Starting this particular string of thoughts has been especially difficult considering the sheer emotional breadth of the topic.
I don’t have many regrets, but among the handful (maybe even less than a handful) is my less-than-favorable relationship with my brother, especially when we were younger. I feel the repercussions now. I feel largely responsible for our personality differences, and I feel it will eat at me slowly until I take my last breathe. Even now, as I write this, I feel the shock waves that accompany actions of such magnitude.
I have hazy memories of him as a child, sort of mischievous but altogether a happy kid. But I think years of shunning him and calling him names and trying to exclude him, all things only the worst of the worst older brothers do, took control subconsciously within him. Of course, I am no psychologist, nor am I anyone with knowledge pertaining to this issue credible enough to take seriously, but I’ve always been good at combining my gut feelings with very good educated guesses and arriving at plausible conclusions.
He’s quiet and reserved now (around me. He may be different around his friends in college. I know he’s different around my cousins.), which isn’t necessarily bad. He even still has time to change. College has that kind of effect on people who pass through. Like light through a prism. But I can’t help but think that were I the kind of older brother I would want as a boy, he would be more like me.
But I’m thinking now: Isn’t that very narcissistic of me? How vain am I to think that my brother is emotionally affected because he isn’t like me?
Maybe it’s selfishness. I don’t deny the plausibility. But I still do regret being a dick to him for so long during a period in which he was so vulnerable. And I think it actually has affected him, at least a little. Maybe it’s positive. Maybe not. Only he really knows.
As for now, all I can really do is talk to him and be the best brother I can. He deserves more than that, but it’s all I have.