As a survivor of abuse from my family, I had to decide if I should keep in contact with them or keep away from them. It’s not an easy decision. Although some of them are previous abusers, as most of life, the decision was not that simple. They are my blood. They are what I knew. They had been there since I could remember.
For me, the decision about my mother was easy. Outside of the abuse my siblings and I endured under her hand, she’s a con artist. She manipulates people and situations for money. She’s done that for as long as I can remember. I did try to have a relationship with her until after my children were born. She started trying the same things with my children that she had done to her own children, so I put a stop to it. I told her why I wasn’t allowing her in our lives anymore, and I never looked back. 15+ years later, the only thing that is odd about her not being in my life is that I haven’t missed her. Not one day.
Now my siblings were a different matter. We had endured so much together. Suffered a lot of the same things. Out of the three of us, I am the only one openly talking about the abuses against us. That is their choice, and everyone has to heal in their own way. Since I am on a healing path, contact is occasional at best. My heart breaks for their pain, but I can’t be brought back down to a place of non-healing.
My father was absent or drunk for my early years. We’ve tried reconnecting, but after all I survived while he was absent, it’s hard to think of him as a parent. He has apologized for not intervening on his suspicions, and I believe him. We chat from time to time, but it almost feels like talking with a distant relative.
Other various family members I just don’t talk to a lot. Most of them either saw and did nothing, or wasn’t around enough to know. Either way, most of them believe in the old adage of if you don’t talk about any bad stuff, life is great and perfect. Not a coping technique I want to go back to.
So why write about my family? Because I see other survivors struggle with this. I understand that struggle. None of my decisions about my family were made lightly. Most were made while agonizing for years what I should do. My example doesn’t work for everyone, and that is okay. Just know that if someone is causing you harm, family or not, it’s okay to keep them out of your life. If they change, re-evaluate then. Remember you are capable of protecting yourself now. You set your boundaries. You’ve more than earned that right.