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Was what happened in my family wrong?

(23 Posts)
AHalfFormedThing Tue 28-Mar-17 14:05:32

Idk if I should really post this here, but kind of desperate to have some kind of outside opinion, whilst being anonymous.

When I was around 11/12 my brother (4 years older than me) became very very mentally unwell, to the point of being e.g. not going to school properly for a few years. It was initially diagnosed as anxiety (he has suffered quite a lot of bullying), although a few years ago he received the diagnosis of OCD.

A lot of my early adolescence teen years were spent essentially waiting in cars whilst we went place to place in an effort to find therapy which suited him.

But the thing is, he very rapidly became quite aggressive towards me, e.g. he would put me down, call me a 'bitch' or a 'cunt' (as well as other things), and I'd be made to apologise for 'provoking' him (usually because I had disagreed with him). It got to the point where even his own friends would comment on how mean he was to me. It escalated to full delusions about me, that I was satanic, that I was performing black magic on him to remove his intelligence, that I was poisoning him to chemically castrate him. He would growl at me, spit at me, shake his fist at me, and threaten to kill me regularly (like for 2 years on a daily basis). My parents would always say to me 'don't be upset by it, he can't help it, it's his OCD' etc etc, and my mum always, and continues to do this, compares how much 'better' my life is than my brother's - as a reason why I shouldn't talk about my achievements or life, in his presence (I don't anymore, he still becomes violent and aggressive). (Context: I have always excelled in school, straight A* student etc, have a good, reliable circle of friends - who tbh kind of became my substitute family because no one in my family really had time for me - to the point that it was my friends who called the ambulance when I took a potentially life-threatening overdose, and not my mum who was in the car with me). On top of this, there have been occasions where my brother has been physically aggressive towards me, punching me, pushing me to ground once, pulling my hair, scratching me, and grabbing my throat with two hands on at least 2 occasions saying he was going to strangle me, before my parents intervened.

When I got into Oxford on receiving my A Level results, I spent the month and a half before I moved out hearing graphic descriptions of how I would be raped and beheaded, again pretty much daily, because he had been 'humiliated' apparently.

(Other context, don't want to dripfeed, when I was 16 my personal longstanding MH issues came to a crisis point and I was admitted for 2 1/2 months as a psychiatric inpatient) (Throughout my teens, I was self-harming on a daily basis, 4 or 5 times a day for a few years, as well as having periods of heavily disordered eating) (I am also diagnosed as being on autistic spectrum)

But basically when my mum speaks of this period now, she justifies it by saying that my brother 'doesn't annoy me anymore', (leaving out the fact that I am still basically not allowed to talk about anything in front of him), and that he has very severe special needs, unlike me, because I am more independent.

But like, I just feel so messed up about this so frequently and I always feel guilty because apparently my life has been so much better, idk

WhatHaveIFound Tue 28-Mar-17 14:12:10

OMG, that was wrong on so many levels. Your mother should have been protecting you, not justifying his behaviour towards you. You have nothing to feel guilty about. To get into Oxford with all that going on was just amazing and you should be proud of yourself.

Do you see your parents/brother much now? I'd be seriously considering going NC if i were you. It sounds like your mother is still favouring your brother.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Tue 28-Mar-17 14:15:40

Def not defending your dm but sounds like in her desperation to fix her broken child she forgot about the one that was already perfect.
Sorry you went through everything that goes beyond most nightmares.
Congratulations on your success though

Dieu Tue 28-Mar-17 14:16:24

That's awful OP, you poor thing.
Your brother sounds schizophrenic. And I speak from experience. Was he really only ever diagnosed with anxiety/OCD?

PovertyJetset Tue 28-Mar-17 14:19:37

While your brother may well have severe mental health conditions, it should in no way have meant that you were so sidelined and abused in this way.

I would have to put quite a bit a distance between myself and the whole toxic mess of your family.

I sincerely hope you are getting the support you need and are living a happier life now.

I feel sorry for you. flowers

hellsbellsmelons Tue 28-Mar-17 14:20:11

Wow - no wonder you had MH issues.
You've been through a lot.
And your DP who were supposed to be protecting you, simply were not doing their jobs.
Have you had counselling/therapy at all to confront all of the things you have been though?
It sounds like you are doing well now but counselling will help you long term.
What you went through is so NOT RIGHT I can't quite believe it.
Why do you still go to see your DB and your DP?
They bring nothing positive to your life do they?

upperlimit Tue 28-Mar-17 14:25:02

It sounds like your family went into utter free-fall for a while. It wasn't dealt with well. I can see why you feel thrown under the bus. I can see why your mum would feel compelled to minimise all of this. It doesn't sound like your parents acted maliciously towards you but, in their panic, lost their grip on being able to make things right. It all sounds really sad.

But you shouldn't feel guilty. For doing well in life, for feeling like you got lost, for feeling scared at becoming your brother's target, any of it. You have nothing to feel guilty about.

Jamhandprints Tue 28-Mar-17 14:37:22

Hi OP, that sounds very traumatic for you. I don't think you should see your family anymore. A phone call to mum once a month should do. You really need to see a counsellor to move past the abuse you suffered. From your description I don't think you have a mental health problem, you just reacted to the terrible circumstances in a normal way. Now you need to take control of your own life and fill it with the wonderful things you deserve. Cut ties with the abusers, you were a child, they are not your responsibility.

AHalfFormedThing Tue 28-Mar-17 14:42:37

I had therapy/counselling for around a year and a half after I was discharged from inpatient unit, this was discontinued when I didn't fall under CAMHS anymore, but often my mum/dad (as they dropped me to the sessions as the CAMHS place was only reachable by car) would often emphasise that I was upset by the fact that my brother was ill, rather than me being upset by his actions to my CPN and idk, I always ended up saying stuff along similar lines.

I never ended up getting therapy under AMHS, I had an overdose (which I mentioned in my previous post), after giving me the medical treatment (IV etc), I had a short psychiatric assessment which discharged me to care in the community. Around 4 months later I had a proper mental health assessment (although it was only one hour long), and they discharged me from care despite my risk level in the report being assessed as 'moderate'

AHalfFormedThing Tue 28-Mar-17 14:46:03

My parents are always like "why don't you want to spend time with us?" and/or "why don't you want to talk to us?" because they say I am always busy, but like, I just find being at home emotionally difficult, and I just don't have anything to say simply because they have missed out on so much of my life and what I've been doing that to talk about my life now would require much longer time for explaining things than you'd like in a normal conversation, simply because they don't have the necessary background knowledge of me, which even my less close friends would have

mikeyssister Tue 28-Mar-17 14:46:24

My DS has severe mental health issues and will probably end up with a diagnosis of schizophenia, (apparently he's still too young for a formal diagnosis), but I would have put him out of the house if he had treated one of his siblings the way you've been treated.

Your parents have let you down badly and there is no excuse good enough.

Congratulations to you, you seem to have achieved so much without the familial support you should have received.

I suppose the question is where do you want to go with your family now?

AHalfFormedThing Tue 28-Mar-17 14:59:48

I don't like interacting with my brother but I feel like it's unjustified because for the most part (beyond sort of pettier things), these behaviours have ceased, and now he will occasionally say he loves me etc, but it's just hard when there hasn't been any acknowledgment of the hurt done

mikeyssister Tue 28-Mar-17 15:40:18

If he's like my son he's not aware of his behaviour until it's pointed out to him. A lot of what happened at the time of greatest stress is a blur.

However, if he has behaved inappropriately and it's pointed out to him he will always apologise and is genuinely upset at any distress he caused.

HAve you spoken to him about it, do you want to speak to him about it?

AHalfFormedThing Tue 28-Mar-17 15:46:44

The thing is, it's not a blur for him - he remembers what he did/does, but then I was always expected to counsel him for his upset at what he did to me

(like e.g. after one of the more frightening throat-grabbing instances, I had to reassure him that it's ok and I don't hate him etc, which put a lot of pressure on me)

laurzj82 Tue 28-Mar-17 15:46:47

Wow OP what a shitty time you have had. flowers

My advice would be to seek counselling before deciding whether to go NC with family.

Hope things get better for you and well done for your achievements despite the horrible experiences you've had. star

mikeyssister Tue 28-Mar-17 15:51:43

I totally agree that you need to seek counselling. Your relationship with your brother cannot improve unless he accepts what he did, likewise your parents need to accept they were wrong.

Hissy Tue 28-Mar-17 16:00:46

I think you need to fully process how you'd feel if you went NC with them. If you never had to justify yourself to them again, never had to tip toe etc around your brother or you parents again.

You have been utterly failed by them all.

I really hope you can find a way to close the book on them and go on with your life without them. There's not a soul on earth that would blame you for doing so.

MoosicalDaisy Tue 28-Mar-17 16:10:10

It's obvious they have always put your brother first, even now. You say you have a great circle of friends, so echoing what other people have said, i'd go NC and move on with your own life and focus on yourself. It sounds like they barely know you, you've been sidelined. I know how that feels. I wonder when they last asked you, how you are and really meant it?

Jamhandprints Tue 28-Mar-17 16:43:34

You can phone "iapt" to refer yourself for counselling. It's not a great service but it's a start and they can refer you on, to whoever can help more.

category12 Tue 28-Mar-17 16:51:07

What happened to you was very wrong - you were basically thrown under the bus for your db. I'm sorry. I hope you come to terms with it, and extract yourself from the dynamic. It should not be that you are still being expected to minimise the harm that was done to you for the comfort of your parents/db.


SeaEagleFeather Tue 28-Mar-17 22:20:10

Sometimes, no matter the reasons, a person is pushed too far.

Far too much is asked of them, far too much expected.

Sometimes for your own self - survival, you have to say "No this was not OK. Graphic rape fantasies were not ok. You not caring that I overdosed was not OK. You place my brother on a pedestal and expected me to give everything. You placed him first and second, that was very clear, and you knew very little of my life because it was not important to you. Now, that is the pattern and it cannot be undone".

I think you are entitled to claim your own needs and if you want to, to make a stand.

For some reason reading this, I am angry on your behalf. It's a good thing if you can forgive them but the depth of abuse - and it was profound abuse - that you were expected to put up with was deeply wrong.

If you are not angry, then it will give you a clearer sight. But past history molds and creates our reactions now, and sometimes the damage goes very deep and it is not reasonable to ask for everything to be ok ... which is what your parents are doing.

redexpat Tue 28-Mar-17 22:41:03

I think your parents were trying to do their best in a very difficult situation for which they were very poorly equipped to deal with, and unfortunately they got it wrong. The price is their relationship with you. They should have protected you and they failed. Im sorry. Do you think the relationship can be salvaged or has it gone too far?

flippinada Tue 28-Mar-17 22:44:34

I'm so sorry OP. What happened to you is was not OK. In fact it sounds incredibly traumatic. Your family let you down very badly and that's not your fault. No wonder you've had MHI.

Clearly you've done amazingly well for yourself - that must have taken real strength of character.

Please do seek out counselling for yourself (if you can afford it, private might be more beneficial). If not, go to your GP and request a referral.

I'd definitely consider going low or no contact, but that's your decision to make.

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