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 families. 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, and 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. No one gets to impose their agenda on me. 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 gathering with an abuser present.
I do not have to accept other people’s choices to remain “neutral” in the case of our broken relationship–despite the fact that someone objectively injured me.
I will always reject the idea that my anger about the abuse is just as bad, if not worse than the sexual abuse I endured.
I am not the troublemaker in the family, I’m just the person calling out painful truths others would rather not see.
I will not be silenced. My voice deserves to be heard and respected. 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.
Amy g saysOctober 24, 2021 at 7:11 pm
Well said and their loss.
Dorothy "Kay Newman saysOctober 24, 2021 at 8:40 pm
I have fought these battles with family members. I am a very persistent person and now one brother has finally accepted that my, now, dead mother, was abusive (although she never abused him). My father, who is living and also was mildly abusive, has finally acknowledged all and asked for my forgiveness. Stay true to yourself and don’t give up on telling the truth. Miracles do happen!