Try­ing to get a han­dle on the past

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

DEAR AN­NIE >> Iam a 32-year-old mar­ried man with two chil­dren. I am try­ing to come to terms with my child­hood. I grew up in a dys­func­tional fam­ily, with an al­co­holic fa­ther and a mother who had nu­mer­ous af­fairs.

My el­der brother, “Michael,” was my world. He is only three years older than I am, but he prac­ti­cally raised me. He is the one who got me dressed and ready for school ev­ery morn­ing, fed me, helped me with my home­work, and tucked me in at night.

When I was 12 years old, my par­ents were go­ing through a nasty di­vorce, and our home had be­come a war zone. I be­gan to cling to my brother even more for com­fort and safety.

I am ashamed to ad­mit that our re­la­tion­ship be­came in­ap­pro­pri­ate and sex­ual in na­ture. To this day, I am not sure how it hap­pened. It was never the same af­ter that, and we never dis­cussed what we had done.

About a year ago, I started to go to ther­apy to deal with my past. I still love Michael and want to try to un­der­stand what we did and how it hap­pened.

I ap­proached him about meet­ing with my ther­a­pist, but he re­acted with anger. He claims to have no mem­ory of any sex­ual en­coun­ters be­tween us. He says it never hap­pened and I must be imag­in­ing the whole thing.

As God is my wit­ness, I re­mem­ber what hap­pened be­tween us. I am not look­ing to ac­cuse. I just want to un­der­stand. He has told ev­ery mem­ber of the fam­ily, in­clud­ing our di­vorced par­ents, that I am some kind of a pervert with bizarre, sick fan­tasies about him. Un­for­tu­nately, the fam­ily be­lieves him.

My ther­a­pist says that there is lit­tle I can do to get Michael to ad­mit to our past, that I need to reach peace of mind on my own. Is there any­thing you can sug­gest to get him to at least sit down with my ther­a­pist and me?

— Re­cov­er­ing

DEAR RE­COV­ER­ING >> Iam so sorry for what you went through, but I’m very glad to hear that you’re in ther­apy. I be­lieve that your ther­a­pist is right — that there is lit­tle you can do to get Michael to ad­mit the past. I en­cour­age you to stay in ther­apy, as I be­lieve you’ll find that you have many path­ways to re­cov­ery that don’t re­quire Michael’s par­tic­i­pa­tion. Call the Rape,

Abuse & In­cest Na­tional Net­work’s hot­line any­time if you need some­one to talk to >> 800-6564673.

DEAR AN­NIE >> Though your an­swer to “Crav­ing Kicks” was good, I think it was slightly in­com­plete.

She said she felt com­pletely free, present and pow­er­ful when she scored her first soc­cer goal and was in­deed re­call­ing those feel­ings. But I sub­mit that any en­deavor also has the po­ten­tial to give those ex­act feel­ings of free­dom, power and pre­sent­ness when it is pur­sued with prac­tice and then suc­cess is achieved. It de­pends on the in­ten­sity of the pur­suit, the amount of fo­cus and prac­tice, and how crowd-pleas­ing ac­com­plish­ments are. It does not have to be soc­cer. Suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sion­als in all sports and in other en­deav­ors — mu­sic, act­ing, aca­demics — ex­pe­ri­ence the same power, free­dom and pre­sent­ness, which come from con­cen­tra­tion and fo­cus. This makes me wish I had prac­ticed the piano more.

— Kathy in Vir­ginia Beach

DEAR KATHY IN VIR­GINIA BEACH: I’M PRINT­ING YOUR LET­TER BE­CAUSE I AGREE COM­PLETELY. GREAT POINTS. AND IT’S NEVER TOO LATE >> Go tickle those ivories!

I be­lieve that your ther­a­pist is right — that there is lit­tle you can do to get Michael to ad­mit the past.

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