Telling my sister

Journal Entry: October 27, 2014

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” –Mark Twain

I have mentioned before that I have 10 siblings and I adore them all. My parents were married when they were young, had me before they were both 20, my one full-blood, always been with me through thick and thin, sister was added while they were 25. They were divorced by the time they were 26 and both remarried within a year. I know. Crazy! They have been happily married to their second spouses for 40+ years now. The rest of my siblings all arrived between 1972 and 1981, except for Peter, who came as a package deal with my step father.

As of yesterday, the only sibling who knew of the phone call I received on dday from Camilla the alcoholic hoarding whore, and who knew of my husband’s addiction diagnosis, and about the subsequent upheaval of our marriage, was my very youngest brother… did I ever name him? I don’t think so. I’ll call him The Listener. He’s been great, since the very beginning.

One aspect of this grieving and healing process that has really bothered me, was that I did not feel, until today, ready to tell my sister. As I have mentioned previously, Aunt TeeTee has Borderline Personality Disorder with Bi-Polar tendencies. She went undiagnosed for many years. She has suffered with bulimia, cutting, over the counter and alcohol misuse, prescription drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, extreme anger, and suicide attempts. As of a couple weeks ago, I could tell my moodiness and general lack of availability to her was starting to take a real toll. She had mentioned to other family members that she thought I was mad at her, even though I told her numerous times in the past few months that I wasn’t. She was now refusing to come into our house when she and her male friend (I’ll call him The Handyman) came by to pick up a check. We help support them financially. The issue with telling her was that she is highly emotional and I didn’t want to burden her with the information. I also knew it would open up a floodgate of sharing that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. After returning from the Take Your Life Back seminar, I felt happier, I had a renewed strength, and was tired of the lying by omission. I realize everyone cannot and should not know about my husband’s addiction and secret life, but it was time to share with my sister. We were having The Handyman do some work in the front yard and she was just sitting out there watching him. I called her into the house and she seemed anxious. I let my husband have the floor first. I wanted him to tell her the story of what he had done and to explain his addiction. If anyone was going to understand the feeling of living a secret life driven by addiction and mental illness, it was Aunt TeeTee. And if there is anyone that knows my husband almost as well as I do, it is my sister. We sat at the kitchen table and Blue Eyes told her what he had done. Predictably, he started with his addiction. He relayed his childhood feelings of neglect and abandonment and of never feeling good enough (most of which she already knew), of his obsession with pornographic images and masturbation, and then finally, of his cheating. My sister was understandably sympathetic to his story, and yet I could see her starting to feel my pain. Tears rolled down her face. I was waiting for the anger that would inevitably rear its head, but she kept herself in check with Blue Eyes. Then Blue Eyes had to leave for a meeting and we were alone.

She told me she was relieved that my avoidance of her over the past few months had nothing to do with her, on the contrary. There is some backstory here with my sister and my husband. When my sister lived with us shortly after our wedding, she was full into her own addiction to over the counter medications and alcohol, with a severe and undiagnosed mental illness, overtly sexual and very attractive. Having her live with us, stressed out newlyweds, was simply a bad idea. She was barely 21 years old, working for a travel agency in town and the rest of her time was spent with friends in bars and sleeping around. She was sleeping with her married boss at the travel agency. My husband was halfway through law school. I was working for a large hotel chain in their catering department. My husband studied pretty much 24/7 (or so I thought) and was never available for me. He was stressed and miserable, and so was I. I’m actually quite surprised our relationship survived his law school. I made some solid friendships during this time and spent a lot of time away from our apartment, ostensibly so Blue Eyes could study in peace. As the story goes, my sister was home, most likely sleeping off a bender, and my husband made a pass at her. He went into her room and asked if she would masturbate him. When she said no, and became quite upset, he asked if he could masturbate in her panties, in front of her. She angrily threw him out of her room. She threatened him that if he didn’t get some kind of help, talk to a therapist, whatever, she was going to tell me. She held back because she didn’t want to hurt me and felt like it was a one time stress-induced mistake and I am sure, she thought somehow it was her fault. As we know now, my husband has a template, a pathology. Preying on vulnerable women is part of that pattern. At this point it is pretty clear that he chooses broken women because they are easier to seduce and manipulate. As it turns out, my sister was not the first person in my life that my husband had been inappropriate with, or that kept the behavior from me, but that is a story for a different day. As I have said, Blue Eyes was a sex addict before I met him. He was also an accomplished liar. A couple months later when my sister and I were in an argument and I knew it was time for her to go, she told me what had happened. Blue Eyes had never sought out any kind of help. His addiction just kept exhibiting itself in the form of pornography and masturbation, which I of course did not know then, but know now. I was extremely upset with my husband that he had made a pass at my sister. I knew he was stressed and weak, but this was a lot more serious than some flirting, but my bigger concern was for my sister and her condition. At that time I did not know she had been sexually molested, more than once. They were both broken, and now I was being drawn in, and no one was getting any help. Blue Eyes did end up going to his law school counseling office where a very nice school therapist told him he was putting himself under too much stress and that is why he had acted out. Of course he didn’t tell her anything about his other obsessions, and she probably would not have been able to see the sex addiction, in 1990, anyway.

Back to present, in the kitchen, with my sister, I started at the beginning, the phone call from the other woman. I told her about all the acting out partners, and all the sordid details. She, of course, wanted as much information as possible and she wanted to see pictures and anything else I had. I entertained her curiosity because I felt like if she had details, she would be able to metabolize it and let it go, like I had for the most part. She vacillated between painful tears and anger. I showed her a picture of Ashley and explained the story. She, like me, thought it a tragedy, a beautiful and unhappy woman being taken advantage of by Blue Eyes. Then I told her that affair partner number two had been the slutty secretary, Monica. My sister was horrified. Although she had not met Monica in person, The Handyman had painted Blue Eyes’ office downtown all those years ago. I have named him The Handyman because he is a very handy guy to have around. He paints, he drywalls, he builds, he’s a trained electrician, he has been a framer, and a roofer. One night Aunt TeeTee went with The Handyman to Blue Eyes’ office. He was painting at night, after hours. My sister is nosy. She went through Monica’s desk. At this point, the affair with my husband was over and Monica was engaged to her online dating fiancé. Apparently in her desk were bridal magazines as well as numerous naked photos of Monica. My sister claims she told me about this at the time, but I do not remember it, at all. She says the pictures were disgusting and that she had shots of her entire naked body. The ones of her back were especially undesirable as she had quite an acne problem. If my sister told me these details, I probably had no reason for it to sink in or remember it, because I would not have thought she had anything to do with me, and she was on her way out. My husband had already given her notice.

Finally, I showed my sister the only photo I have ever seen of my husband’s third and last acting out partner, Camilla, the smoking, hoarding, stalking alcoholic, whore. The look of shock on my sister’s face probably was a match for my own face when I had first seen this picture. There was just no way I was ever going to be able to understand my husband having sex with that woman, and neither was my sister. Because the picture of Camilla, which I now know to be a very good picture of her, is so mean and evil looking with a pinched mouth and beady eyes, dyed red frizzy hair with lots of gray root showing… I said, “I know. I know what you are thinking. I didn’t believe it either.” And then I proceeded to tell her what Camilla and Blue Eyes had done and how the relationship with Blue Eyes had played out, about all the times at her house early on, and then all the trips. As tears poured out of my sister, her anger grew. She said she was ready to go over and beat the shit out of her, right then. I just love my sister. She is this little fireball. When she was in high school, she was quite a rebel. Standing 5’ 1” tall and weighing maybe 100 pounds, my sister was a force to be reckoned with. At one point my mother had to go to the school and pick my sister up as she had been suspended for punching a girl in the face, a girl that was 6” taller and outweighed her by more than 40 lbs, and was bullying a friend. My sister is fearless. As much as there is a little piece of me that would like to see her take Camilla down, I know its not right. It’s time for the sick people to get help. My husband is getting the help he needs. My sister has been getting the help she needs for many years now. These are the people I love and the people I care about. I really do believe Camilla is mentally unstable. I really do wish she would recognize her own culpability and get help for herself. In the meantime, I am thinking of bringing my sister with me everywhere, as my little bodyguard.

2 thoughts on “Telling my sister

  1. So great that you have family to go to. To this day, none of my ex husband’s family or friends know how we met. We constructed a lie because we met on a dating site while he was still living with someone. By the time i met his friends and family, they had already split up, but at the time and in my naivete i thought i was helping make an awkward situation easier. He didnt want to tell anyone ANYTHING. His own family. He said it was none of their business. Some day I’d love to be able to tell them all the truth.

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    • I do feel extremely lucky to have the family I have. I always thought by maintaining our distance from his sick family, that we could minimize further damage. Unfortunately, I had no idea how much damage was already done. We have no contact with his family now, more than 30 years since I met them. He is not strong enough. He falls apart and has anxiety attacks now when there is any contact (even phone or email–we haven’t seen them basically since his last acting out episode over 17 months ago). The addiction is still so strong, without the secret sex life/drug, he can’t function well, yet. They have no idea what we have gone through, or what they helped perpetrate. They just think he is a “bad son.” Even my borderline sister is able to support her sex addict brother-in-law who made a pass at her better than his narcissistic mother. She doesn’t even know the truth and she does not support her child. I cannot imagine the wrath if she knew the truth (other than she would somehow find a way to blame me). What a mess. I am thankful for my family every day. My parents have been amazing. I am very careful these days about keeping secrets. I never was able to keep a secret and my mother taught me not to lie (and I took it seriously), but now I see how destructive living a secret life can be… especially to the secret keeper. Strength to you on this journey! ❤

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