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Erin Grace

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Amazing Sister

In case it was missed, in my last post, "S" is my sister. I won't give her real name, out of respect for her privacy but, as you can tell, she has been with me through the toughest parts of my life and she still is, even if from a distance. She has been very traumatized between her own childhood with my parents and her marriage to "K". 

We've talked more about that time, almost 30 years ago (wow), more now, than ever before. I think after it all happened, we just never felt like talking about it again...we needed to breathe, to just have a break and try to find what "normal" feels like. She still feels a lot of guilt for me living with her and "K" because she knew some of what was going on and tried very hard to leave without getting us killed. Every day she was planning. Every day she had different experiences than me because while I was being used sexually, she was the one threatened or assaulted by him, to keep quiet. As I said, if I mouthed off to him or caused problems for him, he would take his anger out on her or whatever I cared about. We were both "kept in line." She had very genuine reasons for being terrified, as do most victims of domestic violence and repeated sexual assault.

I am encouraging her to write about her life and experiences (maybe as a link to my blog, maybe not), to help her have a voice. We have talked of writing a book someday. I truly do not know what I would do without her and I don't know of many sisters who have written together, of their experiences. 

"S" was literally told, at a very early age, that she didn't seem to ever "need" anything. Our parents "projected" their needs, onto her. They weren't able to be parents or even have a loving marriage, so they put it on us, to do for them. She was and is very intelligent, compassionate and talented. Those qualities were seen as interchangeable for independence and used as an excuse not to nurture her. Her job in he family was to "do" for everyone else, especially our parents. Like other female survivors I have known, she felt and was, enslaved. 

There is a very damaging concept still going on in our family (and many families) called "enmeshment". It is excused as being "typical" in many families...something that gets excused as being passed down as part of your nationality or gender role but it is warped and damaging. I spoke before of "parentification" and "spousification", those were our roles with our parents, as well as, in the relationship with "K". Seeing as my main influence was my sister (who should never have had to raise me), I guess it's no surprise that, as an adult, I began to mirror the role in relationships, that she had learned. In the past few years, I have come to understand myself better and why I end up in certain types of relationships.

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