*trying to write this a second time – because the words aren’t coming out properly*
My brother is getting married.
Which is delightful. He has been with his girlfriend for probably almost 8 or 9 years now. They have always been together, and whenever I see them, it’s together. She reminds me of a female version of him; highly intelligent, funny, slightly socially awkward, competent social players, and incredibly into personal fitness.
They are getting married in December.
They live on the other side of the country to me. Literally. I don’t think we could get further apart whilst being on the same mainland.
And I am not going.
For me – it wasn’t going to be a safe place for my recovery (from narcissistic mother).
This was not an easy decision.
This was a time-stopping decision.
This was a consult-everyone-I-can decision.
And I am not going.
As soon as he announced it. Obviously an engagement is followed by a wedding. PTSD retriggering went into overload.
Initially I was able to ignore all the fear and logistics, because there was no logistics to think about. There was no date. Except that a date came within days of the announcement. Days. Which, in all honesty was actually probably helpful for me.
Semi exotic (unreachable) location.
I would still be at school. I would have to take time off to make the flights. Travel would take a day or two to get there. Multiple flights. Multiple airlines even. The expense was a separate issue.
At first, I was going. So I went into overload with how to protect myself.
We would stay in a different hotel. Perhaps even a different town, and just drive in. Do they even have hire cars there? Could we do with a taxi?
Then more wedding information was released.
11 people. Immediate family only.
I thought I could handle being a speck in a crowd of a hundred people (and by ‘handle’ I mean contain my meltdowns to socially acceptable places to cry). 11 people. Definitely not.
nm would have unprecedented access.
This was not safe. In no way, was this safe.
To see my abuser, on the other side of the country, without any of my support people (with the exception of my husband) surrounded by people that actively denied any happenings. With no psychical safety aspects, no way to leave or escape. Flights leaving only happened once a weekend. No way to determine my own comings and goings, no way for this to be psychically or psychologically safe.
I still consulted a clinical psychologist. Her analogy was something like “yeah, we tend to not recommend people go jumping into volcanoes, no matter how much society says they should”.
And that’s what this was about. Society says I should be there. In this fuckstorm. That’s where the guilt was. I had to be okay with putting my own recovery first.
So I rang my brother and told him.
Despite my plans to leave it to the last minute and then say we had to miss the plane for horrific and exaggerated medical emergencies befalling my husband… I told him the truth.
I was not going. It will not be safe for me. I do not want to, nor could I afford to see her again. I am sorry.
I asked him about his feelings. He reluctantly said that he was a bit disappointed, but there wasn’t much he could do. Then he changed the topic. Case closed.
Until I got a Facebook message.
From his fiancé.
Strongly urging me to reconsider.
I replied to both of them saying that the situation was very sad, AND that I would not be there, and that it was a very difficult decision to make. I also invited them to a join me for a talk with an expert in this area. A forensic psychologist who had met her.
They both ignored this. No comment. Nothing.
So then I reached out to his fiancé and tried to acknowledge the frustration she was feeling – and to make a plan to move forward with our relationship, despite of my decision.
She commented that my brother was very disappointed in me.
And at that point I gave up. I gave up on a relationship with them. I gave up on a meaningful discussion about this. I gave up on any reassurances or validation.
Like… sure. You can be mad at me. Disappointed even. But could you extend the same ‘courtesy’ to my abuser? Like, be “as disappointed” or even say, a little bit more disappointed in the person that created this. That chose this. That perpetuated the abuse.
I was completely honest and truthful the whole time. I shared what was really going on, and why. And they couldn’t even acknowledge that I had spoken.
And my abuser, who was the one that systematically tried to break me – repeatedly, with physical and psychological abuse, daily, for years of my life… gets no mention in this?!
You are angry at me for being a victim of abuse? Something that, as an innocent child, I was completely unable to change. As the victim, I was innocent. Verified. Not-at-fault. And you are disappointed in me taking healthy and safe steps to look after myself? And in the same breath, you are not at all worried about the perpetrator of that violence?
What a joke.
I will not be at your wedding.