Telling siblings what happened

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm thinking of telling my sisters what happened to me. I'm no where near telling my parents. So I would be asking my sisters to not tell anyone.

I'm not sure my reasons for telling them.
Initially it was to get them to understand why I'm not in as much contact with my parents as I used to be. (This is making my parents be stressed and pulling one of my sisters into the 'drama' that has been created).

But now I think I might just be moving towards: this is me and this is what happened to me.

But T said maybe I want to tell them to reenact something. Which could be true.

I think I might be motivated to tell them because I want their compassion and platitudes. Which I'm not sure is the right reason for telling.

I also know if I tell them and they don't respond the way I want them to (i.e. keeping my confidence and understanding what I have experienced), then it's going to be a tough old time. And maybe right now isn't the right time to deal with that. Am I testing them unfairly by this wish to tell them?

But equally, I kind of want to take my space and have this acknowledged. But maybe I need to work more in my internal acknowledgement rather than looking for that from my sisters?

Have you had similar thoughts/feelings and how did you resolve it?
 

Sues

MyPTSD Pro
These are all really good reasons and scenarios. As far as the fall out/outcome of whether your sisters keep your confidence or not, you should be prepared for both scenarios. If you're not ready for others to know, then you may want to wait a bit to tell them.

You have a right to your space and also to the truth. It's a big scary step and one that can be freeing for you when you're ready. I say 'when' because just by bringing this up and thinking about it shows that you are moving towards doing it, either now, or later on when you're ready.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Is there ever a right time to tell anyone about those things? When I was attacked in London I didn't tell my family for a long time. And when I did my mum burst into tears. Why didn't I tell them? I was a mess and didn't want them to worry but I wish I had told them sooner to get some support. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I actually think it is a good thing to tell your family (I think you said just your sisters) being open and honest is good for the soul and lightens the load. Telling your sisters might change the family dynamic for the better.
 
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Sideways

Moderator
My rule of thumb when disclosing is "what do I want them to do with this information?" That guides both what I tell them, and how I manage the conversation. Because my personal experience, with anyone who doesn't have formal training, is they have no idea what to do with the information.

I've disclosed a fair bit to my mum. Over the years. Because when I first gave her the basic details that she needed, she reacted in a way that was empathetic and validating. More importantly, she managed to negotiate the precarious waters of the our relationship in the weeks and months that followed taking that information into account.

When I've disclosed to everyone else? They either didn't handle it well in the moment (read: their response was completely invalidating), or it made no difference to the shitty and unhelpful way they treated me despite me offering guidance on what they could do differently to help.

All of that? Was okay, because my initial disclosure was nothing more than "I was SA at school when I was 12, that's why I have ptsd". I was asked for more information (every time), but that short sentence actually covered all the information they needed to understand.

So, there's disclosure ("Here's all the gory detail, I can't handle it, so how the hell are you supposed to!?") and basic, factual information-sharing disclosure (trauma-type, brief context, what do I want them to do with the information). I err on the side of the second, because outside therapy, I've never found the first kind to end in a way that's helpful to me, let alone empowering or validating.

Difficult conversations about mental health tend to be like that. I suspect much like any serious and complex health condition. Unless the person has training on how to listen, and how to respond? They don't know, so they can't get it right.

Some people have had detailed disclosure go marvellously. I suspect that's more about the quality and depth of the relationship and the emotional intelligence of the recipient of the information. But for me? Basic fact-sharing is neither here nor there, but sharing detail leaves me vulnerable, disappointed, and still without the support that I wish the person would provide.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I told my sister. She was kind and supportive. (That trauma had nothing to do with family). I became brave the following year and told my mom. A huge part of me wishes that I hadn't. I feel like my trauma hurt my mom. It hurt her that I didn’t tell her and then she says in hind site it was probably best that I hadn't, back then. Part of my c ptsd was having a mom that was a fixer. She wasn’t the best at empathy. After that communication, my therapist told me the response that she wished I could have heard. That was the part that made it healing.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
@Movingforward10 I understand what you are considering and I wish I could do more than tell you I know how you feel and understand. I have three sisters and a surviving brother and while I was at my dad's this summer I told 1 sister about the fact that my deceased brother molested me when we were very young. As I expected she defended him and did not believe me. The reason I bring this up is because I want you to be prepared in case your sisters react in the same way. I really hope that doesn't happen, but it is a possibility, I didn't expect to be believed, my family has a history of gaslighting me and disbelieving my truths but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks all. Haven't felt able to come back to this thread. But feel able to engage with this again.

You have a right to your space and also to the truth. It's a big scary step and one that can be freeing for you when you're ready. I say 'when' because just by bringing this up and thinking about it shows that you are moving towards doing it, either now, or later on when you're ready.
Yeah, I think I am moving towards it and it has turned into a matter of 'when'.

Is there ever a right time to tell anyone about those things?
Good question. And I think this is trauma me, calculating every step, working out their things, trying to predict and control what might happen.

My rule of thumb when disclosing is "what do I want them to do with this information?"
Yeah. In my draft email to them I have said what I need from them: which is to accept what I have said and to not share the information with anyone. And that I can try and answer questions but I hope they can respect me when I say I can't answer something.

I told my sister. She was kind and supportive. (That trauma had nothing to do with family). I became brave the following year and told my mom. A huge part of me wishes that I hadn't. I feel like my trauma hurt my mom. It hurt her that I didn’t tell her and then she says in hind site it was probably best that I hadn't, back then. Part of my c ptsd was having a mom that was a fixer. She wasn’t the best at empathy. After that communication, my therapist told me the response that she wished I could have heard. That was the part that made it healing.
That does sound healing from your T. I'm not anywhere near telling my parents and that would mean my sisters keeping my story to themselves. Something I'm not sure one of my sisters can do.
Sorry you went through that.

I have three sisters and a surviving brother and while I was at my dad's this summer I told 1 sister about the fact that my deceased brother molested me when we were very young. As I expected she defended him and did not believe me. The reason I bring this up is because I want you to be prepared in case your sisters react in the same way. I really hope that doesn't happen, but it is a possibility, I didn't expect to be believed, my family has a history of gaslighting me and disbelieving my truths but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt.
Sorry you went through that.
I think I can't even entertain the notion that they wouldn't believe me. I need to think this through more.

We have a family meeting coming up in December.
And one sister turns 50 in December.
And it's the birthday of my sister's late husband in November.
So I'm talking myself out of it for those reasons (bad timing, Don't add to people's things or take away from people's events). But also, in the mindset of f it, why can't I say when I want to say? But dot know if that is a young part saying that.
 
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