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(TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

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(TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby Truly_happy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:24 pm

Hello, SAI forum.

Call me Marcella.

I normally haunt the Dissociative Identity Disorder forum, but this place seems better suited for what I have to ask. Anyway, two years ago, I found out I have repressed memories of being sexually abused by a member of my immediate family. Today, the abuser's stepmother caught me calling her by her name instead of "Grandma". This upset her and now I feel I may be in a jam ...

See, I'm not the kind of person to just abandon my family. I know they love me and they are not responsible for what their beloved brother/son/whatever did to me. My abuser has been dead for four years now and I wouldn't want to tarnish any cherished memories they have of this person. But now my "grandma"--after explaining that I'm going through hard times--says that she wants to help me and that I can talk to her about anything. Can I really tell her what happened? I don't want to hurt anyone ... and this news will certainly hurt! But it would be amazing if I had my family's full support ...

I also don't know what they know. Would the news actually be a surprise? I've heard my abuser may have sexually abused one of his own sisters ... would they expect him to have abused me, too? Would they even believe it? :shock:

So ... Does an incest victim have to keep the abuse a secret to protect the family? What's your experience with this kind of thing? If you've told your/a family about the incest, how did they react? Did it help to tell them about it? Were they able to help? (Please, this is so hard to deal with on my own, I need to know!)

Thanks in advanced for any replies. :mrgreen:


PS: I have not been able to see my T in weeks and now I have no idea when I will get to see her thanks to this wonderful snow storm in the Midwest ... so let's not even talk about discussing this with my T, okay? :wink:
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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby Truly_happy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:43 pm

Update: I won't be able to see my T until Feb. 2. :(
We are the Neighborhood, a large, co-conscious DID system.
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Marcella - female, 30s, zesty
Pip - male, 12, happy

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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby avatar123 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:01 am

Truly, I don't think you have any obligation to keep this a secret. I think it boils down to what you said about not wanting to damage their memories of their family member, and what kind of family member you yourself want to be.

So maybe one approach would be to broach the topic in an indirect way, you could ask if there was ever any concern about your abuser's behavior when he was alive. Then play it by ear after that, if they seem receptive to the conversation then you can continue and maybe eventually explain what happened to you. If they withdraw and become uncomfortable, you could let it go without making an accusation. If they ask why you are asking, you can say that you only want to go into it further if it won't cause an upset in the family, which is the truth. From that, you should be able to tell if they can handle it or not.

Fortunately you have already made progress on your own, so their involvement is not essential, although as you pointed out, their support would be nice. But you'd probably be ok either way, which is a good thing. I hope that helps.
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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby DaturaInnoxia » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:55 am

It's never your job to keep abuse a secret.

However, as much as you don't want to hear "talk to your therapist", I would urge you to consider doing so first.
Or another professional - even if it's a crisis line or crisis chat ahead of time about your plans to bring it up.

My only reasoning for this is to discuss potential less-than-ideal reactions and put together a safety plan.
If telling them causes you problems, are you equipped to cope with your own emotions as a result thereof? etc.

I would think it would be most ideal to bring the grandmother to a therapist appointment and bring it up there where you are in a safe environment with someone who can ground you if anything comes up. But that's just me.
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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby Truly_happy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:24 pm

avatar123 wrote:So maybe one approach would be to broach the topic in an indirect way...From that, you should be able to tell if they can handle it or not.


I'm very glad you brought this up, Avatar123. Unfortunately, this is not possible as I have high-functioning autism. I am not able to direct such a sly, complex conversation; nor can I judge how anyone will react to anything I say. My approach would be to just blurt out the truth and then see how they handle it. Since I cannot reveal the truth in a tactful way, it seems I have even more obligation to keep the abuse a secret. :(

DaturaInnoxia wrote:If telling them causes you problems, are you equipped to cope with your own emotions as a result thereof?


That's a problem in and of itself. I am going through hard times already and adding family into the mix makes things almost unbearable. Really, I just want my extended family to leave me alone. Any ideas how to tell them that (since I'm autistic and have no tact)?
We are the Neighborhood, a large, co-conscious DID system.
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Imre ("EEM-ruh") - male, 20s, compassionate
Cullen - male, 13, loves life
Marcella - female, 30s, zesty
Pip - male, 12, happy

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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby avatar123 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:12 pm

Could you possibly write it out for them? That might give you time to review and be sure it says what you want before they see it. Also you don't have to be present when they read it, so you don't have to deal with detecting or understanding their reaction, you could ask them to respond in writing, if they want to respond at all.

Another way might be to have someone you trust, who understands your situation, explain it for you.

If your goal is to have them leave you alone, then maybe the best thing is not to bring it up at all, and not respond if they ask a direct question. It sounds like if they are already clueless, they wouldn't be likely to bring it up or bother you with it.
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Re: (TW) Keeping the Abuse Secret from My Family: Is It My Job?

Postby Truly_happy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:43 pm

avatar123 wrote:If your goal is to have them leave you alone, then maybe the best thing is not to bring it up at all...


Thanks for your response, but that's not the problem. My grandmother keeps sending me text messages to express her love and support for me. This should be a comfort, I suppose, but it only reminds me that she can't help me because my whole problem stems from a truth that would hurt her. Her messages of love and affection cause me distress ... how do I explain that to her? :cry: Of course, that was a hypothetical question ... I know I'm the only one with the answers here. I just need to get her to understand that, although she's not the problem, she really can't help me and that she needs to stop trying. Sigh.

Thank you for helping, guys. I'll talk this over with my mother (and my therapist, when I see her).

- Marcella
We are the Neighborhood, a large, co-conscious DID system.
Outsiders:
Imre ("EEM-ruh") - male, 20s, compassionate
Cullen - male, 13, loves life
Marcella - female, 30s, zesty
Pip - male, 12, happy

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