Why Do I Feel So Dirty Around My Brother?

I (19F) feel dirty when my brother (17M) touches me. Even just normal sibling touches like brushing against my arm or a pat on the head make me want to shower. This extends to everything he touches, and I will usually have a panic attack if I see/know that he’s been in my room, with even the floor feeling contaminated. I’ve been trying to ignore it, but it’s just been feeling worse.

I know that the go-to answer for something like this is sexual assault, but I don’t remember that ever happening. I do know that he was involved with the sexual assault of someone else, but I’m not sure if that’s related. I also don’t think it’s OCD, since I don’t have any other compulsions/symptoms, and I only feel like my brother is dirty, rather than everyone around me.

I just don’t know what to do. The rest of my family doesn’t take it seriously, with my other brothers (14M and 11M) acting like I’m being totally unreasonable when I asked that they not let him in if they can help it. I’m really at the end of my rope. This evening I had literally just showered and changed my sheets and I came in to find him sitting at the end of my bed, so now i’m not comfortable being in it at all, even though I’ve forced myself to anyway.

Does anyone know what this is and how I can stop it???


From foobie: I do feel that your reactions are due to the allegations and they are making you feel uncomfortable. You are not being unreasonable because it is very serious. I am curious to know why he was sitting at the end of your bed when you were coming out of the shower? It feels very creepy to me. I think you should speak to an adult other than your brothers. Do your parents know or have you talked to them about how you’re feeling?

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I think your feelings are very understandable, especially if you are and empathetic person. Knowing that he has abused someone else, empathy may make it feel as though the assault happened to you. Rather than feeling dirty, be aware that it’s more likely an emotional response to being around someone who has violated someone else.

It really is a difficult situation when there is no validation or family support. You have a right to tell him to stay out of your personal space. In truth, it may be best to demand that no brother invade your room.

Counseling or therapy may help you, if for no other reason than for you to be comfortable with yourself. It also may help you communicate with your parents, so they can back you up with regards to doing what it takes to help you feel safe. Is it possible to put a lock on the door to your room?

Welcome to Heart Support!

Oh goodness I can imagine it would feel very uncomfortable with anyone coming into your room uninvited even if it is your own brother.
Knowing that history of your own brother perhaps there’s a reason there that makes you particularly uncomfortable with him being around being you are also the female in a group of boys.

Has your parents actively sought therapy for him? Are they aware of the assault aspect? If so they should be really taking into account the fact that he’s in your room all the time, especially after you’re having showered.

What does the support around you look like? Does anyone else know your concerns that can step in and advocate to your parents about it? Perhaps to suggest he go to therapy or that you get your own locks on your room?


Hi UtterQueerNightmare,
thank you for reaching out, welcome to Heart Support.
are your parents aware of the sexual assault where your brother is involved in ? i mean that is sounding really serious
to us. when that happened, your parents should take your voice serious. i can only imagine how you feel at the moment and i feel so sorry that you have to through this without support, as far as it sounds.
have you told someone outside your family about that, like a school counselor or reached out to a therapist ?
have you talked to him and set boundaries towards him ? those are necessary for you now. and should be respected. from everyone in your family.
you are loved and you matter most ! :purple_heart: feel hugged


UtterQueenNightmare, your feelings are actually quite understandable considering what you tell us your brother has done. That he is violating your space, your room and makes you uncomfortable says that you don’t trust him. I see that you have talked to your brothers. Have you talked to your parents about how you feel? Do you have another trusted adult you can talk to about what is going on? It sounds like you need help in dealing with what you are feeling and how your brother’s actions are affecting you. This is serious stuff and you have a right to have your fears taken seriously. Please talk to a trusted adult for guidance.

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Welcome to HeartSupport and thank you for sharing this with us, UtterQueerNightmare. Also your username is awesome!

I’m so sorry that your family is not respecting your feelings. Do the rest of them know about the sexual assault he was involved in, especially your parents? I definitely think that your feelings stem from that situation. Even if it has never involved you directly that can definitely create uneasy feelings around him.

Have you asked him directly to stay out of your room? If you have and he still does not respect your space then that is definitely something I would mention to your parents. Even without his past, that is something that should always be respected. The point of having your own room is to have a sanctuary away from others and you should definitely have a say in who enters that space. Door locks are pretty easy to install and not very expensive. If no one else will help you keep him from your bedroom that may be the best course of action. Get one with a key and then you can lock your room whenever you leave it. Perhaps even the very fact you are putting a lock on your door will make your family take you seriously and you all can figure out a true course of action to make sure everyone feels safe in your home.

I’m so sorry that you do not feel safe around him and that your family is not taking your fears seriously. I hope that you find a way to reclaim the sanctuary of your room. Good luck and please let us know if things improve :hrtlegolove:


Hi Friend, Welcome to Heartsupport and thank you for feeling strong enough to open up and express how you are feeling which cannot have been easy. To have to live these fears, this uncomfortable feeling, the need to not be near your own brother and to then not be supported by the people that are meant to do that very thing must be so very hard for you.
Reading your words does make one think that the sexual assult could well have a lot to do with it and if your parents are aware of that, this should most definately be taken seriously because although it was not you it clearly has had a strong effect and for that you require some help.
You have every right to your own private space, there is no need for your brother to ever be in your bedroom without your permission, that is not a debateable situation, it is your room. That rule needs to be put down and kept to. Other than that I would certainly encourage you to ask to see a therapist to discuss what has happened and how you feel, I know they can help you to work through this. post any time, we are here for you .Lisa x

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