SIBLING RIVALRY DUE TO INJUSTICE.
The memory is still with me. It was Sunday, December 15, 1991, and quite a hot day. I was about to turn 17. I had done some things for my parents and in the afternoon, my mother gave me a haircut and I had a shave and shower and wanted to relax with a cold drink and the newspaper, but my brother wanted to play cricket. I said no. He then pestered me and said, “A little game.” “No.” I really felt my resentment build up when my father said, “Have a little game with him,” when what I wanted him to say was, “Look, last weekend, while you were down at the beach with your friend, his father and his sister (and you probably played some beach cricket down there) (I remember a teacher at school, when my brother had gotten himself sunburnt, going up to him and angrily saying, “Don’t you EVER let me see your face sunburnt like that, again!”), Peter was helping us polish the caravan and did a few other chores for us. A caravan that he had no particular interest in, I might add. Yes, I took Peter to do the Japanese Proficiency Test on the Sunday, but while you, in the afternoon, were lying inside watching TV or playing on the computer, Peter was washing both the cars. I feel guilty that I didn’t help him, but he didn’t mind. So, cut Peter some slack, okay.”
A few weeks ago, I commented on how I was annoyed with my sister-in-law because I had to take my father to hospital and then go back and get him, and she works in another part of the hospital and my father saw her and texted her, as my brother was driving her home, and she asked if he needed a ride home and he said no, I was coming. She said that if he wasn’t collected by 5pm, she’d give him a lift. I was annoyed, in part, because I thought, “Well, if Dad was waiting for a lift, how did she think he got to the hospital? Well, he could have gone by bus, but if he was waiting in the transit lounge, how did she think he got there and how did she think he was getting home?”
Five days later, my father had to go for an operation, and, to my annoyance, my sister-in-law took a day off work and came over with my brother, nephew and niece. Why was I annoyed? Well, two reasons. Okay, I had to take my father to hospital at 5am, that was okay, then I had to put the TV on and get the towels ready for when the carers came to give my mother a shower, and I also saw to some laundry, and then, I had to wash the towels after my mother had had her shower. Then, I had to go and get my father when the hospital called. Okay, I didn’t want them to come over until 10:30–10:45am, or better still, ring at 10am and ask how I was going, but they arrived at 9:45am. Why was I annoyed and why did I not want them over until later? Well, firstly, when there are chores to be done, I prefer to sort out in my mind what needs to be done, so, that morning, it was to do a load of washing out of the hamper, then unload the dishwasher, bring the laundry trolley into the laundry, unload the washing and put it on the clothesline. I like to have the chores that need to be done completed by the time my niece and nephew arrive, but what happened? Well, aside from my nephew liking to use the laundry trolley as a racing cart, and he one day, filled a laundry basket with mud, so, I then had to go and find the trolley, that my nephew had taken out into the backyard, and when I put the washing out, my sister-in-law then asked my mother if she wanted my brother to mow the lawn! And I had a line full of washing! And, my nephew plays with the hose!
A friend of mine made a video about autistic parents needing a break from their kids, which is one reason why I didn’t have kids. The same applies to nieces and nephews. What is needed is to let your autistic aunt or uncle do their chores without you, and then you can possibly have some time. And for parents to stop making their autistic kid the scapegoat.