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i really need to get some things off my chest right now. i came home for the holidays to visit with family. i have been looking forward to this time a lot. it was supposed to be a time to relax, but instead problems are popping off left and right between my family members and i am in the middle of the crossfire trying to make sense of it all.
****VERY IMPORTANT background about my abusive maternal grandparents: when i was growing up, my mom was honest about the abuse she experienced throughout her life by her mother. my mother and her siblings were physically, emotionally, and verbally (and most likely sexually) abused in extreme ways by her mother and neglected by their father. i grew up avoiding my grandmother like the plague and that seemed to work out fine because my grandma didn't seem to care and notice that i was alive. the only sibling that my grandmother focused her love and attention upon was my older sister. the rest of us, she put down, threatened to beat, and belittled because we were scum to her. my grandmother has no problem admitting to our entire family that my older sister is 'her favorite.' my mother, siblings and i grew up in domestic violence and my older sister and i were physically abused by our father. my mother eventually had enough and found a way for us to leave and be safe from harm. in order to cope, my older sister has blocked out any memories of the abuse. i have vivid and clear memories of the abuse and the memories still haunt me.,
during our childhood, my oldest sister stayed over my grandmothers a lot, because my grandmother liked to have special time with her. my grandmother would buy her pretty dresses, bake for her, and give her bags of candy to bring home with the message that she wasn't to share with anyone else. we even lived with them for a couple of years until they threw us out on the streets. my sister eventually told me that during these visits, that my grandmother would tell her a lot of 'bad stories' about what our father did to her. when she shared what our grandmother had told her, they were pretty outrageous and extreme (like that my father stabbed my oldest sister when she was an infant in her crib- if that really happened- he would have been put in jail) a lot of what my sister was told by my grandmother about what happened to her didnt match with my own vivid recollection. i would get so confused and would ask my mother to confirm these stories, my mother said that they weren't accurate and that grandma was making things up to be malicious. my grandmother told my older sister a lot of things, one of them being that my mother was a bad parent and that my mom was so incompetent that my grandmother had been placed in the position to raise her all by herself. what is frightening is that my sister truly believes these things.****
when i came into town on monday, i received a call from my mother who was in tears telling me that my oldest sister decided last minute to not join us for christmas eve dinner. my sister and mother haven't spoken since july when i was hospitalized. i believed that this was because they had an argument about where i was going to go after i was discharged. when i went to the hospital, i found the courage to finally tell my oldest sister for the first time of my experience of sexual abuse at the hands of our maternal grandfather. she was very supportive and sympathetic when she called me to tell me that she read the letter i sent her discussing the matter. she said that she hurt for me, that she could not imagine how painful that must have been because nothing like that ever happened to her.
i felt proud that i was able to break the silence. i thought this could bring us closer. this did not happen. shortly after this conversation happened, my oldest sister decided to start therapy for the first time. we were still talking daily at this point and she told me a little bit about her first session. she announced to me proudly that her therapist told her to terminate any contact with our mother. i was shocked at this, and something inside my gut felt very sick. my sister also spoke with my brother and told him the same thing. we were both very surprised. i thought that this was extreme advice considering that the two of them just met. personally, i have not had positive experience with therapists who are eager to tell me who i should and should not talk to- especially after the first session. red flags went off in my mind.
my sister is very trusting toward those who present themselves as experts. if she is handed a pill by a doctor, she takes it, no questions asked, and still takes it even if it makes her ill. she is subservient to authority. she is passive and a people pleaser. i know that she is also vulnerable to being taken advantage of, so when she told me about what her therapist suggested, i grew concerned, and decided to just try to keep a the lines of communication open and observe. i am very supportive of the idea of her getting counseling, but i want to make sure that she is not being taken advantage of.
my sister has been very shallow with me after she started seeing this therapist. we used to be close, talk everyday, say i love you and when i was in the hospital she would come to visit me every week. when i was discharged into a residential mental health facility, she slowly started drifting away, calling less, and stopped visiting. at the facility, i was having trouble with what was happening there and for many reasons i decided to leave. i was not in the best place of communication with her so she had no idea what trouble i was having, so when i told her that i was deciding to leave and that was the healthiest decision for me to make in my recovery, she grew upset and me that what i was doing was a making a mistake. i tried hard to explain that the environment was toxic and that another resident has tried to physically assault me. when i told her that, she put up her walls. making only infrequent and shallow conversation now, i thought i had done something to offend her and tried my best to communicate with her. all i would get is silence on the matter, unless i spoke of something rather shallow, i wouldn't get a response. something seemed very very very wrong. she was pulling away from me and i wasn't able to figure out what was going on. i called my brother to see if he knew what was going on with her. my brother told me that she had been pulling away from him too. i have a younger sister had also mentioned that she felt estranged from her too because my older sister didn't even know my younger sister had been attending college when my younger sister called her to wish her a happy birthday.
now, it has been months since my older sister has spoken with our mother and not a word was ever mentioned about the therapy so i thought that she had stopped going. my mother and sister started making communication about what to get my nephew for christmas. my mom got up all the courage she had and asked her to join us for christmas eve dinner. there seemed to be a sliver of hope that she would be there but at the last minute she decided not to come. she explained to our mother that she does not want contact with her, but if she wants to see her grandson that her husband could make arrangements for her to have visitation at a later date. our whole family has been devastated by this. we were hoping that we would have her here with us for christmas, but she will not be. i felt heartbroken about this news too, so i took this disclosure as an opportunity to try to communicate with my sister and find out what has been going on with her and to better understand the decision she is making. i wrote her a letter in which i asked her to help me understand what was going on with her and why she changed her mind. i told her that her absence would be felt, that i wasn't angry and would respect her decision. i asked her if she was still seeking counseling and wished her the very best.
my sister wrote me back and told me that she no longer wishes to have our mother be a part of her life any longer. she told me that she is open to seeing us siblings, she vaguely stated that if we did have contact that we would have to keep the subject matter 'light.' she then went on to rave about how great her therapist is and how she has helped her grow 'stronger and stronger every day.' red flags waved wildly in my mind again. my gut felt pained. i started to cry and i haven't stopped shaking since. i'm scared that i am losing my sister right now.
from there, i couldn't sleep and i stayed up late trying to figure out how to reply to her letter in a safe and respectful way that allowed me to get a feel for what she is actually doing in her recovery with this therapist. what i came up with is that i asked her if this cut off is something that she came to the therapist for help with- if this was a goal that she intended to address herself or if this was recommended as part of her treatment plan with the therapist. i asked her to explain to me what was safe for us to discuss now. i offered to work with her in whatever way would be the least stressful.
my sister replied in a vague manner telling me that her therapist recommended this in the treatment plan and that she agrees with it, and went on with more detail to discuss her workbooking, journaling, and other types of theraputic approaches. my sister mostly focused upon how angry she is at our mother and did not offer insight to me on what our boundaries are as sisters now. my sister told me that she wants to surround herself with happy and healthy people now and live her own life away from a mother who has put her through hell for the past 34 years. my sister expressed that she believed she is owed an apology from my mother for this and refuses to make further contact until she does.
i wrote her back and explained that i did not understand her intense anger toward our mother and i told her that i respected her feelings. i explained to her what i thought was different about my relationship with our mother and hers. i told her that i noticed that they have trouble communicating how they really feel and that i hoped that one day that my sister could feel comfortable freely expressing herself with our mother like i have been able to. my mother and i have a healthy relationship in which we communicate and process our feelings together in a very honest way. we have been able to navigate our way through conflicts. i then encouraged my oldest sister to challenge herself in therapy to find the words to express to our mother what she really feels. for as long as i have been alive, my sister has harbored resentment against my mother- a puzzling kind of hatred. when i thought about the reasons why this might be, i had to look back at my sisters relationship with our grandmother, the wife of my sexually abusive grandfather.
that's when it hit me. all of those years of hearing those stories by my grandmother that filled in the scary blanks of lost memory of abuse must have had such an impact on the way that my oldest sister sees our mother. as soon as i could, i called my mom to talk to her about this. my mom and i started piecing things together and figured out that my grandmother was abusing my oldest sister through the telling of stories and grooming her with special attention so that she could manipulate her. nothing on this earth makes me more sick than confronting that this has really happened. the HATRED i feel for this person i call 'grandma' is intense. the anger is raw. the damage is profound.
earlier this evening, i got a call from one of my maternal aunts who wanted to talk about her concern about how my mother is taking all of this right now. the last time i spoke to my mother, she seemed like she was in a very good place, but something happened. what i learned is that my sister has told my mother that she is angry with her for not protecting her from being sexually abused by our father. my mother has not come to me to talk with me about this. i am very concerned as to why i have not been told. my sister claims that she had learned about this from one of the stories our grandmother told her about what happened to her when she was a child. seriously, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE this stuff is coming from, and it completely defies what my sister originally said in response to my disclosure about the sexual abuse that i experienced by my maternal grandfather. my oldest sister said SHE WAS NEVER SEXUALLY ABUSED, but now she is saying this after going to someone who seems rather questionable in therapy and after my grandmother telling another one of her mean-spirited stories???
please believe me, if my sister was sexually abused, then i would definitely be able to recall that happening to myself too. also, my sister would most DEFINITELY have shared this information with me after i opened up to her about our grandfather. instead, she said that she couldn't even fathom what kind of pain the sexual abuse must have caused because she had NO MEMORY of experiencing that kind of abuse herself. i also don't have any memories of her being abused sexually by our father, only physically. also, i am wondering why in the correspondence that i have had with my sister that she did not mention this part to me at all in the entire litany of grievances that my oldest sister has with my mother? and lastly, if my oldest sister is in the spirit of cutting off ties with people WHY ON EARTH is she preferentially closer and more social with members of my fathers (the man who she claims has sexually abused her) family????????
lastly, if my older sister was abused sexually, it was done in such a secretive way that NO ONE ELSE KNEW. my mom is a good woman and she didn't tolerate abuse PERIOD. if my mother knew that ANY of us were being sexually abused, you BETTER BELIEVE that the bastard would be rotting in jail today for it. if somehow, my grandmother had special insight about my oldest sister being subject to sexual abuse by our father, why the HECK didn't she tell my mother and report the abuse to the authorities herself?? i am so sick right now. i just want this nightmare to end. i've had a lot of reason to dislike my maternal grandmother, but now, i see nothing but an abusive sociopath. i can't say for SURE that my sister was or was not abused sexually. i know that she would have told me. i would have known by now.
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? this is supposed to be a happy time of the year, but i am reeling. i am sick right now. i just want to be able to make sense of all of this. please pray for me and my broken family.