Trapped in an Incestuous Relationship With a Sibling

How do I put a stop to the sexual relationship in which I've become involved with one of my siblings? It's hard to explain how it came about. I have a feeling that it all began long before I was even aware of what was happening. Now that I'm fully conscious of it, I feel ugly, dirty, worthless, wretched, and used. I don't want this to continue, but I'm afraid to tell anyone. My parents have no idea what's been going on.

We’re so sorry you’re facing such a difficult situation. Feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion are not unusual in circumstances like this, and we understand why you don’t want to tell your mom and dad. Maybe you’re afraid of your parents’ reaction, or worried about upsetting your sibling. You might be wondering how sharing this secret would affect your family’s reputation. In the midst of this heartache, there’s comfort in knowing God is with you, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He wants to free you from fear and give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

We understand your feelings, and we think it’s important to courageously do something that will cause things to change. First, your mom and dad need to know what’s been happening. As soon as possible, talk to them privately and honestly share all the facts as best you can. If you don’t think you can count on them – for example, if they’ve neglected, abused, or ignored your needs in the past – then we suggest that you find another trustworthy adult to confide in. This might be a teacher, a school counselor, a pastor, a youth leader, or the parent of a friend. It’s possible that this situation is part of a troubling pattern of behavior that could lead to the abuse of others in the future. That’s why you need to let someone know right away. This will benefit you, and it may prevent others from being hurt later on.

The next step is to confront your sibling. Ask your parents or adult mentors to support you in this. Let your brother (or sister) know that this behavior must stop immediately. Say this in the presence of a responsible person who will hold you and your sibling accountable. It would also be good for your entire family to get some professional counseling from a trained and licensed Christian psychologist who is trained in trauma care. It’s possible that there are deeper issues within the family system that need to be discussed in a group setting. In the meantime, your parents can determine what precautions should be taken so that you and your sibling won’t be alone together. This can greatly diminish the likelihood of future sexual contact.

For additional guidance, we suggest you contact the
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-879-6682. And you can call us. Focus on the Family’s Counseling department can provide you with a list of referrals if you need assistance finding a qualified Christian therapist practicing in your area (preferably a specialist in the field of trauma care). Our staff counselors are also available to talk with you or your parents over the phone. They’re more than willing to come alongside you in any way they can.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Door of Hope: Recognizing and Resolving the Pains of Your Past

No Place to Cry: The Hurt and Healing of Sexual Abuse

On the Threshold of Hope: Opening the Door to Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing After Childhood Sexual Abuse

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)

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