by Christina Enevoldsen
I was talking with a friend who’s planning to set some boundaries with family. I’ve heard the things her parents have said and done to her for years so I’m celebrating this big step with her.
But my friend also shared her plans with someone else. That person wasn’t so supportive. That person’s advice to my friend was that she needed to accept her parents for who they are. After all, “They’re your only parents”. She suggested forgiveness in the name of love and peace.
I got the same kind of response about my family. Before people even knew what happened in my family, they judged me. Whatever the problems, I was supposed to work it out. No matter what they did, it was my job to “make nice”.
Putting “love and peace” above truth leads to anything but love and peace.
by Caden Ceirdris
When I was twelve, I watched the sexually graphic teen film, “Kids” with my siblings. I remember being surprised when my sister described what happened in the end scene as rape. That it was rape to have sex with someone who was passed out, asleep.
It seems obvious, but in some unconscious part of my mind, I winced. What had been done to me might have been wrong too. Perhaps I also deserved boundaries, both legal and personal over my own body, at least equal to what my sister was willing to give a fictional girl. Yet there was no one in my life at that point who would have even suggested that, let alone validated my experience; I was trained to passively accept whatever my family did to me, and was condescended to when it came to my emotions.
I wasn’t asleep when my older brother sexually abused me, and as I’ve had to face the reality of my past, I came to realize that the rest of the family wasn’t either. They were conscious, they knew what was happening. Often only thin walls separated them from the abuse, but they built up greater walls in their minds to avoid my …
by Christina Enevoldsen with Bethany
If only I’d have known these family holiday survival tips years ago. When I remember holidays with my family, I think of stress. The image that comes to mind is everyone else laughing and having a great time, while I was miserable. I don’t remember many holidays as a child, but as an adult, holidays used to be times of emotional abuse from my parents, mostly my dad, and from my ex-husband.
While we were married, the usual pattern for my ex was to work up my emotions right before we arrived at my parents’ house. He’d feign a misunderstanding or falsely accuse me of something or criticize me–whatever would upset me. By the time we arrived, I’d be on the verge of tears or I’d be angry. Then my parents would correct my bad attitude and all three of them would join against me for ruining the special day.
by Penny Smith Sometimes in the healing process it feels like I’m not making much progress. Then something will happen that helps me see just how far I’ve come. That was the case recently during a run-in with some abusive
by Christina Enevoldsen Several years ago, I had a friend whose husband wasn’t treating her right and she wavered between leaving him and staying. Some days, she’d had enough and other days, she wanted to give him another chance. I
by Christina Enevoldsen “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.” George Santayana Recently, I warned a close family friend that his children weren’t safe around my dad, who molested me for most of my childhood. The
by Linda Pittman Throughout my healing journey from childhood sexual abuse, I have heard a lot about the need for “healthy boundaries”. How do I know if my boundaries are healthy? What are they and how do I measure mine?
by Jennifer Stuck
I’ve been bombarded with the idea of unconditional love for as long as I can remember. Everywhere from home, to church, to Valentine’s Day commercials, people have pushed the concept that I should show love with no strings attached and expect nothing in return. People throw around phrases like “Blood is thicker than water”, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, and “Love means never having to say I’m sorry.” But what does this type of thinking do to my personal boundaries? And more importantly, why SHOULDN’T my love have conditions?
I’ve recently become aware that the belief in unconditional love has interfered with my healing from childhood sexual abuse. In the past, I found it difficult to express anger towards the people who hurt me. My abusers weren’t my family and I never loved them, but I did care deeply about the people in my family who failed to protect me. The positive feelings I felt for my family coupled with the anger I felt about them neglecting me was confusing.
by Christina Enevoldsen It would be easier to tell people my parents are dead. Orphans get sympathy; I get judgment. When I tell people that I don’t have any contact with my mother or father, it’s usually the same response:
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