Long-term consequences of sibling abuse part 3

Relationship Problems Continuation

If children feel unnoticed when they are small, they may find it hard to believe that someone can actually love and appreciate them as they grow older. The negative feelings that they have developed against themselves in childhood are gradually becoming a part of the victim’s personality. Therefore, siblings often experience conflicts within themselves when someone is kind to them. The victim is confused, because it does not know whether to identify with the loving person’s point of view or his/her own familiar view of him or herself.

Therefore, the victim often reacts with suspicion and distrust when someone is kind to him or her. He or she is driven by his/her fear of intimacy and begins unconsciously to use various defense responses that prevent love. The victim may think that if only people knew the real me, they would not like me. Thus, he/she tries to make him or herself less lovable, so that he or she does not have to risk feeling hurt or deceived. Keeping the emotional guard up, can reduce the apprehension of being too close to anyone, but on the other hand it also comes at a high cost. Should the victim act on his or her fears, he or she is preserving his or her negative self-image, but at the same time he or she prevents him or herself from experiencing the great joy that a love relationship can bring.

Other side effects

Many survivors also develop a mental hypersensitivity, which makes them extremely sensitive to criticism. It is as if they continue to expect being offended and humiliated by others, even in adulthood. They therefore tend to interpret all the comments they receive in a negative way, even in cases where the intention is to give a compliment.

To often be overwhelmed by a sense of anger and or irritation is another side effect that many survivors share with each other. Therefore, they often feel angry without understanding the cause. In addition, they often tend to act out their anger in unsuitable situations. It can be linked to the feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness they perceived as children when they could not escape the abuse. Many victims therefore grow up to angry adults who tend to live out their aggressions in various situations. A large proportion of survivors therefore become unable to live normal and prosperous lives.

Depression and anger are closely related. But while anger is aimed at someone else, depression is an anger that the victim is aiming towards him or herself. Depression is especially common among sibling abuse victims whose parents refused to believe them and protect them from their attacking siblings when they were children. They therefore feel that they deserved to have been violated.

As a result some begin to abuse food, alcohol or drugs to try to master and control their feelings of anger and inferiority and of feeling unwanted. However, these ways of dealing with the aftermath of sibling abuse do not solve anything. Instead, the survivor only gets another problem on their hands that they have to deal with – their addiction.

Now the entry is over for this time. Please, take care of yourself and others. Thank you. See you if you wish to, next week.


You are welcome to comment if you like, but please do so with respect and good judgement.


Book: Perilous rivalry av Vernon R. Wiehe, Teresa Herring, 1991

Book: Sibling abuse av Vernon R. Wiehe, 1997






© Helén Varenius – text and photo