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OT how to deal with a sibling who has been abused as a child

I have a sister who has been abused as a child and I did not know of this till she got divorced. She is very irritable, and extremely sensitive and is socially withdrawn. SHe lives in denial and does not want to admit of the abuse I was told of this by her ex. Her behavior is damaging family relations, can someone help me out?

Thu. Aug 2, 10:23pm

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Although this history can certainly impact a person's social functioning, personality, coping skills, and self-esteem.... and even their brain's ability to process various stimuli!.... this is something your sister discussed with her ex. Because she didn't approach you about it, you aren't in a good position to approach her (she must not have been comfortable telling you for whatever reason, possibly as a protective function in order to keep the family looking as competent as possible). If she is close to her ex still, the ex is in a better position to get her to open up and to possibly suggest to her that her past may be impeding her present functioning - but don't press your sister or her ex, or bring this out as a great revelation to all - it will only create more drama within your family.

Friday, August 03, 2007, 12:46 AM

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Countless people go through awful childhoods, and still they emerge as their own person eventually. She should seek counselling but not for the abuse, but for the situation that she is currently in and try to improve it. I belive she should only come open about the abuse if the person can still be punished for what they did, so she can be vindicated in a way. Otherwise there is not really point in dwelling on it, it can only make matters worse and have her go through it milllion times over. Not worth it.

Friday, August 03, 2007, 10:07 AM

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I am sorry I have to disagree with you 10:07 am
Punishment for the perpetrator is not the only reason to bring this issue out into the open. After a lifetime of telling yourself how awful you are both for the abuse itself and for hating the person who did it to you, you need validation as well. Sometimes family can give that to you and sometimes you need a professional.

If you and your sister are close you might be able to approach her about it and share your concern for her. Living a life colored by abuse is extremely difficult. But even more so once you start to face it and what it has done to you. She has to come to this in her time. You can't push it and expect good results.

Having gone through this myself I would suggest you just let her know you are there for her and support her and love her no matter what. And that when she is ready you will be there for her to talk to.
Though a professional can help sometimes they make it worse. Certainly it gets worse before it gets better when you are in counceling. It is not easy to have to look at it all the time.
I wish the best for your sister and you.

Friday, August 03, 2007, 5:27 PM

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