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Regret and Guilt: My Troubled Relationship with My Little Sister

bluemoon_

New Here
Hey, this is my life's deepest regret. If you can please read my thread on COCSA as this might be more insightful for what's about to come (don't worry if not). This is something that affects me every day of my life, whether on a small or large scale but as a kid, I was mean to my little sister, I can't remember a lot from childhood but from what I do remember, me and my sister actually got along at first. I remember playing normal childhood games like dolls and shops etc. But after my nan died I can just remember being awful to her, even though I kind of was before, I was on a much larger scale. I remember covering her mouth for a long time and I found it funny because my uncle (4 years older) found it funny, I still see her scared little face and it breaks my heart each time. I remember not inviting her to play or even talking to her, even though she tried. I guess I kind of resented her because of how close she and my mom was, I never got that treatment. I always felt like the odd one out, the weirdo of the family and this would exemplify it. I just remember walking into rooms where she and my mom would be laughing and getting along where I would be locked away In my room hating the world. I remember my mom always telling me off if I did one small thing wrong but she never got that, she'd always assume the worse. Every time my sister would tell my mom of something I had done, she would instantly shout at me, whether it was true or not.

My teenage years were the worst of all. We would argue so much and sometimes I would hit her, not hard. I recall one time where she lost her house keys at school and I screamed in her face, that always haunts me because I remember how scared she looked of me and how upset I made her feel. I don't even think I have ever said sorry or told her that I love her.

Now we rarely speak, we don't have any type of relationship, to be honest, although we are friendly with one another (have never argued since I was a teenager but ever since the arguments stopped, so did the socializing with one another). That kills me because I know it was my fault. I just wish I could go into a time machine and make it better again. Whenever I think of the times I mistreated her, guilt and shame take over my body. I cry but it's a different sort of cry, the cry of defeat and loss of hope. Sometimes I even envision her younger self crying and asking me why I don't love her. To be honest with you, it makes me want to end my life because I can't live with the fact I was so cruel (including the COCSA. I get panic attacks just thinking about sometimes, again it takes over my body. I deeply hate myself for this reason and I don't think I will ever forgive myself. I just want to tell her how sorry I am but it's so hard. I want her to know that it was never her fault, it was something within myself and I was taking it out on her. I don't think she will ever forgive me and I will most definitely not forgive myself.

I feel like killing myself will do her a favor as her previous abuser would be gone forever. I just want her to be happy, something I failed to do when we were younger. The guilt eats at me every day and I am unsure how long I can live like this. We did have our good moments though don't get me wrong. Whenever someone would mistreat her I would and will always be the first one to defend her no matter what, when I got my first paycheck from my first job I took her out to eat and shopping. I can see in her eyes that she hates me and is probably a little sacred of me.

I pray every night to go back in time to fix my wrongs. I would even try to plead and say vile things about myself such as instead of the COCSA happening to her, I would receive every abuse known to man. I don't know what to do anymore. I think I have lost her forever now.
 
Hmm, I can relate to a lot of this regarding my younger brother. We were in a really shitty situation, both just trying to survive plus the abusive parent (mother) actually encouraged us not getting along together, thriving on the fact that we had a negative relationship.

I've apologised for my role in that dynamic to my brother. We had a time in our 20s where we got along well. We've mostly gone no contact since late 20s tho, because I was doing trauma therapy and he didn't want to face/ deal with any of that stuff and it was just too hard to have conversations, with me bringing up trauma stuff and him being in denial/ minimising stuff/ avoiding it. I don't think there's any hard feelings on both sides these days, but it's just been easier in our (still) shitty family dynamics, to just not get drawn into that stuff anymore.

Personally, I think what makes the guilt factor so big is that as the older sibling, we were "bigger" and they were so small and young and vulnerable in comparison to us. They looked up to us, which makes our behaviour seem much more of a betrayal.

Honestly tho, I'm 99% certain that if the roles had been reversed - if I'd been the younger sibling, my brother would have treated me basically the same as I treated him. I didn't actively seek him out to do him harm... I was just an abused, neglected and traumatised child surviving as best as I knew how and so was he. And if our roles had been reversed, age-wise, I'm pretty sure the outcome would have been the same.

I've made sure that he knows I'm sorry about the dynamic and that I'm available to talk to, if he wants it. I've also been clear tho, that I see our parents as the ones to blame. I don't blame a 6 year old abused child for acting out and not treating a 4 year old abused child in the loving, caring way you'd wish was the case. To be honest, even in families where there's no abuse, neglect and trauma, siblings are often quite rough and reckless with another. I don't think the majority of childhood experiences between siblings is all wonderful... I read a statistic about child psychology once which is that healthy, well-adjusted siblings will fight/ squabble every 20 minutes on average when they are young. It was a statistic to tell parents that they shouldn't feel like they're "failing" if their kids squabble all the time. Fighting and squabbling is normal behaviour regarding learning how to set boundaries, how to assert yourself, working out tactics to get what you want.

So yeah... if I was you, I'd try to lighten up a bit on the guilt thing... Try to think about what you'd expect a normal 5 year old, or an abused 5 year old to be able to do in terms of social behaviour and compare yourself to that, realistically, instead of comparing yourself to some idealised saint-like version of what an older sister "should" be like.

Apologise to your sister - maybe do it in writing - sometimes it's easier for people to be able to process something that they can read when they feel ready.

Apologise again in 5 or 10 years time, if she's not ready to hear it now.

IMO that's all you can really do and that's a lot.

My abusive parent (mother) never apologised in her life and never will and has zero sense of what she's done wrong.

My neglectful parent (father) has apologised genuinely for his short comings, is willing to talk to me about my childhood whenever I want to, has explained the circumstances to me as well as he could and has expressed that of course he'd wished he done better. That stuff really means the world to me. Because I know no one's perfect. And he did get a lot of stuff right, even if he also got a lot of stuff wrong.

If you don't mind me asking - how old are you? You sound quite young. I think when we're young, individual situations will loom really large in our minds... As we get older and we experience more and more situations (both good, bad and neutral) those things sort of start falling into place a bit more and no longer seem quite so huge. At least, not so huge that they're worth suiciding over.
 
Hmm, I can relate to a lot of this regarding my younger brother. We were in a really shitty situation, both just trying to survive plus the abusive parent (mother) actually encouraged us not getting along together, thriving on the fact that we had a negative relationship.

I've apologised for my role in that dynamic to my brother. We had a time in our 20s where we got along well. We've mostly gone no contact since late 20s tho, because I was doing trauma therapy and he didn't want to face/ deal with any of that stuff and it was just too hard to have conversations, with me bringing up trauma stuff and him being in denial/ minimising stuff/ avoiding it. I don't think there's any hard feelings on both sides these days, but it's just been easier in our (still) shitty family dynamics, to just not get drawn into that stuff anymore.

Personally, I think what makes the guilt factor so big is that as the older sibling, we were "bigger" and they were so small and young and vulnerable in comparison to us. They looked up to us, which makes our behaviour seem much more of a betrayal.

Honestly tho, I'm 99% certain that if the roles had been reversed - if I'd been the younger sibling, my brother would have treated me basically the same as I treated him. I didn't actively seek him out to do him harm... I was just an abused, neglected and traumatised child surviving as best as I knew how and so was he. And if our roles had been reversed, age-wise, I'm pretty sure the outcome would have been the same.

I've made sure that he knows I'm sorry about the dynamic and that I'm available to talk to, if he wants it. I've also been clear tho, that I see our parents as the ones to blame. I don't blame a 6 year old abused child for acting out and not treating a 4 year old abused child in the loving, caring way you'd wish was the case. To be honest, even in families where there's no abuse, neglect and trauma, siblings are often quite rough and reckless with another. I don't think the majority of childhood experiences between siblings is all wonderful... I read a statistic about child psychology once which is that healthy, well-adjusted siblings will fight/ squabble every 20 minutes on average when they are young. It was a statistic to tell parents that they shouldn't feel like they're "failing" if their kids squabble all the time. Fighting and squabbling is normal behaviour regarding learning how to set boundaries, how to assert yourself, working out tactics to get what you want.

So yeah... if I was you, I'd try to lighten up a bit on the guilt thing... Try to think about what you'd expect a normal 5 year old, or an abused 5 year old to be able to do in terms of social behaviour and compare yourself to that, realistically, instead of comparing yourself to some idealised saint-like version of what an older sister "should" be like.

Apologise to your sister - maybe do it in writing - sometimes it's easier for people to be able to process something that they can read when they feel ready.

Apologise again in 5 or 10 years time, if she's not ready to hear it now.

IMO that's all you can really do and that's a lot.

My abusive parent (mother) never apologised in her life and never will and has zero sense of what she's done wrong.

My neglectful parent (father) has apologised genuinely for his short comings, is willing to talk to me about my childhood whenever I want to, has explained the circumstances to me as well as he could and has expressed that of course he'd wished he done better. That stuff really means the world to me. Because I know no one's perfect. And he did get a lot of stuff right, even if he also got a lot of stuff wrong.

If you don't mind me asking - how old are you? You sound quite young. I think when we're young, individual situations will loom really large in our minds... As we get older and we experience more and more situations (both good, bad and neutral) those things sort of start falling into place a bit more and no longer seem quite so huge. At least, not so huge that they're worth suiciding over.
Thank you for your reply! I'm sorry your mom was the root cause of your estranged relationship with your younger brother. I'm glad you're seeking help through therapy, that's a step closer to healing, I'm doing the same thing. It's honestly a breath of fresh air.

That's exactly it (regarding the age difference) because I just feel like I failed my role as a big sister, something I can never take back, it hits worse when I see photos of us together as children. Like I'm trying to look for answers and just can't get an answer you know?

You know what I have never actually thought of it if the roles were reversed, thank you for that because I do feel like it would more than likely be the same.

I have apologized to my sister but it wasn't a 'proper' apology as I was drinking alcohol, but I do remember her saying that she forgives me but I don't really want to count that as I was really 'myself', I want it to be authentic and serious. I just don't know how I really struggle with opening up about my feelings, it seems impossible, especially in real life. Also, I know it is normal for kids to squabble but I just feel like it was different than normal sibling arguments.

I am afraid apologizing might bring up uncomfortable feelings for her, things that she wants to erase from her mind. I am just so confused about what to do and what the best thing to do for her. I just want her to be happy.

I am happy to hear your father apologised, that must have been a good feeling. I am 21, and I have felt like this ever since 16 but more so recently when I moved out to go to uni. I just wish things could be different.
 
Hey, this is my life's deepest regret. If you can please read my thread on COCSA as this might be more insightful for what's about to come (don't worry if not). This is something that affects me every day of my life, whether on a small or large scale but as a kid, I was mean to my little sister, I can't remember a lot from childhood but from what I do remember, me and my sister actually got along at first. I remember playing normal childhood games like dolls and shops etc. But after my nan died I can just remember being awful to her, even though I kind of was before, I was on a much larger scale. I remember covering her mouth for a long time and I found it funny because my uncle (4 years older) found it funny, I still see her scared little face and it breaks my heart each time. I remember not inviting her to play or even talking to her, even though she tried. I guess I kind of resented her because of how close she and my mom was, I never got that treatment. I always felt like the odd one out, the weirdo of the family and this would exemplify it. I just remember walking into rooms where she and my mom would be laughing and getting along where I would be locked away In my room hating the world. I remember my mom always telling me off if I did one small thing wrong but she never got that, she'd always assume the worse. Every time my sister would tell my mom of something I had done, she would instantly shout at me, whether it was true or not.

My teenage years were the worst of all. We would argue so much and sometimes I would hit her, not hard. I recall one time where she lost her house keys at school and I screamed in her face, that always haunts me because I remember how scared she looked of me and how upset I made her feel. I don't even think I have ever said sorry or told her that I love her.

Now we rarely speak, we don't have any type of relationship, to be honest, although we are friendly with one another (have never argued since I was a teenager but ever since the arguments stopped, so did the socializing with one another). That kills me because I know it was my fault. I just wish I could go into a time machine and make it better again. Whenever I think of the times I mistreated her, guilt and shame take over my body. I cry but it's a different sort of cry, the cry of defeat and loss of hope. Sometimes I even envision her younger self crying and asking me why I don't love her. To be honest with you, it makes me want to end my life because I can't live with the fact I was so cruel (including the COCSA. I get panic attacks just thinking about sometimes, again it takes over my body. I deeply hate myself for this reason and I don't think I will ever forgive myself. I just want to tell her how sorry I am but it's so hard. I want her to know that it was never her fault, it was something within myself and I was taking it out on her. I don't think she will ever forgive me and I will most definitely not forgive myself.

I feel like killing myself will do her a favor as her previous abuser would be gone forever. I just want her to be happy, something I failed to do when we were younger. The guilt eats at me every day and I am unsure how long I can live like this. We did have our good moments though don't get me wrong. Whenever someone would mistreat her I would and will always be the first one to defend her no matter what, when I got my first paycheck from my first job I took her out to eat and shopping. I can see in her eyes that she hates me and is probably a little sacred of me.

I pray every night to go back in time to fix my wrongs. I would even try to plead and say vile things about myself such as instead of the COCSA happening to her, I would receive every abuse known to man. I don't know what to do anymore. I think I have lost her forever now.
I can definitely relate to much of what you wrote about your relationship with your younger sister. I had a difficult relationship with my little sister too. We were raised by two dysfunctional parents, and if that weren't a big enough hurdle to overcome, my sister became an alcoholic in her early 20s which further deteriorated an already tenuous relationship. There's one big difference between your situation and mine, however. Your sister is alive; mine died in 2015. I live with a lot of remorse for not being the big brother my sister needed. I wish I had been more loving and patient and accepting instead of judgmental and angry at her over so many years. Considering I bungled my own relationship with my sister, I can't offer any words of wisdom, but my gut says you can cling to hope. As long as you both are alive, there's a chance. Time could be your ally in this situation. And please don't kill yourself. Basically, don't give up, either on hope or on living.
 
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I saw this, I would not say that was not an apology @bluemoon_ . I was the little sister' and I would have been very happy with an apology, let alone really feeling remorse (it is evident you do). And not repeating it. Though one sister on her deathbed said she wasn't much of a big sister, but no big deal. Though it was not going to create a relationship after the fact(s).

One time, one of my older sisters said to another older sister who told me (both were probably drinking) that she forgot me at the park, my mom said you forgot her, right? She said no, raced back (she was a fast runner), I was there but eating sand in the sandbox. But she said she felt bad about it. (Not sure if she felt badly my mom knew or for me, but still it was amazing to me she felt any regret. For my part, I didn't remember it and I don't even see it as that big a deal. Lots of other stuff (much) was bigger to me. Still, I won't forget at least she said that.)

Please be kinder to yourself and forgive yourself. Though it's true you can't get back history, time and showing you don't want to do such things is huge. And can reduce fear of what your character is life, she will see the difference. Don't underestimate the value of the apology you gave.

Welcome to you.
 
i am remembering my two sons. with 4 years between them, the younger verily worshiped the elder and the elder was worthy of the worship. the two had a loving relationship until the onset of narcolepsy in the elder son's adolescence. as is typical with the onset of narcolepsy, the elder turned into a proverbial a-hole, virtually overnight. they were both devastated, each to their own side of the pain coin. it broke my mother's heart to watch how quickly they grew apart.

the younger was killed in a car wreck in 2019 at the age of 35. amends were never made between the two brothers. i am currently estranged from elder son, so i cannot know, but i wonder often.

dunno if i am straying off topic, or not, but? ? ?

rocking you gently and crying with you, bluemoon.
i'm wondering about sending her a greeting card and/or flowers every so often., just to say, "i'm sorry. i wish i could know you better." just wondering
 
This made me cry. I also have regrets for how I treated my baby sister. It breaks my heart. You should try and tell your sister how sorry you are
 
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