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New secondary survivor

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Hello everyone, I hope this is the right place for me. I am a guy in my late 20s and my younger sister recently disclosed to me something that had  happened to her. I have been having a really hard time dealing with this and things I now know because of this. I'm having a hard time coping and someone recommended I try posting on AS because they also have support for secondary survivors. I am afraid because I don't want to take away from anyone else's voice, especially anyone who has actually survived something themselves.  I've barely been able to speak with my sister since I found out, she tells me that it was 14 years ago and says she has processed everything she needs to process, though she did tell me that she knew I would be going through something right now, and that it was ok to talk to people about it or share as I needed to get support.

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Hi raincity, welcome to AS. I am sorry about happened to your sister. It is good that you asking for help for you. Never worry that you are taking away from someone else. This site is for everyone. I am also sorry that your world changed when your sister told you. I want you to know that your sister telling you would have been so hard to do. Telling that secret goes against what we have been told by our abuser. We open  ourselves up to be  rejected and the shame we feel is overwhelming. So for your sister to tell you means she trust you.

This is all new to you, we are here if you have any questions. I am not sure if you are feeling angry, I know my husband did for awhile. Just one thought to leave you with you can't fix or change what happened to your sister and she knows that. What you can do is be there for her, if you need time to get things worked out in your mind, that is ok. Tell her that, if she on AS we will support her and you.

It took a lot for you to come here and shows how much you care for her.



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I recently told my brother about myself so thank you for coming on here. I hope that he is finding support so this brings hope that you are finding help. Be brave and be strong! 

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Hi raincity

Firstly, I am really sorry you are going through this at the minute however it is a positive that your sister felt able to disclose her story to you.  It took me over 9 years to be able to tell my family.  This was the hardest thing for me, I guess I wanted to protect them from the truth but looking back now I know I made wrong decisions.  Apart from the fact that it was something I just didn't want anyone else to know, I didn't want to believe it myself, but my greatest fear was (and still is) that people would treat me differently.  I really hope you can find a way to be the way you were with your sister.  Her giving you the go ahead to seek help just shows how much she cares about you and she is probably hurting right now that your relationship has been affected now also.  You have come to the right place, I am new here myself but already have found it a great comfort.  I hope you can work through this.  Take Care.

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Hi raincity,

Welcome to AS. I am very sorry about your sister, but we do understand that you, as someone who loves your sister, can hurt too. Please don't worry about taking away from anybody's voice, and perhaps you can even enhance it. Many of us seek support, but at the same time find it important to give support, as well. I really do like that we have a secondary survivors that come here. It tells me that someone out there truly cares for a survivor. Not all survivor's have that. So, you are truly welcomed here. I hope you can find some support and understanding in what you are going thru.




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Hello raincity and welcome to AS. It is always so encouraging to see secondary survivors care so much that they join AS. Sharing your own pain and concerns with us does not take anything away from us, quite the opposite. Secondary survivors deserve to get some support as well. It is by no means easy supporting a loved one who has experienced something like this. And by looking after yourself and getting support you will be able to be a better help to your sister. 

I am sorry for what your sister had to endure and that this is part of your reality, too, now. I wish we all didn't have to deal with this. But you and your sister are on the right track. 

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I am happy you found the site Raincity, 

I think your whole world changes when you have to deal with the abuse of someone you are close to. I am glad to hear that your sister is doing well. Take whatever time you need to come to terms with this. It's a very difficult thing to accept and to move forward from. :aswelcomesu:

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I echo what others have said, but also just wanted to share my experience of what DIDN'T help me feel better or supported by loved ones once I disclosed what had happened to me. Of course everyone is different, so your sister may feel differently, but still worth taking a look. And I know you absolutely want the best for your sister! Thanks for trying to do whatever you can to help her.

  • I absolutely hate it when people say "I want to kill him for doing this to you" or "if I ever get the chance, he will suffer..." etc etc. Not only do I not like seeing loved ones contemplate violence in my honor, but it takes the focus off my needs and becomes about the other person's anger. Now if I were to say "I want to kill him" and a loved one said "me, too" it would be different. But the uber-protective approach rubs me the wrong way.
  • Tell her outright (more than once) that you believe her. Not just "oh god I'm so sorry this happened, I love you, I'm here for you" but the words "I believe you" mean a lot to me, since the main reason I don't like telling people is that I have this deep fear of not being believed.
  • Don't pry for details unless she offers them. And if she does share some details, try not to ask clarifying questions - I cannot emphasize how hard it is to share even the smallest details with people and how vulnerable it makes me feel. Reiterate that it was not her fault, and see bullet 2 again. If she shares details, try hard not to cry. It makes the survivor sometimes feel like her story is "too much for others to handle". One of the main reasons I didn't tell people was because I didn't want THEM to be sad that this happened to me. Sometimes you can't help it if the tears come, but cry discreetly and don't make it about how awful you feel to think about what happened.
  • Try very hard not to treat her overly gently. She is strong. She has lived with this for years. She is the same person she always has been. She doesn't need your pity. She has overcome a lot on her own. Don't see her as this fragile person in need of being coddled. It's confusing because she might feel fragile, but just because I feel fragile doesn't mean I want others to treat me this way.
  • Don't offer too many suggestions. Trust me, she has thought about all her options, she has researched and read and has most likely sought the kind of help that she is comfortable with. Don't suggest "maybe take a self-defense class" or "how come you aren't going to therapy?" etc. I would say the exception to this rule is if you are really worry she's self-medicating or self-harming or truly in a deep crisis.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not question why she didn't report the crime (if this applies). Under no circumstances should you suggest that maybe she could have handled things differently or better. I know the chances are so slim that you'd do this, but sometimes loved ones feel so impotent that they just want to offer solutions, and what it feels like to the survivor is "you did something wrong here".
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi and welcome to AS! I hope you find our community informative/supportive. I wish you well on your healing journey.


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