08 February 2009

I'm Breaking Up My Family

Yesterday I mentioned the pamphlet Timerman describes in Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without A Number. One of the claims that pamphlet made was that Freud destroyed the Christian concept of the family. That was one of the rationalizations for anti-Semitism offered by some of the military leaders in the Peron government.

Well, guess what? I'm doing Freud one better. I'm not destroying the concept of a family; I'm destroying an actual family. And I'm not even Jewish.

I never knew I had so much power. But that is what is what my family is imputing to me. To be more exact, my brother who's been causing a lot of ruckus lately says that just as my other two brothers want nothing to do with me, neither does he. And he claims they're upset because Mom and Dad offered their support of me.

Oh, really, now? One of the brothers in question cut off contact with me immediately after I came out. The only communication I have received from him in the past five and a half years was an e-mail that said, in essence, that my transformation was a fetish and that I'm leaving lots of upset people in my wake. That was around Christmas five years ago.

As for the other brother: We do talk occasionally. Now if he's decided he wants nothing to do with me, well, it's news to me. I haven't spoken with him since Christmas, but there have been times we've gone even longer than that, especially for the five years the Army activated him. (He was a reservist until a few months ago.) And there were other times when he was working and studying as well as fulfilling his reservist obligations. On top of all that, he takes care of my niece and nephew when he's home.

I'm sure he wasn't happy about my transition. But if he wants nothing to do with me, well, I want to hear it from him.

And the brother who has now decided he wants nothing to do with me is stressing Mom out. Turns out, he's the one who earlier said that this situation was stressing Mom out and that I was wrong to do that to her. She had volunteered her help, I reminded him, and after saying "Well, gee, thanks, are you sure you really want to do that" to her, I accepted only after she insisted that helping me was what she really wanted to do. One thing Mom has never done, in my experience, is to offer something that she doesn't really want to give, or to make any other commitment she isn't ready to keep.

Imagine King Lear without Shakespeare's writing. That's more or less how my family situation seems to me now. Actually, it's a combination of that and Othello, again without the Bard's language-- and without the issue of race. So what does that make My Brother the Manipulator? A cross between Iago and either Reagan or Goneril. The first character said, "I hate the Moor" in reference to Othello, and the other two panelled their lust for daddy's fortune with a veneer of words extolling their love for him. The other daughter, Cordelia, says only, "Father, I love thee." Not to say that I'm her: I'm no angel. But I actually do love my mother and father and don't care about how whatever they might or might not give to me compares with they might or might not give my brothers.

Now, for all of you who wonder why you should read Shakespeare, I hope I've given you at least one reason. Even if you're not interested in his language, you will understand a few things better in your daily life. I took only basic Psych in college, but I bet some of the more specialized courses refer to his plays. And Freud himself had quite a bit to say about Hamlet. Sometimes I think that he may come to be remembered even more as a literary critic than as one of the founders of modern psychology.

Back to my family: Even before everything blew up, the cynic in me said that something like this would happen. The only difference between the vision I had and what's gone down is that I thought my father would be the one to undermine what I do. So I named the wrong person in my family. Instead, my brother is using him.

And yet I get all the credit for destroying the family. Hmm, maybe I should become a divorce lawyer. After all, if I'm going to break up families, I may as well get paid very well for doing so. Raoul Felder, watch out: You're about to have formidable competition.

No comments: