Ask Amy: My brother abused me when we were kids

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Expensive Amy: I grew up within the ’60s in a Midwestern household the place we have been taught to repress our feelings. I used to be a delicate and artistic child, the youngest of three brothers. My mother and father have been loving however indifferent, which supplied my brother (who was 2½ years older) infinite alternatives to torment me.

I moved away from our small city after highschool and have had a great life and profitable profession. But it surely took a few years to beat the low vanity and an absence of self-confidence that I partly attribute to my brother’s abuse. I’ve since realized that my brother was depressed, and even now, a few years later, he hasn’t been in remedy or acquired medical therapy for his despair.

I’ll be seeing my brother in a couple of months and am questioning whether or not I ought to inform him how I really feel? We’re each in our early 70s, and speaking about it now appears ridiculous, however on the identical time, I ponder whether holding quiet is upholding an unhealthy household custom. Ought to he be held accountable for his actions? However then once more, we’re outdated, and why ought to I make a sick particular person really feel worse about his personal life? Looks like dangerous karma.

I usually marvel what it will have been prefer to have a supportive older brother. It could have meant a lot to me. But I’ve been capable of turn out to be a loving husband and father to a few youngsters, one in every of whom is severely disabled. I acknowledge that my mother and father did get some issues proper, and have forgiven my brother.

I’m in a quandary about this and am questioning what you assume.

Baffled: You ask whether or not your brother ought to be held accountable for his actions. In fact he ought to! In an ideal world, we might all be held accountable for our actions, but I’m questioning what accountability seems prefer to you.

Your brother’s life doesn’t appear to have been significantly straightforward, whilst you have efficiently overcome the adversity introduced by rising up in your family. If you happen to imagine in karma, you would possibly view this consequence as accountability — of the cosmic sort.

You say you’ve forgiven your brother, and in that case, this could allow you to method him with compassion. It’s a preferred understanding that bullies are typically wounded themselves. And bullying, removed from establishing safe management and energy, additionally breaks down the bully’s vanity.

When visiting together with your brother, you need to try and revisit your shared previous by reminiscing about extra benign moments. You possibly can then try to debate your personal challenges. Your brother arrived into the household earlier than you, and doubtless has impressions and reminiscences which can be very totally different from yours.

Your objective shouldn’t be to make your elder brother really feel worse about his personal life, however to higher perceive your loved ones’s total dysfunctional system. I hope you possibly can go away this assembly believing that you just’ve put a few of these inquiries to relaxation.

Expensive Amy: A number of years in the past, my then-granddaughter (in her 20s) transitioned to a male. All of us within the household have supported him 100%. I’ve all the time been the household picture-taker.

Through the years, I’ve framed many group photographs of household birthday events, reunions, seashore holidays, and many others. Am I improper to show these images that embrace “he” as “she”?

Through the years, a number of family members have died, and I haven’t eliminated their photos. Ought to I deal with this the identical means, or am I being (by accident) offensive? Options?

No Offense: Lifeless family members aren’t out there to inform you how they really feel about having images of themselves framed and in your house. Provided that your grandson has not died, however may be very a lot dwelling his genuine life, you need to ask him, particularly, how he feels about having these images displayed.

I assume there is no such thing as a common response to this, however seeing these older images might be a troublesome set off for him. That’s why you need to talk about it.

Expensive Amy: I’m the chubby grownup daughter of one other “Involved Mom.” Thanks for advising this mother to put off. I additionally eat effectively and train. My weight achieve is related to prescriptions I take for a well being situation that I’ve chosen to not share with my mother.

And the irony of it’s that I’m beneath shut medical supervision! You by no means know what another person goes by, even if you’re shut.

Please Cease: It may be exceedingly difficult for fogeys to let their grownup youngsters … be adults.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content material Company.


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