Adult Survivors of Sibling Abuse


Siblings abuse can have a long-lasting impact on adulthood.

Research indicates that the long-term effects of surviving sibling abuse can include:

  • Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem
  • Inability to trust; relationship difficulties
  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Learned helplessness
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD- difficulty with focus, wanting to isolate, panic attacks

In America alone, there are over 40 million sibling abuse survivors

Society pays a huge price when sibling abuse is not given attention and goes uncorrected in lives of many adults. The over-learned maladaptive coping skills generated by an abusive sibling can affect adulthood. Because of sibling abuse, victimization occurred again in their childhoods through bullying. Sibling abuse is often directly connected to the formation of the adult personality.

Many adult sibling abuse survivors are unaware that they have experienced the abuse in their childhood and can have denial that the abuse occurred. Repeated patterns of self-abuse, emotional, sexual, or physical abuse, can be frustrating for many adult sibling abuse survivors. Many victims can suffer from mental reactions: panic attacks, sleep problems, difficulty with focus, chronic depression, or anxiety. In adulthood, they can have an unhealthy lifestyle that predisposes them to addictions, difficulty in work situations, unstable finances, negative relationships, substance abuse, overspending, disorganization, or overworking. Difficulties in relationships and lack of trust can be a lifetime issue. Vast numbers of survivors treat themselves with disdain, extreme perfectionism, inappropriate feelings of guilt, and distorted sense of responsibility for the abuse. Depression, loneliness, and rejection from their family of origin are common. The ripple effects of sibling abuse can affect the adult in regard to parenting and dysfunction in their children’s lives. Parenting patterns/bonding can be maladaptive.

Until recently, very little educational training attention has been about the issues related to adult sibling survivors. To implement human service work with survivors of sibling abuse, this course will provide participants with unique, valuable, and hopeful educational information.

Course Objectives

  • Stressed BusinesswomanTo acquire core research pertaining to adult survivors of sibling abuse.
  • To share an overview of sibling abuse and developmental issues associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in childhood, as well as adulthood.
  • To share drug/ alcohol usage and coping patterns of adult sibling abuse survivors.
  • To share helpful information about family dynamics and the hesitancy to divulge past abuse history.
  • To inform about family shunning and rejection issues related to adult survivors of sibling abuse.
  • To share treatment strategies & self care options for recovery.
  • To give students valuable input for reduction of sibling abuse in family settings & information for awareness, recovery, and human service/legal changes.

Educational Format

This well organized workshop fills the information gap that currently exists about adults with sibling abuse. It has been researched to be an informative and an interesting educational tool for targeted participants. It draws upon the latest research in the field of traumatology and builds on a “general” framework of psychology. This framework can be augmented for professional audience concentrations of social workers, chaplains, ministers and counselors.

Participants will acquire “proactive” knowledge through lecture, power point presentation, helpful videos, and overhead transparencies. These learning components will provide an effective and interesting format. Additionally, focus will be placed on active and “interactive” learning approaches that can be applied through sessions that will be structured with large group activities and small group breakouts. This process will enable participants to individualize and receive information within the learning session.

Within the training, participants receive beneficial, “user-friendly” handouts and workbooks. Written information is designed for future reference and can be incorporated on bulletin boards and newsletters. It can also be utilized for future worksite, workshop, or conference

Topic Format

Topic 1 Overview of adult sibling survivors- Offers a personalization and general account of research in regards to adult survivors of sibling abuse.

Topic 2 Overview of sibling relationships and abuse of power-Offers statistics and research pertaining to childhood sibling dynamics and power issues. Defines sibling abuse and types of violence toward a younger child.

Topic 3 Overview of central nervous system as it relates to sibling abuse-This section offers a general account of PTSD pertaining to adult survivors of sibling abuse. Additionally, it examines the psychosocial, neurophysiological research on damage from trauma. It gives a definition of PTSD, detailed listing of symptomology, stages of PTSD/ Integration, and various types of PTSD. Focus is on Comorbid & Complex PTSD (relating to childhood abuse).

Topic 4 Overview of psychosocial coping patterns of adult sibling survivors with impairment and arrested development-This section offers an overview of lifestyle patterns, parenting, work, and addiction issues.

Topic 5 Overview of family dynamics-This section helps participants to understand interaction patterns with family system. It relates information about shunning and isolation issues regarding the adult sibling abuse survivor.

Topic 6 Overview of Treatment Strategies – Offers an examination of current treatment strategies and various coping tactics. Offers a general account of trauma therapies with inclusion of researched-based results pertaining to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Topic 7 Overview of hopeful implementation of societal change- Offers information to help reduce sibling abuse in adult survivor’s family settings and societal policies for awareness and recovery.