OMG. Dropped in My Lap LONG!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by GoingNorth, May 30, 2015.

  1. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Sister called about 2 hours ago. Spent two hours on the phone with her practically in hysterics.

    She's having hysterics. Apparently dropping her "barriers" enough to fall in love with her fiancé and actually trust him brought forth a lot of compartmentalized old memories.

    One of those memories is of our dad molesting her for several years. She is having detailed flashbacks and the details that she remembers body markings, etc. are such that I have no reason to disbelieve her.

    The abuse started when she was a toddler and went on until she was in her tweens. It was like trying to talk to the child she had been in the early years of the abuse.

    She can't understand how I didn't know this was happening, and worse, how I didn't somehow protect her.

    She never told my mother for fear that my mother wouldn't believe her (and in the emotional state my mother was in during those years, she might not have), or would think she was dirty or had led my dad on.

    At the same time, the child she was feels my mother should have known and should have protected her.

    She confessed to wishing my dad dead for as long as she could remember. She hated him and was relieved and thrilled when he died at the age of 47 of what was either a heart attack or suicide (no autopsy done due to religious regions).

    She was begging me to tell her that this was all a trick her mind was playing on her, and I couldn't tell her that. I don't know for sure. Only a trained professional can help her untangle this mess and teach her ways of coping with either the trauma or the delusions if t hat is what these are.

    I'm way out of my league.I dealt with the demons left by my paternal grandfather in therapy in my late teens when I went out on my own and moved in with later to be husband.

    She's BP1, an alcoholic with AODA issues, currently cocaine and has started smoking cigarettes and marijuana again after fifteen years off of theose. She is off her BiPolar (BP) medications and currently not under the care of a psychiatrist.

    She has access to benzos and opiates (RX) as well.

    I listened to the screaming, validated her blaming me, without taking it on. Told her that I hadn't seen any sexual abuse, but that I had seen and experienced dad being verbally inappropriate with both of us and him being very manipulative, things I recognized at an early age as being symptoms of his mental illness that I later knew to be BiPolar (BP) and possible schizoaffective disorder. He was treated for the BiPolar (BP) with lithium but not followed properly with blood draws, etc, and his thyroid and kidneys were damaged as a result.

    There is some question as to my paternity, but my own MI issues make it more and more likely that dad is my bio father.

    I don't know if I'm asking for advice or just some vibes and validation. I feel like I've been run an emotional marathon tonight. Absolutely exhausted to the point that I am in physical pain as well as in emotional pain.

    I am terrified for my sisters well being. She flat out stated that she's afraid for her sanity if she cant get these feelings "stuffed back into their compartment".

    She's very resistant to the concept of therapy. I did explain how CBT and EMDR work, and she sounded a little more open to those, even after I told her they are hard work.

    She did, for the first time admit that she's an alcoholic and addict, which is something. She said that up until now, using has been the only thing that keeps the feelings in their compartments when they try to get out.

    I'm terrified she'll OD now that the boxes are "open" and all of this stuff is rocketing around in her heard. It sounded like she was barley under control tonight.

    I did manage to get her calmed down to the point of making sense at which point she informed me that she'd been driving the entire time (she was on her cell but I didn't really note that, as like me, her cell is her only phone.) She sounded sober, which was something.

    I'm way out of my comfort zone on this. I can be her shoulder, and if yelling at me makes her feel better, I can take that as well, but she's got to realize that I can't fix this for her. I was a damned good network analyst for 25 years. I am not a psychoanalyst.

    I can't help the frightened small child who feels betrayed by an older sister and mother who didn't know she was being hurt and therefore couldn't help her.

    Meanwhile, other than a couple of years of hellish bipolar/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) rages in my early teens, my dad and I got along very well. He mostly raised me as the son he never had. I am now fighting to reconcile the dad I knew and loved with the dad my sister hated and feared.

    MY CBT counsellor? I saw her for the last time last week. She is on vacation and I'll be moved out by the time she gets back.I sent her an email with the high points and a plea for advice. She doesn't usually take her laptop on vacation, but hopefully checks her office email with her phone.

    My sister told me that she felt horrible whenever dad took me on a fishing or hunting trip because she 'd be so relieved to be able to sleep without fear but felt guilty about feeling that way because she was sure he was taking me away so he could molest me too.

    Gawd...I'm actually nauseated. I got off the phone with her and took an Ativan. It's finally kicking in.

    And,I'm CBT=ing memories of my paternal grandfather "taking me swimming" when I was a littile girl.

    Right now it feels like someone should''ve drowned this family line (my parents are related) like a litter of defective kittens and to hell with the couple of brilliant intellects tthat show up evey couple of generations.

    Sick at heart (I'd take the kittens home, nurse them back to health and find them loving homes after they were spayed and neutered.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    GN, I have no good advice for you that will help your sister except to validate her. It is unlikely she made it up. False memory Syndrome has been discredited.

    At the same time, you can't fix her, like we can't fix our kids, our spouses, our mothers, anyone. It is up to your sister to get help. She is the only one who can help herself. Nobody else can. Since you and I both suffer from mental illness, you know as well as me that it is a lonely road; one you have to walk yourself. Nobody can get the help for us nor do what we are told to do in order to get better (and you can recover from anything if you put in the hard work). This may be why she uses substances. But you can't help her stop using them either.

    Take care and try to have a good day. You're a caring sister.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    GN, I can relate to this. I and my sisters were sexually abused by our bio-father, we also found out years later that he did the same to some of our friends. My mother honestly did not know until my oldest sisters got the courage to tell her and she divorced him. It is quite possible that your mother did not know. These types of abusers are very good at hiding their crime and having their victims keep the secret.

    I will never understand why my father or any other pedophile does such disgusting acts. They are truly mentally ill.

    This is a turning point for your sister. I do hope that she will get into some counseling. All you can do for her is to validate her and let her know you love her. Confirm to her that it was not her fault.

    I and my sisters have all gone on with our lives. None of us are defined by what was done to us. For me personally, I made the choice to forgive him. I did this after he died at age 51. I didn't forgive him for him, I did it for myself as I was not going to allow him to have anymore power over me.

    Life can be so messy sometimes but we don't have to let the mess stick to us.

    Your sister is very lucky to have you.

    ((HUGS)) to you.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    There's just so much going on here.

    My sister was very damaged by the sexual abuse. It governed all her life choices and still does.

    She doesn't understand why she was chosen for the abuse and I wasn't, even though, as I understand it, it isn't that uncommon for one child to be singled out.

    There is also the fact that my sister was a beautiful child and I bore an uncanny resemblance to mum's side of the famiy, which may have been a real turn-off.

    I don't feel any sort of guilt for not helping her as a child. I honestly knew nothing about this until yesterday night. I did know at an early age that my father was mentally ill, but knew nothing about the pedophilia. My father wasn't at all educated, but he was a very intelligent man.

    It wouldn't have been difficult to hide something like this from either a child or a wife who didn't want to know.

    Especially when the victim was too frightened and too caught up in the web of being the "pleaser" to tell anyone about what was going on.

    One incident that she remembers very clearly that I don't recall at all, really struck me. When we first moved to our house ine suburbs, I was thrilled because it meant we kids could have our own rooms. I was 12 and sister was 9.

    Sister was terrified of sleeping in her own room as it meant that she now had no defences against our dad.

    She came into my room one night and asked me if she could sleep at the foot of my bed. I said "no". And told her to go away. She then asked if she could sleep on the floor. Apparently I said no, and told her to get the "****" out of my room.

    She is convinced I did this because I was afraid that her presence would draw dad into my room and I'd be abused too.

    I have no memory of this incident, but do remember that at the age of 12, my younger sister was very clingy and drove me crazy.

    I assume my response was simply "terrible tween" complicated by a good dose of BiPolar (BP) "b@itchiness, and told her that. I don't think she believed me.

    So, on some level, she feels I should've protected her and failed. I'm not taking that on, by the way.

    I realize I can't fix sister. I also realize that until SHE deals with this, there is no hope for her getting off of substances or away from any of the other destructive things she does to herself, as I think all of them are tied to the past abuse and her not dealing with it for 40 years.

    Realize that in addition to the sexual abuse, there was a tremendous amount of emotional abuse of the "parenting the parent" sort laid on sister by dad starting at a very young age. That's also got to be dealt with.

    I see my role as being a shoulder to cry on/vent upon, to continue to push conuseling/therapy even if it gets me screamed at, and hopefully, to not have to identify any bodies.

    The marrying back into the highschool crowd she ran with during a particularly self-destructive time in her life, and a resumption of poly-drug abuse on top of the alcohol frightens me. I'm not sure her admitting for the first time that she is an addict is a positive thing so much as it is more of an "in your face" sort of thing.

    I've had to re-draw a lot of the very firm boundaries I had in place around sister during a similar period of acting out 30 years ago, and that pains me.

    I am liberal about MJ use, but that's it. There will be an "after-party" after the wedding reception during which there will be drug use, but there will be none during the reception itself other than alcohol, which given the proclivities of much of that crowd, is enough to worry me.

    Then there's my mother, who is being sheltered from all of this because no one wants to upset her at her age (81), though I suspect she knows more than sister thinks she does.

    I would like to attend family counselling with at least sister and I. I don't think dragging my mother through this is the kind thing to do.

    My sister views "counselling as "emotional vomiting" though if what she did all over me on the phone for two hours last night wasn't that...
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This is such a special thing you are willing to do for her.

    It's a tough place to be, while your sister was a victim and that more than likely led to her substance abuse she is old enough to know that her choices are hers. Turning to drugs and alcohol to numb not only the emotional pain but to dull the memories is very common. There is such a fine line between being a victim and taking ownership for your own life.

    We all know that we are not responsible for what happens to us as children but we are responsible for the choices we make when we become adults. The sad truth is however that some are never able to get out of "being a victim" I hope that is not the case for your sister and I really hope that she will come around and decide to try some counseling.

    I'm keeping good thoughts for both of you.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady


    My fear, and unfortunately, my gut feeling, is that without some real change on her part, my sister isn't going to be able to beat these demons.

    Right now, she is looking for ways to "push them back into their box" and to stop their interfering with intimacy with her soon to be husband. She doesn't seem to be willing to go through what is necessary to actually be shed of the demons.

    I know how hard the therapy for sexual abuse is. I know how hard the therapy for PTSD is. I've been through it. I'm still in therapy though more on a "tune up" basis these days.

    My reason for wanting to go through therapy with my sister is that she's got some demons about ME that she needs to exorcise and that both of us would benefit from exorcising. I have some wrong assumptions about her behaviour in the past due to my not knowing about the sexual abuse.

    I do know that I can't go back to the early days when husband and I were dating and we were rooting kid sister out of bars and parties at 4AM because my parents were freaking out about her safety.

    I cannot rescue her anymore. This is her fight. It has to be. And the only way for her to cease being a victim is for her to win this battle. She can't win this battle without the right sort of (professional) help on her side.

    And damn it, she needs back under the care of a psychiatrist and back on her medications!
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Even if she does manage to put them back in the box they will find their way out again.

    All you can do is suggest to her how beneficial therapy can be but as you know, it's ultimately up to her to make the decision to work through it.
    I do hope she will make the choice to get some help.

  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I share some of this history. About your sister's age, perhaps 40 was when it came up for me.

    It all surfaced for me after learning my Dad had died. I at that time had no contact with any family members. I was alone.

    I remember being unable to bear the horrible feelings. I did not know at first from where they came. I called an Adult Survivor's hotline. I do not why.

    I will remember my whole life, the end of the recording:

    "It is not your fault. It was not your fault."

    These words began the process of healing.

    That was the beginning of knowing.

    I went to a 12 step group.

    I found that therapy, for me, was not the thing that helped. It was those groups. And then finally, deciding, I no longer needed them.

    I think things happen for a reason. It took real courage on her part to get close to a man and risk.

    If the feelings are coming out, now, it may be because she is strong enough to bear them.

    Of course you can't. Your survival was at stake, then and now.
    That is always a risk, for many of us. With our children.

    Do not minimize yourself the shock you have experienced. You know you must protect your own resiliency, hard-fought and hard-won.

    As other respondents have said, your sister will find the strength in herself, or not. You have given her, already, a lot. A model of strength, courage and responsibility. Of love. A great gift.
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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We cannot change the past for one another Going, but witnessing and validation and a kind of open-hearted acceptance today can make such a difference. You know you aren't trained to help your sister work through this and have admitted as much. But what you are forgetting is that no therapist in the world could possibly function with as much compassion and strength as a sister, strong and present and affirming, as you can.

    And you've done that.

    Look how you've brought Thomas back. It's the same thing, really. We all want to heal, to be whole ~ we need opportunity and right witness and time.

    And a good, healthy diet and a therapist, of course.

    Maybe, just like it gets to be with us for our kids sometimes, you could remind yourself and your sister that while you don't know how to approach or help her with xyz, you know she is strong enough to do this and you are proud she is reclaiming her life. You can love her where she is for sure. She must trust and deeply respect you, to have shared her truth with you at this level.

    I am so glad you were there, and that you were able to hear her.

    It's okay to say "I don't know." It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay sometimes just to be sisters, just to relish one another's company and time spent together.

    I am sorry those bad things, or any bad things, happened to you or to your sister, Going. I am very, very sorry this happened to you. I can't imagine what those who abuse children are thinking. They terrorize us for all the years of our lives. I just get so angry about it, about how stupidly wrong it is.

    I have been taking a determined look at my own past to be stronger myself. I can absolutely tell you it is worth it to learn to see ourselves through our own eyes instead of through the eyes of somebody who was a stupid, self-involved enough person to abuse a child ~ a child! ~ in any way. You can imagine the lies and justifications and rationalizations that made it somehow alright, in their weird little brains and moral systems, to do what they did ~ and to keep doing it. Their sick ways of looking at us to justify what they were doing is what they left in our heads, Going.

    Very good idea, to get them out of our heads. The should never have been anywhere near us in the first place.

    Out they go.


    Maybe now is the time for your family to come clean and to heal and I hope this is true for you all. It sounds like you did a great job of holding strong for your sister without telling her or expecting yourself to be able to fix this. I am sorry holding strong for her brought scary things up for you but it is time to get these people out of our heads.

    Good job and good for you, Going.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    And you are the older sister, and your maternal instincts will be tearing into you big time, now that you know. But you didn't know, then. Neither you nor your sister had the words to name what was happening, or the knowledge base to know what it was, or just how unspeakably wrong it was. I am only just finding the right words myself, and I am 63.
    It is testament to your character that she was able to tell you what she has believed for all these years, Going. That is something for you both to find strength in. There was no way you could have known what was happening to her. Back when everything you both would go through began, the only person who did have the words to name the wrongness was the abuser.

    And that's where the damage is. Those words, those self-descriptive, wordless words, they left in our heads to justify themselves.


    And your role is also to cherish yourself through this. Very much, this is true. It seems to me that every old trauma reawakened awakens others, all of them lumped together into some unrecognizable thing that is wordlessly scary, and deeply toxic. Without words to describe it, to define it and know it and name where we are, we are left only with the feelings, and that is a very hard thing to know how to survive when we don't even know what they are.

    That's why we blocked them out in the first place.

    So take very good and conscientious care of yourself through this time, Going.

    You have been through alot. You are healing. It is worth it.

    It is hard to do.

    You can do it. It's your own self you are reclaiming. They never had a right to that in the first place. You should always have been your own. When I trace things back and really get it, when I really get the nature of the vulnerabilities I was left with, I could just spit.

    Probably both.

    It was ugly when it started, and it isn't going to be pretty coming back. But there has been change now; that is a change in the pattern of things. Now there is room for some new thing to happen. And this time, you both have the words.

    She needs to know where the boundaries are too, Going.

    The answer to these questions will come clearer over time. It helps me place myself correctly when I am able to remind myself that I have time. Maybe just to draw a full breath, maybe to put it all away for a little while, maybe to have a dream I can decipher when my words aren't able to define it so I can heal.

    I'm sorry this is happening to you, Going. That must be such a sad thing to feel.

    But you are right. You cannot stand up for her. You can only stand beside her, and maybe help her with the words, and witness.

    Tune up. I like that very valid concept.

    Tune up.

    I hope you are able to do this with her, Going. She is worth it, and you are, too. I wish with all my heart that my sister and I were in a better place, too. But like you said, you cannot do it for her.

    Take extra care during this time, okay? Thomas and Squeaky and you. That's what you can have all the say in the world in.

    Thomas and Squeaky and you.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am glad they were there for you, Copa.

    I'm so sorry those terrible things happened to you.

    Well, like Going says, sometimes we need a "tune up".

    I know that feeling too though, of just not wanting to drag the whole rotten thing to the surface.

    But that is my water. And I don't want anything there anymore that I am afraid of. Or that can poison everything that should be so beautifully clear and clean and my own.

    We all need a place of sanctuary. And that is something our abusers took from us, too.

    Sanctuary, and the right to it.

    Have you read Brene Brown, Going? It's like, if we stand up in the little places? Standing up to the big ones is a choice we can make a decision to do.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015