Relatives who do not respect boundaries

I’m a survivor of CSA and horrific trauma. The law in most of the world states that you are not an adult until you turn 18. It means that until then, you are at the mercy of your parents. It doesn’t matter if your parents are neglectful or abusing you daily or hurt you in other ways. It doesn’t matter if your parents use you as a sex toy. The law states you have no free will until your 18th birthday. It is like a prison torture sentence for a child suffering abuse.

When I was growing up, I was desperate to run away from all the hurt and pain of child abuse by my parents and friends. I was in a constant state of fearing for my life.

Being terrified does not begin to explain how I felt all the time. It was a living hell. Each day I suffered harm, pain and neglect. I existed like a robot until the law said I could have my free will. I dreamt about it. I fantasized about it. I drew comics about it and when I was old enough, I wrote stories of escape. My mind was consumed with ways to escape in any shape and ways possible. I was a prisoner of abuse war. I researched places and I wrote to different states and even embassies asking for information about different countries. I wanted to disappear and move far away where no one knew me so I could restart my life. Yet, I was stuck with parents from hell until the law said I could have my own free will.

I left, took a plane ride away from them all. I went as far away as I could go financially and I got a job as a dishwasher. The lowest manual work possible. No one asked me questions so long as my work was done. I was a nobody, the bottom of the food chain. It was perfect to start healing.

I was completely alone. Then the nightmares and flashbacks started. They were persistent and constant. The same harrowing dreams every night. I started working as a nanny and it was much easier physically but the family was toxic in so many ways. It made the nightmares and flashbacks even worse. I was in a very bad way.

I was stupid and I wrote to mother describing the flashbacks I was having about the abuse. I told her about the three murders I had witnessed. She didn’t believe me. She said I “frightened her” with my vivid imaginative writing. Our contact became almost non-existent. She was married to another man and I had a baby brother. She had moved on and had no contact with my biological father. Or, so I thought…. It turns out that he rang her from time to time over the years.

A few years later, he rang mother out of the blue in desperation, claiming he had to get in touch with me. By this time, I was happily married with two babies. He told mother I had a brother that I had never met. She fell for it and gave him all of my personal details. She then rang me and told me to contact him because I needed to hear him out. He then rang me and emailed me. Luckily the answer phone picked up. We cut our phone immediately but we couldn’t afford to move to another house. We also cut our email account.

Mother really did a number on me!

I did not speak to her after that. She made it clear she did not believe me about the abuse or the murders I witnessed. She took his side, believing all his lies and I had frightened her with my imagination. I told her I didn’t want her in my life and refused to speak to her. I told her what she had done was unforgivable. I suddenly didn’t feel safe. I spiraled down into a deep depression and I was convinced he would come and murder me and my kids as I had opened my mouth. That was always the threat by him during the abuse, if I told, he would kill me.

Even years later and as an adult, those threats were real in my mind. My husband said I had post-natal depression and got me some help. I bounced between counsellors and therapists for years after. I am better but I still do not feel safe. He knows where I live! I try not to think about it and focus on the future but I cannot help overlooking my shoulder from time to time. The Complex PTSD diagnosis is still hanging in the air. The doctors still don’t know how to describe it.

It’s been 15 years since and my family has been trying to contact me several times over the years, claiming some sort of disaster after another. I never fell for it. I had to protect my own children from them. I have not travelled back to my home city. I had had enough and blocked them all completely. I had enough of their excuses to get me to contact them.

I suddenly out of the blue receive a letter, making my husband jump out of his skin. Plastered on the envelope in big child like letters is my entire name and date of birth (twice!) and my full address. On the outside of the envelope in giant letters it says “Dad is trying to find you”. I freeze when I see the writing. I don’t recognize it but I know it’s not good. My full date of birth is glaring at me like an alarm bell. My husband offers to open it, looks at its contents, pauses and asks me what my biological father’s name is. He knows my full story. He is livid!

Inside the envelope are three photos and a Christmas card. Two are of an old overweight man sat in a chair alone in what looks like a residential home. It has that impersonalized feel in a sparsely furniture room with two chairs and a small table. A plant by the window. It was him! I recognized him immediately. 

He looks just like my grandfather, his dad, but it can’t be because he died when I was 14. I instantly recoil. I want to be sick. Why on earth did he write to me now? He sent me photos! He never wanted to be photographed when I was growing up. It was something he refused people to do and ran off when it was photo time.

The Christmas card introduces a second man who could be a carer or my brother who I’ve never met. He says my so-called father desperately needs me to get in touch. The man gives his full name, number and where to contact him with a fuzzy picture of him posing in weird outdoor clothes. It all matches the city where I last knew he lived. I feel really uneasy that someone wrote to me in that manner, plastering personal information outside an envelope for all to see. It is wrong on so many levels. It is cruel and I feel like I have been invaded.

I’m not falling for it. I never want to see him or anyone else from my childhood again. I’ve blocked them all. Even my childhood friends who I stayed in touch with until now on social media. I moved on years ago. Why can’t they respect that I want nothing to do with them? They know why! I know I did the right thing to cut them all out. Their constant pleas and lies to get me back in their lives was something I don’t need. It was toxic and not helping me in my healing. I am not a “rotten apple” as someone called “us” in a recent blog. I am a decent and protective mother with a new family to protect. I don’t feel bad to have started again.

If you have read my story you will understand how much they all put me through as I grew up. Read it here: The Sex-Offender’s Daughter: A True Story of Survival Against All Odds eBook : Woods, Elizabeth: Kindle Store

How do you handle family relations? Are you in touch with them or are you like me, cutting them out completely? What would you do if your parents refused your wishes? If they kept harassing you from time to time? I cut them all out! What do I need to do to get them out of my life?

Before I finish my post, I want to add that family ties are complicated. Every family is different and what feels right for you in your healing journey is your choice. You do not have to see your family if you choose not to. Equally if you are lucky enough to have family who do support you and help you then why not stay in touch? The choice is yours and yours alone. Nobody can make you do anything. You have rights as a human being. Remember that you do matter and you deserve to live a happy life. You deserve a future after having been through so much.

I am a survivor.

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