Editor’s note: Annie Lane is off this week. This column was originally published in 2018.
Dear Annie: I am a 32-year-old married man with two children. I am trying to come to terms with my childhood. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father and a mother who had
My elder brother, “Michael,” was my world. He is only three years older than I am, but he practically raised me. He is the one who got me dressed and ready for school every morning, fed me, helped me with my homework, and tucked me in at night.
When I was 12 years old, my parents were going through a nasty divorce, and our home had become a war zone. I began to cling to my brother even more for comfort and safety.
I am ashamed to admit that our relationship became inappropriate and sexual in nature. To this day, I am not sure how it happened. It was never the same after that, and we never discussed what we had done.
About a year ago, I started to go to therapy to deal with my past. I still love Michael and want to try to understand what we did and how it happened.
I approached him about meeting with my therapist, but he reacted with anger. He claims to have no memory of any sexual encounters between us. He says it never happened and I must be imagining the whole thing.
As God is my witness, I remember what happened between us. I am not looking to accuse. I just want to understand. Unfortunately, the family believes him.
My therapist says that there is little I can do to get Michael to admit to our past, that I need to reach peace of mind on my own. Is there anything you can suggest to get him to at least sit down with my therapist and me?
Dear Recovering: I am so sorry for what you went through, but I’m very glad to hear that you’re in therapy. I believe that your therapist is right — that there is little you can do to get Michael to admit the past. I encourage you to stay in therapy, as I believe you’ll find that you have many pathways to recovery that don’t require Michael’s participation. Call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s hotline anytime if you need someone to talk to: 800-656-4673.