Mental Illness Series: The Trouble with Bros

My brother is leaving to go back overseas in the morning.  In a way, it’s a relief.  I feel really guilty about not wanting to spend time with him right now.  I’ve really been pulling away from being around people, and knowing that he’s here for such a short time adds a layer to the weight on top of me.  I’m really angry with him for not having the same relationship with me that I want (unrealistic, I know, but it is what it is), and I feel guilty that I’m mad at him while he’s here too.  Part of me says that fighting in a war is a free pass to do whatever the heck you want, but the other part is saying “heck, no! I still want life to go on like normal because it is for me.  I’m still here waiting.”

He’s been hanging out with our cousin while he’s been here too.  They never did include me or even asked if I wanted to be.  Super Rad said something once about maybe seeing her, but then he just left without mentioning it again.  He went out several evenings, once just to play board games in her apartment with her friends and roommate.  I don’t want to go out bar hopping.  I probably would have turned down most of the invites as well.  I’m not feeling social, save a lot of my homework late at night, and most times, he didn’t come home until the next morning after crashing on her couch.  Not exactly my thing.  But neither of them ever said they wanted to include me.  I want to go be social.  I do.  True, I want it to be on my terms, but I can’t try and achieve that if I don’t try.  It hurt.  It made me madder at Super Rad.  It made me feel little and worthless.  Why am I always the uncool kid that no one wants to spend time with?

The fishing trip was another big thing.  It turned out to just be my dad, Super Rad, and me.  My brother seemed to be distancing himself from us both by the end.  It was a long three days in small spaces with each other.  Everyone was ready for some space.  But my brother and my dad are creating his irritating relationship mostly out of my dad’s doing.  I’m not jealous.  I think it’s pathetic and stupid.  And it pisses me off because I’m ignored as a result.  My driver’s permit was a big event around the house leading up to the trip.  My official permit came in the mail just a day or two before we left.  No one asked if I wanted to drive.  I have actually only driven my dad once, and that was when I got my first permit over ten years ago.  My brother and dad shared the driving without ever looking in the back seat.  I had my own hotel room (half sigh of relief), but it left me out of their little clique.  Again, too uncool to be included?  It sure felt like it.  And I resent my family doing that so much more than I do strangers or coworkers.

Super Rad has always been considered the “cooler” one of us in high school.  We were in the same extra-curricular activities with many of the same friends.  They always ended up gravitating to him and leaving me out eventually.  Super Rad and I stayed fairly close for siblings, but since we’re grown and living so far apart, we’re naturally growing apart.  It makes me sad.  Super Rad is always laughing and joking around; it’s always been one of my favorite qualities of his.  Our senses of humor are changing independently of each other now, and it’s just another reason for my brother to look at me like I’m the dumbest person around.  According to him, I can’t do anything right.  My interests are lame.  I don’t listen to any good music.  I’m the older one, but I feel like I’m so far behind.

I’ve always worried or considered that I might place too much emphasis on my brother’s opinion of me growing up.  I haven’t really gotten into anything like that in therapy, but it’s been a thought floating around.  I can’t help it.  He has a very magnetic personality.  There are a lot of things I love about him.  We’re very protective of each other.  But there are times when he makes me feel so horrible about myself.  Now that I recognize it, I get so angry that I don’t have enough self-agency to stop it.  And he’s off at war, making me feel even worse about having such emotions about him.  I don’t know how to reconcile cutting him some slack and still being ok with my own feelings.  That’s why I’m happy he’s going.  I’ll miss him to death, but I feel like I’ll do less harm to both of us if the situation ends.

How sad.






Feeling like crying and listening to “Zzyzx Road” by Stone Sour.


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