I got my sister help - and her children - Triggers


Out of the blue my sister called me last week. She had gotten divorced from her husband through 14 years and was now alone with 3 kids. One Daughter 16, and 2 boys 14 and 12.

She was miserable, cried and said she needed help, but did not know how to find help. All these years she has survived by denying and refusing to face what happened to us. I did not press her. Early on I noticed she was - well a bit inapropiate with the boys and told her to stop this behavior. She told me I overreacted. (No I did not)

I was lucky enough to be placed in fostercare ... she was not so fortunate. Over the years I saw her acting out ... getting into abusive relationsships, even prostituted herself. She seemed to had found a stable husband and I rarely heard from - unless she needed money.

The pain about our past always kept us apart. I wanted to talk about it, went through therapy - but she refused, always telling me that she did not want to remember, which I of course respected.

But last week she told me that she acted out again - I got so many perverse details. To my horror, she almost bragged about her behavior (I could hear the children - and asked if they could hear this? She said I have no secrets from my children!). I told her it was deeply inapropiate and she got defensive and told me a few more details about the oldest boy - I would have preferred not to hear.

The next day I called a friend of mine who is a social worker. I told him about her inapropriate language in front of the children, some of my earlier observations, and some of the very disturbing details she also told me. I told him I was unable to report her to social services ... I knew it was the right thing to do. Well he told me that he would take the burden of me - it was his duty to act on this. He called his boss and the phone was busy for the next 30 min with calls. His boss had immediately called the leader of that local department of child protective social services and they were going to take actions.

I have felt heartbroken ever since. Blaming myself for being a traitor - ratting on her and having her children removed! I knew I did the right thing - but felt so guilty about it and so ashamed of her. Ashamed that she was like this. Ashamed of what she had done. I hope my sister gets help. I also hope that her children will get the help they need to cope with this. I just fear that they all hate me now. It would have been so easy just to shut up - rationalize and fool myself into - that yes she crossed some boundaries with her children - well even more than that - but maybe it wasn't so bad?

But I just couldn't let this slip. How many of us could not have been spared a great deal of suffering if those close to us had taken action - instead of pretending not to hear and not to see - being deaf, dumb and blind? I did the right thing. I am just so very sad and sorry for her and for children and me. I feel so disillusioned. I feel my sisters pain and my own. And there is not a damn thing I can do about it. I WAS doing so well.
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John Oarc

It took courage to do this and I know it must hurt but in the end you have saved lives.

I wish you would have heard what was going on about 36 years ago in a small town in Mississippi, I wish you would have been there to call social services to report the man who molested me. I wish you would have gotten him out of the neighborhood before he could get to me and the other untold 100's.

It is easy to praise the person who lifts you out of the hole but the damage has been done. It is not so easy to praise a person for guiding you around the hole, no damage has occurred.

What you have done is priceless, hold your head up.

John O


I can't imagine how difficult of a decision that was, but you did the right thing. I'm amazed at your courage.

Sometimes doing the right thing can be the most difficult thing that you can do. To break those bonds of enmeshment and loyalty to our past family dysfunction takes allot of strength. You showed that your loyalty is to your recovery and your families true wellbeing.
Hold your head high and be proud of your actions.


not a day goes by that i wished someone would have rescued me from the live i grew up living. this may be difficult for them during their transition as they face it and deal with it, but they will look back eventually from a more objective vantage point, and know that someone agreed that what is taking place is not right, that someone cared about their welfare, and they will realize that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not as someone's playtoy. they'll grow up knowing they are far more valuable than that, and they will aspire to much greater things having had the opportunity to get a fresh start from a much healthier environment, one that focuses on their best needs, not the twisted desires of their primary caregiver.

deny, ignore and avoid. that's the mantra of the dysfunctional incestuous family system. protect the abusers at all cost.

niels, you have my complete respect. you said 'no more!'. and you made a difference in the life of children. that's commendable. the rewards may not be immediately apparent for your actions, but eventually the ripple effect will die out, because of your bravery.

more power to you,



From the tone of your posts, it sounds like you did the right thing. I know if she is in California, a combination of therapy, parenting classes, anger managemement and community partners will help them heal. It's probably similar in other States
She and the kids will finally get the help they need, what a gift you gave your sister. Good for you. I will add you and your family to my prayers. Hang in there

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niels,...that was incredably brave of you...i would have gotten sick with regret and guilt....but you did the right thing...i hope things work out well for everyone,...especially for the kids.


At least they're getting help early Niels, and hopefully won't ever need a place like this. I would have ratted out my own sister in your place.


Thank you John O, John F, Michael, Ron, Mike, Dan, and Anonymous for letting me know I did the right thing - because it has been eaten me alive, the thougts all the pain my actions caused her and her children. I just had to do it, because she was not able to set have normal boundaries anymore and crossed both hers and theirs - especially in regards to her oldest son.
I sure wish some had called social services too! But even when we have rotten no good parents, we are so loyal as children - a loyalty we pay a steep price for later. I so wished I could have saved my sisters, but I could barely survive myself and deal with my own pain. But I need to live my life in spite of this pain and I can not contain theirs too.
I have been isolating myself, unplugged the phone and had horrible nightmares again - which has been rare, but now vivid night terrors woke me up screaming the other day. So I just work more online, do graphics, webdesign and help market some products to keep busy and not feel the pain, but yes I have cried. I just feel so sorry for US - me and my little sister, that I wish I could love - I do but we are like strangers to each other and this was not helping. But it is my hope that her children will be spared more suffering and abuse, even though life in foster homes can be hard too. My sister has to work on her own recovery just like we do - no one can do the work and carry our burden of pain for us. So thanks again for sharing and affirming that I did the right thing. Even as I write - it still do not feel right - but I hope it will over time - because my feelings tell me one thing and my intellect another. I try to accept it and even though it made me sick to my soul again for a while I carry on - just like I know you carry on with your raw wounds breaken up over and over - but we go and try to heal and live. Deny, ignore and avoid out of a misguided sense "loyalty" did not work for me - not then and not now.

So yes call social services when you get knowledge of something that is not right and children are being abused - whether it be your neighbours, other children you see suffer or even your own family - it is painfull to do it - but do the right thing and save the regret for later and work that through as I do now.
i just wanted to add that u did the right thing. i wish someone like you had done something like that when i was younger and im sure most guys here think the same way.


Just wanted to say that life in a foster home can actually be alot of fun, and a relief for many children. No doubt many of our former foster kids had a great time here, and we loved having them

All situations are different.

You did what you knew to be right, you put the childrens well being before your own needs. There is no guilt for you to feel, in fact it is the opposite. Your sister should be embarrassed you needed to do such a thing.

I am proud of you, and suspect your sister may thank you one day



New Registrant
You totally did the right thing man!
Sure she was family, but she was hurting the boys, and the guilt from not telling anyone would have been far worse than the guilt of telling social services.
You did the right thing, and now hopefully they will be able to help your sister as well, and help her confront her demons


You did the right thing. I wish someone had done the same for me. You are a hero! When I was alone with mom there was nobody left to help me. You did the right thing, the honerable thing. You helped your sister in the long run.