Letter to my brother…..

I sent the following letter to him 3 weeks ago telling him about the abuse at the hands of our father.  No reply has come…. so I guess that means he has chosen what kind of man he will be.

Brother,

I hope you and the kids are doing well.  I am writing because I haven’t been completely honest with you and I am trusting that our relationship is one that I can do just that.

I would like to be honest with you about what my life has been like since Dad started coming to my room at night when I was four (after he had passed out on the sofa from coming home drunk 4 times a week….mom’s words not mine) and sexually abusing me.  At the age of 7 it progressed to him taking me on car rides where he would tell me he was teaching me what love was like and that I really wanted all that he was doing to me.  On occasion when I would get up enough nerve to cry out and try to get out of reach he tied my hands up.  The abuse seemed to never end, year after year after year.  Finally, at the age of 10-11 the abuse stopped probably because I had reached an age that no longer “attracted” him.  Do you know what this does to a child?  I will forever have Complex PTSD, depression, and anxiety because of him. I have flash-backs, nightmares, and physical pain because of all he did to me.  If I don’t have medication I do not sleep through the night.  As a little girl I had to wait in my bed…waiting, knowing when he stood up from the sofa that he would be coming to hurt and haunt me.  No amount of counseling will take away all the effects that the abuse has had on me.  Can you imagine being an adult having panic attacks just because you are in a certain part of your own house?  That is what it is like for me in our bedroom and any bathroom.   I have had many many years of counseling just to help me deal with life, being a parent, a wife, and a friend.

I have had to learn boundaries because our family didn’t have any.   I was taught instead that my body belongs to others not me.  I was taught that I am in the world to please others, never myself.  I was taught my pain wasn’t worth being seen, heard, or attended to.  My being was not worth respect or love.  As I walk on this healing journey I have learned how to set boundaries and to stand up for myself.  One of those was to set the boundary with our parents that if they want a relationship with me they would need to acknowledge the abuse and work on having a healthy relationship.  Unfortunately, they have no interest in working on a real relationship.  Even when Mom’s own counselor in Roanoke told her she was in denial about Dad molesting me Mom still refused to help her daughter and chose AGAIN to protect the molester.  There is a quote that I have grown to love.  It comes from a book about the trauma of child abuse.

“It is morally impossible to remain neutral for those that bear witness to conflict between the victim and the perpetrator.  The bystander is forced to take sides.  It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator.  All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing.  He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear and speak no evil.  The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden or pain.  The victim demands action, engagement and remembering.  After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies:  it never happened, the victim lies, the victim exaggerates, the victim brought it on herself.”

After one of the car rides that Dad took me on in order to sexually attack me, I came home with my legs and insides feeling as if they were on fire.  The inside of my legs felt completely raw from what he had done.  When he and I walked into the house, Mom and you were sitting on the floor playing.  Mom asked why I was walking funny.  Dad spoke up quickly saying I had fallen but was his “little trooper”.  Mom never asked me how it happened, how I was feeling, etc.  Of course I wasn’t crying, I had already learned my cries were never answered.   Mom decided it was safer for her not to know what was happening.  I was thrown into the lion’s den and left alone with no one to protect or love me.

So you have a choice to believe me and stand by me or choose to do nothing and support the abuser.  What kind of man will you choose to be?

At the bottom of the letter I hand wrote “I know this letter may sound angry, and I guess I am at dad, but not at you.  I have some really good memories of you and I playing together in the drainage ditch behind our house and smearing mulberries on our skin to play cowboys and Indians.  I have missed you and hope we can talk soon.”

29 thoughts on “Letter to my brother…..

  1. A courageous, honest letter. I am sorry he has not replied. I just don’t get it, the muteness from others. It is the ‘second wounding’ as another blog has the title of.

    I am so saddened at all your endured. Yet also so admire the steps you take to live healthy. You have my deepest respect.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Not so sure.
        Others don’t know how to respond. It doesn’t mean they don’t care for you or don’t love you. The allegiance to family as a whole seems to override individual relationships. They need a ‘family’ fervently and I think it’s instinctual to the species for survival. The truth is blocked out and you with it because the truth threatens the cohesion of the unit.

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      2. I try to make sense of it, and my response reflects what I’ve come up with. It isn’t much, and doesn’t help much.
        I’ve been through a painful few years since hoping for some recognition for my pain and receiving none. Not one word. If I could just hear, “I’m so sorry that happened to you.”
        It has never come.
        I forgive, try to imagine being part of the group of ones who didn’t abuse, but am not really close to any of the three that are left. The one abuser still living is not someone I care to interact with but the other three do.

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  2. This is seriously heartbreaking stuff. I am so, so sorry you had to go through that. My heart breaks for you.

    In regards to the letter, I don’t know how anyone can ignore that. Did he know about the abuse before this letter?

    I guess that denial is a very powerful defense and perhaps he just can’t allow himself to believe it?

    Or if he already knew, perhaps he is wracked with guilt for failing to protect you?

    I’m not making excuses for him by the way, I just want you to know that none of this is you or your fault. It’s no reflection on you whatever he does.

    Well done for being so strong and courageous x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He knew I “claimed” I had been abused but we had never talked about it until this letter. The only thing he has ever said to me over the years is that Dad says it didn’t happen. I think you’re right when you say that denial is very powerful.

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  3. I could write this exact letter to any of my siblings. The reason I have not is the fear of what you are experiencing. I am so sorry he has not acknowledged you or your story with a response. It was very courageous of you to reach out, be vulnerable, and so so honest. I am also sorry you had to endure what you did. It’s excruciating and painful. Keep working to heal. You are strong.

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  4. I am so sorry for what you have endured and that you did not get an immediate response of admiration for your strength to speak about this and him choosing you.
    I’ve written a letter to my family 2 years ago and the response was anger, blame, and hate, then abandonment. They chose. We did not choose to be abused. But they choose to side with the abuser. It is no reflection on you. Just on them, on him.
    Perhaps he is processing this. Perhaps. I hope that he comes through and chooses to be a better man. I am so sorry if he does not. It does seem he has made his choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing such an honest letter. I am sorry for the evil that was inflicted on you, and for the absence of anyone coming to your aid. I pray for our Savior’s continued healing in your soul. Even if your brother does not reply, I am glad that you took that risk, that you did not let shame imprison you and keep you silent.

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  6. Wow. That was hard to write for sure.

    Its difficult to balance what we feel for our abusive sibling and what we feel for the abusive parents. I can see the conflict in these feelings.

    I was struck by your difficulty with bedrooms and bathrooms. I sleep when the sun comes up. I hate restrooms and probably always will.

    You did a really good job of explaining how you felt and what you need now.

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  7. Ps. I’m not sure why you weren’t on my blog list so that I could get updates in my reader. You’re on back on there. I didn’t take you off. I’m not sure what happened. Also, I hope you are recording your emotions and experiences somewhere, even in a hand written journal or through art.
    I’ve seen your comments and stuff on other blogs, but to not see your voice focused on yourself makes me worry about you. I hope this place still feels safe and open for you to document the path you’re taking for your healings.

    Faith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hmmm…I’ve been thinking about your comment for days. I have stopped journaling. It’s been many many months now. I never let myself think about why until you asked about it. I wonder if my not blogging and journaling is because I am tired of this mental illness and I want to quit. Each time, in the past, when we have discovered someone new inside they tend to dominate for my life for a while. Well, my newest is in my mind a lot but it is so different than with my younger insiders. Asa is 19 years old and her thoughts blend so much with mine that they become mine and it’s hard to separate myself from her. She is very angry at everyone (including my therapist and husband) and that anger scares me. I guess she has always held all the anger so I’ve never really had any.
      Now, I can “approve” of anger towards my abuser and the rest of the family, someone that harms my children, etc but to be angry at those that I am closest with and are safe for me sounds to awful. So, I’ve been very busy hiding all these thoughts from my therapist and husband. So, its like I end up living half a life. Half in my head with just myself and Asa, and the other trying to pretend I am involved with life on the outside.
      But, it’s not really working too well. I don’t know why, all of a sudden I have these fears. My therapist encourages me to express my anger and he wants to always discuss everything. We’ve worked through things in the past.
      I don’t know, after writing this, it makes me think I need to let him in on what’s going on inside my head.

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      1. This line right here jumped out at me. “So, its like I end up living half a life. ” As multiples we are sometimes painfully aware of our lack of privacy. we share space with others. Everything we do, we do with others.

        When I switch a lot, I don’t feel real or authentic. I feel like I’m trying to be normal, trying to hold everything together so others aren’t burdened by my fractured self. I feel like I’m faking life, that I’m not genuine, but that’s not true. I’m a multiple. When I share space with another alter I’m still the real me because the real me is more than one person. I share space with others, that’s real. When I’m involved with others while dissociating, that’s real too. I don’t fake concern for my friends. They get a multiple who loves them and tries to return their friendship the best way possible. Because I’m fractures I’m going to sometimes be a little more distant but what’s in my heart is full and very much dedicated to others. My point is, I may be a multiple and I may at times have difficulties, but I am authentic and I am connected to my friends in the way a multiple would be.

        I think its a good idea to talk to your therapist. Maybe reading him what you wrote would help you start?

        Good for you for expressing what’s going on inside. When we reach beyond the walls of our mind (as hard as that is to do) we often find wisdom and insight that would otherwise escape us.

        Smiles to you and yours,
        Faith

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    1. Nooo. I am sad every day about it. I no longer rush to the mailbox to check to see if he’s written back….which is sad in of itself. Your the reason i wrote him…nope, not you rather your brother is the reason I wrote him. And I would do it all over again. But after reading your post I knew deep down that if my brother knew about my struggles and if I was very honest that he would choose my dad over me in a heart beat. So my thinking was “why keep up the charade?” but knowing it in my head is totally different than living out the truth that he abandoned me.

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      1. I think its such a reminder of all the other times I haven’t been chosen. My whole stinking family, the counselor that abused me, her cult like support group groupies that chose her over me. I guess I’ve lumped all that pain together and have been feeling all of that abandonment. I think it would be healthier to separate all of them….and to realize like you said that they were wrong.

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      2. When you lump them all together it can be very overwhelming. That is a LOT of betrayal. But then when you separate them then you have all of these individual hurts that you have to sift through. Either way it is just so hard. All of it is so wrong. It goes against all that is right and good and it is hard for a person that has a pure heart and soul to wrap their mind around the heartlessness of such people. I’m just so sorry they hurt you

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      3. Its hard to because I realize I’ve come to expect it when the threat is no longer there. It is absolutely terrifying getting out in the world and trying to make new friends. I’ve recently joined a Bible Study and I feel like a mannequin as soon as I walk in the door. Its petrifying. I feel so much safer on here being around people that understand woundedness.

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      4. But what a huge step to go to a bible study. That is just overcoming right there. Maybe there will be a time when your body relaxes and you will feel safe there too. I know though. Finding someone to understand and see the wounds is difficult

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  8. I admire your courage in writing this letter and offering the chance for an authentic relationship. I understand how painful it is to exist within a family that denies your truth. I love that quote you shared, really identify with it. Which book is it from? Laura

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks – I actually found it online, it was written by Judith Herman. I am really glad you shared it, it’s been very significant for me and has caused a big shift in my thinking around family. That’s painful, but also something that’s needed to happen for a long time! Laura

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