Screams from Childhood - don't tell the truth

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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don't tell the truth

my mother has called from Germany to inform me
that my father—sunk into depression at sixty-eight—
was admitted to a psychiatric hospital with paranoid thoughts

my mother forbids me to inform my brother
I tell my mother that my brother has to know
he has to find out the truth from his family—not through others
he will feel abandoned and betrayed when he has to wonder
why his own family remained silent
he might believe that the family blames him
and should he accuse himself—he might feel left out and isolated
—yet my mother is adamant that I remain silent

my brother and I have become friends since both of us
live far away from Germany
for the first time I feel close to someone in my family

my brother had a serious confrontation with our father recently
to free himself from his father's destructive control
I know that my brother has to know
I know that he is not responsible for my father's problems
I know that my father has been running away from himself
because he never dealt with his family past or war past
therapy is taboo where I come from

I cannot hand over my brother to silence and betrayal
the moment I hang up I call my brother—I tell him the truth
that day and during the following days
we have long conversations
as we try to come to terms with this news
he feels guilty—I try to convince him that he is not--
I am sure that my father's past has caught up with him

but I have done what my mother asked me not to do
I have contradicted her with my action
now I am in trouble
my anxiety has returned—has captured my body and mind
I also feel the responsibility for my brother
he has suffered greatly from my parents' authoritarian practices
my mother once revealed
that she was especially hard with this brother—her oldest son—
so that he would not turn out like her own brother
who was treated as the very special oldest son, too

I have acted against my mother's wishes
I have followed my conscience—I am so different from my mother
an abyss exists between us
I am passionate about being honest and open
I am against hiding the truth

yet my mother's thinking torments me
should my brother hurt himself--it would be my fault
because I told him the truth—I feel blamed and declared guilty

as the familiar anxiety keeps me from sleeping
I call a therapist I have met through friends
at first I say that I need to come
because I want to help my brother
but that does not get me anywhere

finally I manage to utter—I need help—but he has no time
I fight—let me come when you have a cancellation
I convince him—and my therapeutic journey begins


© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood

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