I was thinking about a lot of the stuff with my family, mostly with my mom and brother last night. I don't dwell on it nearly as much but some things came up that got me thinking. For the last too many years my brother and mother have accused me of holding grudges about any little thing that upsets me. The recurring accusation is that I have no positive memories and many many memories of "tiny" or "little" things that happened as far back as high school that I hold against them on a regular or constant basis. I do have positive memories. Not nearly as many as I would like, but I have them. The problem is that no matter what I remember, how fun or funny or sweet or positive it is to me, it never registers as such with them. Even a story about how my brother, the cousin who is between us in age, my best friend from childhood and I were playing and started sword fighting with the orange hotwheel tracks and couldn't stop laughing even when mom got upset with us because it sounded like we were bringing down the house is seen as a "bad" memory somehow - even when I talk about how we all looked at her like she was nuts and burst out laughing as soon as the door was closed behind her! Heck, memories of us sliding down the stairs in laundry baskets after we tossed our laundry down to pad the way is seen as a "bad" or "angry" memory. Don't get me wrong - there ARE bad memories. Every attempt to try to work through them has been met with not just condemnation for not forgetting but actually being told I have invented them (at the best version of what I have been accused of doing). Remembering anything that gfgbro doesn't remember is apparently a deliberate lie on my part. I know some of the grudge holding accusations come from my refusal to forget that he has done things. Forgiving does not mean that you automatically get full trust and all the privileges you have abused severely. Yet that is the standard for what I am supposed to do. Every 6-9 months my brother would decide I was angry with him for no real reason (just to cause drama, in my opinion) and it is perfectly fine and fair for him, and then for my mother to agree, that I am holding grudges. Quite often I am accused of being angry with my brother out of the clear blue sky. Neither husband nor I can trace these accusations to anything I have said or done. Bro likes to tell you what you think and feel and the family "rules" are that this is the truth and I am supposed to beg forgiveness - but that only applies when he says it about husband, my kids or I. NOT when he does it to my mom, dad, his ex, his daughter or the man in the moon. I tried, really really hard, to do nothing to give that impression. Spent several years never mentioning anything unpleasant, not saying how I felt - always saying I was having a good day even when I hurt like the devil was sticking his pitchfork up my last nerve. NO complaints of any kind. Not much real info on our family beyond the very basic surface stuff. The accusations still came, and if anything were actually more frequent and more vehement that I was angry with him and would not talk to him about it, that I am clinging to the same grudges, etc.... Last night I figured out WHY. See, when I was preg my mom told me about my Gpa's alcoholism. He didn't drink around me. Ever - because she drew a firm boundary that he wouldn't see bro or I if he ever did. She also pushed me into going to alanon. It was very helpful and husband and I were able to work through some things back then that really have helped our marriage. My brother spent 8 or 9 months of the year in Idaho working in the national forest and other jobs in that part of the country. When I went through the step that calls for making amends I had to make those via phone to my brother. He was always drunk when he called - long, late night rambling phone calls. Sending a letter to him was not even always do-able because he didn't always have a fixed address. It depended on where he was and when. We could not call him because he did not have phone service - he called from a public phone in the bar of wherever he was. Years later he went through rehab with the amazing determination and stubbornness he has always had and has stayed sober for a very long time since then. Well, not drinking or getting stoned. His amends were in very long flowery letters - with long sections as to how I made him do the very few things he apologized for. I haven't really trusted him because he claims not to remember some really terrible things that he has done to me and my family and for those there has been no apology or amends. Even when he apologized to my children for the serious, dangerous things he did to and with them he put responsibility on their shoulders for "allowing" him to do those things - even for stuff when Wiz was 6-8 years old and the others younger or not born! Anyway, it hit me last night. When I made amends to him he was almost certainly drunk. If not falling down blackout drunk he was at least under the influence. So while I made amends for many things to him, he has little if any memory of them. It is why he keeps working to make me the "bad child" so that he can be the "good child" who "made amends". He harps on my need to work the 12 steps every time he gets upset with me for whatever. I know you don't really stop doing the steps, but you don't make amends over and over for the same things. I am okay knowing I did what I could to make amends to him. Now that I have figured out why he keeps acting as if I am totally unaware of the way the 12 steps can change my life and why he keeps pushing me to work them and esp to work THAT step and beg for him to "forgive" me. I am flawed. Far from perfect. I try to do the best I can and apologize for time when I am wrong or hurt someone. And now I know why that is never going to be good enough for my brother. It doesn't change a lot in how I will behave, but it does help me to understand why he harps on how I keep grudges (every letter he has written to me since before he "got AA" has had a long section on the various grudges I hold going as far back as when I was in jr high) so frequently. Thanks for reading all of this. Does it make sense to y'all? It sort of hit me last night that this is likely a big part of why he acts as though I have insisted I am perfect and have never done anything wrong and everything he has done was designed to be hurtful and horrible. Odd as it sounds, now that I understand why he thinks this, I can stop wondering how I made communication errors that led to his opinion that I think I a some holy perfect person who never needs to apologize for anything (FAR from how I feel). I have more peace regarding him this morning than I have had in a very long time.