I don’t like it when people touch me, neither does Mark.
Luke has always been an affectionate guy.
Maybe it just boils down to personal preference. We had the same upbringing.
We remember the bite marks on our arms, the scratches, head butts, eye pokes, kicks, punches…that we received from our autistic brother Matt.
My dad seemed afraid to hit or hug me. He would tickle my brothers and I which was miserable because he just wouldn’t stop when we told him to.
Touch was not usually a good thing, but I did like my grandma’s hugs.
My dad was not gentle in any way. He would squeeze my mother in hugs too tight until she would cry out…stop you are hurting me. Her cries would draw in my little brothers. They would jump on my dad and try to get him to let go while he swung at them like pesky mosquitoes. It was all a game.
Now Luke was a mama’s boy, which really seemed to bother my dad. If anyone tattled on Luke, he would get it. Mark and I never got spankings, but Luke always seemed to get in trouble. He hated my dad and did a lot of things to bother him like cutting the cords on his electronics. Mark and I never really did the things that would fuel my dad’s anger.
There are some things I feel bad about. Sometimes my dad would fly off the handle with Luke about minor things that I tattled about. There was also a period of time that Luke looked to me to be a second mother. He clung to me and I pushed him away.
There were times when my dad was a little rough with Luke and Matt. But most of the scars came from Matt. He would out of the blue attack someone. It would bother me that no one told him what he was doing was wrong. In fact, if we tried to defend ourselves or retaliate, we were punished. He couldn’t help it, but we could.
It was always hard to see Matt hurt someone, stranger or friend. Sometimes we could see the signs beforehand that he was was agitated. I always felt guilty that I couldn’t stop it from happening. Sometimes I felt responsible for it. Maybe if I noticed sooner, I could’ve stopped it. Why should I feel responsible for my brother’s actions?
His actions had a direct effect on my life. It was the reason that friends weren’t allowed to come to our house. It was the reason I lost friends. It was the reason for my isolation. Matt was so violent that he wasn’t allowed in school for 3 years. A teacher came to our house for Matt. My mom pulled us all out of school. I spent one year of middle school and two years of high school at home. I only saw my friends a couple times a month.
My cats became my friends. Sometimes Matt would hurt them. If they tried to come in the house, my dad would pick them up by the tail and throw them out. But I always let them sneak in my bedroom window.
There was nothing normal about my childhood. Yet here I am trying to live a normal life.