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jca's avatar

Do you know anyone who, as a child, was abused by older siblings to the point of being traumatized?

Asked by jca (28482 points ) 1 month ago

At least two people that I know tell stories about getting so beaten up or abused by siblings (usually older brothers) when they were little, that they have awful memories of it.

Do you know of anybody who received such abuse at the hands of their siblings, as children?

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16 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes. I grew up living next door to a family like this. The husband was a dentist; the wife a nurse. They had three sons, and the youngest is my age. The husband was abusive to a certain degree and had several affairs. The eldest son was rough on his younger brothers, but the middle son was wretched to the youngest.

The mother eventually died of cancer, leaving her vast inheritance to the sons (by-passing the husband) in a trust that they couldn’t touch until of a certain age. The father eventually died as well. The eldest son moved into the family home with his wife and two children.

After the boys finally received their inheritance, Son #1 became addicted to pain-killers over time. It got bad enough that his wife left him. Son #2’s marriage also ended in divorce. Son #3 never married, became an alcoholic and has landed in jail several times. All three ended up losing their money, two lost their jobs, and it was quite a mess.

The good news is that all three seem to have gotten their acts together for the most part. The youngest is still drinking, but he has been holding down a good job. I’ve seen them together several times, and the anger in older two seems to have subsided. They appear to get along well now.

ibstubro's avatar

I sometimes suspect that I was.

I have almost no recollection of my 6 years older brother, and he mentions huge swaths of my life that I have absolutely no memory of, and that I don’t remember coming up in the past. Like he, my sister and I living with relatives that also had kids. He acted funny, probing about it when he brought it up.

I don’t bond with people on a deep lasting level, and I have additioal symptoms of abuse, other than the emotional abuse that I remember.

zenvelo's avatar

I had a friend in my late teens who absolutely despised his older brother. He once told me his mother was the only thing that kept his brother off him at times. When his mother died unexpectedly, Greg became full of fear of his brother’s beatings.

When I started hanging out with him, the older brother had moved out and would only show up once every couple weeks. Greg would leave and not return until he knew his father was home.

hearkat's avatar

My perpetrator of psychological and sexual abuse was my eldest sibling. I know one other person with very similar experiences.

The trauma and confusion of having the abuse from a sibling is unique. Because they were a minor at the time, culpability isn’t as clear as when the perpetrator is an adult. Therefore, I felt guilty as an accomplice. I did not tell, and a therapist told me that if there is more than 4 years of age between the molester and the victim the perpetrator is considered “old enough to know better”.

My parents were apparently clueless, which is why I could never forgive them. I know almost instantly when something is bothering my child; and since I was a very miserable child, how could they have not noticed?

My ex told my mother, who went to therapy and came to the conclusion that she “did the best she could”. I also feel that my mother still doesn’t actually believe it. My perpetrator uses the fact that they were a minor and that our parents were clueless as their cop-out. I forgive them both for their denial on the basis of the fact that they are weak, and couldn’t live with the true guilt if they fully comprehended the damage that was done.

To complicate things further, telling other extended family members forces them to choose sides. My perpetrator spends time with a cousin who has daughters, and I want to warn them not to ever leave the girls alone with them. I have no idea if they are really danger to the kids or not, because I have avoided all contact. I know that I will be devastated if something does happen, though. It’s a very hard decision to make.

anniereborn's avatar

Yes, my oldest brothers were very abusive to the youngest boy in the family. I am younger than him by 8 years, so i only heard stories. But I know there was some sexual abuse and they were also very very mean to him. This all happened when my mother was working nights and the older kids watched the younger ones.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh my god. This is horrible you guys. I can’t even imagine. How could something like that develop in a family if it isn’t present in one or both of the parents?

Leanne1986's avatar

Sadly, I know a girl who was raped at a young age by her older brother. She has special needs so doesn’t seem to understand how horrible her brothers actions were, I have often heard her defending his actions but I also know she is scared of him (she’s in foster care now and not living anywhere near him thankfully) and other family members who know about what he did.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Me. Bullied and picked on. I’m over it.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. I often ask women I know if their older brother beat them up and an extremely high percentage say yes. Of those, a portion of them really have memories of it that still bother them years later. I think it happens to younger brothers too, but boys tend to handle it better psychologically. In fact, I think boys are harassed way more than girls/women realize by siblings and peers.

Not only physical abuse, but sometimes psychological abuse too. Telling the girls they are ugly or fat, that sort of thing. I hear about the physical abuse more often though.

I had just one sister and we got along well as kids. I think she thought I was mean sometimes when I played with my friends and left her out, but I never beat up on her. We played together a lot and she feels I protected her when my father yelled a lot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Again, if those traits aren’t in the parents, either one or both of them, how can that kind of thing happen? Especially sexual abuse?

longgone's avatar

^ I’ve always believed that older siblings often tend to pass on the pressure put onto them. The oldest children are held to different standards in many families, having to act responsibly at an early age. While this didn’t happen to me, just simply being the oldest has, at times, made me feel responsible when I clearly wasn’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As the oldest in our family, I know exactly what you’re saying. It was a responsibility I took very seriously. At the age of 5 my mom put me in charge of my 2 year old sister and turned us loosed in the neighborhood. We lived in Florida. To top it all off, there was a saltwater canal in our back yard! No fence, nothing. My sister actually fell off the sea wall once. Thank God the tide was out. I will NEVER forget that.

She fell in a neighbor’s indoor pool once. I fished her out. I must have saved her life a thousand times.

After we moved to Kansas I was to meet my sisters after school to make sure they got on the bus OK. Well, once day one of my sisters didn’t show up. I was in a total panic. I was just sick. I was in 4th grade. I didn’t know what to do. The house was empty when I got home. I managed to find the number to the school and called them, sobbing and in a panic. Turns out my sister had a doctor’s appointment and mom had picked her up from school. She didn’t bother to tell me though.

longgone's avatar

^ Nice job, @Dutchess_III‘s mom…!

Dutchess_III's avatar

My mom was….different. But it was a different era then, too. Never, in a million years, would I buy a house that had an unfenced canal in the back yard if I had kids less than 10 years of age.

ibstubro's avatar

But you turned out good, @Dutchess_III.

Is the Nanny State doing any better?

Can we eliminate risk, and is that desirable?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, we all managed to keep ourselves alive in the face of absolutely no supervision. I’m talking two year olds running around the neighborhood. It was normal back then.

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