made things a lot worse. And I had escaped to another state at that point and did not have the mental strength to confront or convince anyone, and now it may be too late. My brother is still living with my dad, hearing his vicious lies and believing all of the awful things he's been told about himself, and us, and my aunt is too afraid to rock the boat and thinks my brother is 'on the right track' so we shouldn't pressure him to get in touch with his grandma or with any of us. I feel so powerless and like, why did I even call? Why do I keep trying to make things better in this situation that is so horrible??? And always, my go-to reaction is to blame myself - why did I even tell anyone about this? I probably did somehow make it up and it really never happened and I've ruined everyone's lives for nothing and even though it feels real and I truly believe that it happened, it probably didn't and I am just crazy and that is why people don't believe me and that is why my brother hates me. But, years of growing stronger (and getting lots of therapy) have helped me pause that reaction and point the blame where it truly belongs - this is all on my dad. I'm sure it sounds like a whole lot of unfair surly teenage-style angst to my aunt, but it really is his fault. He is the one who abused me, who abused my mother and my brother and made us feel worthless and unloved and stupid. He is the one who hurt us and then turned us into villains for leaving him. He is the one who dug his claws into my brother and stopped him from doing anything that would make him happy while all the while hiding that side of himself from his sisters and friends and anyone else who could stand the sight of him. He has torn this family apart, and as much time as I have wasted blaming myself I refuse to do it any longer. He is a manipulative, egotistical bastard and the fact that he can convince people that he isn't astounds me. But I shouldn't be surprised, really, And while my mom has made mistakes in how she has handled all of this, in the end, her love for me won out and that makes up for any extra hurt she caused, I think. My brother is a grown man now, and as much as it hurts to see that he is still in pain and still living in that awful place, I can't save him. I will always wish I had done more to help him, I can't stop that from happening. In the end, I did what I had to do to save myself and maybe it cost me my brother, but I honestly don't know what else I could have done. All I can do now is hope that he someday gets to the point I did when I left - the point where you realize that the person who is making you feel like you have no value, that you don't even want to live, that person is just a sad, fucked-up man and you don't owe him anything and you can have a life without him. God I hope my brother gets to that point. I hope he realizes that before its too late. I hope I someday will get to talk to him again, face to face, to hug him and to apologize for what I did and to have him apologize too, but most of all for us to realize that neither of us is to blame, and to both put that man in our past where he belongs so that we can have a future that we can both be a part of and be happy in.