A: I’m so glad that you worked up the courage to write in with your question. Taking that first step toward getting some help can be equated with taking a giant leap in the right direction. I’m sorry that you were abused and I’m sorry that you have been dealing with it alone. My first suggestion is that you look for support outside of your family. The rest of your family might seem like they have “let it go” more easily than you, because they were not the ones who suffered the abuse. Caring about someone who has been hurt is much different than being hurt. They can have empathy for you, but they cannot know exactly what you are feeling inside.
It is time for you to stop worrying about everyone else and start taking care of yourself. You can’t move on until you deal with what happened. Healing from abuse takes hard work and courage, but you CAN heal and get your life back. I would suggest that you look for a therapist who specializes in trauma and abuse so you can begin working through the past with the help of an expert. You should also consider joining a survivor’s support group, either online or in your community. Speaking with other people who have gone through similar experiences can be a huge help. I’d also suggest educating yourself about the effects of abuse and what the healing journey is like. Two of the books I recommend often are Outgrowing the Pain and The Courage to Heal. Many of the books on abuse can be tough to read so take your time and make sure you have support in place first.
Finally, after you have more support and information about the effects of the abuse you’ll be better prepared on how to handle your family relationships, including your brother. But you must first take control of your own healing journey. Start today by realizing that this wasn’t your fault and that you will not let it define you for one moment longer!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts