A letter to … My brother, whom I bullied when we were young

I was five when you were born. Looking at pictures from that time, I look so happy with you. I am holding you, bathing you, I am smiling, I look smitten. But I do not remember that feeling, as if the person in the pictures were somebody else.

I was a daddy’s girl, but I was also the one to break in our parents. I used to call myself the family’s guinea pig, and you were the happy one, the joker, the one who reaped the rewards of all my battles won or lost. At that point, I must have decided that we were enemies, competitors for the love and attention of our parents, and this feeling is at the core of all my early memories. All I remember is resenting you.

So, for as long as I could, I made your life a misery. I taunted you, teased you, tricked you, humiliated you, manhandled you. You tell me it’s not as bad as I remember, but I recall a couple of times when you were left in tears. Our little sister was born when I was 11, and very soon you two bonded strongly and pushed me aside. Did you bond with her because I was becoming a monster, or did I become a monster because of your bond?

Thankfully, you quickly grew tall and strong, and soon you were able to overcome me physically. From then on it was down to verbal abuse and psychological warfare. By the time I was at university, you were a teenager and we competed for higher resources: money, the family car, clothes, parental pride.

It all came to a forced stop when I moved abroad as an exchange student. Almost 20 years have passed, and I only see you when I’m visiting the family. The hate left me some long time ago, while I wasn’t watching. And at the same time, love must have crept in, sneaking somewhere through the back of my mind.

Despite all the abuse during those years, you have turned into a happy, friendly, passionate, generous human being. You are the clown and joker of the family; the defender of your friends. You are the most beautiful and charismatic person that I know. And, with your wife and best friend, you have just had your first child. Nobody deserves this happiness more; you have worked so hard to become who you are.

You have implied that you’ve forgiven me, or even that there is nothing to forgive, and I have never brought up the subject properly and clearly. I would like to, but it would only serve my need for confession, and most likely further assurances of your forgiveness. But I prefer to remember the hurt – I will always hurt in shame when I look back. All those missed, wasted years in which I should have been your loving sister, standing by your side, defending instead of attacking you in your own home. I aim to be now what I always should have been.

Related posts

Leave a Comment