After finishing my last post and considering writing this my heart rate has increased and I can already feel a heightened sense of vigilance. I have been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and anxiety and during the last year I have truly been taking each day as it comes.
Between the time I first spoke with my psychologist – 14 years after the abuse occurred and me speaking with my abusive brother – I had not spoken to him for about 3 months. With him constantly messaging me and me not replying he seemed to have no idea.
From my perspective, as a victim, being in the same room with your abuser is worse than a nightmare and you wouldn’t wish it upon yourself or your worst enemy. So having the right support around you is detrimental to how safe and comfortable you feel. The way that I wanted it to pan out? Was me confronting my abusive brother at my eldest brothers house while he and my sister were there. It did take some persuading to be honest, my siblings weren’t sure which side to take – if any at all.
A few weeks prior I went to a movie world theme park for an event and I saw myself on a rollercoaster with my partner and a few friends. A rollercoaster. One thing I could not believe I was doing but I did it because my partner wanted to. It’s rare that you look back at things and consider something to be a ‘growth decision’ but me going on that rollercoaster and experiencing the ups and downs was absolute personal growth for me. It was kind of like the equivalent to confronting my abuser.
The day my girlfriend was driving me to my brothers I had shut my eyes for about 5 minutes. In between that time I could obviously tell we were turning on to onramps and turning off of them and all I could feel was that sense of riding a rollercoaster – the strong sense of danger and fear, but the relief and joy of knowing that once the ride is over I can go home. The up and down, the side to side – it was a surreal moment in my life and one I won’t ever forget.
A rainy and cool day in September I sat on the couch at my eldest brothers house, with a glass of water. They both stood around waiting for my abusive brother so they could tell him that I wanted to discuss some things and that they will sit outside and provide support to both of us when we had finished. What I wanted to say was written down on a piece of paper and it’s exactly what I said.
Before I mentioned what he physically did to me, he had his head up looking at me, and as soon as I mentioned what he did he nodded, as if to know that if I was going to be talking about anything today that’s what it would be. From then on he had his head down and couldn’t look up.
“As an 11 year old – I had no control over anything, and couldn’t even comprehend what was going on to have the ability to question it. On the other hand, you as an adult, knew what you were doing.“
This is the distinction between some cases of sexual abuse. Sometimes it’s not even about the severity of the abuse but the difference in age. The difference in childhood and adulthood. Being taken advantage of.
“I have felt absolute numbness in my emotions, as well as sadness, frustration, irritation, and anger. These emotions have been because of you – however rarely any of them have been directed at you but at others. “
Around 6 months afterwards the numbness I felt was quite severe. For someone that has always been able to feel emotion – this was so new and scary to me. All my frustrations and schemas that come out to play are because of him but are rarely acted out on him and that is not fair to anyone in the firing line.
“I have since confided in [my partner], who has supported me a lot throughout all of this – which you need to understand the risk and level of vulnerability that puts me in as a person.”
I am sure this is relatable to a lot of people.
“I now realise why I am so blunt and disregarding of anything Mum says– as she should have been protecting me, as well as the rest of you. You have made me feel vulnerable to family, friends, and life partners.”
Throughout the years I would just brush off anything that my mum would say, for no real reason. I would become very frustrated with her without it being her intent. This has been something I have and am still working on.
“You have changed the future and the structure of the family we are a part of. It is an experience that will follow me for the rest of my life and will impact my life in ways you wouldn’t understand.”
“You make me question your integrity as a brother, a baby sitter, a cousin, an uncle and as a father.”
After this, he tried to tell me that I was his bestfriend.
“I knew I should have chosen you as my best man for my wedding”
Like that was meant to mean something to me. It almost seemed like he started to backtrack and guilt me into supporting his own emotions over the subject. He told me that some small scars on his arms were from when he tried to harm himself because of the things he did to me and that he has held onto that guilt for so long.
From my perspective, I was the victim but I was the one that had more strength to confront him. If he had confronted me about the situation it could have been a very different story – a story with similar or different struggles – who knows.
I left after hugging him, and both of us telling each other that we do love each other. He is my brother after all and I have cared for him for close to 25 years. But at that point I had chosen to not have a relationship with him and I am happy and glad for that. No one should bring you down and you should never decide to be involved in relationships that bring you down or give you heartache. Yes, it can be hard to get out abusive relationships, but always remember you can find the support network to help you through those challenges and struggles.
My girlfriend had dropped me back to my place. We hugged. I sobbed in her arms.. the first time I had ever sobbed since my dad had died. Since the age of 11.
From here the blog posts I will talk about will have more of a structured topic base where I will use my own examples to better communicate solutions, ways to manage, and things that may pop up in the life of a victim of sexual abuse. I truly hope to learn, help and listen to all those that engage in my content.