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Impact

RE: CBC Radio 1 – The Current May 31, 2016 – "The not so safe sanctuary of home"

"I just listened to the CBC segment you're in. My sister also bullied me relentlessly. What really struck me was how you said you loved her and wanted her attention. That was also my case. When she wasn't tormenting me, I wanted her approval. She would occasionally "let me" hang out with her. I spent a decade with an abusive man and it struck me today that this is likely where it had it roots for me. I was abused and yet loved him and wanted his approval, so I hung in there. You've struck a huge chord with me. I am convinced that many abused women had similar experiences with sibling abuse. Somebody they love, admire and whose approval they want, who doles it out in dribs and drabs punctuated by abusive behavior. I'm 61 and just today put all those pieces together." - CBC Listener, Ontario

"It was great to hear your interview on CBC, thank you very much for sending it. I had a session with one of my private clients last night and she actually brought up the interview during session. She is having concerns about her two boys not getting along. She shared that your story made her look more closely about what was actually happening between her boys. It was great to hear that your message is reaching others and people are actually having discussions now about this very concerning issue. Hopefully research will follow these discussions because of your willingness to share your story." - Jen Swenton, Toronto ON

Excerpts from the CBC Interview:

"I was bullied by an elder sister and I went on to bully a younger sister...My elder sister bullying me really impacted my life by an imprint of negative information about myself over a long period of time; nobody will ever love you, you're stupid, you're not bright, you're not likable. This was incredibly frightening, and demeaning, and humiliating. But it went on over a long period of time and sometimes was followed up by physical violence … I have incredible memories of just hiding terrified from my elder sister and feeling the impact of all those words later in life, and also earlier in life on the school grounds. I would go to school feeling like nobody's going to like me and I would become a target there as well. … One of the things that's most telling is that when I look at childhood photos of myself … I have a furrowed brow and I look really unhappy, and perplexed, and confused, and unhappy, and I only began to figure out that it was due to this horrendous childhood abuse, physical and emotional. I have memories of the shower curtain being ripped open and being beaten naked in the shower … … I didn't even think that I was worthy of anybody liking me or loving me and so … if somebody else chose me, I would be with them even though I hadn't even thought whether they were appropriate for me. I had terrible relationships, really inappropriate relationships. It impacted me in the workplace in that if I ran into any bullying in the workplace, I was frozen and that's how I came to sort of just really investigate … where are all these messages coming from? I went into therapy because I was getting paralyzed at work. [I] was able to pinpoint all this messaging came from a single speaker." - Diana, Vancouver B.C. (guest on CBC's The Current)

"… It was my older brother who was two years older than me. It all starts when you're very small, and it's verbal abuse over and over again, and exclusion … The verbal abuse of course soon changed … there was no protection, there was no enforcement of, "Don't hit your brother" … I was told I was supposed to love my brother because he was my brother even though he was hitting me as soon as my parents were out of sight. … My childhood was a mess … I was lost. I turned to food for comfort and became fat … the abuse was at home with my brother, and abuse was at school … … You had no self-esteem, you felt that no one was ever going to love you, parents, friends, nobody. You felt entirely alone and isolated … It is soul-destroying, it destroys your self-esteem completely. I mean completely, like way down in the ground. It's not just having a bad day, you are scarred and you are marked, and you cannot recover from it until you start talking about it. It affects you all of your life. … I ended up with an adult relationship that was violent, alcoholic, and abusive. Now why would I make that choice? It took me years to figure out why I am making all these bad choices." -Roger, Toronto ON (guest on CBC's The Current)

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