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What Do I Do about My Brother’s Advances?

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From a teen in the U.S.: On a recent family trip, I had to sleep in the same bed as my younger brother, age 14, I made him sleep over the covers and everything seemed fine. One night I wake up at around 4am, to a feeling of tugging at the back of my pants at the waistline, and when I turn to the source I see my brother leaning on his arm facing me. I couldn’t go to sleep after that.

I tried to talk to my mother about what had happened, she didn’t even seem to be surprised. She tried to sweep everything under the rug, and when my brother was told to apologize it was like he didnt care and just told me “it got to me”

A few weeks has passed and two nights ago I awake to a feeling around my butt, when I open my eyes my little brother is standing over my bed and comes up with some dumb excuse as to why he is in my room. In the morning he tries to justify himself by telling me “I resisted, which is a good thing?” and he also told me that it had “gotten to him” again.

A similar thing happened a few years ago, where he spent the night at a friend’s house and was caught sneaking into his little sister’s room when she told her parents the following day; his excuse was he was “Trying to find a book to read” which is obviously a lie.

I feel disgusted and sad that he seems to be developing this type of fantasy, and behavior with his own sister; even after I explained to him that incest is bad (and illegal) and that he is sexually harassing me, and I could press charges, and if he keeps doing this to others without consent he could end up on the sex offenders list. I don’t feel safe or comfortable in my room at night, and have even began locking my door while I sleep.

I am scared that he will do it to females in his future such as friends, girlfriends, and even if he has daughters or younger family members. I also feel like it’s unfair that my mom is making up excuses for him, and trying to sweep everything under the rug and not even defending me, but if the roles were switched she would probably unleash hell.

What Do I Do about My Brother’s Advances?

Answered by on -

A.

You are right to be concerned. It looks to me like your brother is sending up flares for help. He knows he needs it. He talks about being “gotten to” and “resisting” impulses he has. So far, he has managed but I think he is asking for help as clearly as if he was shouting it.

Your mother’s denial of the problem isn’t unusual. Many parents can’t manage the idea that something may be seriously wrong with one of their kids. So they justify and make excuses and rationalize behaviors they really shouldn’t. This isn’t a matter of “not defending you.” Her dismissal of your concerns is a reflection of her struggle to come to terms with the problem. Getting mad at her won’t help. Instead, have some compassion for her struggle and find a way to calmly talk to her adult to adult.

Talk to your mom about the importance of getting your brother help before he is in a situation where he can’t “resist” his feelings — not after he’s done something that gets him into serious trouble. The way your mother can love him best is to make sure that he gets therapy now.

If your brother is able to listen to you, do continue to try to talk to him. Instead of lecturing him, invite him to talk to you about what is driving the behavior and what he thinks he needs in order to have more self-control. Listen sympathetically so he knows he isn’t alone. Offer to help him get treatment. It may be a relief to him if you offer to go with him to talk to your mom about getting him help. Do some homework. Find out what therapists in your area work with adolescents with sexually problematic behavior so you can give your mother some direction.

Meanwhile, you are wise to keep your door locked. That protects you both.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What Do I Do about My Brother’s Advances?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). What Do I Do about My Brother’s Advances?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 8, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/03/01/what-do-i-do-about-my-brothers-advances/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Feb 2020 (Originally: 1 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Feb 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.