Hendrica

Active Member
#1
I respectfully confronted my mother a couple of months ago with the emotional abuse from her I had experienced. This after much counselling and preparation. The response from my mother was anger and shut down. My siblings, since learning of my disclosure, had varied responses: denial, anger, shut down, advice, criticism and accusation. I was told I was ungrateful, blaming my mother for my hardships, unhealed because I had not forgiven and forgotten, creating division and hurt deliberately in our family, and that I was wrong about any abuse happening. I tried unsuccessfully to share why I had disclosed and what I had accomplished through counselling and how I had reached a place of healing and was continuing to heal. They wanted to hear nothing about that. My disclosure seems to have exposed what I have always sensed, the inability to communicate with validation and seeking to understand. My family appears unable to confront the elephants in the room so to speak, using healthy communication. For my part, my disclosure has set me free in that I am no longer apologizing for being open and authentic and in that I am no longer absorbing guilt and shame that I have in the past in my attempts to communicate my abuse. I know I am able and open to communicate in non toxic ways but my family seems unable to do the same. It has been hard because I feel I have lost my family. I was prepared for this but it still is painful. In the most recent communications. one of my siblings said she still loved me despite my confrontation. She said she disagreed that I had confronted my mother and she had her own view of the matter and that I was in the wrong. I asked her if I could explain to her my experiences, my counselling and why I had done what I had done. She wanted no part of it and said we would have to agree to disagree. I responded by saying I was hurt and disappointed by the lack of communication and authentic discussion. I shared how I felt about our family ignoring elephants in the room. I also said I really appreciated her love and I wanted to honor any boundaries of communication she set. I also told her that I was open to discuss anything in a healthy way and I assured her that she could talk to me about anything. Since she is aware of my chronic depression and suicidal thoughts I also shared with her about how I had had severe struggles at different times during the course of the past year. The disconnect in her response to me was so tangible and deeply felt: she simply thanked me for "my encouragement". I am just so sad at the terrible disconnect. Presently I am only talking with this sibling, but it is hard. I am not yet making any attempts to communicate with anyone else in the family. I feel I will be able to eventually. I am happy my mother did come by on my birthday with a gift and I did phome her and thanked her as I was not home to receive the gift. We wave to each other when we see each other in town and we are polite at public events. I am getting better at accepting the disconnect and right now, just not jumping into anything as I feel I need to have boundaries for my own mental health. There are days when I feel like I can just pick up the phone and get together with my mom and I feel confident that day will come.
 

nobodyknows71

For a Phoenix to rise, it must first burn.
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#2
Hi there, it’s hard when you see things a certain way and others don’t agree or ‘get it’ but you’ve come to your conclusions after a lot of help from therapy. I’m assuming the rest of your family have not had that experience. You seemed to have made peace with your decision to confront you mother and that’s really is all that matters and the fact is they don’t have to agree with you and see things the same way as you do. And they probably never will. It will be hard for a while but try to keep the lines of communication open for you siblings and remember, just as they don’t agree with your stance, you don’t agree with theirs. It doesn’t have to come down to who’s right or wrong but accepting that you see things differently to them as they do to you.
 

Hendrica

Active Member
#3
Thanks so much for responding. I was a fostered teen who witnessed the three biological siblings being abused. I lived with the family for three years until I graduated from high school. The siblings were younger and I babysat them. They had disclosed to me when they were in their early adulthood and I validated them as I had seen first hand their abuse. I had tried sharing with the three biological siblings that I had also been abused back then when they reached out to me and they refused to believe it as I had been "saved" by my foster parents from a "real" abusive situation with my natural dad. So for years I wrestled with myself and tried to see it that way and when I did try to argue, I was told I was not grateful for my foster parents as they had given me a lot of their time, taking time away from them, which they now resented. With that line of reasoning they invalidated my experiences. So, I entered a cycle of getting angry at both the abuse and the lack of validation, accusing, then being invalidated, then feeling guilty and asking for forgiveness of everyone and getting back on everyone's "good side". On and on till I was finally helped in therapy to stop the cycle of guilt and unhealthy communication and become able to respectfully communicate unapologetic. Yes, in this sense I am at peace. One of the biological siblings did apologize for saying my experiences were not abuse, but does not want to talk about them. Yes, I will have to leave it, and accept everyone's different journeys and perspectives. Presently I struggle with how and if to communicate at all because of serious triggers when I do.
 

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