What If My Family Rejects Me? Part 3

Nov 26th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Diablog--Multi-Person Blog

by Christina Enevoldsen & Darlene Ouimet

Christina: The other day, I was felt unsettled about some things and, as usual, I poured out my heart to my husband. He’s a good listener, so as I processed my feelings I realized that part of the solution had me stumped and part of it I just didn’t want to do. That left me with my pain. I changed the subject and we discussed a mutual friend’s issues instead. When I just about had the friend’s problems all figured out, it occurred to me that I changed the subject as a form of denial. It was easier to talk about what our friend should do to improve his life than to talk about what I needed to do to make mine better.

I think that’s what happens sometimes when we focus on the reaction of people outside of us. We get hung up on what they are doing instead of on what we need to be doing. So many survivors of abuse stay focused on the whys? the hows? And the what ifs? “Why don’t they believe me?” “How could they protect my abuser, but betray me?” or “What if I talk to them one more time?”

When I first separated from my parents after they refused to honor my boundaries, I celebrated my freedom. But eventually, the pain pierced me. The loss of my mom haunted me for months. In my desire to stop the pain, I grasped at the ‘what if’s?’ “What if she misunderstood me?” “What if I explained it better?” “What if she’d like to make up, but is afraid?”

I got caught up in those questions as though the answers would extinguish my burning ache. It didn’t make sense that the person who was meant to love me, protect me, nurture me, and teach me right from wrong would betray or reject me. Could this be a huge misunderstanding? Was I taking what my parents said too seriously?

Darlene: I kept second guessing myself, because that is what they taught me to do. They taught me that I was wrong. They taught me that I was the one who had the problem and that I was selfish and self-centered. I think that is why I kept trying. I really believed that before I could hear myself, they had to hear me. I wanted them to suddenly realize that I had been wronged.

I wanted to prove several things to them; that I had in fact been abused, mistreated and unprotected, and that I was worthy of love. I got stuck when the condition that I put on myself was that when they would finally agree with me, I could believe it. The problem was that I would not hear or validate myself until they heard me. I thought my freedom and wholeness depended on if they said I could have it or not. I thought that I had to prove that I was right in order to draw those boundaries. I thought that I had to prove (to myself even) that I had been neglected, or emotionally abandoned by my family before I could actually stand up to them.

One day I saw this for the truth that it was. I realized that I was rejecting my own truth by letting them decide if I was telling the truth or not. I realized that I was letting them define me as unworthy and unlovable. I was now doing what they taught me to do—discounting myself; abandoning myself; mistreating and devaluing myself and neglecting myself. As long as I was doing this to myself, they didn’t need to bother too much with me because as long as I was fighting for them to SEE me and HEAR me, they actually had control of me and the situation.

Christina: That’s a good point, Darlene. We’re so used to remaining the child in the relationship, that we feel the need for their permission and validation. I had to own my own power, recognizing myself as a mature adult. I also had to own my own feelings and opinions. Right or wrong, they are mine and I don’t need anyone’s permission to think or feel them.

The abuse violated my boundaries. Someone invaded my body and soul. They disregarded my will and my feelings. One of the most powerful expressions of our boundaries is the word “no”, and yet the abuse took away my “no”. Part of healing from the abuse is to take back my “no”:

“No, I won’t stay silent about the abuse.”
“No, I’m not going to protect another’s reputation at my expense.”
“No, I’m not going to continue to submit to your abuse.”

The abuse taught me that I’m responsible for others and that caring for myself is wrong. I’ve had a hard time saying “no”, but I also had a hard time hearing “no”. Many of us continue to struggle with confused or blurred boundaries throughout our lives. We have a tendency to either take care of other’s responsibilities or neglect our own—or both.

My family was saying “no” to me when they rejected me:

“No, I do not believe you.”
“No, I won’t support you.”
“No, I won’t admit I did anything harmful to you.”
“No, I won’t apologize.”
“No, I won’t stop telling you to get over it.”
“No, I won’t end my friendship with your abuser.”

To focus on other people’s boundaries—their behavior, their responsibilities, their choices, their beliefs, their opinions, their feelings, their attitudes, their values—is to assume responsibility for them. Focusing on my parent’s boundaries keeps me from my own responsibility. When I focus on them, I lose clarity about me.

My family may not behave, think, or feel the way that I would or the way I want them to, but they are free to make their own choices (and free to reap the consequences of those choices). It’s not my job to correct them, convince them, or punish them no matter how they failed me.

Darlene: Yes, Christina, that is exactly how I feel too. The key to freedom is not in understanding why other people didn’t take care of us, or why we were emotionally, physically or sexually abused; The key (well at least one key) is in understanding that we were powerless and that we are not who “they” say we are.

I will never understand my mother, and I don’t even want to. I don’t know if I ever did get my head around it, but what set me free was that I got my head around that it was up to me to take my life back. I realized that this was about HER and not about me. I don’t have to take it and I don’t have to understand it. I found the truth about her and then about me and what she taught me about me was all lies.

When I stood up for myself and when I stopped asking, hoping and waiting for them to hear me, believe me and validate me, I began to blossom and thrive. I began to grow into the person that I believe I was born to be. I met myself on the road to healing and for the very first time I felt like an individual. It wasn’t long before I stopped chasing the lie; I stopped believing that the illusive butterfly of happiness could only be found in parental love and acceptance which would set me free and solve my problems.

Christina: I may never know the answers to why? how? And what if? But I don’t care anymore. Those answers promise protection and closure, but they fail to deliver. They don’t have power to help me move on. Knowing the answers doesn’t change anything. They won’t take care of me, take away the pain, or make up for my loss. The past still happened, and I am the one who has to deal with it. And as an adult, I’m equipped to do that successfully. The responsibility for taking care of me lies with the person who cares the most: ME.

Related Posts:
What If My Family Rejects Me? Part 1
What If My Family Rejects Me? Part 2
My Parents Are Dead (To Me)
Unfriending My Abuser
The Psychological, Physical and Sexual Abuse ‘Why’ Questions

Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and four grandchildren.

 

Darlene Ouimet is an inspirational speaker, certified professional life coach and mental health advocate. While speaking in mental health seminars about her complete recovery from dissociated identity disorder, chronic depression, and a lifetime of low self-esteem, Darlene realized that her journey to wholeness had a unique kind of impact and she embraced a new life purpose—to deliver this message of hope, healing and full recovery to a hurting world. Darlene authors a high traffic blog called “Emerging from Broken—from surviving to thriving on the journey to wholeness.”

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  1. This is an absolutely excellent post. Throughout the conversation so much resonated with me. The entire post is light bulb moment after light bulb moment for me.

    “The key (well at least one key) is in understanding that we were powerless and that we are not who “they” say we are.” – wow, that’s just what I’ve been doing the last week realising I’m not who they said I was and defining who I am now. And it’s all powerful empowering stuff!!

    I’m in the process of writing something about that for my blog and will be putting a link to this post in it.

  2. Fi,
    There are so many ways that our boundaries, our very selves, were violated and it takes so much time and a whole lot of work to take back our lives. Yay for all of us pressing through this stuff! I look forward to reading your blog.
    Hugs, Christina

  3. The change of subject that you mentioned at the beginning Christina is not always a denial thing we do. I find that the distraction of talking about something entirely different for a while, (until I am ready, able to) works well for me. I can then return to and concentrate much more effectively on my issue after I have had some time out and away, ‘a breathing space’, some thinking time.

    I have used distraction, ‘done that’, as part of denial though; Lots of times in fact – just focus on other people’s stuff, rather than deal with, confront, do my stuff. The trouble with constantly doing that was, it kept happening, nothing was getting resolved, until I stopped doing the denial, the really it wasn’t all that bad kind of thing etc.

  4. Kathryn,
    The point I’m making is about the change of subject is exactly what you mentioned– that I was focused on something outside of me so I wouldn’t have to look at what was in me. As a survivor of abuse, I was trained to look outside of myself. I was trained to take care of other people’s needs and I was trained that I didn’t have anything good, worthwhile or wise inside of me, so I HAD to look elsewhere for my need fulfillment. Recognizing those lies has been incredibly empowering. I AM enough. So freeing! Thanks for your comment.
    Hugs, Christina

  5. I’ve spent the evening with this series. I hadn’t read the first two pieces, as I had not yet discovered this site when they were first written. I’ve been moved to tears, to rage, to terror, but unfortunately, not yet to action. Well, to a little internal action, and a few words on a page (progress!), but certainly not to discussing anything with my family. I have a lot to say. I hope you will understand if I ramble a bit.

    I hope it does not diminish the pain you have been through with your own families (and it is certainly not my intention to do that) to say I WISH my family would reject me? My family of origin is scattered all over the U.S. I live outside of Washington, D.C. My mother lives in Florida. My brother lives in Seattle. My eldest sister lives in North Carolina. My other sister lives in Denver. This is how it has been for years. The last time we were all in the same room together, my eldest nephew was 5. He will be 21 on Monday. My mother visits me once a year and usually stays for a month. Last year, she came for the month of September; a few weeks later, I broke my arm and she came back for another month. This year, she only came for 10 days. I am the only one of her children that she visits. She’s in touch with everyone else, but she has only visited my brother once in the last decade (once more than I have) that he’s been in Seattle and it was because he payed for the trip. He also took her on vacation to Rome a few years ago. She called me when she got back from that trip and recounted all the terrible little annoyances and never once mentioned that she was thrilled to see a part of the world she never would have otherwise seen. On the other hand, she told all of my siblings what a wonderful trip it was and how thrilled she was to see a part of the world she never would have otherwise seen. My family is scattered all over the country, but I still feel oppressed by them. By all of them except, ironically enough, my brother (maybe because I talk to him the least).

    I have always felt responsible for my mother. For her broken dreams. Her own mother’s abuse of her. Her divorce. Her brokenness in general. My father left when she was pregnant with me, and I always told myself it was my fault. While that was never overtly said to me by my mother – in fact, she said the opposite – I realize, that in actions, I was encouraged to believe that. Why did I/do I feel it necessary to carry her burdens in addition to my own? Because she asked me to. For as long as I can remember, I have been her confidante, her friend, her sounding board, her parent. But I have never felt like her daughter. In one of these posts, Christina, you said, “…it was a complete fantasy because what I wanted wasn’t possible. I still had a hole in my soul that longed to be nurtured…” I think that is why I still feel so tied to my mother. I want the fantasy. Even though I know intellectually it can never happen. Even if she suddenly became nurturing (unlikely), I wouldn’t trust it. I wouldn’t believe it, and with good reason. Whenever she was “loving” when I was a child, she was taking something from me, not giving it.

    Having said all that, I can’t figure out a way to sever ties with her. What would I say? “I don’t want to talk anymore. I don’t want to see you anymore.” “Why?” “Because of the kind of mother you were when I was a child.” Ridiculous, when I’ve put up with it for so long. Stopping now would be like changing the rules in the middle of the game. It strikes me as colossally unfair…in fact, it seems like something she would do.

    I told her, when I was 18 years old, that my brother had molested me. Without missing a beat, she said, “That’s between you and him.” And that is the only conversation we ever had about it. When I was 35, I received a diagnosis of early menopause from my doctor, putting to an end the last hope that I ever had of having children (the only thing I’ve ever wanted, by the way). When I told her, she said, “It’s probably for the best.” What does that even mean?

    I am sorry to go on and on. Obviously, I’m still processing all of this. I think there is more underneath that I have yet to remember. I am realizing that I have let her dictate my choices, my actions, my REALITY for my whole life. Even when she’s not here, her voice is still in my head, stepping on me every time I blossom a little. She was never much of a gardener. ;)

    Darlene and Christina, your blogs have been a Godsend. While I still feel guilty for spending time on your sites (because it is wallowing in the past, of course), I will try to will myself to keep coming back, because they are the only places I’ve ever been where I’ve felt validated. Thank you for your wisdom, your kindness, and your compassion for others.

  6. Hi Lisa,
    You said, “I hope it does not diminish the pain you have been through with your own families (and it is certainly not my intention to do that) to say I WISH my family would reject me?”

    Not at all. I’ve often thought that my parent’s reaction to me made it easier because it was unmistakable that they were telling me that I didn’t matter to them. They did me a favor, though they didn’t mean it that way. I’m much better off without them. I do have to say that though that I had every right to leave even if they hadn’t made those choices. We aren’t bound to people even if they are family.

    You said, “Having said all that, I can’t figure out a way to sever ties with her. What would I say? “I don’t want to talk anymore. I don’t want to see you anymore.” “Why?” “Because of the kind of mother you were when I was a child.” Ridiculous, when I’ve put up with it for so long. Stopping now would be like changing the rules in the middle of the game. It strikes me as colossally unfair…in fact, it seems like something she would do.”

    I understand how you feel about “changing the rules in the middle of the game.” I had that same issue. But the rules I was playing by were someone else’s rules. I was born into them and didn’t even know I could question them. It all seemed so ‘normal’ and once I saw that it wasn’t so normal, I felt guilty for standing up and saying I didn’t want to play anymore. But the truth is that it was unfair. It was unfair to ME all those years. The unfair part was that I was used instead of nurtured and protected. THAT was unfair. I had every right to stop playing their game and play by my own rules—rules that were based on equality, not on them being the only ones who could ever win.

    You said, “I told her, when I was 18 years old, that my brother had molested me. Without missing a beat, she said, “That’s between you and him.” And that is the only conversation we ever had about it. When I was 35, I received a diagnosis of early menopause from my doctor, putting to an end the last hope that I ever had of having children (the only thing I’ve ever wanted, by the way). When I told her, she said, “It’s probably for the best.” What does that even mean?”

    I’m sorry your mother has been so cruel and uncaring. You don’t deserve to be treated that way!

    You said, “Darlene and Christina, your blogs have been a Godsend. While I still feel guilty for spending time on your sites (because it is wallowing in the past, of course), I will try to will myself to keep coming back, because they are the only places I’ve ever been where I’ve felt validated. Thank you for your wisdom, your kindness, and your compassion for others.”

    I’m so glad you feel validated here. I hope you do keep coming back as often as you need to. It’s not wallowing in the past to face the past. The past keeps haunting us until we deal with it. I’m glad you’re seeing glimpses of the truth and I really hope you continue to heal. You’re important and you’re worth it.

    Hugs, Christina

  7. I was trained exactly the same way as you were Christina; to ALWAYS, always put other people’s needs, to consider them as the priority first and foremost. This has been something that women were trained in/taught for centuries; to put other people’s needs before their own, so that we could be what was considered the best mothers (perfect), wives, girlfriends and on and on it went. Self care did not exist in my birth family’s generation or our mothers’ or grandmothers’ prior to that. The very idea that a woman would even dare think to do so, to consider herself first or attempt to do any self care, was seen as a grossly selfish, a highly negative and unacceptable behaviour, rather than seeing, understanding that taking care of, considering yourself first particularly as a woman and a mother is not selfish and will then allow you to take better care, look out for the other important people in your life and especially if you are a mother.

    Hugs right back at you Christina.

    .

  8. Reading this post inspired me to write about how I’m working through how my family rejected me and how I’m starting over and redefining family for myself.

    If you want to read it it’s at -

    http://fionanicholson.blogspot.com/2010/11/dealing-with-family-rejection.html

  9. Kathryn,
    Being female was definitely part of it– the man is the king of the castle and all that– and the abuse was another layer of that same message. The abuse told me that my needs weren’t important and that I was on the planet to serve someone else’s needs and desires. I used to feel so heroic for putting everyone first, but that was just a coping method– a way to romanticize and validate my dysfunction. Learning to love myself has been a challenge and taken years. I’m finally in the place where I know I’m important and that it’s not selfish to take care of myself.
    Yay for all of us who are finding our way to loving ourselves and those of us who are trying!
    Christina

  10. Fi,
    Thank you so much for posting a link to your blog about your journey after family rejection. I think the thing that strikes me in all of our stories is that what we refer to as “when my family rejected me” wasn’t really an event. The ‘event’ may have been the time we realized that we weren’t a part of them anymore, but I have yet to meet ANYONE who didn’t already live a lifestyle of family rejection. I’m so glad you’re writing about your experiences and your process. I’m happy that it’s helping you in your healing and I anticipate it helping many others too.
    Hugs, Christina

  11. Hi Everyone,
    Christina, it has been an honour to co-write a blog post with you.

    Fi ~ You are having so many breakthroughs lately its like being present at the fireworks display! Beautiful and splendid to be able to watch! So glad that you are sharing them!

    Lisa ~ I can totally relate to your post,
    I felt that same way too, that I was changing the rules, AND that I was all my mother had. But as Christina said, these were not my rules; I was born into them and they were not based in love OR equality. I had to make a few decisions based on what I needed. Standing up for yourself is a big key to freedom and healing. I had to ask myself why I didn’t think I was worth being validated (re what your mothers responses are to you; my mother is the exact same by the way) and I had to take a good look at owning my OWN value. That was part of the whole picture for me. Deciding that I was worth it.
    Thanks for sharing this painful part of your life. Keep hanging in and pushing to move forward. It takes time.
    Hugs, Darlene

  12. Yes Kathryn – being female was certainly part of it for me – it was repeatedly said to me that being born a girl was to them “a huge disappointment and just wrong, they never wanted a girl because girls are trash” – talking about undermining and invalidating your gender identity from word go – I think I’d always have had issues with being female even if I hadn’t gone on to be abused by both males and females. Only boys were acceptable in their eyes – females were the lowest of the low. Terrible really!!

  13. Thanks for this post. I have problems around this. It’s very fresh my acknowledging my own experience because of blocking a lot of it out. I think I need to remember to respect my needs somehow. I still have a lot of uncertainty and fear so I prefer to wait until I am comfortable in myself and with my truth. It’s just taken me twenty years to be able to begin seeing it instead of hiding from it, I’m not about to terrify myself back into silence because of other people’s judgement which I guess is an inevitability. However I when I am more secure in my own self and healing and language too, I will share more. Someone said to me ‘screw them’ in reference to family I was worried about bringing it up with or finding it out; very scared also because their part in my experience is still very under wraps. This reaction of my friend though made me go ‘I need more of that feeling’. It’s like sod them, what have they got to do with my healing from this trauma anyway – nothing. Are they in my life now, hardly at all. Will it effect them terribly my sharing this I doubt it? Will they judge me – almost certainly, will I get an earful probably – will I still exist after that – YES! Only I will have become congruent, real, true to myself. I like knowing this even if I’m not there yet

  14. Christina, the putting everyone else was very common when I did my nursing training as well and it was how our Mother was trained; that we could and must cope with anything and everything and put everyone else’s needs first regardless. Thanks to some very strong and wise women That in nursing has changed an awful lot. It was one more reason as to why I was such a slave to other people’s needs; ‘the system’, and as to why I eventually burnt out so severely.

    Fi, the same for me, I was regularly told I was hated because I was a girl; girls had very little, if any value, as boys were considered THE sons and heirs. The reason our Mother used to say that, was because my older brother HATED me. On one occasion he attacked me when I was four and hurt me very badly. That happened not long after the first sexual assault/Rape against me by a fifty something year old man when I was three (That man, the perpetrator had worked on our parent’s property/farm). Afterwards my brother then went on to HATE me even more and resented me our entire childhood and for most of our adulthood as well. I aked why he had done that then, and the so many other times he had done things to me (emotionally and verbally) throughout our childhood and our Mother always responded with and told me that,” It was because I was HATED because I was a girl”.

    How could a little girl not grow up believing that she was not loved and for simply being a girl, a Female; that she had NO/much less value, just because she was born a female; when the people who were supposed to love her and care about her, regularly told her that, ‘being female’, was insignificant, of no value, worthless to that of any male that existed or had ever existed. How could any child withstand that level of vitriole and that is what I have had to overcome; decades of those hurting, harming words.To make it worse, this is what our mother believed, what had been taught to her, what she in actual fact believed about HERSELF. Those beliefs were taught to both our parents because of the particular religious and societal beliefs about/against our, the female gender that abounded at the time. It is terrible Fi, it was terrible!!!!! She also told me often as an adult that I had failed because I had not given my Ex- husband any sons and heirs and even up til the time she died she was telling me and my three daughters that it was a shame that they didn’t have any brothers; her indirect, snide way I believe of telling me again that she still considered me a failure because I had failed in Her view to deliver those all important sons and heirs. She couldn’t and would never see that those three lovely girls that stood before her, were just as good, just as important and just as VALUED as any son I would have had, if I had ever had one. Nasty, nasty stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I gave up trying to challenge her in the end, as I believe she had some degree of dementia in combination with her other illnesses. Anytime I challenged her on these diabolical beliefs she would say the same thing or a similar thing the next time I went to visit. It was one of the many reasons as to why I saw very little of her in the years prior to her death. It took a lot of energy to go back, to visit her again, only to be re-triggered every time, to have to endure everything all over again with no hope, no change, no chance of any successful outcome for me.

    Most of that is the Big why, as to why it has been so damned hard to LOVE myself; why it has taken me so long to be able to do that; as to why it has taken me so many years to Stand up for myself.

    That is why this site and the internet is so good for survivors, because WE are changing those dynamics; the WE including the Marys’, Christina, Bethany, Darlene, Jim, Peter, Donnie, Jennifer, Patty, Jill, Jillian, Rachel, Susan, Robert, Yourself, Myself and the Many others who are now telling our stories; talking about, telling about what happened to us; WE are doing that; WE cannot, WE must not, WE WILL not be Silent any more!

  15. (correction) WE WILL NOT be Silent any more!

  16. And what hurt the very most, being blamed for what happened; being called a …………….; people believing it was always the fault of the girl or the woman, insisting on it, and, ‘that’, was regularly pedalled by the religion that my parents practised and believed in; that girls and women were the real, the worst sinners, evil, temptresses of the devil. Thank God/ thank Goodness I do not believe that any more.

  17. Louise,
    That’s so great that you’re protecting yourself by proceeding carefully and thoughtfully. That’s so wise! Thanks for commenting.
    Hugs, Christina

  18. Christina and Darlene….this topic is one that as you described…also caused much angst for me. In the beginning….I tried to find a way to explain my new boundaries so they might understand. I thought – why wouldn;t they “get it” if I just explained what it was I was looking for: to not be forced to justify my thoughts, feelings, choices….my existence. In the end – I had to use this as another thing to grieve and realize that it was not possible for me to create the family I desired and deserved, but to release them to find their own way – or not. But it was no longer my responsibility and I no longer needed their approval to exist once I discovered this secret to living beyond these dysfunctional relationships. And this has served me well in identifying potential new relationships as well.

  19. Hi Louise,
    It took a long time for me to feel safe talking about my past and talking about my parents. This whole process takes time because we were groomed from so young to accept the wrongs. BUT YAY that you also realize that owning your truth and talking about your life will not kill you if they don’t like it. Being true to myself set me free! Like I said in my current blog post “Being believed does not change anything about the truth of what happened. When people didn’t believe me, I doubted myself even more. Sticking to my guns and standing firm on my boundary is the only way that I can prove that I BELIEVE ME” I can empower myself now, I can be for me what they could not be for me.
    Thank you for sharing this today.
    Hugs, Darlene

    Kathryn!
    I love your energy! Yes yes yes… WE will not be silent anymore.

    Hi Susan,
    Yes, this is a huge process. I didn’t just get to jump to wholeness. LOL I tried to bargain with my family too, but nothing changed. I really wanted them to understand me, and to realize that the way they treated me was wrong.. that I only wanted fair treatment. This was a really hard thing but I was dying. I finally chose me and my kids. I decided that I was worth it and I don’t need anyone to agree with me about that anymore.
    Hugs, Darlene

  20. Too right Kathryn – it is absolutely appalling to grow up as a little girl knowing that your being a little girl has no value, no worth, such hatred, such vitriol, such demeaning, such humiliation, terrible devaluing, brainwashing and controlling, snide insinuating, NASTY, NASTY, NASTY. And why? Because of a totally sick upside down belief system. There are no words really.

    I gave up trying to confront my family eventually and had to accept some people are so sick, so far into denial and so deluded that they are beyond confrontation and you just have to cut the ties and leave them to it.

    Yes, I agree – WE WILL NOT be SILENT anymore – and d’u know, the more we tell, the more we free ourselves

  21. Great post ladies … I thought the same too, that somehow the abuse wasn’t real unless they believed me or acknowledged me. I got none of that. I have friends who believe me more than my family does. When I was ‘rejected’ by them four months ago because they didn’t want to hear about ‘any of my crap’ – I was very hurt.

    But before this rejection of family I was always focused on, ‘why can’t they see it?’ … ‘why do they not believe me?’ … ‘is her abuse of me not evident to them? how come?’ … all the while I become focused on all these questions for which there are no answers. I have realized that I have to pour energy into what I know instead of things I cannot know.

    I really liked the phrase, “When I focus on them, I lose clarity about me.” … And this is exactly what has been happening to me. It had been going on for ten years. Now I am losing my focus on them – what they think or believe is not my problem – and I get to gain clarity on who I am, and therapy is helping with that.

  22. Susan,
    I love your insight:
    “I had to use this as another thing to grieve and realize that it was not possible for me to create the family I desired and deserved, but to release them to find their own way – or not. But it was no longer my responsibility and I no longer needed their approval to exist once I discovered this secret to living beyond these dysfunctional relationships. And this has served me well in identifying potential new relationships as well.”
    I discovered the same thing for myself– that as I let go of other’s responsibilities and accepted what they chose, I became healthier in other relationships too. Since I was focusing on meeting my own needs, I wasn’t desperate to fill a certain role in my life. I let go of the fantasy and released them from the role I needed/wanted them to play and I became better at being able to really SEE.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs, Christina

  23. Yay Paulette!
    I’m so glad your gaining clarity about yourself. That’s where the good stuff is!
    Hugs, Christina

  24. This is a great post especially for this time of year. My family are dismissive and like to ridicule those who see different from them. They do not see themselves as abusive, my older sisters still have contact with them. However none of us have raised our children around them for long except for one of my sisters. Now her children do not want to know her as they have said she along with her husband was abusive to them.

    I cut off ties with my family over 12 years ago my children are teenagers now, so they have not had any family contact as such and do not remember them. I feel bad almost every Christmas time and birthday time that I have not had them around my family members or my husbands. I felt as if my children were missing out on that family experience and closeness ( that never existed just the illusion of it and pretending to be normal). Ironic as I am also aware if we did have contact with my family my children would be subject to ridicule and directed nasty sarcasm. My husbands family in fact his mum as his parents are divorced rejected my husband in his adult years. My husband cut of ties with his Dad due to realising that his family just would not accept or get it how to treat or how we wanted our children treated. My husbands mum heard of this and called up my husband her son to tell him she wanted no further contact with him and how cruel he was to cut ties of with his Dad. Funny thing she disliked her ex husband and would continuously whine about him. My husband realises now that his mum did him a favour as he does not have the constant ridicule from any of the family members. Our family have had the chance to grow up with out having to perform and constant need to gain approval. This has been a slow process for us as a couple and individually. As time goes on more things make sense.

    For me I have to remind myself that my children missed out avoiding the abuse that their cousins on both sides have gone through. My children are aware that neither of their parents came from okay backgrounds.
    My family and my husbands family rejected us because we would not allow abuse of ourselves emotionally and psychologically anymore let alone our children.

    I always remember when we were moving to Queensland , my mother in law called me up to ask me well tell me that she has the right to smack my children if she is present and they misbehave. Not how much she was looking forward to meeting or seeing her grandchildren or us but how she was going to hit them and show them who is boss. I said to her on the phone that is not a normal thing a grandparent says or asks. Grandparents usually want the opposite and that if she hit or thought about hitting my children I would have her up on assault charges. Our children at the time were only toddlers, what a thing to think about.
    I had more or less cut off contact with my family as they were far to draining. I had not yet looked at the abuse or the effects of abuse from them. But I had to do it in small steps in my own time. My mother in law and her husband have never ever hit my two children not long after we moved here I stood up again to them explaining no one tells me what I will or want eat on Christmas day or what time I will be celebrating it at their home. Not long after the story of my husband telling his Dad who also lives here he wants nothing to do with him and then the rejection of his mum was not long after. It had been coming for a long time with things that occurred in between. It takes a while and I still feel it no extended family around and living in a place that I do not really like but funnily enough so our children were around family and a cousin. It has been almost 8 years on and we are going to be moving to another place in Australia, buying a home instead of moving around lots and having no idea where to settle. I realise it was because my husband felt uncomfortable and well I was to. That is our choice and no family of either of ours live there always a bonus. A sort of fresh start and new beginnings, but one thing I never felt I had was a choice in things or a voice. I always felt that I said the wrong thing and that I was a mean person for not for the sake of the children kept the peace and done as my husbands family or mine requested.
    We move sometime next year and it has given our family some sort of new hope something positive a start of something great. No idea why it has taken 8 years to move it felt like I was in a sort of fog and hard to see things or make sense. I felt like I was fighting and battling so many things. friends who were really different versions of abusive family members and then the abusive cold hearted family members. I wish I had of realised and not allowed self doubt to creep in and question all my decisions I had made or my husband.

    We have our family and are making it stronger by the move, it feels sort of uplifting. Nothing to be scared of anymore, finally at 36 years of age I have an idea of what I can do.

  25. Clare,
    I completely understand that feeling of having been in a fog. When I look back at what was going on and my feelings and responses to it, it amazes me how much of a fog I was in. Even now, there are still things I’m discovering about the truth, but I’m actively responding to it much better. Now I recognize those areas where the fog still wants to come in.

    I like what you said about your children– that instead of thinking about the ‘family’ they missed out on, you think about the abuse you spared them by keeping them away from family. Good for you! Thanks for commenting.
    Hugs, Christina

  26. Ladies, I rarely comment but I do read and I do absorb.Christina, your final paragragh may be the single most important thing I read from this day forward … let’s hope so. Both of you wonderful women have touched my heart and have left seeds that grow and are healing my soul. Because of you I have been able in my work for women’s rights to admit the abuse in my past on air to the worl. No details but I have admitted I was a victim.

    As you know, my work, is focused in another direction where I can also do good for women but I am comforted knowing you both are taking care of this very much needed women’s work. There is so much we need to do. Many will not even look at this facet that you bravely tackle- I am ashamed to say I would not even face it in my own life. God Speed, without your work – what good moving broken women forward?

  27. Betty Jean!
    I’m so glad you commented and so happy to know that you’ve been reading our blogs! I know disclosure isn’t easy, but it’s great that you’ve taken that first step. You’re doing important work to help women, but you’re important too and deserve to heal.

    I think about you often. There was something you said when you were interviewing me that stuck with me. I had a lightbulb moment concerning how alone I felt as a child and it helped to tie some things together for me, so thank you so very much!
    Hugs, Christina

  28. Oh I read your work – I rarely comment – but I read. I think of you both often.
    Between the three of us – I had it out with my father seeral moths ago and I have no said a word to him since- yesterday was his birthday and I did not give in.
    Even a Thanksgiving- I bought a precooked dinner for the family – brought it to the table – positioned myself where I couopd not see him and never looked his way . I left immediately after the meal. I doubt I will ever speak with that man again – no matter how much my mother begs. He has verbally abused me for the last time! But this last time – I let him have it and the bastard is mad at me- for disrespecting him! hehehehe imagine that? So long as he thinks its his idea he is satisfied- but I know Its mine and guess what? I don’t give a rats ass what he thinks! I know what I think – I think he has done enough damage to me and I am not going to allow him another word!
    Thank you both for that! Mom is another story but I am not yet ready to go there.
    She is 86 he is 90!

    I wish I knew what it was I said or asked you Christina– I can’t imagine since in this area – I am beneath an infant! It is amazing to me that I am just 1 of me!

  29. Hi Betty Jean
    It is great to hear that you are moving forward, having breakthroughs and standing up for yourself. This is an area where so many of us get stuck ~ because of how we have been raised (brainwashed) to blieve that we will suffer so badly if we stand up to our parents, we so often let that be the biggest block to real freedom.
    I often think that I had to and have to believe in my own worth independantly of my family, before I had the strength to stand up to them on my own behalf, and at the same time, as I stood strong I realized more and more my own worth. It never happened all at once; there was no magic or quick answer. All that matters to me now is that I live in truth and keep striving to move forward. In this way we can all make the difference we want to make in this world in what ever area we choose.
    It is so great to hear from you!! Congratulations on realizing that you deserve to be treated with respect ~ YOU DO! we all do..

    Love from beautiful Vallarta Mexico!
    Darlene

  30. I hate when they say it didn’t happen.
    I always say “You weren’t there, so you have no right to say it didn’t happen. You can say you don’t believe it happened but you’re damn sure not going to tell me it didn’t happen when you weren’t even in the same room in which it occurred.”
    And they still have the nerve to wonder why I would dare visit my friend more than I do them.
    One time I said “Well, for one thing HE believes me when I say something. So why WOULDN’T I want to see him more than you guys?”
    Obviously I don’t have any patience left for them. I don’t know when it ran out, but it did sometime within the last three years. After putting up w/ it for 38 years.

  31. Vicki,
    My mom said she knows my dad never abused me because she was a stay-at-home mom. Really? I was a stay-at-home mom and my daughter was abused. She believes that it happened to Bethany, but not to me. She just can’t accept the truth. If it wasn’t one excuse WHY it couldn’t be true, it would be something else. I’m just glad that my mom’s reality doesn’t define me anymore. She can live in her fantasy world, but I’m not pulled into it anymore.

    I’m glad you’re honoring yourself by protecting you from their issues. Yay for all of us who live in the truth now!
    Christina

  32. I waited my whole childhood to get away from the destructive sadists that posed as “parents”. The last time I saw the male abuser I was 19 and the last time I saw the female abuser I was 24. He has since died. I have no regrets, in fact I’m glad I made that choice. Neither one of them ever apologized to me. Some extended relatives ‘sided’ with them and cut off contact with me. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    I have had the usual pressure to “forgive” from some of my siblings. Don’t even get me started on that subject.
    I have no pressure on myself to forgive anyone.
    I never was tempted to reconnect with the abusers because I understood as a child that I had no parents.
    I’ve grieved about that fact on and off my whole life. I woud have loved to have had a real father and mother; to have been cared for, respected, admired, adored-everything a little girl dreams of in her heart.
    I didn’t get it. I got the opposite, in fact. I was used, abused and treated with contempt. That is really sad. And I’m not the only one. There is a little girl whose heart is being broken right now, and there is another little girl being cherished and adored. And that’s the way it goes.

  33. Cassandra,
    I’m so sorry for all the abuse you lived with, but I’m so glad you’re free of it now. You’re so right that there are children whose hearts are being broken right now and those who are being cherished and adored. I’ve had to rescue the little girl in me whose heart was broken and give her the cherised treatment she deserved all along. We may not have gotten it earlier, but we can have it now!
    Christina

  34. Hi everyone, I am new to this site but certainly not new to this journey. This particular post about family rejection struck a chord because of something I will be facing in the next couple of months. My family did not really reject me but they have chosen to stay connected with our father – my abuser. When I first came out about the abuse they all rallied behind me 100 % and cut off ties with him-for a little while. My mother and I were close but she passed away about a year before I spoke out about the abuse. I choose to believe she didn’t know. Maybe she did but she’s gone so that doesn’t really matter. In coming out about the abuse it was also revealed that he had abused my older sister. He actually had sex with her on a regular basis. With me there were only a few instances that I remember and they didn’t involve actual intercourse. I have been through years of therapy(still go), eating disorder, psych ward, depression and have a chronic illness that could very well stem from the PTSD. I confronted my father years ago in a therapists office. He called me a liar. Said his new wife and his reputation were more important than me and he didn’t need the “help” I was asking him to get. That was pretty much the end of our contact with each other. After a while he and his wife moved away to Florida. I live in OK. That was fine with me. Well in the past couple of years my step-mother has passed away too. About a year ago my oldest brother decided to move my father to a nursing home close to him. My brother lives in IL as does my sister. My other brother in OH. About the only time my siblings and I are all together is Christmas. We alternate houses except it is never at mine because I don’t have one and am single. This year Christmas is at my oldest brother’s house. For the first time since they moved my father there. I love my siblings very much and always look forward to us being together. I am afraid though that a fight could happen and it wouldn’t be the first one. They think I need to forgive and move on because whatever he did he is still our father. I however think that I have moved on and that forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to have any kind of relationship with him. I am the youngest and they grew used to me being a follower. When it comes to him though I haven’t followed. I have never backed down. I have refused to talk to him when he used to call us at Christmas. They don’t understand this especially since my sister continues to talk to him. My sister however has NEVER dealt with it really. She is very overweight, doesn’t treat her husband very well and doesn’t really like to have sex (she told me that years ago). We don’t talk about the abuse anymore. It has been swept under the rug. I am worried that they will all want to go visit him when we are together at Christmas and that they will not respect my decision to decline. Some people say just skip going there for Christmas this year but I don’t want to do that because this is the only time I see all my nieces and nephews and my siblings all together. Why should I have to miss out on that because of what he did? I get that if they want to visit him that is their choice and I am powerless over that. I don’t like it or understand it but it is their choice to make. So be it. All I want is for them to give me that same respect. Does this sound unreasonable?? Sorry this is so long but I am really in a turmoil over this.

  35. Hi DeAnn,
    Welcome to OSA! Abuse in families is so hard because the loss runs so deep and often continues for a lifetime even after the abuse stops. I’ve had to make similar choices and they aren’t ever easy because I don’t like either option since both involve loss. The thing that makes things easier for me is to remind myself that even though I don’t have power over others (and it seems as though they are the only ones who have the power to make things easier for me), I do have power. I ask myself what other options I have. If they do this, what can I do? Others may not respect my power to choose how I feel or what I do, but I respect my power to chose and use my power to find alternative options.
    Christina

  36. I have been reading your blogs and working through the tough familial stuff this past week. I was abused sexually (by strangers/neighbors) several times in my childhood and have been very clear about that in my mind. I have just never really let myself “feel” it. Something that is coming up Hard for me at this time however is my relationship with my mother. I originally was silent about the first rape, but because the second abuser lived across the street from my childhood home he was stalking me to and from school and I was very afraid. I, at 13, finally disclosed this to my mother tearfully & she seemed very concerned. She knocked on his door and told him that she was going to call the police if he didn’t move out of that house. And he did. I never received any counseling & mom & I never talked about it again. Life was busy and I just moved on. Later in life, while pregnant I discovered that this abuser was living across the street from my father and stepmother. I was an emotional wreck and confided in the both of them. I was 38 & had met & married a man I trusted & finally could wrap my brain around becoming a mother. I had never before wanted children because of my abuses. Why bring another innocent child into this horrible world?! My dad confronted this man very angrily and came to my defense. Mom, by the way never told him about any of my abuses. He was an active alcoholic when I was a kid and mom didn’t want to rock the boat. Nor did she report the second one. My dad convinced me that the rape occurred too long ago to press charges and advised me to get on with my life and immerse myself in becoming a mother. Which I did. I wrote in my journal and talked with my supportive husband and once again moved forward. Of course, now that my life is settled down I am now faced with finally dealing with those abuses. As I read & come to terms with my past I have come up against my mother & am super angry and confounded. The feeling that I am left with is violation by her own hand. Not sexual but emotional. She is angry at me for being open about my sexual abuse. She wants me to keep it private with a therapist and not share OSA blogs. I want nothing more than to say all of this out loud because I feel that no one truly knows me or understands me. The people in my life have no idea who I really am. Not that I am souly defined by the abuses, but that is part of what helped to shape me. I have been introverted and timid most of my life but over the years I have blossomed and now can speak up. I literally have found my voice after years of panic attacks and swallowing issues. My throat chakra and solar plexis chakras gave me hell for the better part of my life. Anyway, I have chosen to speak up for myself and my mother and I are no longer talking. I feel great relief. The feeling I am left with is that she was very verbally, physically and emotionally abusive to me and my twin brothers as children. Neither of my brothers speaks to her anymore. She seems super pissed that I am speaking out now. The old me would back down, because I would never have dreamt of hurting her before…. The new me is like “No!” I need to get this shit out now. I need to move on. I still have panic attacks of choking in my sleep & I would like to be free of them. It is my abuse coming out at night. I really feel like this is all attached to my mother controlling me. She was always so good at manipulating me. I would have walked on the moon for her. I really believe that she is my problem and I am just now discovering that. She doesn’t want anyone to witness what a serious fuck up of a mother she was. The neglect by both parents scared me and my brothers. I find talking to others about childhoods difficult because nobody can relate to what I am saying. Nobody can wrap their brains around a mother like mine. So, then I feel so misunderstood. Like I’m bashing my mother. I am no longer talking with my father because one of his stepsons grabbed my boobs as I was saying goodbye at a Fathers Day lunch at dad’s house. I don’t feel safe in his house & I won’t take my daughter over there for the same reason. So, basically I have had to divorce my parents over the past couple of years. Any support is welcome at this point. I have ordered several books that your site recommends and am ready to fight the fight and dump the baggage. The mother issue has me in pain. She clearly has issues from her childhood, but has told me to “grow up and get over it” while pathetically nursing her own wounds. I think the silence is killing her and it would kill me if I stayed silent.

  37. Dierdre,
    It’s so painful to face the ways our parents let us down and their abandonment, both in the past and present. I’ve found that the biggest and most common hindrance to moving forward in the healing process is being afraid of facing the failures of our parents. It’s a frightening thing to face for so many reasons. So good for you for facing that and standing up for YOU! That’s really wonderful!
    Christina

  38. I am so so glad I stumbled upon this site.

    I was physically abused by my biological father, abandoned by him, then sexually abused by my stepfather. After telling my mother what my stepfather was doing to me, I discovered her comforting HIM, not ME. He fully admitted what he had done and instead of protecting me, her 8 year old daughter, she protected him, herself, and their dignity. She remains married to him still.

    Now at 32, with two young children, I’m faced with the fact that I must ‘divorce’ from my family. I have been stuck living with guilt and shame and just the overall sense that I needed to “keep the peace” to be happy. I told my older brother and sister-in-law about the abuse many years ago and my mother reconfirmed it to them within the past two years. My brother, at first, completely shut me and my mother out of his life. My sister in law was the one who respected what had happened and tried very hard to help me work through it. She has always been a faithful Christian and tried to help by offering her thoughts on forgiveness. They had a daughter, who by now at 5, has become very close with my children. Suddenly though, my sister in law is the one pushing for my stepfather to be a part of their lives! She blatantly said to me “I want my daughter to know him.”

    WHAT???!!!!?!! You want your 5 year old daughter to befriend and know a child molester? Hmm.

    I told my mother that he will have no part in my children’s lives and she respected my choice. My brother and sister in law respected that too, until now. The worst part yet, is that we will make plans to get together for holidays, etc, and neither my mother, my brother, nor my sister in law will tell me that they have also invited my stepfather. You know who tells me? HE DOES! He will call my phone from a number I don’t recognize and let me know that he is going to be at the gathering.

    I completely resonate with DeAnn when she said “Why should I have to miss out on that because of what he did? I get that if they want to visit him that is their choice and I am powerless over that. I don’t like it or understand it but it is their choice to make. So be it. All I want is for them to give me that same respect. Does this sound unreasonable??”

    I am shocked and dismayed and in fear for my niece’s safety. I know I am not his only victim, his own son from a previous marriage came out with reports of abuse. According to my mother and sister in law, my stepfather is no longer a threat in that way because he came to know Christ. I love God, I follow Jesus Christ with all of my heart, and I have forgiven my stepfather but I still do not want him a part of my life nor do I want my children or my niece around him. In a diminished way, I liken it to putting a reformed alcoholic in a bar, repeatedly. I hope with all of my heart that my niece is safe. What choices do I have to protect her when I just ‘went with the flow’ all of these years? I feel like because I pretended like it wasn’t a big deal (even through multiple eating disorders, alcoholism and drugs at age 16) that they feel like is wasn’t a ‘big deal’, that I’m being ridiculous and that their daughter is perfectly safe. My sister in law even sent my niece on a fishing trip with just my brother and stepfather around. A remote area, a child molester and a 5 year old girl, and opportunities for her dad to not be around? Seriously???!!!

    What can I do to prevent another beautiful life from being ripped apart by sexual abuse when my family rejects the fact that it happened?

  39. Erica,
    I agree with you that your niece is not safe around your stepdad. It’s awful that her mom doesn’t see the dangers. She is very, very mistaken that child molesters aren’t a threat once they “come to know Christ”, as that’s some instant cure for anything.

    No matter what happens to your niece, your stepfather is the one who is to blame. Trying to cope through the effects of what he did to you in no way makes you responsible for his behavior. By your family supporting the abuser, they are failing your niece just as they failed you. You are both victims of a sick system, not the perpetrators of it.
    Christina

  40. Thank you so much for this information as I have just gone through this rejection yet again from my family with my mother central in control & abusing her position of power within the family. my mother will never forgive my disclosure & although low level no contact the memory recall of this to me came as a verification of the deeper emotional abuse via threat of loosing family being physically thrown out hurt bad at age 5 by my father with my mother not trying to stop this…..that has run along my whole life with her in denial of that these things even happened much less acknowledge damage to me & still using threat of no family to stop voice. So remembering this sexual abuse came at the right time as it represents a pattern of treatment of a person (me) that is often hard to put into words until they do something physical or sexual then we have a clear match – it is abuse & they are wrong not us.. Reading this information helped give me the courage to not go out without a clear message to remainder family who I guess I still hold out hope for that all or one of them will understand although I also have come to the thought that they really do not define me but yes the face of reality is not welcome it does hurt. So I complied a clear list of the wrongs done to me and the effect on me of each wrong keeping it clear & factual …..but I know it will still get me at times as even if they do know my hurts they won’t want to be where I am so Christmas etc will be hard. It is unfair that we suffer abuse cause of their problem then we suffer again for saving ourselves from where they put us by having us rejected by the whole family in some cases such as myn. But it has made a huge difference reading this information & there is future happiness to come as I can now move forward as I am not how they define me. Also I’ve always felt I was on my own anyway so now that I know I am I’m not wasting my time on pretenses anymore it feels good – solid ground. A family that can be taken is not a family anyway.

  41. They don’t want to know me, that would mean they would see me as a good person and would have do admit they are wrong. Sociopath’s don’t apologizing for anything. Being left off the will and my siblings lining up onside with my parents wishes like their evil little minions was the best thing that ever happened to me. At first it hurt like hell, I kept waiting for one of my siblings to come forward and say I got a raw deal in this life, not one, not even the professed christian sister who tours the world helping people in need. Funny, when I was bedridden sick, close to death for a long period I don’t remember her offering me help, not even a food basket or help with housekeeping. She did come over however when she had a problem she needed to talk about. She would call me with her memories, nightmares, and I tried to help her sort it out, how could she not know how I felt? How could she abandon me too? Then I realized she deserted her kids for her religion, day and night wrapped up in her need to help others, she neglected her own family.
    It wasn’t about me being bad, they are bad. All of them! Things they said and did I don’t have that in me, TG!
    I could never betray or lie like them. I am different, I am separate and apart and always have been. My reading all day in my room when I was small was my escape, running away as a teen was a loud cry for truth. Moving far away was about trying to live on my terms and not be bastardized anymore, I couldn’t take it.
    I am done longing for something that doesn’t exist, an unselfish, caring family. That was just an illusion, what I see in my mirror is real! I see a child of God. She got lost for along time, but now, because of the final cut throat meanness, I give myself permission to divorce myself from them completely so I can continue on and live life. The more time goes on the freer I feel. I wrote a letter that told them what they are, they won’t be trying to contact any time soon. That was the only time I got mean. I meant to. I want them away from me for good.
    Amazing how much has opened up for me since. I don’t feel like I’m just dragging around, I have a lift to my step, I look forward to getting up in the morning and looking for the possibilities a new day brings. My relationship with my children is mending, they have seen through the illusions the lies my family filled them with. Being left of the will brought it home to them loud and clear, They see me in a different light, not the ones my parents shown on me for so long. I am able to be and I am happy and they see that. It is helping them to become free and reassess relationships around them and question what is healthy or not.
    I’ve stepped free of the black cloud and have not just the desire but also the drive to get on with it, greet the day. I have been in the prison to long and now the door is open to possibilities. I don’t have to be in pain or explain or justify, those things you do when you are trying to let abusers off the hook, or trying to get them to understand you or minimizing like they do for the sake of “family”! Now it is my time and for my sake and my husband sake and my children and grandchildren’s sake. I want to be as strong as I can be so I can “be” and not let anyone suck the energy out of me again! No one deserves that and no one should put up with that not from anyone, you deserve better! You deserve to live life happily and whole.

  42. Mary I hear you as my situation is similar – both parents go to church Sundays and by all appearances are good caring nice people in fact high standing in their religious community. This has been the most confusing part and still for me – yet when it comes to the crunch my daughter & I are on our own truly in the world they abolish me anyway for voicing, I would say I have been long since struck off the will, they do not help in times of true crisis I even go to a refuge rather than there not that they would have offered. The prefer the picture to stay sitting where it looks good for them how they can go to church as they do yet at home have done horrible disgusting things which they say I imagined. They then do it to us again by their denial preferring us to stay in a state of self damaging behaviours killing ourselves rather than release us from the pain & confusion created by their selfish actions & years of mind conditioning to our vulnerable minds can they not see we loved them so much we would have even forgiven their wrongs but we realise that no they would rather we just disappeared than have to face a moment of self truth. To then also loose siblings is heartbreaking I am feeling like you so hurt I also did so much when my sister was sick yet they won’t even talk to me they are willingly going along with the ‘picture’ created years ago – they probably even pray for me now how sick is that. – no doubt it eases their conscience somehow. I have also laid down all the truths and the hurts caused in writing to my family and no response just nothing of course I know they hate me now and not for lying or imaging but for the truth that is what they hate that fact that it is true. I could be there too if I sacrificed my own true self and accepted their own created illusion of family and I can’t do that you see so that does make us survivors I guess. So you are right it was always an illusion and once we accept that we are free then to move on it never was anyway and a part of us always knew that so here’s to all of us as we are now free to experience something that they cannot and that is real love which we will recongnise & treasure we will treat with all the care that true love deserves – we can breathe out this they cannot do as we are on solid ground and they are not.

  43. Thank you all. The pain is a bit easier to bear, knowing that I am not alone in having my mother, brother, sister and step-father disown me, because they cant handle the truth.
    Even though my own mother ( a church goer) who physically and emotionally abused me and my brother, neglected us, and witnessed the sexual abuse my dad did to me for years, she still, till this day calls me a lair, saying to everyone I am mentally ill, rejecting me and getting the rest of my so-called family to cut me out of their lives.
    I have a family of my own now, my husband, children and grandchildren. They have given me a reason to carry on living, to heal myself and treat myself with respect. This subject carries so much taboo that it not something I could talk to anyone about, I have had counciling since the age of 8, when the abuse first started. I have given up on trying to get them to believe me or even have a relationship with them, I now know that I don’t need them in my life, all they do is treat me like I am some kind of worthless, piece of crap, and that’s how I end up feeling when I speak to them, so for the sake of my own feelings, its best I stay away from them. I realise now that it is them, not me that needs help and that it is pointless trying to explain to them they way they have cause me to feel. They are blind and living a lie, my mother knows the truth, but she has managed to convince, herself and certain members of my family that it is me that is the lair and not her. How a mother could do that to her own child is beyond me, just goes to show what kind of person she really is, and one things for sure she’s not the kind of person I want to associate with. I hope we all find peace and kindness and the hurt that we have experience makes us stronger and better people than those who have caused us pain and suffering.

  44. Yes your words ‘how can a mother to this to her child’ – is also beyond my understanding but I guess it comes down to her selfishness at putting her needs first where as most mother’s would die to save their child but that protection that we are lacking is something we have lacked all our lives. . I didn’t even see my mother for the person she really is all these years until age almost 50years I blocked it just didn’t once think of what happened that alone is incredible that our minds protect us from the truth for so long. So it gives some understanding in regards to other siblings and family as to why they can’t see the truth they are still under the guise veil of pretense yet they don’t even know it. It took extreme family cut off over a trivial matter for me to even remember the real incident that set me off the rails at such a young age. My mother does know the truth but will deny that that is the reason for the damage I suffered she will somehow balance it off in her mind but deep down she knows and it is on them not on us. I notice real love now days and I treat it like gold. The stories here are so similar in how the abusers accuse us of lying and we are cast out & tnot believed it is extreme cruelty it just leaves us alone and hurt but the truth is important it is worth fighting for we are fighting for our own selves and it is so terribly sad that our mothers are not there fighting with us but are the ones that cause this huge pain to us.

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