Dear Brother…

When the abuse happened, it was hard to comprehend and understand — why it was happening? What had I done wrong? Why me? I held my emotions and my pain internal for over a year before I broke down and stopped eating for months.  It was a scary and isolating period in my life. I was in hospital, at that time my brother at school and my parents worried, confused and have to understand what happened to me when I was a school, when in their care.

Thinking back over the past, since I the age of 15, life has been a bit turmoil with ups and downs, unable to talk about what happened and alone.
Now ten years on I have began to think how much this impacted my brother. In some ways I naively thought that he was sheltered , protected for what was going on and I could not remember the times he witnessed me have multiple flashback and him protecting me when I want to hurt myself.

We where both too young to understand the situation and it is only as we have matured and experienced life through different paths that I have become aware that I unfairly expected my brother to react in a certain way and be able to talk to me about what was going on for him. This wasn’t possible due to the fact that he wasn’t aware of the severity of my attacks and he needed space from me and trauma.

I now know that all my brother wants to know is the ‘truth’ about what is happening and to check we are all ok. I know that I have to give him space to breathe when things get too much and when he can’t look at me the reason for this is because he cannot believe this has happened to his little sister. It is not that he is cross or upset he just cannot cope at the moment and need to walk, talk the emotions and pain he feels in at that moments, away.

Looking back, if I am honest I don’t thinking I full understood how much the past hurt my brother and impacted on his relationships. In someways I was being told how I should deal with my emotions by my therapist’s and I stupidly thought that everyone else around me would feel and think the same. It was selfish of me and I am sorry but at the time I was unaware that I was doing this.

Through out all of my brother has shown me compassion, love, kindness and laughter. He has witnessed me shine and struggle but after all of this he still treats me as a human and above all his sister!

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About Rosie Burnham

Twitter: @Rosie_Burnham Blog: rosieburnham.com Huffingpost Blog: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/rosie-burnham Very Loose Women (ResonanceFM): http://bit.ly/2l02xw3 Women's Health Magazine (Strong Minds Issue): https://www.pressreader.com/uk/womens-health-uk/20171201/282948155497339