Family dysfunction

I realize a lot of people have some degree of dysfunction in their family, but once you introduce suicide into the picture, you realize that your family probably was pretty screwed up.

My dad’s mother experienced a physical and mental breakdown when she was just in her 30s, which resulted in my dad, his brother, and sister needing the care of their aunt for an entire year. My mom was born and raised in Vietnam, where she saw the war happen right in front of her eyes, and had to actually witness her two brothers get shot and killed right at their home. After my parents got married, my dad took my mom back here to the States, where she had to endure constant verbal abuse and yelling from my dad’s mom, who rejected her because she was Vietnamese (seen as lesser in the eyes of an old-school Chinese mother) and spoke only broken English when she first arrived. My brother grew up with low self-esteem due to bullying at a young age, hyper-critical and verbally and physically abusive parents, and jobs where he was verbally demeaned. He attempted suicide for the first time at the age of 17 (when I was 11 1/2 years old), and was then diagnosed with clinical depression, multiple anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder shortly after. My dad and his living brother and sister do not communicate unless they are obligated to when I come home or when a family wedding or funeral happens. My brother never finished college and never had a job to fully support himself financially, so because of that, many family members rejected him and looked at him like he was lesser – even our own parents. They treated him that way, as well, and continued to do so until the last day of his life. And this is not even all of it.

So when you look at all the above in my family’s history, it kind of might make you think, no wonder Ed was so fed up with the world and ended his life. I escaped all of that when I left home in 2004, and I don’t think I’ve ever made a better decision. But what makes me feel so horrible is that I was able to escape myself, but I wasn’t able to take him with me. All the time when I was in college or here working in New York, I’d get massive guilt pangs, thinking about how I was enjoying myself and learning and loving, and my Ed was not. Like in a dream I had my senior year of college when I was deciding where to move (or not to move) after school finished, it was as though he cut himself up into pieces and stuck himself in a box in our house, and there was nothing I could do to save him. I feel that even more so now that he is not on this earth with me. I just hate everything and almost everyone today. Too much pettiness and negativity exists in this world, and Ed realized how pointless it all was, and he decided he didn’t want it anymore. How can anyone want any of that?

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