I drove Daddy’s truck home from the hospital, and my brother drove his own. I then picked him up, and we drove together to my house. In the dark, as I watched the windy road, he leaned strangely close to me and said, “Sis, I know you’ve been talking to A [my adult daughter] again since Mom died, but you can’t trust her. Just be careful. She’ll try to get close to you and then stab you in the back. I’m not trying to butt into your business. I’m just warning you, remember what she’s pulled in the past. I know she’s your daughter, but you can’t trust her.”

Six months prior to that night I’d run into my dad’s younger sister in the grocery store.  I hadn’t seen or talked to her in decades.  My children didn’t even know who she was, so I stood in the organic frozen section introducing them to their great aunt for the first time.  She wanted to be certain that I would convey to my brother how much she missed and loved him, too.

His response was, “Be careful with Aunt L.  You can’t trust her.  I don’t think you know everything she pulled when Grandma died.  She’ll act all sweet and then stab you in the back.”

It was that way with everyone, from family members to women he was dating or dated in the past to old family friends.  “She’ll just pump you for information and then use it against you.”  “Be careful.  You can’t trust him.”  “He’s a pathological liar.”  “She’ll stab you in the back.”

I didn’t realize those were personal warnings.  I had never heard of statement analysis.  I had never learned to read between the lines.

Many of us have little one liners we use frequently.  My dad was originally from the South and had been in the Navy, so his were often rough and always funny.  “Whooee, it’s colder than a whore’s heart out here.”  “Well, if ya back up against a buzz saw, how do ya know which tooth bit ya?”

My husband had a favorite…….”People look at you as either an asset or a liability.”  I swear he said it daily.  It was almost always used as a means of gaining sympathy for himself.  Sometimes it was used to put down the people in my life.  As friends’ or family members’ own lives got busy or they had their own personal crises, he would try to convince me that they were ignoring me because I’d become a liability in their lives.  It was his standard excuse as to why he had no friends.  He claimed that because he was poor or we had “too many kids” his old friends didn’t want to come around.  He’d follow it up with an excuse for why he just stayed around the house all of the time, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, just stay on the porch.”

Again, I didn’t realize that was a personal warning.  Looking back, I certainly should have.

He’d been visiting with his third wife and his parents at his parents’ house when we were first married.  He came home and proudly announced to me that his dad had told him, in reference to me, “Boy, Son, stick with her, and you’ll have all the toys you want.”  Interpretation–I was an asset.  I was a hard worker, a smart woman, and my kids and I had things.  By hitching himself to me, he was certain to get a piece of that financial pie.

After I went down in January 2011, his cruelty increased.  He sat and coldly watched me attempt to crawl across the floor, swaying back and forth, unable to navigate my body where I wanted it to go.  He sat and stared at me as my skin turned funny colors and told me that I deserved the lag on the right side of my face because I’d mocked someone years earlier.  He excitedly told the kids, “If Mom dies we’ll sell everything and move to Alaska!”  The kids didn’t share in his excitement; they were horrified.  He sat with me and listened to the doctors say, “This is potentially life threatening.  Don’t try to drive in.  Just call 911.  And, you MUST have the brain MRI.”  He went home and dropped a tree across the driveway so that no one could get in or out.

He made it clear that he was not going to try to come up with the money for my medical care.  One day, in misery, unable to see out of my right eye, in excruciating pain, blood pressure elevated, staggering, I begged him to try to get a job so that I could go to the doctor.  I begged him, “I need you to do something for me.”  His solution was to go to the welfare office.  He found a victim there and lied his way through her lunch hour.  She gave him food stamps without a shred of proof of anything he claimed.  (I have to admit, he is good at it.  He has mastered crying pathetic and lying.) He also brought me an application for social security and told me to fill it out.  Of course, it required that I be working and already have a diagnosis confirmation and treatment plan, neither of which we could afford.  I thought he missed the point.

I was the one who missed the point.  I had become a serious liability.  The only way I could return to asset status was to die, so he could get social security for the kids.

Three months later I was still without medical care when he left.  He was on the rampage that day and had been target practicing with silent ammunition.  He hates guns and says they’re for nothing but murder.  He had recently said that a man who shot his wife and her divorce attorney had “a set of balls.”  Now, he suddenly found it important to see how silent ammunition worked.  The kids and I found it more than strange.  We all stood back to back and defended ourselves against him.  I think he realized that the two older boys would take him.  Maybe it was just the sheer number of us.  But, he left.  He left me sick without any money or means of provision.

People hear that and say, “What a jerk!”  “What an A-hole!”  But, in his mind, he was just doing what he had to do.  I had become a liability, and he needed to get rid of me.  He could see that he would never have toys as long as he was with me.  I could no longer wait on him and cater to him.  In fact, he may have to wait on me and take care of me as I became more and more incapacitated.

If I had read about statement analysis and understood telegraphing I could have clearly seen twenty years ago that those conversations had a background sound of, “I’m just warning you.  Remember what I’ve pulled in the past.  Sis, you can’t trust me.  I know I’m your brother, but you can’t trust me.”  And, “I view you as either an asset or a liability.  I know I made vows to love you and honor you in sickness or in health, but if you ever get to a point where you can’t provide for me or wait on me I’ll have to 86 you.”