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My family has fallen apart

Community Member

Hi guys.

I don't really know why I'm on this forum - I don't know if anyone will reply or what I'm going to gain from posting here but I googled 'what to do when your family falls apart' and this was the first link, so I decided to join you guys.

Essentially, my Dad has been accused by my sister (who has a husband and 4 kids with 1 on the way) of sexually assaulting her multiple times during childhood, in addition to doing so with his "best friend' who used to visit our family home every Sunday while we were at church with Mum. I have 8 siblings and another sister claimed (before the assault claim came out) that this same friend had inappropriately groped her while she was alone at home once and then deflected attention to the whereabouts of my Dad when she retaliated. This sister told our whole family in an attempt to get my parents attention about it and have him removed from the family home but my Dad claims he is 'stupid' and 'ignorant' and does it all the time. As far as I'm aware, he's been fired from every job for near-miss sexual assault of children. My sister (with the 5 children) claims they are both guilty and my Mum is complicit.

Both men have denied all claims and still remain friends. My whole family has fallen apart about 5 months ago and my Mum has decided to leave my Dad because couples therapy changed very little of his narcissistic ways in their relationship. She doesn't know what to believe, she is a good woman, but she is ignorant at times and I think she's just shocked in this situation and needs space.

Essentially I feel guilty knowing they are ultimately alone now in their 60's with no children who contact them and ultimately no real family left except their own flesh and blood.

As you can imagine, I feel hopeless and my depression has taken an all-time low. I am incapable of working my day job and studying psychology feels like a farse at this point in time. I'm so close to provisional registration but not being able to meet my financial needs because of the stress I feel from everything makes me wonder whether I should give up altogether. I really need to talk about this/have someone listen to the details of my thoughts and my therapist isn't enough for me in the cold dark nights and dreary days that seem to keep passing me by.

I apologise if anyone I actually know has had to read this - I feel like I just need to talk to people and I can't talk to my loved ones about it anymore without feeling like it's a burden for them.

Thanks guys.

5 Replies 5

Hi tabitha_,

That sounds incredibly difficult, we’re so sorry to hear you’re going through it right now. Please know that the forums and our lovely community are here for you, and it’s really good that you could share this here.

There's no need to apologise for sharing this, we think it's an amazing and powerful thing to do. We can hear you're not sure who to talk to about this, so please know that the Beyond Blue helpline is here for you on 1300 22 4636, or via our webchat or email here. It can make a real difference having someone to talk to especially in moments of distress. 

You could also talk to Blue Knot about this on 1300 657 380, every day between 9-5 (AEST). Their counsellors are experienced in working with people who have experienced complex trauma. They also have some resources on their website which could be useful to visit, particularly the pages on Survivors Self Care

Thank you again for your courage and strength in sharing your story. It might take some time for our kind community to spot your post, but we’re sure they will soon be here to offer their support and understanding.  

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Hi, welcome

Firstly on the topic of your education, life experiences is a major asset in regards to being a peer advisor on these forums. Hence it would be a real shame to throw away a near completed career due to one of those experiences albeit a traumatic one.

"My family has fallen apart". A sad headline and at your age your backbone of your life has been your family. When news breaks from a few sources of child abuse by family members or friends (and supporters of their actions) it would be crushing because trust has been broken. All I can say further is what I would do in your situation and suggest a alternative focus for the future.

I'd gather all information and if I was convinced the actions of these people did occur, I'd have to be brave and repaint my future on how my family will be. If you strive for anything in life you must be committed to reap the harvest of your effort. Sure, it would be a long term solution but it would protect you own family that you have declared "family" ...trusted blood relatives and new family friends.

Eg. I chose to become estranged from my mother that was disruptive, manipulative and cruel even ruining my 1st wedding and trying to ruin the 2nd. It was heart breaking. Following that decision I knew of a family friend that was loving and trustworthy. She has become my new "mother figure" and enjoys my poetry I send to her. They have a son they dont see as he entered the crime world many years ago.

I also have a niece that is a religious cult leader. Her mother, my sister cant have a relationship with her for obvious reasons. However my daughter and my sisters 2 adult daughters have bonded to become a close knit family that wont tolerate criticism etc. Our high quality little family has grown to include many cousins and we are truly happy we eradicated the destructive side.

To sum up, you can carve out a real family and the earlier the better. Sure, listen to those that carry out their own right to choose what family is, their communication with their parents etc that you have pushed out, listen and observe and keep making your own choices. If you feel your mother is regretful then you make the choice if you want her in your life or keep building your trusted family. This is in a metaphor below




Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tabitha

Welcome to the bb forum.

I am so sorry that you find yourself in the midst of such a complex and distressing family situation. Hugs to you.

I am not a MH professional, just a mum caring for a young adult daughter with a MH condition, but I can certainly feel your pain and understand your conflicted emotions towards your mum and dad. You are on the right path to be seeking professional MH support and also reaching out for community support.

I understand you want to finish your course. It’s important. I want you to finish, too. But I also wonder if it might help to take some pressure off yourself and try to first get yourself in the best position for success.

This might mean putting your health first right now. It’s okay if it takes a little longer to finish than you originally planned.

I’m not suggesting you give up, never. Just providing a gentle reminder that you need time to process the recent revelations, following family breakdown and work on your own healing.

Perhaps a short deferral is a reasonable middle ground? Is this possible?

Please post any time you feel the need. I know that this community is kind, caring and non-judgemental and that we will all try our best to support you.

Kind thoughts to you

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Tabiha, having to grow up with a father and his friend who take the opportunity to physically abuse you and your sister whenever it suits them, is certainly not any situation anybody would ant, and for your dad to say 'stupid' and 'ignorant' and does it all the time', is certainly not any remark that can be justified.

Your mum's decision to leave your dad is one that she has decided on doing, because at the moment she doesn't know who to trust and when this happens, people need their space to figure out what has been going on and who she can believe, but if this has happened to both you and your sister, then surely that's the proof.

As Summer Rose has suggested may be deferring your course is an option, because you can always go back to it at any stage and in those times when you may be alone, don't let these thoughts dominate your thinking, come and talk with us.

Best wishes.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tabitha,

Wow, I can imagine how shellshocked you must be at all these revelations, and torn between your love for your family and the thought that they may not be as they seem. Do you believe the allegations to be true? Ie are your two siblings fairly sound/stable? If so, I will say that your parents have made their bed with respect to being alone in their 60s and it is not your responsibility to bear the weight of that. I would also encourage you not to let your psychology studies suffer as a result. Psychology is such important work, to provide emotional support to those struggling with issues such as yours. But I understand how you must feel like you don’t have the emotional bandwidth for it at the moment. Are you able to defer for a semester rather than continue and potentially fail? I would also suggest that you make a booking to see a psychologist and chat through your situation and get an outside perspective.