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Jun 21, 2008
Why you still seek your family's approval and support...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Sheryl, I've learned over the years that often times, when we dissect what it is we are really feeling and WHY we are feeling those emotions, it can help us to move forward.

First of all, understand that it is perfectly natural for you to want to be believed and supported by your family. The more you resist that need, the greater that need becomes. Think about it, Sheryl: You were finally able to break free of the lies and tell about the ultimate form of betrayal and abandonment—sexual abuse at the hands of your father, the man who was supposed to love and protect you—only to be met with a collective and shattering form of betrayal and abandonment—invalidation and shunning from your beloved family. Your greatest fear came to pass: They not only didn't believe you; they rallied around a sex offender instead. You must have been devastated. The emotional impact of this kind of invalidation can be just as harmful as the sexual assaults, sometimes more so. You needed your family to validate what happened to you; and when they didn't, that need grew stronger and stronger. Every time you saw or heard them rally around your molesting father, you were re-victimized. Each time this happened, you needed to hear "I believe you. I believe you. I believe you!" at least a thousand times. All the wonderful support you receive from your husband of 24 years will never be able to fill or replace that need.

I do not recommend asking why your family didn't believe you, because there is no good answer. There isn't an answer that would satisfy such a question. However, once you come to terms with your need—and I mean TRULY come to terms with that need; which is the first step—it may help to understand why the members of your family choose to believe your offender. Only then do the responses I made to the two queries you mentioned above come into effect. And just to be clear, when I say "understand," I mean recognize and acknowledge.

Yes, the next step is finding a way to fulfill that need for yourself. Most of the books that have helped me along the way are now out of date, out of print, and/or use a form of psychology and self-help strategies that may or may not be of benefit in today's world. Some of my other visitors might be able to offer up more current titles for you. But hands down, the best way I know to deal with emotional turmoil is through professional counselling. Therapy is what helped me come to terms with my needs, Sheryl. It helped me understand that only I could provide myself with those needs. Perhaps you can benefit from therapy in the same way I did.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Mar 04, 2009
more help
by: Carol

I suggest finding a small group ministry such as those supported by training from Restoring the Heart Ministries or Open Hearts Ministries. Abuse is a relational wound and victims find great benefit from a 'relational' setting such as small groups formed for the purpose of helping abuse victims. The small group provides the support that a healthy family would provide, and since this is generally lacking in abusive families, those of us who have survived abuse need to find help elsewhere. We couldn't choose our biological family, but we can choose a 'healing family' to support us as we search for healing.

Nov 24, 2009
I feel like we're twins.
by: Anonymous

I know exactly how you feel because that is similar to what my family did to me. When I was a kid my mother's husband was a sexual pervert. She didn't care to believe me and my sisters stories. As a kid I was diagnosed with a terrible neurological condition and had seizures every day and still my mother didn't believe me. My brothers and sister never cared to learn about it. My mother was an addicted gambler and her husband an abusive alcoholic. My mother won in gambling and then sells me. My story got worse from there. I've tried to stay close to my family regardless of it being disfunctional. However, after I made clear that I don't want to pretend that that pervert is my father, my mother disowned me. All of a sudden my brothers and sister pretended that nothing was wrong and the past never happened. We all come from different fathers and we have been lied to many times. My story is worse than this short summary. However, I am strong. If they don't want anything to do with me, then I shall consider that freedom. I don't owe them anything anymore. Please know you are not alone! Please stay strong with me!

Jan 30, 2010
It felt like I was reading about me
by: Anonymous

I am going through this exact situation right now. My father raped and molested me when I was 10 years old. He plied me with alcohol and raped me. Then on several occasions thereafter molested me in front of my then 2 yr old sister. I kept it hidden for years and years but throughout these years I kept my distance from him and never was in a room he was and it was never spoken of but as I reached womanhood problems arose. It then all came tumbling out and at the age of 16 it was ME that was made to leave the family home not him.

They have never supported me, never believed me. They all still talk to him although they said they didnt and I found out a few days ago they are very much in his life.

The betrayal I feel has put me into the depths of despair. I found emails and exchanges of correspondence between my mother and him. They are divorced now, she divorced him for sleeping wih another woman.. NOT ME but just some woman. Obviously raping me was no big deal.

I am now on anti depressants and my son is all that keeps me going. I have had to make the decision to cut them out of my lives. I am now 38 and they bring me nothing but misery. I cant remember the last time I laughed with them or they made me happy. They torture me mentally to the point where they try to convince me I made it all up.

Why does he have this hold over them? All I have done since it all came out is try to seek approval and love from people that dont love me.

They love him.

Jan 31, 2010
To Anonymous
by: Anonymous

Please know that you are not alone. My mother did exactly the same thing to me. In fact, she's still with the same guy that sexually abused me.

My mother chose a man that should be in jail over me. Your mother did the same thing. Why do we need them. I have had enough of my mother's excuses and I hope her rapist lover goes to jail and gets his penis cut off. I would rather fight for my rights than lose my energy for them.

Most importantly, I will not allow the abuser to have power over my mind. He may have taken over my body, but he does not have power over my emotions. He deserves none of my time here on earth. I hope you stay strong with me.

Feb 17, 2010
by: Anonymous

Do you still talk to your mother?

I find it all so hard. Its on my mind, every minute of every day. I wish I could take away this pain I feel.

They told me recently they had realised how terribly they had treated me and wanted to make it up to me with a meeting then they all laid into me picking at my story trying to find lies in it and sticking up for my abuser.

The pain is too much to bear some days. I wish it had happened to my sister not me :( I hate myself for saying it but its true.

Feb 18, 2010
by: Hello

I wrote a farewell letter to my family.

As soon as my mother told me that she will not divorce the man that abused me, I knew that was it for me. I no longer needed her.

I don't know who is worse, your sister or mine. My sister was abused just like I was, but what is horrible is that until now she still calls him dad and even put him on facebook and asked for him to show his picture for everyone to see. This is crazy because why would you want to have a picture of the man on face book for the world to see when you know he sexually abused you and your sister. It hurt me so badly because I was the one that stopped the both of us from being sexually abused. I defended her and I got physically punished for it.

They blamed me too as if I was part of the problem. The reason why they do that to us is because 1.) They want us to acknowledge that because we are not perfect either, we are no different from them, 2.) They will not take responsibility.

However, we are different from them because we are honest about why what they are doing is wrong and that it is not acceptable. We have to respect our rights. I would never do to anyone what they have done to me.

I do not owe my mother, who abandoned, sold, and neglected me, an apology. And I certainly do not owe my energy and time to that sexual pervert. Because my family prefers to live in these lies supporting the abuser rather than the victim, it is best to cut all ties. I'm not trying to correct them because I know they will not listen.

I have let my family go and I feel free. It will be painful at first and even confusing and lonely. However, it will help you find out who you really are. The only way for me to be free was to stop the betrayal bond completely. I hope you stay strong with me.

May 05, 2010
My sister added my Abusive EX to her FB and wont remove it!
by: Kylie Joy

I have tried several times to make her take that Idiot off her page. I dont want to hear his stupid comments, I dont want to see his ugly face, I dont want to be reminded daily of an abuse that i put behind me nearly 17 years ago. I still have to see him on occasion at my kids bday parties. I tolerate it. but to actually have my sister ADDING him to her FB page makes me totally sick to my stomach. I have been on FB since it opened and went around recruiting family and old friends we rarely heard of, then all they did was add them. YET..I am supposed to be fine with this. I have no idea what to do. Ive tried removing her but I still see her popping up and of course..since he is on her FB, there his tormented face is. I might add hes getting ready to divorce his 5th wife to be with yet another he has cheated on.

I say let go of your hope because it isnt going to happen. Instead get a HEALING family to support you. It hurts but sometimes its just the way it is and you have to accept it.
Best Wishes

May 06, 2010
Your Sister
by: Anonymous

If your sister knows what he has done to you and yet stays in contact with him through facebook, she needs her head examined. Apparently she doesn't respect you if you have asked her to remove him and she doesn't.

Apr 23, 2011
by: Anonymous

My entire family have abandoned me even though he did the same thing to them. I am a mere scapegoat and are now alone due to having an ounce of dignity. But what could be worse than ever speaking or seeing any of them again. Bastards.

Apr 26, 2011
i am not believed by them, my family
by: Anonymous

I am being made to feel i am wrong because i want to do something about what happened to me.
For years all ive have ever wanted was my family, i have my own two beautiful children but yet i feel as if i have a gaping hole within myself.
My mother was my main abuser and was so for 17 years of my life, i was finally helped but i was nearly an adult myself. When i was taken away to safety i lost everything, my father wasnt around because he left when i was 10. I never had a family contact not one of them offered to help me all knowing what my mother had been doing. So i got on with my life, got myself a good career but sometimes memories of the abuse would affect me. I tried to push it all away. i had a breakdown a couple of years ago and i am ashamed to say i tried to kill myself because i wanted the bad memories to go away and i just wanted to be loved and understood, that i was telling the truth, yet i never had this i was made to feel i was the bad person and i still am, i am intouch with my father now, it was and has never been a daughter father relationship, i dont know what it is really, im just thank ful i have him in my life. Now though his wife my second step mother is saying that i have to think about the innocent people that would be hurt if i do report the abuse that happened years ago, i dont get this because those so called innocent people knew what was going on, i was the innocent one. Now because of her my step mother i feel totally not believed and have been having some abusive emails from my brother who i got in touch with through my father, yet again its not a close relationship.
i dont know what to do? i even now long for the close family that i know in my heart i will never have, and i know that i am being treated horrendously by the family i do have because i want to do something about what happened to me.

Sep 08, 2012
I was also abandoned
by: Anonymous

I was also abused by my father as far back as I can remember, until I finally left the house at 17. My mother knew and did nothing. My sister and mother both witnessed my father physically attacking me, and they just walked away and pretended it never happened.
When I told my family about the abuse, all of them except my grandfather either ignored me or told me it couldn't be true. I wish my grandpa were still alive, so I could have a family of sorts.
I have completely cut off my family, not that they really care. Every year my mother sends me the printed out newsletter she uses as a Christmas card, and writes something like "Thought you might want to know what the family is doing. Love, Mommy" on it. Of course, the truth is that she wants me to know what my so-called "family" is doing. She can't even be honest about that. And why would I be wondering how my father or any of them are doing? They have never cared about me.
It hurts so much, and what hurts even more is that I know very well that many, many people are like them. Most people do not want to know, and do not want to hear. They would rather we sacrifice ourselves and pretend that everything is fine, so we don't make them uncomfortable. It's fine if we suffer and wish we were dead, it's just not okay if they feel uncomfortable. So we end up feeling even more alone and rejected.

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stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
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E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life


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