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

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 62
Member
228 posts
Helper bee

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@private1:   I’m so sorry he did this to you. I think talking with a therapist is a good idea. The fact that he is so volatile makes me think it is less likely that he hasea topped abusing. Whether it was a power issue or a pedophilic attraction or both, he doesn’t sound like he has the self control or emotional maturity to have a handle on such an issue. I’m wishing you a lot of strength in the short term, and serenity in the long.

Post # 63
Member
6737 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@Liss13:  Possibly not even uncles.  Definitely not our parent’s brothers.  My Fiance and I each have a brother, so I would possibly consider trusting them, but I really have to think about making that decision.  I could just never forgive myself if something happened to my children because I left them with an uncle that I didn’t know was capable of that.  I don’t intend to TELL my children that – I don’t want THEM to grow up with fears like that, but I don’t want to take any chances either. 

Post # 64
Member
2066 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Just a side note… Even if he is being honest about not hurting his own daughters, I worry about their friends that may be there for sleepovers in the future… I can’t judge whether people can change or not. From my own experiences I want to say yes. That said, I would never risk it with my own children. (vague I know). OP, you are so strong and amazing. Take care of yourself and  good luck in whatever path you choose.

 

Post # 65
Member
6737 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

OP, did you ever have a discussion with SIL?

Post # 66
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

Hello Fellow Bees! Okay, i am glad i cam across this blog! I am very surprised by all the answers on here and really feel that you should ask a counselor instead of a bunch of random people.. But since I know MUCH about family counseling i will share some truth with you. 

I am so very sorry to hear that you have been through this. My mother not only went through the same thing but my older sisters with my oldest brother as well.. I know the toll it takes emotionally! You will always “feel” trust issues with him based on YOUR experiences not necessarily based on the facts in the present. Which is normal but you shouldn’t let it color your view on his relationships right now. 

People can change. Bottom line- what a sad story for human kind if we were unable to. With that said there are many things to consider. Your brother was young, he was in the middle of his puberty years and was most likely very self conscious and awkward within his own sexuality. I doubt he knew how to express sexuality with girls his age. When a young boy in his teen years shows sexual interest in younger girls especially siblings its usually a sign of inner sexual turmoil and confusion and not pedophile tendencies. Actually, most “pedophiles” sense urges later on in adult hood not as young boys. There is a huge difference. Pedophiles are turned on by the innocence of one and being in control of that.. Your brothers brain was hardly developed in that way.. Anyone know any 16 year boys??? Boys are extremely immature, clueless and do very stupid and self-destructive things. (ex, gangs, robberies, drugs, bullying etc).

Now- in some cases, yes a boy will continue in his patterns, which will develop into pedophile tendencies as a grown adult. However, we must keep in mind his attitude about the situation. His apologies are a great sign. Some Bees are saying that you should worry that he has yet again apologized. I disagree. He carries a lot of shame and guilt for his stupid and thoughtless actions as a teenager, which will probably never go away unless he learns to forgive himself. Which is very hard to do, especially if you two grew close and he cares about you a lot. He may never fully forgive himself for how he hurt you. If he now has children (girls) he probably adores and loves them and has come to feel what most fathers feel… I WONT LET ANYONE HURT MY BABY GIRLS…. This feeling is normal, its almost instinctual.. How conflicting that feeling must be for someone like him.. It probably only reminds him of what he did to you. 

The issue is.. He shouldn’t keep going to you to seek forgiveness! He needs to see a counselor to help him through his shame… To help him express what he did, to allow an OBJECTIVE person in to accept him and help him through the things he did. If you start to treat him as an untrustworthy person when he has only apologized you could make things much worse for you, him and your entire family. I think you should see a counselor as well. You already said that you try not to think about it. I know speaking to someone is very hard but you have to, or you will project your own issues and experiences onto him and his daughters.

 Seeking advice is great but from many people who can’t relate or who have not studied adolescent behavior could be more damaging to you than helpful. The key thing to remember- your brother was an adolescent not an adult- it really changes things. Any women here who did stupid things as a teenager? Maybe did drugs to escape issues at home, became promiscuous early on to find acceptance or love, maybe they bullied other girls at school to heal their own insecurities. All are damaging incorrect ways to deal with the weird conflicting emotions kids and teens go through- and many people grow out of such behaviors and then some don’t. (I sure did- and felt horrible about the things I did). Interestingly enough- did you know that 1/3 of teenage girls going through puberty will have 1 to 10 sexual encounters with other girls yet grow up to be completely heterosexual. 

So all to say- I think the most important thing of all is for both of you to go through counseling.  As a victim of something like this – you obviously hold shame as well (even if your unaware of it) or else you would have sought advice from a close loved one that knew of the situation (but you haven’t been able to tell anyone). His little girls should be looked after; you can keep an eye out for signs, as another Bee mentioned. But honestly, seek encouragement and help from someone designed to help with things like these. Choose compassion over fear when it comes to your brother. Maybe tell him you would feel more comfortable with everything if you both started seeing counselors for everything that happened.

BTW- my uncle who did this to my mother had a daughter and she grew up completely fine, as well as my niece who is my brother’s daughter. Just thought I would share that encouragement with you. 

Best wishes for heaing, trust and love within your family 🙂

Post # 67
Member
4687 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

Unfortunately, sexual abusers cannot heal or change. That’s why the cycle will always repeat itself.

You need to tell your sister in law TODAY! Right now! That is criminal incest and she deserves to know!!!

Post # 68
Member
4687 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

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@HugABee:  I think you’re missing the obvious. It was incest. That’s a huge, HUGE deal. That’s not “immature”, that’s not a boy being “self-conscious”.  Making fart noises and giving wedges is immature, having sex with your sister is one of the worst forms of sexual abuse. He was probably abused by someone and continued the cycle onto her. Do you really know a lot about family counseling???

Post # 69
Member
3774 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2004

@private1:  No, I don’t think they change.  In fact, I believe you are obligated to tell your sister in law about what he did.  As the mother, she has the right to full disclosure of the fact that her daughters’ father is a child molester.  If I was the mother and no one told me, I woils be so beyond livid!

Post # 70
Member
6262 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

Honestly? No, but I haven’t had much personal experience. I think that it might be possible for them to resist, though, especially if the transgressions were at an age where impulse control is difficult

Post # 71
Member
734 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I’m not really sure what I think. I guess I don’t have enough information about pedophilia and I would have to go on an individual basis.

All I know is that I personally would never trust someone who sexually abused or raped someone (child or adult) ever again.

I don’t know about your brother… I’m glad that he apologized to you, but I don’t think I would ever put my full trust in him with my own children if I were you.

 

I agree with you though that its suspicious that he randomly brought it up again. I’m a little concerned for your nieces too… =/

Post # 72
Member
1123 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

It is possible with years and years of intensive therapy but here’s the issue…

 

With child abusers (of the sexual kind) they can never really grow out of their desires. It will linger in the back of their head for pretty much the rest of their life. I’ve touched on this topic with a few psych doctors over the years and many of them have said that the main issue has to do with a stunt in their mentality basically. Among other factors part of them basically doesn’t grow up so they don’t grow to appreciate their age. They can act like adults but part of them still has that child there (which explains why pedophiles typically have a certain age group they prefer and once the person is out of that age group they look to another person, which could be reason your brother never bothered you again when you got a little older. That or he genuinely felt bad)

Now it depends also how long it went on before it stopped. If he stopped when he was in like 5th grade, it could have been the normal experimenting. If it stopped when he was in high school, it was way beyond normal and could have been construed as a form of rape or molestation.

I wouldn’t just assume he’s touching his child. Perhaps even though it’s what he wants, he still feels guilty and does not want to hurt children or even his own children. There is a difference between pedophilia and incestual pedophilia. And there is a difference in acting on their desires and just wanting it. I wouldn’t act on this unless you knew without a doubt or your neices were showing signs.

But I would not let my children be alone with him and if he was around at a get together with my children I’d be watching his every move. He may have changed certain aspects but it does help to use caution. But not calling wolf before you know if anything would actually happen.

Post # 73
Member
274 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Hi, I’m terribly sorry for the pain and trauma you have experienced. I should start out by telling you that I work for a local Child welfare agency in PA, as a social worker. Abuse, sexual abuse, neglect etc. is something I encounter daily through my job.

What I would do, would be to talk privately to your brother. Explain and express your concerns. Be honest that you have forgiven him, but that your concerns are still valid, not only for HIS children but any child. I would then give your brother a choice.

a. He can go to a sexual offender therapist for an evaulation, see the likelyhood of him reoffending, or…..

b. You will speak to his wife, about your concerns.

I would remind your brother, that you are not doing this to make his life hell, but because you have a concern. If he is truly sorry and remorseful about the past he will do it. You wouldnt have to tell his wife about this if everything came back okay. But you would have to be prepared that after the eval came back, it could say he has a high chance of reoffending, etc.

 

I’ve read what others have posted, but at 16-17 he knew what he was doing, and he knew it was wrong. At the age of 12 a child could be indicated for abuse. I wholeheartedly don’t believe this was a one time thing. I feel this way based on the age of him when this happened, the age you were (he was grooming you, and most phedophiles groom their victims). It happened more than one time, and it went beyond touching.

 

I would ask your brother to also go to counseling with you.

 

 

i hope everything works out, please feel free to ask me any questions

Post # 74
Member
1212 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

If he is truly remorseful, he may be open to taking a psychosexual evaluation. I work in child protective services and this is usually something I use with past offenders to see if they are currently in a safe place to be around children. 

I am torn on whether I think they can change. My gut tells me no, but I won’t rule the possibility out. 

Post # 75
Member
1212 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
@HugABee:  Maybe did drugs to escape issues at home, became promiscuous early on to find acceptance or love, maybe they bullied other girls at school to heal their own insecurities. All are damaging incorrect ways to deal with the weird conflicting emotions kids and teens go through- and many people grow out of such behaviors and then some don’t. (I sure did- and felt horrible about the things I did). Interestingly enough- did you know that 1/3 of teenage girls going through puberty will have 1 to 10 sexual encounters with other girls yet grow up to be completely heterosexual. 



None of these normal, irresponsible adolescent behaviors are on the same spectrum as sexually assaulting your sibling over a period of time. Teenagers know right from wrong. Their understanding of consequences may sometimes wane, but it is not normal or part of “weird, conflicting emotions” to perform sexual acts on your younger sibling. 

Post # 76
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@private1:  Hey, this is a personal story for me. My most sincere advice would be to A) be extremely consciencious of interactions with not just your babies, but his too. I can’t say he’s changed or hasn’t changed. I am not a psychologist. My gut however, says no. The same way I would have a hard changing my mind about any negative encouter. It’s sort of primal. 

My abuser was married with three children. I do know for a fact that he also abused his children from our trial. I would never give the benefit of the doubt to him with my children. I am not his sister, though it would be interesting to see what his family has done.

At the end of the day, you never want anything like this to happen to even your worst enemy let alone your children, or nephews/neices.

My aunt has huge regret that we have talked about regarding the abuse. She was abused and did not tell anyone. Then when we went to court she felt more guilt than I could ever imagine dealing with. She is from a different generation, and for her as a young girl, she didn’t know how to even begin letting someone know what happen. (sadly my older sister falls under this burden as well)

I think you need to think about all angles, as I’m sure you have, and talk to your brother. If he truly isn’t acting on any of his impulses, he should be seeking help for your past regardless. 

A professional counsellor may be a great place to start for you. It’s unreal how much they can help you start to heal. 

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