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Question
Posted by: Chelle | 2006/11/09

Disconnecting a good thing?

Good afternoon CS

I received a call from my father a little earlier telling me that my brother had been rushed to hospital, and had to undergo emergency surgery. He is in ICU, but apparently doing well. (The surgery was performed yesterday, but only heard about it today).

My dad gave me the details and suggested that I visit him etc. But I have absolutely no desire to see my brother at all. I obviously don't want him to be suffering, and I don't want him to die, but I have no real emotional connection with him at all. I have less of a connection with him than I have for a complete stranger.

He abused me when I was younger - emotionally, sexually, mentally - and although he is only three years older than me, he always has major authority over me. He was intimidating to the extreme, and bullied me constantly. He made my life miserable in many ways.

We remained in contact for many years and saw each other at family functions, with the odd visit in between. One stage of my life I tried to win his approval, and I also tried to talk to him once about the things he did to me - especially the sexual aspect, but he didn't "get" it. He dismissed me, telling me that he was just a teenager experimenting. He never acknowledged the hurt he caused, or that he did anything wrong.

A few years ago, he was down and out, and him and his family came to stay with me. He told me he had a job offer in the pipeline and that he would be there for 1 month or so, but it ended up being 6 months. I grew to resent him so much in that time - the lies, the alcohol abuse, the laziness etc. I eventually told him he had to leave or I would chuck him out.

Since then, I don't want anything to do with him. If we're at a family gathering, we will talk, and I will be polite, to keep the family peace, but I don't ever look for conversation with him, and I don't call him or anything.

I had just reached a stage where I disconnected totally. It brought me a lot of freedom, and I don't harbour any grudge against him now, I am not angry with him, I just don't feel anything towards him. The ability for him to hurt me is over - totally. And for me that was life changing, and powerful BUT my problem is that after today's call, I question how it can be that I can lose any feeling for anybody to such an extent?

I thought the disconnect was a very healthy thing, but now I wonder how I can actually just not really care. I don't like knowing that I don't care - especially when I consider myself and empathetic and caring person in general. It just confuses me!

I don't want to care - but I also don't want to not care! The thing is, I don't want him a part of my life anymore, and if he wasn't around, it would make no difference to my world at all. That's the reality of the situation, and I know that I would never really feel bad about it if he died tomorrow. (as sick as that might sound).

I could go on forever, but I think I've said MORE than enough!

It's so good to have access to someone like you, and to have a place to come to when things are playing on the mind! Thank you so much for that! It's really appreciated.

Have a good evening!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Chelle,
I think your reaction is perfectly normal and not to be regretted or criticised. As an abuser, he is lucky with the accomodation you have come to and the lack of strong negative emotions towards him which you have achieved. I do NOT agree with the phoney psychobabble ideas that you must forgive and embrace all perpetrators. So don't accept any invitations to guilt. You are not required to have positive feelings for a brother, in fact, let alone for one who abused you.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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