succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Stress and Sleep

Blech. Went to bed last night with a splitting headache (too late in the day to be hangover-induced), then slept like crap in between two stress dreams (one of which I kept falling back in to until I finally gave up and turned on the tv to hit the reset button in my brain), and finally got out of bed this morning with a skull that still wants to split in two. Thanks body, message received - I am stressed out. You can quit it now. What irks me is the chronology of the whole thing - the holidays were a bit rougher this year than in the past, but still not terrible, and the parents left a couple of days ago, and I'm back ensconced in my own little world. Plus, both dreams were so clearly about my parents, which makes no sense, since it's my relationship with my brother that's all dysfunctional at the moment.

I'm sure I've posted bits and pieces of this particular feud, but here's the re-hashing. My brother lies to me, about things large and small. As part of my whole therapy thing I tried to set up some boundaries in our relationship and hopefully start the work that would eventually help us work out a more genuine, healthy, grown-up sibling relationship. So back in February I picked a specific instance where it was very clear that he had been untruthful, and dragged him into an awkward conversation about it. That seemed to go ok, until I realized a month later that we hadn't spoken since then, and it took 5 phone calls from me before he called back. At which point there was this whole falling apart of a planned trip together over Easter and then the silent treatment between us became mutual. I was hurt and pissed and he was whatever emotions he was.

Fast forward to November when I was going to be in his neighborhood for a conference, so I sent him an e-mail. Perhaps not the best form of communication, but I wasn't convinced that I could trust myself to say all that I wanted to say over the phone. So I e-mailed him and said I was sorry if our last few conversations had made him uncomfortable, but that this process was really important to me and I miss him and I want to work things out and I'll be in his neighborhood across these dates and would really like to see him and here's my phone # again in case he needs it.

And nothing. Not even a lame excuse about being too busy to get together. So xmas rolls around and I'm wondering what it will be like. I'm prepared (or so I thought) for him to be awkward and cold or nice and pretend like nothing has happened. He chose the latter, and surprisingly (probably only to me) this hurt so much worse. Because it felt like he was saying that I was so unimportant to him that we could go 8 months without speaking and he could be totally unaffected by it. Yes, I recognize that he could have just been playing nice to spare family drama over the holidays, but nevertheless, it hurt. A lot.

Our last night there I finally managed to bring up our estrangement but I was doing all the work - he doesn't even want to acknowledge that something is wrong. So that's where I am. I'm going to sit on it for a couple of weeks and then, I don't know, I guess maybe call him and see if we can start talking again. But I'm just not sure if telling him over and over again how he's making me feel, when talking to him is like talking to a brick wall, is going to ever make me feel better. And I really don't want to be estranged from my brother for the rest of my life. But I also really don't want to grow up to have the sort of crappy relationship that I see my Dad have with his siblings, just for the sake of maintaining family ties.

Bah! My brain still hurts. I'm supposed to go back to work today, but maybe I'll indulge in one more day in my pajamas.


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