I am in the process of scanning all my handwritten journals into my computer, an endeavor that my wife doesn’t understand. I tell her that once the journals are safely in the computer, I can upload them to the ‘cloud’, make backups, and never run the risk of losing the content; besides we’re moving and we would have much more room if I don’t have to take my journals along. She said, “You’ll never get rid of them.” She’s probably right, but I retort, “If there’s a fire and they get destroyed, I’ll still have them.” She shrugs at the futility of my efforts.

Surprising journal entry

Anyway, I was thumbing through a journal from 1990, while I was waiting for the computer to boot up, and I came across notes from a conversation I had with my mother. This is what the entry said, “Learned from my mother that Mike used to hit me when I slept and one time gouged me in the face.” I have absolutely no recollection of this. I do remember that she said that Mike tried to hit me with a hammer once, but I don’t remember that happening either.  All I remember of violence with Michael is that he smacked himself in the head all the time, thumped his chest with his elbow, and bit his hand really hard. I was never really frightened of him.

[As I mention in all my posts, my brother Michael is autistic, low functioning and has never spoken.]

Mike and my younger brother

I am reluctant to bring my younger brother into the picture because he blocked out childhood memories of our older brother. I have asked him his thoughts about Mike, but he told me that he just couldn’t ‘wrap his head around that’ now. I asked him if he minded my putting a picture of him and me in an early post, and he said it was ok. I am almost 4 years older than my younger brother and 3 years younger than Mike. I think that my parent’s efforts to shield us from Michael probably worked better for my younger brother than it did for me.

Different reactions

I think it is an important point to mention the following, and I don’t think my younger brother will mind. In the same journal where I found the above-mentioned quote from Mom, I found an entry I made after talking with my younger brother: “He said that he was afraid of Michael when he was growing up – afraid of violence.”

Could it be that he has some unconscious memory of violence against him by Mike? Was he afraid of Mike’s displays of violence against himself? They were very loud and could be frightening.

I hope that some day I’ll get the rest of the story, but it’s ok if I don’t. Whatever my younger brother needs to do for his own peace of mind is ok with me.

This is a picture of Michael and my younger brother.

Mike and younger brother

2 thoughts on “Violence

  1. Violence between young siblings is an odd thing, in that each person’s memory of it seem to be so diverse despite having been brought up in the same environment. I relate not only to my own experiences, but having listened to other people’s stories about this. I think it cannot help but affect your relationships with your siblings, even if you have no recollection of the incidences themselves. I know that the lack of closeness and affection between me and the brother that I grew up with, for example, is very much linked to his hostility and violence toward me when we were children. However, we do get on with one another, but at a healthy distance. He dealt with it years ago by suppressing his aggression and becoming Vulcan. He has very little recollection of the violence that he meted out.

    • I appreciate your comments, as usual, Maria. I have several other thoughts about this. First, have you read John Elder Robinson’s book? He is (Running with Scissors)’s brother (August Burroughs – just remembered his name), who has Asperger’s. His issues as a kid stemmed from not understanding that others were different. Other factors involved in kids being mean include jealousy and other dynamics of the family. But I know what you mean about ‘a healthy distance’. It is not often that people needlessly put themselves in a position of risk.

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