Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by OscarZero, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. OscarZero

    OscarZero Member

    I feel scared to disclose this, and I have never told anyone before, but my brother was convicted as being a child abuser 25 years ago. It throws up all sorts of doubts about my own childhood, my own sexuality, and I'm in constant anxiety that some one will find out and tar me with the same brush. I even feel scared right now that some one might be able to trace me and make it public. It has affected my whole life since - forming relationships, being intimate, loosing faith and love towards my family, becoming more reclusive, even avoiding contact with children - not because I think I might be an abuser too, but because I don't want any accusations should the truth ever be found out. Is it too late to ask for help? Is there any support available for the family of the accused. There seems lots for the victims and their families (and rightly so), and for the offenders (who need serious help), but the family of the offender never used to be considered, and it was so long ago now. I recently thought very strongly, and planned out my suicide, following every point in my plan up to the final point of killing myself. But I changed my mind. I'm trying to sort myself out, but don't know where to go. This is one of a number of issues I'm trying to deal with, but I feel very lost.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    YOU are NOT your brother ok hun noone can judge you for what he has done You are not the one that has committed anything wrong I know you are worried hun and that is why having a therapist can help you see that some of you thinking is not on track ok hugs
  3. lordsalisbury

    lordsalisbury Well-Known Member

    Wow, that really is a very difficult and unenviable position that you are in. I can't imagine how difficult that is for you, and the thought that someone might think you 'guilty by association'. None of it is your fault. If it is any consolation at all, any rational-minded person would know that your brother's decisions have nothing to do with you.

    I hope you are ok.
  4. The_Discarded

    The_Discarded Staff Alumni

    I hear you and that sounds hard. You seem to have internalized someone else's mistakes; that's tough but understandable. I've been there.

    As you've been holding it in for some time, it'll probably take a good therapist, a good support network, and a long bout of positive introspection to begin to heal. But that's okay! because it's not (nor is it ever, provided you're living) too late to ask for help. I'd recommend it. Yours is a special case but you're excellent for reaching out at all.

    Baby steps.

    Good luck on your journey,
  5. Powerpuff

    Powerpuff Active Member

    In a way it's like someone having the name Hitler, even if one is not involved with Adolf everyone will still associate the name with the bad guy. If you are going so far as to commit suicide maybe changing your name might help. I know you shouldn't have to do this but besides getting therapy and help with your mental state, maybe something like changing your name might work. But I do understand your predicament, it must be very rough for you.
  6. OscarZero

    OscarZero Member

    Thanks for the support and suggestion. I do actually have a very unusual surname, and when my brother moved back into my local area (which is not the area that he offended in), it made me more anxious than ever - despite the realisation that it was a long time ago, and people should be able to distinguish my brother's behaviour from me (but I doubt human nature is that kind).

    I have thought of changing my name, and of moving, but I think I'm punishing myself enough as it is, without going to those extremes (which would create many unanswerable questions from friends and associates). I interchange between guilt and anger. I loathe my brother for what he did, to his victims and my family, and wish he was dead. Yet he's my parents' child, and I know that they still love and care for him as much as they do for me, and that what he did had its own reasons in his personal health, mental state and past life. I can empathise with him, but I despise him too.

    I'm aware I'm carrying his guilt for him, but also projecting my self loathing onto him - he's the reason I'm not the person I might have been. That's not helpful, even if partially true. Its definately self imposed, but done as a form of protection. We're brothers. We look alike (or we would, if I purposefully didn't alter my first choice of fashion/hair style so that we didn't). He pursues hobbies I'd like to try out too, but feel that any superficial similarity between us might lead to a generalised assumption should the 'truth' be known - so I've purposefully not done things that he's done, or pursued interests or careers that are similar to his. And I'm aware that was my choice, yet its been ones made through strong emotions of fear and dread.

    When my brother offended only the immediate family knew (my parents, sister and brother-in-law). I was purposefully excluded from the 'family talks' about the situation (told to leave the room, or had the door shut in my face), and told NEVER to tell anyone. But I later found out that each of the others had confided in an individual themselves, for emotional support. But I had no-one - not even my own family. I know it was extremely difficult for them, but it was for me also. Maybe they were trying to protect me (it was during my last exam year at college - exams that included possible questions on social service's response to child abuse cases - so I was really worried an exam question would reduce me to tears in the middle of the test) or more likely they didn't know how to talk about it. I know they thought I was too young to understand, because they told me so (which just goes to show how little they knew or respected me anyways - I was 18 for God's sake). But where was MY support.

    I've kept it a secret ever since; felt angry and begrudging about how my family excluded me. I was living with my parents at the time, and was there when letters arrived, or when my sister/brother-in-law came to discuss things, and I even used to have to keep my brother occupied when he was home on bail - I was told he was more irritable when I wasn't around, and so I used to make sure I was around, so as to make all our lives easier. I know the whole business was a horrible emotional mess for everyone involved, but the only person who never recieved any emotional help or support was me. I've had to lie to family members who didn't know, keep this secret from my closest friends, pretend I agree or have no opinion when people say hanging is too good for child abusers (or even worse suggestions about what should be done to them).

    I have never, and I know we can never, talk about this subject within the family. Experience has taught me that my parents believe if you don't talk about it, it'll go away - the origins of soooo many problems I now have.

    For a long time after my brother left jail I used to see him on a regular bases, but I found out that he had little evident remorse for what he'd done and treated our parents with a great deal of disrespect, especially considering what he owes them for standing by him and helping him. Maybe that's his way of dealing with his own self-hate. I don't know. But I made the decision a few years back never to see him, and am only forced to do so at Christmas, or on a Birthday or family gathering, and this is only to please my parents. I've never told them how I feel. I used to pride myself on not being like him - yet now I've been close to suicide and caused my parents more heart ache and concern than they ever deserved. How could I do that to them when they've suffered so much with their other son? I am really confused about how I feel. I was the one they were relying on to be good, to be a success, to not go wrong. I've always managed, always been the one to cause no trouble - but then I go and do this!! And I turn to them for help when they've given so much already. Not just to my brother, but also my sister whose had her own major crises over the years. That's so selfish of me, and hypocritcal. I'm so sad for them, and hate myself for bringing them grief.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2012
  7. Powerpuff

    Powerpuff Active Member

    You're quite right Oscar, changing your name and moving would a punishment to you, I didn't think that far ahead. But one thing you are not doing wrong to your parents, you are the victim, you are suffering from the actions of your brother. it is not wrong what you feel, it is pain that you feel and it's not your fault to feel that way and maybe in a way your parents understand this. I know what you mean about family secrets my family is the same, don't talk about a problem and maybe it will go away but in reality it just gets to be a bigger problem. Like in my family, why does all my brothers and sisters have black hair and dark eyes but I have blonde hair and blue eyes, when a child no one would tell me, they just said hush up with that talk.

    Oscar, I do hope things work out for you. I wish I had the brain power to give a better answer or maybe a magic wand would be better, but I can't, I can only say good luck and try to stay with us. Please.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2012
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