For the past 16 months at least there has been an ongoing lie in my family. One brother asked another for money, (or his wife did), and asked him to say nothing (to our father). That brother told me, and asked me to say nothing. I've kept quiet for 16 months. Over time the feeling that something was very wrong grew inside, as did a strong sense that my silence was amounting to complicity, and protecting people who were behaving unethically.
Yeah, it was me. And I broke silence last week and told my father everything. When the brother who'd told me what was going on asked I felt compelled to be honest with him too. So he knows I've talked with my father.
To review. One brother swore another to secrecy, and believed he was keeping everyone in the dark. That brother told me and swore me to secrecy, with the first brother being in the dark--he didn't know that I know. I broke silence and now my father knows. He doesn't know that I told my brother that swore me to secrecy that he knows. So now, everyone knows, but the first brother, and his wife, who ironically are now in the dark.
Without revealing that he knew what he knows, my father says he talked to each of my brothers. He said one brother told him his version of reality (that is, that he stopped accepting money from his brother when my parents stepped in to help them with their monthly expenses) and the other one confirmed it.
If my parents helped them all of last year, and my brother helped them all of last year, in what universe did the one brother stop accepting money from the other when our parents "stepped in to help?"
My father wrote to me: "I have no choice but to believe that neither Kevin nor Dan would tell me a direct lie when I asked a direct question. So I have accepted their word..."
I responded: You're aware that what Kevin and Dan told you directly contradicts what I told you. And, it directly contradicts what Dan has been telling me for 16 months. I don't know how you can reconcile that.
My father hasn't called me a liar. Yet what's true is he is indicating that he is legitimizing their word as what he will consider real, which must exclude mine. The firmness of his tone says he wants no more discussion on this matter.
I wrote: I know you don't want to believe it, and maybe you can find a way to believe them and not think that I am a liar, because that's the way this squares...I stand by what I said, because it's the truth
His next message was about something else and did not address what I said.
I asked the lending brother how it could be true that he'd helped them in the last quarter of 2008, and all of 2009, and my parents had helped them in 2009--how could it then be true that he'd stopped giving them money when my parents started?
He has not answered me.
I'm just beginning to comprehend the implications of this. There is an official version. And my father has firmly "said" that he doesn't want to be backed into a corner with the Truth. We will act as if one brother gave the other money, for a little while, but stopped when the parents stepped in. The truth has no place in the official version...and where does that leave me? Hint: the wind blows cold, and the underside of the bus is greasy.
This is what I've been thinking about for days now. I haven't talked with them because I'm not sure how to. And that's what I'm trying to come to grips with.
What seems clear is that in my family a lie has more legitimacy than the truth, if it supports an image of the family. If Truth undermines the accepted version, well, then it is to be discarded.
In other news, tomorrow I go to talk to someone about a job. It's more of an informational interview--I'll be interviewing them as much as they me. I want to talk to a number of places and get a feel for which setting will be the best. I'm eager to get moving on the divorce process, so we can tell our sons and larger families and finally stop holding this secret. I'm thoroughly tired of secrets.