Send your replies for Anonymous A.L.


Dear A.L.

I appreciate all that you have stated in your letter. I have lived in a neighboring state from my family since I went to college when I was 18. After I realized I had been abused and was multiple (which was 3 years ago) I never went back. (I am now 50.)

I stopped answering any phone calls (I have an answering machine). And I monitored all calls prior to picking up the receiver. The calls eventually entirely stopped. (took a few months). I still receive birthday and Christmas cards. I was afraid to stop sending them cards, but I did at least 2 years ago. I send a very small Christmas gift and I likely will stop doing that. (I have inside children deathly afraid of retaliation so have been a little slow to stop sending cards/gifts for fear of visits from family abusers).

After the first few months I came to realize that I was much better off without any contact. I bear no ill will against them. I am taking care of myself. I would have severe dissociative problems if I had any contact with my family. (I have NO contact with any family members, including any extended family members because I cannot trust them not to provide my personal information to the people who abused me.) I tried to maintain contact with my niece, but she gave my email address to my father so I had to put blocks on her email address and my father's (he bought a computer immediately when my niece told him I had one and she gave him my email address).

My sincere feeling is that sometimes the best help I can give another person/s is not to associate with them anymore. I cannot help them. I can only help myself. When I look at how much damage has been done to me I am reminded why I cannot have contact with them. I wish to only bless them on their way and stay out of their way. I have no guilt about it anymore. I felt badly for awhile, but now realize that it's the best for me and for them. They were NEVER really my family. I hope this helps you.

From me and all my girls and boys and babies.



Dear Anon A.L.,

For me it was much like "Chelle" said.(See below). I did not divorce the family I grew up in fully for many years. I think it has finally happened. There is nothing there for me.

Nine years ago when I bought the books "Secret Survivors" and "Right to Innocence" I sent my brothers and sister each copies of these books. I had this grand notion that we would all heal instantly and live happily ever after. It didn't happen because they are so in denial and so good at controlling me even from 800 miles away.

I had to learn that the minute I thought of them to change my thinking because I would find myself depressed and blaming myself for causing the family to be split. Every holiday I would get sick and just manage to get the food on the table, eat, then vomit or be sick to my stomach all day.......the weekend.......etc.

Then 2 years ago I finally realized that was what was causing me to feel ill........the family I grew up in wanting me to come back......the holiday pull. The price I pay in going back is to be told to "shut up" "don't mention it" and "NO, your father didn't do anything to you." That is my Mom's attitude. When I first told my sister, her reaction was "I hope it doesn't get into the newspapers".......and her life was one broken relationship after another, sleeping around with one man after another, more thinking of herself.

My dad is dead------6 months after I got into therapy. My reaction to that was unexpected joy. I was relieved that he was finally dead and did not go to the funeral. I have yet to cry one tear for him in nine years, and I do not miss him at all. My oldest brother, also an abuser, said "Oh Julie--I would never do anything to hurt you".

I guess he calls oral sex and rape, "family fun." Until I owned that I was a product of family incest and that they had all lied to me about who I really was, did I finally start breaking through the lies of the family and women in general. I had become totally indifferent about women. Women hated me and I did not know why. I even had an angry woman try to put me down an huge cardboard trash compactor at work just because she hated me for some reason.

My mom is 84-- or should I say my "adopted" mom. My dad is the brother of my real mom. And untilI finally read these articles I did not realize that others had the same reaction as I did. It's like every time I would go to my home town, I would lose my voice. Now that I think about it-- what a metaphor for how my family really felt about me owning my truth. It's still not easy for me. I feel the pull from time to time. Yet for me, I had so many dreams of being stabbed to death by my mommy and asking which mommy,.that it is probably easier for me to tell them where to go.

My mom sent me her picture on my birthday. She has an angry scowl on her face that would crack a mirror. Like to say "it's all your fault that I am unhappy." I say, "No mommy. It's of your own doing and it is time for you to cheer up yourself."

Hope this helps you. There is no right way--just the way each of us must do what is right for us, not just because someone says so. Believe me when my therapist started teaching me to feel energy myself and other, I finally realized it was mommy who was depressing me. I changed that Thanksgiving to thinking of my therapist and noticed what a better feeling I got from her than my mom. I began to do this regularly. Now finally I can have a happy holiday, cook for my family and not become sick. Bless you!

By Julia



Dear Anonymous A.L.

Regarding your dilemma about remaining separate from your family - the "fault" may be with them, and not with you. If you feel unsure about being involved with anyone who might undermine the work you have done to have a decent life - including family - then maybe you ought to respect that instinctive sense. It may be there to protect you. If you feel unsure about how to proceed, you might consider what helps you to plan anything. Does it help you to write things down when planning? Talk it out with someone? Take a walk? Read a book, see a movie?

I get ideas and inspiration everywhere. In stores, when overhearing a conversation or seeing a magazine headline, in dreams, etc. I reach for what will free the busyness of my thoughts and confusion, and release the wise knowing that lies beneath. When unsure of what to say to someone, I sometimes get some paper and begin it as a letter. Often, the words just show up. Sometimes, I use what is in the letter. SOmetimes not. Sometimes I just save the letter, knowing that just the act of expressing and releasing the words on paper, for my eyes, is enough. Sometimes it comes out as a drawing or other visual way. This helps to recognize what belongs to me, and what belongs to the others. Feeling bad or guilty about letting go may just be leftover stuff from the past. It could be an attitude connected with your culture of origin.

These days, I just let go and walk away. I express what I need to in order for me to know that I have done it clean and good. What others do about this is not my responsibility. No is it yours. I used to hang on until the bitter end. Unfortunately, I encountered too many ends that were very bitter. So I make a clean break a lot sooner. Our intuition is there for a good reason, if only we can pay attention and celebrate its presence in our lives and selves.

Living Earth


Dear Anonymous,

I feel fortunate in a way as my healing is shaping up to "me" now, not just my therapist. When I began this journey of remembering what I didn't remember, confusion and disbelief owned me.

My father, the sex/physical offender (plus abandonment, intimidation, etc. etc. etc.) had passed on exactly ten years before. I felt at that time and for years absolutely nothing toward him......guess why......My mother, mommy dearest, this September turning 92 was still at it.....belittling, her specialty, and etc. etc. etc.

I spent years in Codependency support rooms, besides therapy with the world surrounding me begging me to stop seeing my mother and immediate family. My pain was just overwhelming with the results of confrontations by me being accused by my mother, then my siblings as my mothers confidentiality and trust was just not there, of being insulted by my spouse leaving after a 30 years marriage. THey, my family accused me of having ego problems and that I was just fine until this incident and unable to handle it, so I blamed my family, and came up with this "special" disorder for attention. I spent much of my therapy time in denial with my own denial, with my family's assistance.

GUESS WHAT......I did continue to see them. I did continue in therapy. I was fortunate enough to have healthy help, therapists.......I leaned on them as my choice of advice, as so many of my peers in Coda meetings were in similar pain with their family, and told me NOT to see them. I chose not to physically let go but, I started with some very strong boundaries. I didn't allow things to be said to me that were put downs.....I didn't allow the continuation of a manipulative conversation primarily with my mother.

I caught it, I was aware, and I am so grateful. I began to hear what was said and not let another part take over to avoid the emotional pain. This all contributed to my healing process. One of my therapists once said how lucky I was that G-d was allowing my mom to live this long, repeatedly hurting me so I could see it wasn't my I could learn how to deal with it as an adult healing.

No it is not easy. I spent and still spend many a holiday dinner removing myself by choice.....I go into the kitchen, I walk out with my grandkids, I do not stay with the pain it creates......the lack of interest everyone seems to have, the unbelievable narcissism blowing out of their mouths, and the noise level...........

Yes my family has now been very blunt and said that they are walking on egg shells with me. And that, my anonymous friend, is perfect. At first when I heard that comment I felt so insulted. Later I started being very grateful that they are now respecting my wishes, even though they don't interpret this as respect.

You see, I have learned by watching that my family just doesn't have a clue. I won't say that there is no one in the family who gets it, and I too am still learning and not perfect, but my heart doesn't race in their presence now. If I feel as if I might be getting in too mentally deep in the noise I make myself scarce.

I am so proud of myself for this, as I never wanted to just drop out of the picture completely. Basically I have come to realize, now 10 years after my journey began with PTSD diagnosis, then mpd/did, that coming from such dysfunction it is difficult for us to be close. But I still hope one day my siblings will come out of denial, get help and we can look back - as a family...........After all, it is over.

Whatever you do, meditate for the answers to the questions......If you have belief in a Higher Power, or Angels, or Spirit Guides or yourself, put the questions out there and let the Universe help you.....It is wonderful the answers we get. You will be fine, no matter what road you take.

My name is Maren


For Anonymous A.L.

There were many factors that facilitated my separation from the family. But the main ones were unhealthy environment and safety. My mother was busy playing her manipulation games and guilt games and blaming games and shaming games with me. I sent my father a confrontational letter and was hearing denial and that I was making it up big time from my Mom. So, the split became a mutual thing--I refused to be controlled and manipulated by her anymore and she could not have a lying daughter accusing her husband of terrible crimes anymore.

It has been 3 years since mom's death and my Dad and I had been corresponding by mail for almost 6 months ( haven't had communication since 1990). I called him once and my inside people had a fit--weird nightmares, loss of sleep, sleepy driving which in the past had led to two accidents. When I had planned on visiting him at Christmas, my inside parts had me in panic attacks until I agreed not to go and see him. I still have not gone to see him.

You need to listen the inside people. They are not making you sick without a reason. They are telling you that your family is sick and being around them is not healthy for you and you need to get out and stay out until you are very strong and healthy. It is not an easy thing to do. It was not easy for me to do. But is was a healthier choice for me to do and I have gotten healthier. And I am still afraid of being sucked back into the mucky waters of dysfunction that the family is still in if I dont keep my guard up with my dad.

It is your choice..Health or sickness. Family or sanity.


Al, I fully understand your dilemma,

I too wanted my family to change with me, but it wasn't happening. I wanted to love them and be loved by them. I had grand ideas of my entire family healing, stopping abuse and denial, and becoming the Brady Bunch. Like you I was physically ill and very stressed with every contact, in my case - no matter how short, and especially when or if they came to my home. The more I healed and understood abuse, the more ill I became from their 'love'. I tried everything I could think of, my therapist helped in every way she could, and in the end I chose to go. By 'go' I mean discontinued all contact. I ended up having to change phone numbers several times due to a brother who wouldn't quit, and now since I moved, as far as I know they don't even know where I am. Which is fine with me.

In my experience, by the time I made that decision and stuck to it, (after deciding it and then going back for visits anyway for a few years) there was no guilt involved. At first there was a big hole in my life, and a deep sense of loss, but even that's gone now because I realized what I felt I lost was never really there, only I wished for it so to be. I'm certain I gained freedom from abuse, and feel I lost nothing, but I still have regrets that there was nothing to lose. Don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me!

I was finally able to stick to my decision not to tolerate the abuse and denial anymore; because I realized that by my going there, and allowing the abuse and denial to continue, I would never be able to heal fully. I felt forced to choose between a whole healed self, and an abusive toxic family. I had to choose to maintain my boundary re No Abusive Relationships - no matter who or what, or to decide I'd healed as much as I wanted to. At that point the decision was simple, I put me and my health first, and stuck to it. I explained it to them in exactly that way. Their response? I was/am, of course, the crazy one in the family!

I didn't write a letter, I told them each in different one on one conversations, at different times. I wanted to talk to my Mom, and each of my 4 siblings alone like that, so I could be sure of my decisions. I wanted to explain to them that my health and my future were at stake in the decision, and I'd rather have no relationship than one which was hurting me, and give them all chances to respond in healthy ways, and none did. My extended family heard about my 'crazy notions' and they don't bother me.

That was in 1999 and I've been home once (last year) since sticking to my decision and maintaining my boundary on that. When my mom was dying she sent my brother and baby sister to get me, and I went hoping for a miracle healing between us at the last moment, it didn't happen. No one said or did anything mean, and I left right after the funeral when things were beginning to get ugly again. Haven't been back and see no reason to now.

I don't feel guilty for hurting anyone in my family, because I don't feel I hurt them, I strongly feel I stopped them from hurting me though, and I'm proud of that. If that makes me crazy then crazy I'd rather be!

Holidays were lonely and heartbreaking at first, but I found a solution for that, too. In the last few years during holidays I take vacations to places I've always wanted to go. I've been to Greece, Alaska, Italy, and next is India. Doesn't cost much more than buying meaningless presents for people who don't care about me, and it's lots less stressful!

I had a lot of hurt and resentment toward my mom in particular, and toward my entire family for a long time. Now I look at their lives and feel pity, because I do believe they live the best and only way they know how, and don't want to change.

It was the hardest decision of my life so far, and was much more complex than I can express in this letter, but it was the best thing I ever did for me. I cried rivers and had an extra therapy session every week for almost 3 months. Strangely enough, after that drama was over the rest of my healing journey seemed to almost flow naturally. I went from being sick regularly, to I haven't been majorly sick at all in years. Not even allergies anymore!

Basically, I chose to take responsibility for maintaining my boundaries, and put the blame for the abuse and therefore the responsibility for guilt where it belonged, with them. Sounds simple and harsh, but it's neither. Working it out with all of me was difficult, lots of real hard work there for sure. I suggest working out safety and as many communication methods both with yourselves and with your therapist before taking any drastic steps. I'm not a therapist, but that's what worked for me in my experience.

Hope anything I said helps you! Take what you want and leave the rest :)
Best Wishes, Chelle

Love does not hurt and anyone who says it does, has never known love.


Dear Anonymous:

It's been four years since I began my journey of remembering and healing from the trauma I experienced growing up. At first, when the memories were just of abuse by my father, I would discuss my memories with my mother and sister - both living in Florida (I'm in Iowa). My sister went through her own process while believing the experiences I told her about.

My mother, on the other hand, stuck with the same old stories that she had always used to explain why I was like I was. Her most frequently used story was that, because of a long and difficult birth, the doctor that delivered me told her that I would always be two years behind the other children. This explained why I would sit on the floor in the corner of my room for hours, why I would have recurring nightmares, etc.

I tried for about a year to talk to her about my memories, and when I remembered her involvement I didn't say anything to her about it. She still responded with "well, the doctor said" and swore up and down that she didn't know anything about any of it. Each time I hung up the telephone I felt more ashamed, more violated, and more hurt. Finally, for my own mental and emotional health, I had to stop - simply stop. I sent her a video tape (she's legally blind and can't read) telling her how I felt and how I needed to stop talking to her until I could sort out my feelings for her. I communicated this in as gentle yet clear a way as I possibly could. That was three years ago and I haven't spoken to her since.

The first Christmas after I sent her the tape I made a set of glass windchimes for her, like the ones she always had and enjoyed so much when I was a child. I received a thank you note from her saying how much she liked the windchimes. It was simply signed "mom". No Love, mom or I love you, mom, just "mom".

Once again I was very hurt and then I became angry at myself for setting myself, up one more time, to be hurt by her. After that I haven't sent Christmas presents, cards, anything.

I have little ones who, very much, want mommy to love them. I, sometimes still, want my mother to love me. The reality is that she can't. She never gave me what a mother gives her child and she never will. It still hurts, though. It hurts me and it hurts so many of my little ones. And, sometimes, it hurts so badly that I want to pick up the phone and call her and beg her to love me. But I don't.

Maybe the day will come when I can call her, maybe the day will come when I can accept the kind of relationship she is able to offer, I don't know. What I do know is that today is not that day. I wish you many blessings as you deal with this difficult issue.



Response to Anonymous AL,

I think most of us would agree that if your environment is not nurturing or is Toxic to you as a person, and you can afford to do so, then you should go.

We have(survivors) all left our respective "Toxic" environments at one time or another, and to go back and visit can certainly make one physically ill. I still shake when I think of my father.

If trauma happened in the family environment, then the family can be a "trigger" to how you react to them. Remember, how you react now, to the family, may be your own coping mechanism and while you are close to them ( proximity), you may be in a reactive mode and not rational. Therefore, you should have a support group and a place to go to allow yourself to heal. A toxic family environment is no place to heal.

You have chosen a very complex and common situation, wherein the family provides the toxic stimuli and you are living in it and need to get out; need to get healed; but it sounds as though you are questioning your motives. You have to raise yourself up just enough to get out of there. Its a self esteem thing, where even after you have been compromised, you find something in yourself to blame and that is why you must absent yourself from the situation or environment.

I am surprised that your therapist has not suggested another place to recover or stay.

Best regards, P.C.