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Need To Find A Reason For The Abuse

Question:

After many years I came to realise that my brother was abusing both myself and my sister whilst we were children, as the facts have sunk in I have become angrier and angrier, to the point that I need to find a reason for his abuse to achieve a closurre and get on with my life. This sounds crazy but I’m 51 years old, and only realised a problem at a family get together two years ago, at which he was not present. By pure coincidence he has tried to re-enter our lives last month but I expressed a refusal of interest

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Answer:

I think it is a natural curiosity (or obsession) you have to know what your brother’s motivation was for abusing you and your sister when you were younger, but I don’t think it will be productive for you to pursue this curiosity unless you can do it without needing to involve your brother. To the extent that you need an explanation from him, you will give him continuing power over you; he can choose to withhold information, or lie to you, and you will suffer as a result.

Even if you are able to understand your brother’s motives, they may not make sense to you. There very well may not have been a reason that justified the abuse beyond that your brother felt like perpetrating it at the time for the pure rush of power feeling that it gave him to see you suffer. Another sadistic individual might be satisfied with that sort of motive, but most victims won’t; it will only outrage them more. For this reason, knowing the motives may be a sort of “booby prize” for you – something that is no real prize at all.

Instead of seeking to know why abuse happened, it may prove more reasonable to address the hurt and anger feelings you are dealing with. You’ve been harmed and have wounds, even if they are only psychological at this point, they are still very real. You’ll want to heal from these wounds as best you can so that the memories of abuse feel less urgent and affect you less in the present – which is where your life is taking place now. Revenge won’t help you become happier, but resolving to address your wounds and move forward as best you can may help very much.

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