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My sister blames me for childhood abuse

(157 Posts)
Nevergoingbackthere Wed 08-Apr-20 14:58:42

NC for this.

I just had the most horrible conversation with my DS (sister). Online, as we live in different countries. I live in the UK andmy DS still lives in our home country (in Europe), as well as my DF (father) and my mother.

The thing we were disagreeing about was our upbringing. I remember it being abusive, my DS remembers a struggling single mother and me, a dragon of a teenager, who our mother understandably lashed out to. Thus, any ‘abuse’ was my fault, according to my DS.

The first time my mother hit me was when I was 8. She said she wanted to use money I got for Christmas or birthday or something else, can’t quite remember, to buy clothes. I, an 8 year old, exclaimed that she can’t waste the money on that. She then hit me square in the face. I ran crying to my room and my mother followed me and apologised. Fine, I forgave her, it was a slap. But it escalated from there. More and more incidents happened. I would accidentally spill some yoghurt on the floor and she would scream at me and push my nose in it, like a dog. Then when I started crying she mocked me. Another time my sister and I were playing in the bedroom and she told us to be quiet. We then, after she left the room, went on whispering about her behind her back. She then (as she had been listening at the door) came storming back in, and one at a time, beat us with her fists, whilst shouting at us. You get the picture. As I grew up in this environment, I became more and more rebellious and volatile (no drugs, no crime, but shouting back at my mother when she once again lost the plot). Unfortunately as a result I got hit more and more. She would try to strangle me, drag me by my hair across the floor whilst hurling abuse at me, bite me, beat me with her fists etc. The more she did this the more I would talk back and call her names. My DS and I would fight too. We were shown violence was the answer so we acted this out. The fighting among us is another thing my DS solely blames on me btw. When I tell her that it was both of us and she was also violent towards me, she said that it was in defence and because I taught her, claiming herself as the innocent. Conveniently she doesn’t see the parallels (being shown the example) between my mother and us.

It finally stopped when one day, at 16, when my mother ran towards me again, fists clenched, to beat me, and I slapped her in the face and screamed she would never touch me again. That was the first and the last time that I slapped my mother.

A couple of years back I cut my mother out of my life completely and my life has never been better. I still have issues with low confidence etc. But I have had many sessions with a counsellor and I’m getting there. My DS is still in touch with our mother and we never talk about what happened.Until today. She claims I made it all up and that I was the one who was aggressive and the cause of any violence by either my mother or herself. This view is certainly enforced by my mother constantly telling me I was horrible, she wished I had never been born, and blaming me for her violence.

My DS believes that I was a monster as a teenager and that I brought everything on myself. That it was all my fault and my mother and DS were innocent bystanders. That if I wasn’t a ‘bad’ child/teenager nothing would have happened. She goes between this and claiming it didn’t happen full stop. Her proof for this: she was there, therefore she remember it correctly and I do not.

I’m not trying to paint myself as completely innocent, when my DS and I fought it was both our faults, and I yes I would shout abuse at my mother, but by that point I really hated her for what she had been doing to me. But I resent the fact that my DS claims that everything that happened is solely my fault. Whereas I believe that my DS and I were both victims. She’s just dealing with things differently. Thing is, from talking with friends I wasn't even out of the ordinary as a child/teenager but they didn't get hit and called names and I did.

I have tried telling my DS that her interpretation is textbook behaviour from someone who survived/witnessed childhood abuse and that her denial is only her way of trying to protect herself against the truth. Thing is she can cope with what happened how she wishes, but I draw the line at her telling me that the abuse was my fault. I have worked too hard on myself for years, and I will not have someone tell me that abuse is the victim’s fault, in order to protect themself, not even my DS. She refuses to read any articles which explain why siblings may remember abuse differently, or blame the victim. She categorically blames me.

How do we move on from this. We had a good relationship prior to this. But she will not back down from defending our mother in this and I will not accept her putting the blame at my feet.

As sometimes I do wonder whether everything was my fault, I put an AIBU:

AIBU the abuse was my fault/it probably didn’t happen

YANBU the abuse was not my fault, as I was a child, no matter how ‘difficult’

Thank you.

NoMorePoliticsPlease Wed 08-Apr-20 15:03:04

Sorry, this was a nightmare, you both are going to need help

ChrissieKeller61 Wed 08-Apr-20 15:07:09

It's a protective measure. My sister would say exactly the same. My sister was hit too but she doesn't remember apparently - I think she does and she definitely witnessed our brothers being beaten but it's her way of coping

Tigerty Wed 08-Apr-20 15:09:12

“The first time my mother hit me was when I was 8.”

That says it all, as a child you were reacting to your environment.

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 08-Apr-20 15:10:49

I know how that feels. Until about 5 years ago my DSis believed I was the family trouble maker, has caused untold issues in the family. About 10 years ago, in an argument, I told her that she could say what she wanted but deep down she knew what our childhoods were like and that when she could believe herself I would be here, waiting for her.

Five years later she arrived on my doorstep crying, angry and about to blow a fuse. We talked it all through and she did manage to stop believing the lies our DF has long been telling her.

We get on well know, are almost totally NC with our parents and support each other whenever we wobble.

Be blunt with your DSis. Leave it with her.

Summercamping Wed 08-Apr-20 15:12:47

I am sorry for you both. But she is wrong. Her behaviour is rooted in denial, whereas you have developed insight into your situation. I don't know how you can convince her, but don't lose sight of your truth. You have it right

PenisBeakerDipper Wed 08-Apr-20 15:14:11

You were 8 when it started, YANBU. I’m so sorry you went through that.

Nevergoingbackthere Wed 08-Apr-20 15:17:03

Thank you. I think I may send this thread to her. Don't know if she will read it, and if she does she might manage to twist it, but maybe one day.

GrumpyHoonMain Wed 08-Apr-20 15:19:06

Does she have kids herself? I would bet if she’s justifying beating up a child she’s probably repeating the cycle with her own

UrsulaBirkin Wed 08-Apr-20 15:19:39

I'm just so sorry that you had to go through that. It's not your fault

ChewChewIsMySpiritAnimal Wed 08-Apr-20 15:21:16

I don't think there's anything you can do until she accepts that your mother was responsible for the abuse, not you. You may have to be prepared to walk away unless she can acknowledge it wasnt your fault. Otherwise her saying those things is going to damage you further although it sounds like you've got a good handle on your mental health.

Nevergoingbackthere Wed 08-Apr-20 15:23:42

Grumpy she doesn't no. The thing is she probably believes that no child deserves abuse apart from me. That somehow our situation was different. That somehow it's never a child's fault unless that child is me. Because I was a difficult teenager. She is blinkered to the fact that I/we learned violence from our mother.

Be assured it is something I would never repeat myself.

And I am so sorry for those other posters who have gone through similar flowers

QuestionMarkNow Wed 08-Apr-20 15:23:51

Im wondering who is the 2% who says YABU....

Northernwarrior Wed 08-Apr-20 15:24:27

Of course this was not your fault. Your sister is wrong wrong wrong. No child deserves abuse.

Your mother failed you and clearly had issues herself. Your sister is dealing with it the only way she knows how it will let herself. If she doesn’t get therapy for this then it will consume her.

Well done on the progress you have made op.

Nevergoingbackthere Wed 08-Apr-20 15:24:52

Some people seem to believe I'm unreasonable though. And I haven't even shown this thread to my DS yet.

QuestionMarkNow Wed 08-Apr-20 15:25:01

I also think it is easier for her to say its your fault because then she doesnt have to confront the fact her mum was abusive, abusive towards you AND towrds her.

Nevergoingbackthere Wed 08-Apr-20 15:25:25

Ha snap question

BubblesBuddy Wed 08-Apr-20 15:27:35

The adult is always responsible because they are the adult! A child is not to blame and your sister should understand this. It’s not necessary to have your sister in your life either. Why spend time arguing with someone who isn’t ready to evaluate the abuse in the family in a more mature way. She may have had a different personality and I found, in my own family, how this alters dynamics towards them but aggravates the anger towards the less conformist DC.

QuestionMarkNow Wed 08-Apr-20 15:29:10

@Nevergoingbackthere, the thing is, no one on the therad has explained why they would think its your fault somehow.
I am wondering if the poster(s??) who voted YABU just didnt click the worng buttom seeing that they havent taken the steps to explain themselves.

Fwiw, if a man was behaving that way towards his partner, no one would say its the fault of the woman for 'not behaving well enough and poushing him to be abusive/hitting her'
If it was two men having an argument outside in the street, no one would say that its ok for one of them to hit the other because the other guy shouted or insulted him.
There is never any resaon to hit another person in that way.

EmeraldShamrock Wed 08-Apr-20 15:29:46

It sounds like your DM had serious mental health issues and framed you as the trigger.
It sounds awful. I'm glad you've had some help to overcome it. Your Dsis will have the lightbulb moment when she realises, she isn't ready to acknowledge it Yet. flowers

EmeraldShamrock Wed 08-Apr-20 15:31:13

I am wondering if the vote starts at 50/50. Rather than 0/0 percent shift balance.

GoodnessSake Wed 08-Apr-20 15:32:32

To answer your Q about how to move on from this, you don't, stay NC unless she changes her attitude. It's sad for her that she can't see she was abused but she is emotionally abusing you now, flowers

VibrationNation Wed 08-Apr-20 15:33:22

Anyone saying you are being unreasonable on this thread either hit the wrong button or is in a similar situation to your sister and is projecting.

It is really horrible feeling (and realistically being) rejected and continuously misunderstood. I do believe you have clearer insight into the issues (awareness) than your sister. Unfortunately you cannot help her to move along through her awareness, she can only choose to take that path herself. I think the important thing is that you don’t lose your voice, speak your truth to her and even if she doesn’t want to hear it, or she hears it and denies it, you at least will feel that you have had the power to use your voice.

It is a horrible position to be put in but you did not cause it and you are not responsible for it.

Throckmorton Wed 08-Apr-20 15:33:38

You were a child! No matter how badly you behaved (and it doesn't sound like you did behave badly given the circumstances!), you didn't deserve what happened to you. Hugs

I guess for your sister to accept that, she has to accept that your mother is pretty evil and that her entire belief in her parents and her childhood is built on a lie. That may take her a long time.

Quarantimespringclean Wed 08-Apr-20 15:36:04

YANBU. Your sister is in denial, it’s a vital defence mechanism to protect her from having to deal with unbearable memories and realisations. She may or may not eventually come to terms with the reality of your awful childhood but if she does it will have to be in her own time and on her own terms.

Please don’t send her this thread. To present her with facts or evidence that destroy her defences before she is ready could be very harmful to her. If you can bring yourself to speak to her, reassure her that even though you remember the past differently you still love her and want her in your life.

If this really comes between you let her know your door is always open to her and then leave things alone.

Well done on breaking the abusive pattern of your childhood. flowers.

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