My thoughts about the incident have been flipping back and forth between trying to understand what may have caused him to behave this way towards me, and trying to find ways to protect myself from this type of hurt in the future.
I don't agree...at all...with the many of my brother's social and political views, nor the anger that those views tend to bring out in him. And yet, his love of family has always been deep and strong. At family gatherings, this love shines through. When our Dad was injured last year, my brother was the closest one at hand to help out. He made the 2-3 hour round-trip drive several days in a row to be there. My knowlege of his capacity for love caused me to feel even more blindsided by his verbal attack. I didn't see it coming.
My emotional skin is on the thin side. I admire people who have thicker emotional skin. Reading about Connie Rice's ability to walk confidently into a room of 1,000 people and 5 panelists, who all disagree with her on the topic being discussed, and ultimately sway many of them to her viewpoint is so cool. I'm glad there are people like her out there, but that ain't me...yet.
Looking at the factors that may have caused my brother to behave this way, Fox News is definitely implicated. Many of the phrases he spewed at me came straight from Fox News and/or their affiliates. Propaganda techniques have been in use throughout history and many of them are now accepted advertising strategies. Manipulating people's emotions alters the way they think, which alters their actions. Fox News has employed these techniques on a level that one has to question morally and ethically.
An article by Dr Cynthia Boaz on the Fourteen Propaganda Techniques Used by Fox "News" gave me some helpful insight. Then I started reading Tobin Smith's book Foxocracy. He was a Fox News contributor and guest anchor for 14 years. He lays out in detail the techniques intentionally used to manipulate people. He points out that being able to recognize these techniques makes them less effective. It's good for all of us to know when we're being subject to propaganda techniques, because they're being used on us everywhere to some degree.
With all I'm learning about the impact of heavy metals on our mental and emotional health, my brother's work as as airplane mechanic is quite likely a contributor. Then we can toss on top of this the stresses relating to the pandemic and country-wide civil unrest, plus anything else that may be going on in his life that I don't know about. Any combination of these could have been influencing factors, which helped my understanding of what may have caused him to behave the way he did, but it wasn't helping me feel safer.
Protecting myself while the wound was still fresh has been a top priority. Since my brother and I live a few hundred miles away from each other and COVID has put a halt to any family gatherings for the foreseeable future, I had time to work through this. I was grateful for that.
I've been focusing on healing my emotional wound and figuring out ways to protect myself from being attacked like this again. I was making some progress in the healing, but soon realized that I was not in control of his behavior. This left me feeling dependent on his willingness to change in order for me to feel safe.
Then I came across a video clip by Kyle Cease. In it he said, "The truth is not what's happening outside of you. The truth is what's happening inside of you."
That's when I realized my mistake. I was giving my brother my power. I was allowing him to determine how I feel, giving him power over my emotions. If my healing and strength are dependent on his choices, then I've just given him control over me. Awareness is such an essential step!
That's when the light bulb went off. I had to take back my power and keep it. It's mine to use for my highest good. It was not meant to be given away.
To be truly safe, I need to focus on strengthening and stabilizing my inner self. To not let what's going on outside of me determine how I feel internally. Having compassion for myself needs to be my foundation.
With this new perspective, I now see what I need to do. I need to work on thickening up my emotional skin. To not be so affected by what other people think of me. To be able to use my voice and accept that others have the right to not like what I have to say. I may say things imperfectly. I may not get my point across as clearly as I'd like. And sometimes I may be wrong. And that's okay. I'm human. And humans cannot achieve perfection.
Emotional healing, like physical healing, is a three steps forward, two steps back process. At times I will falter and slip back into my old ways, but I'll just brush myself off, learn a bit more, and get back on track. I've made great progress in reducing the physical causes of my worry and anxiety, thanks to Medical Medium information. This improved internal calmness has made it possible for me to start working through my emotional triggers and begin altering how I respond to them.
I am grateful to my brother for providing me the opportunity to learn this lesson. As my emotions calm, my pain reduces, and my path for healing becomes clearer, compassion for my brother is slowly starting to grow. I don't know what our relationship will be like going forward, since that's not entirely my choice, but I do know that I'll be fine regardless of what he decides.
In one of my emails to him, I signed off with the word "Love." He responded that it was too late for that. I know for a fact that he is wrong about this. It's never too late for love, as long as compassion is riding along beside it.