I called my brother, he is a year younger than I and we were abused by the same perpetrator, over the same time period. He had the sense to disclose in his 30's where I was unable to until seven months ago, in my 40's.
I live 900 miles away from him and call him, uhm, less than once a month, he does not call me unless I call him.
So I call him, after 7 months of intense recovery and progress. I ask him, could he help me with timelines, events that happened in our past that he is aware of, so that I have a clear picture of events. Being recently freed of the shame of the abuse, I was ready to see clearly the course of events. A foundation that was uncluttered with fear of the episodes. A desire to know, not guess. Surer footing.
He starts with his fears, that I am losing my religion for the way of man, that I just need the love of God, and all will be set right. That I may be heading for a life as a heathen. He claims that looking into the past is a waste of the present, that it does nothing to help the sufferer. He says when I come to visit, "we'll have to make an hour and sit down and talk about it". ARGH!! Oh, he thinks my little sister and I have the same issues, and she has anxiety from domestic abuse, and oh, he yelled at her about her wanting to run her house, her way.
I hate that. Do not disagree until the hearer understands. Then agree or disagree as the hearer wishes. Just listen, and support, answer all the questions as best as you can. When the victim or survivor is triggered, or disclosing, know it is the past, not you or the present, that that survivor is reliving, and not at all about you or the relationship you are in. Then tell the survivor, when they are safe and calm, how you feel, you love and support them, then your fears and anxiety, for then, we are the most empathetic, or at least I seem to be.
I know he has not recovered, that he is still a victim, for all of his success. I need to accept the best he can offer, and that will have to do. I cannot initiate his recovery, nor do I truly wish to try, although it would be so great to talk to him, as I talk to you. I want more from him than he can give, I need to let that be enough, for if I demand more, I will get much less.
My mother and father have all but stopped talking to me since I disclosed to them, and when I call them the four times I have this year, I get the weather report.
Accept that the family does not get it, does not understand, and let them see my reasonableness, my flexibility, and my support for them. Because in truth, it displays my recovery.
Thanks for listening,
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014