The Sister Visit: Abusers Recruit Siblings

My sister wants to meet for coffee next week. She’ll be in town from across the country before she moves across the globe. In a previous email, I explained to her that being around my family en masse is a terrible idea. (Summary: Because my family is abusive and says negative things to Luke and Oliver) My sister persisted. She insisted over and over that she wants a relationship with me and wants her son to know me as his aunt. She claims to accept my (step)kids too.

All of this may seem fine on the surface, but my brain has other ideas. I’ve started having nightmares and night terrors about the abuse I suffered in my late childhood and early teens. I dream about becoming homeless, getting screamed at, getting beaten by my mother or sister. When I do not dream of an event that actually happened, my mind melds abuse scenarios together by incorporating events that happened with people or places that weren’t involved. Instead of my mother hitting me with a phone while my sister holds me down, my sister beats me with a shower head while my cousin holds me down.

Something that few people realize about child abuse: Often, an abusive adult will recruit or allow siblings to abuse the target child.

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