I am a Sibling Abuse Survivor and mother of an Adult Child.
I no longer know him.
Sibling Abuse impacted my life in childhood and in adulthood. I care deeply about my country and want to share a unique perspective about our present mental health crisis. I believe that it is emanating from the massive estrangements and cut-offs of the adult children of Sibling Abuse survivors-parents. I speak from my mother heart. I have had a very hard, instructive life because of what my sibling did to me in childhood. Wisdom and knowledge have come from my life experience and my consults with other survivors. The upgraded brain that I am utilizing to form these words is only twenty-three years old. Twenty-three years ago my traumatized brain was upgraded by a particular therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing).
I have days where I feel guilty because of what I did
and didn’t do as a parent.
Estrangement can test your will to live.
Sibling Abuse butchered many years of my life. To say that it affected my relationship with my son is a complete understatement. I miss my son every damn day. And I have earned merit to speak. Many like me can’t and will not talk about Sibling Abuse. Unfortunately, many get silenced about talking about their estrangements/and or cut-off from their adult child(ren). Our loss commands our nation’s attention regarding the present mental health crisis.
Sibling Abuse is a crime that can no longer be hidden.
I write for millions of other survivor parents. Moreover, I am making a plea to therapists who, for the most part, are oblivious that we are sitting in front of them. Subsequently, we are repeat clients and are often money makers for therapists who do nothing for us.
Sibling Abuse taxed my soul. I spent many years in the wrong therapies and with the wrong therapists. Finally, one week before my son left our home, I was given a correct diagnosis: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I was also briefed on what therapy would change my life. Because of my research to teach curriculum as an adjunct professor, I realized that I had CPTD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Surprisingly, it was mind-blowing to read that it was one of the most “resistant-to-change” mental classifications. In the therapy process of assessment and intake, Sibling Abuse is rarely pinpointed as a cause for mental dysfunction. On a repeated basis, Sibling Abuse survivors get misdiagnosed, and they are drugged by the medical establishment. Many are channeled into therapy practices that are not only dangerous, they are also ineffective. The wreckage and pillage to our lives is unfathomable.
The United States has 40 million Sibling Abuse survivors.
The vast majority are parents.
Researchers estimate that we have 13 million children. We are a huge sector of our population and amount to 53 million people. In our present world, the family unit is under attack. The world appears to be in readiness for “The New World Order.” Unfortunately, the importance of family has been tragically diminished through lockdowns, quarantines, political divisions, conflicts about the vaccination, and fears of transmission of the virus between parent and child. For many survivors, parenting heightened their sense of pride and worth in this world. CRT (Critical Race Theory) shredded the parenthoods of millions of adult survivors.
Mothers are now referred to as “birthing people.”
Consequently, the bonds between a Sibling Abuse Survivor and their adult child(ren) have unraveled at alarming rates and no one is either listening or cares.
Sibling Abuse survivors are the “core” of our mental health crisis.
Survivors have not only lost contact with their adult children, but also their grandchildren. Surprisingly, an additional risk factor is the fact that many are are estranged or shunned by their own families. To amplify mental health risks for survivors, many can’t cope with this chaotic, ever-changing world.
Many survivors are on disability and/or welfare because the cost of inflation is causing increasing stress.
Many can’t work because they have difficulties with supervisors and authority figures.
Many are involved in domestic violence.
Many are worried about paying their rent or keep their lights on.
Many are having their cars repossessed. Unfathomable suffering is occurring now.
Because of the aggression by our sibling(s) in our childhoods, the beginning neurological development of our brain was not only impacted, it was physically altered. We experienced overwhelming amounts of stress that and in the majority of life scenarios, it came from a sibling(s) who shared our own DNA or lived in the same home with us. The processing of this huge betrayal caused many of us to have mental illness.
Unfortunately, many survivors have never received either important trauma treatment or made the connection that Sibling Abuse affected their life. Instead, many believe that Sibling Abuse couldn’t impact either their adulthood or their parenting.
Interestingly enough, a rare research study in 2013 by Corrina Jenkins Tucker, Associate Professor of Family Studies at the University of New Hampshire, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric, June 17th, 2013, documents that sibling aggression “significantly” impacts adulthood. Adult survivors embody the crimes of an aggressive sibling(s) through:
- Psychiatric Hospitalizations,
- Prescription usage for anti-depressants/anxiety,
- Domestic Violence,
- Drug/Alcohol addictions,
- Poor Parenting,
- Emergency Visits,
- Bad Relationships,
- Numerous Doctor’s Visits,
- Psychiatric Admittance,
- and more
When we were hurt by a sibling(s) in our childhoods, many of us weren’t soothed by a parent or told that the aggressive actions of a sibling(s) were wrong. Additionally, the many of us were never privy to witnessing our sibling(s) being reprimanded or punished. Early in our young lives, our beginning brains were flooded negative cognitions of distrust and helplessness. We were given instruction to have the mindset of a victim. In many of our parenthoods, our child taught us our first lessons in how to trust, love, and feel acceptance from another human being.
When a Sibling Abuse survivor is estranged or bonds are severed from an adult child, it is equivalent to a parent losing a young child to death.
Unfortunately, survivors don’t have a lot of support when they are dealing with abandonment from their adult child. We also don’t often have access to supportive siblings or relatives who might help in a reconciliation. Unfortunately, we are often in a family role of “scapegoat” or “misfit.” Consequently, family members often gossip and laugh at us regarding our lifestyles and decisions. The term “black sheep” is often utilized to convey that we are flawed, unwanted and a genetic-family mistake. In the inner dynamics of many families, we are considered criminal for accepting money. When we don’t pay it back, we are disgraced. Eventually, our debts are utilized in family gossip to push us out of our family group.
When Sibling Abuse has ravaged our lives and is noticeable, we are often looked upon as the enemy who is a threat to the cohesiveness of our family. Generally, open communication about what happened to us as child is rarely discussed. When we try to disclose, we are often screamed at and told that we are crazy. Concurrently, we are re-victimized “again” by a family, that through time, often become adept at being able to skillfully emotionally abuse us. They know everything about us and are skilled in the espionage about our lives and that of our precious children.
In the void of no contact with our child(ren), Sibling Abuse survivors are often catapulted back to terrifying places where we were all alone with our abusive sibling(s).
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t want to talk about “estrangement” or “Sibling Abuse.” Both topics are met with discomfort. When we disclose that they have lost contact with an adult child, we are often met with criticism, lectures and advice. Moreover, this dynamic can also be apparent in our interactions with friends and partners. Most counselors are not trained in their curriculum on how to identify or work with us. Finding a supportive, compassionate person to be a listener for the loss of our child is very rare. Isolation and silence are usually our only options.
From long ago, we were overprogrammed to think that we were bad, stupid, disgusting, etc. When we are cut off from our child, waves come of guilt, shame, and self-hatred wash over our psyches. We are in the 107K Fentanyl deaths. During this one day in America, countless numbers of survivors will want to end their lives. Many will succeed.
Even though our numbers are massive, we have no leader, organization, or hotline. Literary sources, as well as qualitative research on Sibling Abuse, are few.
Our lives are embedded in the following statistics:
In the U.S., 43% of adults experiencing a mental illness are not receiving treatment.
In 1 year, an increase of 664,000 adults in the U.S., are suicidal.
100,000 Americans have died from overdose.
Estrangement ruptures the identity of a survivor-parent. The formation of scar tissue is almost impossible because loss causes severe anxiety and tears into long ago wounds. Survivor-parents can be consumed with unending questions: Where did I go wrong in parenting? What could I have done better? How can I get over hating myself for hurting my child? Sorrow and grief are ever present.
Understanding how to proceed during estrangement, is difficult when a survivor-parent is dealing with depression, anxiety, and the usage of alcohol or drugs. Estrangement ignites denial that the separation ever happened. Feelings of not having control are present. A clear confirmation of whether the adult child has made a choice to sever all contact or will reunite, is agonizing. The hope for many survivor-parents is that one day they will be acknowledged, once again as a parent and loved again. This painful process is characterized with emotions that plummet from helplessness to hope and back again.
Try to select one or both and write at least 5X’s a day. Mindfully repeat them throughout the course of your day.
I have no control over my adult child and am aware of my worth.
I have put focus on my own precious life that I will help nurture it to reach my dreams.
Closing Thoughts to Sibling Abuse Survivors & Supporters
You are important to me. Please share this blog with family members, partners, and therapists. I hope it will help in the healing a survivor, create interventions, reconciliations, and understanding. I hope it saves a life. You are worthy of “the good life.” If I knew your name, I would speak it. You are unique and are the true meaning of persistence and courage. At this point, you have searched for the truth for so long. Your journey is commendable and your knowledge on how to survive is vast. Finally, I hope you never forget when it gets hard and you feel overwhelmed, afraid, alone, unheard, didn’t know which way to go, and wanted to stop, you kept going.
Nancy Kilgore, M.S
Healing Trauma: A Guided Meditation for Post Traumatic Stress PTSD Research Proven Guided Imagery to Reduce Symptoms in Trauma Survivors, First Responders, and Caregivers by Belleruth Naparstek [CD]
Beyond Done With Crying-More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Children by Sheri McCregor, M.A.
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief by
Hours: Available 24 hours. 1-800-656-4673
About the Author:
Nancy Kilgore is survivor of sibling abuse. Furthermore, she is a consultant who does referrals on EMDR; she is also a Coach on Sibling Abuse. Nancy received her B.A. and teaching credentials from Sacramento State University and her Master’s from the University of Oregon. She is an author of The Sourcebook For Working With Battered Women, Every Eighteen Seconds, and Sibling Abuse: True Story of the Impact to Childhood & Adulthood. She is a national trainer the United States Department of Justice, rape and domestic violence coalitions, and adjunct professor for universities, and has written for Counselor Magazine and has appeared on radio and television. Website: hope4siblings.com
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