Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sibling abuse: time doesn't heal all wounds (and New Psychologist, session 9)

Hi you. I've been a little bit far from my blog recently. I have a tendency to shut down as a coping mechanism. It's not engaged every time things are difficult, but it does happen and I think I have been a little bit shut down recently if my posting trends and enthusiasm for writing posts are anything to go by.

I don't feel like dissecting my last therapy session this time, but in brief: it was an improvement on the recent trends (wouldn't be difficult!). New psychologist didn't mention anything that we'd discussed in previous weeks but I felt that she was listening better and interrupting less this week and just seemed a little bit more respectful, or maybe not that, but just didn't give me any reason to think she wasn't respecting me this week. So that was good. It's not that everything was brilliant, but it wasn't bad the way it had been and that was for me a huge relief.

We talked a little bit about my mum this week and I was trying to explain a bit about how my mum is and why I can't talk to her about any of my mental health problems despite the fact that my mum works in mental health. NP was asking some questions and made some observations which were quite insightful and food for thought for me. Perhaps I'll talk more about that sometime.

We also talked about my relationship with my sister, Katie. You may have read before that Katie, as well as making my life a misery by going out of her way to be nasty and cruel to me, also sexually abused me when I was a child. Yes, my sister did that. We only got onto talking about that because NP asked me about what I'd been doing recently and I told her I saw Katie a few times recently but felt now that I need some distance from her because too much of her and it triggers memories. I ended up having some nightmares after seeing her too much recently. NP asked me why I felt Katie treated me the way she did and I said it seemed clear that she was just treating me that way because that's how she was treated by others and NP seemed to agree that this does happen sometimes.

I expressed that I feel guilty these days because Katie is very different and seems to want to spend a lot of time with me but I tend to keep my distance, as aforementioned. This leads to it being a kind of one sided relationship as far as effort is concerned. It's always her doing the inviting and making the effort to meet up and me just going along with it, or turning her down. NP asked me why I think it is that Katie wants to spend so much time with me. I said I guess that she doesn't think about the past the way I do and maybe she just likes to spend time with me. NP wondered if there was an element of guilt about it; that maybe she knows what she did wasn't on and perhaps she sees the past similarly to me and is trying to compensate for it.

Now, this kind of took me back because I have never really considered that. It also makes me feel very sad. Although I do feel angry with Katie sometimes for what she did, I also don't blame her now. I mean, I feel angry with the Katie of my childhood, not the Katie of today. I see them as two different people. Maybe that's just suited me: to tell myself she's a different person now. Although she is very different. Maybe when you learn to split yourself into different people, it becomes easy to do that with your views of others too. Sometimes Katie still says hurtful things and I think, that's the old Katie popping out. But to her, she's the same person. Her memories are always there. Where I've assumed she doesn't remember or care, perhaps it's actually that she knows she hurt me and feels responsible for that. Is she just trying to make amends? I don't know. I prefer to believe she doesn't remember the past. It makes me sad that she would feel a burden of guilt, even though she did hurt me.


CimmerianInk said...

I think sibling abuse and adding the element of her being female, adds some other dimensions to the abuse, but it doesn't change the fact that she *did* abuse. It doesn't matter that she's your sister. She hurt you and being around her is hurting you.

I wonder: are you at a point where you could confront her about what happened?

Your questions would be answered because either she remembers it or she doesn't (I bet she does).

If she apologizes...? I don't know. That doesn't change anything. But if she doesn't or says you're lying...then there's an answer as well.

If someone has abused a person, inviting them out is not remotely close to making amends. Not that they can, but they need to admit what they did first. And apologize. Sincerely.

I say, don't do anything that hurts you.

Ellen said...

Do you think NP seemed more respectful because you were no longer in a crisis? My impression was your crisis scared her and she couldn't cope.

It does sound like you are 'splitting' with your sister anyway - the old, bad, and the new, harmless. It's not reality, so it's a painful way to look at things.

I don't see why you would want to talk to your mother about your issues. Honestly, does NP not point this out? You were so severely abused on your mother's watch that you ended up with DID for goodness sake. Who cares what her occupation is? She utterly failed you as a mother, and to think you should now trust her with your pain is ridiculous.

I don't speak about anything personal with my mother either.

If anything I said doesn't apply, just forget about it please. I may be responding out of my own issues after all. take care