Dogdancing — I was abused, but not sexually. My parents were physically and emotionally abusive. I've confronted them about this and I feel as much "closure" as I possibly can with something like that while maintaining a semi-healthy relationship with them.
Thank you for your list of ways to keep peace. I found them very helpful. Especially this part:
"You find peace by speaking up and out about all the stuff clogging your head/heart (hear is a good start) how long ago was therapy? pre-children? if so think about giving it another go.
You will find that incest will be a nagging festering thorn that needs addressed vs. sweeping it under the rug."
This is exactly what is going on. I feel clogged. I feel silenced. It is nagging at me. I hate feeling like I shouldn't speak up because it will be offensive to my family. It feels like some people in my family are still very insistent on protecting the abusers. I'm rather tired of being all nicey-nice about the abuse and that I'm the bad, squeaky wheel for vocalizing that it actually happened. It makes me feel crazy to "pretend" that none of the sexual abuse happened and that I should just be able to move on. I don't believe that is real, at least not for me.
Also, the last time I was in counseling was about six months ago.
"Sounds like they did do something to me. Dad topped the contact with the other family....he did that part right, the other part sadly is common reaction, to blame the victim. Equally as damaging as the abuse in my eyes."
My dad did do something. My extended family did nothing. In fact, my mother was talked out of going to the police by her family. Even though my dad's reaction was horrible and abusive, he protected all of us including my mother and for that I am grateful. I don't understand his reaction to finding out about my sister's sexual abuse. But what my parents didn't do for us was talk to us about it. We didn't go to family counseling and after about five years or so, we went back to family gatherings with my sisters abuser. What I learned here was that it's not okay to talk about certain situations, that emotional health wasn't important, and that if you wait long enough, all will be forgiven. That was damaging to me.
"You sound like you want to fight your sisters fight for her? Why is that?"
Good question. I too did turn my back on my sister in my own way and I feel guilty for it. I should've been her ally and I wasn't. I should've been with her always and I wasn't. Maybe if I was with her, I could've stopped the abuse in some way or stopped it earlier. Even though I was a child myself and I know that he might have found another way or another time to abuse her, I am still upset with myself about not doing enough to protect her.
I also feel that my mother and my sister and all of my aunts and cousins that were sexually abused were robbed of their voice. We were all taught this weird code of silence. That it's better to just keep it all inside and pretend it didn't happen. None of us were taught how to properly set boundaries.
One of the reasons I went to counseling was because I needed to learn how to set boundaries. Because things in my life have been so skewed, I had to re-learn how to say no, set proper boundaries, and react normally.
I feel like the cycle of sexual abuse will continue in my family because there are too many people that don't see a problem and won't admit that it happened. This is a problem for me. I can't imagine that I wouldn't be completely devastated if I come to find out in twenty years that my little cousins were also sexually abused. The scary thing is, I can see it happening and it makes me very sad. If one person would've just broken the abuse wide open in my generation, maybe, just maybe things would've been different for all of us. View Thread
"The things that people like us went through and go through in our lives takes so much from us; and a lot of the time the abusers don't think twice about it or suffer few, if any, consequences for their actions."
You hit the nail on the head for me. There were no consequences for the abusers in my family, so I've seen first-hand that you can do something horrendous to somebody and everybody will still be nice to you. I've seen how the abused was blamed for the abuse and I've watched the abused get re-abused by one of the people they trusted the most. That's hard to wrap your head around as an adult, let alone a child. I looked to the adults in my family to protect us and they let us down. And not only that, they tainted the pool of normalcy in my life. All of my feelings, all of my emotions and boundaries were out of whack for a very long time and I had to re-learn how to protect myself, respond, trust, defend myself, set boundaries, and live.
I am healing more and more every day and I feel pretty good most of the time, but when I have a flashback or I am reminded that all of my relationships with my own family have suffered, it makes me angry. This happens about a couple times a year. It helps me to talk it out. Thanks for listening and responding.View Thread
I've heard of something that may help. When you are having a painful memory or flashback, immediately do something nice for yourself. Like, take yourself to a movie or to your favorite restaurant or just do something that makes you happy at that very moment. I have a hard time remembering to do this myself, so I don't know how well it works, but I've been told that it does in fact work.
Sometimes I just cry because I need the release. I also go to the gym and I vent - a lot. By the end of it all, I just pass out from exhaustion.
I hope you can get a good nights sleep soon!View Thread
Thanks! You know, a few months ago my aunt sent out an e-mail to the entire family informing everybody about the sexual abuse among other things. The family was livid. There were several e-mails sent around from family members in my generation stating that they wished to be removed from the e-mail list and others that said we should all live in the now and forgive. My uncle wished my aunt dead and nobody else responded. My sister made it known to her abuser that she thinks he is monster and never wants to see him again. He responded with something like, I wish people would just get over it. Clearly, there are very indignant abusers in my family. My family still protects the sexual abuse secret. I know I should have some comfort in the fact that one person finally admitted it and that my sister confronted her abuser, but I still feel like it's not enough and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's because I still haven't achieved personal peace? View Thread
I've had about four years of counseling and I've finally learned how to set boundaries and stand up for myself. It took me a long time to be able to do that and I feel pretty good about what I've accomplished, but I still get very nervous when I see a phone call or e-mail from my extended family. I've tried keep the interaction with them to a minimum (weddings and funerals), but when some of my family members bring up the molesters or even some of the other family members that tried to force me to forgive and forget, I get very upset.
My extended family is always giving me these signs to just get over it and I know it's because they don't want to confront the past. They haven't confronted the sexual abuse in their own generation, so I don't know what makes me hope they'll be able to confront the sexual abuse from my generation.
It's rather uncomfortable to be around my extended family and pretend that nothing happened, so I've pulled myself away from them, but it doesn't feel good. It feels like I am being punished. I know my extended family chose the molesters family over my own and that stings.
Last year, things were okay because I had minimal interaction with my extended family and I felt more at peace.
These feelings stir up about 3-4 times a year and I'm just sick of having them.
How would I go about finding personal peace? View Thread