Sweetheart, I'm so sorry for all you've been through. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. You did
Welcome to the board although I imagine we all wish there wasn't a need for such a topic. I really commend you for the courage it took to share your story with us. I remember the first time I recanted my full story. I was on auto-pilot as I wrote and it was like I just wanted to rip the bandage off so it didn't hurt so much. I think you were wise to search us out, too. Many people who know our stories but who haven't suffered what we had to endure haven't the faintest idea the extent of our wounds. Heck, we don't really know the full extent ourselves b/c we've spent a lifetime trying to run away from those feelings and images. But you're not alone here. We truly empathize with you. Sure, our individual stories differ but we have an inner knowing that just doesn't seem possible to find unless you're speaking with someone who's been in your shoes in their own way.
I just read a very interesting article on Economic PTSD that was written by Michael Bader. Of course, the economy's issues don't hold a candle to ours but I thought he did a great job of explaining how humans will do anything to avoid feeling helpless (a.k.a. guiltless). Sweetheart, the guilt you're feeling isn't true. You were an innocent child who was being blackmailed, manipulated and intimidated into pleasing your brother. You're right, from what you shared, it very well could be that he was abused, too. How's his emotional health these days? But the key here is that regardless of his prior experiences, what he did to you was NOT your fault. It's funny to hear myself say this b/c I spent YEARS blaming myself for the same reasons you're giving. I should have told someone. I should have said no. I should have stopped him/them. *sigh* Eh, but guess what, I was a child when it started and even as I grew older (15 yo.) and it was still going on, my psyche was reacting to too much trauma to make a more appropriate choice.
It's an ugly place to finally discover how powerless we truly were. At least it was for me. I had no idea how much despair was hidden beneath my guilty claims. It was so gut-wrenching to find the extent of my own abuse but I firmly believe