Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

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Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

Post by Mara_ on Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:17 pm

So, I don't have much of a relationship with my parents cause I think they chose not to see I was being abused by someone dear to them (and his friends) cause it was easier to blame my acting out on me being a bad kid. I only see them at some very important parties because my teenage sister who just had a baby lives with them and I want to be in her life as much as I can.

It was my aunts 70s birthday and she threw this big party and I ate a lot of shit to get there, make it happen and make it fun and she was still kinda cruel to me at one point, so I left (I don't put up with that kind of shit anymore).

My cousin drove me to my hotel and on the way there we started talking about how nearly everyone is mad at me for not visiting much and staying at hotels when I do, and kinda souring everything by keeping them at arm's length when that's not the custom in my family (both my sisters, one 19 with her baby and boyfriend and one 34 live with my parents at the moment, so they're all pretty close).

So it kinda came out that I hate them for choosing not to know when I think they actually do, and for punishing me for acting out when I was being abused and never ever asking if I was alright, even when I used to cut and burn myself and ended up in my first alcoholic coma when I was 13. I don't know how consciously they knew, but if your teenager spends her time mostly flirting with death and you never ask why, then you either already know or don't really care. And I've stopped wondering which one it was.

It also came out that a neighbor abused him too once when he was little. Which I think explains but doesn't excuse what came next. I went to bed and that was that, and the following day my sister showed up at the hotel to tell me that he drove back to the party and screamed at everyone about my being abused, tried to beat up my dad, and etc. We're talking a party full of old relatives, some of them very sick. And a guy who is usually the sweetest man on earth and so peaceful.

And now everyone thinks I made it up for attention and I'm a lying drunk and a drug addict. And no one has called me. They seem determined to just drop the rotten apple (me) and pretend nothing ever happened.

I hadn't told them because I knew they would not be able to handle it and it would just be a lot of pain and a lot of work without any benefits. Now it came out in the worst way possible, my cousin tried to stand up for me but got lost in his own hurt and screwed up big time, everyone else is talking about me and having "a bad marijuana trip" (some of us adults smoke homegrown openly in family functions) and things are royally screwed.

I know consciously that this was not my fault but I still feel horrible and blame myself cause this old lady, as much of an asshole as she is, just wanted to have a nice birthday with the brothers and sisters that are still alive (three of them died of cancer in the last two years, including cousin' mom). And it blew up. And it was about me. And it hurts.

I know that this is part of a bigger pattern of being the designated chaos repository in the family and that anyone who is not brave enough to talk about their own messes somehow creates a narrative where they deposit them in my body and my history and then attack me for it, and I think that he tried to defend me but ended up doing the same thing, which is not a surprise considering he hasn't worked on his history.

This was on Saturday night. I heard of it yesterday. las night was my first dealing with it and it was all one long painful nightmare. I feel like biting my own arms and head-butting the walls but I don't cause I'm awesome. I swim everyday and I have been seeing a great therapist for four years so I'm pretty good and handling shit like this. I'm downloading Spongebob Squarepants to keep myself entertained and I'm trying to work as I have a big deadline on Friday. I talked to a couple of friends from the station and they were really nice to me, and I'm just sitting here waiting for it to stop hurting. Fuck all of this. I really didn't need it.
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Re: Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

Post by Enail on Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:53 pm

Holy shit, Mara, that's such an awful situation! You sound extremely on top of things in terms of being aware of the family patterns that created this maelstrom and put it on your head rather than something you created and in dealing with it with extreme awesomeness, but maybe it doesn't hurt to hear it back to you from an internet stranger: it is 100% not your fault. It sounds like for your cousin, it was really about him, and that's a pretty lousy thing to do with your experiences, even if you can have sympathy and compassion for why he acted that way; it's okay to be angry at him. Sharing your experiences doesn't make you responsible for something unasked-for and unexpected that he did in response.

You put a lot of emotional effort into trying to make it a nice event for everyone in spite of the many reasons you had not to, that it didn't turn out that way is your cousin's choice in acting on his feelings in a harmful way, and your family's choice in being total assholes who blame you when they should be supporting you, and the people who abused you and your cousin's choice in being abusive pieces of garbage. You did your part, and you have nothing to feel bad for that the party didn't turn out well.

I'm sorry your history came out in such an upsetting, hurtful way, and that your family was so shitty about it. Hope things settle down to a peaceful detente soon, at least.
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Re: Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

Post by Mara_ on Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:54 am

Thanks for your kind words and support Enail. It really, really helps to hear it.

I've talked to my cousin (he called). He seems pretty proud of what he did, which is unsettling, but it also turns out that he was much less violent than my sister painted him. He said he and his wife are thinking of having a baby and they can't do it in a family that would hide child molesters, so it's time to put everyone face to face with what we are and if some of them drop, then let them. I explained my view of the situation to him, and I think he got it. He also told me my aunts told his wife that they will assume it's a lie and never think of it again.

Then I talked to my sister, who keeps trying to paint my cousin as a monster in a very unsettling, very pointed way and I realized that she mostly wants to be mad at him cause if she's not she needs to pick up the phone and if she does he'll ask if it happened to her too and she'll have to chose to either answer or be complicit. So she's focusing on being mad at his "tone" and kind of exaggerating it. I also realized that she's trying to paint him as defending me in a sexist, territorial way cause it's the only thing that has any chance of making me not consider him an ally. But he's not. Misguided? fuck yes. Rough around the edges and quick to jump when he perceives an injustice? Definitely. But he's not the macho prick she's making him out to be. She also said his wife was leaving him for what he did cause she thought it was horrid, but he said his wife told him she thought it was ok and they're still trying for a baby and stuff, so IDK. Unreliable narrators all over. I basically told her that I'd rather be defended in a stupidly violent way than blamed and casted out politely as she kept going back to how she's never going to talk to him again cause macho bullshit.

She also told me that as soon as it blew up everyone jumped to try to find an excuse to tell the out of town guests, so everyone was pushing her to say we had dropped acid and hallucinated the abuse. She refused but didn't call them out on it. I told her that if you find out a child in your care has been gang raped under your nose and you immediately jump to PR mode and try to save the party and your image instead of being horrified and calling them you're a shit make-believe person and everyone involved in that should leave me the fuck alone forever. I also said that I'm sorry it blew up during the party but if you choose to live hiding from the truth the truth tends to come out at the most inconvenient of times, so they brought it upon themselves.

I don't feel like hurting myself anymore. I have my bad moments but this morning I mostly feel that, even though I wouldn't have done it, now that's it's done I'm free to have a laugh about it if I want. And it is kinda funny how they treated me like a criminal to save themselves for 25 years (I'm 32 now) and then it blew up in their faces when everyone and their neighbors were watching. And hey, at least it was a great party. I'm glad the last time they saw me I was dancing my ass off in a blonde wig.
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Re: Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

Post by Enail on Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:31 am

Glad things are better with your cousin now and that you were able to get him to understand your view. It sucks that your sister and the rest of your family is acting that way, but I hope it at least felt badass to tell her exactly how horrible their behavior is, it sounds extremely badass. And "the last time they saw me I was dancing my ass off in a blonde wig" is about the best defiant, joyful image I can imagine leaving them with!
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Re: Family party exploded in violence after I was outed as a childhood sex abuse survivor

Post by Werel on Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:46 pm

Jesus, Mara, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. What a horrible situation.

It sounds like you're on top of dealing with it right now, to a badass degree, and I don't have any practical advice, but from an outside stranger's perspective: you're insanely generous for putting time and effort into making it a nice party for someone whose relationship to you is so fraught. It is not even remotely your fault that your family is more invested in their self-image than in doing right by you. People aren't usually able to deal with not having protected a child. They will do lots of things to avoid admitting to themselves that they did not protect their child. The people I've watched run away from that fact from decades never seem likely to face it voluntarily. Some people manage to make a relationship work around that fact, but if you don't want to? You don't fucking owe them.

I'm sorry your cousin addressed his own stuff in a way that involved you so viscerally, and that your family is so hardline denialist about it, but I gotta agree with Enail, it sounds like you've held your ground on this in a truly badass way. Props, and I hope the worst of it passes soon.

Enail wrote:And "the last time they saw me I was dancing my ass off in a blonde wig" is about the best defiant, joyful image I can imagine leaving them with!
Emphatically seconded.
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