Forum Replies Created
March 24, 2020 at 6:53 pm #345226
Thank you Anita! Loved your post, I needed that laugh about staying 6 feet away! I’ll certainly be avoiding him as much as I can, on social media also. I’m dedicating the quarantine to do everything I can to obtain inner peace and move forward. I already felt so much energy today, and I believe it’s because this guy was weighing me down. The second I chose to let go, I started feeling so inspired and hopeful for myself and my future. 🙂
March 23, 2020 at 5:59 pm #344870
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Anonymous.
I was giving this entire thing more thought in regards to myself as well. I was not completely open and honest with him from the beginning either. I chose not to communicate my feelings throughout this entire time until recently. So in a way, would you say I also wasn’t being honest? So perhaps HE could also view me as not a very “honest woman” as well?
Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately, he already thinks we are friends and I’m open to communication because we’ve messaged on social media since that big conversation, and I still gave him friendly vibes. (not about anything of importance, just about the COVID stuff) This is before I came to ask for your advice. I think somewhere in my mind/heart I was feeling like “oh! I can just be friends with him, no big deal. we both have a lot to work on within ourselves”. But perhaps complete separation and zero contact/avoidance is what’s actually necessary. At least for a long time? Until I can get stronger within myself. Right now I just feel so weak, maybe because of this whole pandemic stress, i’m not sure. But I’m definitely just not feeling strong and grounded, how I know myself to usually be.March 23, 2020 at 2:57 pm #344828
Such a wise person you are. I really appreciate your observations. This has given me much to think about during this time, especially during quarantine. I’m planning on diving a little deeper into who that little girl is and what I can learn or help her with….
Did you have any advice on how I should handle this man, should he come back around? Let’s say he starts messaging me again, or asks me to dinner. Would you agree with what I’ve said above, about staying strong in my values and clarity with what I want and need? And just simply being aware that he’s not the most honest man to deal with? Certainly he COULD be wanting to heal his own issues and learn (as he admitted he should go to therapy—which I supported of course clearly he needs it, as I’m sure I could use some as well) as time goes on… but I suppose I’ll just need to stay strong and aware. And DEFINITELY be more open to other men out there!March 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm #344816
thank you for the kind words. It feels stressful and like a lot of pressure, as the worst is yet to come.
I completely understand the logic behind sprinkling in niceties to get sex. That much is clear. And as soon as he said 12 years on and off, that raised a red flag. That means he must’ve been toxic as well… could not be all one sided. And it’s proving to be true, the toxicity in him—whether he recognizes it or not.
Im planning on just trying to avoid him as much as I can? Seeing as how some of my friends are his friends, we live blocks away, and we see eachother around our neighborhood in different places (stores, beach, etc) I’m just going to keep it cordial I suppose. Not much else I can do.
Since he has come back around, I’m betting at some point he will try again… in few months or even less. When that happens, what is to be done? I guess just staying strong in my boundary and clarity with what I want in a relationship. I’m hoping I can stay strong and recognize that just because he treats me well one night, doesn’t mean he’s wanting what I want. The sexual attraction is unfortunately very high, I don’t know WHY, so I’ll need to just avoid any situations that could lead to that happening (bars, dinners alone, etc)
My main question now is why do I get stuck up on a person like this? Why do I hang on, thinking if I can make him feel comfortable with opening up more than I’ll feel like proud and happy with myself. Part of me keeps seeing him as this wounded little boy from having toxic relationships to look to, poor parenting, and just difficulty with vulnerability. And I feel for that and can relate. But what is this strong desire to keep poking and prodding and trying?
we spoke before about having a “not good enough” core belief from not being able to change my parents relationship or make a difference in their life. How does this tie into what’s happening with this man?March 23, 2020 at 8:57 am #344766
im so glad you’re staying safe during this awful time.
Thank you SO much again for your perspective. It always opens my eyes.
This is such a vulnerable time for me because I work in a hospital, and the stress is high. I’ve been feeling so emotional, and this relationship is right in front of me—and I felt like I’d do something stupid since this is such a difficult time in the world. I’m so glad I wrote here.
After our phone conversation I felt good. But I also had some lingering questions.. and funnily, one of them was “Is this what he tells every girl? That he doesn’t share things with them?”
On some level my body and heart KNOW that I’m being somehow taken advantage of, or just like something just isn’t right here. I’m not trusting him. And luckily I spoke up and set the boundary because I know if he asked me to dinner again, I may have ended up having sex with him again and he still wouldn’t have given more.
I was even contemplating asking him to dinner to talk more and share more intimate things about myself and why I’m scared to have sex (because I’m scared of being used/manipulated since that has happened in the past to me) BUT that wouldn’t get me anywhere. He’d act “understanding” and agree to “take the physical stuff slow” but I still would most likely end up having sex with him if I’m being honest with myself and it would still end up in a non commitment type of situation.
A man who actually cares to get to know me would’ve asked why I’m scared to get physical. He would want to understand me. Would you agree? Be more reassuring and try to get to know more of me. Me calling him and explaining why I’m scared to get close—because I fear manipulation and being used—would not make much of a difference, dont you think? This man has not done or shown that—aside from a showy dinner with friends, and the dinner date at his house. He’s lived an entire life of hooking up with women, why would he ever change that behavior now? He’s 38 years old and saying things like he’s hoping to “find the one”. It’s like, he isn’t going to find the one by giving himself around to everyone expecting a quality girl to be ok with that and want to put effort into him? When clearly the energy/intent isn’t reciprocated.
Would you agree? And the fact he verbally stated he thinks he needs therapy should be enough to make me realize he isn’t ready for what I need, so why try to push it? Why try to force communication and security? Why the need to explain myself and clarify things? When I know it won’t make a difference at all. I think this quarantine came at a perfect time interestingly, because I’m able to distance myself so easily.March 22, 2020 at 10:35 pm #344710
A lot has happened in the past few months that I’d like to update you on. Amid all the COVID turmoil, I hope you are being safe and staying healthy. This is partly why I’m here again sharing, because I feel this is vulnerable time for everyone and I don’t want to make any impulsive actions or decisions just because the anxiety/emotions are intense.
So this man finally got back into contact with me through social media. By chance, naturally some events happened in real life which led me to him in person. While in person, we chatted and he invited me to his close friends house for dinner. It was an intimate dinner with his friend, friends wife, and their two children. It all went VERY well and we had fun. He took me home, no physical moves were made, just a hug goodnight.
A week or two goes by, I run into him again naturally. He invited me over for dinner and cooks for me. We have great chemistry. He then makes out with me, and I pull the plug (kindly) and say I need to leave because I have work in the morning. Hes respectful and nice about it all. I did this because even though there is a tremendous amount of sexual attraction, as we discussed, I can NOT have casual sex with this man because my heart doesn’t feel safe/this isnt an exclusive relationship obviously.
A few days later, my friend sees him and looks like hes hooking up with another girl at a bar. This isn’t surprising to me as I knew he was seeing others, though it did disappoint me after such a great couple of dinners.
A few days go by, he sees me but since I’m disappointed, I’m not very enthused. He later texts me asking if “I saw him”. It leads to a phone conversation where I call him because I can’t sense his emotions through text message but he seems upset? I very kindly let him know that it’s fine if he wants to hookup with other girls etc., but that I can’t do physical stuff with him if thats the case, it’s just not my lifestyle but its totally fine for him if thats what he wants to do.
This leads to a conversation about how he is emotionally scarred from a 12 year toxic back n forth relationship, where his ex was very manipulative with his emotions and used his emotions against him. He says he cant ever show his emotions and has a lot of trouble expressing them. He tells me he’s scared of commitment because he doesnt think hed be a good partner, among other fears. He does think we have good chemistry, and says he does feel a connection with me. He says he needs to know a girl for at least a year before committing (I believe this is due to having sex too early in the relationship and leads to an unhealthy thing). And that he thinks that when he meets new girls, if emotions aren’t as “intense” as they were with the toxic ex, than he gets it in his head that the girl is not “the one”. He says that he never shares this stuff with girls, and had very nervous laughter through the conversation. I do believe he’s telling me the truth and that he doesn’t open up often to many people.
Overall the conversation was very good. I told him I need/value transparency and we both stated how we have a lot of respect for eachother and thanked him for sharing all of this. I could relate to all that he said as I have the same issues with not being able to express/show my emotions. I said that I’m fine with being his friend but I can’t do the physical stuff if its not more of a solid thing. Clearly he doesn’t want to commit so I’m leaving it as that… we are friends.
I’d also like to add, after I said this about not being physical he says “ok I get it, if you don’t want it to be romantic..” and my reply was “No, I DO want it to be romantic. I really liked making out and hooking up with you.. I just can’t if your doing that with other girls” and he said ok and he understood and thats when he talked more about his issues.
My issue lies with how sad I’d be if/when he meets someone and knows them for like a month and then decides to marry them. I just feel like thats going to happen and I’ll be left wondering why not me. And I REALLY don’t want to fall into some trap of thinking if I try harder and get him to know me more than he’ll commit (because I KNOW thats not true).
Do you think me setting the boundary of no physical stuff was the right choice? And do you have any advice at how to move on from him? I don’t want to move on from him but I’m afraid I need to because I’m going to be sitting here hoping he’ll change his mind and be “ready” to take the relationship further as time goes on, and I just doubt that will happen…….. And if it did it could be YEARS from now!! So what am I to do?
January 18, 2020 at 4:45 pm #334163
- This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Anonymous.
Ok, I may consider going back to my therapist just to have someone to talk to about this stuff in person.
2. the perfect man for me would be someone who is attentive and present with me when I’m talking. Someone who challenges me and inspires me. I’d prefer him to be a surfer because it’s a lot easier to travel and go on trips and live in certain areas if our priorities are the same, such as surfing. (my last bf did not surf and it was very difficult to travel and he didn’t understand my passion and love for the ocean/being by the ocean) I want him to be funny and able to take sarcasm. I want him to know himself well and recognize/express his own needs clearly and honestly. I want him to have a sex drive that matches mine. I want him to value his own health, mental and physical health. I want him to do things that make my life easier instead of more stressful–like bringing me food or cooking every now and then, or planning a trip. I want him to share things with me about his life, his family, his experiences openly. I want him to speak to me directly and not be passive aggressive or beat around the bush with things. I want him to also feel inspired by me and feel joy when I’m around. Someone who has their own goals/drive and is a hard worker.
The relationship would be very respectful of space and boundaries–not spending ALL of our time together. He needs to have his own outlets and friends. Realizing its important to have a life outside of the relationship with friends and alone time. I don’t need anything too fancy other than a good connection and seeing eye to eye about things like society and the human experience. I’d like our time together to be light and fun, not tense or serious or jealous. There would just be an understanding of eachother’s freedom to be ourselves, but still committed to being exclusive with eachother. Any feelings of non-monogamy I’d hope would be communicated in an open and honest way. I don’t feel like at the moment I want kids or marriage. Unless I met someone who could change my mind or have me thinking in that way.January 18, 2020 at 9:37 am #334131
Thank you for this enlightening post and for pointing out what would inevitably happen if we hooked up again (because I had actually felt all those things the last time we hooked up–it caused me stress, frustration, and pain. So naturally it would be no different if we hooked up again)
First: I agree he might want that. I also believe that in the past there was a point (after we hung out one night) where I realized I’m trying to make it work with him so much because I’m lonely. After that realization came, I began to focus on making friends with people, men included, as opposed to looking for dates/sex. I also recognized the role alcohol played in our hookup situations/the fact that the hook ups began after my dad got cancer and I needed someone so I grabbed onto him (interesting that this man is very similar to my father in his lifestyle and personality…..). All of this awareness is what’s allowing me to be more objective about this man and our situation. For some reason I have had it in my mind for so long that I can’t “just be friends” with a guy… that all guys just want to sleep with me, and therefore I tend to allow it to happen–when in reality all I need and needed are platonic friends and the ability to communicate my truth/boundaries.
The only thing I want from him at this point is to express my emotions should the moment come–but again, I don’t feel I can be the one to initiate that conversation at this point. Unless there was a moment where we found ourselves alone (which has happened at the beach several times) where I felt we could have a private honest conversation. I can also imagine him wanting to hook up with me again, and there being a moment where I can say “No. I was actually really upset by our last encounter for reasons a,b,and c…and I just need someone who values consistency and wants to get to know me and match my energy, which you arent able to. So we should just be friends”. Or maybe just that, the truth that really what I need are platonic friends in my life… I think sex is very psychological for me and it really muddies my feelings when that’s involved.
Yes I did feel emotionally constipated and disconnected around her. My mother I believe was probably emotionally closed off due to her own upbringing as well as being unhappy and fearful in her marriage. She didn’t have the support she needed with raising my brother and I, and dealing with a husband who was almost like another child was too much for her to handle–so I do understand why she was that way. I wonder if there are exercises I can do with practicing feelings or practicing expressing my emotions? I think you are very spot on with how I felt more connected to my dad and his emotions as well. We’ve ALWAYS been very “in tune” with eachother. And yes, every so often I do feel sad and bored, which leads me to reach for higher goals and new experiences… this has mostly been a good byproduct though as I’ve reached success in my career goals and continue meeting new people and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone (for example, teaching yoga, planning yoga retreats, meeting inspiring like minded people)
I also feel like yes, I wish I had talked to this guy about what I was feeling–which I believe that I can still talk to him about my feelings as time goes on, the more we run into eachother. But I want it to come from a place where it’s not for romantic interest or gain, but more for my own practice in expressing my truth and communicating my feelings and connecting with a person. The more time goes on, the more I realize we would have been a very bad match at that time, and he would actually have been a terrible boyfriend for me if we had agreed to make our relationship be that way.
January 17, 2020 at 11:48 pm #334087
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Anonymous.
Wow! Well that is very impressive. Well done !
I did have a run in with this man tonight at a big show in our neighborhood… luckily I was with a group of friends, guys included, so not much of my focus was on him. (although he DID come and approach me again and linger around, asking me how I was, etc. I eventually turned away and continued focusing on my friends–not to be rude but just because I’d like to create this boundary for myself and he is no longer all of my focus anymore). It felt good to begin recognizing small steps to take to regain my self-confidence and self-value. I felt so devalued by him before, but slowly I’m realizing that’s not real. Later that night by random chance, I learned from a few new friends who happened to mention him and that apparently “no one is able to connect with him, and he has never been able to be vulnerable with anyone–just not in his personality and it’s actually sad because hes a nice guy”. I thought it was interesting hearing this–of course I held my tongue and everything between him and I is not known to these people. I found it interesting because he was vulnerable with me a few times, and we were able to connect, but I also found it validating that other people find him confusing and no one can really get through to him–as that is just his nature I suppose.
As for the CBT exercise:
I didn’t love girly things because in my mind they were boring. I got a lot of attention from boys and I think I fed off that attention, so I wanted to continue that and be a part of their circle. The group of boys I hung out with (including my brother) always wanted to do fun things outside and get messy, and I just had more fun with them (skateboarding, video games, playing tag, climbing trees, playing pranks on people, etc) I didn’t care about getting my shoes or clothes dirty, or messing up my hair. That just wasn’t “in” me, because I cared more about the inclusion, fun, and attention probably. I liked hearing that so-n-so had a crush on me. I also loved being competitive with them and trying to beat them at activities.
Girls at that age also seemed more whiney, catty, and sensitive about things. I remember a few of them also being very bossy. I always wanted to do more adventurous things. And yes I did find those few girls who were also like me, more adventurous and tom-boyish, but overall I remember feeling bored and missing hanging out with the boys whenever I was at a sleepover with girls or at a girls-only party.January 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm #333965
Were you, or are you currently a therapist? I ask because obviously you know a lot about psychology. And although my therapist who I saw last year did help me see my core belief is the “im not good enough” belief, she didn’t help me understand why or how that formed, and what to do about it. My sessions ran out, so I never followed up to dig deeper. But I have to say you’ve really helped me along and helped me realize quite a few things, thank you.
So you are saying, if I find peace in the fact that I couldn’t make that big of difference in my family life as a child, I will be at peace with the fact that I couldn’t make that big of difference in this mans life either? That does make sense to me, but much easier said than done of course.
As for the CBT exercise, not sure exactly what to write about but heres my interpretation:
Core belief: I’m not good enough, I need to be better/the best
Evidence in support of this: Didn’t have a lot of girlfriends growing up and didn’t love girly things as a child (felt like an outcast and awkward), didn’t have boyfriends in high school, the man who first introduced sex to me didn’t choose me over his gf, one guy i really liked didn’t talk to me again after I didn’t have sex with him (because I was nervous about it), don’t have THAT many friends–just a few good ones, this current guy doesn’t want to date me, I dont have the fake “plastic” look which a lot of guys seem to be attracted to, my last boyfriend needed to go online to email people he met about sexual meetups/fantasies rather than talk to me about them (though to be logical, he was struggling with a transgender fetish/sexual addiction which stemmed from his own early childhood experiences/abuse, but it still made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and proved I wasn’t good enough in my own mind)
Evidence against this belief: My family loves me, I have an amazing job as the rehab aide at a children’s hospital where I help kids learn how to walk and live again after traumatic accidents, I take really good care of my body and am in very good shape, I know how to cook healthy food and enjoy cooking, Im a talented artist, I am a talented and focused surfer and yogi, I’m a yoga teacher and enjoy holding space for those in need, I put myself through college without the help from my parents and am the first college grad of anyone in my family, Im financially independent and live on the beach, I’m extremely present and listen to people who are talking to me, I care about people and am very thoughtful, I’m super friendly and get along with almost everyone I meet, I have really pretty eyes and pretty/genuine smile, I’m smart, I have good style, I’ve been told Im very disarming and people trust me easily and quickly, I have a great sense of humor
Without hearing your feedback yet, I can clearly see a lot of the belief is evidenced in my mind by my relationships with men, sex, and dating.
January 15, 2020 at 7:18 pm #333773
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Anonymous.
I’ve read over these posts again and have processed more of what you wrote.
This stuff certainly brings up the question for me at how can I stop relating to men that I’d like to date in the way that I related to my parents/father ? I find myself continuing to think of this man in relation to all of this. And I’m guessing your answer might be: to work on my core-belief of not being good enough.
How do I unlearn this core belief? I suppose this is the first step, at least identifying where it comes from. I’d imagine if I did unlearn it, a whole bunch of things in my life might change. And I might start realizing other ways in which this belief has led me to making certain decisions or keeping certain relationships. What an enlightening moment.
The man I want to date shouldn’t be someone that I desperately feel the need to offer everything to in order to impress or gain approval from.
This also has me wondering, do a lot people develop romantic relationships with people who just feed into that parent/child relationship they once had ?
I feel embarrassed that this man probably now saw me and sees me as nothing at all, just a girl who has no boundaries and was easy to take advantage of without any effort or commitment. He has no desire to know me any further than what he already thinks of me, despite his apparent interest in being near me/talking to me when I see him in person. He isn’t thinking of me at ALL, while I’m obsessing over him and the experience we had. I’m embarrassed that he thinks I wanted to date him—when now I’m feeling like it would actually be a lot healthier if we just had a platonic friendship this whole time, and I wish I didn’t decide to have sex with him without knowing him better. I have a voice in my head (which is that of friends and society) saying its impossible to be friends with someone you had sex with in the past… but is it?? I feel like it could be possible, without the hope of it materializing into a romantic thing.
I definitely hear what you are saying about how it’s easier to obsess over a current situation, than focusing on the childhood and formed beliefs. That is certainly a harder and more abstract pill to swallow. But again, I’d like to start thinking about how I can unlearn this core belief.
I REALLY don’t want to feel upset when I find out this guy is dating someone or gets a girlfriend, or if I see him flirting with a pretty woman. I’m actually dreading that moment (eventhough I’m almost certain it won’t be as bad/or hurt as much as I’m making it out to be). I’d like for it to just roll past me, and I’d like to feel peaceful enough in myself to remain friendly with him—as it seems we are heading that way (with all the run-ins I’ll inevitably have with him at yoga and around town/out with friends).
Thank you Anita for taking all of this on. I often wonder how you have it in you to hear everyones issues on this forum, and respond with such kind honesty. I also really appreciate your honesty in sharing about how you felt guilty for not being rich and making your mother happy. Humans are such complex creatures… so much to learn and UNlearn.
January 15, 2020 at 1:20 pm #333691
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Anonymous.
I certainly have a lot to process with these last few posts. I am at work so I’m not allowing myself to really “go there” with how I’m feeling. But as soon as I am home and relaxed I’m going to re-read and face the probable distress that I’m currently trying to avoid haha.
Regardless, I have to say I’m happy I’m delving into these ideas at 29 years old…. better to go through this now than later in life.
I will write much more tonight. Thank you.January 15, 2020 at 10:41 am #333623
That’s great Anita you are feeling better!
Thank you for your analysis. It seems quite accurate and makes sense to me as to how this belief came about. Although it sounds harsh to hear something like “I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in my family life as a child”, I just wonder was it even possible for me to do so?
Does anyone make a big enough difference as a child? Is that even something that should be expected of a child? There were certainly times where I felt like the parent/peacekeeper of my family which is not the role of a child. I wonder if I spoke up about MY feelings more that could’ve made more of a difference? Maybe, but probably not. (?)
And relating this to the current situation with this man, why do I feel bad/upset thinking that I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in his life? Is this because it is triggering the past feelings of not making a big difference in childhood? How can I NOT feel upset at the thought that I didn’t make a big difference in his life? It frustrates me because I know I’d have so much to offer, yet it seems he doesn’t see this and it bothers me. Or maybe he does see it, and for whatever his reasons he doesn’t want it.
Fast forward to now, I KNOW I make a large positive difference in my family life as we are all adults—my dad recently got cancer and I took care of him for two months as he went through treatments. My mom and I have a closer emotional relationship as well and she is able to confide more of her true feelings in me. As an adult I’m more feminine and enjoy feminine things, which is something my mom and I can now have fun doing (things like hair and makeup and shopping—something I wasn’t into as a child) She is happier with her new partner, and they’ve been together a very long time.
Everyone in my family tells me how grateful they are for me and how much they love me.
Anyways, thanks again for helping me talk and sort through these ideas.January 14, 2020 at 9:37 pm #333541
Well hope you’re feeling ok and taking it easy.
To your questions about my parents: When my mom would say those things, it made me feel like being sad was a bad thing and I should avoid those feelings or try to change them asap. It also feels like I wasn’t able to peer deeper into those feelings because questions /follow up questions weren’t asked of me as to why I felt that way.. so sometimes I may not have even understood fully the WHY behind my emotions. They were kind of glossed over and then moved on to the next subject quick.
As far as my dad goes.. I feel like he was always uncomfortable around feelings talk, even now he admits hes never been good at “that stuff”. I feel like I never really could show him my feelings, I wasn’t as comfortable verbalizing my feelings to him. They would manifest in silence or irritation, and he would just sense my mood and sort of stay away… not ask so much how I’m feeling or what’s going on with me, just wait till my mood/feelings passed. Or even when he would ask I’d act or pretend like “im fine” because for whatever reason I didn’t want to be vulnerable with him. Maybe that has to do with my tomboy attitude and him sort of favoring me over my brother? Maybe I felt like I had to impress him and being vulnerable for some reason was a sign of weakness– usually a very masculine trait I guess, possibly learned from all the boys I hung out with constantly at a young age.January 14, 2020 at 3:08 pm #333469
I’m so sorry to hear about your fall Anita! I hope you can get some rest. Definitely no rush in your response… I really just appreciate the words of wisdom and time you give to reading through all my postings.
I don’t remember too many early experiences. I just know my dad was very selfish in that he always wanted to go surfing rather than prioritize his family… my mom always said it was like having another child. I don’t believe they really planned about having kids.
They both worked a lot, full time. I just remember my parents fighting a lot and my dad cussing a lot very loud. My mom would get scared and withdraw or not even want to have a conversation. How could she have a reasonable conversation with someone who was drinking so much?
My mom never really showed sadness or anger.. she always wanted everyone to just “be happy” and “positive” all the time. Was always the time to say “Dont be sad” or would maybe not acknowledge certain feelings at all when it was clear I was upset about something.
My dad also was good at not acknowledging my feelings if I was quiet or mad or in a certain mood. Perhaps it made them uncomfortable?
I remember being so mad when he drove me home drunk that I couldn’t even speak to him or express my anger. My mom was obviously very upset too but I don’t remember her talking very much to me about it. Maybe she didn’t really know how or was so ashamed of it to talk about it with me.
My dad seemed to sort of favor me over my brother… I don’t know why. But he had always been mean to my brother, calling him names often. I’d always get furious with my dad and “call him out” on that behavior and he’d listen to me because he always felt bad making me upset. My brother eventually struggled with alcohol as well and I always felt like I was the responsible one in my family and more mature, even though I’m the youngest.