He Was My Older Brother and I Trusted Him

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.

4 Replies to “He Was My Older Brother and I Trusted Him”

  1. No, there will probably never be a good time unless he approaches you but you never know. You’re opening up like this will help so many others. That ripple effect will lead to healing you may never have thought could have been possible. And seriously, thank you. It’s been a long twisted road but I’m grateful for my siblings more than anything. I don’t think we stood a chance then. Abuse in our neighborhood was rampant. But with bravery like yours things are changing

  2. So many thoughts flooding my brain right now. Thank you for sharing here and I’m sorry you were Re victimized by friends you thought you could open up to. I know that pain. Your story reminds me of a similar experience with porn. My dad had us watch Star Wars, knowing that 20 minuets into the movie it was a pornographic movie, taped over Star Wars. I watched in with my older sister who he had been abusing and he absolutely knew what was on that tape. His grooming of her reached over to me. I can’t possibly know your story and this pain is so individual, but did you ever wonder if maybe your brother may have been a victim too? It doesn’t excuse anything he did to you and will never lessen the hurt but it may explain some of the self harm and spiraling behaviors. I’m grateful beyond words that you shared this and were heard and that you have healthy relationships and support. It never goes away, that undeserving shame thing we carry, but it changes form and with the right support becomes less of a guilt trap and more of a letting go by knowing you can’t quite ever let it go. And that people care enough to let that be true.If that makes sense. Thanks again. So powerful.

    1. Hi shanakimberly – Thank you for reading and responding to my story. I am so sorry you and your sister went through that experience. It means a lot to me that you took the time to respond.

      Honestly, the thought had crossed my mind that maybe he had been abused too, but I don’t know who would have been his abuser. I will never know unless I ask him, but when is the right time to ask someone a question like that when they are already spiraling out of control? Ya know?

    2. after all these many years i still cant believe that it was my older brother im sorry for what happened to you and me.

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