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Stuck mentally and emotionally. Need to make a decision.

Community Member

I'm baffled as to what to do. It is my niece's graduation
from Primary School in two weeks. My sister sent me
an invite if I want to attend. I want to be there for my niece.
At the same time I'm in therapy over long term family
abuse. I'm struggling with guilt if I don't go.
I will send her a gift and card marking the occassion.
To turn up by myself to a big event with lots of people
will be hugely overwhelming for me and on top
of my mental health and well being will just be too much
on my heart and mind.

My sister attempts to make me feel guilty. Yet, she chooses
when I was able to see my niece and when I wasn't able too.
I still kept in touch with my niece as best I could.

I'm in a place where I'm trying to deal with unresolved
deep pain over their choices. The past abuse runs rampant
in my head when having to make these decisions.

I can't have this ongoing stuff in my head. It needs to go
as I'm already facing so many difficulties and challenges.

I have my therapist and other professional supports but no
friends or family. It's all just gone. It's hard on my own.
4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi again 2quik 🙂

Time for yourself remember. You are allowed to have boundaries. You are allowed to say no. It doesn't make you bad/weak/selfish for not attending. If family members are going to call you names for not attending, all the more reason to not satisfy their demands. You'll even feel more empowered when you give the answer you want to give.

Maybe you do want to be there for your niece, is there another way you can be there for her instead of attending the event? Give her a call on the day? Send her a text? Visit her afterwards to congratulate her achievement? You can be there for her in your own way that doesn't compromise your sanity.

Hope that helps xo

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear 2quik,

Welcome to Beyond Blue and well done for reaching out.

While I am certainly no professional, I have had my own experience of the whole "do I or do I not go ....." thing, also because of abuse by a member of my extended family. And I too had a number of arguments with my oldest sister about both the abuse (she did not seem to believe me) and about whether or not I should or could go to family events.

My suggestion is to do whatever you are most comfortable with doing, that doesn't put you at risk of further abuse or vulnerability.

I'd like to relay a little story; when I was 12 I told my Mum about the abuse inflicted upon me by my Uncle and she said that I never had to see him again. Then when I was 17 there was a family reunion of which my oldest sister said that if I didn't go to it, it would be the 'height of rudeness, and why couldn't I just rise above it?' ...... so I went. But within minutes of arriving there, my anxiety became so overwhelming that I couldn't stop vomiting once I got out of the car, so my other sister (the middle one, and the one that believed me and the one I was and still am closer to) took me straight back home. The next time I saw that Uncle was at my Nan's funeral and I 'outed' him as an abuser in front of everyone. Six months later he and my Aunty separated (I am fairly certain I was not the only one that he abused) and a few years after that he died.

My oldest sister and I are still not close, but I suspect that these days she may have actually come to believe that what I said about him was true ........ even though we never talk about it.

Bottom line; I have no regrets whatsoever about protecting myself from him, nor about 'outing' him at the funeral. It was not ideal, I know, but when is an 'ideal' time to out an abuser? Probably none.

When is an ideal time to protect yourself? Always! Just do the best you can with what you have for your niece now, and let the rest take care of itself when the time comes. If a gift and a card is the best you can do, then do that. After all, if your best friend came to you with this situation, wouldn't you say the same thing? Don't ever feel guilty for protecting yourself. I sure don't.

Anyway, I hope that helps at least a little. Feel free to let me know of what you decide to do.

Take care, I'll be thinking of you. xo

Hi MissBenthos's,

Thank you for your response and timely reminders. It's too complex to go into the past and that is where I am trying to leave it, right there. I made a decision after reading the responses. I emailed my sister and let her know that I am not going to be able to make it, however I will be buying my niece a very special gift and card to send to her for her graduation and to make such a special occasion. I told my sister that she can give it to her either before or after the graduation and I would leave it up to her.

I also said that I would be emailing my niece to let her know about the gift. I left it at that.

That is good enough for me. I wouldn't cope with attending and I know that. What breaks my heart is that they cannot see my loving heart or how much love I have and that really does hurt. I am in therapy. Out of all the pain I have endured in my life, this tops the cake for me. I'm not in a good place with deciding to deal with my past.

It did help me come to a decision though instead of floundering on it for ages which is what I would have done, so thank you.

Hi Soberlicious,

Thank you for welcoming me to Beyond Blue. I am sorry to hear of your experience regarding abuse from an extended family member (your uncle) I am not sure of your personal family dynamics and upbringing, mine was more than likely different. I never had any family to argue with about going or not going to events. Of course they were around, I just always did my own thing. I guess it was "expected" that I would just be there really. I always went along to events and things that were happening until a few years ago now. I stopped going to them. I had to for my own sake. I got to a point where I realised they were not going to change and the issue was not me. I didn't want to feel on edge all the time worrying if something was going to go wrong and how would I handle it, what would I do. I had no support to lean back on. It was just me always. Seeing the truth for what it is, is beyond any pain I have ever felt. Understanding and knowing I cannot be near them at all is beyond painful. I guess I was holding out some kind of hope for many things and that is gone now.

Anyhow, I will just waffle which I do not feel like doing. All I can say about your experience is the way you chose to do what was right for you, was right for you. You were the one that suffered under his hands and you had every right to choose what you wished to do about that. It is a common occurrence that when a family member hears something so horrific and and inexcusable they will go into denial and protection mode. It is very unfortunate and unfair for the victim to experience that. Their response does not justify the invalidation whatsoever, rather it is just a common occurrence that people cant handle a big truth at times and they are not able to cope with it. I understand what it is like. I have been there too.

IF a best friend came to me with the exact same issue it is hard to say what I would say cause I am literally putting myself in someone else's shoes and they may feel differently to me so it would depend what I would say to them.

A bit about my story. I had three family members. The fourth is my niece. All three abused me. That's hard to live with. No, I have not come to terms with it. All I know is where I am at now. I refuse to look at the future. I have no idea what that will be like. Now is utter baloney. My decision on what to do is above in my reply to Miss Bethanys's.

Thank you for your kindness and support. xo