T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 79774
posted 11-20-2011 03:54 PM
I know I've asked a lot recently, but a different situation has come up.
I haven't seen my aunt, my mother's sister, in a very long time. Seven years, maybe more. She and my mother aren't all that close now, haven't seen each other in five years, don't have contact for months. My mother finally informed my aunt that she (mother) has a serious health condition, and my aunt wants to come to see my mother for the day. My aunt's son abused me when I was a child and he a teenager. Neither I nor either of my parents have or want any contact with him. My mother told my aunt some years ago, to try to explain why we would not go to her house (he was living there). I don't know exactly what my mother told my aunt, or what my aunt thinks about it. It's never been discussed again, and she has never mentioned it to me. We exchange Christmas cards and have spoken on the phone once or twice a year. I haven't really known what to do about her. I have nothing against her, and she certainly isn't responsible for what her son did. I also didn't feel especially close to her. I find it difficult to know what to do because naturally, for her, her son is an important part of her life, and I definitely don't want to hear about him. She's never mentioned him to me, but then, she and I haven't talked much. I don't want to bring it up explicitly with her for several reasons: I don't want to talk about it, and my mother said she asked my mother lots of questions and wouldn't let up, and I don't want her asking me. I also don't want her to feel bad and cause her pain, because it's not her fault, and I don't envy her position at all. She always seemed fond of me and wanted to stay in touch with me. I won't give her my phone number or my address because her son lives in her house, and I don't want him to have access to it... but I don't want to tell her that, because I don't want to upset her, and I don't want her to argue with me. I don't know whether I want to go see my aunt when she visits my mother. My mother and I are in the same town, so it would be easy to do, and likely seem like something's obviously up if I don't. She takes things very personally and is very easily offended. I suppose I also have the associations of her being his mother, and that's not very easy for me. I suppose I've found it easier to move on without anyone (other than parents) who "counts" as "family" to me. I also don't have any other relations who I personally know, though there are people I'm related to. I wonder if I should try to keep some kind of a connection to someone who I previously had a connection to. It seems sad that we were closer previously, and that's been broken because of someone else's actions. Then again, any relationship with someone on my mother's side of the family is automatically stressful, just because of how they are because of what they grew up in. I really don't know what I want to do.
Member # 25425
posted 11-21-2011 11:50 AM
If I understand correctly, your mother is aware of what happened and has previously talked to your aunt about it?
In that case, do you think you can ask your mother to act as a mediator again, and have her speak to your aunt and let her know that you would like to meet with her, but do not discuss your cousin? That way you can spend some time with her without having to worry that you will have to discuss the subject of your abuser. Mind, you always have the option of not going to see her. Under the circumstances, that is more than valid, and you do not have to expose yourself to being confronted with your abuser simply for the sake of connecting with a relative. Especially if you have had little contact all this time and aren't really very close at all.
Member # 79774
posted 11-21-2011 04:56 PM
You have that correct. But - I don't think I want to put anything else on my mother. She's seriously unwell, and will find my aunt's visit a bit stressful just for herself.
My aunt and I were somewhat close before her son's abuse of me got in the way. Then I didn't get to see her any more, and I sort of opted out of a relationship with her because I didn't know how to deal with it, and I still don't.
Member # 49582
posted 11-24-2011 07:49 AM
This sounds like a really difficult spot you're in, Redskies.
My best advice here would be to only go if you, yourself, really want to and feel up to it - not because your aunt will be offended or hurt. She doesn't really have the right to say how you do your own self-care around your healing, or to take those methods of healing personally. Avoiding something that may cause us trauma and pain can be an essential part of our survival. If you decided that you really, really wanted to go for yourself - one option would be to pop in and say hello, only for a second; that way she won't have too much chance to mention anything that might trigger you. Honestly, not wanting to be around triggers is the most understandable thing in the world, and it would be rather selfish for you aunt to put her feelings about connecting with her sister's child above your healing. [ 11-24-2011, 07:51 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]
Member # 79774
posted 12-02-2011 05:41 PM
Thank you for both of your replies. They really helped reflect some thoughts around for me and it became clear to me that in an ideal world I would like to see my aunt and have a relationship with her again, and that the only reason that that isn't happening is because of what the abuser did. I definitely don't want that, I don't accept that. It was understandable that I wouldn't go out of my way to do something that was hard for me, but when she was coming to town, it felt like running away, and I refuse to do that from the abuser. It also helped me realise that I could afford to lose this relationship - that is, I could try, take the risk of it going really badly and ending things for good.
She came to town today, and I went round for a while. It was really nice to see her, she seemed really happy to see me. It went really well. I suspect she kind of knows the situation, as we ask about her partner and she talks about him, but never her son. I think I'd like to resume some kind of relationship with her. That feels like another piece of freedom from what someone else did to me. Thank you for bouncing thoughts around with me.