Introducing Myself and Reaching Out

 
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LakinS
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Introducing Myself and Reaching Out Reply with quote

Hi-

My name is Lakin and I am a much older sister of a survivor. She is now 38 and I am 50. She and I live half a country away and our third sibling, a brother, lives abroad. (all facts are true but I have changed all names and locations to respect my sister's privacy, that is critical to me)

My sister told me a year that the brother I have always loved and in fact, championed, molested her. He is 2 years younger than me, so 10 years older than her.

I am completely heartbroken. I love this girl so much and always have. I was her big sister and she looked up to me. She even took a picture of me in my prom dress as show and tell to school as the person she 'most wanted to be'.

She says she told my mom the next morning after it happened and that mom told her it did not happen, that she must have been dreaming.

She says she doesn't have any other full memories but she thinks there was at least a couple of other incidents.

I've always loved my 'little' brother, though he grew to be almost a foot taller than me in HS. I have not slept more than an hour since she told me. Who is he? and what was wrong with me not to see this?

We were talking on the phone about a wedding we might go to at the end of the summer. She just blurted it out. "Lakey, he molested me" I said Oh my God,,,,and then my whole body instantly went a deep icy cold,,unlike any sensation I have ever had,,I felt steely cold inside my bone marrow ,,,all in about a second. It was true, i just knew it and I said "Honey, I believe you, I do"

She calmly told me the details what she remembers She says she has only one full memory (but has come to believe there is more), which she believes was when she was about 6. She said he came into her room when she was asleep and put his penis in her mouth and asked her to pretend it was a tootsie pop and to just lick it. She said she did it for a few seconds but didn't like it so he went to the foot of her bed and masturbated. She remembers that he was wiping something on the floor and told her he had killed a spider and was cleaning it up and not to get out of bed or look at it and then he left her room. That would mean he was 16, plenty old enough to know what he was doing.

I was listening and crying as quietly as I could. She was so calm and even. When she finished,,,I said Oh my God,,I am so sorry, I am so sorry this happened to you. The next few minutes were a swirl,,I was crying and she told me again about telling Mom and that Mom said it was impossible.

She said, did anything like it happen to you? I said it did not and she cried some. She went on to ask me a few questions about small facts,,like where her room was compared to his and whether I thought my stepfather (her father) could have known.,

The room spun and I asked her to hold on the phone and not hang up but that I had to get some water.

I barely made it to the bathroom where I threw up. I didn't quit throwing up, at least a couple times a day the first week and now once a month or so when the full imagery haunts me.

I am so heartbroken for her. She has always been my heart. Her big eyes and sweet face, I loved every time I babysat or took her to the park or bathed her at night. we laughed and listened to music.

That poor child trusted me. When I told her to hold my hand or let me hold her when she tried to walk on the top of a wall. When I was in HS, I took public transportation home and the bus would let me out in front of our house. I would look across the street and she would be standing in her diaper or as she got older, in some little frock,,face against the glass,,excited for me to come home.

I wrote her after we hung up. I wanted her to have a note that she could look at,,I know sometimes when I am lost, I like seeing someone's actual words, not just have to remember their voice.

I said " Dear ______, You have had to be so brave and I am heartbroken that you did. I want to be very clear that I believe you. I believed you immediately and I am so sorry I did not know and did not protect you. I believe that ____ molested you and it makes me incredibly angry and sad and hurt for you. Whatever you want from me to move forward, tell me. You said you hadn't meant to say it,,so if you need time, take time. But I am also saying, I am 1000% here and while I might make some mistakes in it, I will do whatever it takes to help you. I love you and always have. Nothing ever will change that, nothing. I love you because you are you, you have made my life better and I would like to be here however you want. Love-Lakey"

Since then , she has pulled away almost completely. A few emails at first,,always about this or that. I brought it up a few times and she said " I don't want to talk about it" But the thing is that I have questions, thoughts, feelings. I waited to see if she needed time,,but over the year, now she is just gone.

I have sent light, neutral emails but no answer. I have called and left messages but no response. I don't know what to do. On one hand, I want to respect her boundaries,,but on the other, I feel that being quiet is like duplicating what happened. I WANT her to know that I feel her pain with her, and that I would do anything to try to help. I feel so guilty and I believe that while she says she knows I didn't know,,,,she MUST have feelings about where the hell I was.

How could I have not known? How? I have read 50, 100 or more articles or stories since she told me. I have seen the facts that people say,,that the perpetrator is skilled in hiding. But how? When you are so close to the child, how ? I sound like those women on talk shows,,and inevitably, someone says,,"you HAD to know" I am literally sick about this.

My head and heart is filled with visions of her, after i would put her to bed. Once this happened, she must have been so frightened in the dark. Where did she think I was? or my mom? or somebody? I sometimes cry so hard that it's more like a scream but no sounds comes out.

My brother and I were very close. We did not like our stepfather much, he was really boring and uninvolved. I was always my brother's champion and when my stepfather would belittle him at dinner, I would defend him.

It makes me literally retch to think that she heard that and thought I was on my brother's side. I honestly feel such red hot rage. I hate him for this, for all of this. for the years of what she has been through and for whatever he did to make her keep his secret.

I hate him for what he has done to me too. This is not about me,,it is about her,,but in a way he stole our wonderful memories too. She must have felt so alone. I think she must have been screaming inside,,'Lakey, he is hurting me" How could anyone have done such a thing to that sweet little girl? She was like a little bundle of love and sweet joy. And in the daylight,there I stood, smiling like all was well. It is heart wrenching.

How am I not part of this? at least to her mind, but even in our family. I defended him when my stepfather would tell him he was weak or stupid or not going to be much. Did I set the stage for her to not fight him? or was he just so much older and bigger that she couldn't even if she wanted to?

I'm exhausted. I can't sleep, I never sleep through the night. Last night I was awake every minute again, If I close my eyes, I can see him going into her room and I can feel her little sweet self freeze in fear.

I could kill him, I think if I had known I might have killed him. With my hands, I would have pushed him into his room and bashed his head in. I often feel like it now.

She says she is not sure she will ever confront him. So I am going to leave it alone for now and focus on her.

I just don't know how to move forward. I failed her in every way, when it happened and since. What must she feel to have spent almost 28 years with this secret. How she must hate us all. And where in the hell was my mother and my stepfather?

It's been a year now and every single day, the thought of her in the dark is haunting me. There are not enough tears or vomiting to get it all out of me.

I found this forum and I am here because I need some help, advice, support. I have a therapist but I am finding that I need even more. I need help to move forward. How to be in this life when all I know about my life is gone and where the identity I had as a great sister is gone? This has shaken me on every level,,even in terms of trusting myself,,my own perceptions of people and of life. To be clear, I am glad she told me,,I wish she had been able to tell me years ago. I see that as my fault, something about me made it too hard to tell me.

Thanks for listening, I know this is way long,,,,but I wanted to give a picture of where I am.

Thanks again and any input/advice is welcome.

Lakin
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Survivors Husband
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very sorry your sister suffered from such an incomprehensible abuse. I am proud of her for having the courage to tell you and you for believing and offering support to her.

I am married to a survivor and listening to your mothers’ response after your sister had the courage to tell her about the abuse broke my heart. I remember my wife bringing up abuse from my wifes' grandfather to her brother and her mothers’ response that marginalized the abuse as a “minor”, insignificant instance that was really nothing. I sat by and said nothing and regret it to this day. I would bring it up to my mother-in-law now but she is getting too old and not cognoscente enough to separate reality from other places her mind takes her anymore.

I am not qualified to advise you nor do I know your family dynamics but if I had the opportunity, I would mention the event to my mother, let her know I completely believed my sisters memories of the abuse, and educate her on the devastating impact the abuse has made on her life from that point to today and the equally devastating impact of not being believed and protected by the person she most relied on for that support and trust.

My mother would likely be defensive and claim not to even remember the conversation but a mother would never forget such an event and has likely attempted to push the memories as deep as possible. I believe they still haunt her but the remote chance my mother would hear, likely reject at first, over time process, then eventually come around and provide the much needed belief, support, regret and love, would do so much for my sister you couldn’t imagine. What I would do to go back to the conversation with my mother-in-law and respond the way I wish I had.

Second, I would confront my brother. I would expect my brother to deny everything to his deathbed so it wouldn’t be as a question, nor would I expect anything but anger and denial. I would simple let him know what I knew to be true, how devastating his abuse was to his sister, and that every memory of our life growing up together has been tainted by his horrifying, evil act. I would not expect him to ever admit it to me, my mother and especially my sister but at least he would know we all knew what happened and hold him responsible for his actions. I would take my sisters considerations into account for these conversations and may or may not have them if my sister protested. My expectation would be she would never know unless the outcome was a supportive one but there could be a risk.

Please don’t take my rant of what I wish I could have done or want I would like to do. I just deal with the regret I have for not taking the action I felt I should have. What you have already done has given you sister more comfort that you can imagine. For her to be believed and have a trusted family member there for support and love is a true gift you have given.
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ivonne
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

I'm a survivor.
I'm not sure how to help you understand, but I can fully understand your sister not wanting to speak with you. It's nothing personal, you see, but you know. And she knows that you know. And she's not ready to talk about it, not ready to have someone know.

When at 29 I was finally ready to talk about it, I told my mom and she believed me. That was the single most healing thing that she could have done. You believe your sister.

In a way that may be all she needs from you. She certainly doesn't need your anger: it may even get in the way of her healing. He was her big brother too, perhaps she even looked up to him as well.

As for you: you can't change the past. You didn't know and that's that. Quit beating yourself up over bygones, you can't change what happened. You're not doing yourself nor your sister any good by feeling guilty over something that wasn't your fault to begin with.

Start taking care of yourself. Finding this out has traumatized you, shocked your system and the belief you had about yourself and the world. Speak to your counsellor or therapist about it, sort out why it affects you the way it does.

good luck,
Ivonne
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