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I do and do not have a brother

I write this as a reflective companion piece to Magpiglet's similarly-titled article last night. (Note: Childhood abuse, depression, eating disorders and suicide mentioned)

Looking at the posts on Instagram, I felt jealous and angry. I have never experienced the joys of having a sibling. The bonding, the heart-to-hearts, even the silly fights.

My brother is mentally ill and on the autistic spectrum. My brother was also my tormentor, my abuser and my bully. By the time I was 3 years old he'd broken at least two bones in my body. I had been to emerg twice for his abuse. He was 5 years old.


Since then, my brother beat me with a hammer, uttered death threats at the dinner table and generally made my life hell. I developed extremely low self esteem, depression and and began compulsive overeating. I started trying to kill myself when I was around 10.

The last time my brother touched me was when he punched me in the face. I was 18 and on my way out to a school social event. My father blamed me for provoking him. I decided that day to leave town for university, even though I couldn't afford it.

We are now in our mid-thirties. My brother blames me for ruining his childhood in family therapy sessions with my parents. I refuse to attend, even to refute his claims (that our father beat him, that our father was an alcoholic, etc.)

We see each other on holidays. It's a good holiday if we do not speak. He has become a racist, sexist, homophobe of a person due to 'wonderful' misinformation on the internet. He blames his inability to find a job on Obama. We live in Canada.


My parents have assured me many times that they've set up a trust for him so that I will not have to have anything to do with him after they've passed on. My greatest fear is that I will still somehow end up saddled with him.

I feel very little towards this man who is my closest blood relation. His insults don't bother me and I've let him know that if he touches me, I will call the cops and I will press charges. Mostly I'm angry that he's caused my parents such strife and such hardship. I'm angry that my dad's forced to defend himself against baseless accusations. I'm angry that I will never know what it's like to have a normal sibling relationship.


People often think badly of me when they learn 'my horrible brother' is mentally ill and on the autism spectrum. I've met lots of people who were mentally ill or on the spectrum and they aren't abusive assholes. He has many problems in life related to his diagnosis but the way he treated me is not a symptom of anything. It's called being an asshole.

ETA: I removed the photo because I realized it was too identifiable by family/friends.

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