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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Big, Scary Family Issues (WARNING: Long Post!)

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Author Topic: Big, Scary Family Issues (WARNING: Long Post!)
Mandy08
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Hi everyone!

I couldn't get onto my old account for this site for some reason, so now i will be using this one. It doesn't really matter, since I don't post here very much.

Anyway. ..

Since I posted here last (which was over a year ago), I was living with my grandparents, father, and sister in the same household. My boyfriend (who I met at summer camp) just happened to move right across the street from my house (which I was delighted to learn after we spent a lot of time together at a college tour!).

My grandparents are very conservative, overprotective (I am rather small for my age of nineteen years as well as visually impaired, so their attitudes got REALLY magnified) people, and they didn't like my boyfriend the moment they met him. They do not like him because he has long hair, because he doesn't share a good deal of their values and political views, and because he doesn't give me the "fragile princess" treatment. They have accused him of being "depressed", which is not true, and are uncomfortable with his ADHD. And those were just a few of the untrue assumptions they made about him.

In addition, both of my grandparents gave me the "He's Only After Your Body!" Lecture, when my boyfriend displays better self-control than any other guy his age I know. He has always been very kind to me and always stopped doing something when I asked. My grandfather even insulted my intelligence, which really PISSED me OFF, to try to get me to stop hanging out with him by telling me that "He's manipulating you!" Um, excuse me, but being the "blind girl" since kindergarten, I have gotten quite good at recognizing manipulation from peers and adults. Hm, who's doing the manipulating here?

So my boyfriend and I went on to have a lovely relationship despite my grandparents' disagreements. I spent a lot of time hanging out at his house, which my grandparents didn't like very much. They would tell me what boundaries to set for my relationship, had to make all the boundaries, and keep all of the boundaries in check. In addition, they would tell me what forms of intimacy I should and shouldn't do. The topic of virginity was often pressed on me. They even got upset over my boyfriend and I sitting next to each other on the sofa with my head resting on his shoulder and his arm holding me!

I hated that my grandparents would tell me that I wouldn't be physically attracted to anybody because I can't see as well as normal persons can. They would tell me how they wanted me to have a husband that would take care of me and how it would be hard for most guys to have a relationship with me because I wouldn't want to be intimate with them.

And yet they would make me feel extremely guilty about every single person I had a crush on. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me and it wasn't supposed to be that way. I was constantly accused of being "too close" with my boyfriend, even though our affection is very private and mild. I also got constantly accused of "leading him on," when I wasn't doing so.

After I started hanging out with my boyfriend, a lot of conflicts between

my grandparents and me started to arise.

What really bothered me was that my grandparents wouldn't actually talk to me about sex. They told me that they would "teach' me about sex after I had been married. My grandmother wouldn't talk to me about my period, but she dutifully kept track of it on the family calendar for the entire world to see. Despite how calmly and politely I disagreed with her or asked her to stop because I can keep track of my own period, she wouldn't. And when I first wanted to use tampons, my grandmother didn't want me to use them because she was afraid that they would affect my virginity. They would only tell me how bad premarital sex was (despite the fact that my grandmother got pregnant with my oldest aunt at age fifteen) bad, go on and on about how all relationships between young adults led to abuse, and how that a "good" guy wouldn't want me if I wasn't a virgin.

As well as not talking to me about sex, my grandparents gave me very little privacy. A seventeen-year-old young woman shouldn't have to ask her grandparents to knock on her door before entering, nor should she be threatened with literally having her bedroom door being taken off its hinges. I got my grandparents to knock on my door eventually, but i ALWAYS had to allow them entry. So basically a knock on my bedroom door became a 1-5 second warning. My grandmother also insisted on picking out my clothing for me, which was extremely uncomfortable because she tried to dress me like a ten-year-old and always got clothes that were way too big. I literally felt like a caged animal. I swear that living with my grandparents was like being constantly grounded because I was lucky to visit my friends' houses every two or three months and I had a 4:00 curfew on WEEKENDS. I wasn't even allowed to call and talk to my boyfriend over the phone because that's what the "slutty" girls did.

Besides lack of privacy, I had to deal with some rather creepy behavior from my grandfather. I remember when I was about twelve I just finished taking a bath, walked out to the living room with a towel wrapped around me because I was curious what he was watching on TV. I don't think it's appropriate for a parental figure to tell their (grand)daughter that "she is very hot" when she is complaining about the temperature of the room. He would also do things like put his hands into the pockets of my pants/jeans and touch my bum and (one one occasion) my breasts. It scared me so much because I thought he was the one relative that I could talk to anything about and trust. He had been doing these things from the time I moved in until I left that household.

When I was in eighth grade, I talked to a teacher about my grandfather's creepy behavior. She was very kind and calm about it and showed me how to be polite, yet assertive when asking him to stop. I did just as my teacher said, but my grandfather wouldn't stop. He would tell me that I "didn't want to show affection", that I was "blocking out love", and that I had "hurt his feelings."

The sad thing about this is that every time I would be assertive and tell my grandfather that I didn't like being touched that way, I would be the one to be blamed and punished. He even groped me right in front of my grandmother. Instead of taking my side or standing up for me when he lashed out, my grandmother would ask me to apologize for "hurting his feelings" and that I was supposed to let him do that. They never took into account how I felt about it or asked me if I liked it or not.

And when he knocked on my bedroom door, he would ignore me telling him that I didn't want to see anyone or my lack of response altogether. This happened especially when I was getting dressed/masturbating/napping. He has walked in on me with no/little clothing on on several instances, none of which did he apologize to me for. He would just stare for a few seconds and then close the door.

I also told a councellor my senior year of high school. When my grandmother came to pick me up from camp (Upward Bound) for the weekend, she got on my case because the councellor I had talked to the week before had called Child Protection Services and told me that it was my fault if my grandfather lost his job. She told me to tell CPS that "there was nothing wrong" when they came to visit our house. The CPS lady came, and I told her what I had been told to because I was afraid of losing what little freedom I had. i also remember when the lady took my grandfather to talk that he spent about twenty minutes saying how "he would never hurt me" and "how much he cared" (I am a chronic eavesdropper).

After that, I refused to ride in the same vehicle alone with my grandfather or spend long periods of time in the same room with him. My family would also get mad at me because I wouldn't talk to my grandfather anymore and that I was missing out on learning about their morals.

My views and values had always differed from my grandparents, and I never told my side of a discussion because I didn't want to rock the boat or have my family tell me that I was wrong or that something was wrong with me and be punished.

I got stuck in a lot of depressive ruts when I was living with my grandparents. All they would do was indirectly tell me that the depression was my fault and that I had to get myself out of it. I couldn't talk to the about my depression. When I started dating my boyfriend, they would tell me that "he would make my depression worse" because "he is depressed too" and even got mad at him because he did his best to help me and comfort me when I had a really bad day (and having it be really helpful).

So when my boyfriend and I had been together for about a year and a half, I stayed the night at his house and haven't lived with my grandparents since. I remember the last time I spent the night at my grandparents' house I had a horrible nightmare about my grandfather wanting to rape me and then waking up in a cold sweat with a very powerful gut feeling that I wasn't safe living there anymore. So I moved in with my boyfriend and his parents, who didn't have a problem with me being there at all. I found it very insulting when my grandmother called me and the first question was about my morals/virginity and what my bf's mother thought of it. No questions about me, the person. [Frown] It was really hard on my boyfriend, his parents, and me financially, but we enjoyed each other's company. I am very good friends with my bf's parents, who love me as their own daughter and I think I love them just as much. They are very supportive of me becoming an independent person and give me very wise advice. The four of us have all been through hell together, and we share a very strong bond.

Since my grandparents wouldn't allow me control over my own SSI (even though I am a legal adult), i had to visit them about once a month to discuss it. It was always very uncomfortable for me. They never made any remarks about me or my boyfriend to my face, but I know them well and that they would talk about it when I wasn't there.

My grandfather refused to talk to me directly. Rather, if he mentioned me, he would talk to my grandmother/dad about me as if I weren't there. He would criticize my choice of "shacking up" with my boyfriend, not "having sex the RIGHT way/within marriage," and how "improper and unladylike" I was. I have never felt so insulted in my own life. I completely lost my composure, which almost never happens, and I started to cry and yell how I felt. It felt like I wasn't saying anything at all because they didn't react to me in the slightest. They just pretended that it wasn't happening.

After I had that outburst, my grandfather ostracized me completely. He won't look at me at all and I haven't spoken to him for nearly one year now. This doesn't bother me a lot; in fact, I feel better now that he isn't talking to me. Whenever I get near him though, I get an extremely angry vibe from him and I'd much rather be caught in a flash flood or be chased by a rabid dog than be around him.

I have constant nightmares about my grandfather so much now that I am afraid of going to sleep. Now matter what I do or say in my dream, he won't leave me alone. [Frown] I'm so afraid of sleeping alone. My boyfriend helps me feel very safe and talks to me about my dreams, but he can only do so much.

My boyfriend and I now live in our own house, which is absolutely wonderful. But the nightmares keep coming back.

My grandmother still talks to me and either is or pretends to be cheerful when she does. I don't feel comfortable with talking to her, though, nor do i really want to. She has been very persistent with communicating with me to the point where it is pretty much one-sided. Everytime I talk to her on the phone, she's the one that always calls. I just don't like talking to a person who my boyfriend and his parents have seen with a pair of binoculars watching our windows constantly or someone who is so hypocritical and just plain irritating. I was really bothered when my grandmother had sent me a friend request on Facebook. It was extremely difficult for me to resist the temptation to block her.

I'm just not sure how to handle my relationship with my grandparents. The really deep gut feeling tells me to leave them, while another part of me says it isn't right. I just wish my grandparents would take the time to actually get to know my boyfriend before they judge him because he really is an amazing person and I wish they would listen to and respect my point of view rather than dismiss it as wrong. I also want to find a way to deal with my grandfather nightmares.

My younger sister has told me about my grandparents' conversations about me. Apparently, they're expecting me to "come crawling back to them," which I have no intention of doing whatsoever. I want to show them that I a strong person and that I don't need someone to take care of me. I want them to see me for who I really am, rather than the image that they have created for themselves. It bothers that my grandparents see me more as a stereotype (they might not be aware of it), rather than a person.

And why on earth would any mother figure track her (grand)daughter's period? I can see maybe for the first month or two to teach her, but to constantly watch it (she didn't even ask, she'd just watch for tampons/pads in the trash can)?

I just don't know what to do. I'm sorry the post is so long, but my counsellor won't answer her phone and I would like some advice.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Mandy

Posts: 29 | From: Over the Hills and Far Away | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jill2000Plus
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If your grandfather molested you and your grandmother didn't do anything to protect you and actively endorsed his behaviour, then you have nothing to feel guilty about in completely cutting off tied with them, I'm not saying that's what you have to/should do as it is up to you but I really don't think you have anything to feel guilty about. And I'm sure they are aware they are exploiting your disability, sometimes disabled individuals will keep quiet about abuse because they think they owe their parents/carers for helping with their needs, but this is not true, and I'm sure the hefty dose of misogyny isn't helping either.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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atm1
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Mandy, I'm sorry you had to go through all of this.

You mention that you have a counselor? That's great, because the first thing I'd normally suggest is starting therapy. Does your counselor specialize in dealing with sexual abuse survivors? If not, you might also want to consider going to someone who does.

I'd like to make it clear that, from the way that you've described things, it is very clear to me that both of your grandparents have abused you. You may or may not have called it abuse, directly, but your grandfather sexually abused you with the touching, and your grandmother was a willing participant in that, as well as inflicting emotional abuse.

Your nightmares are a very normal response to that type of abuse. Do you discuss them with your counselor? If not, I'd suggest it. It may take quite a while for them to go away, but if you actively work on dealing with the abuse, they will get less frequent with time.

Honestly, I'd recommend that you simply stop talking to your grandmother for a while. Blocking her on facebook seems like a pretty darn good idea. Clearly, this woman is not prepared nor willing to have a respectful, adult relationship with you. You do not have any obligation to maintain a relationship with someone who has abused you, know matter what the familial relationship is.

I'm also glad to hear that your boyfriend and his family have been so supportive of you. Having people you can trust can really help in dealing with past abuse.

Are there other specific questions you have or needs you want addressed?

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Mandy08
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Thank you for replying! I greatly appreciate it. I really feel that taking that step is very important. I've just been so hesitant because I'm so unsure of my grandparents' emotions on this. They constantly beg me to call them (my grandmother does, anyway) and ask me about my life. I want to tell them to leave me alone, but I'm not exactly sure how to do so in a polite, yet assertive way.

Do you know if I can block someone on Facebook without them knowing? When I first got the friend request, I originally intended to block her, but when I discussed the issue with my boyfriend, he encouraged me not to block her. I understand that he cares about me and wants me to have a harmonious relationship with my blood relatives, but having her unblocked like that just feels like I'm giving her permission to bother me even more.

I feel it is very important to to be kind to people. One of the main methods that I've used with people who haven't been so kind to me is to basically crush them with kindness, if you know what I mean. This doesn't seem to be working with my grandparents, though. They seem to be having a very difficult time with letting me go, if that's what you want to call it.

I also concerned with having them visiting my house. I don't want to have them nitpicking me about my language (I swear when I'm angry) or how I eat (I don't eat like a proper lady, according to them). I also don't want them in my safe place.

The reason I am so worried about them visiting my house is because when I moved, I left a very important piece of adaptive technology behind. I really need it for college and they don't get those sorts of things for you through my state. I specifically don't want to have my grandfather at my house for the reasons I posted above. I also don't want to be rude to them because being intentionally rude might just make them bother me more.

What should I do? I need that technology by Winter Quarter (starts in Jan.).

And no, my counselor doesn't focus on sexual abuse. I've mentioned it to her before, but I haven't gotten the chance to mention my nightmares to her. And thank you for suggesting a specialist. I will have to look into that. I hope that I can find one that takes my state's health care plan, as I have no other medical insurance.

Thanks again!

Sincerely,
Mandy

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marigold
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oh... you shouldn't care that much about their feelings now - after all, they didn't care about your ones for a long time. You deserve better.

Can I recommend you some books? There is a classical series about strategies people can "play", how they can manipulate or do bad things with "love" even without realizing the real logc of their acts - it's Eric Berne's Games people play and What do you say after you say hello. The first one is a bit too simple in intself, I got convinced about the meaningfulness of his ideas after the second book. These doesn't offer a general theory on psychology, just a point of view, but they can be helpful. And they describe all kinds of situations, where your "crushing with kindness" strategy doesn't work at all, with an explanation of why that can't work.

they are both from the... sixties? seventies? , bestsellers, so you can probably get them free from a library/internet.

If you feel hard to repress the urge to block your grandmother on facebook... why do you repress it? If the problem is, that you can't get the piece of adaptive technology otherwise, couldn't your sister bring it in your boyfriend's house?

Of course if I were you, then I would be suffering of the consequences of the abuses too (and I don't konw if I would be able to have a boyfriend at all), but in a more conversational tone, "if I was you", I would be parading in the front of the house with a fake pregnant belly stuffed with a little pillow or something. If your grandmother is spying on you, let's make her spying fruitful [Big Grin] It's haloween anyway... (i guess, in my continent it realy isn't)

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Posts: 68 | From: slovakia | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
marigold
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or you could trick or threat them in thins pregnant teen costume, hehe... Even if these things aren't practical for now, maybe you could just think about them as a phantasy exercise... for enlarging the area of thinkable things.

Do you ever think about this kind of rude things? Or it's just guilt and blaming yourself? Do you have an inner Bart Simson?

Maybe it's not useful and rational (and morally good) to scare old people who won't change anyway, even if they had done bad things... it's hard to decide, who's to blame for what, because people can take decisions only inside their belief structures... but on the other hand, if you want to protect yourself, I think that a healthy dosis of WANTING to be rude sometimes could be useful, and you can dilute that/make strategical choices/decide to be generous later.

I hope you can understand what I am trying to say... it's not about who's good and who's bad, human beings are too complex (or too limited in their own minds) for that, but identifying always with the other's point of view, even if they are abusing you, is dangerous. So a bit of rudeness, a basic energy you can use for self-defense is maybe necessary.

Something similar:

"[speaking about structural violence] Interestingly, it was Adam Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (XXX), who first observed the phenomenon we now refer to as “compassion fatigue”. Human beings, he proposed, are normally inclined not only to imaginatively identify with their fellows, but as a result, to spontaneously feel one another’s joys and sorrows.

The poor, however, are so consistently miserable that otherwise sympathetic observers face a tacit choice between being entirely overwhelmed, or simply blotting out their existence.

The result is that while those on the bottom of a social ladder spend a great deal of time imagining the perspectives of, and actually caring about, those on the top, it almost never happens the other way around.

Whether one is dealing with masters and servants, men and women, employers and employees, rich and poor, structural inequality—what I’ve been calling structural violence—invariably creates highly lopsided structures of the imagination.

Since I think Smith was right to observe that imagination tends to bring with it sympathy: the result is that victims of structural violence tend to care about its beneficiaries far more than those beneficiaries care about them. This might well be, after the violence itself, the single most powerful force preserving such relations."

David Graeber, anthrolopogist, formerly professor at Yale, in "Beyond Power/Knowledge
an exploration of the relation of power, ignorance and stupidity"

sorry if I've misunderstood what happens in your mind, i'm just a stranger on the internet

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atm1
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Marigold, it's generally not appropriate to make suggestions like this:

quote:
Of course if I were you, then I would be suffering of the consequences of the abuses too (and I don't konw if I would be able to have a boyfriend at all), but in a more conversational tone, "if I was you", I would be parading in the front of the house with a fake pregnant belly stuffed with a little pillow or something. If your grandmother is spying on you, let's make her spying fruitful [Big Grin] It's haloween anyway... (i guess, in my continent it realy isn't)
.

Too, you have a history of making inappropriate assumptions about other users, so I encourage you to not make those, and give more neutral advice. We have also had to delete your responses in the past due to offensive othering. So consider this a warning to check your assumptions. Continuing to make the boards an uncomfortable/unsafe space for other users will result in your posting privileges being revoked.


Now, Mandy, I'd encourage going to your grandparents house with a support person (ie your boyfriend or another one of his family members) to retrieve the technology you need. Do you still have a key? if so, I'd encourage you to go when they are not home, simply take it, and go. If not, then arrange a time when you'll only have to see your grandmother. I'd also encourage you to get important documents from them (such as your birth certificate, social security card), if you don't have them.

It just really sounds to me like the only way to get them to leave you alone is to make it very explicit that you do not want contact. It sounds like dancing around the bush will just make her force her way into your life even more.

I would write them a letter (if you write a letter, keep a copy) or email making it clear that you do not wish to have them in your new home, and that this is because of the way your grandfather has inappropriately touched you. Why I'm suggesting this is that if things go really badly, you'll have grounds for restraining order against them. Do they have the address? If not, I would not tell them.

A firm letter can start out with a description of how you feel about their actions and why they make you so uncomfortable. You can say that, because of all of those reasons, you do not want to talk to them right now. Again, I think, with the way that they have totally disrespected your boundaries in the past, they will not respect your boundaries now unless you are quite forceful and firm. They probably will call you rude *no matter how you approach this*, because they don't think that you have a right to your own life.

I also think that you should make it clear to your boyfriend that these people abused you, and that you have no responsibility to be nice to them. I've worked with numerous people who were molested as children by family members, and so I know that it is very, very difficult to take a stand and say you don't want contact. It can be very painful when other people blame you for "tearing the family apart." The best come back to this is "Well, so and so tore the family apart when the molested me. Blame him." While some people choose to continue relationships with their abusers, many find cutting them off to be really liberating and beneficial.

As for facebook, no one gets a notification that they've been blocked. If they ask you about it, you can always say that there was drama with friends on your facebook and so you deleted it. It doesn't have to be a big deal.

So, what do you think about that advice? Is it something you feel like you can do? Or do you want to preserve contact with them?

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marigold
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ok, sorry... atm1, how could I edit some of my past posts? actually I would like to change this one too, maybe with leaving some comment on that your citation was correct. there are some posts "edited by user", that I can't find.

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orca
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There's a limited timeframe in which a user can edit their post. If you want, you can post here the edits and I or one of the other volunteers can go back and replace the old one with the new (just for this post, though). But either way, you can just make a conscious effort from here on out to be mindful of what you write. It often helps to step away for a bit before adding a reply and look at what you've written again an hour or so later to see if it's really appropriate. Now, if you want to continue this discussion any further, it's best to use the "Contact Us" feature at the bottom of the board so Mandy can have her thread back.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Mandy08
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marigold:

Thank you for the suggested reading and the advice. I am a major bookworm, so I'll have to look into getting those titles. They do sound very interesting.

I've also gotten a recommendation for a book called Invisible Girls (can't remember the author's name right now).

atm1:

Thank you for the advice on writing a letter. I've been going over whether I should write one to my grandparents or not. I think that I can certainly handle writing a letter rather than confronting them verbally. When I get assertive/mad at them, it doesn't seem to have any effect on them whatsoever.

Okay, I missed one detail (I was really tired when I went on here last time), although you both helped me with finding a solution.

I don't live with my boyfriend's family across the street from my grandparents. My boyfriend have moved into our own house in a city two hours away. My BF's parents still live in the same house.

With the piece of technology, I'll contact BF's parents and ask them to bring it to me if they decide to visit us for Turkey Day.

Or if I visit BF's parents for Turkey Day, I'll just make sure my grandfather is at work or no one is home and get my technology (maybe leaving a note/letter to replace it).

Thank you both for helping me to assert to myself that I am not to blame. I will remind myself of this and tell it to my grandparents if they decide to put blame on me. Not to mention my family's already pretty broken; it's just breaking into even smaller pieces now! My mother was extremely verbally abusive toward both my father and me.

I've been very, very tempted to pull rude pranks on them, but I've been keeping Bart Simpson at bay. I have always been a natural smart @$$, I've just been hiding it. It's the whole thing of my grandfather was literally putting his hands where they didn't belong, and then accusing my BF of "groping" me by tickling me on the stomach and the bottoms of my feet. Got Hypocrite?

I respect my boyfriend and his parents very much. They have been kind and generous to me when others did not. They are very respective of my opinions and choices and are very wise, but I really think that it is best for me to lose contact with them. It might not be for long, or it might be for the rest of my life, but I think that not contacting them is the best thing I can do for myself. I am also blocking her on Facebook as i write this.

On my most recent trip to Planned Parenthood, I told them about how my grandfather abused me and they said that I could still call CPS and tell them despite the fact that I am no longer a minor. This has been extremely tempting, as I can't stand for being forced to lie to them. In fact, not long after I moved out, CPS was called on them a second time by my sister's school. My grandparents never told me why, though. Hmm.

So I am worried about my sister. She is 4.5 years my junior and is just coming into high school. I didn't observe nearly as much inappropriate behavior from my grandfather towards her. I've told her how I think the way he touched me was creepy, and I asked her if he touched her like that. She told me no, but I don't know whether to believe her or not.

Why would someone choose to be abusive to one person and not the other? It's happened with both my mother and my grandparents (well, with my sister, my grandparents are repressive toward her, but not nearly as much as me).

I also don't know how my father fits into this equation. He may live with my grandparents, but he never said anything about what my grandfather did to me. All he does is echo their opinions about my boyfriend with far less enthusiasm. I don't think that he is very happy with living with them. Sometimes I think he doesn't want to express how he feels about things to my grandparents.

He and I have never been what you could call close, but he seems much more accepting of me. And even though he doesn't talk to my boyfriend that much, he seems much nicer and more accepting of him than either of my grandparents. Yes, he put on the overprotective father face, but I think he grew to accept my boyfriend. He used to wave to him while he was driving by in his jeep when my boyfriend was walking to school and he also offered him a ride home on snowy days.

I don't know what to do about my relationship with him. I don't know what he'll do or how he'll react when my grandparents get my letter.

While my dad acted like the overprotective father, I think my grandfather reacts to my BF much more like a very jealous ex-boyfriend. Do you know what I mean? He always gets angry whenever my BF gets mentioned in conversation and he insults him when he thinks my BF and I aren't looking. Kind of like a jealous ex-boyfriend on an elementary school playground. The thought makes me shudder.

Thanks again! All of your advice has been very helpful. And since I posted here, my nightmares haven't been nearly as bad!

Sincerely,
Mandy

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Mandy08
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Sorry about the double-post, but now I'm extremely concerned about my younger sister. I was talking to her the other day, when she told me that my grandparents are keeping her in the house all the time. She isn't even allowed to visit her friends now. She can't hang out with anyone of the other sex at all. She can't even invite her male friends to a supervised birthday party.

She has now started skipping class. She told me that she just feels so cooped up all the time that she skips. I am not happy with this AT ALL for the reason that she is stuck in ghe house and because she is skipping class.

My grandparents are even seriously considering transferring her to a different school. She has no friends other than the ones at her school and I am worried that she is being isolated WAY TOO much. She has always been more visibly rebellious against my grandparents, and I know that this isolation is just going to make things worse.

My sister has already attempted suicide when she was in 8th grade, and I don't want it to happen again. She is still seeing a counselor, but I don't think she can adequately express herself because the sessions are supervised by one of my grandparents.

I don't know what advice to give my sister on how to live with my grandparents. Living with them was very difficult for me and I think the only reason why I survived was because I am so quiet. It's so hard to react to these situations when you are two hours away with no means of transportation othe than having to pay big bucks for a Greyhound Bus ticket.

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Heather
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Is your sister comfortable giving you the name of her counselor? If she is, YOU could call in and give that person this information yourself, as well as information on your life living with your grandparents. That strikes me as the best approach you could take right now with this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Mandy08
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Thanks, Heather. That didn't even cross my mind, probably because I thought there were some legality issues. The next time I talk to my sister, I'll ask her. She might be comfortable with it, she might not. If I do ask her, what should I tell her?
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Heather
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There's nothing legal about you sharing information with the counselor to be a barrier. The legal issue is a confidentiality one where the counselor can't share what your sister has said in confidence to her with you.

What should you tell... the counselor?

If that's what you mean, I'd say all you have said here, and then also share (per your comfort level) information you feel is pertinent about what your life was like with them. If you feel comfortable doing so, I'd certainly suggest that telling them about the sexual abuse would be very important for them to know.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Mandy08
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Oops, miscommunication here.

I meant what should I tell my sister. Sorry abou that.

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Heather
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Can you simply say you're concerned about her, unhappy she's having to live the way she is, and want to do something about it? And also make clear that you want to talk to the counselor in case she can't, but also b/c you think your own experiences with them is information the counselor should have that might help her?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Mandy08
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Yes, I'm pretty sure I can do that. [Smile] I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing anything. Thank you very much, Heather!
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moonlight bouncing off water
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Perhaps you should tell CPS that you are concerned about your sister and see if it is possible to have them remove her from your grandparents' household. Now I don't know the extent of the situation or the legality of it, or how you feel, but that is my advice.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Mandy08
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Thank you, moonlight, i have been considering and researching the whole CPS situation. I just don't think she can handle living with my grandparents because they are only being more restrictive. I do not want her to get suicidally depressed.

The staff at my local Planned Parenthood strongly advised me to do so as well and said that I could indeed call CPS. I have yet to get my sister's counselor's name and phone number as I haven't talked to her about that yet.

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