I Regret: Losing Touch With My Siblings

Do you have regrets? Tell TheGloss your regrettable story in 600-800 words and you could win these designer shades to hide your shameful, shameful face.

One day, I was doing my sister’s hair when my stepmother came in and began screaming at the top of her lungs about how I didn’t vacuum the corners of the rooms the right way. She moved on to insulting me about how I “moped” around like someone “pissed in [my] Cheerios” (no, I don’t know why that was the comparison). This was about where my blood began to boil. For the past few weeks, I had been on Prozac for depression brought on by my stepmother and father’s horrible treatment of me. So when she shouted, “If it’s so bad here, there’s the door! You can just leave!” …I did.

Until I was nineteen, I lived with my father and stepmother and my three younger siblings, whom I loved (and still love) dearly. To keep a very long story short, my time there was rife with emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my father and stepmother. After far too long of putting up with it, I finally told my mother in New York what was going on, and so began the planning of my exit strategy from that toxic environment. The plan was not really for me to up and leave like that, but, looking back, it had to happen that way.

Packing my things was a blur. I remember being berated by my father and stepmother while I packed my car. I also remember them making me do the most horrible thing they could think of: telling my siblings why I was leaving. I had two choices: expose their parents for the assholes they were or keep calm and keep my siblings out of it. I kept it to, “I love you, but I just have to go. I can’t stay here anymore.” I do not regret not telling them that day that their parents treated me horribly. They were too young and couldn’t have understood anyway.

My mother and stepfather flew out to where I lived at great expense to themselves and sent my things back to New York. I got into my dream school, NYU, and as a delightful bonus, my father and stepmother had to shoulder half the costs, per the divorce agreement (after a long, tedious court battle).

This supposedly happy ending, though, is where my biggest regret starts. I had been calling my siblings for a few months after I left, despite being told off every time I called, including on Christmas. I loved my siblings too much to be kept from calling. I still love them too much. But one day, on one of my brothers’ birthdays, I called and my father childishly pretended he couldn’t hear me on the phone, then hung up. After that, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to call again. It was the last of many manipulations that were simply too much. It was also in the middle of the court battles to make them pay for the college they denied me, the therapy they sent me to, and so many other things. I was drained.

I’m still drained, but I regret so much losing touch with my siblings. Every birthday that passes makes my heart hurt. I haven’t heard their voices in almost 5 years. The only lucky part is that my stepmother’s brother and sister-in-law, who are wonderful people, found me on facebook and send me pictures and video of my siblings. I might be able to get in touch with my siblings sometime (hopefully soon) through my aunt and uncle.

But I know that I will never get those 5 years back. I will never get to redo it and know exactly what my sister was thinking before her first community theatre production (which she does a lot of apparently). I will never get to know how my brother felt before his first JV football game (he’s a pretty great player according to my aunt and uncle). I will never know how my eldest younger brother managed to get from playing Green Day’s “Longview” on his base by ear when he was 11 to playing an entire set of Green Day and other awesome bands at a local restaurant at the age of 16 (which I luckily got to see on a video sent by my aunt and uncle). I have missed so much I can never get back. I’m just hopeful that I will be there for more years than I was gone.


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    • Sara

      Contact them, don’t lose that will.

      My younger brother nearly a year ago, he was 20 and I was 27, and I have so many moments during so many days when I wish I could tell him something. I know it must be hard, and sad, and you must feel like you have lost time, but you haven’t lost the potential for the future. It sounds like you still have your entire life ahead of you, and they in front of them. What has hurt more then I ever imagined is that I lost the years to come with my brother, I lost calling him when I get engaged, having him watch me get married, and have babies, and even just sharing life with each other. You still have that, don’t fret over the years you have lost so far, look forward to the potential of what is to come. You have your entire lives to catch up on those missed years. I wish you all of the best and I hope you are able to find the peace you are searching for.

      • Sara

        Wow, I just re-read that, and I must not be even fully accepting it myself yet, my younger brother died, nearly a year ago.

    • Lisa

      Something similar happened to me. I was younger – 12 – and my dad and stepmother weren’t so outright nasty. In retrospect, they were mostly childish, and insensitive, and started a small (largely for show) legal battle, which resulted in them claiming they weren’t allowed to see my brother and I. When I was grown, we got back in touch with them, but the bond was never there. We visit, and we care about them, but it’s difficult to relate to our sisters. We really grew apart.

      It might have happened anyway, but I hope you have better luck with your siblings, and good luck with those parents, too. Such childish behavior! Them paying for NYU is awesome, though ;>

    • Tania

      This makes me hurt for you, so much. I lost touch with my (half-) brother and sister for almost a year when they were living with their dad and evil stepmom, and it was so hard.

      I sincerely hope you’re able to get in touch with them soon.

    • Kristina

      Wow. Thanks to the other commenters for the supportive things you had to say. I will definitely keep making my way back toward a relationship with my siblings. It is even more horrible to know that others have similar regrets to mine. I hope you get some closure as well.

    • Gal

      Are they her half-siblings? I am confused…

    • K.

      Due to a toxic parent-child dynamic, I left home abruptly. The most difficult thing besides leaving behind 2 younger siblings was thinking of the hell they would endure by living in that house. I left like that twice. The first time I foolishly believed the abuse would stop. My family bad mouthed me to any extended family they could think of. The once close relationship I had with my brothers became non existent. Only in the last year have I been able to attempt repairing my relationship with my brothers. Younger siblings pick up on family dynamics extremely well and can be forgiving. There’s too much mud in the water for me to ever have a meaningful relationship with my parents. However, should life run it’s natural course, I’ll have my brother far longer, anyway. Good luck.