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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My brother recently told me he abused me when we were both

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My brother recently told me he abused me when we were both children. He says the abuse consisted of inappropriate touching. I don't remember this, but I have been very confused since he said this. I feel upset and I'm not sure how to handle this. Any suggestions or advice would be welcome. Thanks
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, I am available to assist you -Welcome!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Quite a shock I am sure. Did he tell you to clear his conscience? It may be something he has felt guilty about and needed to tell you for that reason.

Customer:

Yes, I he said he had been carrying this around for a long time and his therapist suggested that he tell me about it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Whatever your response to this news is okay- normal reaction to some upsetting news. He likely prepared himself for you to be upset. It took courage for him to tell you- but now you are left to swim in it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you interested in knowing details about it or do you prefer to let it sink in, get over the initial shock?

Customer:

Exactly---at first I told him it was all fine, but then I found that I was really upset about it. Just not sure how to handle it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

In the mental health field we are careful to make this out to be a case of a pedophile and a victim. It's not uncommon for siblings to "experiment", show curiosity and interest in the opposite sex.

Customer:

I guess I'm not sure why I'm so upset if I don't remember it--it sounds like kids playing doctor the way he described it. Basically he touched me on the genitals--seems like just the one time.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Your brother needs to accept any emotions that come up for you- including anger, betrayal-

Customer:

I think he is OK with any emotions I have---but I'm not sure what to do with those emotions

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It may be best to look at it as playing "doctor". It's good your brother is exploring all of this in therapy- good for him. But again, now here you are to deal with it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The true healer in this is time- you will feel these strong emotions and shock, but will begin to realize it's not a "major".

Customer:

I'm really upset and not sure why---I try to brush it off, but I'm really angry that he dumped this on me. He said his guilt over this led him to feel awful about himself and do a lot of things he's not pround of---I feel like he's making his junk my problem if that makes sense?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Not a major crisis I mean.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It makes perfect sense- yes to feel dumped on.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Would he allow you to join a counseling session?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Go ahead and express all of this to him. In therapy it is a part of recovery and healing to make amends to those we hurt. However, we also consider if it would hurt more than help.

Customer:

Is there anything I can do to feel better about this? I'm not sure about the counseling session---not sure if I would want to go with him.

Customer:

I have told him I'm upset---I guess I want to mend our relationship and get past the anger. I feel like he was selfish, but I'm not sure if I'm being selfish by wanting him to keep it to himself?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's absolutely okay what you are feeling. What you can do is honor, accept whatever emotions come up- because it is such a shock- you need time to allow this to settle in, it will get better with time.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He has hurt you- he makes progress in therapy at what expense right?

Customer:

Exactly!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Your expense- it is to be expected you would be very angry.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

As you process this- writing him a letter may be helpful- let it rip- whatever comes- as a way to get it out.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You may have periods of time when you are more okay and can move on, while other times it will hit you again. Those are the times you need to talk to your brother- he expects that you would be upset and it will take time.

Customer:

I did send him an email---still feel angry. I guess I should let myself feel that--but I'm not very comfortable with that--conflict is a bit hard for me.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What I gather is it was rather innocent, and that it happened one time. That your brother feels bad means he's a sensitive caring person- that's a good thing!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's very appropriate for you to share your thoughts and feelings on this one- do not allow him to just dump it- share it with him.

Customer:

That is true---I think I want to get to the place of forgiveness, but maybe I have to feel angry first.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Part of his therapy is to experience consequences for his actions, to be honet.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

YES- anger is normal in this case- allow it to have a place- acceptance of this.

Customer:

Thank you---I think that is what was bothering me. I want to make it all OK, but I guess I have to let myself be angry first.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This may occupy your mind a great deal initially as you try and assimilate this- hard to make sense out of something like this- other than it may have been normal child's play.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are welcome- yes allow those emotions to come out- to feel vs. avoid or deny

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Who wants to sign up for uncomfortable feelings right!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's natural that we want it to just go away- deny.

Customer:

Not me :)

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I like the :)

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Let me know if I can help again. Please rate my answer so I can get credit. Much appreciated!!

Customer:

Will do! Thanks again--have a great night!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You too Take Care!

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