Co-NNections Recovery Stories

A Brother, Boundaries,, Abuse – January 25, 2022

This is what I texted to my brother after his repeated texts about vaccines upon which we profoundly disagree, “I thought we agreed not to talk about this stuff. Please respect my boundaries around vaccine talk.”

His response was a barrage of texts, name-calling, wishing me ill-will etc. I blocked him on text, so I wouldn’t be subject to his abuse. Now should I block his phone calls? Emails? Forever? How long? I sent him the rest of the money I’d been “stewarding” for him. In the past he has attacked me with phone calls, emails, and texts, so I had to block him for a while until things calmed down.

When I unblocked him, we had some good conversations, but I always felt like I was being taken hostage or agreeing to communicate with a former abuser. I shared all this with my sponsor, wrote about it, and shared in meetings about it.

I read and reread the CoDA “Boundaries” pamphlet. I feel like a frightened child because my brother is threatening, just like my father used to be. A definite sign of dysfunctional boundaries. I was flashing back to my menacing father who intimidated us and had to be right. I feel like my brother has been forcing me to communicate with him. But then, periodically, he goes off on rants and he triggers my own rants. I feel like a hostage, like he might do something scary if I set boundaries, like he will escalate until there is violence.

I am afraid to set new boundaries because of fear of retaliation. But I will do what is needed for my CoDA recovery and for my own dignity!

I feel pretty miserable right now, but I won’t be bullied and frightened into compliance by my brother or anyone else, so help me God. I feel like I’ve made a step toward long-term peace and dignity. I’m grateful for CoDA, the literature, the meetings, and the people in CoDA for giving me direction in this challenging situation. More will be revealed as I continue to work my program.

Jim H – 12/29/21

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