Am I right to cut a family member out of my life?

Postby Mephista » Mon May 27, 2019 11:22 pm

Hi all, am a 30 year old woman.I have an honest question, so please give an honest answer. My father molested me in front of my mother like 10 years ago(he was drunk and literally laid on top of me and fondled me) It was horrifying, and honestly it affected me for so long, and I just felt like I lost my family at that point-because it was like the person I thought was my father was this low life piece of sh** who never cared for me, and everyone thought he was such a great guy.
I struggled with suicidal thoughts and self-harm even before that, but it got worse after. Because I had nowhere to go back then(I was not financially independent) I just said nothing and even though my mother saw the whole thing and I could tell she was shocked. I moved out 2 years ago, and I recently tried talking to my mother about it(started going to a therapist 2 months ago), she literally said she remembered nothing of the sort-which is typical of her, she is in denial. Honestly, am tired of their manipulation and disgusting sh** and this "I raised you, I own you" attitude. They helped me financially but does that mean they can treat me like sh**? My father was an alcoholic and emotionally abusive towards me most of my childhood too.I never had any real father-daughter relationship with him, although he did help with teaching me things like maths and physics-mostly without my will, and done in far and anger and disgust, and under threats and criticisms on his part I have little to no support-no close friends, and have never had a relationship, so cutting them off would leave me alone, but the problem is they(my parents) are clingy and emotionally manipulative-especially my mother. She literally acts like I am an ungrateful brat and sh**. I hate this. Am I the crazy one? I don't think so.
I have only seen my father three times in almost the past year, and I honestly felt it was 3 times too many. The last time I saw him he was sober but accidentally touched my bra after he gave me a hug and sort of looked at me in a gross way. I feel disgusting around him, and just f***ing hate him. I often think of how happy I'd be if I could kill him. I would have loved to have a close supportive family, but they do not feel like that. It always felt like support out of sense of duty on their part, not genuine love. I mean how can anyone claim to love their child and treat them like that?

Anyway, honestly, am I crazy for never wanting any contact with my father? Either way, I still want to cut him out. It was not an isolated incident, there have been several sexual comments on his part about my appearance and sh**, which just makes me feel worthless each time and I feel like killing myself. This person is sick, as far as I can tell, and it is not my job to make him better.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue May 28, 2019 12:31 am

Sure, it can be okay or the right decision to cut contact with a family member.

In what you posted, I can see making a case both ways. I can see why you might wish to cut ties with both your mother and father. I can also see why your mother and father may wish to cut ties with you. It sounds like cutting ties might benefit all involved.
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#2

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue May 28, 2019 3:08 am

Reflecting a bit more on this thread, for the OP and others, I’m going to elaborate on my thought process.

A person posts, “My father molested me, should I cut contact?”

In my mind, the answer is an obvious yes. There is no need for additional detail. There is no need to justify or elaborate.

Another person posts, “My father molested me and made me eat vegetables against my will, should I cut contact?”

Suddenly the answer is no longer such an obvious, one sided yes. Now it appears the person is conflating molestation with a parent’s desire the child eats more than pizza. The person adds the vegetable detail, believing it additional proof of the burden they had to suffer.

In this thread, the OP says she was forced, against her will to learn physics by her father. This implies the parent had/has good intentions, but that is not what the OP sees and it is not what she wants everyone else to see. In the mind of the OP, being forced to learn physics is additive, it is another example of abuse that reinforces in her mind that every behavior of her parents is a form of molestation.

For me, it makes me begin to question the veracity of each claim. If everything a parent does is turned into a form of molestation, enslavement, or abuse, including a parent wanting their child to learn physics, then it diminishes the other claims.

Could it be the case that the mother doesn’t recall the father molesting her daughter right in front of her, not because the mother is in denial, but because the mother doesn’t see every parental behavior as a form of abuse or sexual deviance?

In other words, I have difficulty vilifying the parents when the OP paints such a lopsided picture.
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#3

Postby Candid » Tue May 28, 2019 7:37 am

Mephista wrote:I struggled with suicidal thoughts and self-harm even before that, but it got worse after.

[My mother] literally said she remembered nothing of the sort-which is typical of her...

She literally acts like I am an ungrateful brat and sh**.

My father was an alcoholic and emotionally abusive towards me most of my childhood too.

Am I the crazy one? I don't think so.


I don't think so, either. There's a myth that parents are always loving and well-intentioned, and maybe the majority are, but there's plenty of evidence that some parents are cruel and abusive. The fact that you were suicidal and self-harming before The Incident suggests you may have Complex PTSD, in which Pete Walker pete-walker.com specialises. From his website:

Pete specializes in helping adults who were traumatized in childhood, especially those whose repeated exposure to abuse and/or neglect left them with the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [Cptsd].

I have little to no support-no close friends, and have never had a relationship, so cutting them off would leave me alone


I understand this. Relational difficulty is arguably the most destructive part of C-PTSD.

I also understand your healthy desire to cut contact with your parents but need to warn you there are repercussions you may not have considered. For one thing, it would be hard to cut contact with your father and continue seeing a mother who's "in denial". The guilting and pressure to conform will be enormous. Also, they may well say and do all the right things when other people are present, which means that at the very least, other relatives will look at you with suspicion. It's common for abusive parents to cover their own backs by telling lies (known as smear campaigning) about how awful you are.

It's your therapist's job to deal with these hurtful memories, to contain your instinct towards self-harm or suicide, and to support you either in continuing to see your parents or in cutting contact. I hope you will confide all this to her or him -- and if the cap fits, mention that you have the symptoms of Complex PTSD listed here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-trau ... d/complex/. Not all therapists are trained to treat childhood trauma, so you may need a new referral.
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#4

Postby Mephista » Tue May 28, 2019 10:58 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Reflecting a bit more on this thread, for the OP and others, I’m going to elaborate on my thought process.

A person posts, “My father molested me, should I cut contact?”

In my mind, the answer is an obvious yes. There is no need for additional detail. There is no need to justify or elaborate.


If you have only your parents and no other relatives or friends who know exactly what went on between the three of you your entire life and a mother who has always taken the father's side, you might start to understand why explanations are necessary. Also, nobody I can trust around me, and have literally nobody else to rely on, except my parents. Cutting them out is not an easy decision. And despite it all, I do have fondness for my mother. But I hate her at the same time. It's not something you can understand, unless you've gone through a similar situation.
My mother is weak. I was begging her to get a divorce from grade 2. That is how bad my father's alcoholism was even then. She was poor but ambitious and married my father who came from a good family and was also very ambitious. In arguments I had with her over the years I lived at home, after repeated pressures on my part, she confessed to some things I had always suspected: she stayed with my father mainly for the money and status(he had a high rank in the military-aviation) even though she herself also had a good job as a programmer, she said she was afraid to divorce him because she had nobody to help and would struggle financially.
She also obviously came from a generation that viewed divorce as a woman's personal failure. And last but most importantly-she was always careful not to let my father's alcoholism be known. He was what I now know is a "functional alcoholic". He maintained a high profile job but came home drunk almost daily. At best he was assed out on the kitchen table. At worst, he'd come home looking for arguments with my mother, and I was told to "go to your room and not make a noise, to avoid provoking him"

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:For me, it makes me begin to question the veracity of each claim. If everything a parent does is turned into a form of molestation, enslavement, or abuse, including a parent wanting their child to learn physics, then it diminishes the other claims.


It's probably not easy to understand from the outside but it is perfectly logical. My father wanted his kids to make him proud, to bring accolades and further his reputation. I was constantly bullied out of any natural interest I had -art, music, literature, biology etc, from as long as I can remember, because it did not suit his idea of what "his child" had to be. Which was an engineer. If I asked to study more of anything that I truly cared about, I was quickly brushed off.
And yes, being forced to study when it is not your interest is a form of abuse. Especially if every step of the way you're yelled at and humiliated for any idea that you voice.
Michael Jackson's father also pushed him to be successful. Tina Turner's husband also pushed her to be successful. Does this somehow wipe away all of the abuse and trauma they endured? Were they ultimately happy? Nobody can say. One thing I can say is that they probably went through the 7 circles of hell with nobody to support them.

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
Could it be the case that the mother doesn’t recall the father molesting her daughter right in front of her, not because the mother is in denial, but because the mother doesn’t see every parental behavior as a form of abuse or sexual deviance?

In other words, I have difficulty vilifying the parents when the OP paints such a lopsided picture.
[/quote]

If you think lying on top of your daughter and trying to fondle and bite her body parts is not "sexual deviance", well I suggest you find a good therapist. And like I said, it was not the only incident, but it was the worst. He once walked beside me, and intentionally placed his hand on my butt, he once made jokes about my lipstick being "just right for oral sex"-to put it politely. He once said I took nothing from my mother's side, "not even your c***"-exact quote.
The reason why he does it is obvious-since my mother never confronted him, he probably assumes she noticed nothing wrong, and nobody else was around when these things happened. He is well off and can be very charismatic socially so nobody he knows would ever take my word over his-and he know this. He has a high social status and professional success.

And if you read what I wrote about my mother, you will see why she has always taken on an attitude of denial. She is afraid of dying alone and poor, and that beats any care she has for her children. It is not uncommon especially since she has been dependent on him since she was 17(is now 67).
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#5

Postby Mephista » Tue May 28, 2019 11:38 am

Candid wrote:
I understand this. Relational difficulty is arguably the most destructive part of C-PTSD.

I also understand your healthy desire to cut contact with your parents but need to warn you there are repercussions you may not have considered. For one thing, it would be hard to cut contact with your father and continue seeing a mother who's "in denial". The guilting and pressure to conform will be enormous. Also, they may well say and do all the right things when other people are present, which means that at the very least, other relatives will look at you with suspicion. It's common for abusive parents to cover their own backs by telling lies (known as smear campaigning) about how awful you are.

It's your therapist's job to deal with these hurtful memories, to contain your instinct towards self-harm or suicide, and to support you either in continuing to see your parents or in cutting contact.


My therapist said we will start EMDR on the next session, she is certified in using it. I do not have much family but yes they have done a good job at painting me as the black sheep my whole life. I am used to having little to no support, so honestly I am not sure I'd lose much. I have my own apartment(on mortgage) and for now have been able to support myself financially. I guess growing up the way I did I realized money is the most important thing in life, because you can't rely on people for anything.
I struggle with thoughts of self-harm and suicide still sometimes and I think it is because of feeling I am trapped in a lie. My parents don't care for me and they never did. They had a daughter who died at age 3, 8 years before I was born because of cancer. And I am guessing that they were never fully able to accept me or get attached to me because of that. My mother got pregnant at 36 and had had 3 abortions before giving birth to me. She wanted no more children. I have an older sister who is 13 years older-their eldest child, and she lives on a different continent now. She left home hen I was 10. I get along ok with her now and she has offered me financial support over the years but since we are so far apart we cannot have a very close relationship.I did tell her about that one incident (and either way, she knows I never got along with father, because neither did she, but he never molested her. She was lucky to have my grandfather as a solid male figure in her life growing up. Sadly he passed away when I was 3). Growing up I was always compared to her, because she was a grade A student, but our father also bullied her into pursuing an engineering major over literature, her passion. She has money but is largely unhappy as well, and never wanted children. A testimony to how crappy parenting will cure anyone's love of life, I guess.
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#6

Postby Candid » Tue May 28, 2019 12:09 pm

It sounds like your therapist knows what she's doing. It'll probably be a long road, but you have support there and I'm glad of that.

It's a shame your older sister is such a long way away, but this sounds like a good relationship to hold on to and I urge you to stay in frequent contact with her for two reasons. One, she's family and two, she literally knows where you're coming from. That makes her a great ally.

Talk to her and to your therapist, and hold off on any hasty decisions until you feel more sure of your ground. You're living independently now so you can find out about setting boundaries (what you will and will not accept from them) as well as limiting contact and walking out when they're unreasonable.

Despite everything, I believe you have good instincts. That's the feeling in your gut that something's just gone horribly wrong, that your selfhood is under attack in some way and it's time to exit.

I wish you lots of luck as you find your way out of the maze.
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#7

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue May 28, 2019 6:02 pm

Mephista wrote:If you think lying on top of your daughter and trying to fondle and bite her body parts is not "sexual deviance", well I suggest you find a good therapist. And like I said, it was not the only incident, but it was the worst. He once walked beside me, and intentionally placed his hand on my butt, he once made jokes about my lipstick being "just right for oral sex"-to put it politely.


This is my point.

If the above took place, then why is there even an initial question? Why the need for confirmation from strangers in an anonymous forum? Why would someone start a thread and ask is they should break contact when the above written words paint such a blatantly obvious narrative that breaking contact is the correct option?

What am I missing?

Look at what I quoted that YOU wrote!

YOU WROTE IT!

If the above took place, then why are you uncertain? Isn’t it obvious the correct path?

If the horrible, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner reality you seem to be so certain of and are comparing to your own situation occurred, then why the thread? Why are you in here even asking the question if your situation is comparable?

You seem to know the answer is clear cut for Michael and Tina, but not for you? Why not? What makes their situation worse or more clear cut than your own? What is the difference between their circumstances and your own?

My guess is that you know your situation is not actually comparable to Mike or Tina. That is why you are in here presenting the details. You want to present a horrific picture and have anonymous strangers validate that picture for you, because you know that your situation is not actually comparable. It is a legitimate struggle for you.

Again, let’s take what you wrote at face value. If we do so, then absolutely your parents are horrible. If that is true, then why are you even remotely confused? You seem to be clear cut on Mike and Tina, but not your own molesting father and enabling mother situation? It doesn’t add up.

Let’s try a different way to frame my confusion.

Try #2. I’m confused. Given what your father and mother have allegedly done. Given the horrific story you have shared. Given how you paint the picture that you and Mike and Tina all share similar stories of horrible parenting, can you tell us why you even needed to start the thread? Can you elaborate on why you have doubt about cutting off a family member?
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#8

Postby Mephista » Tue May 28, 2019 9:49 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
Richard@DecisionSkills wrote: Can you elaborate on why you have doubt about cutting off a family member?


I was under the impression that that is exactly what I did...maybe you should re-read everything I wrote several times.

Basically what you are saying is you find it suspicious that I was not mentally damaged enough by all the things I have described, and I am still out here posting questions like a regular person?? I hope you're not one of those guys who thinks women cannot separate logical thinking from emotion.

If that is the case, maybe you should read up on dissociation, or what happens to victims of any form of childhood abuse in general. It was an honest question, and I have given plenty of details as to why it is still an issue to be debated.
But just to make a summary, it IS possible for a child(who, bear in mind, is totally dependent on his parents for survival-especially when no other caregivers are around, such as was my case) to both hate and love an abusive parent.

Or to put it even more black and white-I have an on and off inner war going on between angry me and idealistic me, who still wants to have a family, and wants to believe the few good memories I had were not worthless.

My relationship with my parents has hurt me for many years, I am simply getting to a point where I realize that their influence is toxic and maybe not worth preserving at all. And I wanted honest input, since, like I mentioned, except for my sister, I have nobody else to confide in in real life.
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#9

Postby Mephista » Tue May 28, 2019 9:52 pm

Candid wrote:It sounds like your therapist knows what she's doing. It'll probably be a long road, but you have support there and I'm glad of that.

It's a shame your older sister is such a long way away, but this sounds like a good relationship to hold on to and I urge you to stay in frequent contact with her for two reasons. One, she's family and two, she literally knows where you're coming from. That makes her a great ally.

Talk to her and to your therapist, and hold off on any hasty decisions until you feel more sure of your ground. You're living independently now so you can find out about setting boundaries (what you will and will not accept from them) as well as limiting contact and walking out when they're unreasonable.

Despite everything, I believe you have good instincts. That's the feeling in your gut that something's just gone horribly wrong, that your selfhood is under attack in some way and it's time to exit.

I wish you lots of luck as you find your way out of the maze.


Thank you, I have felt that way about my sister for a long time, as well(about her being the only one who(kinda) knows where I'm coming from). Talking to her definitely helps me feel less isolated.
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#10

Postby Candid » Tue May 28, 2019 10:20 pm

Mephista wrote:But just to make a summary, it IS possible for a child(who, bear in mind, is totally dependent on his parents for survival-especially when no other caregivers are around, such as was my case) to both hate and love an abusive parent.

Or to put it even more black and white-I have an on and off inner war going on between angry me and idealistic me, who still wants to have a family, and wants to believe the few good memories I had were not worthless.


I absolutely agree, and you've expressed this very well. No one separates from a parent on a whim. As far as I know it's the hardest and most heartbreaking decision a person can ever make.

When I was 27, the first counsellor I consulted pointed out to me that my mother had been and was still being extremely abusive. It was truly shattering. I didn't want to believe it; no one does. It rips the ground out from under you.

It wasn't until I was 35 that I got away and stayed away. In the intervening years I'd been going back and forth, while her cruelty escalated -- getting particularly vicious when she realised I'd talked about her to someone outside the family. The last-straw incident was so horrific it turned my hair white within weeks. That isn't something that can be fixed and I was way too young to have white hair!

My relationship with my parents has hurt me for many years, I am simply getting to a point where I realize that their influence is toxic and maybe not worth preserving at all.


I hope you're able to make this decision without incurring damage that can't be repaired. There's much more support around these days than there was when I went through it. No one was talking about Complex PTSD back then, pre-internet; in fact, apart from the horror stories that made the news, no one seemed to be talking about child abuse at all.

From what you've said, it does sound like you need to leave -- although I would still try the boundary-setting and limited contact option. I also recommend the website Out Of The Storm which is for CPTSD sufferers, most of whom developed it in childhood, and from abusive primary caregivers. You'll find a lot of support and that all-important validation there.
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#11

Postby quietvoice » Tue May 28, 2019 11:20 pm

Mephista wrote:
Richard@DecisionSkills wrote: Can you elaborate on why you have doubt about cutting off a family member?

I was under the impression that that is exactly what I did...maybe you should re-read everything I wrote several times.

Here's what you wrote:

-- " . . . so cutting them off would leave me alone, . . .

-- "Either way, I still want to cut him out. "

-- "Cutting them out is not an easy decision. "

None of those statements say that you actually did "cut them out."

Rewrites:
-1- . . . so cutting them off left me alone.

-2- I did cut him out. (Wanting something means that you don't have that something.)

-3- Cutting them out was not an easy decision.

Say these statements out loud. Do you feel the difference between the rewrites and what you actually wrote here?
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#12

Postby Candid » Tue May 28, 2019 11:28 pm

Um... Mephista hasn't yet cut her parents out. The thread is about the decision to do so.

She was being urged to elaborate on her doubts.
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#13

Postby quietvoice » Tue May 28, 2019 11:33 pm

Candid wrote:Um... Mephista hasn't yet cut her parents out. The thread is about the decision to do so.

She was being urged to elaborate on her doubts.

Um, you're right. Thank you.
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#14

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed May 29, 2019 1:21 am

Mephista wrote: Basically what you are saying is you find it suspicious that I was not mentally damaged enough by all the things I have described, and I am still out here posting questions like a regular person??


It isn’t suspicion of degree of mental damage. It is a legitimate question regarding what you are actually seeking from members of the forum. Based on what you wrote it doesn’t appear that you actually have a question. Instead, it appears you are seeking validation for a decision you have already made. Seeking validation or “answer shopping” is something regular people do.

EXAMPLE: Am I right to quit my job?

My job sucks, I don’t make any money, my boss is a jerk, there is no time off, it is an unsafe work environment, it is hostile, and there is no possibility of promotion. There is this one coworker I like. What should I do?


Is the person really asking a question or are they just seeking validation? The narrative is so lopsided, it establishes the setting for the person to get the answer they want to hear. They don’t want to hear that the job might not be that bad, so they paint a clearly one sided picture and then present that picture to a bunch of strangers in an anonymous online forum.

When a member of the forum asks why they are presenting such a one sided picture of the job, the response is not about providing a more honest picture, but instead adds even more negative stories, “Well, the boss didn’t let me have time off and I don’t get paid overtime.”

The person isn’t actually asking. The person is just seeking validation from a bunch of strangers by presenting an extremely one sided picture of the job. There is no way the strangers can actually provide a solid opinion, because the person isn’t open to elaborating on the good things about the job.

Translated to your specific case, there is no way anyone in this forum can answer the question of the thread, because you have painted an extremely one sided story and do not elaborate on the good side. You have set the stage to get the answer you want.

I hope you're not one of those guys who thinks women cannot separate logical thinking from emotion.


And this reinforces my point. Gender has nothing to do with this discussion, yet you introduce it as a precursor to how you plan to treat whatever I write. You are basically saying, either validate what you have written about your parents, or I’m a misogynist. My guess is that you use this tactic quite often to dismiss what others say or get people to agree with you. It is seeking validation, not an actual open discussion.

**********
**********

My advice, seek out one on one professional therapy that can allow the therapist to probe deeper and get a full picture of the actual dynamic between you and your parents.
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