Recent blog world events have been quite nasty – and left some of us reeling with shock. I know I find it hard to get my head around somebody going out of their way to hurt a kind, sweet lady who has done nothing but been kind to everyone she meets.
But then, I remember my own older sister. The most evil, vile, and terrifying person I have ever met, and probably ever will meet.
There is a blogger in the ED blogging community I am part of, who reminds me of my older sister all the time. The nastiness, the manipulation, the utter lack of compassion or empathy or kindness (despite declaring herself a model of each) and her complete absence of conscience.
My older sister is a sociopath, through and through. From the outside, she’s quite strikingly handsome, very tall, curvy, and many men seem to think she is God’s gift to men – she attracts them like bees to honey. (I hesitate to call her beautiful, because to me, she is ‘good looking’ but there is only darkness in her heart – nothing truly beautiful there.) She is very aware of her seductive power and does not hesitate to use it – never has.
Behind the mask, she is cruel, cold, callous. She does not blink an eyelid at killing animals – our pets growing up, or whatever animals she ‘sacrifices’ now to make little ‘presents’ like the one she left on my doorstep during the night before 23rd December 2006. She doesn’t have friends – only acquaintances. People are tolerated if they are useful, then discarded.
With the nastiness happening in the blog world at the moment, many find it difficult to believe that someone could do this kind of thing. Remembering what my sister did to me in my teens, and the shock and betrayal I experienced about that – I can say, YES, absolutely people who are sociopathic in nature definitely do this sort of thing with absolutely no hesitation or regrets.
This is my story.
I was attending the dance school, being bullied, being abused at home – so very depressed, and completely worn out from the 12- hour days 6 days a week, four of which were travel – then home to the violence and crap and hard work there. My depression began to be noticeable again – as was my inability to eat enough to keep my weight up, and my difficulty in focussing on my studies.
I don’t know what was happening – a lot of the lead up to realising what my sister was doing to me is conjecture – pieced together from what I know now. But my mother started leaving newspaper articles for me to find with passages about drug use and the dangers highlighted. This made me furious – and I would tell her definitely that I had never used drugs of any kind, and had no desire ever to do so. I didn’t know why she would suddenly be thinking that – I did start to feel that it was probably due to my depression meaning I wasn’t the same person I used to be, and her nervousness about letting me, so controlled by her, out of the house for so much of the time.
My sister then started bringing things home to Mum. Not any old things, things that belonged to Mum already. She had her first Job in the Valley as a MahJong reader (similar to Tarot) a few years before this, and now was studying at a college there to become a Naturopath. (She was always into black magic and stuff like that, and my opinion on the Naturopathy is that it’s a socially acceptable way for her to indulge her fascination in potions and stuff… today she is a rather well known Naturopath.)
According to my sister, she had been looking around in all the pawn shops in the Valley and she had seen my mother’s things on display there. (I don’t even know, to this day, what these ‘things’ were – the best I could get out of them were that they were ‘old books, trophies, and valuable items.’ Oh, and throw in some of my sister’s cheap and tacky costume jewellery too.
So my sister’s tale had her ‘buying back’ these ‘things’, and bringing them home to return them to Mum.
Can you spot the problem here? I was 15, 16 years old when this happened. And the only form of ID I had ever held in my grubby little hand was my library card/school card. Later – long after I had left that hellhole – I learnt that to pawn goods, you must supply 100 points of ID – that is the LAW – AND you must be over 18 years of age – also the LAW. The goods that you pawn are NOT displayed out in the store, either, but kept in a back room, and if you want to redeem them, you must present a ticket.
Not only that, but I asked what happened to the goods that are sold. The shops all replied that they do not put them out in the store at all – instead they are taken back to a more central part of the chain and auctioned or redistributed.
Most of these stores also do not buy cheap costume jewellery or even loan on it, nor do they buy or sell books or most trophies.
My sister however, WAS over 18. She knew exactly where out of all the shops in an area that has many of them to find my mother’s ‘things’ – and they would not have been on display for her to look for. She also would have possessed tickets to reclaim those ‘things’ to bring them home – if those ‘things’ had ever even been out of the house in the first place.
Nevertheless, my Mum ate my sister’s story right up. Which wasn’t surprising – my sister had always been ‘God’ in my Mum’s eyes. My sister even had more power over the family as a disciplinarian than our own Mum did.
I was utterly hurt, betrayed and horrified, and I angrily protested my innocence. My sister’s story had been that I must have been stealing these items – she told Mum that it was ME! – and that because my school had me going close to the Valley (but at that stage, I hadn’t been there and was totally unfamiliar with the place) it could only have been me. Furthermore, she informed my Mum that I must have needed the money for drugs. My own mood changes and depression, and the fact that adolescents and drug use were big media stories at the time because of Anna Wood’s death from Ecstasy – were a perfect setting for her lies.
(Bear in mind that I was a sick-making goody-goody two shoes! Always obedient, I wouldn’t dare to even think of trying drugs. On being offered a cigarette at school, I shrugged, and turned it down. My friends (before I went to the ballet school) sometimes smoked – it had no influence on me. I didn’t drink either. Even when I was helping out at an evening do for the state ballet company (several students were invited to act as servers that night) the other students got plastered nicking wine and throwing it back in the dressing rooms. I didn’t have a drop. I was mildly interested, but terrified of my mother smelling it on my breath, or even smelling the smoke from other’s cigarettes on me – that was enough to make her go OFF. My mother was highly controlling – even climbing (because the gates were always padlocked and heavily chained) over the fence of our yard at home, to retrieve something that was outside it, like the paper, without permission – was absolutely on pain of death VERBOTEN and merited harsh punishment. And that punishment, let’s say, nothing was worth it. Nothing. )
So the story about me doing drugs, and stealing things to fund those drugs – was not only so unlikely that if this hadn’t been a serious thing, it would have been funny – but highly offensive to me that my mother even believed it and refused to see the reality.
Not only that – she thought that I was addicted to Ecstasy. (again, because of Anna Wood’s death being in the news) Back then, from what I’d read in those articles she left for me, I had learnt that ecstasy wasn’t (at that time known as) a drug people got addicted to in that ‘regular’ way, so much that it was a party drug. Besides, I never went to parties. Who would have invited me? And Mum would never have let me go if I was.
(In fact, she DID let me go to a party near the end of our second year at the dance school. I think she allowed me, because she knew that I did not want to go. I begged her NOT to go. The other girl had invited the rest of the class (our school was made up of 2 classes of less than 20 people in each, mostly girls) to her birthday party – except for me, the hated, ‘dirty’ girl who wore yucky clothes, broken shoes etc. Her mother insisted that she not leave anyone out and forced her to invite me. My own mother found the invite (I didn’t even consider going) and rang to make sure it would be appropriately chaperoned (In my mother’s view – NO alcohol or smoking and never out of the sight of adults, in the other mother’s view, champagne at dinner, blind eye to friends smoking, dancing, and teenage fun LOL), and her call earned me even more disgust from the other girls. Knowing (probably hearing from the other mother) that I actually wasn’t wanted at the party, she forced me to go. Without anything decent to wear. Without money to buy a present and no way of getting any. And it was a sleepover. Not only that, but I found my shoes soaking with cat pee that day and nothing else to wear… it was a nightmare.)
Fast forward to a year after I walked out of that hell of a ‘not-home’. The hostel I’d found to live in was shut over the Christmas period, and I had searched and searched for accomodation elsewhere that I could afford, finding none. I faced being on the streets again – unless I asked if I could stay with my family at home over the Christmas holidays. They hadn’t been that bad, surely? A year had taken the harshness from the memories and left me doubting myself. I was in shock that a lot of what happened at that place even happened – the violence, the incest and abuse, the other stuff. It was all so completely CRAZY. Surely it wasn’t really that awful? Or they had changed?
BIG mistake. The moment I entered that place, with all my belongings (again, enough to take home myself on public transport) my mother declared that I was now her employee – we had agreed that I would pay board (comparable to the amount I’d been charged at the hostel – which was actually very expensive and included all meals, cleaners, linen etc), and I bought most of my own food. But in order to ‘earn my keep’ I would also have to do ALL the housework AND make the house presentable to someone who might be able to come in and fix up the water problems (my mother was still letting the water run endlessly for my father to be slugged with penalty rates, but the situation for hot water was still the same as when I’d lived there before – none, we boiled water for baths and washing up, and we brought water in from outside because the taps were either stuck on, or stuck off.)
Making this house presentable was actually an impossible task. My mother is a hoarder extroadinaire – and the house was never finished. It’s an illegal dwelling, because my mother bullied my father into straying far from the approved plans because she wanted more than they were allowed to build. They’d split long before it was finished. Inside, the walls were sheets of gyprock, or were exposed beams. Plants often grew inside the walls due to lack of sealing. Our ceilings were exposed beams, wires and pipes too. Vermin were abundant – millions of cockroaches, rats, who often were to be found dead and maggoty in an unused drawer or in the walls, even snakes, and in summer, so many flies. I still gag remembering the fly papers hanging from the ceiling, covered in so many flies that you couldn’t find room for more.
The floors were rough concrete – not smooth, rough. This meant that when you tried to sweep or mop, the dirt would be trapped and mops were simply ripped to bits. The fact that it was always a muddy swamp outside meant that cleaning it was pretty futile anyway, it just got tracked straight in, and various hoses and pipes snaked in and out of doors and windows for our plumbing. When you mopped it (as you HAD to do) you ended up with a mud slick indoors, too. And then factor in 20-30 ducks and geese, at least 2 dogs, up to 4 cats, assorted birds, guinea pigs, etc, and the rest of the family being utterly slobbish and almost going out of their way to make things dirtier. It was a totally impossible task.
I actually stood my ground against Mum’s demands, insisting that I be able to go to the gym nearby every day, and look for work – and we had a huge fight about it – but it was a step forward for me to stand my ground against them. In the end, I still paid, AND worked, and took a few hours in the morning to go to the gym and do my stuff – but the rest of the time I was her ‘employee’.
That holiday was hell. I literally crossed off the days until the hostel reopened. My brother was STILL violent, and now my bed was in his part of our shared bedspace – as a bunk bed as it was originally, and because it was sagging, it meant I slept with this huge monstrous man-child’s bed about a centimetre from my face and always threatening to to collapse on me. He would throw things under at me, and even cut through his mattress to push a pipe through to pour water (hopefully only water..) on me. He was still sexually inappropriate and was constantly flashing me. His temper tantrums were as scary as they used to be resulting in my finally fleeing this house in the first place.
Finally, the holidays came to an end, and I packed up my bags ready to catch the bus, train and bus back to the hostel. I was set to go, when I was stopped by Mum and my older sister. They refused to let me go without going through all my belongings searching for stuff that I might have stolen. This was the first I had heard of it the entire time I had been there – but apparently I had been stealing LOTS of money from Mum, from my older sister too, jewellery (she still wore tacky costume stuff which I turned my nose up at anyway) and various ‘things’ which again, I never actually knew of. And it was my sister, who again had done this. I was told that they had gone into my brother’s room because my sister wanted to point out the curtains to Mum (as if they didn’t know that they were hanging in ribbons, shredded by my brother in his rages, plainly visible from the door and from outside and very old news). Apparently when they had been in there, my sister had seen stuff in the bunk bed I slept in – pushed down the side of it. I think she must have X-ray vision, but also, ESP. In reality, she’d put whatever ‘things’ she had taken down there and then taken my mother in to find them in front of her, thereby concreting ‘evidence’ that I had stolen them.
I begged Mum to believe that I had not done it – but she was completely in my sister’s thrall. The betrayal was so acute that it truly did hurt like someone stabbing me – I completely understand where the saying ‘stabbed in the back’ comes from. I even began to search my own mind, my own memories, for any gaps. Wondered if I had some split personality where a part of me I wasn’t aware of was doing all these horrible things. There were absolutely no gaps in my memories – indeed my time there had been packed full of hard endless work in the house. But it’s a horrible feeling to be doubting your own self.
As I’d missed the bus, my mother actually drove me to the hostel (actually, because of my mother’s stinginess with things like that for me). On the way, she told me that she had a will, and that I should be very careful how I behaved if I wanted to benefit from that will.
I said “I don’t want anything of yours. I don’t care about your will. All I want from you, is for you to actually love me. And you don’t, you don’t love me enough to see when you are being taken for a fool by [sister] to make you believe I’ve done those things.”
Now, that house stands abandoned, and I am completely cut off from those people. For more than a decade, I tried and tried and tried to forge good relations with all of them, despite everything that had happened. It was rebuffed at every turn, with only more upset and hurt caused towards myself. My mother became more and more toxic towards me (towards everyone - these days she’s pretty much a loner, living amongst her junk, living out her fantasies in her marshmallow world, having alienated everyone who ever cared for her.) My brother seemed to have turned a corner, but too soon his true colours showed. My older sister never stopped trying to hurt me at every opportunity.
And so the decision to ‘vanish’ from their lives was made, action taken, and here I am. I think about it all the time – have pangs about having ‘abandoned’ my family – but the truth is that they abandoned me a long time ago – abandoned me as a sister and daughter and only kept me around as a punching bag and scapegoat.
Irony does exist. I do know my sister does still communicate with my mother. I have a feeling she’s waiting to relieve her of all her worldly belongings as soon as she gets a chance – the way I watched my mother relieve older relatives, and older neighbours, of theirs. The vulture becoming the prey picked over by a new vulture. Life has it’s natural cycles that do tend to play out like this.
This is why I fully believe that people CAN be utterly cruel and remorseless towards others, to even act in ways that can potentially incriminate themselves because they know that they have the power to turn it around to make themselves look as white as snow, and they know that they are more powerful than anyone around them and if people suspect them, they will never say it out of pure fear.
And it’s why I have been watching this whole blogging community drama over the past few months with interest – to have ‘met’ another person so much like my evil older sister has been quite an eye-opener for me. On one hand, I’m watching with the knowledge from my experiences, on the other hand, I’m learning more about creatures like these through observation now. God forbid I ever run into yet another person this horrid – but if I do, I will have a full weaponry of knowledge with which to protect myself.