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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  PsyD, LPC, CHt
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My brother plans on confronting my abusive brother next month

Resolved Question:

My brother plans on confronting my abusive brother next month about the time my abusive brother raped me twice when I was 14 years old. I told him already that I don't want him to confront him because it's going to cause a lot more stress in the family, but he still plans on doing it. It doesn't feel fair. I feel like he let me have a say but is now ignoring how I feel. Am I being overly-sensitive? Am I being unfair to him if I don't want to talk to him ever again if he confronts our abusive brother?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Rossi :

Good Morning,

Dr. Rossi :

You are not being overly sensitive. If your brother wants to go ahead w/ the confrontation despite you asking him not to do it, he too is disregarding what you want.

Dr. Rossi :

You may point out to him that this in a way triggers your past trauma where the other brother had disregarded you by perpetrating on you.

Dr. Rossi :

You have a right to privacy. You've disclosed this to him in confidance and he would have to respect that.

Dr. Rossi :

If he does confrtont him, try to understand that you're not the cause for the family tension (if things go astray)

Dr. Rossi :

There must already be dysfunctional dynamics within the family where one sibling harms the other.

Dr. Rossi :

Your brother who wants to do the confrontation may be thinking that he's in some way defending you or is going to punish the other one. Yet, that won't necessarily cause the other to feel remorse, own up to his behavior or appologize to you.

Dr. Rossi :

This may be what you'd have to stress to your brother. Find out what reaction is he expecting to get should he carry on with the confrontation. Is he partially doing it to feel as though he's doing something positive? Let him know that respecting your wish is the positive reaction you were seeking from him rather than causing you to feel stressed out.

Dr. Rossi :

You would not be unfair to him if you decide not to speak to him. Just make sure that you're not doing it to punish him as that too won't be helpful. Are you regretting that you disclosed this to him and feel a sense of shame/betrayal on his part now as well?

Customer:

Of course I regret it! I know he's just trying to help, but I regret saying anything at all! I hate that I'm in this situation. I don't have any control over it. I feel like I'm not being heard.

Customer:

And yes, I feel like he's betraying me too. That's exactly it. I know he doesn't mean to do that, but that's EXACTLY what's been going on deep within me these last few weeks, ever since he told me what he plans on doing.

Dr. Rossi :

You were trusting him. The fact that he wants to talk about this is something you have not foreseen. Regretting it now only hurts you further. Would he not be reasonable to honor your wish after you explain to him how that act is another disregard of your person?

Dr. Rossi :

As long as you realize that (he's betraying you as well) rather than mistakenly displacing feelings that you've held towards the other brother, it is not unfair of you to expect this of him and to pull away if he disregards XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Rossi :

You may want to let him know that you're thinking of halting contact w/ him should he do this.

Dr. Rossi :

And that if you do, he is the one who would be responsible for it as a result of his behavior.

Dr. Rossi :

He needs to hopefully understand how his behavior is affecting you now.

Dr. Rossi :

You of course are not in control of his comprehension level.

Customer:

He's all I got left. :( My father sexually abused me when I was little and when I, myself, confronted him two years ago, he laughed and I haven't spoken with him since. My (good) brother learned about it and doesn't talk much with him. This (good) brother is all I have left...

Dr. Rossi :

He probably believes that he's doing the right thing. What outcome he's expecting is not what may take place. He'd have to live with that too. Talk to him in person if possible and explain your rationalization. Remind him that you've already gotten through a lot and would like it to end at least if he can help it.

Dr. Rossi :

Stress out to him how you view his intent to disclose, how it is hurting you, erroding your trust in him and causing you more anxiety.

Dr. Rossi :

If the other brother had not done anything to make things right w/ you over the years, mention that as an example as well.

Dr. Rossi :

Past behavior predicts future bahavior. What your good brother is expecting from the ohter may not happen.

Dr. Rossi :

Why take the chance of ruining his relationship w/ you because of this?

Dr. Rossi :

After all, you're not asking him for something impossible to do.

Dr. Rossi :

There is nothing unfrair in your expectations of him.

Customer:

I'm afraid that if I am vulnerable with him and share with him everything that I feel (again), that he will continue to go ahead as planned and talk to him. It will be a kick in the face and I just want to avoid it completely. That's why I don't know if I should talk to him at all. If I keep quiet about it, I know it wouldn't be fair to him for not knowing (even though I told him somewhat two weeks ago), but at least I would only blame myself for our lack of relationship in the future instead of me blaming him for it.

Dr. Rossi :

You may share the gist of it to give him a better idea how this is triggering things within you that you wish were left in the past. You've already shared w/ him what had taken place (he has an idea of what had transpired) There is no need to blame him or yourself. You're in control only of you not what he does or says in the end.

Dr. Rossi :

He may not understand how a traumatized indiidual can relive trauma and you can educate him on it without going into a whole lot of details.

Dr. Rossi :

Ask him to identify the reason behind wanting to confront him. What lies behind it? He may have not though about it from that perspective.

Customer:

I thought this morning that if he still sees him, but only talks about the weather, the bad brother would laugh at him. For some reason, I'm afraid he'll laugh. Why am I afraid of my good brother talking to my bad brother about ANYTHING?

Dr. Rossi :

This is concerning your life.

Dr. Rossi :

Your fear may stem from thinking that somehow you'd get hurt again in the end.

Dr. Rossi :

It is also because you feel that you don't have control (since he's decided on speaking w/ him and ignoring what you want)

Dr. Rossi :

Fear then is due to lack of control, re-experiencing betrayal/hurt

Customer:

What is a bigger risk? Talking to him and end up being rejected in the end or NOT talking to him and still being rejected? That's the botXXXXX XXXXXne here...

Dr. Rossi :

You fear the uncknown outcome of the situatuion

Customer:

I can't handle losing him because he's all I got left, but I feel like it's inevitable.

Dr. Rossi :

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is you expecting to be rejected either way. Do what you believe in (what seems right to you)

Customer:

It would be a miracle if he decides not to talk to him because he's so certain it's the right thing to do. He's been thinking about it for months now.

Dr. Rossi :

You can decide eitehr to speak to him should he confront the other brother or not.

Customer:

I don't think I could. I would feel internally like he's with him now. He's on the bad guys' side.

Dr. Rossi :

But is it the right thing to do for you though? That is what he needs to understand and can get more clarity by you asking him and explaining why you're asking him not to.

Dr. Rossi :

As long as you know why you don't want this confrontation to take place.

Customer:

I'll feel like I no longer have him on my team and will no longer be supporting me and my healing.

Customer:

only because he wants to give him a chance.

Dr. Rossi :

That is a way of interpreting his actions. Interpretations are mainly subjective based on past experiences.

Dr. Rossi :

He had had a chance all of this time right? He did not correct this in any way with you all of this time? Why now? He may not be capable of correcting this

Dr. Rossi :

Accepting his limitations is reasonable

Customer:

What if he gets mad at me for giving him an ultimatum? Who am I to do that when he's just trying to help? I don't know how to talk to him about it all without sounding like a blubbering emotional idiot.

Dr. Rossi :

If he gets mad, it is his choice to be mad. Not something you cauased within him

Dr. Rossi :

One can't cause anotehr to feel something they're not willing to themselves

Dr. Rossi :

You're not a blubbering emotional idiot. You're speaking of your experiences/pain

Customer:

He feels like now is the time because he no longer wants to kill him. He feels like he's gotten a hold of his anger now and wants to give him the opportunity to fess up so they can both begin a healing in their relationship.

Dr. Rossi :

He may have gotten a hold of his anger but not of his self control 100% if he wants to carry on with something you've asked him not to.

Dr. Rossi :

They can work on their own healing in their own ways. You don't have to be the catalyst behind their relationship.

Dr. Rossi :

Meaning, if he wants to work on things with him, he can do so without using your past

Customer:

but it's the only way...

Dr. Rossi :

This other brother had had a chance to "fess up" Maybe he does not want to.

Customer:

I don't want to be in the way of his healing. I don't want to stop him from doing something healthy for himself.

Dr. Rossi :

According to whom is this the only way?

Customer:

Oh, I know this guy won't fess up. I know he'll be very dramatic and defensive about it and go talk to my father about it and things will go downhill from there.

Dr. Rossi :

Most certainly there are ways that the two of them can work on their relationship without you being used in this

Dr. Rossi :

You have your own relationship w/ either one whether good or bad.

Dr. Rossi :

There has to be some boundaries

Dr. Rossi :

Your father is a former perpetrator correct? What sort of an outcome is your brother expecting? These individuals had all of this time to make things right, to appologize, to work on healing themselves and their relationship w/ family.

Customer:

Thanks for talking with me. I know he's going to talk to him no matter if I tell him how I feel or not. So I need to prepare myself, but don't know if I can even handle any more drama.

Dr. Rossi :

Your brother's expectations may not be realistic

Dr. Rossi :

Try to stay away from their drama. Whatever happens hence forth is not within your control nor should you feel guilty about it.

Dr. Rossi :

You've made your intentions clear.

Customer:

But I'm living in my brother's house.

Dr. Rossi :

How others react is their choice.

Dr. Rossi :

There does not have to be drama if you remain courteous but letting him know your sense of trust had been injured

Customer:

He took me in five months ago so I could have some time to get into counseling and deal with my past once and for all because I got so sick last year with an eating disorder I've had since the age of 9. He wanted to help out. He picked me up from Canada and drove me down to the States to live with him and his family. If he talks to my bad brother, I have to leave here.

Dr. Rossi :

This brother like any human being is not perfect and if he ends up confronging him, you can view it as an error on his part

Dr. Rossi :

Make sure he knows that.

Dr. Rossi :

All you can do is ask him.

Dr. Rossi :

As much as you can, don't hold yourself fully responsible for what happens in the end.

Dr. Rossi :

You're only one person

Customer:

okay. you're right.

Dr. Rossi :

You make sure you take care of YOU!

Customer:

so am i giving him an ultimatum then? if he continues to go ahead as planned, that i can't trust him anymore?

Dr. Rossi :

People- family or strangers or even friends are prone to error

Customer:

and you say my feeling that way is definitely fair and not just me being overly emotional?

Dr. Rossi :

If he continues with his intent, you'd know he's incapable of self control and is disregarding your wish. The ultiimatum is the boundary

Dr. Rossi :

Your feelings are in response to what is going on. There is nothing overly emotinal about it.

Dr. Rossi :

He is not you, he does not live your life, feels your feelings or deals with your memories.

Customer:

So I wouldn't actually have to leave here and run away, right? I could still live in his home even though we won't have much of a relationship anymore? Because we didn't have much of one already...it's only this past year that we've been contacting one another.

Dr. Rossi :

You don't haave to run. It would depend on how you handle it knowing he is not perfect and that he means well (at least that is what he believes he's doing)

Dr. Rossi :

You could view it like this- I gave him a chance not knowing what to expect, this is what he's deciding he'd do, I have no control over him only of my reacting to his behavior. I can decide to deal w/ it (forgive yet stress to him you broke my trust) and take it one day at a time.

Customer:

I don't feel safe with my father at all and I know if my brother talks to my abusive brother, that abusive brother will talk with my father and my father will contact me and stir up HELL on EARTH. It's GOING to happen.... I don't know how I'm going to handle THAT. And my good brother will be the one I would blame for the whole thing going down. The more hell I have to endure, the more bitter I will be of HIM. That's why I think I can't live here anymore.

Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience: PsyD, LPC, CHt
Dr. Rossi and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 2 years ago.

"my good brother will be the one I would blame for the whole thing going down"

 

This is what you're telling yourself.

Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 2 years ago.
Blame never serves a constructive purpose. You can choose not to be bitter but forgiving of his human flaws. Don't compare him to the other two (even subconsciously you may be doing that)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You're right. I can choose not to be bitter.
He can't work with what he doesn't know. So I guess I'll talk to him about it. If he goes ahead as planned, I'll have to deal with the consequences and deal with our broken relationship.
Thank you for helping me out this morning. I'm not feeling as stressed anymore, just more sad than anything. If you're sure my feelings are legit and acceptable, then I'll talk to him.
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 2 years ago.
You welcome! Stay strong.

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