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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
stuckinside Offline
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Unhappy Looking to let go. - January 16th 2020, 12:48 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of rape or abuse, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I've been having a hard time lately. I'm going to try and make this as uncomplicated and as clear as possible.

Growing up, I was raised by my father, Grandmother (Dad's mom) and Aunt (Dad's sister). My little sister was also raised along with me. Growing up we suffered from physical and mental abuse. At the age of 17 after being hospitalized and sent to jail twice because of my parents and the lies they told, I made the decision to move in with my then boyfriend (now husband) because I was pregnant and feared the physical abuse would affect my pregnancy/child.

I ended up continuing contact after I had turned 18 (because then I was a legal adult and had no obligation to contact them) and didn't have contact with them for 2 1\2 years. (Sadly, that also meant leaving my sister behind, as my parents wouldn't let her come with me and wouldn't let her contact me after I had left.) After those two and a half years my step mother (married to my father at the time) contacted me begging me to reconsider having a relationship with my father. I told her I didn't want to, but after about six months of her begging and constantly contacting me I agreed to give it a try.

I contacted my father via facebook, and sent him a message telling him that after talking to my step mother I'd be willing to talk to him over the phone and see how things go before I met him in person. We did talk, and things seemed okay. My father seem remorseful for how things went when I was younger, and wanted to try and find a way to become a family. He was eager to meet his only grandchild. (I was also eager to talk to my sister again, who was my best friend.)

Eventually we met up and things went well, I even agreed to see my aunt and grandmother again. Things were fine for the first year. It went so well in fact that my husband and I agreed to buy a house and property off of my Aunt. We had our lawyers work together, and with us to make a contract we were all happy with, and we signed, and soon after moved in to the house. I thought things were going well, and we were excited, as we really wanted to get out of that neighborhood.

Well after that thing went down hill fast. I'll admit, I thought (truly) that when I made contact with these people again, I would be able to handle it, and that things were okay on my side of the fence, but they weren't. I tried my hardest to forgive them for the things they did to us (my sister and I) as children, and for awhile I honestly thought I had. However, they started pushing. They would be super passive aggressive towards me, and sometimes down right mean and cruel. They talk about me like I'm not even in the room. My Dad (who has denied all abuse allegations since I was a child) even jokes about times he would abuse me in front of my husband!

This past week has been a breaking point for me. I just lost it one day after my dad came over to my house and tried to hug me. (I should also note, my dad lives next door to me, currently.) I went in to a full fledged panic attack. I was screaming and couldn't breathe. I honestly thought I was going to die. When he touched me, it's like all the abuse came flooding back, and I instantly wanted to die. My husband made my father leave, and then helped me calm down (which took a few hours, and a phone call to my doctor and therapist.)

I've been considering these past couple of years of them harassing me and being cruel, ending the relationship totally. Just cutting them off again, but I've been a little nervous, because my daughter doesn't know them the way I do, she just sees people she loves. They don't make an effort to see her however, even with my father living next door he rarely comes over to visit her, they never call or text to check up on her, and they never show up to her birthday's or anything like that. (However, my daughter is 6, so she just doesn't understand/isn't old enough to understand who they truly are)

Anyway, I've been nervous of scaring her in some way by taking these people out of her life suddenly with no excuse/way to tell her the truth. I've also been struggling because we are still in a contract with my aunt. While I'm not afraid that she would try and make us miserable, because all she really cares about is the money, and as long as we pay I think we would be fine, I'm afraid of being around her.

These people are truly evil in my book. I honestly wanted a family so badly after seeing my husband and his family (who are joyful and wonderful people that I adore) and I convinced myself that it was okay to trust these people again, but now I see they've never changed, and they never will..

I have no idea what to do. So far I've blocked them on all social media accounts, I've also blocked them from my house phone and cell phone. My husband has also agreed to answer the door when my father comes over so I can excuse myself and not be around him at all. He's also agreed to be the primary dealer so to speak, with my aunt when we have to pay her, so I don't have to be around her or my grandmother (who live together).

I've been slowly distancing myself from them. I don't go to their houses anymore, or invite them to do things with us as a family (not that they ever took me up on any of the offers) but I honestly don't think this is enough. I don't want them near my family (especially my child) at all. I also don't want to have to see them. I honestly go out of my way to avoid places I know they go, including my church, which I'm very fond of. They've taken everything from me, from my peace of mind, to my faith it feels like.

I hate these people, and I feel so odd for saying this, because I feel guilty because I put myself in this position. It's like I had all this anger and hatred inside me, but it was hiding, even from me, and then in one moment it all came out. I plan on talking to my therapist about this tomorrow, and trying to figure something out to help me deal with these newly emerged emotions, but I'm honestly just at a loss.

I don't think it has helped that I've since talked to my sister (Who also got out of my family's house at the age of 15, and who hasn't had a relationship with them since) and she's told me what happened to her while I was gone, and I feel almost responsible. When I lived there, I took the bulk of the abuse, and honestly assumed I was the problem, because they always told me that. When I was around, it was less likely that my family would abuse her, and when I left, I honestly convinced myself she would be safe, as long as I was gone they wouldn't hurt her, because that's what they had told me. I was so wrong.

I'm heartbroken to learn what she had to overcome, and I honestly do feel responsible. I should have fought more for her to be able to leave with me at the time, but I was powerless. The more we've talked about it, the more this hatred for my family has grown, and again, this week it just came to a head. I have no idea how to control this feeling inside me, but when they are around me, or I hear their voice, or I see them I just wanna rip my skin off. I feel so disgusted and sick. I hate myself because of these people.

I've sort of told my husband some of this. Not some of the stronger emotions I feel when I'm around them, but he knows I'm HIGHLY uncomfortable around them.

I just don't know how to get through this. For years I've struggled with self harm, addiction, self hatred, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and more, and I blame them. I never used to. I'd blame myself, but after really having a hard look at things as an adult, I honestly think they are to blame, and I have no idea how to forgive them for this. I honestly just want nothing to do with them. It's not that I want revenge, or even to see anything happen to them, I just want them to pretend I don't exist, and I'll do the same.

My husband wants me to just quietly disappear from their lives, and not to say anything directly to them to stir things up. I also think this is the best course of action, because they can turn an ant hill to a mountain. I don't want any trouble or drama, I just want to be left alone, but I'm also afraid if I say nothing at all, that they will continue to try and contact me or if they see me out in public they will try to come up to me.

My fear of that has gotten so bad my therapist and doctor has diagnosed me with agoraphobia. I'll go 6 months without leaving my house if I can get away with it. When I do leave I can't be alone, and will often travel to the next town over to avoid seeing them/running in to them at all costs. It's ruining my life and preventing me from doing things I want/love to do.

I'm just at a standstill it seems and I feel so lost. I have no idea what to do/how to go about all of this, and how to dig myself out of this hole I've dug.
   
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Celyn Offline
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Re: Looking to let go. - January 19th 2020, 10:54 PM

Sorry to hear the physical and mental abuse that you suffered at the hands of your family, when you were growing up. It seems like it's affected you very badly, being hospitalised, in jail and struggling with mental health since then. It makes sense that you would want to move in with your, now husband, when you were pregnant and want to protect your child from that.

I'm also saddened to hear that, after pressure from your step mother, that getting back in touch with your father and other family members didn't end well, especially when it looked promising to begin with. You put in a lot of effort to try to forgive your family for the abuse, but relationships take two sides, and it sounds like your family were not prepared to take the time to improve their communication with you and instead relied on being passive aggressive and cruel. I think this would naturally trigger you into remembering all the abuse, resulting in the big panic attack you had when your father tried to hug you. Sometimes with trauma, even though we may think we have healed or we try to force ourselves to heal quickly, we may still react to triggers as if they were the past. And given that your family were falling back into old patterns, it makes sense you would feel this way.

It's entirely up to you whether you should distance yourself or completely cut yourself off from your family. It doesn't sound like an easy decision to make, especially when you are trying to take into consideration your daughter and her relationship with your family. While it will be difficult for your daughter to understand, it may be best to do what you feel is best for you, and then tell your daughter your reasons when she is old enough to understand.

You deserved a loving and safe family growing up, and I'm sorry you didn't get this. Understandably after seeing your husband with his family, you would want the same. It sounds like you get on well with your husbands family, and though they can't replace your family, it may be that you have a good enough family from your husbands side to make up for it.

It's good that you've blocked your family and that your husband has offered to speak to them on your behalf. While it's natural to want to avoid your family and distance yourself from them, it shouldn't mean that you can no longer go places in case you see them. Maybe instead of avoiding the places, you can time it so that you still go but don't run the risk of bumping into them? If you've not done so already, you might want your husband to explain to your family that you no longer wish to see them and that if they see you in public to not approach you. Not sure whether that will work but they should leave you alone, and it should leave you to feel that you can go out without being approached by them.

How did it go with your therapist? It's definitely good to talk to your therapist about all these new and strong emotions. But there's no need to feel guilty- you didn't put yourself in this position. It sounds like your step mother pressured you into getting back in touch, and it's only natural that you'd want a family around you, and even hope that your family had changed. You are also not responsible for your sister. It's awful to think that your sister has had to endure abuse as well, but the only people that are responsible for that is your family. You felt responsible for the abuse that you endured and hoped that your sister would be safe when you left. But you weren't responsible for your family abusing you, nor your sister. You weren't to know that your sister was going to be abused, and I'm sure if you had known, you would've done more. But you didn't know, and as hard as that is, it's not your fault.

You don't have to forgive your family for what they put you through. It's entirely your choice whether to forgive them or not, and if you choose to, then it should be on your terms and in your own time. You've struggled a lot with various mental health problems and it does seem like your family's abuse is greatly responsible. It's okay to want distance from them and to focus on healing in therapy, and being there for the family you do have- your husband and your daughter.

Your family may still contact you if you distance yourself from them, but you don't have to reply or let them into your life again. It's your life and you have control.

Sorry to hear that you feel so lost, but I hope that typing things out here, talking to your therapist and your husband it helping a bit


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