I would have never thought I have taken the time to think about how life would be different if I wasn't the oldest child of my mother's three children. If you are the oldest of your siblings, then you can possibly relate the amount of stress, comparison, or even envy there can be when you are the oldest one. 

Photo by Johnathan Kaufman on Unsplash

I grew up quickly. I was considered a mother figure in my younger sister and brother's lives. At seven years of age, I was making bottles, cleaning the house, changing diapers, paying bills over the phone, and helping my little sister learn to read, write, and do her homework.

I was overwhelmed and drained as I child. I knew and understood the responsibility of having to raise children without a father. My mother did the best that she could. I just picked up where she left off with parenting, sadly. I was also parenting myself by making sure I did my homework, cleaned up behind myself, and checking grades on progress reports and report cards. By the time I was 16, 

I had become rebellious and felt misunderstood and stunted by my childhood trauma. Then by 19, I felt like a failure. My younger brother was already being detained by the police and cursing me, our sister, and mother out for filth. I feared motherhood because of my childhood circumstances and how I was practically raising my own younger sister and brother at such a young age.

The feeling of not being "strong" enough to be a mother went away when I conceived my son. For years even after leaving home at 19 years old, I still was being a motherly figure in my sibling's lives. My younger brother had gotten locked up yet again while in high school, and then was sent to a juvenile detention center. My mother confided in me in phone conversations about how upset and angry she was with herself and her ability to provide his needs.

I used to tell her that he made his own choices, and none of his decisions were forced even from being a fatherless child. My mother wasn't able to visit and hardly talk on the phone with him while in juvie. Our auntie didn't care or place any effort into driving or getting someone to take her to the juvenile detention center. 

My younger sister, who's three years younger than me, had a car and did not drive to visit him neither. The only person who came through for him was me. I gave him money to put on his books, a listening ear, cash down on phone calls, and even signed electronically his paperwork so he can progress on through the time he had to serve while in juvie.

I did not have much to give him back in 2016, but support and any few dollars I was able to keep to the side to put on his books. As much as I thought he was thankful for me and my genuine effort to look out for him, he eventually turned on me. He held a then unspoken grudge against me. Even after another year of him getting locked up again in parish prison, I supported him. I gave support, money, and a listening ear, and it wasn't good enough. 

Nothing was good enough for him. 

I guess I was still doing my sisterly motherly duties again, and it came back to bite me in the ass. He ended up cursing me out due to not calling, texting, or contacting him the way that he thought I should have been doing, but as a "mother." He failed to value that I was his sister and not his mother and never will be his mother. However, I still blamed myself for overstepping my boundaries at such a young age from being pressured by my mom. I've learned that I used to give my family too much access to me, my time, and the limited finances I had. None of them were ever able to pour into me. My mother's prayers covered me but did not shield me from the hurt, pain, or childhood trauma I endured.

I gave them too much of me willingly without hesitation. I'm no longer open to the drama, chaos, manipulation, and lies they always have for me. I've poured from a half-empty cup for long enough. I will not be belittled, cursed out, or written off for treating people according to how they treat me.

These days I am giving myself compassion, grace, and more self-love. I've even been growing through my therapy sessions with my therapist. How do you deal with toxic family members when you know you did them nothing wrong? Share your truth in the comment box below or email me.

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