Today They’d Call It Oppositional Defiant Disorder

My brother was hospitalized in the “Psychiatric Clinic” for about six weeks.  It didn’t look so bad to me.  You talked to shrinks, got fed on a regular basis, and didn’t have to go to school.  I was in shock as to how someone could simply be out of school for an extended period of time; such a thing was unheard of for me.  I brought my brothers assignments home and they were delivered to my brother at the clinic.

I wasn’t brought to visit my brother that often; apparently, I was a big part of the problem.  My brother was seeking attention, and insanely jealous of any positive attention I received.  His anger and issues were the result of this, in an effort to gain “negative attention” which was seen unconsciously by him as better than no attention at all.

My sister and I half choked on the diagnosis of attention seeking anger.  My brother was the only boy and gained a certain amount of notoriety with both parents just by virtue of that fact.  He had been getting more attention than either of us for years due to his misbehavior;  the amount currently being lavished on him seemed like a reward for those negative behaviors.  It came out that my brother had been smoking both pot and cigarettes, that he drank when given the opportunity, and everyone was worried about where all of that might lead.    My sister and I just shook our heads.  While our parents were off at the clinic for visiting hours, we were left at home alone….again.

Eventually, my brother was deemed well enough to be released from the clinic and sent home.   We were all signed up for family therapy and sent home.

It took just a few weeks to realize that my brother had quickly realized exactly what his therapists wanted to hear him say so that they would be willing to send him home.  During one particular screaming match, my brother pushed me across the room and I fell against plant stand against the sliding glass door.  As I slid downward toward the floor, the sharp corner caught the edge of my shirt and cut a six inch long scar into my chest and abdomen.  My brother yelled at me that it was my fault that I angered him enough to trigger his violent outburst.

I stood, stunned, while my mother went to find the camera instead of the first aid supplies.   Photographic evidence would be necessary if we were going to convince any one that my brother needed more help.   I just stood there, bleeding, and wondering what catastrophic thing would finally have to happen to make it all stop.

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