On Ditching A Toxic Sibling

Q: What is a stand you took with someone who was rude to you that you will never apologize for?

EE: Nice question, thank you for asking me.

Last year, I took a stand against my emotionally abusive, incredibly toxic sibling and removed them from my life.

I have yet to regret this decision.

In our family, they are the golden child and I am the scapegoat. My mum still chuckles about how when she brought me home from the hospital, the first thing she did was apologise to my sibling for ruining their life.

Basically, my sibling was taught from a very early age that they were the dog’s bollocks and I was the dog’s shit. They were hideous throughout our childhood, became tolerable for a year or so in the early twenties, then got married and became the evilest I’ve ever known them.

My sibling has always been extremely comfortable being the adored one. And I grew up adoring them, despite all of the misery they inflicted upon me, because I assumed the abuse was justified. I believed I deserved it.

It took me many years to understand that the reason I always felt ill around them was because of the toxicity of the relationship.

One of the final nails in the coffin was when I was when my cancer returned after a few brief months of remission and the doctors told me I was going to die (they were wrong, but that’s another story).

My parents were suddenly very present in my life having been told they were going to lose me and my sibling did not cope well. They simply couldn’t handle not being first priority anymore and came to see me on my ‘deathbed’ to make sure I knew how selfish I was being.

This was nearly a decade ago.

Why did it take me so long to get rid?

Because despite how I may sound on here, I am actually one of life’s optimists. I wanted to believe the relationship could be saved. But by contorting myself into knots trying to gain their approval, I was feeling worse and worse about myself.

I found myself in hospital a few years ago having taken an overdose. How’s that for ridiculous? The seven circles of hell I waded through (twice) to beat cancer, only to go and try and end it all anyway. I’m not convinced I really wanted to die, I just wanted everything to stop.

And after that I had an epiphany.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m not actually the most disgustingly hideous specimen to ever walk the face of the earth. Maybe all of the things my sibling despises about me are the things that make me a warm, caring and responsive human being.

Maybe they are the one with the problem.

So I spent about six months with my mind completely blown by this revelation, then came the anger.

Yep, there’s still a hell of a lot of anger there, and grief for the relationship we’ll never have, but there comes a time when you have to prioritise your own wellbeing over the toxic sibling who doesn’t give a shit about yours.

I shan’t be looking back.