(Closed) Do you believe past sexual abusers can change?

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 32
Member
6737 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@Roe:  Well, I wouldn’t leave my kids with any uncles.  Not even my FI’s brother, I don’t think.  I just have really bad trust issues, though.  I always think of the worst that can happen.  I just hope I don’t end up being a neurotic paranoid mother one day.  But, you just hear so many stories – like this one – of a brother, a step brother, an uncle, a father.  Victims are chosen based on their convenience, IMO.

OP, after reading your updates and what other posters have to say, I would consider discussing the possibility of your nieces getting abused with your SIL.  You don’t have to mention what happened between you and your brother, but your brother does sound like he may have some mental issues, (I am not a shrink, but I just know a few things here and there).  I would just discuss the possibility – maybe bring it up as a story you heard recently in the news or from a friend or whatever.  See what she has to say and maybe just bringing the topic up to her will have her be more aware if something starts to seem “off” with her children. 

Post # 33
Member
36 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2013

No….I would certainly not have my children around him and I would be scared for his own….The fact that he keeps apologizing makes me wonder if he’s doing something to them and feels guilty so he continues to apologize….I don’t know, just my opinion. There can be forgiveness without trust….and that’s where I would stand. 

Post # 35
Member
1513 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

in general, no i dont think child molestors can change.

in this case, i am not sure…  im not sure how old he was, but based on the ages you listed, i am guessing he was 15ish when the abuse happened? that is a little too old to say “he was a kid too!” but then again, he has apologized for it, which is something that i think a true pedophile would not do. they see nothing wrong to apologize for…

i really wish i had advice to give but i dont. i can see the valid concern you have for your nieces. i think, if you are comfortable with your brother now, the best thing to start with might be to have a frank conversation with him about what happened, how you want to address it going forward and your concerns you have for your nieces. if he is thinking of abusing them but hasnt yet, maybe your openness on the subject will remind him that he has eyes on him?

please know,i have no tolerance for people who prey on children (i went through something somewhat similar to what you did). i dont care if a child molestor’s entire world crumbles around him… but i wonder what tipping off your SIL would do to your relationship with your family at large, without having any more to go on than what happened to you. unfortunately in these situations, the victim often gets victimized in many ways. its unfair and it sickens me, but its the way it is.

Post # 36
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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@bostongirl27:   but then again, he has apologized for it, which is something that i think a true pedophile would not do. they see nothing wrong to apologize for…

Sometimes, thats true, if the person is also a sociopath. Oftentimes its not. They often know what they are doing is wrong, some even hate themselves for it and apologize, but can’t stop their desires or their actions.

Post # 37
Member
5 posts
Newbee

I went to my anon account to answer this because I’m going to talk about my experience.

My brother sexually abused me for years when I was a child, and like you, I’ve really not told anyone (outside of my therapist and my SO, although I haven’t discussed details with him). My brother and I have a smaller age difference (5 years) and we lived in the same home for several years after it ended, but we’ve never discussed it. A lot of what I’ve read, and what I’ve discussed with my therapist, is that sibling molestation and abuse is often focused on that relationship, and it’s not necessarily the same feelings that rapists and pedophiles have, and the recidivism rates (for crimes that are reported, which within-family molestation are often less likely to be reported) are often different. I don’t believe that adult sexual abusers can change, but I do think it is possible for those who engage in these kind of things to change.

Your brother has made attempts to discuss this with you and apologize. It’s possible that his more recent attempts to apologize may be driven by the fact that he now has children, and that it’s become even clearer to him that his actions were wrong. I honestly don’t know what I would do if my brother had children (there are reasons why he can’t, so it’s not currently a concern). My brother has similar mental health problems to what you’ve mentioned above, and  can be a reasonable human being when under treatment but can be extremely volatile and scary when out of treatment. For this reason alone, I think discussing some of your concerns with your SIL may be appropriate. I understand not wanting to disclose, and I likely would not, either. But perhaps you can talk with her about concerns about his verbal abuse/mental issues, and make it clear that these issues of his affected you deeply as a child. Are you able to maintain a close relationship with your nieces and be in contact with them/your SIL regularly? I have cut off all contact with my brother, but were he able to have children, I would be involved with them specifically to monitor what’s going on with them.

I personally would steer clear of giving the books a PP recommended above. A lot of the good touch/bad touch don’t always make it clear that *no one* has the right to touch you, including your parents, and they often talk about saying no to touching that feels ‘bad’ or ‘uncomfortable’ which, quite frankly, is not always the feeling that being touched gives, even to children.

I also really think you should talk to a therapist, who can help you sort out your own feelings about what happened to you, and can help guide you on decisions about your brother’s family. I’m no longer in therapy but found it immensely helpful.

Post # 38
Member
1513 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

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@Roe:  yeah that is true. i realized as i was typing it that i was giving this guy way more leeway than i would normally give anyone in a story i heard on the news. to me, part of it is that OP seems to feel resolution about the situation with her brother so i want to think that she was able to determine his apology was genuine… but yeah, i generally believe that once someone crosses that line, they willa t the very least want to cross it again…

Post # 39
Member
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Nope.  The recidivism rate for sexual abusers is high and most just learn how cover their tracks or choose victims that lack the ability to tell on them.  Just because he may not touch his daughters doesn’t mean whatever caused him to abuse you won’t be triggered by being alone with your daughters.  It may have been a sibling attraction which doesn’t necessarily mean he will be attracted to his own children.

I would NEVER leave my children alone with him but I don’t see any reason to say anything to your SIL unless you actually have concerns for his daughters based on recent evidence or behavior.

Post # 40
Member
2398 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

No I am sorry, I dont think they change. 🙁

Post # 42
Member
509 posts
Busy bee

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@private1:  This has to be a really difficult thing to have to deal with and I’m sorry that you’re hurting.

If your brother is reaching out to you, maybe you could talk to him directly or is that too painful for you? Tell him your concerns, that you think he may need someone completely objective to discuss this with, and stress that you are worried about your nieces and any children you may have.

It’s easy to overthink something and fill up your head with all kinds of scenarios.  Personally, I’m amazed that you’re strong enough to have a relationship with him and that you’ve forgiven him for his behaviour, not for him but for you.  Be good to yourself most of all.

 

Post # 43
Member
6737 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@private1:  Keep us posted on how the conversation goes.  Good luck!

Post # 44
Member
1715 posts
Bumble bee

Maybe one day they could change with a combination of medication. But I wouldn’t be around to find out if that was true or not.

*hugs* I’m sorry you had to go through that.

Post # 45
Member
2638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

MAYBE (probably not), but I wouldn’t want to stick around to find out.

Post # 46
Member
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I think it depends.  A sexual abuser could be considered a 17 year old in an intimate relationship with a 14 year old.

An adult who is a pedophile probably won’t change.  Same with someone who enjoys the control of rape.  Even those people may change if it was caused by a mental disorder (other than just being a pedophile if you consider that to be a mental disorder) and it’s treated.  I think some can also control themselves.

In this case, it was a teenager.  Major things can go on at that age.  He may or may not have changed.  I would at least talk to him and make sure he discusses what happened with his wife.  I wouldn’t be comfortable having someone like that alone with my children, better safe than sorry in that case.

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