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It just means you share DNA. If someone is hurting you and continues to do so, stay away. It's not your job to fix your family. It's also not necessary to stay in touch with people who've abused you. You can build a supportive, loving family of your own. One you choose. Actually, I would agree with you that if one has built their own loving supportive family - and if they are relatively happy and functional and not self-destructive at work, in life, and with their own children and are being honest with themselves about that - then they do not have to work on family-of-origin relationships.

More power to 'em! Unfortunately, this is often far from the case, because of issues that tend to get passed down from one generation to the next despite everyone's best efforts. And they usually are best addressed at their source because of the way our brains function with attachment figures.

Just to be clear, I did not say anything about blame. And fixing the relationship again, not fixing the parent is for the benefit of the person being traumatized, not for benefit of the parent.

Sara is my new hero? Do not expect, punish or chide them for not taking on the responsibility that their abuser failed to fulfill. Did they? They know this - but, unlike the abuser, will own up when that time comes and will make amends. The person a victim needs to forgive is the often the victim. For not being a bit stronger toddler to defend when daddy beat him and his mom. For deciding not to fight and just try not to get worse than they already were while that man held a knife to their throat and raped them.

For submitting and bending over so daddy could whip the skin off your legs with his belt. Went to therapy recently for some weird communication from my parents. Therapist told me to write it all down, what I wanted to say, then burn it. Told her that's not what I wanted to do, really, as I had done that technique and this was about hearing from my abusive parents after many years, they are talking about getting older, feeling guilty, and what should be my response that is loving but keeps up the boundaries?

Sailing True North and the Voyage of Character

Counselor was useful in some ways but kept saying, "you will outlive your parents" says who? I was trying to get my therapist to say "let's talk about what they used to do to pull you into the family drama" and "what are you afraid of now?

Being a big part of their lives is not healthy, plain and simple, and I don't know where fixing our families or shopping for more therapists is going to change a single thing about the situation My main comment is in agreement completely with what this person is stating about what Annie also said: Being a therapist who says we need to take on the family to heal, bring them to the table or room, etc to find a way to talk, is something that could possibly work in some situations and you likely see those as a therapist, all different degrees of abusive family toxicity but not often in others.

For me, I was the family member counted on to restore peace, to make things better in conflicts, to act as another parent when mine were fighting, immature, or doing the wrong things to us or to each other cheating, blaming, guilt trips, lying beyond belief, and the list goes on. I was supposed to jump in and be mature, save the day, help them save face They did some good things, my parents weren't all bad, and I have always focused on those things and not what I cannot change or save my family from. However, it's NOT my job to reconcile any more, to bring everyone together, to state the truths they will always deny and gaslight me for, to be the adult whilst they all lie and continue to act like children.

I have worked on forgiveness, and I forgive and forgave those limitations years ago, I have done the work on counseling, but I cannot change them. It's not my job. I don't live close by, I live a healthy life, and they are always showing me through our limited connectivity that nothing for them has changed, period. My siblings live in the same world, it's all they chose to know and follow, and if they didn't, they would likely be left out or shunned the way me and my spouse are now.

But, I am glad for the distance, glad for the way things are now! I don't want any extra closeness, I don't think it's up to me to solve those things, and I believe only if things weren't as abusive emotionally I might feel like tackling them and making things better. But, that is a therapist's job, plain and simple, so it makes sense they want us to confront, to try to bring about resolution, to ease painful memories and attachments. My life is richer, fuller, better now, no use for the past.

Why grieving the mother you didn't have is key to recovering from childhood.

And, going backward to fix anyone else is a charity situation I have no business doing, as I DID DO the therapy and I know trying to fix or 'face' it would only bring me down and back to a lower level of healing than where I am now. No way! Just to be clear, however, and as I mentioned in response to a previous comment, I am not saying that it is anyone's job to "fix" their parent or their parents' other relationships. I agree, that is basically impossible in most cases. Adult children, however, do have the power to change THEIR and only their relationship with each of them.

Unfortunately most therapists don't know that, in order to accomplish this, you have to research the family dynamics as they developed within their cultural milieu over at least three generations to find out WHY each parent reacts to you the way they do. You then have to use this knowledge to design multiple strategies and counter-strategies designed to STOP them from employing their typical invalidating, critical, demanding, distancing, or hateful repetitive behaviors - again, only with you. Unfortunately, if someone just cuts them off, dysfunctional patterns often are passed down to subsequent generations despite everyone's best effort to try to be different.

I've already done all the exploration, amazing therapy and counseling, to discover the "why" to how my parents are who they are. I look on it with empathy, I have forgiven because the forgiveness is what I give myself in the situation to heal and be whole, and I have moved on. I do not need to understand the dysfunction completely, just to try to understand it as best it applied to my upbringing and to my life today.

There is NO WAY to completely understand why people act as they do, we break our heads and hearts trying to believe it is our job to understand, to somehow then heal and mend those things, when actually just like PTSD, we will all carry some scars from the horrible behavior, reactions, lack of love, etc. But, I have done the work, I don't need more explaining, but I do believe we all have to let go at some point, do some maintenance when things crop up if they are getting in the way of a healthy life or making us question our approach and yes, approaches may need tweaking from time to time, where delicate family members are involved.

How to Deal With Toxic Family Members Biblically

But, for me, I have replaced my family with other, healthier relationships which serve as surrogate family and are more close to me, more fun, love unconditionally, don't try to make me responsible, don't pick me apart, don't react in ways that try to force me to be the parent, don't reject my love, etc. I have explored and mended the ways in which my parents and their lack of love for each other and their families and yes, how it was given to them for generations down the line affected me and my life, and I have used what I COULD understand about it to make life better for me.

But, I think there comes a time to let it go, to give up on feeling we have to completely mend, understand, heal, etc.

1 Thing Every Estranged Father Needs to Do to Reconnect - Oprah's Lifeclass - Oprah Winfrey Network

We all do the best we can, that's all we can do. No need to continue talking about what we understand, those who have done the work, but at some point enough is enough, gotta move on, as counseling doesn't do as much if you don't stop and see how you've grown and learn to live with what residual pain we will all feel for family members who are too difficult to have a mature relationship with No one method works for everyone; we have to find what works for us in terms of healing and moving on. Forgiveness wasn't for me, although my abusive parents were eager to pounce on it.

Their definition of forgiveness means forfeiting the right to ever discuss the abuse - including with a therapist. If you forgave, it's over and behind you. I call them "wavers.


No, no, that's in the past That protects them and silences the victim. Everybody is supposed to pretend everything is perfect. That therefore didn't work for me. If you had success that way, then you did the right thing.

Continuing contact in order to protect future generations is also an unfair expectation of abuse survivors. You say that we can't fix our parents nor should we be expected to and putting up with them in order to protect somebody else's kids is really unjust. The patient victim's only responsibility is to themselves. Many victims were made responsible for the abuse "why do you make me do this to you? A victim should do what is best for them.

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They should concentrate on saving themselves - not the rest of the family or the world. Obviously, I did cut off contact. I have never regretted it. From time to time extended family has reached out, but it never lasted long, because they refused to break their own patterns and continued to pressure for acceptance of the abusers. I can't tell you how many times I'd go to visit the relative and here come the parents out of another room, and the relative starts their pompous spiel No one is going to leave until we heal the rift Oh, they are SO concerned for your welfare and mental health once they realize you aren't going to play their game and protect them.

Just to be clear to other readers, I am certainly NOT advocating for "putting up with them" which assumes they haven't really stopped their problematic behavior , nor for trying to "forget" about what they did in the past.