Sued For Exposing My Sexual Abuse

Injustice of being suedI like to think of myself as a crusader. The internal image of myself is a fierce woman, charging on horseback toward oppressors, declaring the truth to those they hold bound and inspiring the captives to overthrow the tyrants’ rule. I don’t back down from standing for and with the oppressed.

I’d eliminated any residue of abusers from my life, but after the relief of not having a relationship with my parents for nearly six years, they were back in it. They sued me for defamation of character and intentional infliction of emotional distress. I’d publicly exposed my childhood sexual abuse by my dad and they didn’t like that very much.

Being sued for exposing my sexual abuse meant I couldn’t walk away from my abusers this time. I not only had to read the painful lies my mother used as “discovery”, I had to respond with a defense. I felt controlled and victimized again.

Not knowing the outcome of the case, how long it would go on or how many thousands of dollars I’d have to invest, it was difficult to make plans or to be motivated to do much of anything. It felt like Evil held me as its captive.

As the case dragged on, the lawsuit took its toll. Instead of the determined charge, my internal image changed to the horse carrying my limp body back behind the castle walls. I retreated into the security of my home and I tucked in.

The most painful day of the lawsuit was when I realized the force of my mother’s efforts to shut me up. It felt like a denying of my existence. The things she wrote about me held so much disgust and hatred. She finally gave voice to all the things I’d sensed she felt for me when I was a child. I barely survived her indifference then. Now, instead of cold silence, it was brutal attacks. Total annihilation. That’s what my mother seemed to want.

“Stay the course” became my mantra when I felt like I couldn’t breathe through another moment of the struggle. As suffocating as it was to be sued for exposing my sexual abuse, I knew I’d feel even worse if I gave in.  Many times, all I could do was curl up in my big, comfy chair. That was a strong as I could be—not giving in. I didn’t doubt I’d continue to stand and tell my truth; I just wondered how I’d continue.

When this lawsuit was brought against me, I felt cheated. I was only trying to do good, didn’t I deserve a $*@%**& break????? My version of order, my paradigm of the world, was crumbling.

Friends tried to encourage me with things like, “Justice will prevail” or “Truth will triumph”. But the truth is that good doesn’t always triumph over evil and love doesn’t always win. That’s not the world we live in. Innocent people are killed and raped and robbed every day. My parents stole my childhood from me and then invaded me again. If the world were just, I wouldn’t have been abused or sued. History is full of people who stand against evil and are destroyed for it.

I think those comforting platitudes are repeated to give us a sense of control when we face so much loss. Bargaining is a stage of grief and I was desperately grasping for order. Do good and things will work out—the reward of altruism.

Unconsciously, I’d made that deal with life. It was the same bargain I made with just about any abuser I’ve encountered: I’ll be good but just don’t hurt me. That deal never worked well with life or with abusers.

A part of me was still in the survival mentality I learned as a kid. As a child, being safe was just a fantasy. As an adult, I needed to let go of that fantasy and accept the world as it is. I wasn’t owed anything for doing good or being good.

Thankfully, after fourteen months, the lawsuit ended favorably for me. My father died and without his testimony, there was no case against me. I conceded to a few minor things that didn’t hinder me from telling my story or speaking my truth.

I’d love a happier ending than just being able to go on pretty much as I had. It would be wonderful if everything I’ve done to stand up to injustice would guarantee a positive outcome—for me and for others. I don’t have control over the world or how it works. I can’t stop injustice, no matter how hard I work, how passionately I speak, how sincerely I try, how much I give or give up.

Facing my loss of control actually set me free. Letting go of the outcome was liberating. I’m no longer tied to the conditions that I used to place on life. I’m free to speak the truth no matter if anyone else believes it or benefits from it. I may incur difficulties for it, but I’d rather face the pain of speaking out than the pain of staying silent.

I only have control of what I do with my life and my voice. And I use it to speak up for justice and compassion and equality and truth. I may not be able to stop abuse but I’ll live my life trying. And that’s a life that I’m happy to live.

Have you been sued for speaking out or afraid of speaking out for fear of being sued? How about other consequences for speaking out? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. Please comment below and remember to subscribe to comments so you don’t miss any of the discussion. You don’t have to use your real name. Email addresses are never made public.

Christina Enevoldsen

I’m Christina Enevoldsen and I’m the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. My passion is exploring new ways to express my empowered new life. I’ve recently discovered the joy of waterslides, the delightful scented lotion from Bath & Body Works, “Dark Kiss” and hosting princess tea parties for my granddaughters. My husband and I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

 

Related Posts:
Exposing the Incest Family Secrets
The Truth About My Abuser’s Threats
Confronting My Abuser

Sued For Exposing My Sexual Abuse

75 thoughts on “Sued For Exposing My Sexual Abuse

  • September 17, 2014 at 3:49 am
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    My Dear Christina,
    “I am no longer afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship.” Christina, you are a compass to us survivors. May I use this space to name my abuser? His name is Craig Thornton. He was my brother. Christina, you have given me courage. Thank you.

    Reply
  • September 17, 2014 at 7:24 am
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    Hi Christina
    Being one of your friends through that lawsuit was life changing for me. Reading your post today was like reading a ‘growth chart’ of my life (and the things we grew through together and separately) this past year and a half. I got in touch with my own anger at a much deeper level than ever before, through my anger at your parents. And it was healing. The lawsuit felt personal to me, and I too had to let go of the fantasy that good will always win. But as you express so well in your article, the victory here was not the outcome, and the victory didn’t depend on THEM. The victory in your heart and in your life and in your recovered belief system about yourself cannot be taken away by any court, and the truth cannot be changed no matter how many people sue, fight, lie or cheat. Awesome post!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 9:36 am
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      Darlene,
      Oh, gosh! I remember on one of our phone calls, you said something like, “Even if they win, YOU know the truth and they can’t take that away from you.” It was unthinkable that they could win, but I had to start thinking about it.

      Your friendship during that excruciating time was such a strength to me. Hey, your friendship is pretty awesome ALL the time! It seems like it should be time for some fun stuff now, though. LOL

      I love how you summarized this:

      …the victory here was not the outcome, and the victory didn’t depend on THEM. The victory in your heart and in your life and in your recovered belief system about yourself cannot be taken away by any court, and the truth cannot be changed no matter how many people sue, fight, lie or cheat.

      That’s exactly it!!! It’s so empowering to move forward with that very potent truth! We figured out some profound stuff–together and separately–and we’ve both come a looooong way. It will be interesting to see what we can do with our newly acquired superpowers. he he!

      Love and hugs,
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 9:10 am
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    Julie,
    Thank you for your affirming words. I’m happy to hear that your courage was inspired to come out and roar. Yay!!!!
    Christina

    Reply
  • September 17, 2014 at 9:40 am
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    I have found this true in my own life, good things don’t always happen to good people and in my life bad kept happening over and over no matter how positively I spoke or felt. For the most part my life is peaceful now with certain people out of my life.
    My mother would do the exact same if I spoke out about her verbal abuse. She would take me to court so for the most part I’ve kept quiet. While she spreads lies and turns her side of the family against me and tried to do the same with my adult children and even when they were younger by sending birthday cards to them with messages against me. ( I kept a couple of them)
    Bless you and your work.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 9:49 am
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      Christina,
      I hope you’ve found the truth about “good things not always happening to good people” freeing too. I’m glad you’re life is peaceful now that certain people aren’t in it. That’s made such a difference to me too! Thanks for sharing!
      Christina E.

  • September 17, 2014 at 10:44 am
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    Dear Christina,

    So happy for you that the law suit is over! I wrote you awhile ago, I’m also being sued by my former parents over a house we co own, but the real reason is after 40 years of silence, I spoke out about the sexual abuse when I was a child a baby around Five years old from older siblings, I spoke the truth. My story is very long and horrible, but we now await a jury selection at the end of October 2014. We have a signed agreement by all parties who was responsible for payment on the home, but after the house didn’t sell, they moved out and left all bills with me and my husband. Since July of 2012 we have been paying for everything. The burden has been difficult, but like you, I move forward and pray a lot! We have a counter claim against them so I don’t know how we can settle. They owe us so much money. So glad to read it came to end with your Former Mother. I feel this is never going to end. Take Care Joanne Meyers Long Island NY

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 11:19 am
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      Joanne,
      My heart goes out to you! I know how painful and exhausting that can be. The level of betrayal runs so deep. I’m sorry for what you’re going through and glad to hear you’re hanging in there. I hope it ends well for you. Thank you for sharing your story.
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 11:28 am
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    “I’d rather face the pain of speaking out than the pain of staying silent.” I need this t-shirt :). I’m just finding this out, and how the betrayal is there a second time. I see I was afraid to not be met with what I shared, and it came true. After the pain of feeling that, I realized I am now liberated. I can’t control them, I can only stand up for myself. And now that I think of it, they’ve never acknowledged things before, why would their behavior change now? So a wake up call, and a liberating one.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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      AM,
      Your comment:

      And now that I think of it, they’ve never acknowledged things before, why would their behavior change now?

      That’s what I realized too. They’re abusers! They abuse. That’s what they do. It seems as though it should have been obvious to me, but since I accepted the blame for everything that happened to me, for a long time I thought I could fix things. I could somehow perfect my way into better treatment. So instead of separating from them like I really needed to, I stuck around and did things for them to show them that I was worth loving. I’m glad to be free of that system and from them!

      Thanks for sharing!
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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    Christina, your story made me cry. I think you are so brave for writing this & staying the course throughout the case. I was ostracized from my family but certainly didn’t have to deal w/ legalities. My heart brakes you had to endure such an awful experience although in some ways it made you stronger. I am proud of you for standing up for yourself in the face of the greatest adversity. Many hugs sent to you.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm
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      Freya, thank you so much for your kind and supportive words! Hugs to you, too!
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    Is there absolutely no end to what these mothers will do to us? I am so sorry for your pain and violation over and over. I am sure my mother wants to annihilate my self – my emotional health, my financial health and my ability to function in society. I’m relieved to hear you won. I hope this helps spread the word about abuse. Thank you.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm
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      Lisa,
      Me too! I also hope that more survivors are emboldened to speak out and that abusers will start to think twice about messing with us! Thanks for your comment!
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    @Christina, I went through something almost identical to yours only I was called a whore in international news. It made cover story of NY magazine, London Times, Daily news here in NY a bunch pf of other publications as well as Good morning America CNN and Connie Chung called it top new story of the year. Connie Chung was fired shortly there after but the judge “allegedly” was bribed. In my case it was very complicated and my parents were “allegedly” paid to call me a whore in the internatinal news they got rich and are living in a resort community the judge was “allegedly” bribed and the administrative judge asked her to close the case against me this is the Supreme court of NY the administrative judge ordered the case against me closed and it went on for 9 years. My judge refused and the administrative judge stepped down suddenly and retired even though she was not up for retirement. The case for me was worse than the initial abuse! But I survived and so did you. However they got away with calling me a whore which means it is always on my record and even on the internet if you Google me not only that they said I was drug addicted (which none of this is true I dont even take prescription opids) they said I have been in mental hospitals all not true! However my mom has been in mental hospitals.
    She feels justified in her betrayal and I had the same exact feelings you did in the law suit. Its too complicated to get into but I am saying this so to say look at all of the money time and resources spent to avoid truth!

    Reply
    • September 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm
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      Pinky,
      Wow, you really went through some crap, didn’t you? Your conclusion is interesting to me:

      look at all of the money time and resources spent to avoid truth!

      Imagine if all of that could have been applied to facing the truth and healing from it. Abusers invest so much into hiding the truth from themselves and others out of self-preservation. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all survivors invested that much into themselves? Of course, we’re groomed NOT to do that, to believe we’re not worth the effort, that we’re not capable of improving anything or having any impact and that the problem is really us so there’s nothing to be done anyway. Ugh! I’m glad the truth has a way of shining even into the darkest places.
      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m happy that you made it out alive after that mess that you had to face.
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm
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    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I cannot express verbally how much your sharing helped me see my situation from a more victorious view. Abusers abuse, yes they do and I don’t understand the sick pleasure they get out of lying or in continuing to try to humiliate you.
    You are brave and I once again feeling hopeful, Thank you,

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm
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      Bruised Not Bleeding,
      I’m so delighted that you’re feeling more hopeful and seeing your situation from a more victorious view! Thank you so much for letting me know.
      Christina

  • September 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm
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    @Christina, Thanks for your response! AND ESPECIALLY THIS COMMENT- “truth has a way of shining even into the darkest places.” Also “Imagine if all of that could have been applied to facing the truth and healing from it”
    Wow I think of my main abuser who is a musical genius even to the point where I heard him play once I was blocks away I heard it it was so moving I cried and didn’t know it was him! I was like, what a gift and what a waste when I realized it was him!
    I have invested years into my healing journey and feel I am as healed as I will be on this side of eternity. I still have scars but I am healed. Even Jesus had scars when he rose from the dead. I still continue on my healing journey. Being well on any level is a constant choice. You can chose to smoke and take drugs and trash your health or eat right and work out. I chose emotional spiritual and mental wellness as well!
    The most important thing I did for my mental well being was cut contact with them.
    I just dont get why anyone would want abusers in their life. I think its because they do not cherish or maybe even know their value!
    Darlene had a quote once that my niece uses as her life quote now it is something like you become well with the truth but sick with lies. I chose to be well!
    Thank you for your story!

    Reply
  • September 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm
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    Hey Christina,

    I am currently in a probate case with my stepsister as the administrator. My stepsister and my mother were
    co-abusers. My stepsister lived with my mom for 39 years and with her father for a total of 56 years, before they both died. Unfortunately, they left her with the power over the estate.
    In living with my mom for all of those years, they became very close. In fact, they became so close that I was the 3rd wheel. It was like I was the stepdaughter and she was the real daughter. They plotted against me to cause me emotional pain through their hurtful actions.
    Now she is in charge of the estate and I am fighting her efforts to take all of the property. It has been a crazy situation that has taken me through many peaks and valleys. I have been totally beaten down and I have had to rise up again to fight another day.
    What I have found, is that her telling and revealing the truth through this court process has validated the reality that was hidden, which I knew to be the truth. As painful and challenging as it has been, I have milked it for every validating truth that has come from it. Now, I know for sure that I was never crazy or imagining things, she really has hated me for all of these years. And, that she really has been the evil manipulating witch that I thought that she was.
    For what it is worth, I hope that the truths that were revealed to you through your process, as painful as they were, will validate and support you.
    Beth <3

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm
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      Beth,
      Wow, your situation sounds really tough! I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that, but I’m so very glad to hear how validating it is for you. I totally understand what you mean! Being in a situation to stand up for myself, it was so very affirming to hear myself say (and really KNOW it!) that my voice was important and that I wasn’t backing down. I don’t remember if anyone has ever defended me like that but it felt terrific!
      Thanks for sharing that!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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    Thank you for speaking out and standing your ground. I was an abused child who was sexually abused by a relative and physically abused by both my parents. The most difficult thing to face was that my mother knew of the sexual abuse and did nothing to help me. Even now, her treatment of me is full of rejection and favoritism towards my siblings.

    Every abused child deserves a “voice”. Yours is powerful and life-affirming. We can’t change the past, but we do have hope for our futures.

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    • September 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm
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      Rachel,
      I love what you said:

      We can’t change the past, but we do have hope for our futures.

      I completely agree! Hope was the key to my healing and anyone who has hope can heal too.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm
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    May you find peace with these!

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    • September 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm
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      Thanks, Audrey!

  • September 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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    “Facing my loss of control has actually set me free. Letting go of the outcome is liberating. I’m no longer tied to the conditions that I used to place on life. I’m free to speak the truth no matter if anyone else believes it or benefits from it. I may incur difficulties for it, but I’d rather face the pain of speaking out than the pain of staying silent.”

    I have to say…. this paragraph gave me chills from head to toe. Very well said. The parts about the reality of justice not always being served and truth not always being believed. This entire article was extraordinary and I, personally, deeply appreciate it being shared.

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm
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      Yay, Brandy! Thank you for letting me know that!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    Thank you for your courage. It is not easy to stand up to these injustices, but for every one person that does many more will follow. I speak on behalf of my mother who was shunned because her voice was a drunken one that most did not take serious. I took her serious because of the many times I heard the same stories over and over, never once did the details change. Again, thank you and stay brave!!

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm
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      Lisa,
      My hope is that more and more survivors will continue to speak out–partly to bring awareness and to help stop abuse–but mostly as a way to validate themselves in a way that few have experienced.

      I’m glad you took your mother seriously. Thanks for using your voice!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm
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    Thank you, Christina. I’m sorry that you have had to go through this. Your right, just because you tell your truth doesn’t mean your going to be rewarded or catch a break. You should be very proud of the way you handled yourself throughout this horrid situation.
    “The only thing I know is this: I am full of wounds and still standing on my feet.”

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm
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      Jennie,
      Still standing! I like that a lot. That’s what I was thinking about when I posted this and chose the photo of the big, strong tree. If it had a caption, it would say, “Still Standing”. And that’s what we do. Thanks for your encouragement!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    Thanks for your story… I was sexually mentally and emotionally abused for 12 years by my mom’s husband..and my mom said it was all ok…I couldn’t leave til I was 21 because I was taken to a foreign country and was petrified of what they would do to me if I left and they found me.
    When I finally left and the rest of my family found out they told everyone I wanted it and I wasn’t nine when it started that I was 13. I always felt alone. Everyone told me it was my fault and that if i didnt want it why didnt i say something on our visists to the u.s. So your words speak to me. While I have prospered in my life it takes a lot of inner strength to keep it toget her mentally. Good things will come your way

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm
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      lisa b,
      I have the same reaction to what happened to you as Darlene does. That makes me really angry that people twist things to blame the victim. I think it makes me even more angry that the lies they told don’t even matter in reality. So what if you WERE 13 instead of 9? That doesn’t make it your fault!!!! A 13 year old can’t give consent! And so what if you didn’t tell sooner??? Doesn’t everyone’s reaction to you now show that you would have received ZERO support and only been blamed sooner?

      I hope good things come your way too!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm
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    By they told everyone I mean my mom and her husband told everyone that I wanted it

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  • September 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm
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    You should write a book about it and your battle to overcome your abuse

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    • September 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm
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      Thanks, Mary! I’m working on a book now. It’s due out by the end of the year.

  • September 18, 2014 at 8:46 pm
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    Dear Christina,

    Thank you for sharing your story and your brave example of the kind of person I strive to be, not abused of course, but standing up to injustice and speaking the truth.

    I am in tears reading your article and having been through similar experiences with my family and siblings, including the lawsuit filed against me for speaking out publicly 12 years ago.

    I had no idea this wasn’t a unique experience, being sued by family for telling the truth and for my refusing to be silent and refusing to be abused for the rest of my life.

    I survived too but it does seem inconceivable to me still, that injustice can be heaped upon injustice.

    I just want to thank you again and commend you for standing up to it all and coming out on the other side, and sharing it here.

    Bless you and hugs,

    Linda

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm
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      Linda E,
      OH no! You too? I’m sorry you experienced the same thing. What was the outcome of your case? How are you doing now?
      Hugs to you too,
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm
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    I was abused by my brother and have been raped twice and in a domestic violence partnership once where several times I did not consent to sex but was forced. When I first tried telling my mom when I was young 5, 6, 7, 8,9 years every time they left me alone, “Aaron hurts me” as a cry for help. They though that I didn’t want them to leave. When I was 12 and had more courage against his threats that he’d kill me or my parents or it would be my fault, I told my mom, “Aaron abuses me”. She still did nothing. Finally at age 15 she believed me. She got me into counseling and it wasn’t enough. I was too depressed and tried to kill myself 9 times over the next 8 years. I was in and out b of hospitals, treatment programs, and all kinds of counselors and psychiatrists. During those 8 years and to this day they say they believe me but I don’t think they do but I don’t care. I am a strong, courageous, beautiful, happy and healthy woman. I am a survivor. I know what is the truth and I am glad I can help others soon once I finish grad school to become a counselor.

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm
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      Devyn,
      I’m so glad to hear your strength coming out even with all you’ve been through. That’s awesome!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm
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    I can totally relate to this. I was sexually abused by my father and uncles. When I finally spoke out noone believed me. I also faced my mother not wanting me so everyone said I did it for attention. My step-grandparents some how got custody of me and I faced more abuse. It wasn’t until one day I did something to make them mad that they beat me and then turned me over to states custody. This is when my voice was finally heatd and I received some jistice. My father admitted to what he had done and went to prison but everyone else remained free. My family turned against me and I have been on my own since.
    This story gives me hope that one day I will f ind happiness again.

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 8:50 pm
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      Sarah,
      I’m glad you have hope! I have hope for you too. I believe that every survivor has amazing strength in them or we wouldn’t have survived in the first place. Keep going! The healing process isn’t easy but it’s so worth it!
      Christina

  • September 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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    You give me courage Christina to keep on talking about my abuse. It saddens me that your family went through great lengths to keep it all a “secret”. But I all to well understand that. When I found my “voice” 6 months ago, I started talking about the abuse and my journey on Face book. Boy oh boy! I thought I was doing the right thing in speaking up but the backlash that came back to me was absolutely horrendous! Not to mention it took an awful toll on me all the way around. The backlash got so bad, I was on the verge of going quiet once again, losing my “voice” forever.

    But then my husband suggested that I start a blog. For a month, I fought the idea. Then I sat down one day, and started to put the website together. Sitting at the computer for 10 hours the first day, I put the basic outline of the website together and how I wanted it to look. I wanted it to be different than anybody else’s site. I wanted to share my journey and talk about my ups and downs. Share things that have helped me through and things that I’ve come to understand. After a week, I had content to my website and periodically add to it as much as possible. I’m still learning so getting into a habit of writing what’s going on, is still a new concept for me and I’m learning to share what’s going on with me.

    Another thing I had to do with my family is initiate NO CONTACT with them. That means no phone calls, no email, no Face book, no snail mail, no texts – NO CONTACT MEANS NO CONTACT. They want to love me ONLY if I do what they want me to do, which is be quiet and stop talking about the abuse. Sorry. LOVE DOESN’T COME WITH CONDITIONS. LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL. I’m not going to sacrifice my happiness for any of them just to make them happy and comfortable. I did that for 40 years. Those days are OVER.

    So thank you my friend for being a voice for us all. You are a mighty warrior that stood your ground. As a fellow warrior in training, I only hope that should this happen to me, that I’m able to stand my ground and keep myself intact much as you did.

    The only thing I had to get over about the website is that I had to write under an assumed name. I didn’t like the fact that I had to do this and part of me today still doesn’t like it. BUT…. the freedom of being to talk about the abuse and my journey has helped me immensely. Even my counselor is proud that I created the website/blog for it’s helping me out on my Healing Journey.

    I don’t name names – don’t have to. Just being able to say “father, mother, daughter, brother, etc.” is all the relief I need when talking about abuse, backlash, past abuses, etc. I can’t tell you how much better I feel

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 9:03 pm
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      Annette,
      That’s wonderful that you’re validating yourself by starting your own blog! I just checked it out. Great job! I understand your feelings about using an assumed name, but I’m glad you’re protecting yourself and only doing what you feel comfortable with. I’m happy that you feel better now that you’re writing. I hope you keep it up!

      You might be interested in an upcoming post we’re doing with Q & A from a lawyer. I recently interviewed him about how survivors who expose our abuse can be in a better position to protect ourselves legally.
      Christina

  • September 19, 2014 at 9:09 am
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    Lisa B.
    In saying that you “wanted it” they are acknowledging that it happened but they are STILL absolving the perpetrator of guilt! What the hell!!! What a sick situation that is. They admit it but say it was YOUR fault?? HOW could it be your fault and what does your age have to do with it? HOLY smokes this kind of thing makes me so angry. Something similar happened to me when I was 13 and my mother accused me of going after her boyfriends after that and I look at my kids (my youngest daughter is 17 now) and I think HOW could someone blame the kid????? It is the ultimate re-abuse when this happens.
    Hugs, Darlene
    .

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  • September 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm
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    U are very brave! If your storey helps just one persob than that is a blessing!!! I think iit will help and encpurage many!

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    • September 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm
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      Thank you, Tina!

  • September 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm
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    Thanks so much for this article! I’m at a standstill and it is a beautiful thing to read an end and growth towards healing. My 5-year-old daughter disclosed that her bio father was sexually abusing her. I took all the steps to protect her but the criminal justice system failed us. I’ve currently received threats that he is going to sue me for the same reasons you wrote about. It’s amazing after all the harm they are just that heartless but I will continue to put forth my efforts to fight for my daughters well being as well as any other child placed in situations that are beyond their control! ???????????????? Reading this gave me a new found energy!!!

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  • October 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm
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    Christina,

    I LOVE the conclusion that you arrive at in this writing. It’s incredible, poignant, and true. Bad things happen to amazing people every day and people who choose to bring truth into this world are often crucified in one way or another. My biggest heroes in life in fact seem to all have been killed… Jesus Christ, Bob Marley, JFK, Raymond Rife, Bob Beck, Hulda Clarke… it didn’t end well for them in their physical form as it were.

    You write:

    I think those comforting platitudes are repeated to give us a sense of control when we face so much loss. Bargaining is a stage of grief and I was desperately grasping for order. Do good and things will work out—the reward of altruism.

    This so true! It seems like we’ve all been conditioned to “find the silver lining…” But what if there isn’t one? Or what if the reward for ‘being good’ is simply in knowing that we did the right thing even when persecution and abuse continues.

    I have learned to stop trying to find the silver lining and just be present to my own experience whether it’s pain, shame, anger, or joy, vulnerability and love.

    I strive to be that person who can just be there with other people in their pain rather then needing to rush to fix it or throw flower petals on the mess. (Because ultimately, that’s about me. And not the part of me I want to feed and nourish.)

    I believe that your blog has accomplished this. It’s a non judgmental witness to the pain, the struggle, and the overcoming this community experiences every day.

    I’d say that’s an amazing accomplishment and I appreciate it deeply.

    Much Love,

    Kylie

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    • October 9, 2014 at 10:42 am
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      Kylie,
      I love your comments about being present in the moment. Accepting what is rather than pretending it’s something else or trying convert it to something else has been an important part of my journey with the truth. I believe that truth is hopeful, but often not in the way we’d rather see it end. I agree that sometimes the only reward is in the satisfaction of doing good. The most effective people who have lived have known and accepted that.

      I love your biggest heros list. Having my own heros to draw strength and inspiration from has been one of the things that has kept me going. When I was 16, I read “The Scottish Chiefs”, which is about William Wallace. His story ignited something in me, though I didn’t act on that fire for many years. I’m also inspired by Jesus (I draw from his strength every day), Bonhoeffer, Gandhi, and Luther King. All of them lived and died fighting for their people’s freedom. The other thing is, not many of them actually lived long enough to see the fruit of their efforts. Maybe that’s not true; maybe their efforts were because they COULD see the fruit. Hmmm. Oh, I can’t forget Luther. The Catholic Church didn’t succeed in killing him, but he continued to fight while his friends and comrades were being hung and burned. These people have been a huge part of shaping my life. I wish that there wasn’t such a sacrifice required, but for me, I’d rather live boldly in the truth, speaking it without reservation and die for it than just “play it safe”. I’ll die someday anyway and when I do, I’d like to know I truly lived.

      Thank you for enriching the conversation!

      Love and hugs,
      Christina

  • October 8, 2014 at 10:59 am
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    I can relate to your mother… I have recently been through the ringer myself after I went public. I read your story during that time and it was so helpful…thank you. I thought those same things about myself, too. It wasn’t abuse because it happened to me–and I could have stopped it.

    Today is the one year anniversary of my “no contact” motto. I have finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and I am working out the anger I have kept inside me for decades. I have a wonderful husband and daughter and they are my only concern now.
    I’ve lost contact with my siblings over this…they just don’t understand how I can be angry, why I can’t just get over it…blah blah blah…

    well I am over them…and I am happier now–much happier.

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    • October 22, 2014 at 8:33 am
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      Laurie Lou,
      I’m glad you’re working out your pain and anger. There’s such a judgment about survivors being angry about their abuse, but connecting to my anger was a turning point in my healing. It was the shift from being complacent and compliant to standing up for myself. No wonder that unhealthy people don’t like survivors to get angry. They don’t want us to know how empowered we are.

      Thanks for sharing!
      Christina

  • October 20, 2014 at 11:33 am
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    Wow… I just suffered a similar difficult situation with my family. I am still trying to sort it all out. Thank you for your insights. This is just what I needed to read.

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    • October 22, 2014 at 8:13 am
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      I’m glad this was timely for you, Mia!

  • October 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm
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    I’m so glad this turned out well for you. I’ve been wondering for some time how it would end up. My own abusers have threatened, but never actually carried out their lawsuit threat.

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    • October 22, 2014 at 8:11 am
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      Thanks, Nyssa!

  • October 22, 2014 at 9:46 am
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    Erin,
    I’m sorry for what you and your daughter are going through. One of the things that has been the most astounding about this journey for me is how far abusers go. There seems to be no regard for anything but their own pleasure and benefit. I shouldn’t be surprised since they don’t seem to mind stealing the innocence of children–even their own children. Abusers abuse. And they keep abusing.

    I’m encouraged to hear about your resolve to keep standing up for your daughter. That’s powerful, no matter the decision of any court. Thank you for commenting!

    Christina

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  • November 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm
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    Thank you for sharing your experience. I was sexually emotionally mentally abused by my alchololic mother, for my entire life. Sexually abuse went on u til.i was about 12-13. She had started to abuse my kids when i told her to stop.. and now she is suing me for saying so, to her in an email argument where she is kicking me and my children out of HER summer home. She also has money to burn as she doesn’t want to leave anything when she dies. So- That was all she needed to file her suit against me for defamation slander stalking and pain and suffering. My father has always stood by her side and so have my siblings, altho she is the only one on the lawsuit. I thought I was the only one in the world to go thru this deep betrayal and pain. My faith in Jesus has been the only rock in my life and continues to be as I face this lawsuit. I am sorry to read thru the pain others have to face… yet it does bring get me a sense of fellowship. Praying for you all.

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  • November 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm
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    Hi your story is so inspiring. I also want
    to speak out. I am a survivor also. I currently
    have started a womans support group online
    ( the site is new and things still need added but
    i started it. I want to offer hope encouragement
    Show Gods love and teach woman that they
    the power to overcome.)

    May I link your story on my site. I think your
    story will inspire a lot of people to speak out.
    Your friend
    Sarah

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    • November 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm
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      Sarah,
      I wish you the best with your support group. You’re welcome to post a link from my story. Thanks for sharing!
      Christina

  • February 15, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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    Thankyou Christina what you write is really encouraging. you show great courage to not only speak about the truth of what happended, but how you dealt with your parents attempts to silence you. Just reading your post I felt outrage at the the total audacity of how they tried to turn it back on you!! but I know abusers do this, its utterly bewildering.

    I am only beginning to understand what happened to me through the surfacing of flash backs of severe sexual violence from my father which arose in counselling. I now realise he abused me at such a young age then groomed me and silenced and segrated me by turning the whole family against me. He convinced my mother I am mad and that I actually instigated the abuse.

    My mother treated with contempt throughout my childhood she called me a mad bitch and constantly treated me like I was bad and dirty and I couldnt understand why, I felt so alone. I am trying desperatly to come to terms with whats happended, but its not just the abuse its the whole package of being hurt then discredited over and over again. He also enjoyed verbally mocking me over the abuse while I had contact with him and no memory. I feel devastated.

    Its just so hard to bear the injustice when you have not had justice, this past year has been hell, I have cried so much I have cried bitter bitter tears, its like I went into a state of delayed grief. but I feel I am slowly coming out of this now and starting to absorb the shock of whats happened and finding sites like these are a real comfort and resource.

    Once again Thank you

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  • February 16, 2015 at 8:36 am
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    Reading your blog is really encouraging. You show great courage in not only sharing the truth about what happened to you, but dealing with your parents as they attempt to silence you over the abuse. I felt outrage reading the above, I cant believe they had the audacity to try and turn it around on you! the way abusers act never ceases to amaze me.

    In the past year im only starting to see what happened to me through flashbacks of abuse that arose in counselling. My father violently sexually abused me at such a young age it was too traumatic for me to remember. He also groomed me then silenced and segrated me by convincing everyone im mad and turning the whole family against me. He verbally mocked me over the abuse when I had contact with him but no memory, I feel devastated by whats happened.

    The past year has been hell I have cried bitter bitter tears and felt the most intense consuming anger, I feel I have gone through a period of delayed grief and im slowly starting to absorb the shock of what actually happened, this is the first time I have spoke about what happened publicly.

    Reading other peoples experiences is a big comfort and resource to me. Thankyou

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  • February 16, 2015 at 8:40 am
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    Sorry my other comment didnt show so i wrote another and now they have both appeared!!

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  • February 16, 2015 at 9:09 am
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    I had wanted to edit my comment up there.. 🙂 Ugh.. typing on a phone. Update on my lawsuit. My abusive psychopathic mother is continuing her lawsuit against me for uncover g the sexual, emotional and mental abuse she heaped on me all my life. I have tried all my life to honor her.. and she is a monster. A real monster. This process has actually been hugely therapeutic for me because 45 years of trauma and crisis from her hands has surfaced and I have had to accept that my own mother is not a good person. I have suffered some physical illness now too, from anxiety.. but the good news is that thru prayer and meditation and drawing closer to the Lord, I am learning to find peace and health. But it has been really hard work. People say: get over it.. let it go… as if it were easy. Support is important now. Honoring myself is important now. Praying for healing for you all.

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  • March 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm
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    Dear Christina,

    I want to tell you just how brave you are and that you are a light for all survivors. In your post I felt your pain, your anger, the terrible betrayal, but through it all, even when you were exhausted and all curled up in your chair, I saw you as a crusader, a warrior-woman, a strong woman holding up the light and the flag for all of us. Sending you light. From one survivor to another. <3 Debbie

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  • March 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm
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    Thank you so much, Debbie! <3

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  • July 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm
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    Christina,

    Thank you for speaking out and sharing your story. It means so much to those of us who are having trouble finding our own voices. I would love to share something I think is pretty extraordinary. I was repeatedly abused sexually and in other ways by my family (mother and two older brothers). I am in my sixties now and still struggling with all the crap and trying to find the freedom that you have so successfully and proudly achieved. Well done!

    What I want to share is that several years ago my granddaughter was molested by her cousin (oldest brother’s child) who was much older than her. I was the one who reported it because no one else in the family thought it was worth bothering with. As a result of that devastating incident I informed her caseworker of my own molestation by my brothers during my own childhood. The caseworker asked me to write a disclosure on my own abuse that was more than 40 years in the past. She took that disclosure to the police. The police or Sheriff, I’m not sure which, took my oldest brother into custody and gave him a polygraph. He failed!!! It was the most liberating moment of my entire life. I cried uncontrollably. He was not arrested, nor charged with any crime. I don’t even know why she did it but it was the best thing ever and I was told he squirmed a lot. A person does not nearly pass or fail a polygraph. The test is either passed or failed. I’m sure his own children were abused by him and the cycle repeats itself through his son. However, now there is substantial proof and if anyone else has the courage to come forward the ground work is laid.

    Just want to let people know that something can still be done. I wonder if a polygraph could have been given to your father even if it couldn’t be used in court it would have been so liberating for you and devastating for your parents. I don’t know you but I am very proud of your accomplishments, courage and veracity. Thank you!

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  • December 28, 2015 at 3:35 am
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    Thank you for your story. I began speaking out about my brother who is 7 years older than I am, raped and molested me for 9 years as a child, after I learned that my daughter had been raped by a neighbor and hid it for 7 years. I decided that I couldn’t be silent about my rapist anymore, and I needed to be an example to her as she began the difficult journey of reporting her rape to the police. She has such severe PTSD over the incident that they had to stop her forensic interview as she couldn’t stop crying.

    It’s been 2 1/2 years since I exposed my brother for what he did to me. He is now threatening to sue me for libe/slander.. When my mother told him he needed to own up to what he did to me as a child, he cut her out of his life. I don’t have thousands to pay an attorney, as I’m a full time caregiver to a veteran who is rated 100%.

    What can I expect to happen if he sues me? I made a police report about what happened in 2013.

    He’s a very violent person, and his ex-wife told me their first sexual encounter, he raped her too. When he was 20 or 21 he “kidnapped” a 15 year old girl from Texas and had her living with him in Utah until her parents found her and took her back home. I doubt charges were ever filed, as they had him staying in their home until the incident occurred.

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  • March 23, 2016 at 4:21 pm
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    Hi, my partner was sexually abused by his mother. He recently shared it with his father and it was not taken well. He was blamed and called a liar. The mother found out and told her family. Now my partners aunts uncles and grandparents think he’s a liar. My partner wants to send a letter to his family members so they will know his truth and his side but he’s worried his mom would sue him. Do you know if he could be sued for this?
    Thank you for sharing your story. I plan on showing my partner this article and this site. It may help him through this difficult time.

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  • May 17, 2016 at 7:04 am
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    What a excellent account of a deeply complicated reality. I was verbally threatened with a law suite, it terrified me but my lawyer advised they put their threats in writing. I’ve not received anything in writing. Telling the truth and living in silence are both painful, I’d not anticipated how painful telling the truth would be really but I know that staying silent was going to kill me. The biggest lesson I keep learning since publicly sharing my truth is how clearly people who truly care stand by me. As someone whose boundaries need constant attention this is proving to be one of the biggest and most valuable lessons of my life so far. Thank you for this article and the work you do to keep this conversation open and alive.

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  • May 17, 2016 at 8:31 am
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    I spoke out about the sexual abuse I encountered by my brother. I kept things very vague (I have 2 brothers, but never named which one). When his wife instigated drama between all of them over it, I was pressured to tell what happened. I sent a group message to my parents, to my (innocent) brother, and his wife, explaining the events that took place.

    After I exposed it all, I received a message from the guilty brother’s wife, calling me all sorts of names. She ended it with how sorry she felt for my kids. I responded back that I had nothing to say to her, that if my brother felt like explaining his actions to me, I’d be open to listening and he knew how to reach me. It wasn’t long before he wrote. He threatened legal action and called me a “narcissist” who had nothing better to do. I made sure to keep my responses short and unemotional, letting him know he could explain himself if he ever felt like coming clean.

    It was very heartbreaking to admit what he did, knowing I’d never know my Nephews from then on. I love being an Aunt, but because of all these events, I’ve lost all of them. I was never close to any of my Family, so losing those connections was a relief. But I still grieve my Nephews.

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  • April 3, 2017 at 10:23 am
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    Thank you for sharing your story. I am inspired by you to “stay the course.” I come from an incestuous family. I outed my father 8 years ago, at age 30. He told everyone I was lying including my siblings, who turned against me. Then he killed himself after failing a lie detector test–which he took at the behest of my mother, who promised to take him back if he passed it. I’ve been estranged from most of my family since then, and have been engrossed in deep healing work. Recently my brother and sister told me on two separate occasions that they “don’t believe me.” My sister went so far as to say that she wouldn’t believe me even if our Dad came back to life and told her himself that it was true. I recently replied to my sister, it’s been nearly a year since she sent me that message. My reply was blunt, tactful, and healthy as I don’t live in denial. Her response was to call my mom, and tell my mom to tell me that she’s going to file a restraining order against me if I don’t stop contacting her. I emailed her once, and it was reply to one she sent me! The lengths to which people will go to avoid looking at the truth is staggering! And obviously the dynamic with my mother is still toxic as well. I’m presently working through your book, and really appreciate how you’ve put yourself and your story out there to help others. Thank you, Christina.

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    • April 3, 2017 at 10:39 am
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      Hi Hilary,

      I can SO relate. Threatening to file a restraining order under those circumstances sounds so typical (and frustrating and painful!). The standards or rules they expect us to live by don’t apply to them. They are entitled to live without bother and can justify anything to undermine what comes against that. I’m sorry you’re experiencing that.

      Christina

  • August 3, 2017 at 9:36 am
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    “I think those comforting platitudes are repeated to give us a sense of control when we face so much loss.” AND “Facing my loss of control actually set me free. Letting go of the outcome was liberating.” are two thoughts from this article that I found so helpful and inspiring! Platitudes can seem so “vanilla” so to speak. However, your thought about them giving us a sense of control seems to add some purposeful flavor, if you will. 🙂

    Learning how to let go of an outcome for me has been just like to said, “liberating.” However, I am now in the process of creating my website and blog and am feeling a little anxious about my brothers’ response to it. I had a very beautiful and honest conversation with my father before he passed away so that was settled for me. However, my brothers are a totally different story.

    Your work is incredibly inspiring as there is so little out there for those of us who have been sexually abused. It’s as though the manner in which we were abused is still shameful which obviously does not help with the shame we already deal with. Congratulations and thank you on your bravery and wonderful help for others! 🙂

    Reply

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