Well, part 2 of Kendo's family adventures from the holiday season. I got to see my dear stepbrother Jack and his family, which doesn't happen often, and got to spend some one-on-one time with my brother. During the visit I was strongly reminded of why I don't call more often.
My brother is a sweet, kind, and generous man. He is a Grade A dear, and very likable in most respects. The problem is that he has some very fixed ideas about religion and other things, and enjoys lecturing. He has given up on converting our dad to his particular branch of our mutual religion, but he thinks he can still get me. When I try to explain my positions (which are generally similar to Dad's), my brother tends to assume that I am being a parrot, not that I am a 26-year-old woman who has been studying our holy book since I was 3, and that I have reached my own religious conclusions. I have studied his branch, and do not feel theologically comfortable with it, as I reached different conclusions from the same text, but I am not in my denomination simply because I was raised in it.
Besides this factor, there is also generally personality and political views that he feels I only have because of Dad. He still views me as a gentle and timid 8-year-old who was being beaten on a weekly basis by a mentally ill older sister, and the fact that I have grown up rather bold and brash is an alarming development, and one to be lectured on. He does not think me being a take-charge woman who loves to debate vigorously on a variety of topics is my true self, but that terrified rabbit I was when he met me was who I really am and who I'm meant to be.
I have grown up, and while I am similar to my Dad in a lot of ways (and my Dad is one cool guy, so there are a lot worse people I could emulate), I have my own opinions. In many cases, I just found what Dad said made the most sense when weighed against the other options. I admit I got a bit snappish with Jack when I was taking out the air mattress (he asked if I knew how to do it, despite the fact that I had told him the night before that I had slept on one for several months in college) and told him that I was not 8 anymore. I understand there will always be a Big Brother to Kid Sister protectiveness, but it's frankly insulting to be told that I am a parrot or that who I was when being abused was "more me" than the me who does not have to deal with abuse. I want to have a frank talk with my brother about this (and not snap at him again), but how do you politely tell someone they are being insulting, when they aren't being passive-aggressive and are obviously trying to come from a place of love?