Originally Posted by Amy SF
I'm very sorry about this turn of events.
Also, although I'm not an expert, it seems to me that your brother may have been suffering from PTSD for a long time due to his experiences in Vietnam, and it has not been treated or perhaps even diagnosed.
Yes, this has occurred to me too. I was talking to my mother about it just today. It's one of the reasons I had hopes of getting to know him better, to get a clearer idea of what he actually went through. Shortly after he returned from the war, he told me of an occasion he had to sink a small wooden boat, using a large calibre machine gun. His ship was doing patrol work, searching small craft, off the vietnamese coast. He didn't go into a lot of detail, such as, did he kill someone, so I can only imagine what the experience was like for him. In his recent letter to mom- which she let me read- he said he has stayed away, because he didn't feel deserving to be part of our family, and said he had been depressed for a long time, without fully understanding why. I don't know if the 'diagnosis' of depression is from a doctor, or is his own. To my knowledge, which is limited, he's never had a psychiatric evaluation, but I really don't know.
It still doesn't explain the animosity he seems to have leveled squarely at me. He's agreed to meet with my sister. He says he wants to be reunited with mom. But me, after almost 30-years, he refuses to talk to, even to the point of hanging up the phone, at the mention of my name. You would think I had committed murder or worse. He told me, shortly after our dad died, that he and dad had become fairly close; on the other hand, my father and I never got along while he was alive, and unfortunately, he passed away, before we could come to terms. Maybe this has something to do with it. Or, maybe because, unlike my brother, I never served in the military, never "did my part," he holds resentment for it. I don't know. But to shut off all communication and refuse to speak to me, frankly, makes me feel like I'm dealing with a child. I can't help but wonder if his problems run deeper than just PTSD.
As for my sister, I think she too holds resentment toward me, because of the unfavorable relationship I had with our father, which, incidentally, isn't so uncommon between fathers and sons. She has so deified the memory of dad, as to put him on a pedestal, and I suppose, in her mind, anyone who didn't get along with him is by definition an evil person. What's funny is, over the years, my dad has visited me several times in dreams- yes, dreams- and he and I now have a pretty good working relationship.
Anyway, for the time being, I'm resolved to stay in the background and let them do their things, whatever those might be. If my brother is suffering with trauma, I sincerely hope he finds help with it.