I have a step-brother. And a step-sister. When I was 8 my brother was 18. My sister was 16. My parents divorced and my mother married their dad.

Sadly, it was not a happy-ever-after ending. My brother became an abusive shit. I watched him hit my mother. He chased me and my younger sister around with a knife. He stole things and was generally not very nice. We moved out and lived with my mum’s mum for a while. But sometimes he was very nice indeed – sweet and loving.

His sister, my sister, she was quite lovely. We have nice memories of her. Then she got pregnant and provided my step-dad with a granddaughter, which caused him to reject and abandon her, strict evangelical tosser. I despised him for that, whilst still loving him, especially when another sister did the same thing a decade or two later and he was fine with it and became very loving towards his grandson.

We moved when I was 9 and never saw my brother again. I haven’t heard a thing from him. I’ve stalked him and her on Facebook so I know they exist. They have smiling faces and small children.

A couple of days ago he made contact with my mum through Facebook, and 25-year-old family history swung round and metaphorically punched me in the face.

I’ve sometimes thought about making contact with my brother and sister. I don’t think I’m supposed to have compassion for abusers, but I do for this one. He was fucked up. His parents adopted him and then his mum suffered a long, horrible illness and died and then his dad remarried and brought a woman and two strange children into his life. His sister never did anything wrong but she was rejected by her dad. The two of them have no family at all.

Isn’t it natural for him to want to make contact with his family?

My mum is borderline hysterical about this and she utterly repulses me. From a tiny age, before all this, I was her prop, her support, her counsellor. I was told I was so loyal and she trusted me above all others and I was her closest friend and she loved me so much. I thought these were very good things so I stayed that way for a long time. But now not so much. I’ve worked hard to remove myself to a safe distance from her. What’s so great about being loyal anyway? If you can’t balance loyalty with discernment you just get fucked over and I got fucked over thanks to loyalty for a long time before I learned my lesson.

She’s telling me to block him and block my sister too just because it turns out that she has contact with him. Well, duh, they only have each other. Why should I block her because of that? According to my mum, he’s playing games, she always knew this would happen, he’s dangerous, not to be trusted. But her description of his words don’t match that and I think I’d like to make that decision for myself.

Right now I want him and her as far away from me as possible. They’re contaminating me. Filling my mind with the memories of an 8-year-old. A young man and flying fists. A woman falling, crying out. Me, hiding on the stairs. Me, listening to grown ups crying. Me, comforting my mother. Me, listening to my mother. Me, hugging a smiling young man. My dad’s house, dust particles in the air. My sister’s bedroom, me sitting on her bed. Me and my sister, in the back seat of our car as we ran away from our home.

Fuck that. Fuck all of them. Get away from me. I want to scrub and scrub and scrub the dirt off me. Their dirt. It’s disgusting. They’re disgusting.