Last night I had a nightmare. It was about my older brother, Damon (not his real name). It wasn’t the first one I’ve had about him. The dreams are recurring (they only come about when I’ve got a lot on my mind). Whenever Damon manifests himself in my dreams I become this tiny, powerless, and defenseless person (a child if you will). Just seeing his face induces mortal terror. In my dreams I have: shot, stabbed, maimed, and beaten Damon with with an array of weapons (particularly baseball bats). However, like some horrific slasher movie stalker, Damon would only rise up and relentlessly attack me (As if all of my efforts served only to piss him off). Whenever I awaken from these nightmares I’m always drenched in sweat. I am always terrified.
This morning was different. Something had to be done. That’s why I’ve decided to face down my nightmares by being open and honest about their symbolism.
I’ve never talked about this before (indepth at least) because I’ve always felt ashamed about it. Rationally speaking I shouldn’t feel that way in any capacity. Moreover, I should KNOW that none of the events that transpired in my past were of my making. Yet, these dreams continually invade my sleep. That’s how I know these issues have not been resolved.
To make a very long story succinct Damon, my older brother (16-years my senior), emotionally and physically abused me from the time I was ten up until the age of seventeen. Since the cradle Damon has always been jealous of me. He has always had a vendetta against me, for what I don’t know.
My mother had me at a late age. So, naturally when she found out she was a pregnant 40something she doted on herself and me. When I was a toddler Damon began nice enough (so I’ve been told); however, between the ages of nine and ten he changed…For the worse. It all began with Damon getting into all kinds of trouble and run ins with the law. His then girlfriend (whom he was abusing at the time. Damon has been married twice. Both of his wives, and his girlfriend, left him due to physical abuse), and baby mama, had the cops on him on several occasions.
Damon was very violent and belligerent at home as well. He would yell at my mother and punch holes in the wall during, what seemed like, marathon arguments. Damon was also an alcoholic. He kept a loaded 45 in his bedroom next to a bottle of gin and the holy bible (no, I did not make that up). Needless to say he scared the shit out of me (and my mother). My mother put him out on the streets two or three times, but like a boomerang he kept coming back…promising that he had gotten his life together. Of course she always felt sorry for him and kept letting him back in the house. What I hated most about him was that he lived like a pig. His bedroom literally smelled like a landfill…
Honestly, I don’t remember precisely when Damon started in on me. All I remember was being caught in this endless cycle of emotional torcher and abuse (it all seemed to run together). After my dad died Damon called himself, “being a firm hand in my life” (which I really did not need. Seeing as I was a very sensitive and quiet child to begin with). In retrospect I know that I was nothing more than a convenient punching bag. A loving disciplinarian he was not, ever.
Damon was like the incredible hulk. One moment he was docile and jovial. The next he would literally become the personification of rage. To this day I believe he’s an undiagnosed manic depressive…
Anyway, as I moved into my adolescent phase (around 11-12) that’s when it all started. The emotional abuse came first. Damon always made it a point to tell me how “ugly” and “sorry” I was, all the time, to everyone. He would humiliate me in front of his friends and particularly my mother and various other relatives. He really knew how to make me feel low. I never retaliated because we were taught growing up, “That’s your brother. You are supposed to love him” and all that other mess. However, one particular time I remember being in an argument with my mother. It was stupid teen angst B.S. (when you’re a teenager you’re just a ball of hormones and emotions). It had something to do with school (I was bullied heavily from 6th to 12th grade). Well, Damon got involved (tell me why I don’t know) and the next thing I know my skinny little arm was twisted up behind my back and I was promptly thrown into the wall of my bedroom like so much garbage. In addition sometimes he would pass hard licks (like a punch in my arm, chest, or back) just to put fear into me (and show me that anytime he wanted to smack me he could)…
At the time I was twelve years old and all of 88 pounds soaking wet. Damon was twenty-eight years old, six feet tall, and obese at around 230. It was pretty much no contest in terms of brute strength and physicality. Granted, the abuse was not ritualistic (it didn’t happen daily) but it wasn’t sporadic either. I estimate that Damon would knock me around at least twice a month (for five years. You do the math). One time while my mother was at work we got into an argument. Damon’s son had fucked up my bedroom while I was at school that day. It pissed me off and I started ranting about it. The next thing I knew I was pinned to the wall, with a broom stick to my throat, and my feet were dangling in mid-air. The only thing I remember was the rage in his face. He was yelling at me and all this spit was flying out. Damon has halitosis really bad so you can just imagine being caught up in that. It was the equivalent of being attacked by a rabid dog…
I told my mother about the incident. Of course she didn’t do shit about it. As a matter of fact she never did anything when Damon put his hands on me. In the past couple of years I raised holy hell at her regarding that, please believe me. Fairly recently, she apologized to me for all of it because she really didn’t think it had affected me in such a profound way. My mother genuinely thought that all brothers fought (because she was raised in that kind of environment). Initially, when I was younger, I thought the way she did. I thought what he was doing was “loving discipline.” After every beating Damon would come and apologize as though NOTHING had ever happened. He would take his anger out on me and later on he’d be fine (acting jolly and cheerful). I’d just be fucked up wondering what was happening to me. Then, I would just accept the halfass apology and walk on egg shells until something happened again (which it inevitably did).
The worst part about the abuse was never knowing when it was going to occur again. It was psychological torcher pure and simple. I could say or do one wrong thing that he felt was a slight and the next thing I knew I’d be held down, punched, smacked, or locked inside my bedroom. Once, and I’ll never forget this as long as I live, Damon dragged me outside–into the front yard–and threw me onto the grass, sat on top of me (effectively pinning me down. Imagine that…an obese man sitting on a small child). All of the neighbors were out there and I was screaming for help at the top of my lungs. I don’t even remember what this incident was about but Damon started pounding me on my chest, my little 13-year-old bird chest, and yelling to everyone, “I’m gonna get this big grown 13-year-old NIGGA straight!” I was crying telling him that it hurt (which it did. I could barely catch my breath). All he said was, “Good it’s supposed to hurt!”
After it was over I was so angry and humiliated. Worst of all it made me feel powerless. It was like he could do ANYTHING he wanted to me and no one would care, not even my own mother. This resulted in me having extremely low self esteem and becoming increasingly withdrawn and passive. In the past few years I’ve just learned to be an assertive person and no longer allow myself to be victimized by others.
After this beating had ended everyone was looking at me and the only thing I wanted to do was murder him. At that point I HATED my brother (can’t emphasize that enough). But, within ten minutes, Damon came to my room and asked, “Are you still mad at me?” I wanted to say, “I fuckin hate you and I wish you would die.” But I did not feel like going through anything else. My mother and step father did nothing of course (they actually laughed. My stepfather died six years ago and my mother, as stated earlier, begged me to forgive her. I did). So, I had to go to school like nothing ever happened…again (it got to be commonplace). In retrospect I noticed that Damon never hit me in the face. That was probably by design. The irony is that he said he could not control himself…Yeah right.
When I was 13 my mother started taking me to a therapist. She saw how quiet, sad, and withdrawn I had become (uhm duh?). By this time the whole gay issue had come up too (longer story). I didn’t open up to the therapist much, initially. However, as the sessions increased I offhandedly told her about my brother hitting me (as if it were normal. I really did think it was normal at the time). Her entire expression changed. My counselor suddenly took a keen interest in me and asked, “Does this happen often Todd?” I immediately shut my mouth. At the time I never told anyone about what was happening. I was afraid if anyone knew my mother would hate me. That’s how messed up I was mentally. In retrospect I would have sang like a canary and had his ass thrown in jail. But I was only 13 (we never know then what we know now). Well, the therapist apparently said something to my mom…I was promptly yanked out of counseling after seven sessions.
So, I spent the next few years depressed, scared, angry, lonely, and a little suicidal. That’s when my brother got engaged and subsequently married. I was so HAPPY when he was gone! My wish for him to be sucked into a black hole didn’t come true, but this was the next best thing. Well, that didn’t last long. His wife had a baby and after that he started beating on her. One night he beat her bad enough that she called the police on him. My mother of COURSE gave him a room for the night and blamed his wife for my brother beating her (my mother is old school. It is always the victim’s fault). Anyway, wifey cleaned out the bank account, ran sacked the house, took the baby, divorced him, and we haven’t seen her (or my nephew) in about twelve years now. She did the right thing as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, since then my relationship with Damon NEVER improved. The abuse stopped because he eventually got a real job and stopped mooching off my mother. Yet, I was still trying to play the ROLE (you are supposed to love your family, even if they treat you like shit). The only reason I did so, in the past, was for my mother. I’ll never do that for anyone EVER again.
In spite of not being in close proximity he was always a constant presence. It sucked. Instead of owning my feelings and dealing with the trauma I pushed my emotions down. But, as I’ve said before, when you try and push them down those mother fuckers FLOAT. It was impossible for me to be around Damon and not feel like total shit. I can only liken it to Michael Jackson’s interview with Oprah. Michael said that whenever Joseph (his father) would come over (even when he was an adult) to visit he’d go to the bathroom and regurgitate. That was and still is exactly how I feel about Damon. Whenever he is near me my skin crawls. Waves of terror wash over me. I literally feel like I’m ten years old again and there is no way out. Damon is one of the most heinous, hateful, and monstrous people I’ve ever known. I can’t even look at him and see any semblance of a human being. He’s like an animal. In addition my own feelings of rage, in regards to him, would always surface. Sometimes we would be sitting at the table for Thanksgiving dinner and I’d look at Damon and fantasize about slashing his throat with a carving knife. Naturally, I would go back and PRAY hoping that I could forgive him and get over the feelings (because I was being a good little christian). But I never could, ever.
Flash forward to now…
I have not seen or spoken to Damon in two years (there was an incident, after my mother got really sick, that he tried to attack me in my car. He didn’t touch me but he dented my car door. I got a protective order against him). These have been some of the best years of my life. I am so thankful to have him out of my life…
Yet, the nightmares still occur…
I believe that whenever there is a lot happening in my life the stress encapsulates itself within a Damon avatar. Whenever the dreams occur I know, immediately, that I’m under some form of stress. However, stress is a natural part of life…The Damon factor is not.
That is why I wrote this post today. I’m tired of him having power over me. Damon was literally the boogie man come true for me as a child. All these years I’ve never truly spoken to anyone about all of this and how it made me feel. It made me feel powerless, hopeless, angry, bitter, and confused (confused because if someone is supposed to love you then how can they treat you that way?). Earlier in my life I felt that confessing that would make me appear weak. “Oh get over it! That’s over!” family members would say. But WHY did it continually surface in my sleep and whenever Damon appeared in my waking life? Because I never discussed it Damon became a monster. I made him larger than life when he is nothing more than a lowly degenerate coward.
Today I want the nightmares to end. Damon’s hold is broken over me. I have power over my own life.
Damon, you will never touch me again…Ever.
Damon, you will never come near me again…Ever. If you do you will be in prison.
Damon, you no longer wield any power or control over my life.
There will never be any reconciliation between us…EVER.
Because of you Damon I will now donate a portion of my monthly earnings to charities that go towards protecting small children from animals like YOU.
You will NEVER have the privilege of knowing me EVER again. I am none of the horrible things that you said I was. And you did not destroy me like you tried to do.
Back then I was a child. I had no choice in my circumstances. Now, I am a man and Damon is no longer my monster. With this post I am leaving Damon in the past where he belongs.
Before I sign off…
For anyone out there who has been emotionally or physically abused (whether you were a child or an adult) or is being abused I would like to say this…
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT!
The abuser has the problem, not you! You will NEVER be able to say the right thing. You will NEVER be able to do the right thing. An abuser just needs a reason. Any reason will do. Don’t subject your mental and physical well being to that treachery.
If there is someone that you can trust and confide in please tell them about your circumstances. Don’t subject yourself to being demeaned and battered simply because you feel a masochistic obligation to your abuser. Remember, you are never alone in this world. If you are a teenager or child (just so happening to read this) please tell a friend, teacher, or any other adult. Don’t be quiet about it. No matter what anyone says know that you ARE worthy of feeling safe, protected, and loved.
Thank you all for listening to me. I believe I will sleep better tonight. Sometimes you have to stand up to a demon. My feet were tired of running.