Can I ever redeem myself? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 05-14-2012, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I cannot sleep and felt like I should get this off my mind since it's bugging me. I hate to type this out since it's something I'm really ashamed of. When I was a teen. (about 17 I think) I was watching my little sister who was around 4. My family has never been a child friendly type of family. I never knew how to relate to kids and they generally annoyed me. I was trying to listen to my walkman and my sister kept buggin me by jumping on my back and pulling my hair. I got so mad that I grabbed her arm and yanked her off of me very hard. She started crying and wouldn't stop so I knew something was wrong. I freaked and started calling my mom. She was at work and wouldnt answer so I kept calling (about 16 x) because i knew i had injured my little sister's arm. I made her a makeshift sling out of tp and eventually she cried herself to sleep. When my mom came home I told  her what happened and she took her to the ER. It turned out she had a hairline fracture and needed a cast. I felt horrible about it and still do. My sister  is now 12. I have apologized to her for it and we have a good relationship. My mother never "punished" me for it. She never really said anything about it and understands that it wasn't intentional.

 

My issue is that my brother is always bringing it up. My family got together a couple of months ago and he brought  it up and said he had told his GF about how I broke sis's arm. I told them the story ( i was a teen,stupid, it was a hairline fracture, etc). Then today we got together for Mother's Day and he brought it up again. His GF also made the comment, "you have a history" which made me think, "wow, they must think I'm some closeted child abuser".  This happened when I was a teen and I have come such a long way since then. I have  2 of my own children and I have a degree in Child Development. I have worked as a preschool teacher and although I'm currently a SAHM, I plan to go back to working w/ children in the near future. It bothers me that my brother is going around telling this story to people who won't know the back story/ details or how old I was when it happened. I feel like people might be whispering behind my back and that it might affect my career.

 

Is it unreasonable for me to ask him to please not go around telling people? I mean I don't feel like this is something that I have to keep a secret but it's also something I'm very embarrassed about and I hate having to re-tell the story. Can I every redeem myself for this? I am not the person that I was back then and I hate having to talk about this. I feel like my brother should know. Our Dad was an alcoholic and there was a lot of anger/violence in our family back then but we have all (myself and my brothers) have come a long way from that.

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#2 of 9 Old 05-14-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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Oh my, I definitely think you can, you HAVE, redeemed yourself! We all have mistakes in our past, including mistakes that have hurt other people, whether physically, emotionally, etc.

I definitely think it's reasonable to ask your brother to lay off. He likely jokes about it because he knows that it's NOT characteristic of who you are, so it's almost a "funny" family story for him. (My dad broke his sister's collarbone, and 50 years later that's still a punchline once in a while.) If you explain to him that the incident had a profound effect on you and that it's hurtful when he brings it up, I'd be surprised if he didn't lay off.

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#3 of 9 Old 05-14-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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I would just tell him to stop, right when he says it in front of everyone.  "I know you think it's funny, but it makes me sad that I hurt her, please stop bringing it up."

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#4 of 9 Old 05-14-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

I would just tell him to stop, right when he says it in front of everyone.  "I know you think it's funny, but it makes me sad that I hurt her, please stop bringing it up."

 

This is exactly what I was going to say. Sometimes these "amusing" family stories keep coming up because the person telling them has no idea how hurtful they are to the person they are about.


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#5 of 9 Old 05-14-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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I agree with the others...it seems like your brother thinks this is just another funny family anecdote and he needs to know that it's not funny to you.

 

I'm not sure I'd do it in front of others, it might feel awkward for everyone, but that's just me.

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#6 of 9 Old 05-15-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I texted him about it. He said he was sorry and wouldn't bring it up again. Still, I hate that this family story is "out there" and may have been told to others who don't know the context...just hearing that I "broke a childs arm"....ugh. It's just very embarassing especially since I work in early child hood education.

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#7 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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Oh, my dear. You seem to be the one being hard on yourself. Can you try to forgive yourself and leave it behind? When my dd was 23 months old my dh was playing with her (she was jumping on the bed and he was holding her arms). She jumped funny and dislocated her elbow and he felt like crap. Then he had to take her screaming to the hospital - twice, because that was the time we found out that children are only treated at children's hospital emergency. Then he had to explain to doctors and radiologists and triage nurses how it had happened. Then he had to explain again when my dd told everybody that her daddy hurt her elbow. It was just one of those terrible accidents. I know that your incident happened in anger, but you were a kid. I think we've all done things that could potentially have hurt our kids - most of us have just been lucky.
 


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#8 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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I too think you have redeemed yourself and that you are the one being hard on yourself.  It was after all an accident.  Yes, you were rough when you shouldn't have been.  But if you look at it honestly, I think you can say, your intention was never to break her arm. 

 

When my brother wasn't even two yet - I was a teenager - I was swinging him over the dog by one arm.  I broke his arm as well.  I think I had his wrist so I wouldn't drop him and it snapped.  It's HARD to have done so much pain to anyone - let alone a sibling.  But it does happen.  You are not the only one.

 

Family stories are always hard.  They. never. die.  It gets annoying. 

 

I'm glad your brother was responsive and will not do that to you again.  Now you have to do your part and forgive yourself and realize not everyone is talking about you, your guilt is just making you feel like they are.

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#9 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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I agree with the other posts, you're being really hard on yourself. If I were in your shoes I would explain how you still feel bad about it to your brother and all parties involved have gotten over it and you would appreciate if he didn't bring it up anymore.

 

As a child my sister caused me to have to go to the hospital for stitches or other treatment three different times. They were all times where she was annoyed with me and intended to be mean but never intended to seriously hurt me. It's a running joke in the family and I sometimes kid with her about it like when she doesn't want to go to the restaurant I want to go to I pout and point to the scar on my face. She laughs too but if she ever asked me to stop I would never bring it up again. 

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