Talking with friends and family

HelpingHands

Registrant
After reading so many posts of other members of this community, I realize that I have never disclosed my experiences of abuse as a child with my friends and family. There are so many times that I had the chance to when asked why I'm always so depressed. This is a healthy place for disclosure, but my I feel like I should at least tell my husband. We started the conversation a long time ago when we were dating but the subject changed to something else. I feel like if I do, I will break down and make them just feel sorry for me, and that's not the intention.

Does anyone have experience talking with someone about their abuse, and did the person you told treat you differently?

I don't want to be an eye sore, as I feel like telling people just adds more depressing feelings to someone who is probably going through their own issues.

Namaste
-HH
 
I told my wife. but it was after we were married and had our first child when I even remembered the abuse by my father. Before we were married, I disclosed the sexual assault at age 20 by the Minister-perp and the SSA issues I had that were related to that event. She was very accepting. However, I still have not told her of the latest revelation from last week. Still trying to process it myself.
 
Hi HH,
Does anyone have experience talking with someone about their abuse, and did the person you told treat you differently?
Yep, when I first tentatively spoke to my mother (primary abuser) about the abuse, it was met with "that couldn't be possible" and shut that door for quite a while. Much later she started to see it and apologized then described her own abuse at the hands of my father. The disclosure at first distanced myself from her a great deal, then our relationship deepened.

When I talked to my sister about it, I was first met with "I can't handle this" and an emotional train wreck of a conversation. Her husband verbally attacked me which fortunately I was able to protect myself from. After realizing that that was a topic she couldn't handle, I stayed away from it. She brought it up later and basically mocked my perspective so I don't go there any more. She's not supportive of me at the emotional (or physical nurturing) level.

I'm working on broaching the topic with my brother. He's generally not very receptive to topics involving this kind of depth but I at least want to give him the opportunity to engage with me at this level.

Friends have been generally accepting of the news but profoundly unsupportive of my healing related needs. I've put a great deal of distance between myself and most people. It's hard to be in community pretending to be having a good time when I'm at significant risk of being severely triggered and local support for my healing process outside of professionals is basically nil.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Garth

PS: I don't have an intimate partner. I can't find anyone who shares my interest in the kind of practices that would be supportive of my healing process. The normal routine doesn't work at all for me.
 
My wife knows about my ex-wife's abuse of me. She knew about it even before I could call it "abuse."

My family now knows - in the depths of my trauma therapy last year, I felt like I had to tell them. They were all extremely supportive.

My closest friends also know and are all 100% supportive.

So I have what's the absolute best-case scenario for anyone. I know how lucky I am. I wish it was the case for everyone who disclosed.
 

Healing light

Registrant
Hi HH

I disclosed to family and very close friends after I had gone to the police regarding historical charges. My disclosure to police came after another family member had. I disclosed first to my partner who at that point was a long term friend and the sparks were flying heading towards having a relationship she believed me and accepted me and has never treated me differently she was there alongside my older siblings to support as I disclosed to my mother and younger siblings that was awful I didn't know what they would do or would they say even believe me and that a doctor had to be called for my mother as she was distraught , and angry with herself and with them.
My younger brother was extremely supportive and was and is calm and consistent in his support of my journey and my poor wee sister sobbed her heart out
I honestly felt like a let an atom bomb off in my family
We faced 24 hr police protection officers sat outside the house , while they arrested suspects on the run , court hearing , media and of course it became evident to the community around us I was the "victim". I left the area for some months to be supported by my sister. I have since returned and I can't fault the people I live around a few of the local lads made a point of saying they was glad to see me back and to keep fighting when I first come back
I don't much discuss the healing journey with my mother although she know I'm in therapy I haven't shared details really either. At court I always had a support worker from a charity with me and my ex father in law
I don't know had things been different like no police and courts I may have took more time telling my partner it's a very emotional journey I think you will know inside who to tell and when. I wrote to show my positive but very emotion filled reaction I got to my disclosure

Peace
HL
 

HelpingHands

Registrant
Hi HH,

Yep, when I first tentatively spoke to my mother (primary abuser) about the abuse, it was met with "that couldn't be possible" and shut that door for quite a while. Much later she started to see it and apologized then described her own abuse at the hands of my father. The disclosure at first distanced myself from her a great deal, then our relationship deepened.

When I talked to my sister about it, I was first met with "I can't handle this" and an emotional train wreck of a conversation. Her husband verbally attacked me which fortunately I was able to protect myself from. After realizing that that was a topic she couldn't handle, I stayed away from it. She brought it up later and basically mocked my perspective so I don't go there any more. She's not supportive of me at the emotional (or physical nurturing) level.

I'm working on broaching the topic with my brother. He's generally not very receptive to topics involving this kind of depth but I at least want to give him the opportunity to engage with me at this level.

Friends have been generally accepting of the news but profoundly unsupportive of my healing related needs. I've put a great deal of distance between myself and most people. It's hard to be in community pretending to be having a good time when I'm at significant risk of being severely triggered and local support for my healing process outside of professionals is basically nil.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Garth

PS: I don't have an intimate partner. I can't find anyone who shares my interest in the kind of practices that would be supportive of my healing process. The normal routine doesn't work at all for me.
Garth,
I hope you know that there is always support for you here within this community. We are always here to help. My brother knows that I am suffering from very deep wounds but can only imagine who gave them to me. I have spoke with him in the past about one particular person, who was my first boyfriend. He knows him from our childhood and knows that he is a terrible person who does nothing but exploit others. My parents are included in the list of those who have abused me, and I have never trusted then enough to talk with them about anything that is going on. I want to really scream at them, but they are suffering in their own way and I don't really care about what they think. I really don't trust anyone enough to let them into the darkest parts of my memory. This can be a lonely existence. We are never alone though.
Namaste
-HH
 
@HelpingHands
my experience with friends and family is rejection, justification, and denial from people i have tried to disclose with. the only time i was accepted was from my partner we live together now, but she also survived abuse, so this could be the reason why she was willing to listen (we didn't know about that part of our past until we lived together for some time), so i hope it will be better for you, but i am sharing my sad experience here with you so you know it is not always a happy story, so you might want to be careful.
for me i have accepted this is a side of my past i will always have to hide, and can only talk about it with other survivors and a T.
and believe me, not every T is willing to really listen to an abuse story. it makes me very sad, but i believe it's a reality of being abused in our society.
 

HelpingHands

Registrant
Sand shore,
Thank you for sharing. I wish I felt like I could share my story with someone other than my T, and this community. I have held onto these feelings of grief for so long, and until my recent entry into counseling, have almost lost myself completely. I don't want to live like a recluse anymore, but I don't know how to talk about it. No one has really ever asked. Thanks for being open to talk about it, and sharing your experience. I hope you find the understanding that we all seek.
Namaste
-HH
 
As I unpacked the trauma of my childhood over the last 35 years it was never clear enough what happened that I could say something definitive to family members. I had questions for my mother but I didn't know the import of those questions and neither did my mother. By the time I realized she'd abused me both sexually and physically she was long dead. My brother is still alive but much older than I am. I don't feel there is a reason to disturb him with this information since it accomplishes nothing.

Apart from my former wife with whom I remain close the subject of my former trauma is pretty unknown, at least until recently. Fortunately, I've developed close friendships with a few women in Overeaters Anonymous with whom I've recently shared the broad outline of my abuse as I've revisited the subject and finally come to terms with what actually happened. They have been remarkably supportive. In fact, by sharing my abuse I've given them the opportunity to share their own. Two friends were sexually abused as children, one quite severely, and one friend was verbally traumatized by her mother. Now I'm beginning to share bits of information with friends and thus far have experienced only kindness. I feel very fortunate for that.

It would be difficult to carry this without sharing it. I'm glad you have a therapist and this community HH. Those are good places to begin. I know from my 12 Step work how important it is to share our journey with kindred spirits who understand the territory. I expect many of the folks I encounter in those rooms also are dealing with childhood trauma because escaping our world through addictions of every sort is what we do when old feelings seep into the moment. Coming back is where healing happens. We do that together. You must know that since you decided to post this comment. Good for you HH. You're not alone any more.
 
Thanks HH,
I hope you know that there is always support for you here within this community. We are always here to help.
I'm glad for the support I get here. It's been a good place to feel fully heard... a rarity in my world. Throughout Mother's Day I was doing my usual "suck up to Mom" routine which eventually ran its course. I got in touch with some deep routed frustration with family and found a way to explore Forgiveness with them as I was living the weekend. More recently my mother expressed how she felt she "wouldn't have survived" without us kids when we were very young. I had thought she had said that the purpose of having kids was to save adults from the crappy emotional world in which they live. I managed to say to her that using a child to satisfy an adult need is the definition of child abuse. My understanding of her story changed slightly but I'm realizing that it's not my job to "cheer her up". She has to find a way to protect the playful innocent child within herself. It's a job she tends not to do all that well. Perhaps she doesn't want to because it would mean abandoning a political tool (victim trip) to which she is thoroughly attached.

It's an interesting time for me. I have the support of an excellent therapist now and am working on my "family of choice". I've a good start in that here. Thanks for your offer of support.

Sincerely,

Garth
 

bbats123

Registrant
As I unpacked the trauma of my childhood over the last 35 years it was never clear enough what happened that I could say something definitive to family members.
This is exactly what I am dealing with, too, as well as talking to my wife about it. It is a tough topic.

Just this morning, I was talking to my wife about how the memories are not solid and how I struggle with knowing how things feel, but not knowing HOW I know about them. She kind of shuts down when I tell her things, even tho she asked about it, so I struggle because I want to be heard, I don't want to feel that someone is trying to convince me of anything and at the same time, I know that it brings her down to hear about stuff. Her response is that it tells her how far away she and I are from working out our problems.

I have not told anyone in my family other than my wife and my mom, briefly. In the beginning I thought my mom might know more about it since it was during a period when my divorced parents were taking me to a doc (abuser) to fix my diet and control my temper. She never actually took me, so she didn't know anything. I also have a T who knows as much as I do. She is really the only one I truly trust with everything. Other than MS, she is the only safe space.

I don't think I'm helping you @HelpingHands. I guess I struggle with this issue a lot lately and i don't know what I would do. If I could do it all over, I would not tell my wife. For us, think it has made things worse.

Bryan
 
Hi HelpingHands

My experience has been rejection. With family I have barely told of what is happening to me today and the mental illness I now struggle with instead of support I get absolute silence. I only disclosed to one cousin that asked and I never hear from her again. I stopped disclosing or even trying to.
Thanks for the thread it is good to read all the good out comes
Take Care
Lee
 

bbats123

Registrant
@Esterio the silence is so painful. Thats exactly how my wife deals w it when I tell her stuff. Just an empty stare; no expression of compassion. Thats why as of today Im not talking to her about it. Its not helpful and is actually quite painful. To me it looks like she does not care.
 
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A friend from OA asked this morning how I am doing and I said I'm attending to some early trauma and the process is unsettling. I didn't go into details but I noted that it is likely most people in the room have experienced something in childhood that was traumatizing. I also noted that sometimes neglect can be as painful as direct abuse and she said that was her experience. So a two minute exchange happened and I think we both felt met and heard. She approached me because I'd mentioned a few weeks ago that if she'd care to take a hike she should give me a call. We likely will when the weather is better but I know I won't tell her everything that followed from the abuse. It is all too confusing and painful.

I'm sorry there is so much resistance to being with these difficult moments. I watched a presentation on men sexually abused by children that featured a video that suggested there is more openness to the subject. Here's a link for anyone interested.

 

KMCINVA

Registrant
I think you will find the reactions to be all over the place. Some of my family who I have told, opened their arms and accepted the truths of the abuse. I think about them and I realize they are the ones who do not live a false pretense, they laugh about their issues, they do not hide their issues. The ones who rejected the truth live a life of false pretense, one of denial of their lives, their issues. I learned the person you tell and if they are honest about life, the abuses they lived, those they witnessed and did hide or allow them to happen, the hurts and pains in their lives, they do no idolize family as perfect while all other families are imperfect you have a good chance their arms will be open. If they don not live this type of life, be silent. I made the mistake of telling the latter type of people and it derailed my healing and then I connected with those with open arms.

Kevin
 
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