My sister began beating me when I was old enough to walk. She began emotionally abusing me while I was still in the womb. She cried when I was born. She told my mom she wanted a brother. I know better: she didn't want anyone competing with her. Had I been a boy, the abuse would still have been there.
She wasn't always abusive towards me. Sometimes she could be very nice. She made me a treasure chest out of an old Quaker Oats box, and every day when I came home from school, I checked it to see if there were any presents in it: a candy bar, a mini stuffed animal, once a hand drawn maze. She took me to the library and to the secondhand store, once spending a dime on a teddy bear for me. She introduced me to BBC radio, which played Star Wars, A Canticle For Liebowitz and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the radio plays.
But the majority of my memories of my sister are of the violence. The kick to the stomach when I was five, which knocked the wind out of me. The time she rammed my head into a wall so hard she punched a hole in the plaster. She would get right in my face and scream - not yelling, SCREAMING - at me that I was ugly, stupid, would never EVER be pretty or smart, I would always be a loser, I would never have a boyfriend, etc etc. After her punches and kicks and tirades were exhausted, she would order me not to tell mom, because mom wouldn't believe me anyway and mom would be mad at both of us for fighting and it was just as much my fault as it was hers, etc etc.
I didn't tell my mom. Turns out, I didn't have to. During my sister's first year in high school, one of her classmates came to our house one afternoon while Sis was at soccer practice. The classmate's mother was with her. They sat down in our living room and proceeded to tell us that my sister had been telling everyone that she was being abused at home by our mother, showing off self inflicted bruises and claiming to have been beaten. The classmate knew this wasn't true, because she'd hung out with my sister all summer and knew my mom wasn't like that. Apparently, my sister had some friends from rich families, and she was trying to finagle a way into their lives, hoping that one of them would take her in and give her everything she wanted. My mother - post divorce - was poor. She was struggling to support us in the economic ruin of the early 80s. We were latchkey kids. We had meatloaf a lot. We had secondhand clothes. But we were NEVER abused, in any way shape or form by my mother, EVER.
My sister came home to holy hell. The secret was out and the shit hit the fan. But even as angry as my mom was (and had every right to be) she still did not hit my sister, or insult her, or threaten her. She told my sister that no rich family was going to take her in, and that it was more likely that all she would accomplish with her lies would be to get her imprisoned and both myself and her sorted out to foster homes who were far more likely to inflict actual abuse. My sister would not admit to any wrongdoing. She called her classmate a liar. And that's when I exploded and yelled at her that SHE was the liar, and had been beating me all along. She was furious with me, but nowhere near as furious as my mother.
I don't remember what happened after that. I know she was grounded for a very long time. But it's not like my mom could kick her out of the house. The abuse continued, my mother did what she could, but it was the early 80s. There wasn't any real public acknowledgment of sibling abuse: that was just the way things were. Siblings were mean to each other, it was part of growing up.
I don't blame my mother. I blame only my sister, who is still every bit as angry and manipulative at age 52 as she was as a kid. Neither my mother nor myself have anything to do with her. We moved 4,000 miles away to escape her toxicity and, for all intents and purposes, disowned her. She lives in California, inexplicably married (to a man 15 years her junior whom she convinced needed her), thankfully childless and thoroughly convinced that she is superior to most everyone in every way. We have not spoken to her for 5 years now, and it's a relief. I no longer have a sister. Hallelujah, amen.