Family Estrangement After Childhood Trauma

My friends from large families never understood why I don’t enjoy family gatherings. I don’t like crowds, even if I know everyone. I don’t see my family often enough to know any of them. This is my extended family, but what about the family I grew up with? I have my parents and two older sisters. I have not spent time with these four people together in over 15 years. That’s the last time I can remember the five of us together. Growing up with childhood trauma can cause one to isolate themselves. My family broke apart and never came back together.

My parents separated when I was starting my teenage years. My sisters and I were happy to see them get away from each other. I never realized at the time how abusive my father was. My oldest sister moved out and moved back in with my mother a couple times. She made her way into the world after some time. My second oldest sister, the middle child, she enlisted in the Army. A good way to get far away from home. I was alone for a couple years before going to college in another city.

I later moved to another state to finish my education and never went back home. I visited a few times, but never moved back. I never wanted to. After a while, I stopped visiting too. I rarely speak to anyone in my family; extended or other. I don’t know any of them well and have no interest in getting to know them. My life has improved without them. Still, my friends don’t understand my aversion towards families and gatherings. Growing up, these were times for arguments and sometimes violence. I have only negative associations with holidays.

I attempted to mend fences with my sisters and parents at different times. There’s some progress but the five of us will never be in the same room together. I’m the only one who hasn’t married and doesn’t have children. I almost don’t want to have a wedding, so I don’t have to invite anyone in my family. My broken family makes me feel I can’t have a family. This isn’t true but I can’t break the feeling sometimes. I struggle with interpersonal relationships. Distrust and pain filled my first experiences connecting with other people. This is something I’m still working on. I want to prove to myself that I can have a family.

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Tell Me

Just over two weeks ago I broke up with my partner of almost two years. June 2nd, would have marked two years. That’s a lot of 2s! I am not sad. I do not miss her. Though if you ask her I’m the biggest liar ever. Among other things. I see all the things now.

While I am not upset that the relationship ended, I am upset that no one said anything sooner. Now that it is done, my therapist says my partner had been exhibiting power and control behaviors. My mom is no longer holding her tongue and gladly speaks her mind.

Why did no one say anything sooner? I know some will say that “you have to come the conclusion yourself” or “it was your choice to make.” But how do I make that choice when I can’t see what’s happening. It’s like I was blind until a certain point. Everyone around me seemed to see these little clues. They noticed snide or rude comments she made. Or how one thing or another actually seemed like a rule. It would be one thing if you said “Hey Amanda, what she said isn’t ok.” An I blew you off. But no one even said that!

I see now I was manipulated a bunch. At the end it got worse and was much easier to see. But why did it have to get so bad? I am a victim of emotional abuse and I have been most of my life. While I actively am working to heal and become my own person, I’m still kind of blind. I am going to make mistakes. Sometimes I need help seeing.

So do me a favor, please. If someone you know is being manipulated, or mistreated, tell them. They might not listen. They might get mad. But tell them and then just be there for them. When they finally get to the point where they are ready to see, they will know that you were there. That is important.

Say something.

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Being in a Toxic Relationship & How I’m Doing Now

Please understand while reading, that this is a bit of a terrifying post for me. Other than those who watched it all happen, not many now know that this was a part of my life, and now I’ve decided to tell my story in hopes to find the relief that my other posts have brought me. A few months back I wrote about Relationships and C-PTSD, and in there I mentioned quite a bit about the fact that I was in a very unhealthy relationship on and off for nine years. For most of this time, my brain was in war with itself over the good vs. the bad of the relationship. Should I stay, should I go? Should I forgive him, should I hate him? A lot of back and forth. But due to his manipulation and my mental health and lack of self-esteem; I’d always go back. Until I didn’t. After that, so much started to change.

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