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What Will Become of our Family?

"I think I’m ready to punch the next person who uses the words 'new normal.' Will we ever be normal again? Will we ever be able to just eat a meal or watch a movie together again?"


There is no way to know at the beginning. Some things are close to certain:

  • This will be a marathon, a life-long journey.

  • Your family will never go back to what it was, or what you thought it was.

  • This will be complicated.

  • The presence of sibling sexual trauma isn’t as uncommon as it seems.  

  • You are not alone.

  • You can survive this.  


There are countless possible long-term outcomes for families after sibling sexual trauma. Sometimes siblings reconcile to the point of being friends, sometimes to the point of being able to tolerate each other for family gatherings, sometimes they never see each other again. Sometimes one sibling will split off from the family entirely--and it could be either sibling. It’s not uncommon for the survivor of abuse to direct anger and blame toward the parents, even if they know intellectually it isn’t rational to do so. Sometimes the one who is responsible for the abuse, even if assured of the family’s support and love, will cut themselves off in shame. The stress of dealing with sibling sexual trauma is a great strain to any marriage or adult partnership, and some do not survive. Be prepared for at least a temporary period of estrangement somewhere in the family.  


Family relationships are basic and important, even when they are colored by trauma. It’s intensely difficult to live for a long time with constant change, uncertainty, and drama in your family. Here are some quotes or mantras that have helped other parents affected by sibling sexual trauma:

  • “Now is not forever.” Where we are now is not necessarily where we will always be.

  • Radical Acceptance 

  • Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr) 

  • “Hope doesn’t require the assurance of a good outcome, just the possibility.” As long as we are still alive, there is the chance of reconciliation, and reason for hope.  

  • Prayer, putting the situation in God’s hands, trusting God’s timing

  • The new normal sucks.” 


In the meantime, find support for your unexpected and unwanted journey here:


The following are not specific to sibling sexual trauma:

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