Sibling Violence: My Struggle to Stop Hating My Abusive Brother

Written by Catherine Braun

faith_siblingviolenceI hated my brother. He teased and tormented me relentlessly. I was only ten. My hatred buried itself deep within me, like a worm eating holes in my child’s heart.

Maybe it began with typical sibling rivalry – a two-year-old boy dumping his new baby sister out of her bassinet, expressing displeasure over her nervy intrusion. I realize now that he had legitimate emotional concerns of his own. Nevertheless, his unacceptable actions toward me persisted for years. Unchecked, malice crept into his heart like a weasel into a hen house. I became the target of his aggression.

Screaming for justice

My memory categorizes the assaults by residence. The earliest serious injury occurred in my first home, high on a hill overlooking the ocean where the vista called for serenity. When I was four, for reasons I can’t remember, my brother picked up a piece of scrap iron and split open the back of my head. I screamed for justice from my parents. None came.

When I was eight we moved to the country into a rental property while our new home was being built. The Dutch doors, divided in half across the center, fascinated me. I spent endless hours incorporating those doors into fantasy play – a storefront, a cage at the zoo, sections of door opened and closed at my will. One day my parents left us unattended; my brother burst through those doors. Wielding a mop handle, he delivered a crushing blow, raising a bleeding, purplish egg on my forehead.

“Look what he did!” I bellowed later that afternoon. My mother failed to carry through with effective discipline. My father ignored the incident, as he did all the others. He was an abuser himself. For years, all of us watched him abuse my mother physically and emotionally.

Our new home was not finished, but we moved in anyway. There my brother finished off the back of my left hand with a nut pick, carving it up with raking stabs. “Don’t you tell anyone at school how this really happened,” my mother warned. By now, I was my own defence. I rebelled and, defying her, told the first person who asked. Nothing changed.

My shinbones collected permanent dents from kicks by hard-toed shoes. My developing breasts ached from closed-fisted blows accompanied by sexually disparaging insults. By now, I knew there was no point even mentioning it. Instead, I not only let the sun go down on my anger but I pulled the shades on my emotions. I locked and barricaded the doors.

By our mid-teens, my brother’s abuse waned and then stopped altogether. The story was no longer about my brother, but about me. My placid and good-natured inborn temperament was what most people saw. However, it covered my white-hot rage, converted to an iceberg, lurking below the surface waiting to rip apart some – any – passing ship. It was there in those icy waters that Jesus met me, not with condemnation, but with love.

A change of heart

I needed to revisit Scriptures I had read as a child, but this time I asked Jesus to help me understand them correctly.

Being a perfectionist, I had tried to follow the law. But Jesus did not expect me to be able to stop hating. He only wanted me to recognize my hatred as sin. I was heading down the wrong path, taking matters into my own hands. He wanted me instead to come to him with it. He is the only one who can make the kind of heart change I needed.

Over time, Jesus helped me see that I believed many things that were untrue. I believed I had to earn God’s favour by being good. I believed that no one cared about me and that no one was interested in protecting me. I believed my needs did not matter. I believed I was not worth loving or protecting.

My childish interpretation of God’s Word caused me unnecessary pain. I now understand that if Scripture does not sound like good news, I am probably not grasping it correctly. Were I to revisit my childhood experience with Jesus, our talk might go like this:

“I hate my brother!”
“Yes, I know. I’m glad you could tell Me so.”
“You mean it’s okay?”
“No, it’s not okay, but you’re okay with Me. Tell me your story, pour it all out. I’ll listen.”

And I’d sob away the hurt, the anger, the feelings of helplessness, knowing that He believed me and understood.

“What your brother has done is wrong. Your parents should have stopped him.”
“Sniff…..”
“I’m sorry this happened to you. I love you.”
“Sniff.”
“Yet, you know that your hatred is also wrong. You need to admit it to Me and let it go. I’ve forgiven you. Now it’s your turn to forgive him, or your hatred will eat you up. Forgiveness will take time. When you’re willing, I’ll make it possible. Think about it and we’ll talk again soon.”

Encouraged and strengthened, I’d move back to the neighbourhood of my hatred to face what was true about me, to confess it and be forgiven, and let it go. This is what the love and forgiveness of Christ makes possible: to face ourselves at our ugliest, never for a moment losing the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.

I confronted my brother many years later. To his credit, he acknowledged his wrongs and expressed genuine remorse over the pain his actions caused me. By then I had already uncovered and let go of most of my painful feelings. It was good to hear his confession, but he might have chosen to withhold it. I would have needed to forgive him anyway.

Today my brother doesn’t mistreat me in any way. We are friends and enjoy a playful relationship. Yet there are still times I need to stand up for myself with him. He is often intrusive, pushing beyond reasonable boundaries. I must verbalize my stand: No, you may not do that; no I will not allow that; back off; give me some space. It’s not good for him, for our relationship, or for me to allow behavior that generates fresh anger in me.

Take a look at your life.  How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times.  There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget.  In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new.  What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

Henri Nouwen wrote, “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all of us love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour – unceasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

It’s easy to find fault in others. It’s even easier when they have committed a clear sin. It’s much harder to forgive and then to honestly assess – and correct – faults in ourselves. Fortunately, we have a Savior who helps us do just that.

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91 Responses to “Sibling Violence: My Struggle to Stop Hating My Abusive Brother”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Nick, The Life Project is concerned about the safety and privacy of all its users, particularly children. For this reason, The Life Project will not be able to help you with your request. We recommend that you talk to your parents or legal guardian about this situation. If that is not possible, then please contact a pastor or Christian counselor in your area.

    Passed by the U.S. Congress in November 1998, the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires operators of online services or Web sites to obtain parental consent prior to the collection, use, disclosure, or display of the personal information of children 12 years of age or younger.

    Be assured that the prayer team at The Life Project will be praying for you.

    Helpful Resources:

    Get some counseling right now by contacting AACC for a referral to a Christian counselor near you at http://www.aacc.net or New Life at 1-800-NEW-LIFE or the nearest mental health agency.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Laughing Man, no one should have to go through that kind of misery growing up. I can totally understand your sense of freedom at the death of your brother. It must have been a huge weight off of you when his tormenting ended. How long ago was it that he took his life?

    You speak like you are familiar with the Bible; did you grow up in a church? How has your brother’s torment impacted your understanding of Jesus?

  • Laughing Man says:

    Jamie,

    As far as I can tell, he was mostly cruel towards me, because he knew I was afraid he would pull a “He started it” if I tried to bring our parents into it. He would, however, lash out verbally at anyone who called him out on being self-centered or obnoxious.

    It will probably surprise no one to know he had a drug and drinking problem.

    The problem I have with forgiveness- with this story- is that the perpetrator has not received any consequence for their actions. I do *not* advocate raging against someone for every little accident, but such deliberate, repeated malice, called off only when it was convenient for the aggressor, does not deserve forgiveness.

    I admit bias. Forgiving someone for attacks on me (verbal and physical), in my life, has meant- WITHOUT FAIL- an increase in their attacks and retroactively blaming me for their past attacks. These same people’s idea of forgiveness for my transgressions (such as forgetting to do something, or the belief I did something I didn’t) was weeks on weeks of rage followed by stony silence. The forgiveness expected of me was total amnesia and to excuse any damage done as being an unrelated accident.

    God did not put anyone here to be a punching bag. Recall what Jesus said: “Go, and *sin no more*.”

    I understand that backslides happen. We eat more than we mean to. We curse when we stub our toe. Repent and try to do better. This was not the case with my brother, who would offer crocodile tears whenever his attacks went too far even for my parents, only to do even worse once he was forgiven.

    Catherine, your desire to forgive as Jesus did is admirable. But your brother’s continued disrespect for your basic boundaries seems to be indicative that he has only learned to be covert in his attacks. You deserve a better life than to be his punching bag. We all deserve better.

  • Aldo says:

    Abby, not only is what you did in forgiving your brother commendable, but it is what God says we need to do- Matthew 6:14-15, 18. Yes, you are your own person, and a beautiful one at that made in the image of God, who loves you and wants to bless you abundantly.

    Allow me to pray for you: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for Abby and her brother. A love so great it is unfathomable. Help Abby to grasp the magnitude of that love. Help her to comprehend the sacrifice You made for her in sending Your Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for her sins, and the sins of all mankind. Lord, heal the memories and pain that Abby has of being mistreated. Grant her a renewed love for her brother, and help him to realize that he needs to ask forgiveness of his sister for how he treated her in the past, in Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

    Abby, if you would like to chat with someone one on one, you can click the Talk to a mentor button at the top right of this page. She will be happy to discuss any issues that you would like to talk about, or just to pray for you.

  • Abby says:

    This is the first article I read in sibling abuse. My brother is 2 years older than me and was physically abusive towards me until the age of 23. When he moved away for school, that made me feel so much better. But when he would come visit or stay the weekend, I was on my tip toes in fear. Preparing for him to either put me down or inflict some degree of physical pain. He use to hit me for things as small as not picking up his shoes or getting him a glass of water when he came back from school. He would also talk very poorly of me and even slander me to others to make himself look better and smarter than I am. He even called me stupid and idiot behind my back and in my face in front of other people. He made it clear to others I was a disappointment because I didn’t do well in school esp mathematics.I couldn’t even go to him for help or tutoring because he would beat me I couldn’t get it right. Although I’m 29 now, I am the memories and pain are all coming back strong and more intensely after a few years. I know that he knows it’s wrong now but has never apologized. I forgive him because that will help the both of us in the long run even if he never apologizes. I let him know how much that had affected me and that I forgive him. But the right thing for him is to apologize. Whenever that is.Either way, I have to forgive,be around people who love and accept me for who I am. I don’t need my brother’s approval anymore. I am my own person, I know who I am, and I only surround myself with those who respect me and want to make amends.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Laughing Man, you brother must have been a very cruel person. Was he cruel to you mainly or were there others who felt his abuse? Was he an older brother or younger? How did your parents react to his treatment of you? How long have you been free from his torment?

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I am dealing with bitterness and what feels like an inability to forgive my abusive older brother. Growing up, he regularly beat me, leaving with me bruises/cuts, but more deeply, emotional scars. He did things like lock me in a hen house after he threw corn cobs at a wasp nest and held the door shut while the wasps swarmed and stung me and he laughed. He would like to use me for “target” practice and would tell me to run so he could throw rocks and things. If I didn’t run, he would beat me with his fists until I ran. He made fun of me constantly, saying I was dumb, I was fat, etc.

    My mother started telling me to lose weight and called me fat many times when I reached age 16. I was 125 lbs and 5’5″ at the time her verbal abuse started. I became eating disordered. My brother did not stop the abuse in our teens. The last he hit me, I was 21 years old (and unknown to him, pregnant with my first child), he was 23. He has never apologized and told me that “anything that happens in childhood has no impact on someone’s life later. He also told me the guy I was dating at age 20 was “the only guy who would ever want you!” I married said guy, who was sexually abusive to me, said guy ended up being a sex addict and molested one of our children. I am now divorced with full custody of our three children. I walked away from my abusive family 4 years ago and moved 2500 miles away. I have not seen my siblings in 4 years. However, I have a chronic illness and working is becoming increasingly difficult and I may need to move back to the much cheaper area to live where they are and I feel sick. I do not know how to handle these emotions that feel like awful butterflies in my stomach when I think of the things they have said and done (some of them have been right up until I left). I have seen a counselor for 2 years and have been told that I did the best thing to leave. My kids have not known family and well, if I pass away, my ex cannot have custody so they would go to my family or foster care. I did try to reach out to my brother to text and ask if he ever thought of the past or knew how hurtful he’d been to me. He responded that he does not recall saying anything wrong and the past is in the past and he will not talk about anything with me. I honestly believe I would have never ended up with the loser I married without having such a horribly abusive family. Actually two counselors have told me that which only makes the bitterness worse.

  • Laughing Man says:

    Prayer doesn’t work. Your abusive brother apologized because it was convenient to do so, he has a,, the sincerity of a shark’s grin.

    The day my hellspawn of a brother took his own life after two decades of inflicting misery was a moment of unparallel glory, as I know he burns in hell forever. Not for how he died, but how he lived.

    Embrace the hate. It’s never too late to unforgive someone.

  • Mia says:

    I am turning twelve, and my brother is very abusive and always doing something to take his anger out on me. Most of the time he try to tell me what to do. He’ll pin me to the ground tell me off then hit me hard. I would always cry afterwards and have a meltdown. He is only 8 and I don’t know what to do about him.

  • Alfred says:

    Dear Anonymous, I’m very sorry this is happening to you. You are so hurt that you will not even mention yourself by name! Yes, God can heal, for what mankind sees as impossible, is possible for God. I’m glad you say “I pray for God’s intervention”. The first step, I’d say, is to try to show your sister that you do care and love her. God can show you what act of kindness she will appreciate. By refusing to retaliate, a bridge can be built. This will however not be your doing; it will be God’s! Another step is NOT to criticise her for anything, especially not for following this man. It is difficult sometimes to think and talk only what is positive, but it is possible, as the author Catherine Braun so aptly stated.
    Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that Anonymous has written to ask for help. YOU are the One who will do the helping! Show her, I pray, where to find encouragement in the Bible. Bring her Your Peace, so that with her sister or without her, she will know that you are by her side, giving her the assurance that she needs! With You we are always in the majority, for You are greater than any problem we face. I now lift up that sister of hers, praying that You give her a desire to get to know You better. Also, I ask that you help her to see the bigger picture; to see that these people are using her. Help her to again appreciate family. We pray this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
    Now a word for the other anonymous (with the house deals): I’d say, take the same words that I’ve just given. You are definitely looking in the right direction when you say: “I try not to hate bros and forgive them but HOW???” May I venture to say that as you pray for your brothers, the Lord will show you what to do that will help them recognize you and your family as people who show love and kindness to whomever.
    Prayerfully yours, Alfred.

  • Anonymous says:

    My sister did a lot of things to tear our relationship apart. She started ignoring me and then just getting up and leaving me all alone. This is when we were kids. She then started password protecting her computer. I never went into her computer ever unless I asked her and she said it was okay. She said it was because of some of our other relatives would come over and use her computer without permission. Then she picked up a man from the internet. This man was emotionally and verbally abusive to her. He was getting her to work for him online and paying her pennies. He was using up all her time and diverting her from more important things like her education. She one day came home from work and this man called her and chewed her out about not doing the work he wanted done. She went into a blank stare. She looked so lost. I wanted to cry for her. I could see his abuse but she didn’t and when I told her to leave him she would say no. Fast forward a few years and he was disrespecting her, abusing her, and using her even more. But he was doing something I didn’t know until much later. He was destroying our relationship. There were days when she would wake up in the morning and fly into a rage on me. I didn’t know what to do. My parents could not help. I was praying to God but I don’t know what happened. I learned this rage was coming from him but she was a will participant. I also found out that she had started feel prideful in that fact that this man was sending her things but it was because she build this man a business and all sorts of things. Long story short she is still treating me nasty. We had a real relationship and it is now almost gone. I am praying about it but I don’t know will happen. I don’t know if God can or will heal this. And now, anytime she picks up another man and befriends him by working for him, building a business for him, etc. She starts acting like this.
    One of the most recent hurtful things she said to me was I have to get you out of my life. Who says that to their sister. Then she is saying her siblings don’t feel the same love for her she has for them but that is a lie especially for me. There is a lot more but it is too much to say.

    I pray for God’s intervention. I pray he saves our relationship, heal it and grow it.

  • anonymous says:

    My58 year old brother was upset because when my dad died he was only left some money.my other brother and his wife got a house and I got one too. My father was an abusive alcoholic and didn’t like any of us much but liked him the least because he was violent,abusive,drug and alcohol addicted. My other brother had familyalthpugh he did not work much and was alcoholic.he lived in the house he eventually was given for free for many years and took the most care of my dad when he got senile. I did help toothpick as I lived near it was difficult for me to help too much because when I was a teen he often tried to have sex with me. I worked ,married,raised kids,paid for my own house. My dad signed this house over to me when he was still alive so I did not inherit it.he gave it to me basically because he saw I could care for my own property. His was a lake house and he and my dead mother had always wanted it to stay in the family do u grandchildren to enjoy the lake.my abusive brother asked me to sell it and give him half of the money.he said it was unfit that me or my other brother got houses.he said must other brother was a jerk that would not do anything for him but he expected me too. I agreed I would sell it out of sympathy.however the house was in disrepair and could not be sold after years of cleaning out my dad’s hoard and repairing it I also faced the roadblock of him moving in to it.I finally decided to not to sell it.After he moved out he threatened often to kill me if I didn’t get it sold a give him 100K. I GAVE him 55K and am selling my house and me and husband(now empty nest) will move in next year.He says he doesn’t have a sister anymore. My other brother and his wife feel bad for him. Now they exclude me,husband,and sons from holidays and family get togethers so he won’t try to fight with me at them the do invite him.I will not fight with him but if threatened I will seek police protection under advice of my lawyer and councillor.So I try not to hate bros and forgive them but HOW??? Also my kids hate both there uncles now as they watch them hurt me. I feel, real
    totally spirituality unequiped for any hope of peace or forgiveness in this matter!

  • Dave Kennedy says:

    Dear N. Your question, “I just wonder a lot why me. Like why does this happen to me?” is one you and me and others ask. It is the question. Why me?

    I asked it before I was 53 and I did not know an answer. Then over time, N, I came to realize I lived in a world of human beings, like me, who struggle with their own junk. I struggled with my stuff. You struggle with your stuff. Your mom and others struggle with their stuff. I am not saying it is right. I am saying it is……And it has been that way since the first man and woman, decided they were going to head down their own path, rather than be who their Creator asked them to be; trusting in their Creator, caring about others, and focused on being the person the Creator made them to be. It all flows from that. But the same Creator that made you and me provides a way out for each of us. We can ask Him to help us to see who He is, pray that prayer, and He will show Himself to us, will take hold of us, will recreate us, and we will begin to find peace in our lives. I would love to chat here more about His hope. I can tell you from my own life experience, He is worthy. He is trust worthy. He gives me a core, a center to life. A reason. A meaning. An explanation. A hope and a future. I pray N, that you do take this prayer, read it silently to yourself, understand what the words say, then read it aloud from your heart. He hears you. “God, if you exist (and I don’t know you do) and you can hear this prayer (and I don’t know if you can), I want to tell you I am an honest seeker after the truth. Show me if Jesus is your Son and the Savior of the world. And if you bring conviction to my mind I will trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord.”

  • N says:

    Thank you Dave. I just wonder a lot why me. Like why does this happen to me? My mom told me that I have a place in heaven surely for what I go through. I just don’t know why she doesn’t tell him to stop. Crazy how. People are and how two faced he is

  • Dave Kennedy says:

    Dear N……when I read your words, I could feel something personal in my heart for you and for your situation. I am a lot older than you. And I had experiences like those you describe, when I was younger than you. Those experiences were not from a brother, but from my mom. If either my sister or I did anything to screw up her view of the family world, she was not a happy camper. Her lack of happiness reached out to not only me, but my sister and my dad. I remember my younger sister stepping into harms way when my mom would “punish” me. It was good for her to stand up for me. In a weird sort of way I remember thinking that other families were like ours, so this must be normal. Looking back on it later, I could see that it was not appropriate nor normal. N. those years formed me into a person that I was for 50 years. And then, when I was 53, my life changed. One night I was in a real bad place in my life. I could see no way out. In the middle of the night, my spirit was crying out for relief……for mercy from someone somewhere and I got an answer. It was an amazing experience N. It was not something or someone I sought. It was not someone convincing me of anything. But, what I know now was Jesus came into my room and said to me, “I have peace for you.” And it was the most beautiful moment in my life. I received it. That is all. No theology. No preacher yelling at me. No one condemning me. No one saying I would go to hell, if I did not choose this path. It was my spirit seeking peace and Jesus said, “I am peace”. I know it sounds weird in this world. But in that moment when I said, Lord, have me, He created a new Dave, a person filled with peace. He gave me a new way that I did not understand in a flash, but I knew that I was new. I look back on that dark night and I am so happy that He loves me and He loves you. So, I pray N, that you and Jesus will have a quiet conversation with each other. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words to say. Just ask Him to show you that He is peace. One of my favorite prayers is this one. Just read it aloud and see what you think N……“God, if you exist (and I don’t know you do) and you can hear this prayer (and I don’t know if you can), I want to tell you I am an honest seeker after the truth. Show me if Jesus is your Son and the Savior of the world. And if you bring conviction to my mind I will trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord.”

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up my friend N to You at this time in there life, that You will heal there wounds and help them in this area of there lives. In Jesus name amen

  • N says:

    I’m a almost 15 year old girl. I have a brother who makes me do everything for him!! Like being him food, water , he gets mad at me if there’s leftovers for dinner. He’s very emotionally abusive and in the past he’s hit me many times. One time he thought he could teach me a lesson by beating me so bad. It was in December. He waited till I got out the truck and it was after my basketball game. He shoved me into the house. (After beating me in the car) he punched me in the arm in the stomach slapped me super hard in the face. I couldn’t get up and was sobbing then he kept hitting me. I had fist sized bruises on my arms but couldn’t tell my parents cause he would tell them something I did and they would prob homeschool me. And he would make up stuff. He’s always making me do crap for him. Sometimes I just want it all to end. Maybe if I die he will realize all the pain he’s caused

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Alyanna, I m sorry that you have suffered your brother’s cruelty so long. That is not the way that men are supposed to act. Have you talked with your mother about the way your brother treats you? Perhaps she may have some ideas of how you can get your brother to see how hurtful he is being. How do you think your father would react if he knew how cruel your brother is to you? If your parents are unable to help you could also talk to a teacher at school and ask them for help to keep you safe from your brother.

    You don’t have to live this way. You will find people who can help your brother understand that his actions and words are very damaging.

  • Hi. i’m from the Philippines
    My brother always teases me becoz I’m childish and stupid… He always call me stupid and abnormal… Idk what I’m gonna do… I’m really stuck in this miserable life…. He started abusing and fighting me since maybe 12yrsold.. He has a friend same as his age.. And his friend was so mature… He wanted to be like that too… His friend always teases her little sis…..
    He was starting to bully me… He always get my snacks and he only gave me 10 pesos even tho my allowance was 20 pesos… Then since I was 14… It was night… And only me and my brother were not yet asleep yet… I wanted to watch TV but my brother won’t let me.. I was then angry becoz he always say bad things to me and I just couldn’t help it… I punched the wall and stomp my feet becoz of anger, making noises… And then my brother appeared and hit me with his slipper….
    He doesn’t fight when my daddy is around… But then my daddy was now going abroad to wprk, my brother abuses me more…
    BECOZ OF HIM, I FEEL LIKE I’M NOTHING… I ALWAYS LOOK MISERABLE BECOZ OF HIM…
    I’M ALREADY 16 THIS AUGUST….
    I’M TIRED OF THIS WORLD NOW………

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi EM,

    I am so sorry to hear that you’ve been through this. What an awful experience. There’s an excellent article by Lynnette Hoy that talks about how forgiveness and full restitution are not the same thing. Forgiving someone does not necessarily mean that you just go on as if the bad thing never happened. Sometimes you need to reset your boundaries. You can read the article here: http://powertochange.com/experience/life/forgiveness/

  • EM says:

    48hrs ago I was assulted and battered by my younger brother of 28yrs. I am 32. He tried to kill me by strangulation and suffocation. My mother came in and pulled him off of me. He 6’4″ and 350lbs, and I am 5’6″ 110lbs. He went crazy on me for no reason at all. After he losened his grip from throat, I sliped away and ran to the bedroom, where he came after me some more. I though the bedroom door would hold up but it didn’t and my mom was fighting him off of me. He did the same to her and I ran away this time for the door. He choked her out 2x will I ran out the door. I ran to get help and call 911. After I found a neighbor, they called for me. I saw him leave as if nothing happened. I am terrified of my brother now, and am prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. My mother on the other hand is trying to make excuses for this. He almost killed us, and put fear deep in me now. I don’t know how to handle this on a spiritual level. I am so angry and feel like I will never forgive him. But my I feel has already forgiven him and ready to let him come like nothing happend. How do I handle this?

  • Mya says:

    Hi, my brother beats me if I don’t give him my charger or something like that. He blames me for the most stupidest [expletive removed] ever. It either stops, or he can forget about me in the future. I can block him out of my life. Just like that. He will call once, and that will be the last. I’ll tell him why and he will regret his [expletive removed] behavior. If it leads on through his life, and I have kids, he could hurt them. I’m sorry about my cussing but it’s been done. My prayers to those who have been beaten, may your lives be happy and blessed.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Anom, I am glad you were able to find this article and share your story. You should not have to live in fear of your brother like that. It is true that often siblings are hurtful to each other but what you are describing crosses that line into abuse. Have you asked your parents for their advice on how you can stop your brother’s cruelty? If they are not able to help you then you have other people in your life who can help you. Talk to a pastor, teacher or a counselor at school. Ask them for ideas on how you can be free from that hurtful things your brother is doing.

    Your question, “Why does God let this happen?” is not an easy one to answer. Do you remember the story of Joseph and his cruel brothers? They wanted to kill Joseph because they were jealous of him. They eventually sold him to slave traders and lied to their dad that he got killed by a wild animal. Even though God allowed that to happen to Joseph, He never abandoned him. Joseph knew that God was with him and trusted Him even when things went bad. It was only years later that Joseph was able to find out why God had allowed that to happen. There may not seem like there is any good reason why God has let your brother be so mean to you but I encourage you to continue to trust in Him. God’s promise to you is that “everything works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) “Everything” includes your brother’s cruelty. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get him to stop. Remember Joseph kept working hard in all situations to make his situation better. But when things did not go well, he still trusted in God’s leading in his life.

    Let me pray for you: Lord God I pray for this young man who has felt the cruelty of an older brother for far too long. I pray that You would help him find a way to show his brother that his actions are wrong. Give him courage to do difficult things and guard him from discouragement and depression because of his brother’s meanness. I pray that You would show Yourself to this young man and let Your presence be the light that brightens his hope and his life. Bring healing to the whole family and show Your transforming power in their lives. In Jesus’ name amen.

    So Anom, do you have a pastor you feel like you could talk to?

  • Anom says:

    I myself have a older brother who makes me do everything for him. It’s been that way for years. My parents don’t have a very loving relationship. It seems they just stick together because that’s the way they were raised. My brother has physically hit me before, he yells at my parents for little things.. Mind you he’s in his 20’s still living at home. Whenever he needs something he tells me. Like water, foot run, food. It’s honestly ridiculous. When I was a kid is be woken up by him yelling at my dad and ripping his shirt and stomping. I would be crying in my bed. He’s put pillows over my face. I’m just at loss. I believe in god but why does he let this happen? I’m almost 15 and I just want to be free. And I want everyone to be ok

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Anonymous,
    You are in a serious situation and if your brother’s behavior isn’t changing, then you need to get help. What do your parents say about all of this?

    You said that ‘you are hesitant to acquire legal advice or initiate any action, do not believe in violence and refuse to retaliate but would appreciate some advice.’ Is there another family member that you could live with? This does not sound like a safe environment for you to be in and if your parents don’t take control of the situation and ask your brother to leave the home, then you need to initiate some action. He will continue to be physically abusive until someone challenges him and shows him that they are serious about stopping the abuse.

    In the meantime, I would love to pray for you.

    Dear Lord God,
    I lift up Anonymous to your right now and ask the You would give her wisdom regarding what to do in this situation that is obviously not safe for her. Would you show her an adult that would be able to help her. I pray for Your protection of her and that You would work in the heart of this brother as well who has such anger management issues. I pray too for their parents that they would have much wisdom in knowing how to deal with him and that they would know the next steps that need to be taken. In Jesus’name, amen.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Soul,
    May I suggest that you seek professional counseling? There were obviously some horrible things that happened to you in your childhood and you need to be able to not only deal with them but get to the bottom of what really happened. In order to do that, a professional counselor needs to be involved. We do have a wonderful team of online mentors who can walk alongside of you as you get help but they are not professionals that can help you get to the root issue.

    God, I ask for ‘soul’ that You would help her to get the help she needs and to be able to get to the bottom of the abuse that happened to her when she was younger. Lord, You know what happened and You are the one that can take her broken pieces and make something whole out of them….work in her life Lord. Amen.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    MoMo,
    You are so right that it is not acceptable to hit your sister, ever! However having said that when children are young they often hit one another but it shouldn’t be something that is the norm, nor should it be tolerated at any age. Physical violence against one another is something that needs to be stopped.

    I don’t know how old you or your sister are….have you talked to your parents about this? If you are old enough to be on this site, I would suggest that you get some help with anger management before someone gets seriously hurt.

  • MoMo says:

    Wow that’s crazy. I am a big brother myself. I’ll be honest my sister and I constantly fight, I do hit her at times when things go out of hand but I have never left marks bruises or have broken anything. Still this doesn’t make it acceptable. The only reason why I do it is because she is always constantly hitting and teasing my brother when our parents aren’t home and he is always screaming and things just get chaotic and she gets out of control. I try to be calm with other but it never works. After I hit her she hits me back and we basically fight, since I’m the oldest I always get the last hit and she runs off crying and screaming and she wont talk to me for the next hour and claims that I am the worst brother and I am an abuser, but then after a while everything well go back to normal. I am hoping this is a normal brother and sister relationship.

  • Anomynous says:

    I am currently in the same situation, my brother has been constantly abusing me since the age of 8, the first incident i was kneeded in the face which fractured my skull and required surgery, the most recent incident occuring not 2 weeks ago now at the age of 16 and 18 he threw a 1m x 1.5m metal heater at my leg which broke my femur, he was kicked out of school for strangling a fellow class mate to the point where he blacked out and has been seeing a psychologist since the age of 12, and has undertaken anger management classes none of which has helped the situation, being over 18 and my brother i am hesitant to acquire legal advice or initiate any action, i do not believe in violence and i refuse to retaliate please i would appreciate some advice.

  • soul says:

    Idk know how or where to start. I can’t remember much of my childhood. I do remember being molested at 11 by my stepbrother and next night looking out tthe window and hearing seeing my brothers shadow fighting with my stepbrother. Then months later my brother seen in pictures partying with my stepbrother. My mom gave me pills diet pills water pills and alcohol at 12 yrs old. They threw me out at 16. From what’s currently said is my dad whom I know isn’t my real father but no one will tell me….

  • Bethany says:

    My little sister she has become violent to me she is only ten it happened in 2011 the year after moving house . I’m scared of her I keep wanting to run from home but I don’t as I’m an auntie . As I’m an auntie it’s stopping me from running away from home

  • Shelley says:

    I pray that sibling can get along in the world, as they seek God’s grace in there lives. In Jesus Mighty name Amen

  • he wont change says:

    i keep seeing this phenomena over n over n over again.
    if he has changed why would you need to tell him your
    boundaries? it would be him looking for ways and means
    to make his younger sister feel more appreiated, loved,
    respected,safer etc.
    like many abused people you refuse to accept that he did not
    love,does not love and will never love you. you are stuck on
    thinking an elder brother should and must love their younger
    sister. and protect them! acceptance of this mega loss of a love
    that you did not get and never will is what you are lookining for
    not a forgiveness in jesus.

    the little change and apology in him is because you are bigger
    and can defend your boundaries better. it is just a change
    of strategy. even with current awaareness if both of you were to
    become children again he would still hapilly molest you.
    his aopology is what you desire and despately long for. to have
    the brother you never and will never have, even if it means
    constructing one!
    like i said i have seen this thing dozens of time. i recently saw it
    on rapper nellys relationship with his father.his incredible
    drive to have a cruel father change into a kind father and nellys
    own blindness and delusion of a father who repented and now takes
    his children to plays as a good grandfather…. of course it is
    just a changed strategy…trusting on quik sand. if nelly lost his
    fame and money the sweet grandpa of nelly kids will vaporise like
    mist at dawn.
    granted i too have been in abused reltionships of trust. however
    there was a certain genuinely loving adult who was my anchor
    n understanding and calling out bs from people who should
    have been loving and taking care of me as their child and to the
    others as their younger brother.

  • Kevin says:

    I am 38 and many of my family issues when I was younger are manifesting in a more intense way then ever. I have never been brought up with religion and to be honest am a skeptic by nature. In short, my brother and I were both exposed to and given the ability to consume alcohol at a very young age. My father worked in the alcohol industry and he basically collected a ton of alcohol in the house. My father was the friend type of father who allowed me, brother and friends to drink at the house. My mother was mildly against it. My brother was less secure and developed a serious drinking problem and I drank as well too much. I however was popular, a good athlete, and did pretty well in school. My brother was more insecure, heavy drinker, and a grump. In any event, he and I had our ups and downs and are pretty different. He was and is very passive aggressive and verbally abusive. He has always been a angry person and now he is worse. My parents health is bad now and our family is very dysfunctional as now my parents are overbearing and feel guilty about their mistakes with exposing us to alcohol in the past. My brother recently told me he hated me and wished I was dead along with many other abusive insults that hurt me deeply. This prompted me to tell my family we all have to go to therapy or I will never talk to any of them again and especially my brother. I am struggling with anger, sadness, resentment, pain, depression, sadness towards my family. I’m not sure what to do or if the therapy is going to work. My wounds and others are too deep. I’m angry at my parents for their mistakes.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    I’m saddened to read that you’re stuck in such a hard situation. It’s terribly hurtful when our family is no longer a safe place. You may want to connect with one of our free and confidential mentors to help you journey towards healing and a healthier life. The link is on the top right. Alicia, I would love to have some conversation with you here as well. I have a few questions. Who do you think was trying to warn your mother not to have any more kids? In what ways have you tried to reach out for help? Take care.

  • Alicia says:

    I hate my brother I want to kill him or I will kill myself I don’t want to live and be fake with everyone. No one listens to me. My brother died of cancer and I feel it was a warning to my mom not to have more kids but she still did .I have have an unhappy life. There is no walk for verbal abuse or no charity or no shelter.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Ashanti, it was brave of you to share some of your story here. I’m so sorry that your uncle has hurt you. Is this still happening? I’m a bit confused by the verb tense in your comment. Have you moved yet? Whether it’s still happening or not, there is still much pain in your heart. I would encourage you to talk to one of our free and confidential email mentors. Just click here. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/ Someone will listen, encourage and offer advice if you’re interested. Take care.

  • Ashanti says:

    My uncle use abuse me every day in consitanly i told my mother & grandnother but they always said wait until we move he’s 23 im pretty young i’ll usually cry then my mother would comfort me but it still is happning even though i pray :(.My ma still say we are going to move but i dont know what to belive

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello A. Thank you for being brave enough to share some of your story with us. My heart was saddened to hear about how violence and verbal abuse has been a part of your family story. I’m not sure who influenced your father to become this way or if it started with him. Your brother has followed in his footsteps and in his own pain, displays worse behavior. You said prayer did not work. And you likely wonder if God heard you as you cried and prayed under the bed in fear. I don’t know why God didn’t do some miracle to put an end to the abuse, but I am sure of this. Your prayers worked in this way: they have kept you from becoming like your father and brother and now you have someone wonderful by your side. I’m sure those scars still affect your relationships though, even with this wonderful person. I would invite you to journey with one of our free and confidential email mentors to seek healing and freedom in your life. Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/ Take care.

  • A says:

    From early in my life, I had experienced my father (alcoholic) abusing my mother physically at first, then verbally throughout my childhood continuing to adult life. As a little girl my brother hit me the eye causing great loss in vision. He continued to be indifferent, hateful, very disrespectful one time he was yelling from downstairs in the yard and throwing bricks at my second floor window “I will put you in a pool of blood with your baby” ( I was 9 mos. pregnant). Thinking back there numerous and seriously bad events. His wife attacked me from behind and threw me to the floor yelling let’s trash her. They had cursed me repeatedly, my so-called brother has said the most vile things to me that one could not easily repeat. Physically, emotionally and every manner he has mistreated me. From a disgusting father to a vile brother who had a son I loved and tried to help..he also caused me tremendous pain. My mother has passed away, she had a very bad and difficult life! I prayed so much as a child under the bed because my father would come home in the late nite hours terrorizing us….but what followed was a even more vile person the worst..that brother…no prayer helped!!! Today I am fine because I have a wonderful person by my side however the pain and scars of unnecessary suffering is still there. For me prayer did not work.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Anonymous, I am sorry to hear that your brother can be so hurtful. What do your parents say when you talk to them about it?

    I am glad you have asked for prayer about this because I know that it is through God’s help that a good solution will come out of this. Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) God knows the best way for you to respond to your brother–best for both you and for your brother. Focusing your attention on God and listening for His Spirit to lead your thoughts, your attitudes and your behaviours, will result in walking the path that God has intended for you. God will help you stand firm against the taunts and disrespect of your brother, “May I experience Your loyal love, O Lord,
    and Your deliverance, as You promised. Then I will have a reply for the one who insults me, for I trust in Your Word.” (Psalm 119:41-42) God will protect you from the attacks–verbal and otherwise–from your brother, “He delivers me from my enemies; You snatch me away from those who attack me; You rescue me from violent men.” (Psalm 18:48) He will help you to love your brother even when the things he does are not worthy of love, “But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45) All of this comes from trusting in God and following His direction.

    Lord God, I do pray for this young person and the pain caused by his/her brother. I pray that You would lead Anonymous into the path that You know is best and that will create the best for everyone involved. I pray for Your protection and for Your healing in Anonymous’ heart. I pray that You would work in the heart of this brother as well who has such anger and hurt in him that it pours out into the ones who are closest to him. I pray for their parents that they would have wisdom to know how to bring peace to these siblings. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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