The day in January 1986 my family/abusers realised I was preparing to leave the family home and no longer be available for them to use and abuse at will was the day of the ultimate rejection. After being beaten to within an inch of my life I was physically kicked out of the family home and left for dead in the snow.
Ever since then I’ve been trying to survive, trying to rebuild my life, trying to get past what ‘they’ did to me, trying to get past that rejection. BUT no matter what I did it seemed totally impossible for me to get past it all. It‘s ruined every aspect of my life up until this point. Their abuse and rejection of me has, at best, overshadowed everything I’ve tried to do and be. It’s followed me around like a ghost throughout my life.
So many people say to me “I cannot imagine life without family”. Well I can testify it is possible to live life without ‘family’. It’s a hard life. It’s been very lonely, empty and isolating.
I always thought “if my family could not accept me then no one else ever will.”
I always suspected people who tried to befriend me of having ulterior motives. I never believed they wanted to know me ‘for me’ but rather for what I could do for them. Even when I realised people were accepting me and genuinely wanted me around I tested them, keeping them at arm’s length, letting them in, but only so far.
Since I disclosed to the police earlier this year my real friends have realised there is far more to my history than I’ve ever let on to.
As a result I’ve been able to tear down walls with some of friends and let them in to the real me inside. That’s been incredibly liberating and I’ve really begun to realise I really am not alone anymore. It’s me who chooses who to let in and who to keep out. And I have that right.
I realise this is a new beginning. I have the right to define myself and to define ‘family’ for myself. I have the right to decide who is and also who is not part of my life.
I’ve been realising I’m not defined by what my family did to me, said to me, called me, made me to be. I’m defined by who I am. Who I really am inside. The real ‘me’ is very different to the one ‘they’ think I am and very different to who and what ‘they’ said I was. They were very wrong.
Saying my family were wrong is a landmark moment.
This allows me to redefine family for me. From this moment onwards my family are not my blood relatives – it consists of a polyglot mixture of several friends (some of whom are closer to me than others), fellow survivors and professional support workers. My family consists of people who are supportive of me, people who believe in me, people who believe in the journey I’m on, people who I choose to let in. The beauty of my ‘new’ family is that it will always be growing and changing.
The other wonderful thing about my ‘new’ family is that no relationship is based on obligation, control or manipulation.
I was thinking about my ‘new’ family and my new start when I came across a blog post entitled “What If My Family Rejects Me? Part 3” on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website.
Here are some excerpts from the article:-
“It didn’t make sense that the person who was meant to love me, protect me, nurture me, and teach me right from wrong would betray or reject me. Could this be a huge misunderstanding?
They taught me that I was wrong. They taught me that I was the one who had the problem... the abuse violated my boundaries. Someone invaded my body and soul. They disregarded my will and my feelings. One of the most powerful expressions of our boundaries is the word “no”, and yet the abuse took away my “no”. Part of healing from the abuse is to take back my “no”... My family was saying “no” to me when they rejected me:
“No, I won’t support you.” “No, I won’t admit I did anything harmful to you.” “No, I won’t apologize.”
When I focus on them, I lose clarity about me... The key (well at least one key) is in understanding that we were powerless and that we are not who “they” say we are... I may never know the answers to the question, why’s? the how’s?
Knowing the answers doesn’t change anything. They won’t take care of me, take away the pain, or make up for my loss. The past still happened, and I am the one who has to deal with it... the responsibility for taking care of me lies with the person who cares the most: ME.”
You can read the entire post at
On reading the above post, my response deep inside was “it’s not the end of the world if your family rejects you; it is possible to start over”.
It may have taken me nearly 25 years from that awful moment of being left for dead in the snow to realise it is possible to start over, but I have realised it now. AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS!
It is possible to say “my family were wrong”. The world will not stop spinning if you say that!
When I read the article I had ‘light bulb’ moments all the way through it. All of a sudden things fell into place for me and the journey I am on was validated and I thought “yes, I am on the right track”.
I am learning that ‘me’ is ok. I’m learning to be with me, to accept me as I am, however that may be at any given time. That is who I am. Who I am is someone with value and worth.
YES I AM CONTRADICTING MY FAMILY, MY ABUSERS – and it feels SO GOOD to do so!!
One thing’s for sure I’m not going to protect them anymore by keeping silent about what ‘THEY’ did. Another thing’s for sure, I ain’t going to spend the rest of my life feel intimidated by ‘them’ and living in fear of ‘them’ anymore. The last few months have shown me ‘they’ are the weak ones. ‘They’ are the ones who have stuff to fear NOT ME. ‘They’ are just bullies and cowards and may choose to spend the rest of their lives living in delusion and denial BUT I choose to speak and live in the TRUTH. There is enormous strength in doing that!!
I know I’ll never have the answer to the huge WHY my heart’s been looking for all my life. But what matters is I accept I’ll never have the answers to my questions.
I accept the fact that I was not rejected because I was me – BUT BECAUSE THEY (my family, my abusers) WERE WHO AND WHAT THEY WERE AND ARE. Actually they’re the biggest cowards around, and that thought is a huge turning point for someone who’s spent her entire life in fear of them.
There is life beyond the ultimate rejection – that of your blood family.
I’m only just beginning to discover that and to believe it!