How Do You Know Who To Move On From? And Does It Ever Become Easier?

I have made it out of an extremely abusive family. When I was younger, my father did not want a daughter, so he beat me, called me names, and tried to make me believe that I was nothing. My mom and my older brother, who was 2 years older, would often join in.

Fortunately for me, my father left my family for New Zealand when I was 13, and I refuse to keep in contact with him. Because of all that's happened, I have an order of protection against him! At 15, my mom went through her own break down. We moved around a lot; we were poor and often times did not have enough to eat. Over and over she tried to tell me that I was nothing, wouldn't amount to anything. But I worked full-time as a waitress through high school, gave my little brother food and what he needed, and left our country town in Florida to go to college in NYC.

It's hard. I'm so proud of myself, because as a 24 year old I have my own life in New York City, a city I love, am a Social Worker, and have filled my life with close friends, acquaintances, and some "normal" members of my mom's family.

However, I'm at a point now where I don't want to have some of my family members in my life because it is too painful. I don't see my mom in person, but our last phone call in January, she has not changed one bit and tried to make me feel bad about my boyfriend, who is black, even though we are black!

My "little" brother is grown; he is 22 and lives with the rest of my family now in Indiana. That's my baby; I call him on his cell phone, and he knows he can always call me if he needs anything.

My two questions are:
1. Is it wrong for me to just stop contacting family members if each time after I call them on the phone, I cry? I tell them why I am upset and get off the phone if they are disrespectful and are bad-mouthing me or someone else.

2. Does the pain of not having a family ever go away? I have two best friends who have become my "sisters," but sometimes I feel really alone. I had to make the decision to break up with my year-long boyfriend because our relationship was not working out, and I am devastated - about him, about not having a family at all. Does this pain ever go away?

Thanks for reading, and any perspective you have would help!
sasha0707 sasha0707
4 Responses May 12, 2012

Congrats on getting out and starting a life for yourself. That's amazing. It takes serious guts to do that. It's difficult to build a surrogate family when your own wasn't very good to you, but you still did it. I'd like to think that the pain of not having a "real" family goes away. Your girlfriends are your sisters. They're your family now. Family doesn't have to be through bloodlines. A family is a group of people who takes care of one another and who loves each other!

It is absolutely okay to cut ties with your family, especially one that treats you like this! There is always that idea that family have a special type of bond, one that's more important than friendship or any other relationship, but that is seriously only true in the ideal world where families are filled with happy, compatible people, not this world.<br />
However, families do have a different bond, it's true-and being disconnected from them can definitely hurt, as you have clearly stated, but going back to an abusive relationship out of loneliness will never result to anything positive. Honestly, you need to find other people to hang around with-which is easier said than done, but if your mom still hasn't changed after so long, you will only inflict self-harm by talking to her.<br />
I wish you the best though! I'm sorry your family's so...dysfunctional :/

I honestly feel that if you are crying because of the pain you feel by hearing a voice I would stay away. You are going to have to pick whatever hurts the least. I am sorry. I will pray for comfort for you.

Good for you in building a life for yourself! <br />
<br />
It's tough to come from that kind of background: some of your relatives may be damaged for life in ways that you can't fix. The three most important things you can do (in no particular order) are:<br />
<br />
*Build your own support network.<br />
*Establish your own financial security.<br />
*Figure out which of your relatives are best kept at arm's length.<br />
<br />
You can't squeeze blood from a turnip. Trading holiday cards might be the best you can do with some relatives. These are damaged people who probably feel threatened and inadequate by comparison to your success--don't let them bring you down.<br />
<br />
Another thing to be cautious of is whirlwind romance. As a social worker you're probably aware of this to some extent: potential abusers often look for women who have a family history of abuse and who have a weak support system. Guys who cross boundaries or have control issues are really something to steer clear of.<br />
<br />
Yes, the pain you're going through does go away. Stay strong; it gets better.