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#353234 - 02/09/11 08:21 PM Coming out to extended family as a survivor
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
A situation is forcing me into no alternative but to "come out" to my extended family about my father's abuse on his 4 children. I live half a continent away from my extended family (aunts and uncles) but we are in frequent contact by phone.

My father, my perpetrator, phones the relatives and plies sympathy as an abandoned role-model of a Christian father.
I cut off contact 5 years ago when his sociopathic behavior became unbearable. Most aunts and uncles know there is a missing piece to the story and are trying to figure it out.

I hate to upset elderly aunts and uncles, but they are tormenting themselves trying to figure out if there is a minor misunderstanding that can be remedied, or if there is just the right thing to say or do to fix everything.

Can anyone share from your experience of having gone through this decision?

Thanks,
Keith

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#353254 - 02/10/11 12:44 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: WriterKeith]
Awake at Last Offline


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Chicago Land
I can't speak from experience, as I have only told some of my siblings (two older sisters), but not all. I tried to talk to my mom about it on the phone once, but she didn't want to go there. And I have not come out to the perps (cousins).

My question is about your three siblings. What is their relationship to your father? (sounds like they are distant also) Have you come out to them? Sorry if I missed you explaining this elsewhere. If you go forward, they will be in it also. I would be sure of how they feel first.

If you father is pestering your aunts and uncles (half a continent away) and blaming you for his isolation, you could consider letting him go on for a bit. If I remember what you have said about him in other posts he may alienate them all by himself. And the pressure will disappear. Just a thought.
Jim


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#353255 - 02/10/11 02:44 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: Awake at Last]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
Hey, Jim,

Yes, I discussed the abuse with my siblings in 1993. I'm the youngest sibling. My 2 brothers said they never saw anything. The eldest knows something, I am sure of it. He won't discuss it, yet he frequently talks about issues that any MS member would identify as symptoms of abuse. The other brother has had lifelong anger issues and a history of being abusive to women and animals.
My sister recalled the abuse when she and I discussed it alone, but she denied knowing anything about it if I discussed it around other family members. She died in 2009.

You're right, that my father has alienated himself from the aunts and uncles as well as my brothers and I, and the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren. There are 2 uncles and 2 aunts that are still attempting to "fix" things, and they don't understand why I keep asking them not to report back to me when they've contacted him. They know that it's not in my nature to have "abandoned" my father, so they are tormented as to what's going on and what they can do to fix it. They're elderly and they are trying to make sense of it all.

I finally told a cousin, and of course she was upset, but it helped her put the situation to rest in her mind. I'm wondering if it would help or hinder my aunts and uncles to know the "why" behind my father's recent return to outright hostile behavior toward his offspring.

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#353269 - 02/10/11 09:15 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: WriterKeith]
Obi Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 1372
Loc: kansas
keith,

none of us here can tell you whether it will help or hinder them. we do not know them.

you know them better than any of us here and would know better if it will help or hinder them.

the best advice i can give you is to weigh out all the pros and cons...

todd

_________________________
live another day. climb a little higher.

my story

my vlog

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#353282 - 02/10/11 10:27 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: Obi]
RecoveryReady1 Offline


Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 433
Keith,
Wondering your motivation.....are you doing it for them or for you? What would you get out of it?.....Are you just being pulled back into the vortex of family madness? Is there a possibility that some of these family members could be supportive to you after they know about it....Aside from trying to ease their torment.....Is there any good reason to engage and tell them?
Not that just telling your truth can't be helpful in it's own right.....Just wondering your motivation...
Anyway....some thoughts...
All the best
steve


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#353283 - 02/10/11 10:39 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: Obi]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 733
Loc: NJ
keith,

Interesting and difficult stuff.

When I disclosed "the"(it is not your abuse, but the abuse...as somebody else owns it, not you) abuse to my parents (brother=perp)...I didnt want to at the time...however like your situaton they were trying to get me to be in contact with my brother once I cut ties. they didnt get the hints I didnt want contact ect...so it sorta lead to disclosure.

It was very hard..but needed to be done for ME.

So, as I read what you wrote...I'll advise to do whats best for you...and if you dont want to disclose, you shouldn't...there are other ways to ge them to understand if you dont want to disclose....i seee you told them not to mention...have you said..The relationship is just beyond repair..and you would rather focus your energy on enjoying the time on the phone talking about other things.

If you do disclose do it for you....there is a huge weight off the shoulder with disclosure...However I dont talk to extended family so I dont know if I would tell them.

.02

_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#353287 - 02/10/11 11:08 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: Castle]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
Thanks, Castle,

It's a complex situation and I was trying to keep my post brief, so I had to leave out a lengthy backstory.

I am close to my aunts and uncles and they are quite concerned for me and the situation. They know there is a missing piece to the story and they're trying to figure out the "why" of my father's most recent toxic behavior, since it is not based on mental health issues. They are piecing together the dark double life this man has led. My father's brother always bought into my father's public persona, so he has been devastated by my father's recent actions and statements.

Also, a documentary is currently in production about my survivor story in which I appear on camera under my real name, so my extended family may find out through a very public grapevine if I don't disclose it to them first. My cousins will most certainly come across it on the Internet. In my case, it's a matter of HOW my relatives will find out, and I do respect and care for them very much. I can't really concern myself with HOW anyone feels about it because it just is what it is.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps hearing the thought process from someone who has been through it.

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#353290 - 02/10/11 11:22 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: WriterKeith]
Obi Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 1372
Loc: kansas
keith,

i didn't know that there was a documentary about you being done.

that changes my thoughts...

i know that i would rather have the person tell me what's going on than find out through the grapevine....

but that's me...

todd

_________________________
live another day. climb a little higher.

my story

my vlog

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#363169 - 05/28/11 01:56 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: Obi]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
Thanks again, guys, for the great advice. I thought I'd return to post a followup. I have discovered that I needn't concern myself with disclosing to relatives. The ones who are ready to face it come right out and ask me about it. I hardly get a sentence or two out, and then they always start unloading story after story of my father's dark-sided history. The rest don't speak of it.
He worked so hard to carry the persona of an upstanding Christian father and leader, that everyone...including myself....put guilt on ourselves for thinking he was so intrinsically evil and sick minded.
I am so sorry that I carried the guilt and shame and responsibility, such a heavy, heavy, burden, throughout my childhood, my teens, my 20s, my 30s, my 40s, and spending my 50s trying to shake it and live free. After all that effort, after all these years, after all that energy, it isn't and never was...me. It was him all along.

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#363170 - 05/28/11 02:20 AM Re: Coming out to extended family as a survivor [Re: WriterKeith]
Napoleon Offline


Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 166
Loc: Utah
Personally I have come to the conclusion that the embarrassment and shame are my abusers. I have nothing to hide, and no reason to protect my abuser. On the other hand family is not involved… so I don’t have any relationships or unneeded drama to consider.

_________________________
“Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.” Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

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