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Missing Out With Friends and Family To Avoid Abuser

by Brittany Ann on May 5, 2013

You feel empowered. You’ve ended contact with your abuser. Then, oh damn. Sure, I’d upset some family and friends by putting that abuser out of my life. What do I do though when I’m expected somewhere where they will be? I’m not only expected. I am really wanted there.

© photo by Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.

© photo by Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.

You’re a broken seedling now. You were emerging, unique to yourself as peace comes when you put the shame and the blame where it belongs: with the abuser. Now you’re on unstable ground and there’s only a small stem where there used to be a slow bloom.

It usually doesn’t take long for a first dilemma to arise when you’ve got family and friends that don’t understand why you’ve cut off a somehow still beloved person to them. It hurt enough at the start when you decided that you wouldn’t share anymore air with the abuser, and you were criticized and misunderstood. Somehow, you got through it. You’ve followed through and haven’t seen the one who hurt you so in some time now. Here you are though, on unstable ground and all you may have for support is yourself.

“What do I do?” Your head goes from a throbbing ache to screaming that question at you.

  • Are you due at a close family event or even something very personal to you but he/she is there?
  • Is it a 1st birthday you so want to help celebrate, but that abuser will be there, too?
  • What do you do if a dear family member makes an achievement but the abuser will be there to celebrate?

These questions are reality for us, for childhood abuse survivors. They tend to pack heavy “consequences” no matter the decision to either go or to stay away from the abuser.

My mother hasn’t abused me for years, but three years ago I made one damn fine commitment to myself. I wouldn’t share the air with her anymore. If you’ve made a commitment like that, be proud of you too. No doubt that it’s taken what has felt like an endless supply of your physical and mental energy sometimes. It is not “natural” to separate from ones parents or family member in the forever sense. We can recognize the truth of that without taking on responsibility for it coming to this.

Do we go and please someone important but (maybe) heavily trigger and break our commitment to ourselves, or do we stay away physically and give what we can to them emotionally instead? “Damn” comes to mind again because there are so many things to consider.

It is my commitment not to go, not to share her air.

We are not at fault if our loved ones and friends won’t consider our feelings. They don’t have to know the “entire story” to know that it must be heavy for it to have come to this. 


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  1. Rachel permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post! It is so validating to read this because the words that have been inside of me took shape before my eyes! I chanced upon this blog after another frustrating conversation with a friend who wondered why I had not reconciled with my estranged birth mother (I am a Christian and this often comes up with Christian friends, such is the Christian view on resolving ‘problems’). I was not going to devulge details to a her as I did not feel comfortable doing so. People in their ignorance misunderstand or completely miss the severity of what you are saying to them. Such a decision would never have been made lightly!!! Something must have been terribly wrong to stop all contact!!! It is so hard to personally accept my choice as a courageous one. I still feel guilt over the situation especially every time I have to explain it (which I manage sucessfully to avoid most of the time). You are right, it is such an unnatural thing to do (severe a family relationship). Unnatural, but absolutely essential to survival! Thank you for being an alternative voice! 🙂

    • Hey Rachel,

      Thank you kindly for your support. I can relate to where you are coming from about the Christian view on resolving problems and the dealings with Christian friends about such a heavy issue. While they probably mean well, this is extremely complex and cannot be so easily dropped into a bucket of forgiveness.

      I have really learned from fellow survivors when it comes to forgiveness. I have learned courage, because it takes a mountain of it to walk through thoughts of forgiveness toward abusers. Importantly, I believe that it is all about how the individual relates to it.

      I’m sorry that you’re experiencing these different pains as well; the abuse and now the thoughts of severing ties and of things like forgiveness.

      As we have summed it up: who would simply choose the most unnatural thing; choose to walk through the rest of this life without a family of origin. For all the family that we can make on our own as adults, it doesn’t stack up the same.

      Take good care, and thanks for your support,

  2. I wrote a long reply I almost posted on the M-D post, but not sure I feel ready to share my story.

    But I can respond to this post because this is THE issue I am facing today, with multiple holidays involving my mother, and her throwing invitations at me wanting contact with me and forgiveness.

    Now I have no idea or recollection if there was any MDSA, but I am quite sure there was with my father — and my mother is completely insane and either in denial about him or covering for him.

    Her big bday celebration, mother’s day etc. are coming up, and after yet another slight by her months ago, I had stopped all contact with her and my father. (they view themselves as “one” – one won’t act without consulting the other where it concerns me or anything, which I consider to be a 2-on-1 tag team).

    I almost fell for my mother’s kind words and offers of forgiveness and her explanation of realization she had issues with her own mother, etc. I almost felt OBLIGATED to rsvp with a yes, okay, I’ll go. Because I’m a good person, and I’m a relatively new Christian (4 years) and I want to forgive … but forgiveness does NOT mean I need to keep this woman in my life or that man and endure any further mental abuse from these people who destroyed me in so many ways.

    I owe it to myself in my mid-40s to recover. Thank you for this confirmation. As for forgiveness, that is something the Lord will help me work out in my own time and I know that forgiveness is a spiritual thing I do for me and my God, NOT for them.

    • Hello SE,

      You’ve got it sorted that you’ve got to come to forgiveness on your own terms. You can’t go to a party and expect to feel forgiveness.

      Infact, some of us do and some of don’t, and that includes those of us who are of any religion.

      I wish you well on this journey that I have pondered many times myself.


  3. vicky permalink

    I know it hurts I had finnelly after 20 years gave my family a dission it was eather me r him. they picked him even after admitting it. I told on him a little while after it started but was called a lirer. Ok hears what happened. my stepdad rapped me from a baby till I was nine. my mom walked in with him on top of me. she had a riffle in her hand. we jumped up and I was so sceard I was headed to the window in my room on the second floor to jump out, she stoped me and told me to go get my brother and get in the car, so we did and then mom came out he was behind her she got to the car door and then pointed the riffle at him and said, if u come any closer I will kill u. he stoped and kneled on the ground. mom got in the car and we left. we stopped at a little park that had a little spring creek , I thought I was in trouble. and that’s when my mom exsplained to me that. I wasn’t in trouble and that if anyone touches me like that to tell. I was at so much peace for the first time in my life. anyway he went to prizen and we went to my grandmothers to live then my grandfather started doing it to me. well I didn’t like it but for some reason it didn’t really down on me what he was doing for a couple of mounths and I was sceard and had had enough so I told mom. well we went upstairs to tell my grandmother. she called me a lyer and that was the end of that we stayed ther a couple more mounths but he didn’t touch me anymore, nobody talked to me are anything I was alone. well we finely moved. anyway I know where your coming from cause, after 20 years he finnelly admitted to it. but he was still there, I thought I had my family back. for all that time I had to try and stay away from him. and walk on egg shell nervis and achamed ,sceard, anyway sorry I’m getting off what I wonted to say. after he admitted it and they didn’t kick him out are put him in jail. or hang him nothing. he stayed so no I didn’t get my family back. well I had had enough. I told all of them its him are me. he never left after like a mounth r so I might not have gave him enough time to leave. but I didn’t care I needed my family he had them long enough it was time to go. well he didn’t so I did I left state and all, its been another 20 years and I’m just now talking to my mom every once in a while, it hearts but its better then living in shame I’m trying not to fill that way. oh yea after like 2 years after I left he finnlly did leave. but I still don’t have my family. I do have my kids and my husband that’s all the family I need anyway, God bless and I hope this helps u.

  4. Hi vicky,

    Yes, this is helpful to me. It is always helpful to hear another survivor’s story. I’m so sorry for the trauma you went through.

    You are right- you have your kids and your husband, and that is your family.

    Healing thoughts,

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