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How to Help My Brother & Sister Have a Good Relationship Again?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 22, 2018

Question

My little sister who is 21 years old now was molested by my younger brother who is 10 years older than her when she was a child. She opened up yesterday in front of me. Since then my heart is sinking. I was not able to ask her anything. I didn’t have the courage to.

I want to help her. I want to help my brother seek forgiveness too. I want to help build them their pious relation again. She hates him, she even seeks revenge from his kids. Our father passed away 5 years back. He is our only brother. I myself feel devastated. Please help us.

Counselor

Answer


How to Help My Brother & Sister Have a Good Relationship Again?

In this counseling answer:

• Counseling would be a good place to start in. If she is able, then perhaps you could offer to attend with her to support her if she will allow you. Simply being there for her will give her the support that she needs in overcoming her difficulties.

• He may be feeling ashamed of what he did, he may be feeling regret and remorse. He may even be feeling embarrassed. Whilst these feelings will be making him feel uncomfortable, they will serve as a big motivation for him to step up and seek forgiveness from your sister and from Allah.


Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh sister,

This revelation is still fresh and will come with some heed emotions right now that may cause you to behave irrationally. The news you have just found out is devastating and will take some time to process.

In this case, try and keep your focus on remaining calm and coming to terms with this drastic news. Once you are calmer and have time to think about the situation, you will be in a stronger position to make more rational decisions that will be better for everyone.

Once you are feeling calmer after the initial shock has subsided a bit, and you are ready to face the situation, try and begin by understanding that situation from those involved. That is, both your brother and sister.

It is also important to take into account their own feelings about the situation. Understand that this is not something can be fixed overnight, or even quickly. It will take a long time and a lot of patience to potentially get the relationship back to healthy terms again. To begin with, you will likely find that you need to be supporting them individually.


Check out this counseling video:


Your sister was abused from a young age by someone she should have been able to trust. This will have to last a lasting impact on all her future relationships until she can tackle the psychological consequences of the abuse. She is clearly feeling resentment towards her brother for what he did – understandably! However, she needs to find better ways to manage these emotions that don’t hurt others such as the children of your brother.

Counseling would be a good place to start in. If she is able, then perhaps you could offer to attend with her to support her if she will allow you. Simply being there for her will give her the support that she needs in overcoming her difficulties.

You have mentioned that you couldn’t say anything to her about it and this is probably best at this point. It is best not to pressure her into talking about it. Being there for her will allow her to understand that you are there for her and she can come and talk to you if and when she is ready.

Regarding your brother, again, you have taken a very helpful approach to his situation. He has wronged your sister and should seriously seek forgiveness from both her and as well as with Allah. This is not something that you can force. It needs to come authentically from his heart. It is probably baled not to even approach it directly with a brim at first, but like neither your sister, simply being there for aim will provide the support that he needs in encouraging him to seek tabs.

Understand that even though what he has done is very wrong, he will also be experiencing a range of emotions too that are difficult for him to process and overcome too. He may be feeling ashamed of what he did, he may be feeling regret and remorse. He may even be feeling embarrassed. Whilst these feelings will be making him feel uncomfortable, they will serve as a big motivation for him to step up and seek forgiveness from your sister and from Allah.

As the one who is stuck in the middle, you can serve as an important bridge between the two in terms of making amends at some point in the future when they are both ready to.

However, you do also need to be very careful not to interfere too much and allow them both to heal their own ways at the same time. Simply being there and supporting them independently is enough let them know that you care and will be there for them no matter what is sufficient to start the proof recovery all around.

So, continue to keep in mind that it will take some time. Sexual abuse takes a long time to recover from, especially when the abuse has occurred at the hand of someone so close and has impacted deeply in all aspects of her life.

May Allah health your sister’s psychological distress and make thing easier for her may He forgive you brother and guide him aright.

Amen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Verbal Abuse is Also Abuse

Due to Child Sexual Abuse, I’m Homosexual

Overcoming the Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse




About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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