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#439920 - 07/03/13 07:06 PM people who say never
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 542
Loc: NY
In the past couple of years, I have heard my brother and sister use the word ‘never’ in ways that seem to signify how shame-bound our lives have been. Our parents had an open relationship for over 20 years. I feel that we all walked around any shame we might have experienced as a result..

In her adult life, my sister’s partner was unfaithful to her. They remain good friends, but my sister makes a point of strongly saying the word ‘never’ in my company and her partner's, when any reference is made to whether or not they would get back together.

About 13 years ago, my brother told me about being molested when he was a young boy. A few years back I tried to open up a discussion about it again. At first he was simply taken aback. But later he called me and screamed that I should ‘never’ mention it again.

All three of us are in relationships that have fallen apart. We parent with our ex spouses, travel with them, and even co-habitate when necessary. But it seems that the walls around each one of us won’t let any light in. It seems like letting go of the wounds will 'never' happen. When I consider the amount of undisclosed shame we may be living with, it frightens me and closes me down. I return to a familiar fog.

I’m going to be seeing both of them soon, and find it hard to remain in my body and consider a life outside of these walls. I feel crazy when I imagine things being different. I want to remind them of how we got here, that we didn’t create these damaging fears. I want to look them in the eye and say we don’t have to stay stuck this way. But the touch of ‘never’, it’s cold, uncompromising promise safety and self-comfort, stops me from speaking.

When we were growing up, we were probably afraid to be genuine if it meant offending our parents, in particular my father who hasn't shown much accountability for any pain he may have caused. I wonder if we unknowingly put on a face that consoled us in the doubtful moments. It is so difficult to recover the voice that could speak to what we know now, even if it means reaching through years of pain and touching each other with something real once again. The creepy feeling that things should ‘never’ change seems to have a way of always returning.

Would love to hear from others who have had to slowly make their way through this fearful passage.

Focused Body
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#439925 - 07/03/13 07:44 PM Re: people who say never [Re: focusedbody]
king tut Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2488
Loc: UK
I think on one hand you have to respect their choice to "never" discuss these things, maybe to them that is the only way they feel they can deal with it (although we know that doesn't really help). Maybe they are not READY to deal with it just yet- that is to be respected. Until somebody is ready then the answer may very well come out as NEVER. That's not uncommon. You may be ready, but they may not be. It may not actually mean never.

Maybe they will never open up and deal with these things in the way that you wish to, or maybe they open-up to people other than yourself?

But I don't think this should have an ultimate impact on you finding peace within yourself. Are there other people you can open up to? Or maybe there are less intrusive methods to try to talk to your siblings? I don't know.

#440014 - 07/04/13 09:06 AM Re: people who say never [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 542
Loc: NY
Thanks, King Tut.

You provide a much-needed perspective on the situation. What can become difficult is seeing the forest for the trees. These days, when I do see the "forest", I am starting to have a stronger sense of my self.

That wasn't always the case. As a young child, I developed odd ways of attaching to both siblings. With my sister, I remember being convinced that we would become married. She was definitely my safety net. Lately, I've had a better sense of what was missing in our family that led to this. (Now that I have my own kids, I can see how they "act out" some of the problems their parents are having with each other.)


With my brother, I'm pretty sure that around the time of his abuse I took on the role of being his "wife". He of course had no one to talk to about it at that age. What I remember is him pulling my pants down when I was brushing my teeth when I was about 8. It didn't stop until we had separate bathrooms. When I look at pictures of us from that time, I see myself becoming more feminized as he became more hyper-masculine.

When he told me of his abuse several years ago, he said it was when he was on a train. My mother was sleeping next to him and a man sat down and brought my brother to orgasm. It was probably around the time of the bathroom incidents.

Presently I am plagued with a number of somatic memories. This means that my body has certain phobias. To compensate (as my moniker suggests) I have become more and more aware of the connection to my body over the years. For instance during my twenties, I remember visiting with my brother in the house we grew up in. At one point he was busy in the kitchen, put his hand between my legs and then walked away.

So what makes my present family visits so difficult is the vigilance that comes over me. While the family secrets remain unspoken in a more forthcoming way, my experience of shame increases. It helps to speak about it here.

Most of the time I feel respect for both of them and their need for privacy. I am concerned about the fact that they may never open up to someone, but will allow them to live life the way they want to live it.

Sometimes as I grow, there are bouts of survivor guilt that keep me static. So getting better can also feel like getting lonelier for a while.

In any case, it's nice to be reminded that there are many options for how this can work out.

Lose the drama; life is a poem.


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