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I would have never known I was suffering the aftermath of psychological abuse if I hadn’t met such amazing people in my life. They pointed out things to me I thought was normal. The fact I apologize way too much. How I try to accommodate people immediately, as though the fate of the world depends on me. My extreme attachments to people even before I really knew them and how I unrealistically idealize people while forgetting my own needs and wants.
Growing up, I loved her. We had good times… though I can’t really recall any pleasant memories. I do remember her doing my makeup a lot when I was seven years old. Getting my hair and face pulled and tugged at was excruciatingly boring, I just wanted to play! I remember her telling me, “I’ll play outside with you when I’m finished.” She promises me a lot of things. She promises me we’ll jump rope, play on trampoline, and go swim. She doesn’t really play with me though, I’m just a little mannequin to her. She’s manipulative.
She asks me about boys and crushes. She tells me I’m not pretty enough, though she encourages me to talk to my crushes. She says I lack attractive physical features which she possesses, I believe her. I also believe her when she tells me, my crush likes her and not me. She’s so beautiful and perfect I think, I really love my older sister and wish I could be just like her.
As the years go on, she becomes more and more hateful towards me. I don’t understand why. She calls me many names, such as fat, ugly, and disgusting. It really shatters me. I eat my feelings a lot and feel bad that somebody I love and care about disapproves of me. I don’t question it though. I accept it. When my father buys a puppy and asks me what we should name it, I tell him “Bear.” We agree on it. As he leaves I get met with nasty hurtful comments from my sister that breaks my heart. She reminds me that I’m unimportant and that the puppy isn’t for me, it’s for my mom. My feelings are hurt and I want to cry but I don’t. I detach and hide in my room, when my dad asks again. I tell him he can name the puppy whatever he wants.
I make plenty of friends at school. They all comment on my sister. “She’s so nice… too nice,” they say when they meet her. The niceness doesn’t impress my friends, who see it as superficial. My sister informs me my friends are “fat, disgusting and worthless losers” once they leave. It doesn’t phase me because she doesn’t need to approve of my friends, I approve of my friends.
When I struggle with my classes in University and talk to my parents about how I’m stressed. My sister’s green feelings emerge once more. She blames me for not being a good enough student. She tells me I’m stupid and lazy, that everything is my fault. If only I put more effort in and spent more time at the library. She tells me she wishes I was never born. That my parents shouldn’t have had more kids. I’m genuinely shocked at this. That comment sends shivers down to my core. Why would you wish the person you love to not exist? Does she love me? I start to question it. I chalk it up to the fact she had a bad day. Later that same night she tries to cry on my shoulder while I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns. I tense up because it overwhelms me. It’s about her hating her body. I’m confused, there’s nothing wrong with her body.
We binge eat together. I already accepted that I had a slower metabolism, I didn’t believe in calories. My sister always ate my food and snacks and she was thin and beautiful. She had a faster metabolism. She brag and boast about it all the time. It was purely genetics. Her genetics were superior to mine, she says. She had the whole family fooled.
I brush my teeth with my new fluoride free Tom’s toothpaste. Outside the bathroom door I hear retching. She’s supposed to be showering. My mind puts the pieces together. She’s throwing up her food. I suddenly feel anger remembering the lies I been told. I feel violated. I keep quiet about it because I have to be imagining it.
Day after day I hear the retching as she showers. My room’s next to the bathroom. I listen to music really loud to drown it out because it frightens me. I love my body and think the act is barbaric. I try hard to forget about it. Her scent begins to nauseate me. I associate it with vomit and death. She uses scented candles to cover it. She doesn’t know that I know. She tells me she’s going on a diet and I notice she eats exactly the same. I realize that she’s abusing laxatives. She complains to me about stomach cramps and toe cramps. I’m scared for her, I want to tell someone.
I don’t even have a chance to tell my parents because she’s FaceTiming them crying. She says, “She’s really stressed out about her classes and acting up. She’s taking it out on me.” I can hardly process the situation. I just stand dumbstruck at the show. The tears, the crying, the whole made up story about me.
She comes in my room and she’s sympathetic. “It’s okay, I’m here for you,” she tells me, I’m suddenly the victim. She tries to rub my back but I can see something else in her eyes. I see emptiness and hatred in her eyes. I tell her to get out. I shout it over and over again. She’s extremely persistent. She doesn’t want to leave me alone. I have a crazy fear of her suddenly. Who is she?
When I finally lock the door on her. I begin to cry. I feel like my world’s falling apart. My parents believe her. My stomach does repeated flips and I want to run away. “I love you,” she said those words to me while I was screaming at her to get out. My gut feeling tells me she doesn’t mean them. I feel so numb inside. I shut down and sit on my bed. I shake and sob. The look in her cold brown eyes ingrained in my mind. I know inside she doesn’t love me. I sit in confused numb silence. What is real and what is fake? My family doesn’t believe or listen to me. I have nobody.
Only after 3 years away from her and months of self reflecting. I finally trust my intuition and gut feelings again. I finally accept that I never really had a sister. The person I loved never really existed.