Archive for February, 2009

Sisters

A Painting by Tung Noch

A Painting by Tung Noch

When we were growing up, my sister was the sweetest, kindest person I had ever known. She would try to bring home small animals, lose her sweaters by loaning them to cold kindergarteners, and cheerfully approach people and ask them to be her friend. I was distant, angry, mean, and always lonely. I was more introverted and would stand to the side alone before trying to make friends with people. She was everything I was not and I loathed her for it. I could not stand her cheerful demeanor, I could not stomach her eagerness to please. I loathed her and treated her terribly.

My younger sister was also adopted. Unlike me, she was adopted at birth, domestic. Our parents were there in the hospital to greet her on the snowy March morning she arrived.
Her first mom and my mom already knew each other. This was prebirth matching at it’s finest. Her first mom was to receive pictures of her for the first few years and fade slowly into the background.

I don’t know how it would have felt to me for my parents to have been there at the time of my birth. It may have made me angrier that they saw her give birth to me and still took me away from her. In my life they aren’t the originators of the Primal Wound, but in hers they play a greater part in creating that wound.

But is it possible that the primal wound’s effects on her were weakened since she had the time with her natural mom to bond a little? Or is that not significant? Either way I have always been envious that she never had a gap in her life where she was completely alone the way that I did.

My behavior towards her was never kind. Although I loved her I never knew quite how to deal with the anger that I had built up towards her. It manifest itself in the way that I treated her, the way that I screamed at her for small mistakes, the way I hit her for touching my things, the way I lied to her, the way I stole from her. I did my best to push her away, but she is loyal as the day is long and would come back to me every time.

My mom would ask me why I treated her badly. Why did I kick her, why wouldn’t I play with her, why wouldn’t I be nice to her?. “She loves you so much” she would say. “Can’t you see how mean you are to her? Why do you want to hurt her?”

“I don’t want to hurt her” I would honestly answer. “I really don’t know why I do it, Mom”.

I would leave the conversation with the best of intentions to treat my sister well and with the respect she deserved. But out of nowhere, the loathing feeling would creep back up inside me. Our relationship was never where it could have been as I took advantage of her sweet demeanor and used it to my advantage. I was a terrible big sister.

Now that I am an adult I worry that her willingness to love me and still accept me even though I hurt her and was cruel to her is a bad thing. I worry it will lead her into relationships with men who take her for granted or beat her for saying the wrong thing or looking at someone else. I worry that her friendly, accepting personality will accept the wrong people. I worry that her greatest strength will become her biggest weakness.

In 2006 I created a Myspace account for her. At the time she was not allowed by our parents to have a myspace account so I never told them about it. The account sat dormant, unused until 2007 when I received a personal message from a stranger.

That stranger claimed to be my sister’s biological mom. She wrote to me telling me she believed that my sister was her daughter and that she had messaged her with no response. “Please forward my letter to her if this is really her,” she urged me.

The letter detailed the things she knew about my sister. Her date of birth, the fact that she had an asian sister, the area she was known to live in. She said that she wasn’t looking to be my sister’s mother, but to share love with her since she had loved her since she last saw her.

The letter and also the idea of a reunion for my sister brought me to tears. Part of me was scared she might leave us (especially me since I had been so terrible to her) for her other family. I was nervous and afraid of what our adopted mom would think and also extremely jealous of the possibility of reunion for her. I was extremely jealous that there was someone out there loving her and missing her, when I felt that there was no one out there like that for me. That was the beginning of my realization the impact of my jealousy on our relationship.

I told my sister about the letter, knowing it was her choice on what she wanted to do about it and that I could not take that away from her. I was still afraid she would leave me and expressed that fear to her at the moment I showed her the email.

“You’ll always be my sister” she said, tearing up and hugging me “And I’ll always love you. There’s no replacement for you”.

I cried when she said that and told her I thought she’d leave because I was so terrible to her. She enveloped me in a hug and wiped my tears.

I don’t know how I managed to deserve her love after all of the jealousy and all of the anger that I’ve felt towards me. I still struggle with accepting it. I still struggle with accepting love in general.

Jealousy is just another one of my demons.

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February 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm 3 comments


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