I thought about this some more and I realized I had a harder time letting go of my brother than I did with letting go of my mother. I’m thinking over the reasons for this. Part of it was the way she flat out told me she wasn’t going to change when I asked her to stop doing or saying certain things which were hurting me. That made it easier.
My brother used to at least try (which leads me to believe he’s probably not a narcisst). In some ways, I had to fill a parental role for him. There really wasn’t anyone to protect me from my mom’s words/behavior. For example, when I was in my early teens, she went to an AA meeting. She was talking about things she normally didn’t, so I asked her a question about the split up, which really wasn’t discussed other than a basic, “your father’s moving out.” She became enraged and started screaming at me how she wasn’t going back to any more AA meetings and how it was all my fault. Now as an adult, I know she didn’t want to go back for whatever reasons. Probably because change is scary. But as a teen, I didn’t know that and felt guilty every time she got drunk after that.
She used to have us mix her drinks. I don’t remember the exact age, but I think my brother was about 11 when she had him doing this. She had recently switched from wine spritzers (half wine/half seltzer) to scotch & soda (1/4 scotch, 3/4ths club soda). But not having attended bartender school, my brother mixed the scotch & soda 1/2 & 1/2 because he was used to those proportions from the wine spritzers. My mother got really drunk and got into an argument with her friend’s husband about auto repair work he’d done. She accused him of cheating her for the money he charged.
The next day, hungover & remorseful, she oh, so subtly, tried to place the blame on my brother. She said something along the lines of how it’s not really his fault, but she drank more than she thought because of the way he mixed the drinks. Uh, hello? When I get a really strong drink, especially with something with a distinctive of a taste as scotch, I can taste it. How the hell did she not even taste it? But I hadn’t started drinking hard liquor back then, so I didn’t know. Normally, I did everything I could to stay under the radar and avoid her wrath to keep the piece. I actually suprised myself when I firmly said, “of course it’s not his fault, he’s just a little kid!”
She then backtracked saying of course it’s not his fault. Different story when it’s the golden child vs. the scapegoat. I feel good that i was able to protect him from that a bit.