My relationship with my older brother became symbiotic during this time. We became very dependent on each other for support. We were both drowning in a sea of unhappy family life and we clung to each other for support. We helped each other through some very difficult childhood traumas which made us very close. We would turn to each other for emotional support when one of our parents unleashed their anger on us. We hung out together a lot during the summer months if we weren’t with one of our friends. We also became adept at reading our parents moods. We knew within seconds when my father was in one of his moods when he walked through the door. I developed a second sense about people this way. I can spot the abusive person a mile away (unless it is someone I want to date) but that’s another time. I can read people very easily. My brother also has this ability and we developed it from a very early age. John could also be very mean to me when he was feeling unloved. He felt unloved by my parents frequently and he would often take this out on me or our younger siblings. He would punch me if he felt the need. I did not like him punching me, but I actually understood where the anger was coming from. I tolerated it because I did not have much choice since he was three years older than me, bigger and stronger than me. There was little I could do about it and besides I was used to being treated badly by the people who loved me.