I have been dealing and suffering of living with my overbearing parents, especially my elder brother for years. My brother is morbidly obese and has a hot-tempered attitude. Every single time when he gets involve with me, he became verbally and psychologically abusive to me.

I remember when he was fitful into a rage and was upset after he turned my life upside-down for no reason. Seven years ago, while in the car for work, he hit me and squeezed my knee and have nothing else within this family.  I can’t regret it, however, and seems that my brother likes to mistreat me immaturely rather than being an adult sibling.

The same goes to my musical passion rather than my most hateful day job in the law firm. My brother has the worst decisions for me he ever made because he’s more like my elderly parents than himself. How cruel he is, but know you know how older brothers give sisters with a psychological strain to her future.

 

Don’t ever let anyone else make decisions for you. And anytime someone bullies you or puts you down, it’s abuse. Tell someone. Anyone. You don’t deserve to be treated that way.

The only thing that makes coping possible is discovering that others have been through sibling abuse and do understand it.  I am a middle child; younger brother was always and will always be the favourite, and older sister was abusive until the day I finally realized, in my late twenties, that things would never change and she would always be emotionally and verbally abusive.

The physical abuse started very early; my mother once made the mistake of revealing to me that as a baby I would suddenly start crying and she’d come into the room and my sister would be standing by my crib, hands behind her back, looking guilty.  The physical abuse continued until I grew large enough to defend myself but the emotional and verbal abuse never stopped.

I remember being 16 and having my sister say to me ‘You’re so dumb you are just going to marry the first man that comes along who is nice to you.’  It was not until years later that I realized that how *I* felt never mattered to my sister.  My father was not around often enough to witness the cruelty, and my mother always passed it off as ‘standard’ sibling rivalry and my sister became careful never to say or do anything my parents would overhear.  I remember my sister telling me I would ‘never know the meaning of having a real, professional job’ (like hers) and this was when I was working for the Police answering 911 calls!

Years later after going to night school to earn a 2nd degree, I got a dream job at a fantastic software company.  I remember wanting to call my sister to tell her my good news; I finally had something she should be proud of me for.  I remember seeing my hand going toward the phone and then my vision and hearing went fuzzy and I almost fainted; I think this was my brain and body’s way of trying to stop me from getting hurt again.  When I finally did call her and tell her my news, she snapped at me that I was interrupting her and should not be calling her at work and wasting her time.  I knew then it would always be this way.

She never came to the hospital when my daughter was born, angry at me because I asked if she would mind having her new boyfriend not come into the room when I was breastfeeding.  Still today my mother denies that this abuse happened in 100’s of thousands of times and different ways, the above are just a few small examples.

I now believe that nobody who has not experienced sibling abuse will ever understand how deeply it damages.  There is no ‘getting over it’ as we grow older.  The abusive siblings do not change; only their tactics change.  I was happiest living overseas for 14 years because I felt safer from her.

My mother has told me my sister was deeply depressed because she was unable to have children of her own; I did not feel sorrow for her, I felt dead inside and completely indifferent and to be perfectly honest, rather glad that the person who caused me such torture finally had a dose of her own sadness.  This is what happens when deep damage is done to an innocent child.  It deadens them, kills a part of their soul.

My own two children love one another and have never been cruel; this is the most I can have in regards to ‘healing’ which will never happen fully.  We are also hurt in that we cannot be full members of ‘normal, happy’ society because we carry our hurtful secret which the happy people don’t want to hear about or be reminded of.  I even feel afraid of whatever may come after death; if I try to get to my father who died many years ago, my sister will probably be there waiting to attack me again.  The fear is that deep.  Nobody understands except the others on this forum.

Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story. It doesn’t change what happened, but we hope it’s some small comfort to know that you’re not alone in what you’ve been through.

I notice a lot of these stories have to do with older siblings afflicting younger ones where it can be the other way around.  Even though I’m the oldest, my brother is about 6’3 and very muscular while I’m a measly 5’4 and not as strong as him.

I do admit as a child I did do bad things to him, but NEVER anything sexual.  We did get in our spats as young children (and by young I mean 7 and 5) and I did say some hurtful things.  We did have our fights and there were times where I was mean to him.  But as we got older, he started to become horrible.

Everything I did was wrong.  Everything.  Whether it be that I don’t put on makeup (“everybody does it!  Why don’t you?!”) or the types of friends I have (“your friends are the ugliest and weirdest people I’ve ever met”).  He would call me a stupid cunt for doing things like spending time in the bathroom when he wanted to use it.  My parents wouldn’t do anything about it and they said that I was overreacting (except for the cunt thing, thank God, which he has generally stopped doing).  These words and more would hurt and torture me every single day.  Even currently, I have a hard time expressing myself because just when I’m about to dance or sing or laugh with friends, I hear my brother’s “stupid cunt, you can’t do anything” continue to ring in my ear.

One time when he had drugs, I threatened to tell mom and dad but he used height to his advantage and threatened me, using my love for my sibling against me by saying “but you love me, and if you tell mom and dad, that would make me sad.  You wouldn’t want to make me sad, would you?”

In addition, he would make fun of my bowl movements.  Because he would make fun of how big or weird they were, I always held it in, and even today doctors are worried that I might get colon cancer when I’m older.  He would always laugh at me even though he had the same problem.  When mom and dad would ask him about it, he would pin the blame on me and they would believe him despite my protests.

My parents show clear favoritism towards my brother.  Mom always makes my brother something while my dad always invites my brother to do something like go to a ball game or see a movie together.  I would be left with cleaning duties. Even my friend says he sees it too, just from one conversation.

Just this evening I was talking to a friend and then he barged into my room, yelling at my friend and I for skyping (telling my friend that “Hey buddy! If I could go through the scene, I would break your fucking jaw”).  I’m still shaken up by it.  He always criticizes my friends and people who are nice to me.

I know this might not be considered abuse to some people, but to me it’s torture.  I’m always depressed when around him and have feelings of inferiority as well.  I feel trapped and scared along with helpless.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

Abuse is abuse, no matter if it comes from an older or younger sibling. And it’s certainly abuse whether it’s physical or emotional. Abuse is abuse whenever one person is bullied or belittled. Know that you aren’t alone, and that if your parents aren’t ready to acknowledge your suffering, tell someone. Tell a friend, a counselor, a priest, another adult. Just tell someone. You don’t deserve to suffer. You deserve to be happy and not to have that kind of stress in your life.

While mine is an extreme case that is odd.. I only write here to say in my defense that not ALL cases of sibling abuse are the older sibling. Sometimes it is the middle or younger child and I write this in an attempt to correct it some. I say this as I’ve seen no ” Younger” sibling cases or facts on it and this is a suppressed topic ..taboo.. I am not strong enough to reveal my story I just needed to get the point across desperately. Another thing maybe mine isn’t sibling abuse but in my eyes it is I say this because the said sibling has a mental disorder and most mental disorders are not final until the person reaches a certain age even then most don’t get help. I hope one day there will be support groups for this…that there will be help for this and that this isn’t so suppressed most times I’ve heard” WEll my case is worse I have a drunk dad.. or my case this …” Who are we to judge how much each suffer everyone whose suffering is a different story. Thank you for letting me vent c: and I  know my story is trivial and probably means nothing …Cheers to hoping everyone is doing better and on there way to healing.

 

You are 100% correct in that sibling abuse doesn’t always come in the form of an older sibling abusing the younger sibling, it can happen both ways. And anytime one sibling is made to feel inferior and consistently bullied and put down, it is indeed abuse. And no one’s story is trivial. As you said, we cannot judge the suffering of others, because as they say, until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you can’t understand what they’ve gone through.

Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope it is a good reminder to others out there, that sibling abuse comes in many forms.

As a child sibling abuse was always there it was small at first was most would refer to as “sibling rivalry” but it got worse and my mother still called it “sibling rivalry” but it wasn’t it was FAR from that. My brother is 4 years older than me and was always a rude boy to my mother, school mates and of course me. I used to be in girl scouts and at the end of each meeting we would make a wish in our head…I always wished my brother would be nicer to me. I have ADHD so this might get rambly so I’m just gonna tell you some stories that I particularly remember. So this one occurred in 1999 ( the year I was turning 12 [I wasn't 12 yet]. I was staring at the television at 630 am, I had stayed up all night yet again. The night had been filled with watching late night Full House reruns and trying to catch raisins in my mouth. I heard my brothers heavy footsteps coming down the stairs, I imagined him coming over to me, rubbing his eyes and asking me if I had stayed up all night but that was not the case. When he approached me his eyes went to the pile of sticky raising on the floor I noticed his change expression and was immediately filled with fear.
“Pick these f**king raisins up you retard!” He shouted at me. “No!” I courageously yelled back.
“Do it or I will beat you up!”
“I’m not scared of you!” I was scared.
he grabbed my shirt collar in his fist and forcefully shoved me back leaving me little time to recover he pushed me again this time on on of the most sensitive spots on my 11 year old body. I groaned in pain and tears sprung in my eyes but I fought them back, afraid to show weakness. “Scared now!” he screamed in my ear.
“No..” I weakly groaned back with less courage than before the assault.
“I’ll make you afraid” he muttered evilly while stomping back up the stairs.
“Whatever!” I yelled back at him, with more confidence that that he had left the room.
I crouched on the floor and the the tears roll down my face, I felt defeated, weak and completes cowardly. I felt as if I should have stood up for myself more and that I was a failure. With wet cheeks and a runny nose I gathered gooey, sticky raisins off of the floor one by one. After picking up the raisins and recovering from the assault I sat down to wipe my nose and tears only to be disturbed my the creeky oh so familiar noise of my brothers bedroom door.
“And by the way p**sy we’re going to the pool today and you’re not coming” he snarled.
“Good! I didn’t want to go anyway!” I did want to go.
he closed the door and left me to my crying in a ball underneath the dining room table.
So here’s the last story that I’m going to tell since this is already quite long.
I was probably 14 the year most likely was 2001. My brother was sitting on the computer playing some ancient built in game and I was watching tv. “Sebastian! Dinners ready!’ I called but the headphones he was wearing were blocking me out. I crept up behind him and snatched the headphones off of his head.
“What the f**k! I will f****ing kill you you dumb bi**h!” and I didn’t doubt it one bit so I quietly left him alone. Seconds later I was pinned against the wall…He screamed cuss words in my ear along with many violent threats. He let me go but not before giving me a swift kick in the stomach leaving me a teary eyes 14 year old girl lying ball on the floor behind the couch.

As a child my brother who was older than me by 4 years would constantly physically and verbally abuse me but my mother dismissed it ad sibling rivalry. it took me until I was nearly 12 years old to realize it was not sibling rivalry but that will come later. All those years terrible, I was constantly living in fear of my own brother. I always knew it wasn’t normal but everybody around me seemed to think it was except my dad but every time my father tried to speak up about it he was dismissed by my mother and verbally abused by my brother, I had no one to turn which was probably the worst part of it all. I was ashamed for one so I some people I couldn’t tell because I was ashamed of what they would think of my family and how we were raise another problem was the people I was close to already knew and didn’t see it as a big deal. The bruises were horribly embarrassing, I never wore shorts or skirts with out leggings because I feared people would ask how I got so many bruises I mean I didn’t want to tell them “My brother kicked me repeatedly last night because I ate the last slice of pizza”. My life was living hell, I would lock myself in my room and cry thinking about how unhealthy what was happening was and that I couldn’t do anything about it. I was depressed..very depressed and people noticed but I would shrug and blame it on being tired. My grandmother knew about the abuse but she couldn’t do anything about it she had always been one of my brothers targets too. It was horrible.

Absolutely terrible. He would kick me over the smallest things. He would punch me for back talking and shove me for making a mess. The verbal abuse was I guess you could say worse the the physical abuse. He would call be a P**sy, f**got, loser, idiot, retard, loner and say I had no friends and that everybody hated me/nobody loved me. A common threat was “I’ll kill you when you’re sleeping” at first I was never afraid of the threat because I knew he would never do but as the abuse got worse from what I had previously thought was the worse the doubt of the threats went away and I lived in fear every night of my brother somehow killing me. When I was 16 I finally spoke up even though I had been since I was 12 this time I REALLY spoke up and I told the school counselor, the psychiatrist I had been going to since I was in 1st grade for my ADHD, my biology teacher and I told my friends..I told them EVERYTHING that had been happening for the past 10 years. It was so hard and it was an extremely spur of the moment decision. Nothing had set me over the edge or anything like that I just went to school one day I decided that enough was enough and I had been through too much of it. MY mother, father and grandmother were told of my brothers behavior and my father and grandmother confessed that they had known of the behavior and told the reasons of why they hadn’t done anything about it but my mother on the other hand reluctantly admitted to knowing what had been going in all those years and that she had blatantly ignored it for which I forgive her. As for my brother and I, I went through months of counseling to get rid of the trauma and my brother got 6 years in prison for abuse of a minor since he was 20 when I finally spoke up but he got off on 4 years and following his release he himself also went to some counseling (for 3 years)to discuss what was going through his mind, why he treated me so badly and stuff like that. My brother started taking medicine for anger issues and still goes for occasional anger management classes and I’m taking medicine for anxiety and depression. My brother and I’s relationship was never good so I guess I can’t say “It will never be as good as it was before” but it is better than it was and I was allowed my self to forgive him although I will never be as close to him as a sibling should be and we are barely on speaking terms but our relationship is better than it has been for 27 years. So after 10 years of abuse I finally stood up for myself at 16 and 7 years after that at 27 my brother had faced his consequences and even now me at 27 and my brother at 31 I am still traumatized and haunted by what went on for all those years and probably always will be but now I’m trying to live my life the best I can and I’m happier than ever before.

We thank you so much for sharing your story. Every story that get’s shared helps someone out there going through the same thing you have. And hopefully just the act of sharing it helps you to move on a bit yourself. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

I want to say Thank You to the person who started this website.  So little information/acknowledgement exists about Sibling Abuse that it is really wonderful to see someone addressing that this is REAL.

From my experience, sibling abuse is the one form a abuse that many people can’t comprehend and actually accept it as normal. In general, Society expects the victim to “make up” and have a relationship with the abuser when grown.  They fail to comprehend that there is something innately wrong with these abusers from the get go.

Furthermore, most people fail to understand the emotional scars that are left by sibling abuse. Not only does the victim endure emotional scars from the abuse itself but also the scars of knowing that a parent or parents enabled the behavior to persist-which for me was even more devastating.

I grew up in a what would have appeared to be a happy “Leave it to Beaver”, middle class family to an outsider.  My mom was a stay it home mom (she had been a teacher before quitting to raise a family) and my father worked a 9-5 job. Both my brother and I had been adopted as infants (no genetic relationship to each other).  My brother is two years older then me and from the time I was four or five, he started physically, mentally, and emotionally abusing me until I was roughly twelve at which point the physical abuse diminished but the emotional and mental abuse escalated.

My brother would physically hold me down and repeatedly punch me in the arm, leg, or wherever he could get a clear shot. I did not bruise easily so 99% of the time there was very little evidence of what occurred but to this day, I can still see the sick grin of pleasure on his face as he repeatedly punched me. And if I complained to either of my parents about his behavior, he would make sure to hit me at a later time and say, “That’s for telling!”

When I was 7, I asked my mom to tell my brother to stop hitting me….her response ( and I will never forget her words), “Why would you say such a terrible lie? Your brother would never do such a thing to you!”.  I will never forget the utter devastation I felt at the moment.  I had asked the one person who was supposed to protect me from harm for help and I was being called a liar and made to feel awful in one full swoop.  Consciously or unconsciously, it was a pivotal point in my relationship with my mother. From that day on, I was a liar in my mother’s eyes and it was clear to me that she was not going to help prevent the daily beatings.  The irony of that day is I was a VERY honest child and remain very honest to this day. While my father was home in the evenings, most of the abuse took place during the afternoons and my father spent his evenings in the garage crafting things.  He was also not the type of person you poured out your heart and soul to.  He had ZERO social skills.

Today, I cannot recall what would set him off but the abuse always happened when we in the basement watching TV or playing but I can remember specific fights that were really, really bad. My mother would be upstairs reading, cooking or doing household chores.  How she managed not hear the screaming, fighting, and the shouts of “Get off me”, I will never know as our house was not very big.

Like most abusers,  my brother was a master manipulator by an early age. My mother was also a manipulator so he probably picked up the art from her.  Perhaps because he was her first child, my mother and brother had a very close relationship.  During my teens, my mother spent countless hours trying to make my brother and I into “friends” by telling me that my brother really wanted to have a relationship with me and be my friend.  She would tell me that “he felt like everytime he tried to be my friend, I would push him away”. When I would bring up how he treated me, she would write it off to just being typical of siblings…Of course, being naïve and younger, I fell for this hook, line and sinker every time for years.  I think my mother wanted to believe it as well because she was always his cheerleader despite knowing full well that he was on downhill spiral.

From my perspective, every public interaction with my brother started the same way.  He would be really nice, then he would start to take little swipes of belittlement, then he would move in and bate me until he had me in a position where he could completely humiliate me. I can honestly say there was never, ever a social situation where he stood up for me or at least acted like a friend to me and he always encouraged his friends and girlfriends to ridicule me.

This pattern of behavior did not change when my brother became an adult.  It did not change after he went through rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.  It did not change after my mom died.  In fact, the last straw for me was at my mom’s funeral when he tried to ridicule me in front of my Aunt and Uncle.  After he verbally belittled me in front of them, he turned towards me (with his back facing them) and gave me the same sly grin that was always on his face when he beat the crap out of me when we were kids.  That was my epiphany….I didn’t want his drama in my life anymore and the only way to stop it, was to stop having anything to do with him.

If I allowed him to be in my life, I gave him the access to abuse me.  Luckily for me, it was quite easy.  I lived on the East Coast and he resided in Wisconsin.  We have a very small family that is spread out and he doesn’t have any contact with our extended family.  My dad is not persistent so he gave up asking me to be friends with him.

It’s been 12 years since my mom died and since then I have analyzed and reanalyzed my childhood at nauseam.  For me, my mom’s death was liberating. With her passing, I no longer had someone hounding me to “makeup” with my brother and no one trying to convince me that our poor relationship was my fault.  My mother would never have admitted that I suffered abuse at the hands of my brother and to this day, my father doesn’t “get it” either.  I surmise that they don’t recognize it because they would then have to also recognize they failed to protect me and acknowledge there was something innately wrong with my brother that was not a curable disease.

Most days I am at peace with what happened and I’ve finally found & understand happiness. However,when my husband or someone else suggests that perhaps I “forgive” my brother and make up with him, I go ballistic because no matter how many ways I try to explain what happened and try to get them to understand what sibling abuse is and that it doesn’t necessarily stop when now that we are “all grown up”. Most people will follow up with “I’m sure he’s changed by now”.  I’m sure he hasn’t.

I grew up with a brother 3 yrs older, who terrorized me , constantly put me down, was nice one second next yelling and screaming at me for just breathing.

One time I was looking in the basement window from the backyard just being playful.  My brother was working with some wood and tools and he looked up saw my face peering down at him and he went ballistic.  I was only 8 yrs old.  He started screaming stop staring at me. The look on his face was scary he got up and I knew he was coming for me. I ran to the front of house he cornered me and lifted an iron wood holder over his head and was about to throw it at me when my dad came to the front door just in time and stopped him.

Even though my father stopped that the emotional abuse continued no one stopped it.  As an adult I struggle with a fear of people,anxiety disorder a desire to live away from people due to an obsessive need to never allow this type if treatment ever again.

I have at the age of 42, written a letter to my brother telling him I did not trust him anymore nor would I ever expose my kids or myself to his abuse as it did continue into adulthood.  That was the beginning of my healing.  Found out later my mom whom I adored my whole life ,was behind my brothers abuse of me because of something I said when I was 3 yrs old. It was a vindictive attack ,lifelong attack.  The only thing my mom says is”I was not a perfect mom I did the best I could”  she also told me as a kid she wanted to break every one in my body.

When I was a kid I was terrified of my older sister. Reading about this topic it now all makes a lot more sense and I am really surprised to find I was not the only one.

My Pop always compared me to my sister and I always felt inferior. But she always saw to that anyway. She would make me feel stupid and I didn’t dare to have an opinion. I never knew when the next beating would be coming, living in constant fear.

She also attacked both my parents on occasions, hospitalising one of my parents more than once. She was out of control. They didn’t protect me, they didn’t even admit there was a problem. Denied it was happening.

Two weeks before my first music exam I couldn’t practice because my finger was so swollen from one of her attacks that I couldn’t practice, even though I was taken to the doctor and had a splint on my finger and an xray the next day my parents did NOTHING.

To this day they haven’t acknowledged the abuse and still deny knowledge of it. Where were they? They knew she was unhinged, why didn’t they protect me?

As a result of her serial abuse and their neglect to protect me, I have developed multiple addictions that all involve self harm. I have chronic low self esteem and continual suicidal feelings and self hatred, and complete mistrust of the world and paralysing fear of other people.

To this day she has not admitted the things she did to me or them. And even as an adult treats me like a piece of dirt, talking disrespectfully to me in front of other members of my family even though she knows she has been the biggest cause of my mental problems, and although I attempt to give her another chance and try to treat her with respect!

I have tried to forgive her, I cannot write the full story yet, one day I will but I am paranoid she may read this! Perhaps she should, it would maybe do her good. But that is all for now, my heart goes out to all other people who have suffered abuse at the hand of a sibling, keep looking for help, I intend to now I know I am no longer alone.

 

Sibling-abuse.com commends you for finding the courage to share your story. Sometimes, the greatest strength that we can provide, is simply the acknowledgment that none of us is alone in our struggles. Self harm in particular is a difficult, and long lasting struggle. And we urge you to take whatever steps you need to help yourself, even it is only speaking online to others who struggle similarly. And don’t fear any reprisal from your family, our site is completely anonymous.

My Story:

I had no idea that there were others like me. I grew up being terrorized by my physically and emotionally abusive older sister. I always smiled and pretended everything was fine knowing that no one would help or believe me. The emotional abuse continued into adulthood and onto my children.

I had always been ashamed and always tried to “fix” things and tried harder to make everyone happy.  To no avail as no matter what I did, I was always cut down for thinking I was better than her.

She has always been angry.  My parents even called her “hateful”.  My parents knew she was abusive but left her in charge anyway.

As we got older,  I thought surely she would stop as we started families and that things might improve but I was wrong.  I endured the nasty comments, vicious back biting and emotional and physical abuse of my children. My oldest child was afraid and never told.

It was when my second child was around 2 1/2 – 3 who told that my sister hit, screamed and called them names like ” bastards”. It was then I realized it had to stop.

Although I lived next door to her, I started to pull away and sought to quietly move away for good. She snuck into my house while I was at work and found out I was trying to buy a house far away.  She came to my door and punched me in the face, screamed, cursed, called me names and beat my head into the floor and wall in front of my children.

I had to seek a protection order and no one really took it for more than an incident. No one would listen that this was the dysfunction of our family…everyone knows it but no one does anything….you just take it, because that’s how she is.  I was threatened by my own family to not follow through with charges or go to court.

My family turned their backs on me because I finally sought help outside the family.  I walked away with “my” family….the ones I love and who  love me to make a better, healthier, safer and happier life somewhere else.

I still suffer the emotional effects, in addition to practically losing my  entire family.  I saw her recently at my fathers funeral and it’s apparent that nothing has changed…I realized I was only there because they needed money and not because they wanted to mend fences and try to repair what’s left of our highly dysfunctional family.

 

sibling-abuse.com would like to commend DeAnna for her courage and bravery in stepping forward to share her story. It’s never easy to make that step in telling what is so often a very secret pain, but we hope that it is at least a small step in the right direction to finding some healing and moving on from that past abuse.

We also hope that you have indeed been able to distance yourself from your sister and are able to move on and build your own family in a healthy environment away from such destructive behavior. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

My childhood was. . . complicated, to say the least. With a mother I’m pretty sure has NPD and a passive father who was usually at work, things weren’t easy for my two-year-older sister and me. I was Mama’s favorite (she’s confessed as much to me), and my sister was her scapegoat. We were isolated from all our peers, being homeschooled until high school, not allowed to have anyone come over (because Mom’s a hoarder), and being forbidden from seeing certain friends. We also weren’t allowed to go to a friend’s house without the other, which lead to us sharing our friends, which we mostly still do to this day.

I guess my sister resented me for being the favorite, at first. She was the one who realized there was something wrong with Mom, and showed her displeasure by spiting her  more and more. Sneaking out in the middle of the day (while we were supposed to be either cleaning our rooms, doing our school work which Mom always forgot about, or otherwise avoiding the people from Child Services) to play with our friends. She never invited me. And then Mom would send me to find my sister.

The abuse was varied. There was a one-time sexual incident when I was five and she was three (no penetration). She probably had no idea what she was doing, or the effect it would have on me. And, yeah, she beat me up a few times. Usually it was provoked at least a bit, and it was an actual fight, although I usually failed to hold up my end. Once she hit me in the head with a video when she’d thought I’d lied to her. Another time we were fighting over what movie we wanted to watch and she pulled me down and scratched my forehead. This scratch left a scar for years. Made me feel a bit of kinship with Harry Potter. But that’s not to say she always won. One time I hit her in the head with batteries, and told her to “go to the Abyss.”

I resented sharing all my friends with my sister. They always seemed to prefer her over me. When we had disagreements, they always sided with her. When I expressed my feelings about this openly or just went home, my sister started saying I was too sensitive, among other things. I was a crybaby. Too whiny. It wasn’t that bad. I needed to get over it. I was Mom’s minion, and just like her. A few times, I nearly committed suicide. I knew that would show her. She’d be sorry. But, in the end, I just couldn’t ever do it.

Somehow along the way, I began to associate sensitivity and weakness with femininity, making myself more masculine so I could see myself as strong and start respecting myself again.

Over the years, my sister and I became even closer. Best friends, even–brought together by the wrongs Mom committed against us–things we were sure no outsider could ever understand. Our disagreements became more serious. At a movie we went to with our mutual best friend, she’d also brought a friend of hers. When I said I wanted to sit by our best friend instead of my sister’s friend that I didn’t know, I was allowed to do so, then greeted with my sister’s smug, superior look. I knew what that look said. “You’re being whiny again. Everyone sees what a whiny idiot you’re making of yourself.” So, I sat on the opposite side of the theater by myself. The next day in school, our best friend yelled at me for being whiny and immature. Same old story. That was in the first of two classes I had with her, so I sluffed the second class, went straight home, and just cried.

As we became older and Mom started relaxing her original rules, I was allowed to branch out. I started working at a haunted house and wearing a lot more black and eyeliner. I just liked the way it looked. The way it made me feel. Sister dear started calling me an emo, telling me I needed to grow up, get over it and stop being so sensitive, as usual. By this point, I’d learned to save face and stop seeming so whiny by just laughing and agreeing with her, even though inside I was beating up on myself for another failure. Anything was better than shaming myself.

I inherited most of the medical problems on both sides of my family. Bad knees, bad back, asthma, IBS, migraines, and a proneness to UTIs, just to start with. I’d be out of school a lot because of these. My sister was always the one to tell me I was a hypochondriac drama queen. I was faking it.

For years I’d known that Mommy was the bad guy in my family. So, I figured that what my sister was telling me had to be the truth. In that case, why was I lying to myself? Why was I being so dramatic? Why was I having psychosomatic pains? Was I somehow deliberately making myself sick? Was the pain less than I imagined it to be? Why was I so sensitive and how could I toughen up? The more I tried to ignore it, the more hurtful things my sister said, the more I’d sit in my room and question what was wrong with me. I’ve tried my hand at lots of self-diagnosis, from BPD to APD to depression. Nothing ever fit right.

In the last couple years, she’s tried to get physical with me again. Doing things like repeatedly hitting me with a large pan lid. But now I’m bigger than her, weighing 30 pounds more–a lot of it muscle. I won both times I didn’t hold back.

But the psychological side has gotten worse–particularly since she started going to college, and getting therapy. She’s been identified as an ACMI (Adult Child of the Mentally Ill), which means she’s a parentified child. The one she parentifies is me, despite the fact that I am an adult and capable of making my own decisions. While we were on vacation once, she woke me up in the middle of the night to remind me to plug my phone in, despite the fact that I deliberately didn’t do it, because the battery would last through the next day. When I pointed this out, she told me basically that I was not qualified to make that decision. Unable to take it, I sat in the bathroom and cried. When I came out again, with the resolve to write a note to her and tell her my feelings and hopefully resolve things, she’d set a box of kleenex on my side of the bed. I wrote the note and went to bed. I only found out a few months later from our best friend that my sister refused to forgive me for what I’d said in the note, and our relationship went to a new low.

But it got better the longer we spent apart. She wanted me to move in with her in order to get away from our mom, and I obliged, because we’d be living with our best friend and a friend of hers.

That’s where things stand, pretty currently. Me, a girl of nineteen, living with my twenty-one-year-old sister and two other girls. When things are good, they’re really good. But when they’re bad. . . .

I half-jokingly asked my dad for a car. My sister freaked out, saying I obviously didn’t understand what Dad was already doing for both of us. I tried to back off the issue, saying I was joking, telling my dad repeatedly never mind, but it didn’t work. She was in full swing, accusing me of childishness and immaturity and ignorance and selfishness and so forth. I got fed up and peppered my words to her with a couple curses. She got to her feet, standing directly over me and said “Don’t you swear at me,” using my full name. I held back, merely saying “Too late.” Then she shoved my chair back as hard as she could, knocking me to the floor and breaking the chair.

We’ve gotten to a point where we can talk out some of our problems with each other. But then there are other times. Just last week we had a minor disagreement, and I went to my room, annoyed. When I came out to get something, she asked if I was angry with her. When I said annoyed, she asked why, and I, unwilling to go through the explanation at that point, went to my room again. She followed me, sitting on my bed, demanding an explanation. No matter how much my orders to get out turned to threats turned to pleas turned to begging, she wouldn’t leave, saying I was in an emotional state and she was worried about me, and that she wasn’t leaving without an explanation. I’m an introvert. I don’t think well around other people. Besides which, getting that emotional in front of someone is a mortal sin for me. She wouldn’t leave. I broke down. She still wouldn’t leave, and started being condescending, saying that if I was going to act like a child she was going to treat me like one. I finally managed to voice those thoughts that seemed so long ago into words, but she still wouldn’t leave until I had calmed down. Only when I appeared to be calm did she finally go, after which I started crying all over again, punching my pillows to death. Once more those age-old questions resurfaced. Why do I always act this way? What’s wrong with me?

It was that night when I first discovered sibling abuse. Sure, I’d stumbled across the term before. I’d become interested in child abuse for a story I was writing, and had done some thorough research on it. Came across the term. That night, deciding that she was disregarding my rights, I started looking it up. And I cried again. This time with relief. It wasn’t all my fault, as I had thought for so long. It really wasn’t all about what was wrong with me. I was a victim, too, it seemed.

Nothing major has happened since then. She called me “hon” again. I asked her not to, complete with a calm please, because she knows I hate it. Her response? “Deal with it.” Whenever I tell her that she’s not my mother, she says I need mothering. When I try to walk away from her when I’m angry, she follows me. And our friends are all on her side.

The things that my sister’s done have caused a few things in me, I think. I feel the need to be physically strong. To internalize everything. Show no hurt–no pain, no sadness, anger only to the level of annoyance. Never cry in front of anyone. Never reveal weakness. Be strong. Suck it up and deal with it.

Next time a major incident comes out, I’m pretty sure I’m going to tell her she’s abusing me–that her behavior is unacceptable, and I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. If I need to, I’m beginning to think I’ll just move back in with Narcissistic Mom and Enabler Dad. They’re not perfect, but they’re hardly abusive to me.

For now, this story has no resolve. No beautiful conclusion complete with a good moral for all the kiddies. But I think I’m going to be an optimist, for once. The ending might work itself out eventually.

(I really hope this site doesn’t die, because it’s already been great for me. It’s got to be good for other people, too. Sibling abuse is so rarely recognized because there isn’t enough information about it out there. I don’t want anyone else to repeat my mistakes and not realize there’s something wrong so late in the game.)

sibling-abuse.com would like to thank and commend Nikki for coming forward and sharing her story. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step to addressing the issues and learning to move forward in your life. And while we know it’s a lifelong battle, we are happy you’ve taken this first step. Things can and will get better. But don’t be afraid to seek help or continuing to talk to others who have suffered likewise. You’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of.

If you have a story you would like to share as well, please feel free to tell us whatever or however much you feel comfortable sharing. It can help not only you, but others out there as well who can read your story and know that they are not alone.