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#413968 - 10/22/12 07:14 PM Who are we?
His Lil Sis Offline

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 3
My older brother has revealed that he was abused by a neighbor and his son. He says our parents chose not to acknowledge it to "save face" in the community.

I am so confused now. Does this mean everything I have believed about my childhood is a lie? This didn't happen to me, I didn't know it was happening to him. I cannot fathom that our Dad knew and chose to ignore it. That simply isn't who our Dad was. He would NEVER have allowed anyone to hurt his children. EVER. But what if? WHAT IF? If this is true...that our parents would prefer to sacrifice their child to a monster than cause scandal in the community....then I really don't know who they are. Or were. And I don't know who I am.

The neighbor AND his son are dead and have been for some time. Our Dad died in 1993. So I have no one to turn to for explanation or answer. My brother has nothing to gain by making false accusations. So how can this be true and yet so wildly different from everything I have ever known about our life as children? I played at the neighbors house too. And I swear that no one ever touched me. I've never once felt as though I had repressed memories of such abuse. I really have great memories of growing up in our little neighborhood and I'm thankful for that. Our parents didn't drink too much or hit each other, they came to our softball games and took us on fun family vacations. My Dad took me to see the Harlem Globetrotters every year, just the 2 of us, because it made me laugh out loud. He built soap box cars with my brother. How can this be the same man who turned the other way when the neighbor abused his only son? It can't be. It just doesn't compute for me.

And denial of the this possibility must mean I don't believe my brother. Right? I would never betray him. I love and support him. I want to help him heal so he can enjoy the rest of his life free of this burden.

But how can HIS Dad be the same as MY Dad? How can my memories of a happy and safe childhood be so wrong?

Who am I now?

#413975 - 10/22/12 08:52 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
You are someone who has had her eyes opened to how the world sometimes actually works.

What was the power dynamic between the alleged abuser and your father? That could help understand why it could have been possible for your parents to betray their son.

Also, don't underestimate the power of denial. Your parents could have been in denial of the effects of the abuse on your brother because to acknowledge the abuse would be to admit that they failed to protect their son. Therefore, denying it is much easier than admitting it, especially when the taboo enforced by the wider culture makes not talking about it very easy.

Does any of that make sense?

I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#413989 - 10/22/12 11:48 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
This happened in my family. My oldest aunt recovered repressed memories of abuse at the hands of my grandfather. NONE of her siblings have those memories. They have stood in support of her, even while their memories of their childhoods are significantly different.

YOU define who you are. Stay brave. It will be okay.

#413990 - 10/23/12 12:02 AM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1

Cant_remember has it in spades.

And don't forget you were raised within the cloak of deception. Your brother likely became a masterful actor (as most of us do). If this happened in the 50s, 60s, 70s...disclosure simply did not happen. It did not happen on SO many levels and in SO many venues.

Usually, back then,discovery caused the knowledge...the pulling back of the sheets, but not disclosure. Back then.

Back then! What a freakin loaded phrase that is!

Back then it was shameful to be the parent of a boy repeatedly abused or even one-time raped. If "something was happening" between an older child and a younger one, it was "just children experimenting."

It was not even a crime when it happened to me. It was not a legal trespass of any sort for an older minor to "do that" to a younger BOY. Girls were different.

But let's say Dad did bring junior to the police and had an impossible conversation with the duty-chief. Chances are Jr would have demanded an about-face before reaching the front door of the police station. Dad would have happily complied.

If they made it to the interview...
If brother spilled it all...
If Dad could sit through hearing it...
If Sgt Mulrooney could endure...

There would have been every effort made back then to talk brother out of thinking this a crime, but it was not to continue...the neighbor boy should be spoken to, or if no one had the balls to do that, every effort ought to have been made to avoid being alone with him.

Back then, the adults felt free to fill our little back-packs to the rim with pain and horror and tears. They were damned good at shipping that pack of pain from back then to today...when they would all be dead...and brother would be ...

#413992 - 10/23/12 12:17 AM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4284
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
under our own roof -
only i was affected.
mom did not know or would not believe it.
3 younger brothers were untouched and unscathed.
only i knew because i was the chosen victim.
step-dad was guilty but in denial.
but i knew...
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#414072 - 10/23/12 06:01 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: cant_remember]
His Lil Sis Offline

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 3
The power dynamic? Well, at the time OUR Father was perceived as the more powerful. The neighbor was one of those insanely rich but lives like a hobo kind of guys. No one knew they had multiple homes, airplanes and money in the bank. He wore the same nasty jeans every day that I can remember. He was strange, but no more so than any reclusive neighbor.

We lived in a very typical mid western middle class neighborhood where every Mom was your Mom and every Dad was your Dad. If you mis-behaved and your Mom wasn't watching, the neighbor Mom WAS and she could and would intervene. Does this mean that ALL of them simply allowed this to happen? How could that be? When one of the Mom's developed a prescription drug addiction ALL of the adults had an intervention and took care of her family while she was away. Would these same people just LIVE with the knowledge that Mr. S and his kid were doing this to the children?

Our parents got along with the neighbor and his wife and often shared dinners at their home. If there was ANY inkling that this was going on I don't think they would share a meal with these people.

But I guess I could be very wrong, indeed. It's just such a foreign thought to me because my Dad was a protective man of his wife and kids. Everything he did he did for us. Why would he 'fall down on the job' in this one regard?

My brother says he has worked through it and when he gets angry he writes it down. But that is not true. He is VERY angry and VERY intolerant of others and when he lashes out it HURTS. If anyone should disagree with him about anything - big or small - he is dismissive and wants nothing more to do with them. He can be so mean...

We were always close. He was a good big brother. But now? I'm afraid of him. Afraid to say the wrong thing and be another one banished from his life. There is hardly anyone left that he deems acceptable. Soon, there won't be anyone.

I want to help him. I want him to feel joy in the time he has left in his life. He drinks too much, smokes and doesn't take care of himself. He can't live long this way. I just want him to experience happiness. But I am powerless if he refuses to admit that he is not, in fact, over it.

I have to pick a side don't I? Either I support my brother and accept that our parents were imposters. Or I support our parents and leave my brother alone in his misery. I lose either way. No matter what..............we aren't who I spent the last 46 years thinking we were.

Does this mean I have to hate my Dad because he does? Does this mean I have to be hateful towards our Mom because he is? What do I do? How do I keep a family intact that is so very, very broken?

#414074 - 10/23/12 06:13 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
Blue1966 Offline

Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
You can love your parents and your brother. Being there and being supportive to him does not mean picking sides. It means you acknowledge that things were kept from you, and things happened to him that didn't happen to you. You accept that he is not going to see your parents the same as you do.

You had different childhoods, neither of you can simply throw what you experienced away but, that does not mean you can't believe one another and be good brothers to each other.

As for saying the wrong thing, you probably will sooner or later. It happens, we are only humans after all. When it does, all you can do is apologize and, hope he accepts that and does not shut you out of his life.

#414078 - 10/23/12 07:18 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
Magellan Offline

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1598
Loc: California

I'm sorry to hear your brother is acting this way. I can understand your pain, and I can understand his anger. I'm a survivor. I have the same anger, and have been working like hell to get rid of it. Unsuccessfull so far.

If you have a problem with your brother's drinking, I highly recommend you check out a few Alanon meetings. It is a 12 step group specifically for people who have relationships with alcoholics. You may not have the power to save him, but you can work towards finding serenity and acceptance, which are better than feeling angry and responsible for your brother. I'm sure you already know that trying to take responsibility or expressing anger at his actions doesn't do anything except make him feel more justified in his anger.

Spoken from the bottom of my heart. I hope that your family finds recovery. We all need it desperately.


#414079 - 10/23/12 07:37 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: Magellan]
His Lil Sis Offline

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 3
Thanks. I appreciate your honesty and perspective. Can I ask you a question?

Why didn't he tell me before?

We've always had an open line of communication. We've shared lots of things over the years. Why did he suffer alone for so long?

#414080 - 10/23/12 07:50 PM Re: Who are we? [Re: His Lil Sis]
Magellan Offline

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1598
Loc: California
I can only guess as to his reasons. I can tell you my experience.

I didn't really comprehend that the sexual molestation I experienced had any significant impact on me at all until almost 2 years ago. Before then, I was just an angry bitter person, because of how screwed up my life was becoming in spite of all my best efforts to try and figure out why my life was so screwed up with regards to relationships and intimacy.

When I was sitting in an alanon meeting, someone talked about "emotional incest". That started a tsunami of revelation and awareness that continues today.

I fear telling some people for fear of being misunderstood. I wish I had a sister/sibling to talk to about this, but I'm an only child. So I resort to talking to a few people in the alanon program, which has given me at least some point of connection and empathy from others who have suffered similar fates.

I hope this helps. Don't take his behavior personally. It's not about you, its more about his anger, fear, and distrust of other people. That is at the core of our issues when it comes to sexual abuse.


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