Should I confront my brother?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I was molested by my Brother when I was 9 or 10 years old. This has damaged me my enire life and haunts me everyday. I have been struggling with being able to tell the truth because I believe that I have had to suppress this lie for so many years thatiy has caused me to lie and be insecure all my life. I am 45 years old and married with 2 wonderful children. This has affected my life with my Husband, Children and my extended family. I can no longer live a lie and need to confront my Brother but am having some anxiety being able to do that as it will affect my entire family and his. My question is how do I even attempt to do that as I am scared to death that he may not acknowledge?

A: I’m so, so sorry that you have been in such emotional pain for over 30 years. I understand completely why you would want to confront your brother and get the issue out in the open. Nevertheless, I hope you will consider seeing a therapist to help you with this. Sometimes confronting an offender like your brother provides enormous relief. Sadly, sometimes it retraumatizes the person doing the confronting. Your brother might deny it. Your family might not believe you. Even if they do believe you, they may be furious with you for raising the issue now. Some families fracture, with some family members siding with the victim and some with the abuser.

All that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t do it; only that you should carefully think through exactly what you want to say and be well-prepared for whatever might happen next.

A therapist who spciailizes in trauma work will be able to provide practical help and emotional support as you decide what is best for you to do. Confrontation isn’t the only way to remove the shadow from your life. A therapist will help you explore all the options and decide what would be most helpful for you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Should I confront my brother?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/20/should-i-confront-my-brother/