Grateful for What I Know

forest - Grateful for What I Know

It’s American Thanksgiving today. In the midst of the bustle of holiday prep, I have survivors on my mind. Those, like me, who are estranged from their family. Whatever the status of our family relationships, so many of us feel misunderstood by loved ones who minimize or deny the weight of our experiences. They just don’t get it. And maybe they never will.

But hey, I have good news. Over the years, I have discovered that I do not have to rely on those people to know who I am, how I feel, or what I need. I am supremely grateful that I have arrived at this place after years of feeling confused and alone. I get it now–that my experiences and my feelings matter. Thankfully, so do the many people I know and love who support me every day of the year.

Here’s what I know.

I am the only authority on me. I know what I’ve lived through, how it’s affected me, what I needed then, and what I need now. Nobody else gets to tell me differently. And if they try, I now have the confidence to shut them down. I will no longer waste my time trying to convince other people to understand.

I will never “make nice” and attend a family gathering with my abuser present.

I do not have to accept family members’ choices to remain “neutral” in the case of our broken relationship–despite the fact that he objectively injured me.

I will always reject the fact that my family members seem to equate the actual abuse with my anger at him over the abuse.

I am not the troublemaker in the family, I’m just the person who’s calling out painful truths that others would rather not see.

I will not be silenced. My voice deserves to be heard and respected. And so do yours, my friends. Together we can break abusive cycles and grow stronger in the light of the truth.

Happy Thanksgiving, survivors. I see you, I believe you, and I will be here to keep reminding you that your truth matters, no matter who disagrees.



  1. REPLY
    Samantha says

    Thankyou I needed that today, Although im in the UK, Christmas and the neverending amount of happy family images is exceedingly painful and Christmas is nothing but stress. How an I supposed to spend Christmas with people who think what happened to me was nothing, it was bad enough to give me complex PTSD, so…… Thank you once again, I will keep this with me through this painful season. ????x

    • REPLY
      miranda.pacchiana says

      I’m so sorry but I understand. Take good care of yourself, especially during this season. Thank you for letting me know that my words gave you comfort. -Miranda

  2. REPLY
    Patricia says


    • REPLY
      Patricia says

      This post, these comments… have eased the feelings that have always caused a schism since age 8 between not only myself and the group of people I was born into most call ‘family’ but everyone. Alone, I traveled essentially alone. And it sharpens greatly at holiday time. Here a place is found where I feel found. Thank you for the post and all those who commented and understand.

      • REPLY
        miranda.pacchiana says

        You are truly welcome. You deserve support and understanding. We all do.

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    Mrs W says

    What an inspiring person you are. Everyone needs to heed your words and learn from your experiences the best way to move on.
    Life is short……spend it with those who love you.

    • REPLY
      miranda.pacchiana says

      Thank you for your kind words…and yes, I agree!

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    Amy says

    Miranda very well said. I am so proud of you ! Warm wishes to all on this Thanksgiving. Today those of us who stand up alone are not alone. We stand alone with thousands. Thousands thankful we have our life and voice.

    • REPLY
      miranda.pacchiana says

      Beautifully put! Thank you.

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    Kathy Johnson says

    So true Miranda, well states. I was surrounded by loving family and friends with everyone was helping to prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner at my home yesterday. The family was on my husbands side of the marriage – and the friends were friends with all of us. As one of far too many victims of incestuous rape — distance from my family of origin was necessary. They won’t take sides, and for the moment, consider me the trouble maker. Oh well, this trouble maker was able to file criminal charges so now the perp to will have point at the investigators and label them the real TROUBLE MAKERS! Dunno if justice will be served, but I am at the point that pursuing it is the right thing to do. Keep up the good work, Miranda, for me and many others you really help us deal with the pain and anxiety of being ousted by those who prefer to pretend getting raped by your brother is no big deal. So, since one cannot have too much, help yourself to some of my love to share with you and yours.

    • REPLY
      miranda.pacchiana says

      You are doing the right thing. It’s still hard to fathom sometimes that families so often respond this way. Thank you for the warm wishes and right back at you!

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