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Getting married, do I invite my past abuser?
January 28, 2000
11:11 am
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kay
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I will be getting married this summer. My problem is with the fact that I was sexually abused by my brother. Nobody knows about it except for my fiancee. I don't see bro often and when I do I still have many negative emotions associated with him even though the abuse took place when I was 18. I am now 24. I have been to counceling on and off while I was at the university, but I cannot afford it now, and my fiancee offers great support when it is needed.
anyway, I feel that if my brother were at my wedding it would ruin my day and even my honeymoon. Sometimes now, I get flashbacks of my brother when I am intimate with my fiancee and I am not able to make love with him. The worst time was when I wouldn't let myself be touched for 4 months. That was 2 years ago but what if this happens on our honeymoon or even in the first few months of marriage?
Like I said, nobody knows and if I decide not to invite him it will make people ask questions and devistate my parents. They think quite highly of him and he is even a business partner with my father. I am just not ready to let this out in the open. I one way, letting it out would be a great relief, but in another way I would be selfish. I cannot forgive him and cannot forget, I would like to hurt him in return but I don't want to hurt others in the process.
I already do my best to avoid him at christmas and family gatherings by 'happening' to have to work or other excuses. But I cannot be elsewhereon this day, so I wish he would be. Does anybody know of a way I could not have him attend my wedding? By the way my mother has even suggented he be in the wedding party!
Any suggentions would be appreciated,
Kay

January 28, 2000
10:03 pm
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gst
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hi kay,

Wow, and I thought my holidays were a mess!!!!!

From what you describe, it's hard to tell if it is more important for you to hurt him/get back at him, than to heal. Only you know that.

It sounds to me like he has not only dishonored your trust but the family trust as well and it is only right for him to offer not only you but offer to the family a sincere appology for breaking that trust.
this isn't squeeling, it's only fair. If you can't be straight with your family, you shouldn't shar in their joys a well. It's just not right. If you can't face him, it still hurts and he has a part to play in the healing process which he needs to own up to. You don't need to hurt him, perhaps just perhaps to be able to forgive him even if it is only to the point where you feek he sincely demonstrates he loves you in an equal proportion to th eunloving/caring he demonstrated. And move on or don't, but there's no sense in hurting youself in the process, he's the one that was wrong, he's the one who should rectify the wrong both to you and to the family.

Don't you think?

I'mm reminded of the parents of a girl who was killed by her boyfriend because he was driving an autimobile intoxcated one Friday night.

How do you forgive? How do you justify the pain. It was an accident. No one planned it. So what do you do?

They opted out of any monitary award and simply got the judge to suspend any sentencing but every friday night of every week of every year for the rest of the boys life he would be required to write them a check for $1.

So I wish you luck in what you do.

bye.

January 29, 2000
10:49 am
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Kay,

Is there any way you could get word to your brother via..email, letter, maybe your fiance that NOT to come to your wedding. That unless he wants to open the can of worms NOW...he will honor your wish and make up some excuse to the famliy that he just can not make it? I hear that horrible flu is going around and it would be nice of him to catch it if you know what I mean. Just an idea.

I wish you much luck on your up coming marriage. And I hope that nothing taints your wedding day. No matter what...stay as focused on your fiance as possible...he sounds like a wonderful guy.

I will be praying for you.

Karin

January 29, 2000
5:48 pm
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kay
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thankyou both,

Karin, I really like your idea, I've thought about it a lot. But I would need to come up with a pretty grand excuse. You see since nobody knows about what happened, an outside observer, even family members, view this family as close knit. We have lots of friends and family and we are expecting about 225 people to attend the wedding. So the more I think of how nice it would be for him to be absent, it may bother me more to be explaining everytime I am questioned.

I may be better off opening a can of worms now, and be on my way towards the next step of healing. In this aspect gst has brought up some more things to consider.

I haven't even confronted him about it, ever. I don't even think he knows he did something wrong. Most of the abuse happened when we were young. He is only 2 years older than I and right from when I could walk I used to sneek into his room at night, play games or legos and then sleep in his bed. I see this as normal. But then the games got perverse as he got older, but I didn't know what was going on, there was no sudden change. Then when he turned 12 he was old enough to babysit and when my parents were gone the games became sexual. This continued until he hit highschool and he got a girlfriend, then it seemed to be over with, he was out of the house alot the time.

I actuall 'forgot' about all that stuff until I was 18, so it is likely that he has also filed it away, hidden in his mind, and may not remember- who knows.

But then when I was 18 my parents took the famliy on a vacation in Venezuela. They were in one room and I shared a room with my 2 brothers (the other is significantly younger). Then on the night of his20th birthday he wanted to go to the resort disco and get drunk and I agreed. Later when we went back to our room he sexually assulted me. I don't know, is it called rape if he penetrated me with objects other than his penis? Whatever it is called, it hurt me all the same and I stayed locked safe in the bathroom until he left for breakfast in the morning.

We have never talked about it. And because he was drunk I don't even know if he remembers, but it brought back my memories fron the past and only then did I realize what really went on in the past

My point is, I am not afraid to confront him, and tell him my feelings, but I am afraid that he will call me a liar, won't own up to what he did, and that would drive me batty- does that make sense?

I'm pretty sure if I did approach him privately, whether he admits it or not, he wouldn't want to be at my wedding anymore. And once again, people will talk and I am not ready for that.

Unless there are secrets I don't know about, my family is a very happy one, I don't want to ruin that for the sake of self comfort

I'll stop rambling now, thanks again,

Kay

January 29, 2000
6:45 pm
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gst
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kay,

I'ms sorry for what I am about to say. But I think you are blocking.

This doesn't sound right. What did he do? Put things in you? Spank you? Was your family perhaps abused by your parents- ie pushed too hard? Again I am sorry, but suddenly feel as though this is important.

January 29, 2000
6:50 pm
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Kay,

As a boy your brothers actions may be over looked as experimating or whatever...but as an adult and for him to assult you in ways I am sure you didn't even speak here of...drunk or not...that is not excusable. He needs help. If he has done this too you, his own sister...how many other helpless women has he hurt also? This is something you must face and think about. I am not trying to lay this all on your shoulders honey...but I do want you to seriously think about what I said. Even the closest of families have their share of skeletons in their closets...and sometimes those closets need a good cleaning out to stop the cycle of abuse that NO ONE talks about. Honey...one day your brother will have a daughter of his own...please consider confronting him and telling your family.

Although there is no reason that this can't be done AFTER your wedding so as to not ruin what should be one of many happy days ahead for you.

I will keep praying and please do keep in touch.

Love, Karin

January 29, 2000
7:28 pm
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gst
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rightous or not, i think karin is right. But moer importantly, what do you think?

January 29, 2000
7:54 pm
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gst...

Do I sound rightous? If so that really bothers me and I will check myself in the future. I never want to come off that way at all.

January 29, 2000
8:23 pm
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I'm sorry I didn't mean to sound judgmental. I was only trying to express myself as myself.

I guess the more important question is to ask why you feel like being rightous is a problem?

I really want to know.

January 29, 2000
10:07 pm
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gst
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so, now I feel so baldy for you. I wish I had better answers. What is it you really want to change?

January 29, 2000
11:07 pm
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My step-mother was a very self-rightous judgemental "religious" woman. I don't ever ever want to be like her. So when I saw the word "rightous" I guess it triggerd some deep rooted issues. Sorry. Please do not feel badly. I just don't want to make others feel that they must believe the way I do. We are all unique and special beings created totally seperate...alike yet very different. And just because we may believe in different things...does not mean one is right and the other wrong. We are both right because it is what we feel and believe in.

That is all. Please forgive me for being over sensitive.

Karin

January 30, 2000
4:11 am
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gst
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I know, we're all in this together by ourselves.

January 30, 2000
10:55 am
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Kay,

I am thinking about you.

January 30, 2000
10:57 am
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Kay, I am so sorry you have to suffer from your brother's sexual abuse. You didn't ask for it, you didn't deserve it, and you don't need to forgive your abuser. It's wonderful that you have the support of your fiance in your healing. So much of what you are going through is a natural part of healing sexual abuse.

Most abusers will deny or minimize the abuse, blame the victim and otherwise refuse to take any responsibility for the damage they have done, or the truama they ahve inflicted. When my sister and I were considering confrontation with our abuser, we decided against it simply because all the old control crap that was used to keep us in line would be used on us again...the intimidation, the blaming, the invalidation of our views, the name calling...We decided, and this was a very personal decision, to not subject ourselves to that ever again! I chose to stay away from my family, and my sister can tolerate being around them for short periods of time. The thing is, is to take care of yourself, period. Do what you have to do for yourself. I truly believe that I should never have to let consideration for an abuser color my decisions about what is best for me!

Flashbacks and memories during sex are pretty much a terrifying par for the course in healing sexual abuse, and I hope you are able to tell your fiance what you need and want from him. Healing from sexual abuse is a difficult and very rewarding thing to be doing with your life! I am grateful that you are starting your journey to wholeness while you are so very young!

Telling the truth about what heppend can often have devastating results for you, if not for your family. And then again, it can be very liberating! If you decided to confront, make sure you have support people who validate you with you. My best to you, I wish you peace love and healing! Anna

January 31, 2000
1:07 pm
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kay
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gst, no spanking, and by other objects I meant fingers, it was just hard for me to write that.

Karin, I know I should think of others. He has had many girlfriends and I know he has had sex with all but one of them since he was about 17. I couldn't tell how he really treats them. Yes I am afraid for his future daughter, he once dated a girl with a 6 year old daughter, and I the whole time I was nervous for her, but I was too afraid to say anything, at the time I just started my therapy.

As for abuse from the rest of my family...my father grew up in a household with a lot of yelling, I think his dad was quite an angry person, and that has rubbed off on my father. But my dad knows about his problem and I have discussed it with him on a few occasions as times when he isn't upset. Everytime we talk he gets better, and he has learned not to get upset at the little things.

There hasn't been any physical abuse that I know of other than what I encountered with my brother.

Karin I think you are right about confronting him but I still don't want the rest of my family to know, I am not comfortable with that idea yet. Either way I'm sure it will be coming out after the wedding. It will be good to be living out of my parents home in case things get nasty, I'll need a place to take cover.

Thanks again everyone

January 31, 2000
1:39 pm
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gst
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Do you any idea why you feell you need to selcude your feelings from your family. Are you perhaps concerned that your feelings will wind up being more horiffic that they will allow themselves feel about the situation and that by now including them, you feel they won't validate the intensity? or something like that?

My family always treated issues like they were putting on a bandaid - "oh poor poor boy, here, now that will feel better". Even though the hurt was still there, they were more like wishing it away (perhaps through some magic?) but not concerned in the least it wasn't working. L:ike they just wanted th problem out of the way. Not malicious or anything, just a pattern that wasn't complete. Ah well.

I wish you luck in any event.

January 31, 2000
1:56 pm
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Dear Kay, after reading this thread I felt so deeply for you I had to tell you the straight goods from my own personal experiences with family abusors.
Oh, Karin, you did not come off self righteous at all to me, you are sounding much more confident in yourself and owning your own reality enough so to help others with it, good work!
Kay, for years I was torn up over whether to "spill the beans" "own my truth" and whether or not to continue to be around family members who were just outright mean, cruel, selfish and abusive. It ate me up, I was dealing with a lot of codep issues and caring too much for others instead of myself. It was horrible, I had become my own worst enemy, not protecting myself around family members who were and still were abusive, selfish tyrants. I have since come so far in my own personal growth and in my own life that I have put myself, for the first time, first over the needs of family (abusive or non) I no longer struggle with the questions of "will i further hurt my family?" instead of the real questions that I should of been pondering "will this continue to hurt me, deepen the trauma or teach those who have abused me to continue to?" These are the real questions that I should have been asking. Ask yourself what you really want. What is honoring your self, your spirit. I would think it would be a question like this, "What is the most important thing that I can do to honor my own spirit, happiness and create a joyful wedding and future?
What is your answer?
When you have come to a place of recovery, growth and self esteem I would think it would be something like this.........
I need to own my own truth (the abuse happened, it hurt you tremendously-emotionally and otherwise, your brother is probably still victimising, your family has a right to know) and then doing what is best for your happiness future and wedding which would be NOT INVITING YOUR ABUSOR AND IF HE DOESNT EXCUSE HIMSELF LETTING THE FAMILY KNOW WHY. I feel this is the best thing you can do, whether they accept or believe it or not...for yourself Kay.
What he did was criminal and he is probably doing it and YES he may have done it to the little six year old girl. This frightens me and frankly you do have an obligation to report possible child abuse, as does everyone in this society. Be brave and do whats right for yourself and others. God bless

January 31, 2000
2:09 pm
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For what its worth, I, thank god never suffered sexual abuse but I did encounter everything else.

January 31, 2000
5:07 pm
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kay
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I think what I am most afraid of is causing a disruption in the lives of people who aren't involved. I know my parents love me but they may not believe me or just sweep it under the carpet, like you said gst, get out the bandaid. And if I did tell them, I wouldn't care for them to 'fix' it. All I would want is belief and understanding, sympathy, and that would help me. But my family will automatically assume I'm looking for a quick answer, my mother is constantly accusing me of looking for attention and being oversensitive whenever I tell her my feelings. It will never be fixed, it will never go away, I can only learn to live with it and focus on the good things in life.

My fiance believes I should confront my brother independently first, and that I may find out he does admit to what happened and does feel some remorse. He believes that I may solve things one to one with him and he might even agree to his own counseling. I think my fiance is wearing rose coloured glasses.

If I did decide to talk with my brother one on one how is that done? I didn't talk to my therapist about that before I stopped seeing him. At the time I couldn't ever see myself doing it, and no amount of convincing could change my mind but I am beginning to feel open to some ideas.

As for the wedding, my fiance thinks brother should come. He thinks it might be good to rub my happiness in his face, that there would be no sweeter revenge than to be happier than him and to loved by a crowd of people. He thinks that the goodness of the day will outweigh the bad, but I should be comfortable before going with this decision. Again, I think he is dreaming happy thoughts, but deep down I feel my brother will be there.

January 31, 2000
5:58 pm
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Hi kay,

Sorry about all your going through. Can you distinguish between the feeling of anger(rage, disappointment, wanting to get back at him,etc.) and your feelings of hurt. Are they one in the same or separate in some way?

The reason I ask is because you seem to be saying that your family members, even in their love for you will not be able to validate your feelings. If that's the case, it's the problem of the tree in the forest. If no one saw it, did it fall? Very difficult to deal with. Very complicated.

What then is accomplished by telling them - I understand your hesitation. I also think the roes colored glasses is appropriate - It's a lot to deal with. Any chance you can put off the wedding until you are better able to deal with all of it?

Are you currently on any meds - does that help?

January 31, 2000
10:19 pm
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Kay,

You asked "if I decide to talk to my brother one on one, how is that done?"

Maybe you could meet at a restaurant...or someplace public where you will feel safe. It would help to write down ahead of time what it is you want to say...that way when the time comes you aren't tongue tied or swayed off subject. Ask him to hear you out and read right from your notes if needed.

Whatever you do...know that you are not responsible for this situation...he is. Do what you feel you can handle. You know your family best and if you feel your parents will not support you...then perhaps you can try counseling again and get into a support group of other abuse victims...

I know from experience how very hard it is "to tell". And only you know when that time has come.

I am praying for you still...

Karin

February 2, 2000
4:27 pm
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kay
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gst, when it comes to different feelings for my brother I know there are many but they generally boil down to one called hate. I know it is a strong word and there are few things I do hate but as it stands now, hate is fairly accurate for him.

You couldn't have known, but there is no way I can put off the wedding and I wouldn't want to. I've been with my fiance for nearly 8 years and we really love each other. We've been wanting to get married for a long time now but with school and our financial situation we just couldn't b/c we both lived at home to save money. Now is the perfect time, we both just began work and besides my stress nothing could be better. I'm not going to let my brother ruin my life that much as to let him dictate when I'll be ready for this. If I were to wait until I was could better deal with it I don't think I would ever get married. Aside from all that we have several people who have already booked thier holidays from work and flights from germany to see us wed. It would cause a lot of turmoil, putting it off would be selfish.

No I'm not on meds, I'm somewhat skeplical and would like to avoid them, they scare me, actually I think what scares me the most about them is that I am only starting to see the scope of my problem and the thought of taking them makes the problem seem bigger. Does all that make sense?

Karin, thanks for the idea of how to go about the confrontation. Reading it off would definately be the way to go since I often cannot express myself properly when entangled in my emotions, and I just end up yelling and screaming and causing a scene, or I storm out in a rage and drive really fast until the rush of driving or running wins over my rage.

It is as if I am a different person at times. Often my fiance has witnessed this and he always says he wishes he could video tape my and play it back when I am calm again just to see how little control I have overmyself at the time. But the thing is, I already know, like I am watching myself but can't do anything about it, and I tell myself to stop but I can't. Does this sound familliar to anyone or am I alone?

February 2, 2000
5:57 pm
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Hello Kay,

I'm so sorry to hear about your combined dilemas. It almost sounds as thought there is no way to go that doesn't contain some barb wire to it but I better understand where you are comming from.

At times I would feel like a "Jeckle and Hyde" and was very aware of it but unable to control it and went for the longest tim (years) thinking it was actually a "good thing" meaning that is was a special something I posessed and made me more capable to others. Bad mistake!!

It ruined a soulfull relationship, brought my income from 70,000 to 15,000 and amost (within hours) ended it for me entirely.

Part of the problem was that I'd had and been treated for something called hyperthyroidism which in itself has very similar symptoms. So similar in fact that even after the treatment was completed and I was deemed "cured" I insisted it was coming back and forced my poor doctor to complete additional tests and also other tests I would dream up which might show the problem. (Completely in denial that the boys and girl trained as MD's in this country are really pretty well qualified, despite what the papers try to bring out).

So, the long and short of my message is that it might be emotional, could be biological, could be a combination.

My personal philosophy? I know my body needs food so I eat. I know my body needs inspirtion so I go to church and I learned my body needs supplemental medication so I add that as well. It's working better than previously and sure beats the hell out of the hell I was living.

Good luck, I'm sorry you are so unhappy.

What a great guy your guy must be, does he have a sister????

February 2, 2000
11:59 pm
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Kay,

Rage is a big part of my life...I was told in counseling that she (it is like a third person as wierd as that may sound)comes from the little girl that was sexually abused and not allowed to tell...she is the child that was screaming inside but could not be heard. As I got older she got bigger and uglier. She is with me to this day. The only difference is that I know why she is there now and she doesn't scare me as much. I too felt as if I was outside looking at myself when I would fly off the handle and lose all control...it scared me. When I am getting upset or angry...I start to cry because of my lack of communicating the way I want to...this brings out my rage...because I hate that I am crying and looking weak...crazy huh.

You see holding it in...not telling...as children...did do us harm. As adults...it gets harder and harder to take any injustices that come our way...because we have been so victimized and have finally stood up and said..."NO MORE!"

Of course you feel hate for your brother. He hurt you not just as an abuser but as family. A double dose of betrayal. And until it is out and dealt with...it will be hard to feel anything else for him.

You are not alone...

Karin

February 5, 2000
3:49 pm
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kay
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karin,
thankyou so much, you are not crazy unless I am too because you described exactly how I feel when I get angry, right down to the crying from embarasment and making the rage worse.

Karin, gst, you are both so understanding, I really appreciate your input. when I was seeing my therapist I often felt like he couldn't quite understand me because he didn't actually go through any of it, he just knew the theories behind the mind and applied them. I feel that this site is so wonderful because there are others that have similar experiences.

You are giving me the strength to want to tell my family my secrets. I have been trying to plan a goood time to tell them (if there is such a thing as a good time), and what I will say and whether I should have my brother there or if I should confront him first, also whether I should have my fiance there...I don't know if I can do it alone. I wouldn't need him to say anything but just to know that he is there, or just a room away ready to hug me, would help.

It may take a while, I am still confused, but now I feel like I have direction, a goal. Do I sound like I am on track?

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