I Confronted My Abusive Incest-Family Of Origin

Last week I experienced what seemed like the beginning of a flashback; I was flooded with images, feelings, sensations, but they weren’t about being sexually abused.   This has happened before in my process; something in angle of the wind or pattern of sunlight would suddenly take me back to a beautiful, happy time.  At first I didn’t know what to do; there really wasn’t anything to write down and examine like when I’m uncovering a repressed memory.  But I realized over several hours that in fact I was being visited by my past self, an “inner child.”  In this case it was me at 17, and I felt the joy and wonder of that time, mixed with an underlying sadness for what was my wider truth. 

So I closed my eyes, stepped into the vision and took him into my arms, reassuring him.  I cried as I spoke to him for a long time; telling him that he didn’t have to pretend anymore, that I’m here, I believe him and will listen to anything he has to say and will take him away from those people forever…  At the end I was flooded with these intense feelings of love for myself.  And it was in that context which I decided to go through with plans I’ve been cautiously making for months now. 

I resurrected the inactive facebook account that I discovered last month and I started to accept their friend requests and post an open letter to my former family on my timeline.  But after adding my mother, I was so disgusted to see her facebook wall, covered with pictures of her grandchildren that she has or will very likely abuse any chance she got.  Some friend of hers who wasn’t even there during my childhood posted on her timeline about what a “great father and grandfather” my father was.  How would she know?  It was all so fake and shallow, I couldn’t stand to see it, so I broke the ‘friendship’ and I sent personalized versions of my ‘open letter’ to my former mother, father, brother, sister, and aunt instead.  I confronted each of them about how I had been sexually abused in our family as a child (with detailed scenes from two of my flashbacks), and told them individually how their blindness and/or abuse had failed me.  

After I finished sending the last and most intimidating one to my brother, I found myself in the midst of a powerful flashback.  I was five or six years old, dazed under an eerie bright light.  We were in the house of one of my mother’s friends, at night; it was a sex party, focused on me.  I could smell a mixture of alcohol and cheap hair spray.  I was drugged, and I heard my mother say, “you’ll never try to tell again, you’ll never get away because you’re ours…”  I don’t know who or what I told, but this was the punishment, this was her way of “showing me.”  There were all these hands groping at me, I was naked, standing up. My mother held me against her thighs while someone forced me to blow him, then she pushed me over to this woman that she worked with, who was naked, and fondled me, picked me up and did disgusting things with me.  I tried to walk out of the room, but was always stopped, hit.  Eventually I passed out, and woke up in our car; we were home, and I was put into bed.  I vomited on my pillow, turned it over, and went to sleep.

After the flashback, I found it impossible to calm myself down from the uncontrollable shaking and nausea that the entire process had left me with.   I hardly slept at all; I felt so afraid, and my thoughts began to turn around in a cycle of doubting myself from every direction; wondering if I did the right thing and imagining all sorts of possibilities.   One of the most difficult decisions to make was whether to allow them to respond to me or not.  I went back and forth for a long time before I realized that in fact I don’t want to talk to any of them.  I’m curious about the effect that my letters could have, but that is all.  Sending them in effect with no return address makes me feel secure; because unlike in much of my past dealings with these people, I can’t be shouted down, and it remains about my process.  I can’t control and I can’t predict what their response will be, but I can safeguard myself. 

I remember one day as a child when my brother had beaten and chased me into my room again; he was trying to break down the door when I decided to call my father at work and tell him what he was doing.  But he heard me, and ran to pick up the other line just as I was asking the receptionist to connect me to my father’s department.  He pressed all the buttons on the phone, and despite my attempts, I couldn’t scream over the noise.  The receptionist hung up the phone, and I was alone again with him.  But today he can jam his fingers into the keys all he likes, but he can’t drown out my voice;  I’ve told the truth about what he did to me to everyone, including him. 

I’ve had dreams in the nights since that they’ve been able to find me, but I know that isn’t possible.  They probably thought I was dead before I wrote them; a dark family secret that they could pretend doesn’t exist.  I gave them no hints about where I am or what I am doing.  That fear has melted away now; the era of fear is finished, now it’s time for me to realize my power, my voice.  The flashback I received after confronting them shows me what deep fear and horror was tied up in my body.  It also tells me how right I am to speak up; their sick behavior really knew no bounds.

I felt tinges of regret at first for providing such graphic detail in my letters.  But if my ex-family didn’t want to be confronted about sexually abusing me and/or allowing me to be sexually abused by others, then they shouldn’t have done it in the first place.  Meanwhile I have a right to talk about my life, and to give them back that graphic reality they’re so fond of hiding from.    Today I feel so much better about myself and my life, and I’m sure it’s only the beginning. 


About proudlysensitive

Gay male survivor of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
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21 Responses to I Confronted My Abusive Incest-Family Of Origin

  1. Daisy says:

    Wow Caden, good for you. Yes you do have a right to talk about your life. It sounds like you’ve realised that your FOO no longer have the power over you they once had.

    Last year I was also able to get to a place where I could speak my truth without the overwhelming fear I’ve carried around for decades.

    That’s awesome, sending you virtual hugs….

  2. Hi Caden,

    I read your latest post on your blog with amazement, I am amazed at your strength and courage.
    For every flashback you have of your abuse past, it is an opportunity for immense healing and moving forward.

    I want to share with you this :

    I was very touched and inspired by it and I know it is so true – that we may have once been broken, but after careful “repair”, we are actually more beautiful for having been broken. I hope you too will be inspired by it.


    • Thank you Angie. The flashbacks are an invaluable tool for understanding myself today and where I’ve been. What I like about your link is the concept of sealing together the broken pottery pieces with gold, not trying to hide what happened, but acknowledging it without shame. There is no telling what I could have done if I had parents who respected my feelings and rights from day one, but there is the possibility for much beauty now.

      take care,

  3. billierain says:

    thank you for your courage

  4. fatima says:

    ❤ ❤ ❤ you are amazingly courageous. thank you so much for sharing this.

  5. You blog is so intense and emotional for *me* for my journey. I have to read it sparingly now, though I started at it voraciously.

    So I read this as well with so many feelings: wishing you had support right next to you and constantly during the time of the letters and confrontation…. both happiness for you and sadness for me that I cannot yet do what you did in embracing your younger self…. and so many feelings about your BRAVERY regarding the truth of what happened to you.

    I think a lot of people caution against what they call confrontations. Some say cautions because they fear that the survivor isn’t strong enough to handle it. Some others voice cautions because more abuse can come. Sometimes a blank or lack of response can be (I don’t know the word?) unsatisfying. But the people I’ve had caution me against confrontations were ones who believed I should “forgive”, “forget”, meaning, be a good person and go on as if this never happened.

    But …I think… that if we state truth, even if it’s in a letter to a deceased abuser, the truth helps us live. And so…I am full of hope that you are living more. Please have that hope for me (to be able to again someday).

    I stand in your corner.

    • Thank you Jeannie. I understand that everyone has their own process and sometimes reading here (or otherwise) can be too much. I really hope you’re holding up o.k. and will be able to meet your goals at your own pace.

      You’re right that there are a lot of red flags people raise on the issue of confrontation. In my case, I did a lot of work over the past months leading up to it so that I would be sure it was the right thing for me. As it is now, it did help and I have no regrets. It fits into my larger plans, anyway so I didn’t place any expectations on it that weren’t fulfilled. Our abusive families definitely don’t deserve peace and quiet and to never be confronted with their insanity and their crimes. Anyone who tries to guilt us for telling off someone who could have gone to jail for what they did to us is dangerously deluded.

      take care,

  6. transcender1 says:

    Wow. So powerful. I’m glad you found your voice, and that you recognize and protect it.

  7. Wow! This is awesome. I’m so happy you have this voice. Seriously, after the day I’ve had, I needed to read this exact post. I never thought I could speak out until recently and I’m not anywhere above my whisper yet. Thank you for sharing your story and your life, I have a glimmer of hope tonight.


  8. Karen Ranes says:

    Hi Caden,
    I found your blog thru EFB. I have been there for 18 months now.
    I don’t know what to say. Your writing touches me very strongly. I grew up in a physically,
    and emotionally abusive and demeaning family. I spoke up to the abuse 1 year ago and went NC with my mother and brother.
    In outward appearance, our family looked perfect, but it was about as far from normal as it could be. I feel so much anger at them, that my emotional makeup and thinking process was so damaged by my teens that I could not pursue the career I wanted, have positive relationships,
    be the amazing person that I should have been. My very best male friend all thru my
    middle / high school years endured much the same in his toxic family.
    I am so happy that you have this blog. That you are still young. That you are expressing your truth. The truth exposes them. EFB set me on the path of truth. I just wanted to say..you are
    helping others with your words. Best Regards Karen R

    • Hi Karen, I recognize you from EFB, thank you for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts with me. My family also looked normal by outward appearance–probably because my mother was obsessed with that word “normal,” and spent a lot of time trying to meet that standard, since she had a lot to hide about what was really going on in our home. And of course she chose unhealthy people to be close with, who would further back up her deception, all of which is painful, I agree.

      I can relate to all of the lost years and potential; it is so horrible when our parents steal that from us and get away with it, when people act like that is just fine and they are blameless. I’m sorry you had to go through that too. I’m trying to validate my anger while seeing what I still do have left, time and the ability to make a different life, take some things back, firstly my power by not being afraid or ashamed anymore.

      thank you,
      take care,

  9. Pingback: I Don’t Need Time Travel To Establish My Worth | Proudly Sensitive

  10. What amazing thing to confront your family! It took strength and courage. I am not there yet with my family or my brother but reading stories like yours are encouraging that one day I will find the strength to do it! Looking forward to read more about your journey!

    • Thank you for reading GraySkyHippie. I’m sure you will find the strength to confront if that is what is best for you; I spent a long time building myself up before I was ready to confront my ex-family.

      take care,

  11. Sensitive Too says:

    Some of what you write makes me cry or feel like I’m going to throw up. Some of it resonates so deeply in my heart. Thank you for speaking out so truthfully, bravely, and strongly. Thank you for not mincing words. Thank you for sharing your truth with all of us and the world. When I remembered, one day, in between the intensely insane flashbacks that came in broken pieces (like my heart), I stood up to go call my dad on the phone and tell him I knew and confront him. I immediately fell to the ground, as my knees were like noodles. I found it so strange that my body was that terrified – that it responded to the hidden, and now not hidden, fears and terrors. Of course, he denied it and yelled angrily that I was an evil, vicious liar. Many years passed before we spoke again; more of the same. Next, I called my mother. I got a most unexpected response – anger at me, and she accused me of lying. I could not believe it for several minutes. She yelled and yelled about why didn’t I tell her sooner if it was true. I didn’t speak to her for almost a year. Years went by; my dad got sober. When I went to my mom’s (she believed me and called to apologize later) with a baby and young son during and after my divorce, my divorced father could not look me in the face. He literally could not look at me; I know it was his shame. He made his indirect AA amends, and that is as close to a direct admission as I will probably ever get from him. I have talked to him several times to ask for a private admission, but he cannot or will do it. He told me though that he would never ever call me a liar – unless they were dragging him away in handcuffs.

    • Thanks so much, Sensitive Too! I really appreciate your lovely feedback, and I’m glad my blog resonates with you. My mother often turned things back on me, as well–dredging up a self-righteous anger to build a straw man and prove that it was really my fault when she did something wrong. It’s so creepy. I’m glad your mother apologized later on. It is shocking, but also an affirmation, how deeply our bodies respond to that fear, and the memories that it held inside us for so long. And I’m glad your father was too ashamed to look at you when his lies dried up, that’s how it should be, he should be sorry and the one afraid now.

      take care,

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