Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
Starting at a very young age , my brother would show me my dad’s adult magazine collection. One story, told by my father, places me around the age of 3 when my brother was caught showing the neighborhood boys that month’s Playboy edition, which he had cleverly hidden in a Boy’s Life magazine. He is 6 years older than me. My brother had found the key to a locked cabinet in my fathers sock drawer and would retrieve it as soon as the coast was clear and my parents weren’t around. This key unlocked a treasure chest of porn magazines and videos. I remember my brother was allowed to start baby sitting me, he showed me the hidden cabinet. I was around 6-7 years old. I remember knowing that we were being sneaky and I couldn’t tell mom and dad, but I don’t think I really know we were doing.
This behavior continued for a while until he started asking me to perform acts on him like the people in the videos. I remember feeling very uncomfortable, but he was my older brother and I trusted him. He told me that what we were doing wasn’t wrong because we didn’t “like each other like that” and we were “just having fun”. This continued until I was about 8-9 years old. Then, I vaguely remember telling my mother about what was happening but it was swept under the rug. I don’t think my mother was trying to hide anything in the sense of not believing me; I think she was scared to tell my father and of the beating my brother, and maybe even me would have taken.
Haunted By Memories
Once my brother got to high school, the behaviors ceased happening between us. I have a feeling he upgraded from his younger brother to a few girls or guys at school. I held on to the memories for a long time, but they did not start to really bother me until college. Vivid flashbacks and unwelcomed memories started flooding my brain. I can still remember specific instances where we were almost caught and he would somehow lie his way out of it or convince me everything was fine.
One night after a few hours of binge drinking, I was haunted by the memories and became furious that my mother never did anything about it when I told her many years earlier. So I called her. She remembered. She was devastated that I remembered. She was so sorry that nothing was done and we cried together. She called a cab company and had me dropped off at my house. I haven’t opened up to my mother about that situation much more since then and I’m still not sure my dad has any clue about any of this.
Around the time of the phone call to my mother, I started to spiral our of control. I did not seek help or someone to talk to. I would mask my depression with whatever substance I could get my hands on. On two occasions, these benders lead to me sharing my story with “trusted” friends. I think sharing these experiences with friends can be very powerful and healing thing, but not when you are blasted. Those convo’s were one and done’s.
It Never Feels like a Good Time to Have “the Talk”
Over the past few years I have become much more accepting of what happened. I have talked to someone who went through a similar experience, a therapist who knows me very well, and a girlfriend who was more understanding than I could have ever imagined. One person I still have not talked to about any of this is my brother. I don’t even know if he remembers. I have thought about approaching him about it, but there never seems to be a good time. He is constantly addicted to another drug, getting fired from a job, cheating on his wife, losing custody of his child…. It never feels like a good time to have “the talk”. Sometimes I think, if I told him, he would kill himself. I feel like he is so mentally broken from everything else in his life that being reminded of what he did to me would push him over the edge. If that happened. I think I would feel responsible. That frustrates me because I feel like he is responsible for so many of the negativity in my life – why should I even care.
I Don’t Let It Control My Day Anymore
For me, I am okay now. I have become better at letting myself feel sad if those thoughts arise, and then I let them pass. The feelings of depression, anxiety, wanting to know why or if my brother even remembers are still here everyday and just as real as they ever were, but I don’t let it control my day anymore.
I am more than my past and will not be held back by the memories of my abuse. It feels good to talk about this in this setting and I’m thankful for this group.